Beanstalk on Google+ Beanstalk on Facebook Beanstalk on Twitter Beanstalk on LinkedIn Beanstalk on Pinterest
Translate:
Published On:
SEO articles and blog published on ...
Hear Us On:
Webmaster Radio
Blog Partner Of:
WebProNews Blog Partner
Helping Out:
Carbon balanced.
Archives
RSS

XMLRSS

SEO concerns for Mobile Websites

You want to serve your clients needs regardless of what device they visit your site with, but how do you do it easily without upsetting your SEO?

Lets look at the various options for tackling Mobile sites and what each means in terms of SEO:

Responsive Design :
 
Visual demonstration of responsive web design

  • Responsive design is growing in popularity, especially as communications technology evolves, and bandwidth/memory use is less of a concern.
  • This method also gives us a single URL to work with which helps to keep the sitemap/structure as simple as possible without redirection nightmares.
  • On top of that, Googlebot won’t need to visit multiple URLs to index your content updates.
  • Less to crawl means Googlebot will have a better chance to index more of your pages/get deeper inside your site.
“Why is/was there a concern about mobile page size?”

Low-end mobiles, like a Nokia C6 from 4+ years ago (which was still an offering from major telcos last year), typically require that total page data be less than 1mb in order for the phone to handle the memory needs of rendering/displaying the site.

If you go over that memory limit/tipping point you risk causing the browser to crash with an error that the device memory has been exceeded. Re-loading the browser drops you on the device’s default home-page with all your history lost. I think we could all agree that this is not a good remote experience for potential clients.

Higher-end devices are still victims of their real-world connectivity. Most 3rd generation devices can hit really nice peak speeds, but rarely get into a physical location where those speeds are consistent for a reasonable length of time.

Therefore, even with the latest gee-wiz handsets, your ratio of successfully delivering your entire page to mobile users will be impacted by the amount of data you require them to fetch.

In a responsive web design scenario the main HTML content is typically sent along with CSS markup that caters to the layout/screen limitations of a mobile web browser. While this can mean omission of image data and other resources, many sites simply attempt to ‘resize’ and ‘rearrange’ the content leading to very similar bandwidth/memory needs for mobile sites using responsive design approaches.

The SEO concern with responsive designs is that since the written HTML content is included in the mobile styling it’s very crucial that external search engines/crawlers understand that the mobile styled content is not cloaking or other black-hat techniques. Google does a great job of detecting this and we discuss how a bit later on with some links to Google’s own pages on the topic.

Mobile Pages :

Visual demonstration of mobile web page design

 
If you’ve ever visited ‘mobile.site.com’ or something like that, you’ve already seen what mobile versions of a site can look like. Typically these versions skip reformatting the main site content and they get right down to the business of catering to the unique needs of mobile visitors.

Not only can it be a LOT easier to build a mobile version of your site/pages, you can expect these versions to have more features and be more compatible with a wider range of devices.

Tools like jQuery Mobile will have you making pages in a jiffy and uses modern techniques/HTML5. It’s so easy you could even make a demo image purely for the sake of a blog post! ;)

This also frees up your main site design so you can make changes without worrying what impact it has on mobile.

“What about my content?”

Excellent question!

Mobile versions of sites with lots of useful content (AKA: great websites) can feel like a major hurdle to tackle, but in most cases there’s some awesome solutions to making your content work with mobile versions.

The last thing you’d want to do is block content from mobile visitors, and Google’s ranking algorithm updates in June/2013 agree.

Even something as simple as a faulty redirect where your mobile site is serving up:
mobile.site.com/
..when the visitor requested:
www.site.com/articles/how_to_rank.html

.. is a really bad situation, and in Google’s own words:

“If the content doesn’t exist in a smartphone-friendly format, showing the desktop content is better than redirecting to an irrelevant page.”

 
You might think the solution to ‘light content’ or ‘duplicate content’ in mobile versions is to block crawlers from indexing the mobile versions of a page, but you’d be a bit off the mark because you actually want to make sure crawlers know you have mobile versions to evaluate and rank.

In fact if you hop on over to Google Analytics, you will see that Google is tracking how well your site is doing for mobile, desktop, and tablet visitors:
Example of Google Analytics for a site with mobile SEO issues.

(Nearly double the bounce rate for Mobile? Low page counts/duration as well!?)

