Tweets Are Now Included in Google Desktop Search Results

Six months later after being first announced and after about a month of testing, , tweets are now included in Google Desktop search results. The feature is available to the desktop for all English language searchers globally.

Tweets will show up in a carousel in the main column of search results when they are relevant. Check yourself by searching for a notable public figure or brands and you will get a stream of their latest tweets embedded in the search results pages.

I searched for Richard Branson and the below is a screenshot of the result I got:

Google Is Rolling Out A New Interface For Hotel Finder

Google is now rolling out a new user interface for Google Hotel Finder.

The Hotel Finder is a search tool designed to make it easier to find and compare hotels for your trips and it was originally launched in 2011. Since that Google has implemented several updates and changes to the interface and features.

A Google spokesperson said, “We began rolling out the new interface and it should soon be fully visible by all users.”

LinkedIn Crosses 1 Million Publishers On Its Blogging Platform

Good news! LinkedIn crosses 1 million unique publishers on LinkedIn’s blogging platform.

“We just reached an incredible milestone for the LinkedIn publishing platform: 1 million professionals have now written a post on LinkedIn.”

I should admit that LinkedIn has always been one of my favorite websites. Since I joined it in January 2011, I have been constantly learning new insights from professionals all around the world.

When the publishing option first became available, I could not hide my excitement. In the beginning, I was following the Influencers. Later, when all English speaking members were able to publish on LinkedIn blogging platform, I didn’t hesitate to use this great opportunity straight away.

LinkedIn became for me a website for content curation, blogs, CV and more. It gave me an opportunity to follow and connect with the most influential people in my industry, learn from them and grow as a professional.

Today I have published my 20th post on LinkedIn and I am really excited about continuing publishing there. I remember I was really afraid to publish my first post and expose it to a large and professional LinkedIn community. My first post wasn’t definitely successful but I got some engagement and I moved on.

Later, a few of my posts were featured on LinkedIn pulse and one of them dedicated to Black hat social media crossed 3,000 views.

What is important, I understood that we should not be afraid to take the first steps. We should not be perfect to start things, we just need to start and make things better.

And if you are not publishing on LinkedIn, you should be. Why?

1 million unique publishers publish more than 130,000 posts a week on LinkedIn. About 45% of readers are in the upper ranks of their industries: managers, VPs, CEOs, etc. The top content-demanding industries are tech, financial services and higher education. The average post now reaches professionals in 21 industries and 9 countries.”

LinkedIn publishing is open to all English speaking members, and is said to soon be available in every language.

Good luck!

Why You Need Visual Content Marketing

Visual content has never been as important as today. It has become a vital part of content marketing strategy. For many Internet users visuals determine whether web content is worth their time. I personally think this definitely makes sense.

Today’s Internet is not what it was in the beginning or even a few years ago. Web is full of information while time is never enough for it. People basically scan the information through visuals and whatever helps them scan it quickly is more than welcome.

It’s definitely a great idea to use infographics, images, videos and other visuals right on the page instead of hyperlinking them in a content.

Why exactly visual content marketing should be an integral part of content marketing strategy? See the below points:

  • Almost 50% of our brain is involved in visual processing
  • 70% of all our sensory receptors are in our eyes
  • We can get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second

Text-based content without visuals is not what users are looking for today even on social networks. Text-based posts on social networks get less clicks and impact than the ones that contain beautiful images, for example.

We undoubtedly process visual content faster than the text-based one, however, a simple caption is many times required to tell a visual story more effectively. Visual content should be relevant, informative and organized.

Relevant, organized and informative visual content helps web users quickly get the principal idea of it. Visual content marketing is powerful and if you do it properly, you’ll definitely notice that your content marketing campaign works better.

No matter if you’re going to create a page or website, or publish another post in your blog, scan through the content and ask yourself a question whether you were able to get the idea by scanning it visually.

Check out my other post, if you would like to learn some more tips on how to make your content scannable.

