Screaming Frog v10 force directed directory graph in purple

New Toy! Screaming Frog version 10 review

If you are a SEO you know of Screaming Frog, a tool used to analysis a website by crawling each page on the site as a search spider would. Screaming Frog just released version 10, a major enhancement that just may make it my new favorite toy.

Embracing the Concept of Indexable

One of my biggest beefs with Screaming Frog has been that it didn’t have the concept of indexability. Let me illustrate what I mean by this with an example.

When you crawl a website with Screaming Frog, it organizes the results into tabs that align with on page elements important for SEO. The titles tab lists the URLs and the title tags found on the page which then can be filtered for potential SEO issues such as duplicate title tags.

It’s frustrating to see a list of pages with duplicate titles only to investigate and find out they have been addressed with the canonical tag. If only Screaming Frog understood the concept of indexability and showed me only duplicate titles that have not been addressed. Other crawlers such as Deep Crawl and OnCrawl do this, why not Screaming Frog?

In version 10 Screaming Frog has addressed this shortcoming. In most of the tabs you’ll find two new fields, Indexability and Indexability Status. The first field is set by the crawl to either “Indexable” or “Non-Indexable”, the second field will tell you why Screaming Frog considers the page Non-Indexable. For example the status field could be set to “Canonicalised” (Screaming Frog is a British company, hence the “s” instead of “z”) indicating that the page is not indexable because there is a pointer to a “canonical” (or representative) page of a group of pages.

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Fandango chat bot

Improving Conversion Rate Of Your Social Media Traffic

Businesses that rely a lot on SEO and Google Adwords (or Google Ads as it is known now) for paying customers face a pretty daunting problem – the cost and time to acquire customers can be high. But these are tried and true lucrative channels if done right. On the flip side, monetizing Social Media has always been a struggle for many.

And it’s true, visitors from social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn may not always have the same purchasing intent as search visitors. So while they are good for building traction and followers, converting these visitors may seem like a tough call. But companies are doing it. One study found that the average conversion rate is 9.21% with Facebook Ads. This is way higher than the average landing page conversion rate of 2.35% across all industries.

If your social media campaigns have not been yielding such results yet, here are a few tips to improve your customer targeting and increasing conversion rate of your social media visitors.

Picking the right Social Media platform

Social media marketing requires a great deal of patience and investment. You need to focus on the key platforms that make sense for your business and your target market. If your market is Gen Z, Instagram, which is most popular among 18-24 year olds, might be a great fit. The type of company you are makes a difference too. Linkedin is popular with B2B (business to business) companies and service providers.
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Forget Page Load Time, Say Hello to First Meaningful Paint

If I were to tell you that your homepage loads in 10 seconds, would you worry? After all there is study after study concluding that site visitors get impatient and leave if a site doesn’t load in 3 seconds.

So is a total page load time of 10 seconds a showstopper? It depends.

The challenge we have when it comes to page speed and websites today, is that web pages are getting more complex, more image rich, all which takes a toll on page load time.

A straight forward simple HTML page of text from the 90s will load much more quickly, but your user might just leave anyway out of boredom. So what do we do? We really can’t turn back the clock.

The answer is that you optimize your page speed for above the fold.

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Domain Management

Domain Forwarding and SEO

Updated March 5, 2018

Ever worked with a lead management marketing system? There are many out there, for a monthly fee, you get a website complete with a choice of landing pages, auto-responders (often prewritten for you) and a contact management system. They work well with online advertising; where your banner, PPC ads drive traffic directly to your pre-built landing pages, generating leads for you.

So what about setting up your own domain and pointing it to your marketing system? Not a problem, for $10 or so, you buy a domain and then forward it to your marketing system URL.

This won’t cause any SEO problems for my new domain, right? Well, “it depends”.

Little did I know that when I wrote those words in 2011 I would get a flood of questions about Domains, SEO and redirects! This expanded post will help answer them!

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Website Builder Components

Squarespace SEO Review

Since my SEO review of WiX attracted a lot of attention, today I’m doing another review of another popular website builder, Squarespace.

As with WiX, Squarespace also offers beautiful templates that makes it easy to create a professional looking website without paying big bucks to a developer to create it for you.

The flip side with any of these website builders is that you lose the ability to completely customize your site, including in some cases, the ability to fine tune certain on page SEO factors.

But when it comes to Squarespace, we aren’t talking about a big brand with an equally big budget looking to capitalize on every competitive SEO edge possible. The typical Squarespace user is a small business that needs “good enough” SEO.

So the question is, is Squarespace “good enough” and what are some of the “must knows” when it comes to SEO and Squarespace?

That’s what I’m going to cover in this post.

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Casual Conversation about SEO with Gary Illyes

A Conversation with Gary Illyes

I had the great privilege to have coffee with Gary Illyes (@methode), a Google webmaster trends analyst dedicated to creating a better search experience for users. Well known in the SEO industry, Gary often speaks at search conferences and is frequently interviewed and quoted in the major SEO blogs.

Most interviews with Gary focus on big changes at Google, such as mobile first indexing (which yes, is still coming). These are important but tend to be a higher level conversation. I wanted to ask Gary more tactical questions related to current issues I’m seeing in the daily work I do as a SEO. So the below dialog covers JavaScript, International SEO, GSC URL parameters, a potential change to robots.txt and more. If you have an interest in technical SEO, there should definitely be a nugget or two of interest. So keep reading!

