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Simple SEO Fix: Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file is a small text file that is placed on your website server that tells web crawlers like Googlebot or Bingbot if they should access a file or not. Improper usage of the robots.txt file can hurt your SEO ranking because the robots.txt file controls how search engine spiders see and interact with the pages on your website.

Do I have a robots.txt file?

You can check this from any browser. The robots.txt file is always located in the same place on every website, so it’s very easy to determine whether a site has one or not. Just add “/robots.txt” to the end of a domain name as shown below.

www.connect4consulting.com/robots.txt

If you have a file there, it is your robots.txt file. You will either find a file with words in it, a blank file, or no file at all.

Is your robots.txt file blocking important files?

When your developer creates your website, he or she will add code to the robots.txt file to make sure that it’s not indexed. This code is User-agent: * Disallow: /”.  If your robots.txt file says this, you won’t appear in Google’s organic search results.

What to do next:

  • If you see “Disallow: /”, talk to your developer immediately. There could be a good reason it’s set up that way, or it may be an oversight. If there’s content after the “Disallow: /”, then the robots.txt file could be set up correctly, but it warrants a discussion with your developer.
  • If you have a complex robots.txt file, like many ecommerce websites, you should review it line-by-line with your developer to make sure it’s correct.

Use Internal Linking To Boost Your Site’s SEO

Here is a step-by-step guide that you can use to boost your SEO using internal linking.

What is internal linking?

In case you need a quick overview of internal linking, here it is.

An internal link connects one page of your website to another page on your website.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Every website that has more than one page is connected in this way. It’s a simple issue of website design and website architecture.

Websites have an overall design and architecture that keeps them structured in a logical way, like this common model.

Most websites have a central home page, and branch out into multiple menus and subpages.

One common SEO technique among earlier websites was to organize content into silos, in an attempt to improve keyword presence for a particular keyword category. The silo organizational model was popular until recently. Many SEOs still follow the silo model, because it makes logical sense.

Internal linking can be much simpler! I’ll show you how to perform a simple internal linking method that I’ve created. First, though, it’s helpful to know why internal linking helps.

 

Why is internal linking important?

Why is internal linking important?

Internal linking is one of the most valuable search engine optimization (SEO) tools.

Why? Because it works.

Google’s algorithm has come a long way since the early days of SEO when it was possible to game the system. Now it is nearly impossible to game the system.

However as advanced as the algorithm is, there are still simple things that you can do that will give you an immediate boost in SEO.

Internal linking is one of them. It’s not a trick or a gimmick, and it’s certainly not hard to do.

Here are some of the benefits of internal linking:

  • internal linking improves the indexation of your website – if your website has strong internal linking, it’s easier for Google’s web crawler to find new content that you publish and link to. If your content is woven together with multiple internal links, Google’s web crawler can get to your new content faster and therefore index your site faster.
  • internal linking increases the backlink earning potential of deep content pages – if you look at where most of your website’s backlinks are coming from, you will see that most come from your home page. What you want to do is create more back links from pages deeper within your site. If you create a strong internal linking structure, you can boost the link earning potential of the internal pages by creating clear click paths throughout your website.
  • internal linking spreads the strength of the site to internal pages – when your website receives a link to the homepage, some of the value of that link is passed on to your internal pages.
  • internal linking with anchor text adds content value to an electronic signal – an internal link is a simple piece of HTML code that links one web page to another. When you create an internal link with anchor text as opposed to an image or navigational text, the value of the internal link increases. Anchor text improves the value of the link by adding keywords an content to the linking process. Just make sure that your anchor text is related to the link.
  • internal linking provides value for your website user – internal linking is an SEO technique but this is perhaps the most important point. Internal linking makes it easier for your website visitor to explore your content.

Not ranking for your brand name? Easy SEO Fix

Search Engine Optimization can get highly technical and complex quickly, but there are also easy SEO fixes. So before anyone convinces you to tackle an SEO list a mile long, ask the simple question:

Am I ranking for my brand name?

If the answer is no, then this needs to be the very first item you optimize on your website. After all, how will anyone find you if you they can’t even search for your business name?