Rel-Alternate-Hreflang Annotations: Common Issues To Pay Attention To

Depending on your business, products/services, you may want to serve different content to people from different countries, talking different languages. If you have multilingual and multinational websites, i.e. websites in different languages and on different domains/subdomains/folders, that’s the thing you should consider. The easiest way to provide the search engines information about your content targets is using hreflang annotations (for Google and Yandex, for Bing – scroll down).

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="x" href="example.com" />

Using rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” annotations is very useful, however you need to set up them properly. Here are some common issues with hreflang annotations that I have noticed.

1. WRONG LANGUAGE/COUNTRY CODES

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-UK" href="example.com" />

Google and Yandex both recommend using the language code in ISO 639-1 format and if you need to specify the country code, use the ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format.

The most common issue with these codes is using “en-UK” for website’s English language version for UK. If you check the ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 codes, you will find that it should be GB (Great Britain) and not UK (United Kingdom), so the corect language-country code for this is “en-GB“.

It is easy to avoid such issues just by double checking the language and region codes in Wikipedia.

2. UNNECESSARY REGIONAL CODES

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-ES" href="example.com" />

Not every website is multinational. Your website may have content in different languages which doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to specify country codes. For example, your web page is in Spanish and does not target any specific country, but you may see the hreflang value as “es_ES” which means your targeting is Spain. This is a wrong configuration and in most cases it happens as a result of using plugins (like translation or maybe SEO).

To avoid this situation, first you need to clarify your site’s targets. Just ask yourself if your website is for a specific country or for a list of countries. Then go ahead and add country codes (in ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format). But if your answer is no and your content is same in different languages for anyone and anywhere, only use the language codes. Make sure to double check the codes in your web pages source code to avoid automatically generated wrong hreflang values.

3. One page = One Country

There are cases when people target a single page for several countries. You can see this kind of hreflang annotations:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-GB" href="example.com/en" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-NZ" href="example.com/en" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-RU" href="example.com/en" />
... and so on ...
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-US" href="example.com/en" />

This is not correct. If you want to target your website for every region (i.e. not for a specific country) in a specific language, just specify the language only: hreflang=”en”

If you want to target each country separately for each language, you need to create a separate page for each of them and use the corresponding language-country codes. For example:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-GB" href="example.com/en-gb" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-US" href="example.com/en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-RU" href="example.com/en-ru" />

However, there should be a reason for making it so. You may want to have a separate page for each country if you, for example, have a local phone number or an address, or if the content differs slightly from region to region.

If you made this to affect your sites organic visibility in separate countries, you better don’t. Because it will not help and you will end up having a bunch of errors in your webmaster tools international targeting report.

4. Missing out the page itself

In many cases I notice that a lot of websites do not include the page itself in hreflang annotations.

For example, if you have a website (example.com) in 3 languages (en, es, jp), your JP page needs to have the hreflang=”jp” tag in addition to hreflang=”en” and hreflang=”es” tags.

3 languages = 3 rel=”alternate hreflang=”x” tags on each page: you should always include the language tag to the page itself and the code snippet on your site should look like the below codes for every page:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="example.com/en" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="example.com/es" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="jp" href="example.com/jp" />

5. Hreflang Annotations & Canonical – Targeting wrong pages

Your hreflang=”x” tags should include the URL versions that are the canonical ones. For example:

webpage URL: example.com/en/
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="example.com/en" />
<link rel="canonical" href="example.com/en/index.php" />

The correct option is to keep it consistent: a single URL structure and canonical and hreflang tags matching to it.

webpage URL: example.com/en/
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="example.com/en/" />
<link rel="canonical" href="example.com/en/" />

6. Missing Return Tags

As Google states:

If page A links to page B, page B must link back to page A. If this is not the case for all pages that use hreflang annotations, those annotations may be ignored or not interpreted correctly.

If you have a hreflang=”jp” href=”example.jp” on your example.es page, then your example.jp page must have the hreflang=”es” href=”example.es” tag as well.

