An HTML Sitemap: How to Create, Upload, and Maintain
Introduction to HTML sitemap and optimization
There’s something about how HTML renders a website that feels right.
It may be the orderly rows of neatly aligned text and images. It can also be the easy-to-read layout that helps you scan articles. Whatever it is, there’s no denying that a well-coded HTML page yields an aesthetically pleasing website.
But what happens when your favorite site decides to go all Flash on you?
Fear not – with a little bit of elbow grease and some creative coding, you can re-create your favorite website in HTML.
After you have your HTML website, you should keep account of its design, performance, and accomplishments.
Among the essentials of SEO, these navigation techniques help search engines crawl into your site and get ranked.
HTML sitemap gives the complete path to the search engine bots and lets them go over all the pages. It plays a significant role in indexing and improving the performance of your website.
You will get the idea if you read this blog.
What is an HTML sitemap?
An HTML sitemap is an essential tool for any website.
It is a list of all the pages on your website, and it helps search engines like Google crawl and index your site.
It’s like a conveyor that can show each content and page on your site.
You can see the HTML sitemap on the footer of a site if you’re wondering where you can find it.
It’s like a blueprint of your site to the users and the search engine.
If you have an HTML sitemap, your website is already doing well.
What is the importance of HTML sitemaps for your website?
We now know that a sitemap makes it easier for search engines to find and understand your website.
It can help to enhance your site’s ranking in search results.
There are many merits to having a sitemap, but one of the most important is that it can help you attract more visitors to your site because of flexible navigation.
The reasons why you would need an HTML sitemap on your site are below:
- A sitemap is like an actual map of your website. It supervises your site’s pages, links, site structure, and content structure.
- It is responsible for letting the crawlers in and making their job convenient. It helps to complete the crawling fast.
- Visibility is everything for a site, and once the crawlers validate the site through Sitemap, the site can appear in more searches.
- The Sitemap can draw traffic organically by improving the internal links and even external connections to the site.
- It always finds a place to improve the site, such as adding or removing content, orphaned pages, etc.
So, if you like to get more traffic and improve your website’s performance, an HTML sitemap is an essential tool.
How to create an HTML sitemap using a simple online tool?
An HTML sitemap is a great way to help organize your website. It helps visitors discover what they’re looking for. It can also help search engines index your site more effectively.
Several online tools can help you create an HTML sitemap. And here, we will learn how to use one of the most popular options.
- First, go to the website of the tool you want to use. In this case, we’ll be using XML-Sitemaps.com.
- Once you’re on the homepage, scroll down to the “Start Now – Free!” button and click it.
- Write the URL of your website into the “Enter your URL here” field and select the “I agree to the terms and conditions” checkbox.
- Click the “Create Sitemap” button. The Sitemap will be generated automatically. Then click on the view sitemap details.
- You can even download it by clicking the “Download” button. Once it’s downloaded, you can upload it to your server and add it to your website.
That’s all there is to it!
Creating an HTML sitemap is a quick and easy way to improve the organization of your website.
Tips to optimize your HTML sitemap for the best possible search engine results
Optimizing your HTML sitemap brings you the fortune that you would need to make your website rank and index more efficiently than ever. There are many different tips and tricks to optimize your HTML sitemap for the best possible search engine results.
One of the important things to keep in mind is that a sitemap is not a substitute for quality content, but it is an opportunity to provide additional information about your website and what it has to offer.
It would help if you considered the planning to organize your Sitemap according to the categories. Categories can be product type or service type. Your aim should include using the relevant keywords within every sitemap page.
This aim can assist in optimizing your site and fulfill another step of an SEO campaign. You should always use any tools or resources which can be beneficiary in the sitemap creation process.
For instance, you can use sitemap generators, SEO plugins, or other tools.
Keep in mind that the more creative and effective a sitemap is, it drives that much traffic and accelerates the rate of online visibility.
How to submit your HTML sitemap to Google and other search engines?
The case when you have a sitemap.xml file has its perks.
Such as this, Sitemap will help you communicate with Google and other search engines about what pages are available on your website. It also informs the search engine about when they were last updated.
It is necessary to know how essential sitemaps are concerning other pages on your site. And there is one more step: you need to submit your Sitemap to Google and other search engines.
It is how search engines can find and index your website’s Sitemap.
And here is how:
Step#1 Go to Google Webmaster Tools. If you haven’t created a Google account, you will need to create one.
Step#2 Once you’re logged in, click on the “Add a Site” button and enter your website’s URL.
Step#3 Click on the “Sitemaps” tab from the left-hand navigation menu.
Step#4 Click on the “Add/Test Sitemap” button.
Step#5 Enter the sitemap URL (your sitemap.xml file). For example http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml
Step#6 Click on the “Submit Sitemap” button.
Step#7 Congratulations! Your Sitemap has been submitted to Google and other search engines!
If you’re interested in submitting your XML sitemap to Google Search Console, then read How to submit an XML sitemap to Google Search Console?
Additional tips and advice for creating and maintaining an effective HTML sitemap
When it comes to sitemap design, you should keep a few things in mind.
First, your Sitemap should be easy to navigate. It means using clear and concise labels for your links. Those labels ensure the hierarchy is easy to understand.
Second, your Sitemap should be up to date. It means adding new pages and blog posts as you create them and removing any that are no longer relevant.
Finally, your Sitemap should be well-linked. It means ensuring all your internal links are working and that your Sitemap is adequately connected to your navigation menu.
Summarizing above, you should include a few things in your checklist while creating the HTML sitemap.
- Clear site presentation and content structure arrange pages, and their links look neat.
- The placement of the Sitemap should be in the footer of the website so that users can find it easily.
- You should ensure that the x-robots-tag does not block it in the HTML coding section.
- You should display those web pages which are helpful for the users.
- If you add brief content information as small comments in the Sitemap, you engage your users to stay on the page for an extended period.
You can ensure that your Sitemap is effective and helps users find the information they need by following these tips.
So, here you have – a comprehensive and straightforward guide to creating and submitting an HTML sitemap for your website.
This way, your site is accurately indexed by search engines and easy to navigate for your visitors.
Ready to get started?
Let’s hold a conversation about how we can guide you through creating an effective HTML sitemap for your business website.
Thanks for reading!
The Benefits of Using WordPress CMS for Small Businesses
If you’re ever planning to open a business big or small, there’s got to be a website for it. A strong online presence has been crucial for businesses and individuals alike. Websites help businesses showcase their brand to the general public and connect with customers.
Website design plays a huge role in attracting or keeping customers for a site. Your website should be clean, vibrant, and user-friendly. But trying to manage a site on your own can prove to be difficult. That’s where CMS comes in.
CMS or Content Management System is software/integration that allows administrators to manage and publish their content online. There’s no need to learn to code and whatnot to manage what goes on your website.
WordPress is a free and open-source CMS that is the most popular CMS all over the internet. We will discuss the benefits of using WordPress CMS and how it can help simplify your website management.
What is WordPress CMS?
WordPress is a common name you’ll be hearing once you enter the field of website and SEO. WordPress is an open-source content management system from 2003 that is used to build, manage, moderate, modify and maintain your websites.
In a broader sense, WordPress is a PHP-written (most core parts) software that runs in MySQL or MariaDB database.
WordPress features a wide range of customization options that aren’t difficult to work with. Users can tailor their websites to their specific needs and requirements as they can select multiple themes and plugins.
Let’s look at some more advantages of using WordPress CMS for your growing business. Whether big or small, your business website will be off to a good start.
Benefits of Using WordPress For Small Businesses
- Cost Effective
First and foremost, WordPress is open-source software. Open-source software grants people permission to use, study, change, or distribute the software to anybody. Since it’s free to license, WordPress is an accessible and budget-friendly option for businesses and individuals.
Secondly, WordPress is lightweight and can be hosted on a shared server. This cuts down the costs as the CMS won’t need a dedicated hosting server. The majority of the plugins and themes are also free for users to work with.
WordPress CMS cut’s down the cost of hiring developers to work on your site. The CMS is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. By watching just a few videos on the system, users can easily grasp how to work with it.
- Simple Setup Procedures
The installation process for WordPress CMS is very simple. The setup is a one-click installation, making it quick and straightforward.
Things aren’t that difficult customization side either. Users can easily navigate through the catalog of themes and required plugins and install them. In short, WordPress CMS is very easy to set up.
- SEO-Friendly with Multiple SEO Tools
WordPress has many integrations and features that make it an SEO-friendly content management system. WordPress generates your content in a clean HTML code which makes understanding your content easier for search engines. The less time a search engine spends crawling one part of your site the better it is for you.
WordPress also has many plugins that help set up your content properly. An example of a plugin can is Yoast SEO which helps you point out faults in your content and optimize it properly. It has a built-in responsive site feature with social media integration.
- Easy to Optimize and Manage Content
You’ve seen advertisements that don’t really advertise what the product really is haven’t you? That won’t be the case with WordPress’ WYSISYG (what you see is what you get) editor for editing posts and pages.
WordPress also comes with an editor for sorting your categories, a place to schedule uploads, and a wide variety of plugins with different user account management features.
- Can Accommodate Growth and Expansion
Once you pick up WordPress CMS, it’ll stick with you throughout your business journey.
WordPress software is built on a modular architecture, so the software can easily adapt to changes and additions. The CMS houses a large collection of customizable themes and a plugin repository. You’ll never run out of customization options for your website.
WordPress also comes with an application programming interface (API) that allows developers to use WordPress using codes. The following API feature makes it possible to integrate WordPress with other systems and applications such as mobile apps, e-commerce platforms, and more.
- User Friendly
From being easy to set up to working professionally, WordPress has proved itself to be a very user-friendly software. WordPress features a clean interface with multiple customizable templates and themes.
The software automatically comes with a responsive design helping mobile users too. Management side, WordPress has cleaner media management with easy page and post creation with extended support for user roles.
These features might be difficult to understand but you’ll easily get the hang of it once your start using them.
We know that WordPress comes with multiple plugins that users can use. What we also should know is that these plugins can be used to enhance the security of your site from any ill intentions.
The CMS also comes with HTTPS URLs by default adding that extra layer of essential security to your site.
- Complete Website Ownership
The following point mainly has to do with creative freedom. Users also do not have to wait for their web designer to make changes to their site. The user-friendly interface of the site is easy to navigate and understand.
Website owners can set up multiple accounts with different roles and permissions for the website. This easy role management system reduces hassles for the site owner too.
WordPress also allows users to self-host their site. This means users can host their website with another third-party company.
- A Wide Number of Resources Available for Learning
If you’re ever wondering about the community behind the CMS then you won’t be disappointed. WordPress has a large community with many friendly professionals. Users can help themselves with many tutorials and guides they can find. You’ll be backed by many professionals in your business journey.
- Fast and Responsive
WordPress provides many functionalities to make a site faster and smoother. The default themes provided by WordPress are responsive with many other tools that help you lose loading times for your site.
The speed and Responsiveness of a site don’t only depend on your themes but a multitude of factors. These include quality of hosting, number of plugins and widgets used, and optimization of media.
Do not forget best practices for optimizing your sites such as caching, low file-sized media, and minimalistic themes.
WordPress is a good free-to-use software to cover your CMS needs. But it isn’t 100% necessary. The CMS is the software you’ll definitely have to consider if you need a flexible and scalable platform for your website.
How to Choose the Best Web Design Agency For Your Business
Establishing a good online dominance is the best practice for any business. A website plays this very role to bring in customers. Your website is often the first impression customers will have.
But building a website on your own without any expertise can prove to be difficult. This is why you take help from a web design agency to build a custom-tailored website for you. Sure, there are online templates you can find on the web but over time, it needs customization and changes.
A professional website-building agency helps you customize your site without any hassles. If you need an overhaul of your site or want to build a fresh one, we’ve got the logistics covered. Here we discuss how to choose the right web design agency for your business.
