Category Archives: General

How Crestani Uses YouTube Ads

Making Money With Performance Marketing   The ideal scenario for a performance marketer is one where the marketer can set a high budget ($1,000+) for their ads campaigns, and make high returns. In this video, John Crestani gives you tips on how to successfully run these campaigns. So, how can you do this? Modify your advertisement content to drive guaranteed returns on costs. Rewrite your advertisements to sound more appealing and to meet your demographic’s needs.   […]

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A Review Of Profit Maximizers | Brendan Mace’s Profit Maximizers

Affiliate marketing is the easiest way to get started making money online. Simply promote other people’s products, and collect the commissions. Sounds easy, right? Once upon a time, it was stupidly simple, and it was almost impossible to fail, but everybody jumped in, and things got harder. The competition got fierce, and the Internet marketing arena became exactly that-a bloodbath. Internet marketers use strategic tactics to outwit each other. The battle-hardened affiliate marketers learn new tactics. One […]

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Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Business Accounts

Everybody loves Instagram! It quickly gained popularity in 2010 when it was released for iOS. Nine years and several updates later, Instagram is now owned by Facebook with an estimated user count of around 1 billion monthly active users. As advertisers, this platform is too big for us not to utilize. Instagram’s business account feature was launched in May 2016 and is a nifty way of marketing your business.

What’s so special about Instagram business accounts?

Marketers have access to a large variety of audiences, just like Facebook, so you can promote pretty much any business on Instagram. Best of all, starting an Instagram business account is practically effortless; you can sign up for free with your email or phone number, just as you would for a personal account. The mode of operation is very similar to that of a Facebook business page with affordable marketing campaigns and transparent insight dashboards.

Now, let’s talk about the numbers. There are around 25 million business profiles with 2 million active advertisers on Instagram. According to the Instagram official website, around 60% of its users claim to find new products on this platform. It also says that over 200 million Instagram users visit business profiles per day. One in three of the stories with most views belongs to business profiles. These are some pretty impressive figures and it’s safe to say that the Instagram business account feature is too big not to be utilized.

Most users now use mobile platforms to use social media, and Instagram is arguably one of the best apps optimized for mobile users. This makes Instagram marketing more effective, increasing the chances of your campaign reaching its full potential on Instagram.

It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to create a special account if you use Instagram purely for business; you can convert your existing personal profile to a business account.

What can you do with an Instagram business account?

All of your business’ information can be updated on your profile including the year of inception, location, working hours and contact information. You can get detailed information about how users react and engage with your posts. For promoted posts, you can get instant updates and metrics as well. According to the nature of your posts, you can select a particular age group and specifically target their profiles to boost your post. You can also set the time period and budget of your campaign.

Setting up a business account on Instagram is not only easy but it’s also free of cost. At present, a Facebook page is required to start an Instagram business page, so make sure you have an active Facebook page!

Here’s our helpful infographic to take you through all you need to know about Instagram business accounts and how to create an effective strategy!

Instagram Business Account Infographics

Here’s a list of all the ads you can run with an Instagram business account, and some tips for maximum reach.

Image Ads

The simplest and sometimes the most powerful way of advertising your business is an image. Instagram crops your image to a square (aspect ratio 1:1) when it is displayed on the feed, but you can also add it as a landscape or portrait image. Either landscape, square or portrait will do, but images are better viewed as a square on a mobile platform. You can always crop your images manually according to the design of your ad image. Here are some specifications for an image ad, whose format should be .jpg:

Square (1:1 aspect ratio):

  • 600×600 pixels (minimum)
  • 1936×1936 pixels (maximum)

Landscape (1.91:1 aspect ratio):

  • 600×315 pixels (minimum)
  • 1936×1936 pixels (maximum)

Portrait (4:5 aspect ratio):

  • 600×750 pixels (minimum)
  • 1936×1936 pixels (maximum)

Instagram allows you to add alt text to your image, which means you can add an extra description for those who can’t see the image. It won’t instantly boost your post, but it’s a good practice to add alt text to your image as they’ll rank better by the app’s built-in search engine.

Video Ads

Video ads are more likely to reach a wider audience since more weight is given to video content on Instagram feeds. The maximum length allowed is 120 seconds, and you better make it count! Like images, video ads play in 1:1 aspect ratio by default while landscape and portrait are also supported. Here are the basic specifications:

  • File Size: up to 4GB
  • Length: 120 seconds
  • Caption Length: 2200 characters

 

  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Square – 1:1
  • Landscape – 1.91:1
  • Portrait – 4:5

Stories Ads

Stories are the new big thing everywhere, and it’s a great way to market your business. Stories make full use of a mobile screen, giving you more design space to utilize. Stories work best when uploaded in portrait (9:16 aspect ratio). A story can be an image which stays on screen for 5 seconds or video which plays for 15 seconds. Here are some basic specifications for an Instagram story:

  • Aspect Ratio: from 1:91 to 4:5
  • File type:
    .mp4 or .mov (Video)
    .jpg or .png (Photo)
  • Maximum File Size:
    4GB (Video)
    30MB (Photo)
  • Length
    Maximum: 15 seconds
    Images show for 5 seconds by default
  • Dimensions
    Resolution: 1080 x 1920 (portrait)
    Minimum: 600 x 1067
  • Supported Codecs
    Video: H.264, VoP8
    Audio: AAC, Vorbis

Since stories are only viewable for a short amount of time, make sure your story image is captivating at the very first glance. And most importantly, don’t add too much text because most viewers won’t bother to tap and hold the screen to read your content. For video stories, try to focus on a single aspect of your business and make a video out of it, rather than packing too much information into a single video. With stories, you can be very creative as they play in series. You can create an array of stories, each one pointing to the next, creating a sense of suspense in the minds of your viewers.