You can check your webmaster tools international targeting report for such errors and correct them to avoind your link=”alternate” hreflang=”x” tags being ignored.

These are the most common issues I have noticed and hope it will help you better organize your hreflang annotations and avoid errors.

Bing does not support the hreflang annotations. Instead, it uses language meta tags, for example:

<meta http-equiv=”content-language” content="en-GB">

If you experience any other issues regarding hreflangs feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll be glad to analyze and help you.

New Blocked Resources Report in Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools now has a new cool report showing the blocked content used across the whole website. Here is the new report URL: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/roboted

The report includes the files you might have unintentionally blocked from crawling, for example some images, css or javascript files, or there may be resources loaded externally.

Here’s a screenshot of the report for one of our client’s websites, which shows that there are quite a lot of blocked content:

The blocked resources report shows the hosts and the number of blocked resources on them. When you select a host, the report lists the blocked resources and the number of pages affected.

From the list you can select a resource and check out the affected pages. This can you help find out the issues you might have missed so far. Check it out!

Tips for Local SEO in 2015

If your business targets your local audience, undoubtedly, local SEO is very important to you. As in traditional, in local SEO also many tactics change.

How to optimize your page for local searches in 2015? I want to share with you a few basic tips for local SEO optimization for this year.

  • Content

Content is important not only in traditional SEO but in local as well. Put quality keyword-targeted content on the home page. If you have no content on your home page or if it as short as 2 or 3 sentences, you need to add to be able to rank better for the targeted keywords in the local search results. So, the first thing to do when optimizing a page for local SEO is to provide your homepage with the quality content. Don’t forget to include your city and state information in it. To show local relevancy, also include the above information in your heading (H1 tag).

  • Keywords in the content

While it is good to have keywords on the home page, it’s not about spamming. You can see on some of the websites a list of cities/countries separated by commas, trying to rank for all of the words. This is something you should never do as it does not help ranking at all.

  • Title tag

The title tag is one of the main ranking factors for the local search. Include your city and state in your title tag. You have 500px width of title tag and try to keep to this number. Put the main keyword in the beginning and the company name in the end. For instance: Online Marketing and Web Development Company | SEO Century.

Do not stuff your title tag with keywords.

  • Images / Alt Attribute

As you know Google bot cannot see an image, but it can definitely read your alt attribute for the image. Don’t miss this opportunity of including keyword (city, state) in alt. This will help you boost local relevancy and improve rankings.

  • NAP

Name – Address – Phone number – this is a golden rule for local SEO. You should always keep consistent the name, address and phone number of your business.

  • URL

Finally, about the URLs. Include your city and state information in the URL. This is a strong signal in the local search.

The idea of optimizing your website in local search results is simple – it is to do all the above naturally. After that you need to earn awesome links and citations which will help you do even better in your local search strategy.

While the above tips may sound very basic to you, many websites still miss good alt attributes or proper titles (sometimes they are either desperately long or short), as well as important information on the home page, etc.

For more information, check out local search rankings survey from Moz.

Top 5 SEO Tips Every Webmaster Should Follow

Every webmaster should have a list of SEO must-dos. We have dozens of websites on the web that are created without SEO in mind and are not being optimized.

What are the top things every webmaster should care about?

Make your website crawlable. First of all, make sure all the pages you want to be crawled are not hidden from search engine bots. Also, your users should be able to find the information they’re looking for in minimum clicks, otherwise there’s a big risk of bounce rate increase. For instance, you can put your business hours on your page, or if you are a restaurant include your menu as a plain text and not PDF so this content is available both to users and search engine crawlers.

Titles describe your pages to search engines.Titles are very important in SEO. Consider your titles as a space where you put your keywords. Include the most important phrases in your titles, i.e. the keywords that describe your business and the ones you want the particular page to rank for. In order to do this, think of yourself as a user and try to put a list of keywords a user is going to type. Also, perform keyword research and analysis to make sure you have chosen the proper key phrases.