Importance of Web Design
Brand identity is tied to better financial performance as customers recognize the brand and are loyal to it. May it be a distinguishable logo or patterns of bright colors, a brand identity establishes its place in the market.
A well-designed and responsive website also helps users know more about your business. Your website will be crucial for setting first impressions on the site improving user experience, increasing credibility and professionalism, and boosting SEO.
This is why website design cannot be overlooked in any way. Your goal is to make a clean, distinguishable website that is appealing to any customer that comes in.
Determining Your Web Design and Development Needs
Before you go all out with your website design, take a step back. Think. Ask yourself questions. What do you want to achieve with your website? Who are your target audiences? What’s your budget for the site?
You will need to start by identifying your business needs. Perhaps it’s an e-commerce website or a site for glorifying hotdogs, but proper planning is necessary. Consider your options like platform hostings (content management system), the functionality of the site, and such.
An expert from a web design agency will hear your thoughts when you finally contact them. They will walk you through your options and help pick out the best option that fits your need.
Searching for Web Development Agencies?
There are thousands of web design agencies that you can find to partner with on the web. However, finding that perfect one can prove to be difficult. We’ll share some tips on helping you find the perfect pick.
A quick google search will prove to be helpful at most times. Use keywords such as website development agencies to find agencies. SERPs can show you both local and international website design agencies that you can look into.
Online directories are another great way to find work agencies. Users can use sites such as clutch or Upwork to find and compare web design agencies. Social media platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn have plenty of agencies that you can explore.
If you want something even more personalized, you can hire freelancers. Freelancer platforms such as Fiver have plenty of people offering web development services. Additionally, if you have colleagues and acquaintances in the field, you can ask for their recommendations.
Background Check on the Development Agency for Their Expertise
Like a tech nerd trying to buy a perfect laptop for themselves, you have to be research oriented with the agency you have selected. You are spending money on it, it’s got to be worth it.
Start with the website of the agency. If their website isn’t that good-looking or responsive, how can you trust yours with them? Your agency’s own website should be professional, well-designed, and easy to navigate. This should give you a good idea of what you will be working with.
Check how good their reviews and testimonials from previous clients are. If their previous projects are professional, that’s a good sign. Their previous projects are also a good way to see how versed they are with the current technology.
If you’ve got time, you should review the portfolios of the staff members in the agency. It’ll give you a good idea of their experience and skills.
Do they have any awards for their work? Even better.
Analyzing the Agency’s Price for Value With Comparisons with Others
You already have set up a budget for your website. How well does the agency’s price match your budget? Comparing a website’s offerings with other agencies with similar services is essential to know the value of your budget.
Compare apples to apples. Compare services offered by an agency with similar services of another agency. Consider the quality of work you’re getting too. An agency’s website has all its services, portfolios, projects, and awards it has. Make sure you review it thoroughly.
After comparing and researching prices for website development, you can determine the best value for your investment in website development.
The only thing you should not hesitate to do. Asking questions is a great way to clear up any confusion you might have. It is another way to see how well the company communicates.
While you’re at it, you should reach out and inquire about how well your businesses would work together.
A good agency answers your questions in a clear, concise way that is easy to understand. If the agency you contact keeps beating around the bush with your questions or uses very heavy terms, that’s a potential red flag.
Do proper research on the agency that you are going to work with. Work with an agency that’ll give you the best combination of quality and expertise for the best bang for your buck.
The Role of Social Media in SEO Strategies and Best Practices
In today’s world of the internet, social media needs no introduction. Social media has become an integral part of our daily life as people need it to connect with friends and family, share news, opinions, and knowledge, and for business purposes.
Speaking of business, over 4.4 billion people are internet users. These corporations have established themselves well on the internet through social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Well, how is social media supposed to be related to SEO?
At first glance, it seems they don’t have much in common. But it’s far from the truth. This blog post will explore the relationship between social media and SEO and how it’ll increase your online visibility.
The blog delves into the working of backlinking, domain relevancy, and social presence and provides you with practical tips to integrate social media into your SEO strategy.
How Social Media Affects SEO Rankings?
Social media do not directly impact your search engine rankings. It’s a bummer yes but there’s more to it. Social media affect your search engine in all kinds of indirect ways.
The number of social media shares your content has does not result in a bump in your SEO rankings. According to research by Cognitive SEO back in 2020, it showed no direct connection between social media shares with search engine rankings. Instead, your search engine rankings are benefitted from social media signals.
If your posts gather likes, comments, and views, it’s a social media signal. These signals influence your search engine rankings quite a lot.
|Basically, Google’s Search Engine is like:|
“Oh looks like this content is more relevant than the other content with the same keywords as it has more likes on Instagram. Let’s bump that up”
So if your business has established itself well in social media, it’s likely to place higher in search engine result pages (SERPs).
If a business can share its content on social media, it’ll reach out to more people and gather more social media signals.
By following internet practices such as using hashtags, and keeping up with current trends you will stand out among competitors.
An example of a SERP for “search engine optimization” with a knowledge panel on the right.
Social media also help raise your brand awareness, reputation, and authority on the web. The more people you reach out to, the more online visibility you naturally have.
In conclusion, a like on Facebook from a random customer isn’t as credible as a backline from a reputable site but still valuable enough for search engine bots to consider.
Best Practices for Social Media and SEO Integration
Whatever you do, the first rule for showing a green flag for search engines is high-quality content. Good quality content is engaging and informative. That way users can attract more followers, and social media signals and ultimately improve search engine rankings.
A business should always integrate a ‘share’ option in its website. This way customers/users can share your site with other people. We discussed shares had nothing to do with rankings but the more people you reach out to, the more people that come to check you out.
Businesses should also include links to their websites in their social media posts and advertisements. It’ll drive more people to your website and also improve the domain authority. Domain authority is a way search engines evaluate your site for credibility and reliability.
It’s ranked on a scale of 1-100. The higher the number, the more likely your content appear in front of the SERPs. Backlinking like this is a great way to improve your domain authority.
Make sure to include hashtags, or relate your content to the current trends to make sure the social media algorithm catches up to your posts.
Additionally, if you have to share content that has video involved, it’s best to add subtitles to it. Subtitles help users understand your content much more clearly.
Secondly, If you are anywhere younger than a boomer then you’re familiar with the term “memes”. Memes come in the form of multimedia that express humor or convey a message. These types of pictures and videos are a great way for exposure on the internet.
GenZ humor is difficult to understand as a millennial or a boomer but if businesses can understand what makes them crack, they are sure to have high engagement numbers. As customers are shifting to the latest generation, it’s essential to know how to market yourself.
A great example of engagement and exposure is TikTok. Huge corporations and companies have different approaches to advertising on TikTok than traditional informative ads. Such companies are but are not limited to
These companies are not focused on direct advertisement but just seem to be having fun. And that’s how they go viral and reach out to millions with a single 30-second clip. Why pay for an advertisement if you can get engagement just like that?
Measuring the Impact of Social Media on SEO
Always keep track of your analytics. Make note of user interactions, likes, views, shares, and other useful analytics that help you plan your next posts. Optimizing your content by keeping track of your engagement metrics helps generate content for your business more easily.
Google Analytics is a free-to-use tool from Google that helps business owners keep track of their social media metrics. It has features such as pinpointing the source of traffic, user demographics, conversions, engagement, and other useful tools.
By making sure you know how much your social media impacts your conversions, you can prepare accordingly.
To wrap things up, social media plays a huge role in your SEO rankings although indirectly. If you still do not have social media accounts for your business, you should start right away. Incorporating such a strategy into your business is sure to improve your online visibility by quite a lot.
Brand visibility helps in attracting more potential customers. Social media algorithms have made it a lot easier for users to find your business nowadays. All you need is to follow proper social media practices such as using hashtags and trendy uploads.
The more people see your post, the more social interaction it has. The more social signals, the more credibility your site gets. It’s like a backlink but from customers.
5G and Its Impact on IoT
Let’s dive deeper and learn how 5G and IoT will work together to bring a new era of digital transformation and innovation.
What is IoT?
Anything connected to the internet can be referred to as a thing of the internet. The Internet of things consists of an interconnected network of equipment and devices that has electronics and the internet in it.
These devices can connect to the internet and exchange data. You’re the user of the internet of things, your mobile phones, smart watches, fridges or vehicles, everything that can connect to the internet.
The term “IoT” was first mentioned by a British technology pioneer in the early 1980s. It was a term used to describe a scenario where everyday physical objects would be connected to the internet.
Ever since it was first mentioned, IoT has rooted itself as an essential thing in our daily lives. We have seen the emergence of smart home security systems and cloud computing. They’re all a part of IoT.
Since it’s an “internet” thing, it’s essential to understand how well it’ll pair with 5G. Wait,
Starting with 5G
The G in 5G stands for generation. 5G is the fifth generation wireless technology of its kind that is changing how we use mobile networks. The real goal of 5G internet was to have faster data speeds and support many more connected IoT devices.
With 4G data supporting up to 100-200 peak Mbps, was it necessary to go even higher? Why did we even need 5G in the first place?
Why Did We Need 5G?
There are myriad reasons why 5G was necessary in this modern world. As the number of IoT rises dramatically, there is an increased need to support the growing number of connected devices. That includes more bandwidth and data transfer speeds.
5G isn’t just about increased bandwidth though. Its predecessor only supported up to a peak of 300 Mbps. 5G on other hand is faster than 4G by more than 20 times. Theoretically, this new technology can support up to 10 GBPS download speed.
The new generation networks also have a much lower latency compared to 4G. Lower latency enables the use of real-time applications like virtual reality, self-driving vehicles, or equipment. 5G supports much more devices too.
There are a few viewpoints on whether 5G is necessary or not. It’s subjective and depends on your needs. But without a doubt, 5G is a massive leap to wireless technology compared to its previous predecessors.
5G Network Infrastructure
Being an entire generation newer than previous wireless technology gives it an edge in infrastructure. Let’s discuss how 5G infrastructure is set up to give you the desired fast data transmission speeds.
Cell sites are the locations where cellular network equipment is installed. 5G networks use more small cell sites which gives them higher coverage and capacity. Traditional macrocell networks used to rely on fewer cell sites.
5G technology is smart enough to deduce a traffic’s needs and resources. The process of distribution of dedicated resources to different types of traffic is known as network slicing. It makes use of data efficiency.
These networks also make use of higher frequency bands for data transmission. They use a millimeter wave spectrum, but there’s a catch. Higher frequency means your data speed is fast but has a shorter range. It is vulnerable to interference.
Impact of 5G on IoT
- Improved Network and Latency4G technology pales in comparison to the 5G technology we have. 5G internet speeds reach as high as 10 Gigabits per second many times faster than the previous generation. The fast network and latency have enabled real-time operation with IoT devices.
Faster internet speeds have advantages for the entertainment sector too. Consumers can find themselves enjoying 8k UHD quality games and videos with little to no ping or buffering.
- Bandwidth and CapacityThe current generation of network technology is designed to handle a large number of devices and traffic. A newer generation means better tech. A better tech well speaks for itself. It’s just better in every aspect.
- Coverage We previously discussed 5G has lower coverage. So why is it on the advantages? The installment of a large number of cell sites enabled 5G to cover places 4G cannot. 5G networks can cover larger geographic areas, covering places that previously lacked reliable wireless technology. It is designed to make more efficient use of the spectrum too, meaning it’s smart and can pack much more.
- Edge Computing If you’re well familiar with SEO, perhaps Edge computing can be called the Content Delivery Network of 5G. Edge computing is the architecture that brings computation and data storage closer to the source of data.
The closer the data source is, the less data needs to be transmitted over distances. This substantially decreases the time data is transmitted from one device to another.
Edge computing enables real-life monitoring with its improved efficiency. The technology can be used for processing large amounts of data generated by IoT devices. You can find IoT devices in use in the current generation. From smart streetlights, and traffic management systems to virtual reality, 5G has made it even more possible.
Real-Life Use Cases of 5G on IoT
- Healthcare5G paired with IoT has a big impact on the healthcare industry. Smart wearable sensors and devices help monitor a patient’s health in real-time. This includes watches, hospital devices, sensors, and other equipment.
