What is link juice (or link equity)?

An introduction

Links, both internal on your site and external – those pointing from other sites to yours are what help search engines find and index your content. The distribution of links, particularly the quality of those linking to you and the volume is a significant search engine ranking factor. For example the bbc.co.uk linking to your site tells Google that a really influential web site is ‘voting’ for your content. Voting is a bit of an odd term to use here so it may be better to think of it that if another site feels that your content is of significance, and links to it, then that is a good reason why search engines should rank your site higher for terms relevant to that content.

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My article recently published on Moz

I recently wrote an article about why the humble meta description is still mega important. MOZ included it in their YouMoz blog and it has been well received.

It covers:

  • An explanation of what the meta description is
  • Why it’s important
  • How to write great meta descriptions
  • How to write unique meta descriptions when you have 100s of pages.

Check out the Moz article here.

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Recommended SEO reading & how to read it!

I’d be willing to bet that few of my friends or associates NEED to read relevant industry news and opinion as much as I do. Working in the industry is challenging and exciting, not least because of how rapidly changing, complicated and advanced it is becoming. If I don’t keep up with whats going on in the industry daily I feel like i’m out of touch. A little OCD maybe, but  whether you are a fellow SEO or site owner or marketer it’s important to keep up with the latest best practises and tactics that can improve your site or your clients sites performance.

In this post you will find:

  • Recommended reading for basic, advanced SEO and latest news
  • Recommended reading specifically for Worpress SEO
  • Recommended reading for PPC
  • Manageable ways to read SEO
Recommended SEO reading
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Have you grabbed your G+ vanity url yet?

I’m a light G+ user. From an SEO and B2B point of view it is my preferred social platform,partly because it allows me to decide, with greater flexibility, what to share and with whom. Though it has does have SEO benefits that Facebook doesn’t, for many the jury is still out on the real value of G+ as a means to promote your business. Personally I think it’s value will grow as the platform develops and the latest development is vanity urls now open to all (who meet the criteria).

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What is conversion tracking?

Over the years i’ve had many conversations with prospective clients who I can tell from the glassing over of their eyes when i’m talking to them in person or the extended silence if speaking over the phone that ‘conversion tracking’ is a fairly alien concept to them. Of course it sounds fairly nerdy but essentially all we’re talking about is measuring the desired outcome or outcomes of their site i.e. purchase, if the site is e-commerce or lead if the service promoted is service based e.g. Solicitors. Many other things can be tracked as a conversion if desirable e.g. brochure download or contact us page view.

A conversion is measuring the desired outcome or outcomes of a site e.g. purchase.

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Review of The Smart Marketer’s Landing Page Conversion Course

Oli Gardner and Unbounce.com have produced an exceptional 11 part online series that aims to help make our landing pages perform better. You can sign up for the course here.

The course is accessible via a secure link emailed to ‘students’ every few days. I recommend it to anyone that wants to increase the marketing performance of their site. Each of the 11 parts is very easy to understand, provides clear and often illuminating practical theory as well as examples that support what is being taught. My only criticism if I were to have one is that the focus is very much on lead generation rather than ecommerce, although much of the course applies equally to both types of site.

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Anatomy of a Google search result 2013

Wow hasnt the Google search engine results changed over the years?! Driven by advancements in its paid advertising model, Adwords, rich snippet mark up and Google’s seemingly growing desire to dominate particular search queries with its own web inventory things look a whole bunch different to a decade ago. Hell, they look a whole bunch different to last year! Inspired by Rock Cheetah’s recent post about how Google returns search results for hotel queries I wanted to take a look at and document the multitude of different items and features that show for a ‘typical’ search result, also hotel themed.

Understanding and where possible taking advantage of the various snippet types, ad units, extensions and features can be extremely beneficial to your SEO efforts e.g. the review rich snippets in organic search results can really help clickthrough rates.

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How to track email sales and traffic with Google Analytics

Email marketing for many businesses is a significant driver of traffic and revenue and there are some excellent email marketing campaign tools out there such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor which offer the ability to create and send effective emails. The problem with these tools is the reporting options that they offer, although impressive, is limited to email interaction data such as open rates, clickthrough rates, bounces and so on. Conversion, sales and revenue data isnt readily available however except in limited instances e.g. I believe MailChimp has a module that will work with Drupal sites to measure sales. Our good old friend Google Analytics enables you to track email sales and traffic.

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Adjusting bidding by most specific location retired from Adwords Enhanced Campaigns

Ive written here a few posts about the new Adwords Enhanced Campaigns and proclaimed just how cool it was to now be able to bid by location at the most specific level available, usually, zip or suburb. This is particularly useful where physical or other boundaries might mean someone living in zip code x is twice as likely to convert as someone a couple miles away. I reported earlier that functionality seemed to have dissapeared and can now confirm its gone after just a few weeks in service.

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Whats happened to the Adwords locations bid adjustment and exclude buttons?

A really neat feature of the new Adwords Enhanced campaigns, maybe the best feature, is the ability to get detailed traffic and conversion data from the most specific location that Google can reveal and to be able to adjust bidding per location, or even exclude locations. As of yesterday the buttons which enable you to make this adjustments has disappeared for me.