Description entices clicking. Description appears in search engine results snippet and is important in terms of improving click through rate (CTR). It will appear in SERP right after the title so put there the best description for the page that will entice clicking. Obviously, for the website with thousands of pages, it would be hard to have a description for each page. At least, provide the most important pages with well-written descriptions.

Great content is scannable. Do not make it short, make it easier to read. Content is the king. Great content can improve your website’s ranking, drive traffic and links to it. But what kind of content is considered a great one?

Many researches show people do not read the content in full. They would rather scan headers, bullets, and lists. So how to deliver the most important information to users? Try to include the most important information in the bullets and header.

In addition, great content is the one that includes the right keywords as they are the base of successful content. For this reason, a proper keyword analysis should be performed. Chose the phrases that are not only searchable but the phrases that are most relevant to your business. I would not recommend you choosing one word keywords if you’re new on the web as such keywords are high competitive. New websites cannot immediately rank for competitive keywords, like for instance, “leather shoes.” Chosing a long-tail keyword “leather shoes for women”, “leather shoes in London”, and similar ones would be a better choice.

Do not think about link building, but produce a content that is compelling and will drive links to your site. If you think only about links, you’d hardly think broader. So do not just focus on links and search engines. Think of users, the rest will come.

Be ready to explore on the web. There are lots of websites where webmasters bring up different topics. You can ask about your website and get feedback from people who are in the same industry. Also, read the latest SEO news, explore communities and right sources, deliver your content in the right communities on the web and just work hard. Finally, with ads and guerrilla marketing, you will get closer to your marketing goal.

How to Engage Your Customers

Every business owner expects customer engagement, however, few really know what value means for the customers.

customer-engagement

What is a customer engagement?

CRM Expert Paul Greenberg defines customer engagement as “the ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer.”

Isn’t it so? Definitely it is.

To engage your customers there’s no need of having one-to-one customer relationships which will take a lot of time and efforts. The main idea is to offer a product/service that makes a value for the customers and is chosen by them.

Do not just offer something, think about what your customers need, what solutions to their problems you offer and what are their expectations.

  • What do you offer?

Ask yourself a question if your company offer is interesting to a customer? Is it chosen by a customer?

It’s obvious that for businesses it becomes harder to stand out from the crowd unless they:

  • provide something unique
  • find a solution to a problem
  • whatever they provide, they do it in the best way.

Give your customers what they expect.

  • Are your customers happy. Have you heard from your customers?

Do they have a personalized experience with you?

No customer would hang on for a long time until he gets an answer. Customers are looking for fast and quality services and these both aspects are very important for their emotional satisfaction. Show an individual approach to each of your customers.

How about asking your customers about sharing their experiences with you?

You would never know if they are happy with your services unless you hear from them. One of the ideas is to put a survey on the website that will allow them to rate your services.

While sending out emails, as part of your email marketing campaign, ask them to fill out the form/take a survey/answer questions.

Customer engagement is a constant relationship that needs development and improvement.
Customer engagement is one of your most important goals and your biggest responsibility.

Twitter to Show Tweets in Google Search Results

Twitter has reached a deal with Google to make its 140-character tweets more searchable online. Before this deal, Google had to crawl Twitter’s site for the information, which now is going to be visible automatically.

In the first half of this year, tweets will start to be visible in Google’s search results as soon as they’re posted, thanks to a deal giving Google access to Twitter’s firehose. Twitter firehose is the full stream of tweets generated by the microblogging service’s 284 million users.

This deal is mutually beneficial. For Twitter it “means more opportunities to convert, and possibly monetize, logged-out users. It will also increase the frequency that people with Twitter accounts check the site”, said Doug Anmuth, an analyst at JPMorgan, in a note to investors. While “for Google, we believe search results will be enhanced by access to real-time tweets and a much broader amount of content.”

Twitter-Google-Agreement

Twitter also provides data to Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Yahoo!