- AgricultureIoT-powered drones can be used to collect important data on social quality, weather conditions, crop health, or other related subject that will help farmers make proper decisions. It’s the same with livestock. Livestock can be monitored in real-time with surveillance cameras or health-tracking sensors. The fast data speeds support the development of autonomous vehicles for agriculture reducing human errors and cutting labor costs significantly.
- RetailIoT and 5G work together to provide a splendid customer experience for the retail sector. We’ve seen the use of personalized ADs the algorithm brings us. IoT helps gain data on customer behaviors. This can enhance such personalization even greater, providing better information and recommendations while customers browse online stores.
- Traffic Control
Challenges and Limitations of 5G Implementation on IoT
Perhaps the major issue with implementing 5G with IoT is the cost. The cost of deploying such infrastructure can be a major challenge. Trying to achieve 100% coverage without addressing major budgeting and planning can be all but a dream.
The current era of the internet and technology has given rise to multiple illegal activities. Cyber attacks, identity theft, data breaches, and other internet-related crimes make IoT vulnerable. Proper security of IoT and 5G technology should be ensured to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Overall, 5G is an amazing upgrade to its predecessor. Massive transfer speeds, big bandwidth, and coverage. With the world ever-evolving, who knows how ridiculously fast the next-generation internet speeds will be?
How To Optimize Website’s Speed For A Better User Experience
We all know that the first impression is the last impression. You might think a user’s first impression is set when they look at your site but it’s actually a lot earlier than that. A user can lose interest in your site if your site loads at a snail’s pace.
And with our attention spans growing shorter with time, your site taking a second extra load will cost you a lot of visitors. Get ready to optimize your site for a lightning-quick reload and leave a lasting impression on your visitors.
And no, a lightning-quick website will do no good in visitor retention if you don’t have anything to show on your website. Website design is important too, but let’s focus on site loading today.
Importance of Website Optimization
No use having a pretty site if people are stuck at the loading screen. A slow-loading site frustrates visitors and causes a loss of sales. The more people bounce off your site earlier, the more potential customer you lose. This is true for any type of business website, whether it be retail or service based.
According to Hubspot research, a second loss in site loading leads to a 6% decrease in sales.
Try to invest in your website speed optimization. A well-optimized site has higher engagement and conversion rates. The less a visitor has to wait, the less likely they are to click off from your site.
A fast-loading website provides a better user experience to customers who are more likely to explore your website. Your website rankings in search engines will also increase as the algorithm notices people spend more time on your site. It impacts your visibility directly.
Higher engagement rates, conversion rates, search engine visibility, and retention. All these advantages are just because your site loads a tad bit faster.
Factors Affecting Website Speed
- Server Response Time
- Media File Size
- Number of HTTP Requests
- Third-Party Plugins
The amount of time required for your server to receive, process a request and send back data is known as a server response time. The request is received from a user’s device and displayed. Your server response time plays a critical role in loading speeds as it directly affects it.
A slow response time from the server means that the server takes a long time to receive and process requests from a user’s device. The slower it takes to receive, the longer the user has to wait. This leads to users clicking off your site even before it can load. That’s a lost visitor that might have become a customer.
Sales aside, if users visit your site and stay there for a short period of time, it’s known as having a high bounce rate. A high bounce rate impacts your SEO negatively leading to lower search engine rankings.
It’s not about the number of media files you have on your site but the file size of them. Media resources have a significant impact on your website loading speeds.
Media files are requested by a user’s browser when loading into a website. Your resources are rendered on the device after the browser receives these files from the server. If you have a pictures and videos with large file sizes, they will take longer time to transfer over the network.
There’s even another disadvantage of large file size. Larger higher quality files take more processing power for the user’s device. These files can slow down the performance of the user’s device when loading it. It’ll not only take longer on the server end but also on the user’s older/outdated devices.
HTTPS requests are more resource intensive than unsecured HTTP requests. A browser must request resources from the server, have a secure connection established, process it, and send a response. The secure connection requests are limited and the more requests you have, the longer it takes to load.
Basically, if you ask too many things at once, it overloads you. The extra security layer is a bit more resource-demanding.
Scripts are additional codes that add to the user experience on a website. Scripts are resource intensive and can consume a lot of CPU memory. If you can recall, website speeds also depend on a user’s hardware capabilities too.
Scripts that are poorly written can cause poor performance and leads to an unresponsive site. It’s the same if you request multiple scripts that need separate HTTPS requests. HTTPS requests can slow down the site loading speeds.
Some scripts also block the loading of some essential elements on the page. A broken site load can lead to slower loading times or even a blank screen.
Plugins are additional software that is integrated into your website to add extra functionality. These may come in as social media buttons, chatbots, audio players, etc. Third-party plugins are maintained by other organizations other than the website owner. These plugins also significantly slow down your website loading screens.
These plugins are like scripts, they can be resource intensive. They slow down your website significantly. These third-party plugins mostly rely on external resources which slow down your site if they’re not properly optimized.
How To Improve Your Website Performance
- Right Hosting Solution
- Minimize File Size/ Optimize Media Sizes
- Convert your images to WebP
- Minimize HTTPS requests
- Browser Caching
- Reduce the number of scripts and codes
- Reduce the number of fonts
- Use of lazy loading for pictures and videos
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Your hosting provider has a direct impact on your website loading speed. Make sure to invest in a dedicated server with a larger hard drive, RAM, and bandwidth to support the traffic on your site. If it’s a small stick with it. You should be able to upgrade it as you grow your site to support more customers.
Reduce the file size of your media so that the server does not have to take a longer time to load resources. Of course, do not sacrifice quality. Optimize it in such a way that it has the least file size for the best quality. Resize and compress.
Consider WebP files as an optimization for images. WebP is an image format that is smaller in size than your standard JPEG files. It can offer as much as a 30% size decrease without losing any quality. Use WebP format when loading images so that it’s faster.
Minimize the HTTPS requests you send to the server to prevent it from overloading. Delete unnecessary content, scripts, third-party plugins, or lines of code from your site. There are case scenarios where content/asset from one webpage is unnecessary in another. Install plugins such as WP Asset CleanUp Plugins to prevent the loading of assets on another page.
If you have content that does not change on the site, you can download some assets of your site into a user’s local storage. This will significantly cut down the loading time as users won’t have to request resources from the server. It helps in minimizing HTTPS requests too
The point is self-explanatory. Remove unnecessary scripts and codes in your site for a faster load time. Go for faster loading and user experience rather than lofty aesthetics.
Believe it or not, the number of fonts also has something to do with your website speed. It’s a file after all. Try to stick to 3-4 different types of fonts for your website. It’ll suffer greatly once the number reaches double digits.
Think of it as procrastinating but for media files. Lazy loading will display images and videos only when visitors view them. This technique helps save the site bandwidth and gives priority to the assets that matter.
CDN in simple terms is distributing content you have in different servers all over the globe so that when users have to access the site, content is delivered to the users from the nearest location. There are quite a few CDN providers you can choose to work with. Requirements and steps to set up a CDN vary from provider to provider.
Tools to Measure Website Speed
Start your website loading speed optimization by analyzing your own reports. According to Google, only a small percentage of sites in the world have the recommended site loading speeds. You certainly want to be one of those.
- Google has a free-to-use tool for determining your website loading speed. It also provides you with recommendations on how you can improve your site loading speed. Works for both desktop and mobile versions. Head over to Google Pagespeed Insights to start analyzing your site performance.
- GTmetrix is a website optimization tool that analyzes your website performance. It’s a free-to-use tool that measures page load time, sizes, and the number of requests and provides recommendations for improvement.
- Pingdom is another tool for analyzing your website load speed. It tracks your site’s performance and tracks data. The tool also helps identify issues with your site and how to fix it. It’s a free-to-use tool but has advanced tools locked behind a paywall.
- WebPage Test provides users with a detailed record of performance-specific components such as images, scripts, and stylesheets. It’s a free-to-use tool that is used by many site owners.
Your website loading speed will directly affect how well you do on your website. Have a faster-loading website for higher engagement, conversions, and SEO rankings. Hopefully, this blog helped you know how can load your site faster.
10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Responsive Website
Ever had a time when you tried to access a website on your phone but it appeared super zoomed or of low quality? That’s because you are a victim of an unresponsive website. Sure, a website is a great start to a business but an even greater boost is a responsive website.
Having a strong online presence is essential for any business. It’ll help even more to know the proper ways to run your website. Let’s break down the advantages of a responsive website and how it’ll help you in the long run.
Benefits of Having a Website for Your Business
We have stated that a website in a business is a necessity but not why. A website acts as a tool for establishing an online presence for any type of business. Think of it as a storefront for your shop/business but online.
Your website is a place where customers can make queries and hold transactions. It helps establish credibility with potential customers and engages them.
For any business, a website is an online representation of a company’s brand. Having a well-designed website will create a good image among customers. There’s a lot of SEO that goes on behind your website, but that’s for another time.
Having a website will significantly boost your brand awareness, sales, and customer engagement in the digital landscape. So don’t hold back on the thought of a website for your startup.
What is a Responsive Website?
As discussed before, a nonresponsive website is a big no for any customer trying to access your website.
It happens when your website is not optimized for smaller or larger screens. Your website should be capable to adapt to the different screen sizes that’ll enable more people to access it.
Responsive web design is a method of programming your website in such a way that the website can adapt to different screen sizes so
that all images, content, and structure look the same. They’re well optimized, ensuring minimum confusion to customers while visiting your website.
Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Responsive Website
- Increased Mobile Traffic
- Local SEO
- Better User Experience
- Lower Bounce Rates
- Saves on Money
- Improved Link building
- Recommended by Google
- Faster Response Time
- Better Maintenance
- Easier Auditing and Overview
A responsive website caters to not only bigger devices but mobile phones too. If you look at the current world trends, more than 50% of online searches are done through phones. Having a responsive website ensures your website can be easily navigated by phone users. Many businesses are yet to pick up on responsive websites. Be sure to not be one of them!
It all comes down to statistics. More than 50% of internet searches are done through mobile phones. Out of those searches, more than 70% lead to a local business or a service. A responsive design helps local SEO by making search engine bots crawl your website more easily. Trying to ensure maximum user retention of local people for your website is the goal for any business.
Another technical aspect of your SEO lies in your URL. A responsive website dismisses the need for another website for both computer and mobile users. This brings maximum users to your website without diverging them. If your website is responsive, it will ultimately lead to higher traffic.
If your website appears zoomed or pixelated on smaller screens, it will automatically make mobile users leave. Thus, a responsive website provides a better user experience by making your content easy to navigate and read on any device. By ensuring that your site is accessible to all types of devices, users will stay.
If users leave your website in a span of a few seconds, it means your website has a high bounce rate. A high bounce rate is a big no-no for any website. It’ll send a bad idea to the search engine, giving it the impression that your site has bad content.
Lowering your bounce rate has something to do with better user experience too. At least mobile users will stay on your site a tad bit longer.
Having a responsive website helps you cut costs on multiple factors. Building a separate website for different types of devices can take a lot from a budget and is time-consuming. If you have just a single website, you can focus all your resources on a single task.
Not only will a responsive website save you money, but it’ll also help earn some too. Canonicalizing a single URL will drive more traffic to your site and provide a consistent user experience.
Consistency is the key. With a responsive website, you will have more users that can access your site. A better user experience will likely end up in visitors sharing your website links on social media or other platforms.
Your website will only have a single URL. If there were multiple URLs, other websites that want to link to your content might be confused. A responsive website will help you by maintaining a single URL, making it easier for bots to crawl and websites to link to you.
Google themselves recommends a responsive website as the way to go. It mainly has to do with your URL. Since a responsive website can accommodate users with different types of devices, this approach helps search engine bots crawl and index your site faster.
A responsive page is also more likely to be discoverable by users. So if you were still wondering whether to have a responsive site or not, this is a greenlight that you should.
