Remember that fun Flash game you used to play back in 2002? It was the perfect way to waste hours of your life and you weren’t alone. Flash was ubiquitous for a number of years. It was the only game in town when it came to being able to do anything interactive in the browser. It had the market cornered on all things games, animated website intros, watching video and myriad other Internet activities.
Then, the market started to shift. The trusty old friend that you went to whenever you had a few minutes of free time was to soon be overshadowed by HTML5 and Apps. It was an all out war. The antiquated, gaping security hole and ram hog that is Flash was starting to show it’s weakness. All of the major tech companies that had been built on the back of Flash were now starting to give it the evil eye. Right around 2007 things started to go mobile and the writing was on the wall for Flash.
Sorry Flash, you had a good run but it’s now time to fill that security hole and lighten the load that has been bogging down browsers for 15+ years. “Death to Flash” and “Make it so” said the major browser developers. It’s time for Flash to go up onto the mantle of tech we used to love, to sit right next to your favorite VCR and mixtape.
That’s right, soon all browsers will be blocking Flash by default. Some will bury a setting that is hard to find to even enable it. We’ve been monitoring this closely and were standing by, waiting for the final word. We wanted to make sure we were out in front of the issue and weren’t stuck scrambling like other providers will be.
In anticipation of the browsers starting to block Flash by default, we have replaced the upload tool in eCommerce with a new version that does not rely on Flash. This was rolled live last week. In addition to the removal of Flash, it also comes with an improved user experience for assigning images to products. You’re welcome!
On April 21, Google unleashed its mobile-friendly update on the online world. However, most businesses and entrepreneurs were in the loop and had sufficient time to react and take appropriate measures.
More recently, there have been rumors flying about a new "phantom" algorithm update, which was presumably applied towards the end of April or the beginning of May. As it turns out, if you've been noticing changes to your -- or anyone else's -- search rankings as of late, you aren't out to lunch.
The reason some have been referring to it as the "Phantom Update" is because there was no advance warning with this algorithmic revision, and Google wouldn't readily admit to it either. It did confirm it eventually, but wouldn't provide a lot of specifics on the changes. Google may try to play it down, but the overall impact appears to be significant.
In essence, this new update is a quality update. How Google assesses quality is sometimes a thing of mystery, but we do know that it wants to provide users with the best information possible. By developing high-quality content and websites, you can continue to rank for your terms and drive traffic to your site. It may be worth reviewing Google's post about high-quality sites from when it applied the Panda update as well.
With context now in tow, let's take a closer look at what you need to know about this update.
First, you must realize that Google will be updating its algorithm on a regular basis to serve more quality content to searchers. This isn't really the first time Google has done this -- remember Panda? -- and it's unlikely that it will be the last time.
In other words, if you've been consistently producing content with the best interests of your target users in mind, you're still on the right track. There's no need to make any drastic changes to your strategy. If you do happen to see a decline in your organic search traffic, however, there may be a need to address some of your on-page SEO.
We may not have a lot of new information on Google's quality signals, but we do know what was said in the past. Here are several important things to keep in mind:
Duplicate content and redundant articles are a no-no.
Avoid creating thin content.
Prioritize user experience. For example, too many ads on your site can create a negative visitor experience and have an undesired impact on your rankings.
Your content should be trustworthy. Visitors that land on your site should feel comfortable giving you their credit card information.
Are you exercising quality control with your content? Your articles should be free of spelling and factual errors.
Are you striving to give your target users an in-depth look into the subject matter? Does your content meet their needs?
This is just a quick overview of what Google expects from you as a content creator. From a user experience perspective, it makes a lot of sense. The idea is to answer questions posed by visitors, provide them with the best information possible, examine issues from different angles and share insights into topics you're passionate about.
It's all about content.
Content is really all we're talking about here. If you're still trying to catch your breath from the previous mobile-friendly update, that's all good and well, but if you're already caught up in that regard, then the issue to address now is content. There's no need to focus on anything else at this point in time.
If Google has gone on record to say that certain factors are important to search rankings, it's not likely to change its tune all of a sudden. The most recent update reflects ongoing efforts to rank sites based on the quality of the content offered.
There are some theories out there about this being a domain-level penalty. In other words, if Google finds low quality content on your site, it'll demote your entire website. However, this is merely speculation. If your website happens to have a significant amount of "low quality" content on it, then you may see a considerable decrease in organic traffic. This wouldn't necessarily indicate a domain-level demotion, because it could be just your lower quality content that's being affected. This would explain the overall decrease in search rankings and traffic.
Is there a reason why some sites can publish a new article, have it crawled and indexed within minutes and have it ranking in search too, while others struggle to do the same? Fundamentally, it's all about trust. If there's anything that's being looked at on a domain-level, it would bethat.
Are you consistently creating and serving quality content to your users? Are you striving to make their experience the best that it can possibly be? Are you building a solid reputation that appears trustworthy in the eyes of Google?
Again, think about what Google is looking for when it is crawling your content. The search giant wants to see original, trustworthy, error-free, visitor-centric, value-adding, comprehensive, substantial content. As a website owner, it's a long-term play, but you have to be willing to invest the time and not cut corners.
You can build towards becoming a recognized authority on a subject, but this is not done by guessing at what SEO plays are going to generate your next viral article. This is done by paying attention to the real human needs that exist in the online world. Future updates are going to take this human element into account more than anything else.