Collection Ads

Collection ads practically turn your page into an online shopping portal; it’s the best choice when your business has multiple products to showcase. A collection ad includes a cover image or video along with a number of product images. If a user clicks on it, they’ll land on a full-screen experience called Instant Experience, also known as Canvas, where they can browse through each and every product of your company. You can also add product prices and descriptions, too.

The aspect ratio of the cover image of a Collection ad should be 1:1 or 16:9, and the maximum characters allowed for text description is 90. The formats and dimensions are the same as those of a standard image or video ad.

Carousel Ads

You can add more than one image or video in a single post with carousel ads. The users can swipe through each of the images, and carousel ads can link to your facebook page or website directly using a “Learn More” button. It’s very useful when you have a series of services to showcase. As a story, you can use successive carousel cards to make a long image ad. Make sure you have plenty of good images before starting a carousel ad! These are the specifications:

  • Minimum number of carousel cards: 2
  • Maximum number of carousel cards: 10 successive carousel cards
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 (recommended)
  • Resolution: 1080 x 1080 pixels (recommended)
  • Image file format: .jpg and .png
  • Image maximum file size: 30MB
  • Video length: up to 240 minutes (15 seconds recommended)
  • Video file format: .mp4
  • Video maximum file size: 4GB

Using Paid Promotions

Paid promotions on Instagram is very cost effective. With the “promote” option on your post, you will go through the following steps:

  • Decide where to post: You can promote your post on your profile, your website, your storefront or you can send your post as a direct message to all your contacts.
  • Select Target Audience: Based on the nature of your post, it should have a target audience. Instagram will select it for you automatically according to your followers, or you can select the audience manually. You can select the location, age group, gender and interests of your potential audience and make your post reach people specifically based on your selection. It’s better to choose your audience manually based on the content and intention of each of your posts.
  • Set your budget: You can set the total number of days the campaign will run along with the budget per day. Instagram also shows you a rough estimate your post would reach with your selected budget. Obviously more budget leads to more reach, but you can choose your budget wisely to run a cost-effective campaign. For example, if your account is a news page then it’s useless to opt a long-running campaign. Rather, your news should reach a large number of people as quickly as possible. It all depends on the relevance and content of the message you want to convey.

Bonus tips for your Instagram Ads

Always choose an objective: No matter what kind of ad you are using for your campaign, you should have a clear objective. On Instagram, there are primarily three objective concepts – Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. While awareness deals with increasing the reach of your page by frequent and catchy ads, consideration is more like building potential customers by letting them know what your products and services are, in detail. Conversion is aimed at sales, app downloads and visitors to your local shops.

It’s better to design your ad based on your objective. For example, if you are a digital media company, feed and story ads might be the best option for you. You can use collection ads if you provide online shopping and carousel ads if you want to display various designs provided by your fashion design company. Obviously, you can go crazy with ads but it’s always recommended to design your ads based on the objective of your business.

Design your ads for mobile: As mentioned earlier, Instagram is primarily a mobile app so it’s better to use the vertical space of a mobile screen. Portrait and square images or videos are viewed better on Instagram. Make use of the full-screen experience they provide by selecting a number of images and videos.

Use the description field wisely: URLs are not clickable from your ad’s description, so it’s best to avoid using URLs in the text description and put the 2200 character space to better use.

Don’t forget to use hashtags: Hashtags are very powerful on Instagram, and your posts become visible to viewers based on hashtag searches. Make sure you use trending, accurate and readable hashtags to increase the visibility of your posts.

Be consistent with your engagement: Instagram feeds work on an algorithm which is a blend of relevance and freshness. Feeds always show most recent posts, so always remember to post at regular intervals.

Check the post insights regularly: Make sure you check the post insights regularly. That way, you can see the total reach of your posts and number of engagements on them. Insights provide you with clear, useful, insights on which of your posts are liked more by your audience which enables you to plan your future posts and campaigns accordingly.

Easy integration with your Facebook business account is one of the greatest advantages. The pages you post on your Instagram pages can be duplicated to your Facebook wall with just one click, saving you a ton of time. Instagram is a very powerful social media platform and its marketing potential is just too much to be unused. With the right posts, right campaigns and an active account, Instagram marketing will give you the extra boost that you needed for the marketing of your business.

The post Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Business Accounts appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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Ultimate Guide To Sitemaps And How They Affect SEO

‘Create and submit a sitemap’ – you can see this advice almost everywhere from SEO guides to webmaster forums. A sitemap is an essential element of website optimization, which can help a lot if used properly.

Sitemap creation and optimization is not rocket science but has its peculiarities as much as anything else. In this post, you will learn what sitemaps are and how to optimize them to improve website crawling.

1. What Is a Sitemap and Why You Need One

A sitemap is a file that collects all essential pages of your site that you want to be indexed by search engines with a bit of additional data about them like last modified data, change frequency, or alternate language versions.

All publicly available pages on your website will be eventually found by search robots irrespective of whether they are present in your sitemap or not. Though, if your site is big enough, discovering individual deep pages may take more time due to a limited crawl budget.

In layman’s terms, using a sitemap, you provide search robots with direct page addresses to prioritize their crawling and indexing.

Sitemap abd website

From the image above, it’s clear that to find blue houses at the very bottom, search spider needs to pass through several green ones spending its resources. A sitemap allows locating all the houses on a single street.