Is your website mobile-friendly? Head over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test here.
If an unresponsive website is opened on a mobile, it takes a longer time to load all the desktop resources. According to Googe PageSpeed Developers, content on a phone should load in under 1 second.
This isn’t possible with an unresponsive website. A responsive website can adapt its layout and functionality to the screen of the user. The faster loading, the less the user has to wait and the lower the bounce rate.
A responsive website eradicates the need for other websites for different types of devices. If that’s the case, then maintaining one website is more efficient and easier. Developers can focus on one website saving them a lot of time.
It’s easier to oversee just a single website than multiple ones. That way you can focus on other important things rather than looking after websites. Since you only have to host a single website, your analytics team can deliver improved results by analyzing user behavior on individual pages.
A responsive website helps developers optimize user experience by eliminating unnecessary clicks and improving viewability. More views and better user experience lead to increased conversion.
TECHNICAL SEO GUIDE
This guide breaks down the more technical but on-page side of search engine optimization. The guide covers all the aspects of technical SEO, listing out the issues and solutions along with it. The guide aims to help you understand technical SEO to optimize your content and Rank better.
Beginner Guide to Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to the behind the scene work that helps search engine crawlers identify and index your site more effectively. It is an applied knowledge that organizations and individuals use to optimize the technical elements of their websites.
Search engineer crawlers are instructed in a way that gives websites that display specific characteristics a higher ranking. These may include a secure connection, fast servers, and loading times. They all fall under tech SEO.
Importance of Technical SEO
- Helps your content Rank better by making sure your website is easy to crawl
- Ensures quick load of your content on the website
- It helps in identifying and removing duplicate content
- Includes guidelines for crawlers on what content to Rank and index
- Proper management of your website, even with thousands of pages
- Keeps your website safe and secure
Terms Related to Technical SEO Glossary
- Crawler / Spider / Bot
A crawler is a bot designed to retrieve information when a user makes a search query. The bots systematically browse webpages, analyzing what the webpage is about and keeping note of it. If a user wants information that might be on the webpage, it indexes it and shows it to the user.People can also use crawlers to identify any potential problems with the website.
Sitemaps are files where you can store information about the website’s content. In simple terms, it is a mother tree, and all the content on your website is branched out. Sitemaps help search engine bots understand your website structure easily, making them crawl your site more efficiently.
- 404 Error
A 404 error occurs when a user is led to a dead end. The response status indicates that a server cannot find the requested resource.
- 301 Redirect
A 301 Redirect redirects users to a new destination URL if the previous URL is no longer in use. The redirect has authority over rankings; even if you click the old URL, 301 redirects will take you to a new one regardless of the Search Engine Rankings.
- Anchor Text
The Anchor text is the front end of a URL that redirects the page to another URL. Anchor Texts are visible; clickable text usually links in a different color (blue) and is underlined. Upon clicking the anchor texts, users are taken to another page. A good anchor text tells the reader what to expect if they click the link.
A backlink links a website to another through anchor texts. A link in a website that connects it to the source or another website is known as a backlink. Backlinks are valuable for search engine optimization as they act as a vouch for your content by other websites.
- SSL Certification
SL or Secure Sockets Layer is a technology that keeps your internet connection secure and protects any shared data from leaking out. SSL certificates ensure that your website is safe and that no personal details are being modified or stolen. It is a big part of SEO as having a secure connection automatically gains favor from the search engine crawlers.
- Follow and Nofollow Links
SL or Secure Sockets Layer is a technology that keeps your internet connection secure and protects any shared data from leaking out. SSL certificates ensure that your website is safe and that no personal details are being modified or stolen. It is a big part of SEO as having a secure connection automatically gains favor from the search engine crawlers.
Indexing is a method by which a bot assumes your content ranking. Search engines process your content and store it in a database displayed to users according to their needs. It is how search engines organize information and enable super-fast responses that they deem good enough to query.
- 200 Status Code
Consider a 200 status code response from the server that gives a thumbs up on your request. This means that the HTML code can be loaded successfully and your site can show up.
Crawling And Indexing
Robots.txt is a text file with a list of rules instructing a web crawler how to access and crawl your website. Robots.txt falls under the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP), which sets web standards regulating how robots crawl the web and index your content. REPs are just instructions; it is entirely up to the crawlers to obey the rules. Not all search engines follow the protocol, but significant search engines like Google and Bing follow it.
In theory, users can use the to keep crawlers out of your site for indexing. Users can use the file to exclude domains, files, and directories from the search engine. However, Google could still index your content URL without visiting the page, as the bots can index it through your backlinks.
Use of Robots.txt
Robotx.txt file can be used for webpages to avoid crawling unimportant or similar pages from your site. Crawlers scour the internet for content and analyze it. There may be many duplicates or less important content on your site that you don’t want crawlers to waste their time on. Robots.txt file instructs a crawler on how to work, and its effect can be seen with different file types to prevent the server from being overwhelmed by crawlers.
A crawler can be blocked from accessing unimportant resource files such as scripts, styles, images, and audio files. So your crawl budget is well-spent on meaningful content.
A List of Terms Used In Robots.tx
- User-agent: Name of the crawler (Each crawler has its own username)
- Disallow: Prevent the crawling of your directories, files, and webpages
- Allow: Allows crawling of your directories, files, and webpages. (Strong command and overwrites disallow)
- Sitemap: Shows the location of the sitemap (Is totally optional)
- *: Includes all search engines to follow the directives
- $:To indicate the end of an URL
Website owners can place their sitemap directive on the robots.txt file. The following example shows how a sitemap is added to the robots.txt file.
|User-agent: Bot1 Disallow: /User-agent: * Allow: / Sitemap: https://www.example.com/sitemap.xml|
The following command disallows Bot1 from crawling any pages at all. The second line includes all bots except Bot1 for crawling the site.
Disallow crawlers to crawl a single site
|User-agent: * Disallow: /hotdog_pictures.html|
Disallow crawlers to crawl a specific file type
|User-agent: * Disallow: /*.gif$|
The following command disallows all the bots from crawling all the gifs on the site.
What Happens If You Block Your Website From Crawling?
A robots.txt file prevents crawlers from crawling sites and pages a user has disallowed. This can include media, resource files, entire pages, or directories.
If your site does not have a robots.txt file, search engine crawlers assume that all the pages of a particular website that is public are indexable. Crawlers are free to crawl, and index pages of the website that they think are suitable.
Crawl inefficiency can happen due to a multitude of reasons.Google bot has set its own crawling budget that depends on the server’s response time and errors. In simple terms, you will want google to crawl the most important and content-rich sites.
Crawling problems are displayed when a google bot tries to crawl your website, but the robots.txt file is blocking its crawlers. This can lead to bigger problems, as google can give up crawling your website after a few unsuccessful tries.
How To Prevent Robots.txt Errors: Basic Guidelines and Tips
- If you encounter problems such as your robots.txt file blocking URLs, you can use the google search console to find errors. Go to the coverage tab in the google console and look for the error section.
- Google robots tester to check files and ensure no directives block google Bots from site access.
- Robots.txt files are independent of the agent line and can be placed anywhere.
- Take care while writing lines for your robots.txt file to avoid wasting time in unnecessary debugging. Use proper wild cards for proper situations.
- If you made your website before 2019, you should recheck your robots.txt file. Google removed the indexed rules in 2019, so your no-index rules are no longer valid. Users can have their website indexed even if they don’t have it.
- The Robotx.txt file is case-sensitive and must be lowercase. The file must also be located directly in the root directory of your domain.
- Users should address each bot with a different record, as all bots on the web might not be compatible with a single record type of command. For Example,
The following lines may be interpreted by bots differently, giving rise to errors and blocking URLs. It is recommended that users use different records while addressing different bots.
Robots Meta and NoIndex
While Robots.txt and Robots meta sound similar, they each carry out different tasks. Robots.txt manages the accessibility of your content to crawlers. They block the crawlers from crawling your site but ultimately are not a solution to stopping your site from getting indexed.
This is where Robots’ meta directives come in. Robots meta directives are the definitive guidelines that order the crawler what to do and what not to do on a website. If you want to stop a site from being indexed, you use Noindex Robots Meta Tags.
Robots Meta tags are placed in the head section of a webpage.<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
Essential Parameters for Robots Meta Directives
- Noindex: Prevents crawlers from indexing a page
- Follow: Instructs a crawler to follow the links in the page even if it’s not indexed (follow links advantages already discussed above)
- Nofollow: Instructs a crawler not to follow any links on a page
- Noimageindex: Prevents a crawler from indexing any images on the site
- None: Can be used instead of noindex and nofollow at once
- Unavailable_after: to remove the following site from indexation after a certain time period
- Nositelinkssearchbox: prevents Google from showing a search bar in SERP
An Example of a Sitelink
Why is the Robots meta tag important for SEO?We already know how each site has a limited crawling budget. Admins should remove sites that have no content for users to read. This saves a search engine crawler’s budget and helps it become more efficient.
There are various pages on a website, like admin login pages, that have no meaning to a visitor. By preventing pages from being indexed, the page will stop showing up in the SERPs.
The bigger a website is, the more the admins will have to control indexation and manage the crawling budget. This is why sitemaps are also important. An example of a robot’s meta tag is given below:
|<html><head><meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> → meta tag</head></html>|
The following example of robots in the meta name. This includes all the crawling bots in the search engine. If you want to address a specific bot, you should replace “robots” with “<name of the bot>.”
If you want to block multiple bots but not all, simply copy and paste the meta name again.
|<html><head><meta name=”bot1″ content=”noindex”> <meta name=”bot2″ content=”noindex”></head></html>|
X-robots tag is another way to control indexation. Users can use a robot meta tag to stop crawlers from indexing your HTML-based sites, which is straightforward. X-robots tag is used to manage the indexation of your content that is non-HTML based.
Non-HTML-based file types include PDFs, Microsoft word documents, mac pages files, etc. The x tag is not placed in the site’s header.
An example of an X-robot tag is given below:
|Header set X-Robots-Tag “noindex, nofollow”|
Note: Meta Robots Tags and X-robots-tag are supported by Google but not all the search engines.
Common Indexing Errors
- Always check that you do not disallow the crawling of content you want to get through robots.txt.
- If you want to deindex your content using the robot directive tags, do not remove the tags from your sitemap until your content is fully deindexed. This helps later on if you want to index your site again.
- Most of the error mistakes with indexation are due to human errors. It is best to take proper care in the spacings of your lines of codes and wildcards and properly audit them. Debugging is essential.
Things To Know
In order to remove a page from the index, a “noindex” meta tag must be added to the page. When Googlebot crawls and processes the page again, Google will process the “noindex” tag and will drop the page from the index in time.
For the “noindex” tags to be effective, the page must not be blocked by the robots.txt file, otherwise, Googlebot will not be able to view the “noindex” tags, and the page will not be removed. Wait for the page to be removed first, and then block it in the robots.txt file. More on the following is covered later on in the guide.
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
You should not block important resource files and media to avoid server overload. Crawling bots depend on such files for a proper analysis of the site and, without out, cannot do an excellent job of analyzing it for indexing.
A redirect is a response from the server to the user. These Redirects can take users to other URLs depending on what the admin has set up.
If your request for the URL is successful, the server will send a response status code 200. If the URL has moved, it issues a redirect.
Depending on the time frame the redirect has been set for, Redirects are of two types:
- Permanent (301 redirects)
- Temporary (302 redirects)
Each carries its role in SEO and indexation. Here we discuss the role of 302 Temporary redirects and how it affects your search engine indexation and rankings.
A 302 redirect is temporary. This means that 302 issues a temporary URL to redirect the users. Since it’s a temporary redirect, Google will consider the original URL canonical and won’t change its indexation or rankings. There’s no point to it since it’s not permanent.
When to Use 302 Redirects?
Administrators can use the 302 redirects if they want to send visitors to another temporary site for a certain period. This is helpful if you are updating your website or want to test website updates without hampering the rankings of the older site.
