Sometimes SEO can feel like you’re going to war with Google, but if you’re trying to rank locally above national companies Google is actually on your side! Google has been updating their algorithms over the past few years to prioritize local results. The following tips will help you improve your local search engine optimization efforts for your business.
Google Analytics (GA) has finally created the benchmarking report users have been asking for! This report allows webmasters and marketers to access industry averages and compare site traffic to their competition. Benchmarking against competitors is a terrific asset for analyzing a site performance and setting marketing goals and objectives.
The catch? GA users must share their own information (anonymously) to access the report. While some users may be weary of volunteering their information in order to access this tool, we believe the benefits of having access to industry averages far outweighs the inconvenience of sharing information.
“Google Analytics’ benchmarking report is an invaluable tool for assessing a website’s performance against the competition. Having a report that allows you to compare sessions, device, and Channel Grouping provides marketers with the data we need to further analyze and improve a website’s marketing campaign.” Lisa Emrich, Director of Marketing, Atomic Design.
How do I assess Benchmarking on Google Analytics?
Benchmarking reports are currently available to a select few accounts. As we mentioned, only users who have opted to “Share anonymously with Google and others” will have access to the reports. Google plans to roll out the new reporting interface over the next few weeks and will add to the reports functionality in the future.
Google Analytics Benchmarking report details
We have a feeling that these reports will become increasingly detailed and specialized in the future, but for now the benchmarking report will offer the following:
- 1600 industry categories
- 1250 markets
- 7 size buckets
In addition you will be able to compare your data against benchmarks for the following metrics:
- New Sessions
- Average Session Duration
- Bounce rate
- Default Channel Grouping
We will provide more information on the benchmarking report as Google Analytics makes updates to the feature. Follow our blog to stay up to date on the latest industry trends.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, hinted at Google using HTTPS as a ranking signal months ago and now it’s official. For the first time ever, Google has announced that it’s factoring HTTPS into its search algorithm for the search engine. While the Internet giant admitted that this would be a relatively weak ranking factor, they admit that this may change in the future.
With the rise in the importance of social media and the crackdown on a number of black hat techniques, the SEO landscape has changed drastically over the last few years. If you haven’t updated your SEO strategy recently it’s a good idea to assess the techniques you’re using. The following strategies are outdated time wasters at best and potential disasters at worst:
More and more small business are turning to “do it yourself” website building programs due to budget constraints. These programs allow users to easily build custom mobile websites using a low-cost or free CMS. Often times these programs will impact on a website’s search engine rankings. Below is an analysis of two of the most popular “build it yourself” website programs and their impact on a site’s SEO.
The CEO of MOZ has public endorsed Squarespace, praising it’ s user experience, feature set, and SEO friendliness.
- Clean HTML markup
Clean code is important because it helps keep your information organized so search engines can easily understand it.
- Tag generation
Squarespace generates canonical tags for you, which resolves the issues of duplicate content and duplicate URLs. The site builder also generates alt tags with your image descriptions. Both are extremely important for SEO.
- Automatic file generation
Squarespace automatically generates the Robots.txt file and XML sitemaps. Both of these features provide search engines, such as Google, information on the pages of your site, and how to crawl and index them.
- Does not support custom meta tags
Aside from image metadata or alt tags users do not have the option to add custom meta tags to their websites. Description tags manually updated by users are overridden by Squarespace’s automatically generated tags.
- Limited custom functionality
You have limited add-ons available with Squarespace, and if your visitors are looking for functionality that’s not offered on your site they will visit a competitor. This will affect your bounce rate and traffic, both of which are ranking factors for search engines.
Squarespace is a great option for users who are unfamiliar with web development and have a low budget, but are looking for elegant, mobile friendly website. While there are some issues, Squarespace will provide you with a reliable website that’s easy to edit and customize. This would not be an ideal choice for users looking to rank well in the search engines.
There really is no higher authority in the SEO industry. Cutts has been singing the praises of WordPress for years. However, it must be noted that when Cutts was endorsing WordPress he was doing so in the context of a personal blog and not a business website.
- SEO Plugins
There are many great SEO plugins available for WordPress that allow you to easily implement SEO elements that are necessary for an effective SEO program.
Content, page themes and meta tags are all incredibly easy to customize on WordPress. The ability to add unique meta tags is a must for search engine optimization. If you know what you’re doing it’s possible to edit themes to reduce page load time. Google considers page load time is an important factor in its’ algorithm.
- You need to be technically savvy
Unless you are making a simple blog using a pre-existing template, WordPress can get very complicated very fast. In order to create a functioning site for a business some knowledge of HTML coding is necessary.
- Bad plugins
There are thousands are plugins on WordPress. While some incredibly useful, others can really hurt your SEO. Some plugins even add a “noindex” tag to some pages telling search engines to ignore that page.
When you make changes to the site things can easily go wrong. WordPress often rolls out version updates that are difficult to implement and may not work with existing plugins. In addition adding a new plugin to a WordPress site can cause issues to completely unrelated aspects of the site.
If you know what you’re doing WordPress is an excellent website builder with a lot of potential. Unfortunately, most people do not have the skill set to create a quality website that search engines favor.
Although neither program can compete with a fully customized mobile website, each has it’s own SEO benefits to offer a prospective user.
We suggest contacting a reputable web design agency as well so you have a good understanding of your options. A professionally built custom website is always the best option, and it may be within your budget.