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 […]Read more
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In A Nutshell, What Is Video Jeet? Do you know that Google handles video content differently from routine blogs? If you have a video and an article written for a niche, the chances of a video popping up on the landing page are higher. This means you will have to find videos matching your content post it on your blog time and again so that your blog can rank. Video Jeet can do just this for you […]Read more
What Is TweetPush PRO? TweetPush PRO is a Twitter marketing tool that will help you in getting more traffic and audience on your Twitter handles that too on complete 100% autopilot. Even if you don’t know anything about Twitter marketing, don’t worry TweetPush PRO will take care of everything. So, you don’t have to spend all your time and day posting on Twitter. Who Is TweetPush PRO For? If you are struggling to get traffic and […]Read more
ClickBank University 2.0 is a real program that teaches you an opportunity to earn. No, it won’t make you rich with just a few clicks just like what others are claiming only to deceive you because they do not show realistic results. With ClickBank you are assured of the credibility of their program, after all, their reputation is on the line. You are learning from the source and that’s a great thing. People are finding more ways […]Read more
Welcome to my Aurora review. I’m here inside of the front end members area and also the pro version members area and during this review, I’m gonna give you a full demo of exactly what Aurora is and what it does now in a nutshell. First of all, I know what it’s like when you just start off trying to make money online. There’s a lot of things that you need to get your head around. There’s […]Read more
In my Stealthd review, I’m gonna go over the product itself. Stealthd is how to use Google Ads instead of an email list. I want to talk about Gmail and placing Google ads directly in Gmail using Stealthd. Stealthd, for the first time ever, turns emails into passive income without a list and without an autoresponder. There are no monthly fees, either. Let me explain. We all know that the money’s in the list. The list lets […]Read more
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!
Here’s a list of all the ads you can run with an Instagram business account, and some tips for maximum reach.
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 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 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:
Maximum: 15 seconds
Images show for 5 seconds by default
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 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.
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.
‘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.
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 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.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
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.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
Each page language version must link to other language versions and to itself. Learn more about hreflang.
Image XML Sitemap
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.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
You can also specify optional tags like:
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.
<video:title>Sitemap optimization guide</video:title>
<video:description>Our senior specialist shares tips on sitemap SEO</video:description>
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.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<news:title>Google increased number of ads on the first page to 10</news:title>
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.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
The sitemap index file can contain sitemaps of different domains in case they are all verified in Search Console.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
You can also go to ‘Index’ then ‘Coverage’, and filter the view by the corresponding 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:
- 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.
- Use plugins in your CMS. Plugins like Yoast SEO and Google XML Sitemaps do a pretty good job creating and customizing XML sitemaps.
- Using web-based generators like XML-Sitemaps. They usually have free limited versions that allow creating sitemaps up to a certain number of pages.
- 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.
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:
- Open Google Search Console.
- Go to ‘Index’ then ‘Sitemaps’.
- Enter sitemap URL in the address bar and click ‘Submit’
Submit to Bing:
- Go to the ‘Sitemaps’ widget on the dashboard.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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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):
- A user or search engines tries to access https://example.com or any internal pages such as https://example.com/example-page
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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