Only use 302 redirects if it’s temporary. You will not be able to rank the newer site as google considers it quick.
How to Issue 302 Redirects?
Issuing a 302 redirect is very simple. There are a few methods to create the redirects, but the simplest one is editing your website’s .htaccess file. The file is present in your root directory.
|Please add a screenshot of your site’s root directory|
You can go ahead and add the following line of code to your .htaccess file.
|Redirect 302/ <old page>.html/ <new site of redirection>.html You can remove the line whenever you are done with your projects.|
You should employ constituent redirects when redirecting to another URL. If a non-canonical URL redirects to the canonical URL and then the canonical URL redirects back to the non-canonical URL, search engines may become confused and SEO may suffer as a result. It causes redirection chains.
Problems With Temporary Redirects
- The ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS error
Temporary Redirects generally don’t have issues that need experts to resolve. Most of the errors are due to faulty mistakes. The page can show a redirect error if the redirects are not valid. It would be best if you navigate your websites to see where the 302 error has been issued.
Another problem can be due to the plugins you use for your website. There are cases where you can incorrectly configure your redirects resulting in an error.
If you use WordPress, make sure your site address and WordPress address URL are the same, with or without the www. portion.
Website navigation is the links present in your website that connect other pages. Just as the name suggests, the purpose of this feature is so that users can navigate through your site efficiently.
Search engines also use the same feature. Search engines use your web navigation to discover and index new pages. It’s a sitemap that helps crawlers understand your site better.
Site Navigation is essential in eCommerce websites where user-generated URLs can lead to clusters. We’ll discuss more importance of Site Navigation for E-commerce businesses and how to improve it.
Navigation for E-Commerce
E-commerce widely uses dynamic URLs as they are based more on user-generated content. The UI that you see in such businesses are generally designed in such a way that it helps users discover what they’re looking for. In short, they’re ‘filters.’
These UI designs are also labeled Faceted navigation. Their purpose is for quick and efficient navigation that helps users find what they need by using multiple filters. For Example,
|The Category section you see on your left side is faceted navigation. It helps users shorten their options by sorting out the products based on their needs. In short, it is very important. The URL is updated to reflect the selection as users shorten their queries. This way, dynamic parameters work with Faceted navigation to show you the results.|
Problems with Faceted Navigations
- Duplicated content with different URLs
We have discussed how duplicate content affects the rankings as your contents compete with each other for being indexed. It causes keyword cannibalization, where many of your URLs compete in organic search. Big no-no.
- Faceted Navigation causes index bloating.
With so many user-generated indexable URLs with no unique content, it provides no value for search engines. Faceted Navigation tends to be more specific and does not contain broad keywords.
This is the laptop a user finalized buying after filtering through so many options. The generated URL from this query is insanely long and has no value to search engines. No user will search for such a specific laptop through organic search. Having such a page indexed will provide no actual value to the site or the user.
Fixing Faceted Navigation ProblemsIf you have followed up with the guide, the solution to such problems should be apparent. Here are a few solutions to solve errors with such navigation.
- Using Canonical Tags
Canonical tags can fix problems of duplicated content and help in maintaining the crawl budget. Canonicalize the non-facet page so that google identifies it as the original and indexes it.
If this is your faceted URL, you will have to add a canonical tag indicating the main category of the page.
<link rel=” canonical” href=”https://hotdogstore.com/gaming-laptops/asus/”/>
- Use of Meta Tags
If problems with indexing and rankings for faceted URLs persist, you should resolve them using robots’ meta tags. Setting up Meta Tags is simple; you can paste the code below in the head of your faceted URL.
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
For X-Robots, simply use
- Using Robots.txt
Canonical tags can be directly ignored by google for various reasons. While it may not be regular, it still could. This is why using robots.txt is another method to fix such problems.Users can disallow the crawling of a URL with robots.txt. To block the crawling of a URL with robots.txt, users can use the following code:
User-agent: * Disallow: *size=*
Setting Up Images and Videos
Things to Know
- If you have very high-quality images and videos on your site, it can take a while to load. Visitors on your site can bounce off from your site if it takes a long time to load. For this reason, you should optimize your images and videos by compressing and reducing their file size. Be sure to not compromise quality!
- Structured Data:
- Structured data provides additional information about the media that you are uploading to your site. It includes media descriptions, titles, alt texts, and file names.
- Alternative text also known as alt text is a text description of an image or a video. This text helps in SEO by helping search engines understand your media. Follow a rule of thumb for setting up alt texts: should be simple enough so that even blind people can understand it.
- The best way to upload videos on your platform is to upload none at all. Upload your videos to a video platform like youtube and simply link your video to your site. Likewise, youtube videos can also provide you with an additional source of traffic and helps reduce server load.
- Content Delivery Network
CDN refers to a group of distributed servers that work together rot provide fast delivery of internet content. It distributes the weight of images and videos and makes them load faster for users, which can help improve the user experience and search engine rankings.CDN servers need to be hosted, and for that, you’ll need to look into your options to purchase them.
- Video Sitemaps
A video sitemap is an XML file that contains all of the videos on your website, as well as information about each video, such as the title, description, and thumbnail picture. Video sitemaps are just sitemaps but for videos.
Here’s an example of a video sitemap:
<video: title>How to cook Pasta</video: title>
<video: description>Here’s how to cook Pasta</video: description>
Add the sitemap to your robots.txt file and submit your sitemap to Google or other engines for crawling.
Some Commands and Terms used in Video Sitemaps
URL included in the sitemap
<loc> Indicates the URL where the video can be found
Information about the video in sitemap <video: thumbnail_loc>
Includes information on where the thumbnail is located
Title of the video
This is the meta description for the video. Max 2048 characters
The actual video file must be in a supported format, not HTML
Video player in which the video is played
Canonical URLs are an essential part of SEO. While the word might seem intimidating and hard to understand, it is as simple as a learning table of 5. But before we talk about canonical URLs, we’ll have to understand a canonical tag.
A canonical tag is located in the source code that tells search engines which URL is the mother version of the page. If you have multiple URLs for the same page, you will use a canonical link to tell the search engine which page they should consider as the master version and index it.
The link to the page considered canonical is known as a canonical URL. Canonical URLs ensure that your SEO is strong and don’t get confused when there are different URLs to point to the exact content of the webpage.
Why Should There Be Multiple URLs for the Same Page?
Multiple URLs for the same page can be useful for a variety of reasons.
- You can have the same type of content across a few different pages to support multiple device types:
- To enable dynamic URLs for things like sorting or filtering parameters or session ID based on custom input characters. Any URL with characters such as ?, =, & are considered Dynamic.
- Your system positions the same post under multiple sections under multiple URLs.
- If your server is set up to offer the same content for http://www. and non-www://http://https/protocol/port variations:
- Syndicated content is the publishing of owned content to other websites. This way, many sites for the same content can exist. Users can set to help the search engine determine the site to index.
Why Should You Use Canonical URLs?
There can be various circumstances where multiple URLs for the same content can happen. Canonical URLs can help Google understand your site better.
Canonical URLs inform the search engine of the mother URL and separate it from its many duplicates. They help google crawlers to crawl and index the real site properly.
How to Use Canonical Tag?
Specifying a canonical URL is very easy. Specify the canonical URL in your HTML code.
Use the tag in your page’s header.
The Canonical URLs Issues
Canonical URLs are very easy to recreate and are easy to have issues with it. Canonical issues are generally seen with e-commerce business sites as they have URLs that change with user interactions.
If your site has an SSL certificate, you can access your site by using both HTTPS and HTTP. The two versions can create duplicates of every single page of your website. This can also happen with www and non-www URLs.
There are multiple URLs for the same content for different types of devices; this can create canonical issues. The same goes for syndicated content.
Basic Tips To Prevent Any Canonical URL Errors
- If you have any problems with SSL Certificates and WWW and non-WWW canonicals, consider implementing sitewide 301 redirects for the duplicate pages. By redirecting users to the correct version of the URL, canonical issues will no longer occur.
- Syndicating content is not a violation, and users are free to do so. Remember to add a rel=canonical tag to your secondary site to redirect the content to your URL. By doing this, google recognizes the canonical site and gives it a priority in the rankings.
- Refer duplicate pages to your original content so that google identifies the original site to prioritize it.
- Do not use the robots.txt file for any canonical actions.
Canonicalization Problem in E-Commerce Sites
There are many problems regarding duplicate content in E-commerce sites, where there are multiple URLs for the same product.
For example, if two URLs:
Exist, these URLs are identical in content as both display fruits in the same category. It is important for users to use the rel=canonical link element to indicate to search engines which URL should be considered the original and indexed.
URL parameters are additional elements present in your URLs that help you filter, organize or track information on your website. They serve as a way to add additional information to a URL structurally.
Parameters lie at the end of a URL after a ‘?’ symbol. Multiple parameters in a URL are separated by a ‘&’ sign. These parameters contain a key and value separated by a ‘=’ sign.
The above URL that you can see is a Dynamic URL. Dynamic URLs are the user-generated URLs that are generated the moment a user submits a search query. If you have a URL parameter in your URL it’s dynamic.
On the other hand, we have a static URL. It’s a URL that is stored as a whole on the relevant server. For example,
The following link does not have any visible parameters, and its data is stored in the system. No amount of user interactions can change the URL. It’s static.
There’s a huge confusion among young SEO enthusiasts about whether they should practice using dynamic URLs or not. Let’s review the positive and negative aspects of using URL parameters.
A basic guide to URL parameters and how they impact SEO
- URL parameters are best used for e-commerce websites or sites in general that need high user interactions. If you are a service-based site with limited services, you should stick to static URLs. Static URLs help more in SEO as it has a higher click rate.
- Users should always canonicalize the main static version of the URL so that it stays on the top. They should set up canonical tags on the parameterized URLs so that they always reference the preferred URL for the site.
- This is where robots.txt comes in. You can choose to block the crawling of endless URLs with non-unique content across your website.
|User-agent: *Disallow:/*?tag=* The following tag will block crawlers from crawling URL parameters. Make sure all your important URLs do not have parameters to avoid the resourceful content from being crawled.|
- Google controls more than 80% of the search engine. According to google developers, Dynamic URLs are as indexable as Static URLs with their optimized search engine crawlers. While this may be true, It does not mean you shouldn’t structure your parameters.
- Users should remove unnecessary parameters and limit the dynamic rewrites so that they can maintain them. You should create static content equivalent to the original dynamic content. This, however, does not apply much to e-commerce websites.
Types of URL Parameters
There are two types of URL parameters.
- Content-modifying parameters: Parameters that modify the content displayed on the page.
To take users to a product named XYZ
- Tracking parameters: Tracks user network or how the user was referred to the site.
To track where users came from to your newsletter.
Cons of URL Parameters
- Dynamic URLs are not informative. Since the URLs are generated with user interactions and filled with random characters, users don’t know where the link is headed.
Take this, for example,
Users have no idea what this link possibly could be about. Without many ideas, users are less likely to click on your link. This brings fewer clicks to your websites, even if it pops up in the SERPs.
- They cannot be shared. Well yeah, you could copy-paste it, but how about trying to share this link physically? It’s almost impossible to remember strings of random characters without any correlation. In short, Static URLs are better quality of life adjustment.
- They cannot be shared. Well yeah, you could copy-paste it, but how about trying to share this link physically? It’s almost impossible to remember strings of random characters without any correlation. In short, Static URLs are better quality of life adjustment.
- The same content with different links can clash with your SEO rankings. Why fight with your own self for the spot on #1?
If it’s so disadvantageous, why use it?
Sitemaps are files where you can store information about the website’s content. In simple terms, it is a mother tree, and all the content on your website is branched out. It is a file where you provide information about the content on your site; pages, videos, pictures, and other files and the relationship between them. Sitemaps are a source of information for search engine crawlers and provide them with valuable information about files.
Understanding Key Terms
- <url>: opening line to add your URL
- <loc>: add URL
- <lastmod>: When was the page last modified?