It’s important to realize that while a sitemap helps search engines crawl your pages more effectively, it does not guarantee they will be indexed eventually. Search robots will evaluate those pages just as any other pages on the web and decide whether they are good enough to be shown in search or not.

1.2. When Exactly You Need a Sitemap

While a sitemap is undoubtedly a useful tool, it’s worth mentioning the specific cases when it’s essential.

A website should have a sitemap if:

  • It’s new and lacks external incoming links (backlinks from other sites). How should robots discover your pages if they don’t have backlinks from elsewhere on the web?
  • It’s huge and/or is regularly updated. Massive websites need to use crawl rate effectively to avoid spending it on low-quality and utility pages. Using a sitemap, you can also tell search engines about pages that got recently updated.
  • It has a complicated internal structure, deep and orphaned pages. Keep in mind that in this case, a sitemap is not a magic pill, you still need to work on proper website architecture and internal linking.
  • It contains rich media content. There are specific sitemaps for news, videos, and images.

According to Google: ‘In most cases, your site will benefit from having a sitemap, and you’ll never be penalized for having one.’

2. Types of Sitemaps

In previous paragraphs, I used ‘sitemap’ as a collective term. In reality, there are several types of sitemaps made for different purposes. Here are the most popular ones.

XML Sitemap

XML stands for Extensible Markup Language and is similar to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). On the contrary to HTML which is made to display data, XML can only store it.

An XML sitemap is the most widespread type which is usually meant when talking about sitemaps in general.

Example:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″>

<url>

<loc>http://www.example.com/</loc>

<lastmod>2019-12-12</lastmod>

<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>

<priority>0.9</priority>

</url>

</urlset>

Alternate Language or Region XML Sitemap

If your website has pages available in several languages or made for specific regions, they should be correctly optimized for search engines. There are multiple ways to specify alternate versions of a page, and one of them is using a sitemap and the ‘hreflang’ attribute.

Example:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″

xmlns:xhtml=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”>

<url>

<loc>http://www.example.com/en/page.html</loc>

<xhtml:link

rel=”alternate”

hreflang=”de”

href=”http://www.example.com/de/page.html”/>

<xhtml:link

rel=”alternate”

hreflang=”en”

href=”http://www.example.com/en/page.html”/>

</url>

<url>

<loc>http://www.example.com/de/page.html</loc>

<xhtml:link

rel=”alternate”

hreflang=”de”

href=”http://www.example.com/de/page.html”/>

<xhtml:link

rel=”alternate”

hreflang=”en”

href=”http://www.example.com/en/page.html”/>

</url>

</urlset>

Each page language version must link to other language versions and to itself. Learn more about hreflang.

Image XML Sitemap

Together with schema markup, image sitemap is made to provide Google with additional information about images on your site, optimizing them for image search. It helps search robots find images that are shown using JavaScript and can contain up to 1,000 images per page.

You can either create a separate image sitemap or include images in your regular sitemap. Images located on another domain can also be added if both domains are verified in the Search Console.

Example:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″

xmlns:image=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1″>

<url>

<loc>http://example.com/sample.html</loc>

<image:image>

<image:loc>http://example.com/image.jpg</image:loc>

</image:image>

</url>

</urlset>

You can also specify optional tags like:

  • <image:caption>
  • <image:geo_location>
  • <image:title>
  • <image:license>

Image sitemaps are pretty much unnecessary nowadays unless your website is heavy on images (photo aggregator, stock). If you take a look at the set of metadata you can specify using ImageObject schema, you will see that it’s much more extensive.

Video XML Sitemap

Similar to the image sitemap, a video sitemap provides additional info about video content on your site and can be either separate or embedded in a general sitemap.

Example:

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″

xmlns:video=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1″>

<url>

<loc>http://www.example.com/videos/page.html</loc>

<video:video>

<video:thumbnail_loc>http://www.example.com/sample.jpg</video:thumbnail_loc>

<video:title>Sitemap optimization guide</video:title>

<video:description>Our senior specialist shares tips on sitemap SEO</video:description>

<video:content_loc>

http://streamserver.example.com/video.mp4</video:content_loc>

</video:video>

</url>

</urlset>

Optional tags can be found here.

You can add multiple videos within one page in your sitemap, but make sure they are relevant to the page. VideoObject schema is what should also be used to describe videos to search engines.

News XML Sitemap

This sitemap type is created specifically for websites included in Google News. It allows getting the latest news published on your website crawled much faster and is essential for news sites and aggregators.

Google recommends adding up to 1,000 URLs per each sitemap, including news published in the last two days.

Example:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset   xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″

xmlns:news=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-news/0.9″>

<url>

<loc>http://www.example.org/search/news.html</loc>

<news:news>

<news:publication>

<news:name>Breaking News</news:name>

<news:language>en</news:language>

</news:publication>

<news:publication_date>2019-12-12</news:publication_date>

<news:title>Google increased number of ads on the first page to 10</news:title>

</news:news>

</url>

</urlset>

XML Sitemap Index

A sitemap index file is a file collecting multiple sitemaps. Why is it needed? The thing is that each sitemap is limited to 50,000 URLs and 50MB. If your sitemap exceeds the limits, it should be divided into multiple documents collected into a sitemap index file.

Example:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<sitemapindex xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″>

<sitemap>

<loc>http://www.example.com/sitemap1.xml</loc>

<lastmod>2018-12-12T15:22:19+00:00</lastmod>

</sitemap>

<sitemap>

<loc>http://www.example.com/sitemap2.xml</loc>

<lastmod>2018-12-12</lastmod>

</sitemap>

</sitemapindex>

The sitemap index file can contain sitemaps of different domains in case they are all verified in Search Console.