 
Google Analytics will show you even more details, so if you want to know how well you do on Android vs. BlackBerry, they can tell you.

“How do the crawlers/search engines sort it out?”

A canonical URL is always a good idea, but using a canonical between a mobile page and the desktop version just makes sense.

A canonical can cancel out any fears of showing duplicate content and help the crawlers understand the relationship between your URLs with just one line of markup.

On the flip-side a rel=”alternate” link in the desktop version of the page will help ensure the connection between them is understood completely.

The following is straight from the Google Developers help docs:

On the desktop page, add:

<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.example.com/page-1" >

and on the mobile page, the required annotation should be:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page-1" >

This rel=”canonical” tag on the mobile URL pointing to the desktop page is required.

Even with responsive design, Googlebot is pretty smart, and if you aren’t blocking access to resources intended for a mobile browser, Google can/should detect responsive design from the content itself.

Google’s own help pages confirm this and provide the following example of responsive CSS markup:

    @media only screen and (max-width: 640px) {...}

In this example they are showing us a CSS rule that applies when the screen max-width is 640px; A clear sign that the rules would apply to a mobile device vs. desktop.

Google Webmaster Central takes the information even further, providing tips and examples for implementing responsive design.

Ever wondered how to control what happens when a mobile device rotates and the screen width changes? Click the link above. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 3:51 pm on August 16, 2013


 

A Panda Attack

Google today confirmed that there is a Panda update rolling out. I find it odd that after telling webmasters that there would no longer be announcements of Panda updates, that they made this announcement and one has to wonder why.

The official message from Google is that this Panda update is softer than those previously and that there have been new signals added. There are webmasters who are reporting recoveries from previous updates with this one. I would love to hear some feedback from any of our blog readers as to changes you may have noticed in your rankings with this latest update.

I’ll publish a followup post to this one next week after we’ve had a chance to evaluate the update.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:42 am on July 18, 2013


 

Google Update: Penguin #4?

Rumor has it that there’s a Google update underway. While there were some noting changes are early as late Saturday/early Sunday – general experience has it starting on Monday with many webmasters experiencing significant drops.

From the significant drops reported by many webmasters and the only one or two position movement we can see among our own clients here at Beanstalk it seems that it may be the next Penguin update which target known unethical SEO practices.  Admittedly, this is simply an educated guess and I’m not the first to suppose such however when one seems sites taking massive drops and others, where the strategies are known solid, hold steady or even gain, it’s a safe assumption that whatever update it is … it’s either targets spam or devaluing bad links.

This couldn’t be better illustrated by one comment on the Webmaster World forums by user Martin Ice Web when he said:

It now seems like Google has the intention to find all the crap in the WWW and unfortunately they get it very good.
I don´t know what kind of trust factor they are searching for but the sites i now see are complete without any trust.

It’s far too early to conclude much but I know we’ll be watching it closely here at Beanstalk.  If you’re interested, there’s a discussion on the subject over at Webmaster World here.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:08 am on May 7, 2013

Categories:Google

 

iOS popularity = Big Bills for Bing Hating

We decided to call a spade a spade, and Google is paying a fee to keep Bing from being the default search engine on iOS.

The fee is based on per-unit pricing, and not only are there more units than ever, but the per-unit price is also going from $3.20 last year to an estimated $3.50 per unity in 2013!

A flock of sheep attempting to enter a building with an apple logo at the same time.
Given the growing user base these should almost be rabbits?

 
Since the prices are a guesstimate, one can honestly say that it will cost more for the exclusive right to the default search engine on iOS in 2013.

However there are certain ‘publications’ that have forgone the guessing part and are rather certain that Google will pay up.

For example..

Techcrunch title: GOOGLE TO PAY APPLE 1 BILLION
An honest title: GOOGLE COULD PAY APPLE 1 BILLION

In fact, if Samsung, or Google (via it’s Motorolla Mobillity acquisition), can keep one-upping each of the new iPhones, then the cost of licensing to the user-base will be peaking at a point which it will never return to again.

But is it worth the money knowing how much of a search advantage Google has over Bing? Well that depends entirely on who you ask!

Apple pundit:

People will use whatever is the default like pack of blind sheep. Everyone knows this.

Google fan:

If that’s true then why is the Google Maps app on iOS the most popular app on the device? People clearly don’t just use the default apple maps?