- <changefreq>: How often does the page update?
– Never, yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly
- <priority>: How important is this page compared to your other pages on a scale of 0.1 to 1? (1 is the highest priority)
- <urlset>: open or close sitemap
Why are Sitemaps important?
We have already discussed how sitemaps act as a roadmap to your site. Sitemaps make search engine crawling more efficient as it knows which site to navigate.
A crawler will only spend a short time trying to crawl your website. Each site has a specific crawling budget allocated to it, and if your website is large, a crawler might waste its crawl budget on figuring out which pages exist on your site. XML sitemaps help search engine crawlers analyze your website correctly for faster indexation. Crawlers might overlook the newer pages if you update them occasionally.
Note: Sitemaps do not affect your SE rankings; they make it easier for crawlers to crawl your website.
Types of Sitemaps
There is two types of sitemaps and they are:
- HTML Sitemap
HTML sitemaps are sitemaps made for the viewers. These are made to serve website visitors and help them navigate to a specific page. In short, they are internal links across your web pages. HTML sitemaps are clickable lists of pages on a website that reform and organize your website, generally found linked in website footers.
An HTML Sitemap of a E-commerce Business.
- XML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps are dedicated to search engine crawlers. These sitemaps act as a roadmap to tell search engines about the list of content on your website and directions on how to access it. It’s like you are being given a map of a place. Keeps things simple and convenient.HTML sitemaps, on the other hand, do not contribute anything to search engine bots or SEO bots. They exist to interlink pages and maintain them. It’s the site’s blueprint and oversees the structure and connection between pages. HTML Sitemaps help direct the bots and show them the structure of your website.
An XML Sitemap of Growfore
How to build an XML sitemap?
While you can create your own XML site, you will have to add each URL manually. You’ll need to gather it first. This can be done with the help of bots too. But automated XML Sitemap is the way to go.
- You can use google’s own tool to search for your URLs and add them to a sitemap. Users can also use a secondary online tool to have a bot make a sitemap for them. The process is easy and simple, with no extra processes required.
- Submit your sitemap through the Google search console
Google Search Console
What Pages to Exclude in your XML Sitemap?
- What Pages to Exclude in your XML Sitemap?
- Duplicate pages
- Paginated pages
- Parameterized URLs
- Site search result pages
- URLs created by filtering options
- Archive pages
- Any redirections (3xx), missing pages (4xx), or server error pages (5xx)
- Pages blocked by robots.txt
- Pages blocked by robots.txt
- Pages blocked by robots.txt
Pages blocked by robots.txt
While Sitemaps aren’t necessary for all websites, it is recommended by most SEO experts. Sitemaps help sort out your sites so that bots can crawl your site efficiently. Sitemaps can also help in the indexing and ranking of your older content through the help of links. Sitemaps are necessary:
- If you have a big website, navigating through it can become difficult.
- If you have a bad interlinking strategy,
- If your website is new,
- If your website has a lesser number of backlinks,
- If your site has a lot of rich media (videos, gifs, pictures),
Additionally, you might not require Sitemaps if
- Your site is small and will remain that way (500 pages or less than that)
- Your site is well interlinked
- Your site does not have additional media like pictures and videos.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid errors:
If your sitemap generates a 404 error code by any chance, it can be due to your URL being blocked by Robots.txt files. Give it a look.
Many sitemap errors can be resolved by clearing the cache. Clear the cache from your plugin, Cloudflare, and browser followed by a refresh.
You will need to delete the sitemap in google and submit it again if errors persist. Do give proper auditing to your sitemap.
A single sitemap can only support up to fifty thousand (50,000) URLs. Any more than this, and you will have to make multiple sitemaps. You can split up your XML sitemap into smaller files to help speed up the crawling process. We recommend a maximum of 1500 pages on a single sitemap as the google search console has a limit to export only 1000 URLs.
Using self-referential canonical URLs in sitemaps can help ensure that search engines understand which version of a page should be considered the original and indexed. Users should also make sure that their URLs in the sitemap return a 200 HTTP code. If not, the page in the sitemap might not be indexed by search engines.
Google tries to ensure the safety of SEO enthusiasts by cracking down on spammy SEO tactics. While most of the efforts have been successful with newer and improved algorithms and security, some black hats still escape Google’s watch.
Here is a short guide on avoiding linking issues and technical SEO spam that make you lose rankings altogether.
What is SEO backlink spam?
Backlinks are good; they give search engine algorithms the thumbs-up sign and build trust, right? Most of the backlinks to your site are good. However there are spamming backlinks from shady or harmful sites that redirect to your site. This can leave a negative impression of your site on the search engine algorithm.
And trust me, you do not want a penalty from Google. Getting a penalty from Google is having your content removed from SERPs. Spam backlinks is a shady black hat technique that falls under negative SEO. In most cases, negative SEO is done by your competitor to harm your rankings.
How to detect Backlink Spam?
Link spam generally comes at once. You’ll notice an unusual rise in backlinks to your sites, most coming from different countries. The contents from your site also are found in other languages you don’t recall adding.
- Detect low-quality sites that backlink to you
Users can use various SEO tools available to them to identify how solid or trustworthy the backlinking site is. It’s generally called a domain rating or a domain score. You can then select the sites you feel are scummy and record them.
Learn More about SEO Tools and how it works.
Getting Rid of Spam Backlinks
You now have a list of suspicious sites you want to block. All that’s left is to tell Google to blacklist these sites so that you do not get penalized.
This feature is known as disavow. Head up to the google search console and search for a Disavow category. Submit the file to disavow the sites, and then you’re done! Good riddance to all those spam links!
The following guide works to stop spammy links and out-of-context links referencing the site, a large number of unnatural links, and staging/production site links referencing the site. As the search engine bot itself gets smarter, it is learning to ignore spam backlinks altogether. Here’s what John Mueller, a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google had to say about spammy backlinks.
By any chance, if your site gets spammed by backlinks and spammy references, you should not be disheartened. According to John Mueller, the number of backlinks Does NOT affect your search engine rankings at all. It’s quality over quantity, so even if you only have one strong backlink reputation, Google will not decrease your rankings.
You aren’t alone if you have ever encountered a 404 error while accessing a site. 404 Errors are the most common HTTP error that exists today.
A 404 error or a “header response code” is an error displayed when the crawler or user request cannot access the page. It’s just not there where it’s supposed to be. A 404 error generally appears when users make minor errors when typing a URL. It can also pop up when admins do not issue 301 or 302 redirects.
Do Error Pages Harm the SEO?
Users cannot access the site anymore. While Error pages sound grave to SEO, that’s not quite the case. The broken links do disturb a visitor’s impression, but a few 404 errors on a page do not decrease the rankings of a site overall. Google themselves have plenty of 404 mistakes now and then.
But you still lose visitors to your site, which may affect you somehow.
“404 errors won’t impact your site’s search performance, and you can safely ignore them if you’re certain that the URLs should not exist on your site”
There is one case where 404 errors hurt the rankings of a page. Remember inbound links?
Inbound links are essential for a well-optimized SEO as google bot deems inbound links as a ranking factor. If you have an inbound link that still brings in much traffic, you should issue a 301 redirect.
With a redirect, all your rankings from those inbound links will be recovered. It’s like losing valuable pieces in chess to aid you. Keep it in mind whenever a 404 error page pops up.
The Other Type of Error Page
Soft 404 is another type of error that Google issues. The error does not have a header response code, but the Google bot thinks something might be wrong with the site. The server gives a thumbs up and sends a 200 response code, but Google goes, “nope, something’s wrong, I can feel it,” and issues a soft 404 instead.
There isn’t anything wrong with your site; it’s alright. You’ll just have to go to your google search engine console to determine the problem.
Setting Up Your Own Error Page
Error pages aren’t good at all. But if you’re going out anyways, why not go out with a bang?
Error pages can become excellent landing pages. Landing pages are static pages that users land directly. It can become a great chance to advertise yourself. Here are a few tips for setting up your 404 error page.
- It should have an error message (obviously).
- Since error pages can be a great way of advertising, drop links to some of the best content the site offers. This way, users stay on your site longer.
- Have methods given on the page to contact the webmaster so that they can fix the broken link.
- Adding a bit of humor to your 404 error page keeps things fun.
- Remember branding. Even if it’s an error page, it should be yours.
- Add a search box on the page where users can search for other content on your site. It reduces bounce rates significantly.
- Most importantly, please keep it simple. Avoid cluttering your page.
Most web-building sites have a built-in feature for 404 error pages. All you have to do is design a 404 page and configure the server for it.
Ever searched for recipes online and had something like this come up? This isn’t like a normal search result, is it? This result has user ratings, recipe timings, and attractive pictures. Such search results are also known as rich results.
How do you get rich results? This is all thanks to structured data.
Structured data are codes written in a certain order or structure. They usually refer to implementing markups (markup: ways to write code) on a webpage to provide additional detail about the content. Its goal is to help search engine bots to help understand the page.
Issues with Structured Data
Issues with your structured data can easily be found with Google’s Rich Results Test.
Google structured data testing tools have made it easier to find bugs in your structured data and fix any potential errors in it.
You should ensure your security protocols are not blocking Google’s tool from rendering the content. There are also free plugins like Schema Tester that help locate any errors within your code.
False Practices of Structured Data That Lead To Penalty
- Applying a page-specific markup sitewide
If a fast food chain of a certain location has gotten good reviews, the management could update their sites so that a good review is assigned to all the chains belonging to them. This is a bad practice and can lead to a penalty from Google. Avoid any spammy tactics when practicing Structured data markups.
- Marking up false reviews
Another dirty tactic is marking up false good reviews by companies without any reviews or low reviews. Marking up reviews puts the reviews in rich results, creating a false impression. This also applies to only marking individual reviews, not the average.
- Delivering different data based on Users
There are instances where companies show different markups based on users’ locations. While this could fall under targeted ads, it is perceived as a manipulative action by Google. Doing so might lead you to get a penalty.
Schema.org is a project that contains all structured data markups supported by search engines. Users can use Schema.org to find the markup they need for their particular page.
The schema supports three different markups:
- JSON-LD (preferred by google)
Many in-depth studies need to be done to understand Schema markups fully. Head over to Schema.org to learn more about the markups.
Here’s an example of how Schema works. The above text is understandable by human brains, but how about bots? By changing the above code into JSON-LD, we have made the code understandable by a search engine bot. This helps add structured data to your SEO.
The following topic should be easier for Gamers to understand. Rendering is a process where the bot retrieves your pages, runs your code, and tries to analyze your content. This is essential for Google as rendering is used to examine your site content against many others and rank it accordingly.
Web Page Rendering
The term is referred to the process of building a webpage. It doesn’t build it from scratch but individually collects materials to give the final result. Let’s give a good example.
You have every ingredient in the kitchen to make a good hotdog. You prepare the ingredients, lay it out, start boiling your sausage, cut up your greens, ready your sauces, heat your bread, and finally compile it.
The process of building your hotdog to the end is called rendering. It’s the start to finish of loading a webpage.
Importance of Web Page Rendering
The Google bot needs to index your content to rank and appear on the SERPs. And for indexing, your content first needs to be rendered. The faster you render the page, the better for you.
Solutions For a Better User Experience with Rendering
- The more resource heavy your site becomes, the more the users will have to wait to access your content. Keep your site clean and less resource extensive. Try reducing the size of the media you upload to your site.
- Only use the scripts you need. Shipping unnecessary scripts increase the load and slow execution time.
Tips for Finding Unnecessary Scripts
- Open Developer’s Tools.
- Click the 3 dots in the upper right corner.
- Select more tools, Coverage.
- Reload the page.
Picture: Search engine journal The sweet spot is below 1MB of used space. Try splitting your scripts if it’s too much.
- Yeah, your site is pretty, pretty clustered. Avoid littering your site with tools and scripts that are definitely unnecessary. Especially third-party scripts, which have higher security and privacy risks.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol for secure communication on the internet. It is essentially an extension of the standard HTTP protocol, with the addition of a security layer through the use of SSL/TLS certificates.