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Adwords enhanced campaigns, tablets & responsive web design

The problem: desktop and tablet biddding is now one and the same Ive been using the new Adwords Enhanced campaigns now for a little while and it has some really great things about it and I promise ill be sharing some of those great things here shortly. I cant help feeling however exceptionally frustrated about Google not allowing me (and you) the ability to bid differently for tablet devices. Ive read alot about others finding tablet traffic converts higher. My experience is usually the exact opposite in that they convert significantly worse.

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Google Adwords Enhanced Campaigns Explained

Changes have been coming and some seem great, some seem like a way to squeeze more revenue out of its advertisers, though I reserve judgement just now. The biggest gripe would appear to be about the inability to target campaigns individually at desktop/pc/tablet level which is an important tactic as cpc’s conversion rates and CPA’s differ across devices. Ill report more soon. Heres an email I had from Google today together with my analysis, which admittedly is based purely on my understanding of the imminent changes and not based on my actual experience of them yet…

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The long tail – keywords you really do want to rank for and why

Long Tail Keywords

So you really want to rank highly for a keyword but you just cant get there. Really annoying isnt it?! I wonder how many site owners forget to pick up all the loose change on the way to the pot of gold (so to speak). The reality is we’d all love to have those big keywords right at the top of Google (and im pretty good at doing it) but even more traffic and revenue is to be had from all the keyword variations that are much easier to rank for and which, accumulatively generate more visitors and business.

Focussing on maximising these ‘long tail’ keyword opportunities is a favourite strategy of mine and often it can blow clients competitors clean out of the water. By building out pages and often whole new directories gives a site so many more opportunities to rank well and outrank the competition.

Lets look at a made up example of how it can be done.

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How to track affiliate traffic & sales in Google Analytics

You’ve got Google Analytics setup perfectly to accurately track almost all traffic sources and sales but you’re really frustrated that you cant track your affiliate traffic and sales and it messes your whole stats up, aaargh! Well dont dismay theres a relatively ‘easy’ way to get this sorted so that all your affiliate links get traffic and sales credit in analytics.

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Page title and meta description length tool

Ok so we all (should) know how important page titles (or meta titles) and meta descriptions are. Page titles help you rank for keywords and meta descriptions really help increase your CTR (clickthrough rate) from search engines. Page titles also being your search result title (most of the time) also greatly helps CTR so you wanna get the title and meta description length right, right?

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Importance of unique product descriptions on ecommerce sites

duplicate product descriptions result in poor rankings and CTR

Ecommerce sites can be a haven for duplicate content. Many site owners wonder why it is that they can have such poor rankings and traffic when they have so much content. Much of the time its because the content that they rely on – the product descriptions – are not unique. In fact not only are they not unique seemingly everyone else selling the same product on the net has the same description!

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Domain diversity update confirmed by Google

Another domain diversity update was confirmed by Google last week.

In addition to already trying to reduce domain crowding in SERPS by having at least one similar algorithm update already and recently reducing the number of search results for branded terms to 7 (as I reported a week or so ago) Google is really trying to prevent sites from dominating page 1 organically. I think more so its aimed at whittling out aggregators in preference of brand owners who may have 2 or more pages ranked for the same search query which may reduce the ability of the brand to receive traffic. Im especially convinced that ‘domain diversity’ is less applicable to non branded terms as a search for a branded term e.g. ‘marriott london’ returns just 1 non marriott.co.uk page on page 1 of the organic search results.

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‘Google Pirate’ or other ‘Brand’ update looming

I wrote earlier about what some were calling the Google Pirate update, which was affecting those sites with DMCA requests against them. Since then ive seen and heard of a number of sites which rely heavily on branded terms with severe ranking and traffic fluctuations from Google with ended as abruptly as they started. In addition to this theres a few reasons why I think that there is either a new update of Google Pirate 1.2 update imminent.

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The Google Pirate Trademark / DMCA Update, Info & Help

Fri 10th Aug 2012 a new but potentially site killing Google ranking algorithm update rolled out which went largely unnoticed amongst the SEO community. Without an official name (yet) the Google ‘Pirate’ update seeks to remove domains/urls from its search results, or in what seems to be alot of cases simply render those sites lower in its search results, that it deems is pirating other sites content.

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Find and fix duplicate page titles and reap the ranking benefits

If your site has a lot of pages and especially if its an ecommerce web site one of the really quick and legit gains you can make in the serps is by addressing the duplicate page titles you may have on your site.

Page titles still remain ‘the’ most important on-page element in helping to rank for specific phrases so having a whole bunch of page titles that are duplicate, and worse – not even representative of the page content/product is a real wasted opportunity.finding duplicate page titles

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Reason for absence

I started this blog recently as I wanted to make a serious effort to re-humanise my work, what I have to offer professionally and the knowledge I have to share. I want to keep up with that and make this blog something to be proud of and that will attract a willing and new audience. Its a pet hate of mine starting and not finishing new web projects (ive done that lots) but I will continue with making this site something to proud of.

Without going into detail (heres not the place) my wife and I have had some tragedy in our lives recently, and although our situation isnt as dire as it could have been, it has put a strain on work and simply just doing everyday stuff. Im slowly getting my head back in ‘the game’ and ill be publishing more regularly on here…

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Top tip for Google Local optimisation – use the categories!

We all know (hopefully) its mega difficult to get to the top of Googles search results, unless using and having an ongoing budget  for Adwords (and even then its not guaranteed).

There is a really great way to get to the top of Google in the search results via some smart optimisation of your Google Place listing however, which not enough people know about and its POSSIBLE to get there easily and fast ! I repeat – its POSSIBLE.

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