HTML Sitemap

An HTML sitemap is a webpage which contains hyperlinks to all important pages of your site with descriptive anchor text. On the contrary to the XML sitemap which is made for search robots, the purpose of HTML sitemap is to help users navigate through your site.

In an ideal world, your site should have a logical website structure where users can access all pages without a hitch. The reality is lots of sites have complicated structure, deep pages, and no internal search. In such case, an HTML sitemap may help.

PayPal sitemap

An HTML sitemap doesn’t bring much benefit from the SEO point of view and is pretty simple to set up, so let’s focus on the XML sitemap next.

3. XML Sitemap Tags

As you can see from the examples above, there’s a bunch of metadata that can be specified in different kinds of sitemap. Some of the tags are a must, and some are optional. Let’s have a quick look at the main tags and their relevance.

XML Sitemap Tags

Required Tags

Tags highlighted in green are compulsory and serve as the specification of a sitemap version, encoding, protocol, and address of each URL.

XML sitemaps must be UTF-8 encoded, and all the data inside them must be escaped following the standards. <urlset> opens a sitemap and specifies the protocol it uses.

The <url> tag specifies each URL entry. It’s a parent tag that has a bunch of children tags depending on a sitemap type.

<loc> is the primary and obligatory tag for each URL which shows the address of a page. Each tag must contain a full page URL (including http/https and trailing slash in the end if you have one). In other words, if you want a search robot to be able to crawl the page, make sure the address is correct.

Optional Tags

Tags highlighted in red are optional and provide search engines with additional information about each URL.

<lastmod> shows page’s last modified date and time that must be specified according to W3C Datetime format. Google uses this to identify the original author and recrawl pages if they have been recently changed. While John Mueller from Google confirmed they use the lastmod tag, don’t think you can abuse it by updating it each time you made some insignificant changes.

<changefreq> is a tag that describes how frequently the page is getting updated. You can set the following values:

  • always
  • hourly
  • daily
  • weekly
  • monthly
  • yearly
  • never

This tag is not a directive to search robots, so don’t expect robots to recrawl your pages each second if you set ‘always’.

<priority> specifies the priority of a page compared to other pages on a site. The value from 0.0 to 1.0 can be set where 1 is the highest priority.

According to several Google representatives (John Mueller and Gary Illyes), both <changefreq> and <priority> are not used by Google anymore.

4. How to Optimize XML Sitemap

A sitemap is not a ranking factor itself, and your rankings won’t skyrocket as soon as you create it. You won’t be penalized for not having one on your site. That being said, a sitemap is still super essential for SEO. Let’s see how to make it work.

Add Only Important and Compliant Pages

There’s no point in stuffing your sitemap with absolutely all pages from the website. Add only relevant pages you want to appear in search. Another key takeaway is to make sure all URLs in a sitemap are compliant. In other words, they should be accessible for search robots.

Make sure there’s no:

  • Broken pages (returning 4xx-5xx status codes)
  • Redirect pages (returning 3xx status codes)
  • Canonicalized pages
  • Duplicate and thin content pages
  • URLs with parameters, internal search pages, print pages, etc. (all these pages should already be hidden from search bots)
  • URLs blocked by robots.txt, robots meta tag, X-Robots-Tag
  • URLs present in another sitemap file
  • Utility pages (terms of use, contact, privacy policy pages, etc.)

Categorize Your Sitemaps

If your site has 500+ pages, they are probably divided into several categories like product pages, blog posts, or whatever you want. There’s no issue in placing all these pages in a single sitemap, but this way you are losing an opportunity to better analyze your sitemaps in the future.

Let me explain what I mean. When you submit a sitemap in Google Search Console (I’ll show how to do it a little bit later) it shows you a report on issues and the number of discovered and valid pages. Having a separate sitemap for product pages, you can track data that is specific to them.

Go to ‘Index’ then ‘Sitemaps’. Here you will see all submitted sitemaps, their status, and the number of discovered pages. Click on the icon next to the number of discovered URLs to see the detailed report on each sitemap, including the number of valid pages (indexed), excluded pages, errors, and warnings.

submitted sitemaps

You can also go to ‘Index’ then ‘Coverage’, and filter the view by the corresponding sitemap.

submitted sitemap

Filter by ‘All submitted pages’ to see the report on all pages you added in your sitemaps.

Use Dynamic Sitemap

An XML sitemap is not something you can create and forget if you are planning to update your site, add, or remove pages. You need to refresh your sitemap after every significant change.

When you have a small site, this is not an issue at all. However, if you operate a relatively big e-commerce project or informational portal, it’s nearly impossible to create a new sitemap every time.

There are a bunch of plugins that dynamically create a sitemap for WordPress users such as All in One SEO Pack, or Yoast SEO. If you are not a WordPress user, you can ask a developer to create a custom script for you.

Everything in a Sitemap Will Be Spotted Faster

Remember what I said on avoiding 3xx and 4xx pages in a sitemap? This is still a rule to follow in 99% of cases. Though, if you want search engines to find that a specific page is no more available or redirects to another one, a sitemap can speed up this process.

According to this tweet by Gary Illyes, anything you put in a sitemap will be picked up faster. That’s why you can create a separate sitemap where you will specify fresh redirects, 404 pages, etc.

Moreover, you should avoid having broken or redirecting links on your site as it hurts your UX, so sitemap is the best place to show search robots these changes.