HTTPS is just an upgraded version of HTTP which is more secure. While Google has stated that HTTPS sites will get a tiny SEO boost, trying to set it up can cause a lot of SEO problems in return. Let us look at technical issues while setting up HTTPS.
|An example of HTTP vs HTTPS site.|
Errors in HTTPS affecting SEO
- Warnings for Mixed Content
A mixed content warning happens when a website is loaded via HTTPS but contains elements that are loaded over HTTP, such as pictures, scripts, or stylesheets. This might result in a warning notice being shown in the user’s browser, which can have a negative influence on the user’s experience and trust in your site. Check that all site components are loaded using HTTPS or relative protocol URLs.
- Redirect Chains
When migrating a website to HTTPS, it’s common to redirect all pages from HTTP to HTTPS. However, this can create a chain of redirects, which can slow down page load times, affecting the user experience and search engine rankings.
Use the 301 redirects, redirecting all traffic from HTTP to HTTPS, as well as updating internal links and URLs to use the new HTTPS URLs. Do not use 302 redirects to redirect your HTTP sites to HTTPS sites as Google will not index your HTTPS site if it’s temporary.
- SSL/TLS Certificate An SSL/TLS certificate is necessary for HTTPS to work, but the certificate must be valid, installed correctly, and not expired, this way the site can establish a secure connection with the user’s browser.
Make sure the certificate is from a reputable provider and that you have followed best practices for installation and configuration. A good tool to help you test your SSL is Qualys SSL Labs.
SSL Report for Growfore, A being the best.
Another problem of duplicate content also arises from two different site versions. This wastes the crawl budget and has link dilution problems.
Google has stated that the HTTPS version of the site will be leveraged more in terms of indexing but the bot will still crawl your HTTP version of the site wasting your crawl budget.
There also arises a problem of link dilution. Even though Google favors HTTPS sites, your HTTP site can still be accessed by users, diluting your traffic into two different sites.
To fix this, you can use Search Console to submit a sitemap, or you can use the ‘Fetch as Google’ tool, to request that Google crawl specific URLs.
Use canonical tags properly to address your indexation and crawling budget problems. Ensure all your internal links, social and other links lead to your HTTPS site so that google knows which one is the better version of your site.
If you’re using analytics tools such as Google Analytics, make sure that you update the tracking code to use the new HTTPS URLs, or it will not track the data correctly.
It’s important to keep in mind that switching a website from HTTP to HTTPS can have some impact on the website’s SEO, for example, all internal links should be updated to HTTPS, and all external links pointing to the website too.
Also, there may be temporary drops in ranking and traffic in the short term, but in most cases, if the site is properly configured, that’s only a temporary situation.
- Non-Responsive Design
The biggest mobile SEO flaw anyone can think of is a non-responsive design. If your site was a responsive design, it ensures that your site displays content properly on a wide range of device sizes. Example: facebook.com can open on multiple devices without distorting content; everything is visible, just smaller.
- Slow Page Load Speed
The more content-heavy your site is, the longer it can take to load. If your site takes a while to load, users can easily lose interest. Slow page load speed can lead to high bounce rates and lower visibility in mobile search results.
- Lack of Mobile-Specific Meta Data
Not using meta tags, such as the “viewport” meta tag, to control how the content of your website is scaled and displayed on different mobile devices can lead to a poor user experience and visibility in mobile search results.
- Blocked Resources
Mobile App Interstitials
Ever had a pop-up full-screen ad when browsing your phone? They are called Interstitial Ads. They are full-screen ads that usually cover your entire screen. These types of pop-up ads are considered highly engaging with higher click ratios. Although it can be annoying, google has approved the use of such ads.
There are a few things that should be considered before setting up Interstitials.
The advertiser must set an AD that covers only 50 and 40% of the screen width and height. It’s a requirement set by Google itself. Besides that, interstitials can also cause a variety of secondhand SEO problems.
- Bad User Experience
Ad Interstitials are effective but interrupt a user’s experience too. Since the Ads generally cover a lot of space, they can lead to high bounce rates and lower engagement.
- Affects Mobile Rankings
The use of intrusive interstitials will definitely impact a website’s search rankings. Google has demoted sites that use full-screen ads without a proper way to close the ads ever since 2017.
- Reduces Conversions
Ad interstitials can reduce conversions by distracting users from the main call to action or making it harder for them to complete a task, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.
Best Practices for Mobile SEO:
- Have a responsive design: A responsive design leads to good user conversions and lower bounce rates. This can be easily done by adding a line of code to your HTML head portion. It can be found in Growfore’s source code too.
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1“>
- A fast-loading website is essential for a good mobile user experience. Google has a tool called PageSpeed Insights that can help you analyze and optimize the speed of your website on both mobile and desktop devices.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights for Mobile and Desktop.
- Also, check your robots.txt file to ensure you are not blocking important resources for your mobile site. Administrators should also use lower-resolution images to help load your site faster.
- Desktop sites should be made canonical to mobile sites for better SEO.
If you ever plan to expand your site to many different regions, It’s called internalization. Internationalization (i18n) in SEO refers to the process of optimizing a website to reach and engage an international audience.
SEO Checklist for Internalization:
- Hire a language translator to translate your content. AI is not fully competent enough to translate all but simple phrases. Chances are your content is a bit complex for other international users to understand. A faulty translation can be a huge problem for international users. Create a proper target audience list for different countries.
- Use the tools you have at your disposal. Webmaster tools like Google Search Console can help you configure your website to target the proper audience and countries.
- The problem of duplicate content can arise as multiple language versions of the same site exist. Use canonical tags to indicate the original version of the site to avoid impacting your search rankings.
- Create content according to the region you want to target. Have content tailored to a specific culture, language, and interests of the community to improve engagement and win hearts.
Hreflang tags are the HTML elements that inform search engines to know which language version of your website is meant for which audience. This helps a lot in internalization, as the tags help minimize confusion for both users and engines.
Admins can follow the code below and add it to the header section of their site source code.
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” href=”http://example.com/page” />
X = language or regional code
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=”http://howtodo.com”/how-to-approach>
Things to Remember While Using Hreflang Tags
- Use them on all versions of the page: Hreflang tags should be included on all versions of the page, not just the default version.
- Use the correct language and regional codes: Use the correct language and regional codes to indicate which version of the page is intended for which audience.
- Use the correct URL: Use the appropriate URL for each version of the page, as this will help search engines understand which version of the page should be served to users.
- While Google has the majority of the search engine market, people should also know that not all users use google. Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China are some examples. This is why users should try and cater to optimizing sites for such search engines.
It is essential that you optimize your content properly for a better user experience. Here are a few errors you can make while writing and publishing your content.
|Errors In Title Segment|
|Titles missing brand name|
|Titles have inconsistent brand names|
|Titles contain pipes|
|Titles are too long|
|Titles are too short|
|Titles for paginated pages do not contain page numbers|
|Unique pages (pages containing self-referential canonical tags) contain duplicate titles|
|Titles are generic|
|Pages missing H1 tags|
|H1s are irrelevant to the content displayed on pages|
|Errors in Meta Descriptions|
|Missing meta descriptions|
|Meta descriptions are too short|
|Meta descriptions do not contain a clear call to action|
|Meta descriptions contain pipes|
|Meta descriptions for paginated pages do not contain page numbers|
|Unique pages (pages containing self-referential canonical tags) contain duplicate meta descriptions|
|Meta descriptions are generic|
Hopefully, you’ve grasped the basics of Technical SEO.
Content Optimizing to Avoid Stale Contents
Problems with Stale Content
- Decreases user engagement as stale content can be misleading with higher bounce rates. No one wants incorrect information.
- Stale content is regarded as lower quality by search engines, leaving your site with a negative impression. Lower-quality content will rank lower by default.
- The more users trust your site the higher search engine bots will rank your site. False information will decrease user engagement and trust in your site.
- Stale content also has no value to a server, so it is a waste of server space.
Addressing Stale Contents
Solutions to stale content are generally direct.
Be sure to conduct regular content audits and review them. Update any content on your website if necessary. Content that is stale and useless should be removed from your site to free up server space and for a better server reputation. It’s always better to create fresh new content for the site than to plagiarize someone else’s.
E-commerce Web Development: Things You Need To Know
From a purely statistical point of view, it isn’t easy to compete in the e-commerce business. The number of new eCommerce businesses is growing every day, totaling well over 25 million. You’re going to need a stronger foundation and planning if you want to stand out.
While eCommerce web development itself is a tricky process, e-commerce adds another layer of trickiness. Here are some key points to consider if you’re planning to set up an e-commerce website.
- Know your market and business opportunities. Develop a business model accordingly.
- Mobile users make up the bulk of internet users, so trying to optimize your site to be mobile-friendly is the best practice for any eCommerce website.
- Businesses should be authentic, and users should be safe from scams with proper identification.
- If customer checkouts aren’t smooth, i.e; a customer has to go through slow loads, multiple pop-ups, logins, and transaction notifications, it decreases user satisfaction.
- Increased user satisfaction leads to higher use and loyalty among customers.
5 Things to Consider Before E-Commerce Website Development
- Understand the Business Model/Shopping Experience
Knowing what type of business model you are following is essential to know your market and opportunities. Perhaps your model is business to consumer? Or business to business model? There are many business models out there and each requires careful business model strategy and discussion.
The shopping experience is an even greater factor in your e-commerce business. A bad shopping experience leads to losing customers. A good shopping experience on the other hand leads to a growth in customer loyalty and brand growth.
“Retaining an existing customer is 5 times as more cost-effective than acquiring a new one”
The following statement is not a business secret. By just having a little higher customer retention, your sell rate jumps drastically.
- Know Key Competitors
No industry in the world is without any competition. It’s essential to know your competitors to stay ahead of your business. Competitor analysis is a method to learn about your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.
If your competitors are ahead in the eCommerce business, you’ll have to analyze why they’re so strong, and what tactics they use to retain and gain customers. How you can strategize and take advantage of their weaknesses?
Competitor analysis isn’t always about toppling others but learning the ways to become better. It’s a researched based analysis that includes research of their products, marketing strategies, social media presence, and other loopholes they follow.
Knowing your key competitors is a surefire way of devising a good plan to kickstart your business.
- Discuss platform options
As far as building an e-commerce website goes, platforms are essential. E-commerce platforms provide essential tools and infrastructure to manage an online store. They allow you to manage products, create a shopping cart, do payment processing, and order management. Even more, developers can use inbuilt SEO tools and look at the overall report of the website.
There are many popular e-commerce platforms available for you to choose from. What platform you choose depends on your particular needs and budget.
- Developing a proper marketing strategy
Marketing strategies play a huge role in gaining customers. Have a great catchy advertisement on a good platform, and you’ll reach out to thousands. Marketing has never been easier. From social media to newspapers and billboards, we have it all.
Catching up on the latest trends, fashion, thoughts, and ideas can be one great way to analyze what the current market demands. If you’re wondering if some jokes can do well, humor too plays some role in brand identity.
- Research the proper layout of the site
From where to put the checkout button, to how to navigate the page, everything requires proper research. Tiny details like the placement of buttons can play a huge role in a customer’s buying. A site needs to be decorated well with graphics so that a user doesn’t have to navigate through a dull-looking site.
10 Must-have Features for E-Commerce Website
- Responsive Design
Responsive web design is a method of programming your website in such a way that the website can adapt to different screen sizes so that all images, content, and structure look the same.
Adding a responsive design to your eCommerce website can enable mobile users to freely navigate your site. Mobile users make up the bulk of internet users, so trying to optimize your site to be mobile-friendly is the best practice for any eCommerce website.
If you encounter a website that has enlarged or pixelated graphics, it’s definitely unresponsive. A good responsive eCommerce website ensures users of all types of devices have a smooth, uninterrupted experience and a clear view structure of the website.