.. and really, if we’re talking about users who skipped over the BlackBerries, Nokias, Samsungs, etc.., for a specific device, then perhaps we should give them some credit for also choosing a better search experience?

After all, how many times would you let your phone load Bing before trying to switch it?

I personally would let a ‘Bing’ search happen once at the most, just to get info on “setting default search engine on iOS”. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 5:08 pm on February 14, 2013


 

Are you Modern? Take the test!

modern.IE Logo

Two pro-Microsoft posts in one week? I know, Right?!

Clearly we are not masters of fate or IT news, so today’s headline is covering the new modern:IE Test Site setup to assist web developers with creating IE compatible site content.

Wasn’t it like, two days ago that I just pointed out that the big flaw with IE is that the old versions create a web design nightmare? *tap tap* .. Apparently this thing is turned on?

What does it test?

Actually the tool is a suite of tests with some specific test cases for IE browser specific issues.

Here’s a list of categories it will test and report on without setting up a ‘Site Owner’ account:

  • Fix common problems from supporting old versions of IE:
  • Known compatibility issues
  • Compatibility Mode
  • Frameworks & libraries
  • Web standards docmode
  • Help this webpage work well across browsers, across devices:
  • CSS prefixes
  • Browser plug-ins
  • Responsive web design
  • Browser detection
  • Consider building with some new features in Windows 8:
  • Touch browsing default
  • Start screen site tile

If you plug your URL in the page will test all these areas and report back to you where improvements could be made.

Additionally there is a direct link to the ‘Pinned Site Tile’ testing/design tool.

This tool lets you select an image (144×144 pixel PNG) and text for your website when a Windows 8 user wants to ‘Pin’ the site to their start menu.

My experience with the tool wasn’t great, likely due to some caching, but if you test your code against sites that do work properly you can still sort out the needed meta tags quickly enough.

Other Goodies?

Included in the suite is a link to the Internet Explorer Test Drive site to compare HTML5 features and performance with other browsers..

 
Technically, I ended up short on time to cover more, so if you dive in and start to wonder why we didn’t point out something new/interesting, feel free to let us know, we’re always open to feedback. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:20 pm on January 31, 2013


 

Free Ranking Reports on Google!

I keep seeing people ask for their rank, asking what the best free ranking tools are, etc., like it’s so darn hard to ask Google where your website is in terms of it’s keywords.

First of all, Google Analytics has an ‘Average Position’ column for popular search queries that tells you a lot of great info about your site’s keywords.

Google WMT Search Queries chart
This is an example of Search Queries sorted by Average Position

 
The link to this area is:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/top-search-queries?hl=en&siteUrl=
+ your URL.

Our website link would look like this:
…earch-queries?hl=en&siteUrl=http://www.beanstalk-inc.com/

You can also click at the top of the position column to sort it, or tack this onto the end of the URL:
&grid.sortBy=8&grid.currentOrder=2d

If you aren’t getting enough data from this, first try out the download options, and load them up in a spreadsheet so you can sort/filter the data.

Most folks are surprised what a little bit of filtering and grouping can accomplish to provide you with a fresh perspective on data.

Still not enough? Well there’s a zillion free tools that will gladly trade your URL and keyword targets for a limited ranking report.

This is valuable data, so why not trade something free for it? Google does!

Indeed there’s enough free tools, that I won’t even bother mentioning one. Why don’t we just make one?

It’s not ‘hard’ to get your rank really, lets break it down:

  • Make a list of phrases you are trying to rank for
  • Do a Google search for your first phrase
  • Keep searching until you find your site
  • Take note of the position
  • Repeat

So how does the average person do this? It’s gets pretty technical, but all the resources are out there, and free!

To break that down in simple terms:

  • Setup a server or install XAMPP
  • Setup a database/table to store your rankings by date
  • Make a page that CURLs for your keywords
  • Setup a schedule to execute the php page regularly

Bingo, you now have your own ranking reports tool, and nobody is the wiser, besides Google, and they are usually too busy to care that you’re extra curious about your rankings.

Nerd reading a book

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of fine details to explain and not everyone is comfortable installing programs like this or scripting, but I am going to look at getting permission to make this a step-by-step how-to guide with full downloads so even novices can give this a try.