The image above is the upper portion of a lovely painting titled “Casual Conversations” by Richard Rappaport (Own work) [license CC BY-SA 4.0], the full image can be found on the Wikimedia Commons

Speaking of Casual Conversations …..

One thing I do want to make clear is that the Q and A below is not an exact transcription. It was derived from the gist of our conversation and I’ve paraphased, but I’ve done my best to accurately reflect his comments.

Now that is out of the way, let’s dive in.

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New Google Search Console Performance Dashboard

New Google Search Console is here!

On January 8, 2018, Google announced that the new Google Search Console will be rolling out to all users. This new version has been in beta for a few months, soon it will be available to everyone.

One very exciting aspect of the new GSC is that keyword and ranking data will be available for up to 16 months! A big improvement over the old limited 90 days of data that we used to get.

Keep an eye out for an email from Google with the subject “Introducing the new Google Search Console” that will notify you when you have access.

Introducing the new Google Search Console

I have a client that has access so I took a tour and have screenshots to share with you in this post.

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beautiful front door

SEO Copywriting: A Powerful Combination You Need To Master

Having a perfectly optimized site for SEO is a beautiful thing.

  • The search engines have no problem crawling it
  • Your site has no baggage like duplicate content or missing title tags
  • Your pages are ranking for the right keywords
  • And your users are not leaving in frustration because your site renders quickly on a mobile device.

So why aren’t more visitors flocking to your site?

One possible overlooked reason is that you are just not getting the click.

Is your front door scaring visitors away?

There is a reason that realtors like to see a nice front door for the house they are selling. It sets the tone for the rest of the house and leaves a lasting first impression.

A ugly front door? Not a great first impression.

Ugly and scary front door

A freshly painted door that has a nice design? The potential buyer starts dreaming of living there even before opening the door.

Each of your site’s web pages has a front door. Called snippets, these are the listings in the search engine results pages.

If you are familiar with SEO, you know that, that in most cases, the snippets are created from the title tag and meta description tag.

You also probably know that it’s important to have your keywords in both of these tags. While the meta description tag doesn’t help you rank, when it comes to your title tag it is the most important element of your HTML for ranking.

Neither the title tag or the meta description actually show up on the page. They live in the “HEAD” section of your html along with other meta information that describe the page and its characteristics.

You can see your title tag in your browser tab just like in the screenshot below.

example-title-tag

As a SEO consultant I work everyday with clients to help their sites get more organic traffic by ranking highly in the search engine results pages. I’m often surprised at how often my clients don’t look at their “front doors” for their site.

It’s like dressing up the bathrooms with pretty towels but not doing anything about your dingy front door. If your prospective buyer drives by your house and crosses it off the list due to poor curb appeal, then those pretty towels haven’t helped you make your sale one bit.

Seeing a list of your “front doors”

Both Google and Bing have a handy command you can use with search to get a list of your pages snippets.

Simply add “site:” in front of your domain name and you should see a list of your website’s pages. If you have a larger site you likely won’t get a full list but you’ll see a sample.

Site: example

The first thing to check is to make sure you have keywords in your snippets.

The second thing is to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal prospect and for each of your important pages ask yourself the question:

“Would I click on this?”

If the answer is “no” or “maybe” then you have some work to do.

And this is where SEO copywriting comes in.

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4 black

Niche eCommerce Business has been Ringing Up Sales for 23 years

What does it take to successfully launch and grow a niche ecommerce business?

We find out when I interview Elisabeth Halvorson, founder of Cowbells.com who turned an childhood dream into a niche ecommerce success story.

Why did you start a business selling cowbells?

When I was 7, I wanted to be in the Olympics. A few careers later, I was able to catch up with that dream by delivering cowbells to cheer on athletes during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games…. hey, mittens don’t clap. It was a RINGING success! We medaled in souvenir sales as the #2 most popular item behind the Roots beret. Since then, we’ve added more cowbell styles and a “s” to our name….

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Outbound links: 4 best practices

Do Outbound Links Help or Hurt SEO? 4 Best Practices.

Updated for 2017.

Recently an email from a top media site was shared with me:

“…we would really rather not edit the links in our author bios to “follows” from “nofollow.” With the number of contributed articles (and articles, period) that we publish every day, we are leaking SEO authority with every “follow” link we allow.”

At the time I saw this email I was surprised, I had thought that the notion that outbound linking “leaks” link juice from a site had died a deserved death many years ago.

Myth or Reality: Outbound links bad for SEO

Myth or Fact? Outbound Links are Bad for SEO

To understand the reasoning behind this, it’s helpful to understand that each site is assigned a certain amount of SEO authority that flows from the home page through first the links on the home page and then through out the rest of the site. So does make some logical sense that you are losing SEO authority when you link out to external site.

However most SEOs believe this is a myth.

What is an outbound link?

An outbound link is a link that links outside of your domain to an external site. When a visitor clicks on an outbound link, they will leave your site, this is why some websites open external links in a new browser window. Conversely inbound links (often referred to as backlinks) are incoming links from other sites to yours.

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