Understanding Website Real Estate
According to the Nielsen Norman Group 84% of users visit the Home page section of a website that appears above the fold vs the section that appears below the fold. I like to use this section to appeal to my primary audience and explain what I am attempting to market to them.
What is “Above the Fold”?
If you think of a stack of newspapers at the newspaper vendor. The papers are folded in half. When you go up and try and decide if you want to buy the paper you scan the headlines and images facing you – above the fold. A website is the same except that it is digital.
If the user is unable to find what they are looking for within 2 seconds, they are highly likely to scroll to the footer.
What is a footer?
When viewing a print document often you find data at the bottom that repeats itself on every page like the name of the company, copyright and page number. That bottom section is called the footer.
A website is similar to a document in this manner.
Definition: A website’s footer is an area located at the bottom of every page on a website, below the main body content.
A footer is not a requirement for a website, however, not taking advantage of this space is a missed opportunity and may affect the Search Engine Optimization results.
Most visitors will scroll through all of the page content to the footer before they abandon the site.
There are two primary reasons that the visitor scrolls to the footer:
- If they are not convinced to sign up for the primary offering, they may seek an additional resource, like an opportunity to stay in touch via the company newsletter.
- They are looking for hard to find information.
A user may intentionally scroll to the footer to find information like social media links, contact information or website links not found in the main navigation.
What should you put in your footer?
From an SEO perspective ( based upon Google recommendations), the information that I would include are:
- All contact information. If the visitor struggles to find your contact information, you will lose them.
- Address – for a brick and mortar business a street address, otherwise include the city and state to enhance local search.
- Business hours
- A sitemap with all links in the site. Sometimes this is a replica of the main navigation, and sometimes this is a link to a separate page.
- Social Media links.
- Customer Engagement invitations, like a newsletter sign up or webinar registration.
- A testimonial and any awards to build authority and credibility.
- The date when your site was last updated. (If the date is 5 years ago, I will scroll to the next site.)
Pitfalls to avoid:
- Text appearance :The contrast of the footer text and background should be easy to read. The font should not be too small. If there is a background image, is it hiding some of the text?
- TMI – Don’t make the footer a mini website. Keep the presentation simple and easy to understand.
- Aggressive pop-ups and flyouts. If your pop-up email subscription form does not display an “X” or a “Close” button, you will be penalized by the search engines. Please check your site on mobile.
Remember the footer is often the last ditch attempt by the user before they exit your website. What can you do to offer what they were looking for or to have them to stay connected?
I lie on my bed with my eyes closed. I hear a small “meow” next to my bed. Without looking at the clock I know that it is 5am and breakfast time for my four legged friend. He will not cease to remind me until it is served.
When I hear clients discuss lack of visibility, I realize that I have much to learn from my cat. When I inform them of the benefits of writing a blog I feel like a seashell in the ocean when the tide goes out. They smile and nod, and nothing happens…
According to Hubspot 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog.
Our new version of WordPress includes 3 types of themes, Classical (what we have used so far), Hybrid and Block. The beauty about the new themes is that they include Full Site Editing (FSE) using the WordPress block editor.
WordPress has always been about democratization. These new features enable us to easily add features like colors, fonts, layouts and templates easily to our posts and pages without being a coder.
The release also includes the new Twenty Twenty-Two block theme. The WordPress 5.9 welcome screen says:
“This is more than just a new default theme. It’s a brand-new way to work with WordPress themes. Block themes put a wide array of visual choices in your hands, from color schemes and typeface combinations to page templates and image filters — all together, in the site editing interface. By making changes in one place, you can give Twenty Twenty-Two the same look and feel as your brand or other websites — or take your site’s look in another direction.”
There are are 99 features and 100 bugs fixed in the new WordPress 5.9. From an SEO perspective, one of the items that I am excited about is lazy loading. Up until now lazy loading images in WordPress slowed down the page instead of speading it up. I see that this has been repaired and look forward to trying it out!
The hosting companies are testing out the new version of WordPress and should be releasing it as soon as they have determined that it is stable. If you already see the WordPress 5.9 update, please remember to back up your site before you run the update!