A final point to make is that excessive/automated queries on Google is a breach of their TOS, and could result in annoying blocks/complaints from Google if you were to attempt to use this method for a large set of keyword phrases, or wanted the reports updated constantly.

If you are a ‘power user’ who needs a lot of data, you’ll end up paying someone, and either you pay to use someone’s API key at a premium, or you get your own API key from Google and only pay for what you use.

Seems like an easy decision to me!

SEO news blog post by @ 1:03 pm on January 24, 2013


 

Missing Authorship Photos?

If you’ve become accustomed to seeing your charming mug in the SERPs when you are Google’ing your keywords, it might be rather unsettling to see those images suddenly disappear.

Rich Snippet SERP example

Fear not! This isn’t something you have done, or not done, this is actually kicking up a bit of fuss on the SEO forums/discussion areas today and clearly looks to be an issue on Google’s end.

In fact if you were in need of reassurance, all you have to do is hop into your Webmaster Tools account, and visit the ‘Rich Snippets Tool‘ to get a preview of what your SERPs would normally look like.

If you are sure that you’re not part of the current issue, or you’re just curious what we’re talking about, the Troubleshooting Rich Snippets page is a great resource to tackle possible problems.

Google invests another $200,000,000.00 in renewable energy..

I could have written .2 billion, or 200 million, or even 200 thousand thousands, but why play with such a large sum of money?

Google certainly isn’t playing around; With this latest investment Google’s grand total in renewable/clean energy is over $1 billion US and growing.

This isn’t just charity either, some of these investments are just smart business because the returns are very fixed and low risk.

Illustration of power saved by using GMail vs. Postal Mail

Being honest about pollution is brave, and bragging about your low footprint is begging for trouble, but Google marches on stating:

“100 searches on Google has about the same footprint as drying your hands with a standard electric dryer, ironing a shirt, or producing 1.5 tablespoons of orange juice.”

You can read more about Google’s efforts to reduce, eliminate, and assist others with power consumption/carbon footprints, over on the Google Green Pages.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:57 am on January 10, 2013


 

How Short Content Can Help you Rank

A common misconception is that you need to provide at least 500 words of onsite content to have your page rank with Google. Your rankings are dependent on many factors and signals and is not necessarily determined by the number of words on a page; no matter how well written they are.

copywriting

It all comes down to creating unique content that is not only interesting, but engages your viewers and drives ongoing conversations in the form of replies or comments. In a recent Google Webmaster Help thread John Muller of Google, clarified this exact point.

"Rest assured, Googlebot doesn’t just count words on a page or in an article, even short articles can be very useful & compelling to users. For example, we also crawl and index tweets, which are at most 140 characters long. That said, if you have users who love your site and engage with it regularly, allowing them to share comments on your articles is also a great way to bring additional information onto the page. Sometimes a short article can trigger a longer discussion — and sometimes users are looking for discussions like that in search. That said, one recommendation that I’d like to add is to make sure that your content is really unique (not just rewritten, autogenerated, etc) and of high-quality."

Google crawls everything from full articles to 140 character tweets. Google recognizes that even short comments or articles can be triggers for engaging conversations. There is no magic number; there are no “tricks” to SEO. Creating unique and valuable content and you visitors and ranking will follow.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:56 am on December 5, 2012


 

Google’s New ‘AuthorRank’ Bigger than Panda and Penguin Combined

If you are in the SEO industry, you have probably a new buzz word floating around the water cooler; “AuthorRank.”
AuthorRank signals image
In August of 2005, Google filed a patent for a technology dubbed Agent Rank in which ranking ‘agents’ use the reception of the content they create and the resulting interactions as a factor in determining their rankings. The patent goes on to suggest that more well-received and popular “agents” could have their associated content rank higher than unsigned content or the content of other less-authoritative “agents”.

After adding a continuation patent in 2011, Google is now able to attribute content to specific agents and can now rank these agents thanks to platforms like Google+. AJ Kohn goes into much detail about AuthorRank and why he feels it will be bigger than Panda and Penguin combined. AuthorRank will not be a replacement for PageRank, but will work in conjunction with it to enable Google to rank high quality content more appropriately.