5. How to Create XML Sitemap

Here we come to the most crucial part – sitemap creation. There are several methods you can use to complete this task:

  1. Create a sitemap manually or using custom coded scripts. If you have some technical knowledge and want to rise against the machine, you can code your own sitemap (or ask a developer) which will be the most suitable for you.
  2. Use plugins in your CMS. Plugins like Yoast SEO and Google XML Sitemaps do a pretty good job creating and customizing XML sitemaps.

XML Sitemap

  1. Using web-based generators like XML-Sitemaps. They usually have free limited versions that allow creating sitemaps up to a certain number of pages.
  2. Using a built-in XML sitemap generator in an SEO crawler (e.g. Netpeak Spider).

All options are suitable for small and medium websites. Though, if you want more flexibility, a web crawler and custom script are more appropriate.

Using the crawler, you can get all website pages and break them down into several segments like landing pages, blog posts, images, etc. Then create a sitemap for each segment.

Tip: compress sitemaps into a .gz format using GZip to save some space, but keep in mind that an unzipped file must not exceed the 50MB limit.

Most of the tools will also allow you to validate your sitemap to make sure it complies with the standard.

Add Sitemap to the Root Folder and Robots.Txt

Once a sitemap is successfully created, upload it to the root folder of the site just as you usually do with other files. It has to be like this – yourbeautifulsite.com/sitemap.xml.

Next, go to the robots.txt file and add a line with your sitemap address so that search robots will be able to spot it each time they address the file. If you have multiple sitemap URLs, just add each from a new line.

Root folder and robot

6. Submit Sitemap to Search Engines

The last step is to submit created sitemaps to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Let’s start with Google:

  1. Open Google Search Console.
  2. Go to ‘Index’ then ‘Sitemaps’.
  3. Enter sitemap URL in the address bar and click ‘Submit’

Sitemap submission on search engines

Submit to Bing:

  1. Go to the ‘Sitemaps’ widget on the dashboard.
  2. Click ‘Submit a Sitemap’ and enter your sitemap address.

Ping Sitemap Through an HTTP Request

There’s an alternative and more technical way to notify search engines of your sitemap. It can be done using an HTTP request.

Ping Google: http://www.google.com/ping?sitemap=URL/of/sitemap

Ping Bing: http://www.bing.com/ping?sitemap=URL/of/sitemap

Sitemap Best Practices

Now that you’ve learned sitemaps from soup to nuts, let’s summarize what you should remember about sitemaps:

  • Sitemap improves crawling of your website
  • It does not guarantee your pages will be indexed
  • Keep your sitemap up-to-date
  • Add only compliant pages in a sitemap
  • Don’t forget about the limits
  • Use hreflang for localized page versions
  • Create separate sitemaps for images, videos, news
  • Don’t focus on the <priority> and <changefreq> tags
  • Categorize your sitemaps
  • Create a sitemap index
  • Compress your sitemaps
  • Submit them in Webmaster Tools
  • Add sitemap address in robots.txt
  • Analyze sitemap indexing and fix possible issues

Keep your maps clean and feel free to ask your questions in the comments.

The post Ultimate Guide to Sitemaps and How They Affect SEO appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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The Potential Dangers Of Dynamic And Hidden Content

Content and SEO go hand in hand. It’s hard to have success in either, without the help of the other. How you display your important content on a page can have a large impact on that page’s rankings and SEO performance. Although there are many ways to display content on a web page, there are two that could lead to a negative impact in SEO performance. The two methods that could be cause for concern are when content is “dynamically displayed” or “hidden.” To know why dynamic and hidden content could affect your SEO efforts, it’s important to first know how a Search Engine works. If you’re already familiar with how search engines work, feel free to skip to the next section, “Differences Between Dynamic & Hidden Content.”

 

A Primer on How Search Engines Work

When a search engine finds a page, it crawls the page’s source code, renders the code very similarly to how a user would, and then indexes the page so that it can return it for a future search query. Although search engines are incredibly sophisticated these days, they still have some limitations that can hinder them from interacting with complex and new technologies and code. As web design and development technologies advance, the ways in which content can be displayed on a web page evolve as well. Some of those techniques, like dynamic and hidden content, can have negative effects on a pages organic performance if important content is not accessible to search engine crawlers.

Differences Between Dynamic & Hidden Content

To a user, it may sometimes be difficult to discern the difference between regular content, dynamic content, and hidden content, but to search engines, it can be a world of difference.

  • Dynamic content: Dynamic content refers to content that changes based on a user’s preferences, behaviors or interests, and is generally powered by technologies like JavaScript. The easiest way to identify dynamic content is to copy a portion of the copy, view the source code of the page, and search for the copy there. If the copy is not contained in the source code, then it’s likely to be dynamic. However, the best method is to have a knowledgeable technical SEO expert provide guidance.
  • Example: The product page for Belgian speculoos and cinnamon pretzel sticks below on https://uk.graze.com is pulling in content dynamically. When you select the ingredients accordion option, it opens up and shows copy. This copy is not accessible in the source code, but is “pulled” onto the page dynamically after you click the ingredients option.

Example before selecting the ingredients accordion menu

Example after selecting the ingredients accordion menu

  • Hidden content: Textual content and links that are not directly visible to users without some sort of action (like a click), but can be found in a page’s source code are referred to as hidden content. This differs from dynamic content because the code is found in the page’s source code (meaning that it’s easier for a search engine to crawl, i.e. access). To view the content, a user typically has to take an action on the page
  • Example 1: The following Sherpa Rider product page from Lee uses tabs for it’s description, fabric & care, and delivery & returns sections. The content within these tabs is “hidden” from users, but is contained in the source code of the page, making it accessible to search engines.