If you're interested in finding out whether your site has been affected, make sure to take advantage of our Google Penalty Checker. Google rolls out hundreds of minor changes every single year. Some are major and can have a significant impact on your website's rankings -- sometimes without you even being aware of it.
If your low quality content has been affected, it's time for a new strategy. Quality signals aren't anything new, but you can rest assured that Google is only going to clamp down on inferior content with greater force in times to come.
*Article by Thomas Smale Contributor/FE Internationals
When you think of the word “sticky,” what comes to mind? A spilled soda, the surface of something you bought after you removed a sticker, or your hands after you peeled some fruit?
In the Internet industry, sticky refers to something that makes a person want to come back to a website. A sticky website stands out above the many thousands of other websites because it offers something unique and valuable.
Here are some ways to make your site sticky:
Make your site clear and navigable. Have a short paragraph near the top introducing yourself. Make your best pages available with prominent links. Use an image of yourself and have your phone number, email and other contact information in a place the visitor can easily find them.
Write an FAQ. It stands for Frequently Asked Questions and it is standard on all major websites. Don’t be intimidated, you can have an FAQ too. Think about what most people ask you most often. Write in clear terms and provide plenty of contact information where visitors can contact you for more information.
Set up blogs and social media accounts. Blogs and social media accounts breathe life into your site, provide fresh information, and engage your readers. Plus it’s a lot of fun. Answer questions, start new discussion topics, and state your opinion about recent news. People will notice, and the search engines will too.
Make sure your website reflects your personality. Are you a practical joker? Are you committed to your church? Maybe you are dedicated to making your community a better place. Giving your audience a window to your soul will make them want to do business with you.
Get into video. That new cell phone of yours has incredible video capabilities. A YouTube account is free and super easy to use. Call a friend who will be your videographer and make some two-minute videos introducing your business.
A picture is worth 1,000 words so using infographics can get you more real estate for your posts. We’ve compiled a few tips for you to get started with creating quality infographics:
Define your Target Audience Many businesses have multiple audiences for their services and products. To get the biggest response, define a single audience for each infographic you create.
Craft a Clear Message Is your infographic saying too much? Define your purpose and then craft a clear message that both offers professional insight / advice while also promoting your product.
High Quality Images & Smart Sizes Want people to read and share your infographic? Make it easy to read and share!
Logical Layouts Break your message out into a logical, easy to read layout.
Brand It Don’t forget to brand your infographics. You are giving free and valuable infomation to the end-user to build brand loyalty AND to create awareness around a product or service that you offer.
Share It Don’t forget to share your infographic on your social media platforms, on your website and in your email campaigns. Make sure to include your website link when sharing as this will both drive traffic to your site and increase your SEO value!
It’s time. Your website has been outdated long enough and it may be starting to cost you business. We know it can be overwhelming, so let’s take a look at 5 key points to keep in mind when planning your website makeover.
1. What’s Your Point?
What is the primary focus of your site?
What is the secondary focus of your site?
2. Who’s Looking?
Who is your target audience?
Where are they located?
3. Social, Social, Social
Social media is the largest referral network in history.
Is the content on your site shareable?
Are you driving your viewers to your social platforms?
4. Call to Action
What do you want viewers to do?
Sign up for a newsletter?
Request more information?
5. Plan from A- Z
Who will write the content?
Media – Images, Videos, Downloads etc.?
Who will Design?
Who will Develop?
What about Marketing the Site? (SEO, SEM, Social Media, Email Campaigns)
Most small businesses starting out on the web have much of their own web responsibilities, and they have heard of SEO, but they don’t know what it is, or how to implement it on their website. SEO stands for search engine optimization and is an area of expertise in implementing certain techniques and practices to help your site rank as high as possible on search engine results pages (SERPs). Even professional website technicians have heard of SEO, and wish they knew enough about it to do it well, so how can the small business owner stand a chance?
If you keep in mind that SEO isn’t the only component of your website, then it is possible to take a few small, easy steps to start doing SEO on your own. One of the most important things a small business owner can do is optimize the company website for search engines. Your content should be the backbone of your website, and positive SEO results will come as a result of this solid structure.
You can spend a lot of time effort and money on SEO, and achieve very few if any results if you do not have the quality content to go with it. As a small business owner, saving costs is always part of the bottom line and few people realize that proper SEO can be learned with little effort. Some companies even over-optimize their websites which can have little results for the added effort. Sometimes taking care of the basics is all that is really required.
So where do you begin? Well, one of the first things you can do if you haven’t already done so is to verify your site ownership with Google. Google’s Webmaster Tools offer a lot of useful features such as email forwarding, which offers you emails informing you of any problems found on your site. The problems that Google may find could be site inaccessibility, malicious content, and possible broken links. It’s useful to have this kind of information so that you can troubleshoot your own site.
The next area you can cover is in your content, which should be unique. You will have to focus on the keywords, or words that will be used frequently in the page text. A keyword can be a unique word or phrase that is generally used as the subject of the content. For example, your special keyword(s) or phrase(s) should take up about fifteen percent of the text. Don’t use the keywords so many times that it has a negative effect on your content meaning and readability. You don’t want to discourage your users, and you also don’t want search engines to tag you as spam.
Another area that you can cover while optimizing your site is to go over your design. A great design can be the key to your success. SEO and quality content can help push your site up the search engines, but once they’ve found you, you only get one shot. First impressions always last, so make them count. Remember to interact with your customers online, they are your audience, and your lifeline. Without them your business will fail. Answer their questions, interact with them through social media, whatever you do make them feel engaged and an active part of your site and you will be a success.