- Website Security
Security is the main factor for any business. This proves especially so if you want to establish an e-commerce website. E-commerce websites are victims of many online cyber-attacks. To protect customers from cyber-attacks, e-commerce security is essential.
E-commerce security is the guidelines and protocols that ensure transactions between the user and business are safe. Safety is the biggest concern. By any chance, if your customers get scammed through your website, they’ll lose a lot of trusts.
Basics of your e-commerce security include
Protection of user’s data from unauthorized third parties.
Ensuring customers’ shared information remains safe and unaltered.
Businesses should be authentic, and users should be safe from scams with proper identification. Includes login information with security measures so that buyers can keep their accounts safe.
Non-repudiation generally means “non-denial”. Having your transaction or order canceled can be a major dissatisfaction to both customer and the business. Non-repudiation is a legal principle that stops the cancellation of actions in a transaction.
- Good UI and UX
User Interface is a user-facing design that appears on a webpage or application. A good UI provides a good shopping experience. Best user interface practices include a clear call to action, well-optimized and colorful product images, ratings, clear site navigation, and related products.A good clean user interface leads to a better UX (User experience).
We know how much important user experience is in customer retention. A clean, uncluttered UI is the best practice for user experience. Customers shouldn’t be overwhelmed with unnecessary products or information.
A common mistake with e-commerce websites is the matter of hiding prices. Prices for products should not be hidden but transparent between customers and buyers. As many as 50% of the users are reported to leave the site due to unexpected cash outs.
- Multiple Payment Options and Checkout
Just limiting your customers to pay through a single payment option is a bad practice. Having multiple choices gives customers options of paying through options they find convenient. Giving customers multiple payment options also makes them feel secure while carrying out transactions.
Another key importance of multiple payment options is internalization. If you plan to expand your business for multiple reasons, chances are some payment methods do not work. Adding more payment options increases the chances of sales. Checkout options include features such as guest checkouts, favorite items, wishlists, social logins, remember me, and such. This information can be used to improve the shopping experience through flash sales, offers, and promotions.
If customer checkouts aren’t smooth, i.e; a customer has to go through multiple pop-ups, logins, and transaction notifications, it decreases user satisfaction. A clean, quick, and anonymous checkout page can help a lot in boosting your sales.
- Optimizing Site Performance and Load Speeds
Site responsiveness is another factor of site optimization too. The amount of time it takes for a site to load for a user is known as load speed. In easy words, a site that takes longer to load will lead to higher bounce rates. A well-optimized site and faster loading speeds are important. They directly impact the user experience on the site.
Faster loading times lead to higher user retention and ultimately a higher placement in search engine results. The slower it loads, the worse it gets. A good practice for a faster page load is reducing file sizes of media using efficient coding and proper management of resources.
- Good Product Description and Placement
Many e-commerce websites use psychological tactics to manipulate a user’s mood. Even if a customer does not have a need for certain things, a cleverly placed promotion can make them want a product. The same goes for a product’s descriptions, imagery, and placements.
We discussed how a good UI can help customers stay on your site longer. Good product placement goes hand in hand with UI. The longer customers stay on your site watching well-placed advertisements, the more likely they are to buy your products.
- Queries, Feedback, and Complaints
Customers will need a place on the site where they can voice out their queries, concerns, and feedback. They provide customers with a way to communicate with the business. It also makes the business look approachable, open to feedback, and caring for customers.
When such queries, feedback, and complaints are answered and solved, it builds trust and loyalty with customers. It ultimately leads to a positive relationship between consumers and businesses. In the end, it’s all about customer retention and loyalty.
- CMS Integration
Basically, a Content Management System (CMS) is an integration that helps you manage and update your content easily on the site.
While an eCommerce platform provides you with tools to manage an online store, it cannot assist you in managing blogs, marketing, product, and order management. With a CMS, businesses can easily update their products and contents keeping them fresh. CMS is also responsible for managing blog posts, landing pages, and online forums.
CMS helps businesses save time with easier management of their entire site’s content. Content relevancy is an important aspect of a business and your content management system makes it easier.
- Shopping Cart Design
A well-designed shopping cart can make the process of checking out easy. The smoother the transaction is, the more trust a customer builds toward the business. A good shopping cart looks friendly and has visible buttons so users can interact without confusion (clear calls to action). Customers should be able to easily add extra items to the target shopping cart, view it or remove items.
An example of a Shopping cart design from Amazon . Clear, unclustered with a clear call to action.
- Shipping and Rate
Ever had a time when an online advertisement featured a product on sale for an unbelievably cheap price? Only to be bombarded with a massive shipping fee during checkout. The following practice gives a very negative user experience due to sudden unexpected fees.
According to an e-commerce survey, around 55% of the users leave the site due to unexpected shipping rates. Be transparent with your shipping fees and other hidden rates. If a featured product is free shipping, mention it. If your product has sales, feature it. Do not hide anything.
E-Commerce is a massive growing industry and is a great way to reach a wider audience. There are many things legal and ethical that businesses have to follow in order to gain user trust and loyalty. In the end, user experience is the most essential factor to any business. Keeping the above factors in mind before proceeding with your e-commerce website will give you the required skill to have maximum user retention.
Make sure your site is well-optimized and not following any false practices. Google is quick to catch up on such practices and you do not want to be penalized.
With our custom E-commerce Website Development Services , you can take your online business to the next level. We can help you increase your online sales by creating a seamless shopping experience for your customers.
Contact us today and start building your eCommerce website today!
Voice Search In SEO
“Hey Google, what’s the best restaurant around my area?”
Questions such as these are voice aided. The AI makes queries based on your input voice. This speech recognition technology has proven itself to be a big boon for businesses.
As time progresses, we have seen a rapid rise in the voice search market on search engines. Voice search has been considered by many to be the future of online research. Ever since people started using their voice for search engine queries, it has only been growing popular.
If you aren’t familiar with the term voice search SEO even as a business owner, it is time to step up your game. It’s time to make sure the voice queries related to your business show up as the #1.
- Voice recognition technology allows the devices to recognize human voices and translate them into text.
- Optimizing your content so that voice search displays to users is called voice search optimization.
- Make sure your site is well-optimized for mobile phones so that your results are preferred by voice search results whenever a query is made through it.
- Use long tail keywords with natural language in your content
- Make use of an FAQ section in your content so it can be displayed more easily.
What is Voice Search?
In simple words, if you search for something in search engines through your voice, it is called a voice search. Voice searches do not require any writing to be done and eliminate a layer of effort.
Voice recognization technology allows the devices to recognize human voices and translate spoken words into text.
The process of optimizing your pages for voice searches is known as voice search optimization. A voice search optimization strategy takes into account the way people conduct verbal searches. Having your pages read out loud by a voice search device is possible with voice search optimization.
Users can get results to their queries through smartphones, speakers, and tablets. They can even use voice recognition technology to play their music, book appointments and so much more.
Some AI-powered voice search bots are:
So, you are free to ask questions to Google without needing to type anything at all.
Increasing Popularity of Voice Search
What does voice search offer that makes it popular among users? Voice Search eliminates the need for manual work. You don’t need to type at all. It has grown even rapidly due to the advancements in artificial intelligence and speech recognition technology.
Getting results to your questions in a matter of few seconds by just speaking into a device has made things so much convenient. This is why smart speakers and virtual assistants are slowly dominating the internet market.
According to a survey, more than 70% of Americans prefer using voice search. With people slowly shifting into voice search technology, businesses have been paying increasing attention to optimizing their websites to voice search.
It has become essential for your business to be well-optimized for voice searches.
How does Voice Search Work?
Voice search works through a technology known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). When a user makes a query through their voice, the speech is recorded by the devices. The recorded speech is then converted into text and processed by NLP algorithms. If there are any grammatical errors, the AI tries to fix them too.
Once the voice search query is processed, the result is then shown/voiced to the user. These results are presented to the user in a conversational format.
Since you’re using a voice search, the AI may use your location services to provide a better-geotargeted result.
The Importance of Voice Search
- Convenience is the primary reason why people prefer using voice search. Voice search provides a hands-free way for users to browse the web. Why bother typing when you can just talk?
- Voice search-powered AIs talk to users in real-time. Voice search allows users to use natural language and phrasing providing a better user-friendly experience. These AIs can also provide personalized results to users based on their preferences and history.
- Voice search is useful for people with disabilities or who have difficulty typing. With voice-guided queries, they can easily access information online.
- For businesses, voice search can be a great way for targeting mobile users. Mobile users make a bulk of voice search and search engine searches.
7 Best Voice Search Practices in SEO
- Create long-tail keywords with natural language
If we see the trends of the number of keywords in a single search engine query, it has mostly been short and generic. However, with voice search, users use longer phrases as it’s mostly conversational.
Long-tail keywords are more specific and relevant for users. Optimizing longer specific keywords help improve a site’s visibility in the search engines. Make sure to include long-tail keywords in your content titles and meta descriptions to reach a wider audience.
The following is an example of a short-tail keyword that has found much success in SEO. These small keywords keep things simple and short.
The above query however is a long tail keyword. Since you’re having a conversation with an AI, long tail keywords are often used. It is essential to optimize your content both ways for maximum traffic.
- Optimize for Local SEO
A significant portion of your voice search queries are for finding local information. These include businesses, restaurants, services, and office addresses. Voice searches are mostly meant for relevant queries and include keywords such as “near me”.
Near Me is a geo-location-based keyword that shows you the local areas around you. If you have a business and want to appear in local search results, you’ll have to optimize your site accordingly.
Local SEO provides more accurate information results when conducting a voice search. A well-optimized local SEO site appears more frequently on voice search results with high traffic.
- Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are short blocks of answers to specific questions that appear at the top of the search result pages. They feature a short answer to a certain keyword query that provides quick and relevant answers to the users.
Featured snippets are often read aloud by a virtual assistant when conducting a voice search optimization strategy. The snippets become a great way to improve a website’s traffic and visibility across the search engine.
The best practice for featured snippets is to have clear concise answers to specific questions on the websites. By using header tags, structured data, well-rounded information, and lists, your snippet will surely end up in voice search results.
- Optimize for Mobile
We know that mobile and local searches make up more than 60% of search engine queries. Making sure your site is well optimized for mobile is key for succeeding in voice search rankings. A well-optimized mobile site ensures that users can easily access and navigate through your site. Mobile-friendly sites are more likely to appear in voice search results through the phone.
The idea is very simple. Make sure your site is well-optimized for mobile phones so that your results are preferred by voice search results whenever a query is made through mobile phones.
- Use Structured Data
Structured data are lines of code that are written in a certain order or structure. It helps search engine bots understand the page better. It provides information on the content such as titles, descriptions, and rich media that give a better user experience.
Using structured data enhances internet visibility, making sure bots are able to index your site. Structured data work with voice search too. Virtual Assistants prioritize the display of structured data as it’s neater and easier to understand for users.
- Create content that is more question-answer based
Voice search prefers giving answers to your queries through featured snippets. FAQ-style questions are similar to featured snippets, providing direct and relevant answers.
Your content should focus more on answering questions that go “why”, “who”, “what”, and “how” as they are conversational questions. Users ask questions starting with these during voice searches. Making sure you have FAQs answering such related questions will give you better visibility.
Conversational tones with questions such as “why” help voice search engines understand the content on a website better. It provides a better result that way. If your content is better and frequently updated, search engines can establish the site as a reputable source of information.
Consider keeping questions in your content most likely to be asked.
- Analyzing your reports and analytics
Tracking the growth metrics of your site is essential for the success of your voice search optimization. Without proper analysis and reports for your efforts, it becomes pointless. Make sure you keep track of voice search impressions, clicks, conversion, and bounce rates. This will help you optimize your site accordingly to provide the best user experience.
Voice search is a rapidly growing technology with users increasing each day. It is transforming the way people search for information online. As virtual assistants get more capable, we can see how useful voice search becomes.
It is clear that businesses that decide to invest in optimizing their content for voice search will perform better in the long run.