Example before clicking on the “Fabric & Care” tab

Example after clicking on the “Fabric & Care” tab

Potential Dangers of Dynamic & Hidden Content

The use of these techniques to display content is not always a bad thing. In fact, they can help create a more positive user experience. However, it’s critical to assess how you are using these techniques when it comes to the display of content that is important for that pages organic rankings and performance. If you are using one or both of these techniques, here are a few scenarios that could be cause for concern:

  • Least Severe: Hiding content on a page that is not a core part of the page, or important for the pages organic performance. This is the least likely to negatively impact your SEO, because even though content is hidden from users when the page loads, search engines can still access the content in the source code of the page, and the content is not critical for the page’s organic performance.
  • Moderately Severe: Dynamically displaying important content on a page, but loading the content as soon as the page loads (without a user needing to take an action, like a click, to see the content). Please note that this is very dependent on the type of technology you are using to display the content. This can lead to issues, as some search engines may not be able to “see” the content.” Other more advanced search engines like Google may also have trouble if the technology that you are using is not compatible with their crawler. However, this is not the most severe, because there is a chance that you won’t see any noticeable impacts to your SEO performance. Even though the content is not in the source code of the page, more advanced search engines like Google are likely to be able to access it as long as everything is configured correctly.
  • Most Severe (Avoid using this method to display important content if at all possible): Dynamically displaying important content on a page that requires a user to take an action before it will load should be avoided. This type of display technique is the most detrimental to your SEO efforts because search engines, even Google, are highly unlikely to access or see the content at all. This is because search engines stop at the point of “user interaction.” They don’t click, scroll, or otherwise take actions beyond simply loading a page.

Did you ever think that making a decision about how to load content onto a page could be so complex? In general, wherever possible, we recommend that if you have important content, it is immediately visible to users without requiring them to take an action, and is delivered within the source code of the page. Using newer technologies to improve user experience and differentiate your company and brand are great, and we highly encourage their use when done in an SEO friendly manner.

Given the many nuances to this subject, and slight changes that can push the use case from positive to negative very quickly, we highly recommend that you receive feedback from a technical SEO specialist on your specific use case of dynamic or hidden content. Contact us today if you are interested in learning about our experience with technical SEO or Web Development technologies.

The post The Potential Dangers of Dynamic and Hidden Content appeared first on MoreVisibility.

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Google Is Eliminating The Preferred Domain Setting

Google recently announced that they are not bringing the Preferred Domain setting to the new Google Search Console (GSC). Although unlikely, this may cause issues for anyone who had been using the feature historically. Additionally, it is a great reminder to make sure your re-write rules are setup correctly to choose the preferred version of your domain for search engines.

What was the Preferred Domain Setting Feature?

The preferred domain setting was a feature that Google provided in GSC to allow website owners/managers to select which version (www. or non-www.) of their domain they wanted Google to index and return to users in search results. This is what it used to look like:

What’s Does the Removal of the Feature Mean?

This means that Google will fall back on its traditional signals that tell it which version of your domain to use. These traditional features include signals sent from the website owner/manager (such as redirects or re-write rules) as well as signals from other areas (like which version is more linked to by other websites).

What Should You Do?

The first thing that we would recommend you do is validate which version you actually want indexed and returned to users. This may require some analysis of what Google has currently indexed, as you don’t want to switch versions unless you are fully aware of the potential issues and consequences that may arise (drastic changes could lead to changes in your organic rankings and traffic).

After you have decided which version you want indexed and returned to users, you should check with your SEO or development team to see if there is an existing rule that only allows search engines and users to access one version (and therefore tell search engines the correct version to index and rank). This is called a “re-write rule” and it should be setup to redirect URLs from one version to your preferred version via a 301 (permanent) redirect. If in place, it should work like this (if you have picked the www. version as your preferred version):

  1. A user or search engines tries to access https://example.com or any internal pages such as https://example.com/example-page
  2. Your server redirects the user or search engine to the www. version, such as https://www.example.com or the corresponding internal URL such as https://www.example.com/example-page
  3. Search engines will index and return the www. version, such as https://www.example.com or the corresponding internal URL such as https://www.example.com/example-page

Ultimately, if you have used the Preferred Domain version in the past, it is highly recommended that you ensure your re-write rules are properly setup (as discussed in the “What Should You Do?” section above). If you have any questions about this change or how we can help with using Google Search Console or validating that your re-write rules are properly setup, please reach out to us at info@morevisibility.com.

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This Week: Content Marketing, Facebook Live, PPC Features, Search Engine Results and Yoast SEO Update

Happy Tuesday,

This week we are back again with more internet marketing news! We’ll go through how to get more content noticed, Facebook live video relevance for business and marketers, and 7  PPC features in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads. Lastly, we’ll cover the evolution of search engine results and Yoast’s latest SEO update.

Get More Content Noticed, Stop the Bad Metadata

After you have worked on a piece on content only to find out that most of your work is unused, you may get frustrated and think about all the effort you’ve wasted, and why your content isn’t being used! This is, however, a common situation for many marketers these days. Some of the factors that contribute to less usage of content are its findability, quality, and relevance.

Content marketing

When you can apply a metadata strategy successfully, you can generate a high lead percentage from a brand’s content. This article provides a comprehensive understanding of metadata and how metadata strategy can be successfully executed for getting your content noticed.