What to do? Type site:yoursite.com into your google search engine and you’ll immediately see how many pages on your site are being indexed by Google.

site:connect4consulting.com

Connect4 Consulting is ranking for 1,350 results. Looks like all of our blog posts are working well for our brand name ranking.

What to ask:

  • Is that amount the number of results we are expecting to rank?
  • Are there pages in the index that we don’t want ranked?
  • Are there pages that should be appearing that aren’t ranked or indexed?

What to do next:

  • Do another search and and check different groups of pages on your site and see if they are ranking as well.
  • Check and see if subdomains are indexing.
  • Check old versions of your site and see if they are ranking instead of, or in addition to, your new version.
  • Look out for spam – a good indicator if your site was hacked – you could have spam that is on your site and also indexed by Google.
  • Figure out what’s causing all of the indexing problems and then optimize your site for better SEO results.

 

 

 

SEO Copywriting Mistakes You Should Avoid

Want to rank high in your particular field? SEO copywriting is critical. The copy – the text and words and ideas that make up your website – is the most important driver of website rankings.  If you create lots of unique, high quality content and don’t make the following mistakes, then your site will rank higher for your desired keywords. SEO copywriting is not just about creating blog posts. Make sure you don’t make the following copywriting mistakes:

  1. Not starting with keyword research – SEO copywriting always starts with keyword research. Think about the terms you want to be found for. Yoast has a great detailed free guide on keyword research.
  2. Bad, unoriginal content – content is king. High quality content will probably help you rank faster than any other SEO approach. However, never write content purely for SEO purposes. Remember your ultimate goal – it’s not just to rank high in search results. For most small businesses, the ultimate goal is to convert website visitors into paying clients. Good, readable content that answers prospective client questions will help your SEO as well as helping you increase your client base.
  3.  Keyword stuffing – do not mention your focus keyword in every sentence. It makes the text awful to read and you will risk a Google penalty for over-optimizing your text.
  4. Focusing on only one focus keyword – don’t focus too much on only one keyword. Try to rank for multiple kewords, key phrases and synonyms.
  5. Unreadable texts – copy should always be easy to read. People should be able to understand what it is you’re trying to tell them.

Conclusion on SEO Copywriting Mistakes

SEO copywriting mistakes are made when people don’t focus enough on the quality of the information they are providing. Website text should be informative and should have an original idea. Text should be easy to read. Text should be optimized for search engines without compromising readability.

Connect4 Consulting specializes in SEO copywriting. Contact us for more information.

What Are Backlinks and Why Are They Important for SEO?

A backlink or inbound link is a link coming from another site to your website.

The person receiving the link is the one who refers to the link as a backlink. In other words, if someone links to your site, you have a backlink from that person. Backlinks are very different from outbound links (links from your site to another website) and internal links (links from one internal page of your website to another internal page of your website).

Backlinks are important for SEO (search engine optimization) because they:

    • They drive traffic to your website.

If someone posts a backlink on their website to your website, one of their readers might click on it and you will benefit from that referral traffic.

    • They can help you rank higher in search results.

Backlinks tell search engines that your website is an authority on a certain subject. So the more backlinks you have from high quality, high traffic, high authority websites, the better your website will rank in search engine results.

A good inbound link comes from an authoritative website, and uses natural anchor text. Anchor text is simply the text copy that’s hyperlinked, like this. (The anchor text there is “like this.”) Natural anchor text means you’re not just hyperlinking keywords left and right. Google understands the context of a link, so more generic “learn more” and “click here” anchor text can be just as valuable as keyword-optimized anchor text.

Simple tips for getting yourself to appear more often in Google searches

The following tips will help you appear more often in Google searches:

  • Make sure your website is up to date. Make sure it says what you want to say about yourself and your company. If you can change the language every few months (or more regularly) do so.
  • Write a blog and post frequently
  • Contribute content on someone else’s blog as long as your site is linked
  • Get your clients and business partners to link to your website. Make sure the link language is consistent. .org’s and .edu’s carry more weight.

Make sure you have a Google+ page, get people to review you on Google+, create your Google local pages. Even though Google+ is not the success Google hoped it would be, Google is still dominant so Google+ content has Google search value.