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on AuthorRank and in fact am only learning about it as I write this. What I did learn from the information I read is that content has and will always been key to the success of any website. Google’s mantra to publishers has always been that “content is king”; provide high quality content and the ranking, and followers will follow. This new signal will be in place soon as a final coup de grace to those still stuck in antiquated methods of content creation and syndication.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:59 am on November 14, 2012

Categories:Google,Google,Google+

 

Two detours for traffic on the info superhighway

DETOUR

Every once in awhile it would be nice if there was some construction on the information superhighway.

Some road work that caused folks oblivious to our websites to detour?

We all want some traffic to take a pass through our pages, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Ideally we’d want the detour sign to read:

“Turn here for great deals on XYZ!”

…but more often than not folks go for something a bit more catchy like:

“If you like kittens and free bacon turn now before it’s too late!”

The problem with the former is that people don’t respect honesty as much as they should, after all, everyone has something for sale, tell us something we didn’t know.

The problem with the latter is that while totally successful, the traffic driven to the site won’t be on target at all, will likely bounce, and the best anyone can hope for is brand recognition. Unless the site actually has kittens and free bacon, but who would be reading this if they had all that? (Note to self, make a site with endless kitten pictures where the uploader is paid in bacon.)

Ideally we wish to find a ‘Goldilocks’ approach where we aren’t too off-putting with boring honesty, nor are we luring in people who have zero interest in the site.

So lets take a moment to look at two common approaches for traffic generation that I don’t see discussed often, one is very timely.

Unusual Approaches That Really Work!

ARGs or ( Alternate Reality Games ) are getting pretty popular online.

Google's Niantic ARG Logo

Google just launched a massive ARG called the Niantic Project and I am already 7 13 days behind on the clues/feeds..

The idea is that you become very curious about the game and subscribe to the daily clues. With luck this catches the eye of your friends, they get curious and sign on too. By the end of the game Google should have a large subscriber group waiting anxiously for their announcement.

Speaking of clues, one thing I seem to have discovered ahead of the crowd is the Interactive global Niantic XM (Exotic Matter) POI map that Google built:

If this game is an introduction to the recently released Google Field Trip app, then is it possible that Google associates have taken the time to embed ‘clues’ into major landmarks around the world that need local residents to ‘discover’ using an Android device and the Google Field Trip application.

With any luck Google will use Niantic to reach more people than they normally would, and the more people who know about field trip, the better/more interesting it will be.

Think Outside the Box

PDF Icon

In this case, the box, is the web/online and thinking outside means creating web content that people will want to print/download and share.

All of our team is doing on-page optimization training so that all of us have some skills with on-page SEO. Even if we can’t have each member doing live A B tests and such, they should know why you would run one and be familiar with the current standards.

This means that each of us has an SEO cheat sheet pinned to our cork boards and each of these has branding on them that we’re fine with. In fact I’m very tempted to promote these as something all of you should print for your daily SEO but I need to check and see if they are still available to the public.

If your company has info pages that are getting a lot of traffic, I’d look at pulling together a PDF of the content for download with a quick-reference for printing.

Getting your brand out there and helping potential clients is a win win for you if the market you are in is something that you want to be recognized for.

Giving it Away

Lending hand image

If you felt like making a resource and simply giving it away was too much for your time/budget, then you’ll be shocked by the next suggestion:

Give something substantial to a charity, preferably an example of your trade.

As an example: If you sell shoes and there’s a drive for winter shoes for the homeless, putting free footwear on people that cannot afford your product won’t cut into potential customers/sales, and it will remind people where to get shoes, and that winter is coming.

If there’s nothing you can do for charity that lines up with your company, you can always just give some money away, many sites thank donors with an ad or a link, and even micro loans are a nice way to help out with friendly options to get you started.

There’s a ton of ways to get unexpected traffic to your site in a manner that will have the visitors eager to explore, and potentially buy your product. Anything else and you risk the traffic bouncing off your site and telling Google that you aren’t offering interesting content.

Today’s Google Doodle

It’s with pride that I re-share the daily doodle for the Canadarm!

Google Doodle celebrates the 31st year of Canadarm operation

Google is celebrating 31 years of Canadarm use today with the above doodle.

After 90 missions the Discovery and Atlantis Canadarm installations will be retired with the shuttles for museum display. The Canadarm that was fitted to the Endeavour was given back to the Canadian Space Agency and it is currently on display in the Quebec headquarters.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:54 am on November 13, 2012


 

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »
Level Triple-A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Copyright© 2004-2014
Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc.
All rights reserved.