Why Facebook Live Video Is Still Relevant for Businesses and Marketers

Facebook is a platform that promotes users to stick around and make use of the content, videos and engagements. Facebook always wants pages to concentrate on original content, engage users and have a longer view time. Facebook has already mentioned about limiting the distribution of unoriginal content with no value.

Facebook live for business

A very well-prepared Facebook Live broadcast is an excellent way to share interesting and thoughtful content to engage viewers; as long as it abides by the algorithms, that is. In this article, readers wiill get a clear understanding of why Facebook Live video is still essential for businesses and marketers.

7 Must-Try PPC Features Hidden in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Pay per Click (PPC) can sometimes be very complicated and involves a significant amount of risk when executing a campaign. If we can break through barriers of PPC in advertising, then the benefits are more than worth it! There are some hidden PPC features which can be very useful for your next campaigns.

Hidden PPC features to know

To give an example, in Microsoft ads, the advertisers can get the list of products for remarketing by targeting the searchers based on the product IDs they associated with, and promote those product IDs to them in the form of an ad. This article has seven hidden PPC features like this in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.

Search engine results: The ten-year evolution

The search landscape is evolving every day and there are questions and discussions on Google’s control on how much search traffic goes to publishers compared to Google’s domain. There have been several articles on this over the past ten years, and the articles have now evolved into how Google has changed the search page.

Search engine results

This article provides insight into the changes that Google search has brought into effect over the past ten years. You’ll also find corresponding statistical data and learn how marketers can educate themselves, and leverage it for their upcoming campaigns!

Yoast SEO 11.6 Update

Yoast SEO is an integral part of WordPress. It’s been updated to the latest version with new how-to-blocks. The latest version also provides tabs to the top of the meta box as well as schema and security fixes. They have made modifications according to Google’s most recent changes; this update makes it simpler for content generators to add how-to markups to the relevant content.

Yoast SEO Update

It is essential we stay updated with these changes as marketers for enhancing our content before posting. To learn more about the update, check out the article!

The post This Week: Content Marketing, Facebook Live, PPC Features, Search Engine Results and Yoast SEO Update appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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How To Create Customer-Focused Content At Every Stage Of The Sales Funnel

You don’t need me to explain to you the importance of content marketing. Great content gets you good search rankings, you get more eyeballs, more authority, blah, blah, blah. We all get it. This million-dollar question, however, is a little different. The one thing that every content marketer would love a straight answer to is, “What is great content?”

This question gains even more importance given the volume of content that we’re churning out by the minute. Data from eMarketer shows that 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content every, single day! That’s a lot of content to put out there, without really knowing if it hits the mark or not.

I’ve found that a good way to approach any problem is to break it down into easily digestible parts and then analyze further. We know that the needs of a customer evolve as they move along the sales funnel. What matters to a first-time visitor exploring their options is very different from the content that will convince a sales qualified lead (SQL) who’s about to write a check out to your company.

So why not look at every stage of the typical sales funnel or buyer’s journey as you may want to call it and understand what content would produce the best results?

Awareness – Hook Them Right

Stop blaming everyone else for not getting enough traffic, inquiries or conversions. Your customers don’t know what they don’t know. It’s your job to get your brand out in front of your target audience, in a way that appeals to them.

Blog posts rank as one of the most effective types of content I’ve seen for spreading the word about your brand and making users aware of all the different things you have to offer. And these blog posts don’t even have to be artfully worded to be effective. This eye-catching blog post on the Etsy blog, capitalizes on beautiful product shots to make a statement and showcases Etsy’s wares in all their glory.

Another spin on effective blog posts that can bring in the eyeballs is offering expert analysis on the latest industry news. I can attest to the effectiveness of this approach with posts like this one – I wrote about the launch of HomePod, Apple’s smart speaker on my own website, iGeeksBlog.com.

This type of content not only satisfies your audience’s need to keep up with the goings-on in the industry, but it also gives them insights on how new developments can impact their day-to-day lives – something that attracts eyeballs and creates value at the same time.

Consideration – Reel Them In

Once you’ve spread the word, it’s time to rise above the clutter and get your audience seriously interested in your brand. This is where you summon all your powers of persuasion to tell a curious user why they should bet on your business.

E-commerce SaaS platform ChannelAdvisor does a fabulous job of driving home their expertise in e-commerce enablement with regular informative webinars that answer questions that truly matter to their clients.

With webinars being a live, once and done kind of content type, it makes sense to upload a copy of the webinar recording and any slides you may have used on the webinar page, so you can reap the benefits of this content even after the webinar is done and dusted.

Another great way to convince an undecided buyer about your product is by sharing case studies of how you were able to help existing clients tackle very specific business problems. Case studies have the benefit of being verifiable directly with the client in question and therefore bring tremendous credibility to your claims.

Email marketing platform MailChimp shows how it does more than just deliver emails to customers in this insightful case study. This client decided to use Mailchimp’s unique product recommendations feature in their Order Notification emails. This simple move helped the client earn an average of $31. 95 additional revenue per order notification email sent out. That’s easy money with no extra effort!

Purchase – You Made It!

So you’ve won over your audience and they’ve now become brand new customers for your business. Before you sit back and congratulate yourself, you need to ensure your new customers are completely happy with their purchase and don’t suffer a shred of buyer’s remorse.

One of the most common next steps after a sale is helping your customer set up and use your product effectively. Training and onboarding is often done in classroom sessions with round the clock support offered via phone, chat, email and more. So why not leverage this wealth of information that you’re sharing about your product and turn it into content that will serve you in more ways than one? This in-depth customer onboarding video by DropBox for Business does exactly that.