SEO Myths That Don’t Work in 2016

SEO – search engine optimization – has changed so much in the past couple of years that many marketers don’t know what’s outdated, what’s still important, what will actually have a positive impact, and what’s just wasted energy.

This post will point out common myths and assumptions about how SEO – search engine optimization – works in 2016, so you can use your energy and time wisely and productively.

Myth #1 – I must submit my website to Google.

The idea that you have to submit your website to Google directly is nonsense. While a brand new site can submit its URL to Google directly, a search engine like Google will still find your site without you submitting it. Whatever you do, don’t pay someone to do this for you.

Myth #2 – More links are better than more content.

In the past, SEO – search engine optimization – worked by building as many links to your site without analyzing the linking domain. It didn’t matter whether the site linked to your site had anything to do with your site content. Links are still a very important part of SEO, but how you build links is more important than the overall number of links. And if there is a choice between creating good content and building links, then you should spend your time and money creating good content. Why? Because people will naturally link to good content. When you invest in content, that content can be used for web pages, blog posts, lead generation offers, and guest posts on other sites – all content types that will bring more links with them over time.

Myth #3 – Having a secure (HTTPS encrypted) site isn’t important for SEO.

Some URLs start with “http://” and others start with “https://”? Maybe you have noticed that extra “s” when you were browsing websites that require giving over sensitive information, like when you were paying bills online. Put simply, the extra “s” means your connection to that website is encrypted so hackers can’t intercept any of your data. The technology that powers that little “s” is called SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

In August of 2014, Google announced that it had started using HTTPS as a signal in their ranking algorithms, which means if your website still relies on standard HTTP, your rankings could suffer as a result. For now, however, HTTPS remains a small signal, affecting fewer than 1% of global queries (according to Google). So while it’s clear that Google wants everyone to move over to the more secure HTTPS protocol, don’t worry if you haven’t done it yet. Connect4 Consulting can help you transition to a HTTPS site. Contact us if you want to learn more.

Myth #4 – SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is all about ranking.

While there’s a strong correlation between search results placement and clickthrough rates, ranking is not the supreme end goal that it used to be. There is a big misconception — that higher rankings mean more search traffic. It is true that people will see your listing, but it does not mean you will get more click-throughs. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. You do not have the correct keyword strategy because you are trying to rank for keywords that are unrelated to your field.
  2. Your meta descriptions are not appealing and inviting for the user.

To solve these problems, try using Google Adwords to create a great keyword advertising strategy relating to your business, and be sure to use enticing meta descriptions to get people to the site. It is a good rule of thumb to think about what would entice you to click a link.

Myth #5 – Meta descriptions have a huge impact on search rankings.

Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that concisely explain the contents of webpages. Google announced, all the way back in 2009, that meta descriptions (and meta keywords) have no bearing on search rankings. That’s not to say, however, that these descriptions aren’t important for SEO. On the contrary: Meta descriptions present a major opportunity to separate yourself from the riff-raff and convince searchers that your page is worth navigating to. So – meta descriptions are critical for clickthrough rates but they don’t impact search ranking.

Myth #6 – Keyword optimization is THE FOUNDATION of Search Engine Optimization.

It used to be important that you write your content with the keyword incorporated exact match, but Google now uses something called latent semantic indexing (LSI), which was conceived in 2004. With this type of indexing, webpage contents are crawled by the search engine and the most common words or phrases are combined and identified as the keywords of that page. Latent Semantic Indexing also looks for synonyms that related to your target keywords.

Today, it’s important to optimize your page entirely for user experience; this means that you do not have to place your keywords word-for-word in the content. Write the content for the user. By using synonyms and related terms, the search engines will still understand what your goal is. It’s important to realize that Google has moved beyond keywords. Google is trying to understand the intent behind the keywords so it can match intent with relevant, authoritative content.

Myth #7 – Keywords need to be an exact match.

Keywords do not need to be repeated verbatim throughout a piece of content. In a headline, in particular, you only want to use a keyword (or keywords) in a way that makes the most sense to your audience. The goal should be to write a great headline (somewhere between 4-9 words) that clearly explains what a piece of content is about.

Myth #8 – The H1 is the most important element on the page.

It really doesn’t matter what header tag you use, as long as you present your most important concepts upfront and closer to the top of the page. Remember, you’re optimizing your page for users first and foremost, which means that you want to tell them ASAP what your page is about through a clear headline.

Myth #9 – My homepage needs a lot of content.

Think of your home page as the gateway to your business. It’s your chance to make a first impression on visitors and tell them what you are all about. Your home page content should be long enough to clarify who you are and what you do, where you’re located, what your value proposition is, and what visitors should do next.

Myth #10 – I need many pages of content.

Some people think that the more pages a site has, the more visitors they will get. Just like link building, creating content for content’s sake won’t get you anywhere. Make sure you focus on content quality and not quantity.

Myth #11 – Good user experience is not a requirement.

If Google sends you to a web page, they want to make sure you have a good experience on that page. They are after all a business too, and thus they want to delight their users. Think about it from the search engine’s point of view: they didn’t create the webpage themselves, but they are endorsing it. They need to ensure that users have a good experience on that page to keep people coming back to Google.

To improve user experience, you will want to focus on:

  • page load time
  • bounce rate
  • time on page
  • page views per visit
  • how far a person scrolls down a page

Myth #12 – Local Search Engine Optimization doesn’t matter anymore.

If you’re a local business, optimizing for local search won’t only help you get found, but it will help you get found by people who are nearby and more likely to buy from you. The bottom line is that local SEO matters more now than it ever has before.

Myth #13 – Google will never know if I have bad sites linking to me.

Google knows everything. Don’t try to fool them or you will be penalized.

Myth #14 – Images don’t require optimization.

For many years, it was okay to neglect the images on your site and still rank without using alt text and image file names to boost your page relevance. However, on-page SEO is more important than ever, so excluding images will prevent your website’s SEO from being the best it can be.

Search engines cannot see images on websites, so it is important to give the image an alt text and relevant file name to ensure Google knows what the image is about. If you don’t create this text, you lose a huge opportunity to be as visible as possible online.

It also helps Google if the text on the page where the image is located mentions the image, too, so always try to reference your images in your text, close to where it lives on the page, using keywords similar to the alt text/filename of the image.

Google also recommends providing descriptive titles and captions for your images, so consider adding those when relevant. Name your image files something that is indicative of what the image is itself, rather than something like IMG2394870.jpg. Yes, keywords matter here!

Myth #15 – I don’t need to optimize for a mobile users.

In the spring of 2015, Google had a algorithm update called “Mobilegeddon,” which expanded Google’s use of mobilefriendliness as a ranking signal. The update rewards mobile-friendly websites and penalizes those that aren’t fully optimized for mobile in mobile search results.

If your web presence screams 2009, you should be thinking about a comprehensive strategy to modernize your site and bring it in line with consumer expectations. The optimal experience for your visitors and your own performance is to implement responsive design. Responsive design makes your page adapt to the visitor and will display information that is sized and zoomed appropriately so it’s easy to read on whatever device he or she is using.

Conclusion – Search Engine Optimization is about the overall experience for a searcher.

If you can take one thing away from this blog post, it’s this: More than anything else, Search Engine Optimization is about the overall experience for a searcher, and that experience starts the moment they enter a search query.

Free SEO & Website Analyzers

There are tons of free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Website Analyzer tools online. Some are better than others. Check out this list:

Google will Begin Ranking Mobile Sites Higher Starting April 21

Google Search

Google is making a significant change to its search algorithm. Beginning April 21st, Google will increase the ranking of websites that are mobile-friendly.

The company says that the change will have “a significant impact” on all mobile searches in all languages worldwide, but as a result Google says that mobile users will find higher quality search results.

Google will also start to use more information from indexed apps as a factor when ranking search results for users that are signed in and have apps installed.

These changes are great for mobile users as it should help motivate those websites that still aren’t responsive to actually make changes as soon as possible. Google actually started highlighting good mobile sites in mobile search results earlier this year.

Finding more mobile-friendly search results [Google Webmaster Blog]