Source

Retention – Keep Them for Life

A customer who’s been with you for a while is an asset you need to safeguard and nurture. Remind your customers of different ways in which your product can enhance their business, assist them in solving real issues with your product using detailed guides and help take their engagement with your company to the next level by upselling them newer products and solutions.

Loyalty and membership programs are great ways to keep your customers hooked and keep getting them to buy more from you. Amazon’s Prime program is a perfect example of a membership program that has become a significant driver of profitability and engagement for the company over the years.

Prime members get frequent emails like this one from Amazon that showcase membership benefits like free books and movies that come with the Prime program. These regular reminders of the value users get out of your products to help cement their loyalty to you and assure you of recurring revenues with little to no acquisition costs.

In Closing

With the wide array of options available to content marketers, it’s no wonder that developing a strategy that works is often a complex process. The trick often lies in not overthinking it and keeping it simple. What types of content have you seen the most success with? Tell us more in the comments below!

The post How to Create Customer-Focused Content at Every Stage of the Sales Funnel appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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This Week: Google Searches, Keyword Research Tools, Facebook Reach and User Intent

Happy Tuesday!

This week we are back again with more internet marketing news; we’ll get into why organic search clicks out-number paid, why agencies are backing content marketing, 8 free keyword research tools for SEO, Facebook’s comment reach in newsfeeds, and how to understand searcher intent to boost SEO rankings!

49% of all Google searches are no-click, study finds

To all the marketers out there, we have some news data provided by marketing analytics firm Jumpshot. In their latest estimate, it was shown that zero-click searches on Google have steadily risen over the past three years.

This article guides us through the latest statistics on organic-click erosion, click-through rates, and why mobile organic search is affected compared to desktop.

User click after searching google

The data here shows that in the first quarter of 2019, 41.45% of Google searches resulted in organic clicks to non-Google sites and 5.9% of searches ended with the user heading to another Google-owned website. Unfortunately, if you’re in a field that Google is in as well, like travel, then Google is likely dominating your marketing and getting those clicks.

Agencies see growth in Content Marketing Business

This article provides us with insights about why agencies are putting their efforts towards growing their content marketing. Out of the companies that offer content marketing services, over half of them reported that 50% of their business is comprised of content marketing.

Content Marketing

Read the article to learn more about the changes in content marketing and how they influence agencies!

8 Free keyword research tools for SEO

To find the ideal keywords, you need to search out all the possible variations from multiple data sources. So, finding the right keyword may seem very confusing and complicated at first. If you do a Google search SEO tools, you’ll see a lot of options in the market now, but all of them differ in features, amounts and sources of data, as well as prices. But which of them do you really need? And, most importantly, do you need to fork out hundreds of dollars a month, or is there a way to cut the costs?

Keyword Research

This article explores 8 of the best free keyword research tools. Each of them best fits a specific keyword research task and does the job just as well as their paid alternatives.

Facebook changes the reach of comments in the news feed

You’ll still find your best marketing opportunities on the world’s largest social network, so needless to say, spending time learning Facebook marketing is worth the investment. Everyone wants to get maximum reach, so this article will provide you with the information on Facebook’s new algorithm that has affected the comment reach on a post. Comments that have specific quality signals will be highly ranked, and low-quality comment practices may result in less reach. Read the article to learn more!

How to understand searcher intent to boost SEO rankings

When we talk about using SEO to gain more organic traffic or to increase conversions for your PPC campaign, it’s important to stop depending strictly on the usual keyword with the most searches. It’s time we dig deeper to help determine user intent so you can not only improve rankings, but also get higher-quality of clicks.

User Intent

This article tells us why it’s important to constantly think about the intent of your potential customers and what will drive them to your website. Let’s explore user intent and find out how we can use this complicated system to help improve your website’s ranking!

The post This Week: Google Searches, Keyword Research Tools, Facebook Reach and User Intent appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

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The Fundamental Components That Contribute to a Strong SEO Strategy

In an increasingly online world, marketers are pressed to make sure their brand stands out in Organic search. However, every SEO strategy contains many moving components that need to work together properly in order to be successful. Before you can fine-tune your SEO strategy, it’s vital to ensure the fundamental elements are in place and running properly. Here are 3 fundamental components that can help your brand’s SEO strategy succeed.

1. Crawlability / Technical SEO

At the top of the list for a successful SEO strategy is crawlability and technical SEO. Because of its fundamental nature, crawlability should be the first thing on every marketer’s SEO task list. No matter how relevant your content may be, if a search engine cannot find your website, it will not be served to users.

Some technical components to take into account are a valid robots.txt file, proper website redirects (if applicable), site speed, and indexing (sitemap).

2. Content Optimization

Once the technical portion of your SEO program is in place and optimized, the next component to look at is content optimization. By optimizing content that is already on your website, you’re able to leverage existing assets and better tailor content to tie into your keyword strategy.

It is important to assess the amount of relevant content on your website relative to the keywords you are targeting. In addition, make sure to include title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s in your assessment. All of your existing content should be useful to your target audience, because once a user lands on your website, the goal is for them to convert!

3. Link Building and Content Creation

Finally, an ongoing task for SEO success is link building and content creation. Link building does require time and research, so it is always a good starting point to visit Google’s Support Center for guidelines, tips, and best practices. Be sure to target high-quality sites with good traffic for best results.

Also, creating fresh, relevant content at appropriate frequencies (based on your business type/ goals) helps solidify all of the work that has already been done to help your website rank. Confirm that any content that is being created still aligns with keyword strategy and speaks to your target audience.

If you have any questions about SEO strategy, contact the experts at MoreVisibility.

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