I recently listened to a presentation by James Osborne from Google on
Web Stories are a modern way to engage with an audience who enjoy the swipe style of functionality that is used in Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok. The framework behind the scenes is Amp. The advantage is that they load extremely fast, have ADA compliance built in and are stored on Google’s Servers.
You can easily:
- Share your stories, add buttons and use different swipe effects.
- Monetize using ads
- Track and measure by adding tracking ids between the stories.
- They don’t expire and are optimized for performance
- Publish and unpublish them whenever you like.
If your site is built using WordPress you can easily create stories from within your WordPress dashboard using a plugin. There are drag and drop tools with 3rd party image and video tools. An additional feature is an accessibility tab on the plugin.
Your stories could show up in Google Search. It is not rolled out to all regions.
Stories appear on mobile in the carousel format on Google Discover, and in the grid view on Google Search.
On Mobile if you do an image or video search, there is a Story section. On an image search, the images can be found as an image card with a webstories icon.
The internet is highly competitive. If creating content using visual tools is something that you enjoy, I would consider using Stories for visibility.
What is Market Saturation?
Recently, I started building a site for a Locksmith. For those of you who are not familiar this industry is highly competitive. Market saturation arises when the volume of a product or service in a marketplace has been maximized. A saturated market occurs when multiple businesses in the same geographic area compete for the same customers. Frequently there is more product available than potential clients.
There are two types of saturation:
1. Microeconomic market saturation:
For example, my locksmith has several neighbors who compete for the same products. His market is saturated on the micro scale.
2. Macroeconomic market saturation:
This occurs when an entire industry suffers a lack of demand. For example the demand for smart phones reduced the interest in flip phones. Macroencomic saturation happens when all potential clients have their needs met. For example, since the pandemic so many companies are offering egroceries that this market has become hard to penetrate.Eventually, the e-commerce food and grocery market might become saturated.
Market Saturation Causes
Market saturation causes businesses to struggle and fail. Understanding the problem can help us tackle a solution.
Technological changes can reduce or obliterate the demand for older products. If you needed a way to keep food fresh in your home, you would not look for an ice box with blocks of ice. You would immediately search for a refrigeratior.
Increased competition: New locksmith businesses opening up in the same area selling the same products. There are a few major players that have garnered brand loyalty through years of providing good services. Penetrating the market is challenging. There are so many similar smaller businesses marketing the same product that acquiring new customers is increasingly difficult.
Changing customer base: Changes in the demands of the people. For example when fashion trends fade the demand for specific products becomes obsolete. The demand for birthday cakes has dropped as people become more aware of health. However the demand for birthday cupcakes has increased.
Steps to beat market saturation:
- Research competition : Check what your largest competitors are doing and how they are targeting your customers. Can you target the same issues from a different angle? Creativity is not an option if you are trying to challenge big brands. It is a prerequisite. Consider a brand like Netflix. They challenged Blockbuster by offering to mail DVDs to their customers.
- Create a niche: If there are many businesses offering the same products a good way to penetrate the market is to offer something that they do not. Can you improve on the customer service experience? Is there a gap in the market that is not identified? For example Spanx was started by Sara Blakely who turned an old fashioned women’s girdle worn by elderly women into a popular fashion product.
- Provide value: Are there additional services that clients wished they had? Can you offer a free upgrade? Can you diversify your product by offering adjacent services? What can you provide for your customer that would have him come back to you for additional services?
- Marketing and brand awareness: Providing educational content and creating brand awareness will make it easier for you to qualify leads to see you as a trusted and viable solution. Providing educational content that helps buyers a) find you and b) see your product or service as a credible solution—is increasingly becoming companies’ main source of qualified leads. Research has shown that most consumers feel more comfortable about trusting a brand if they have read their content. Content marketing costs a lot less than advertising.
Today, the first stop in check out your brand will be your website. Is the content up to date?
Engage with the client: Using phone, form, text or chat. If you respond within 5 minutes, you have a 90% greater chance of closing a deal with them.
Search: Browsing is a thing of the past. There is so much content on the internet that the only way to reach it is to search. It is highly unlikely that your customer will search and find you directly. They may find local internet directories. Can you list your business there? Ensure that all the company’s essential information is accurate on the directory.
An emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will increase qualified leads finding your website through a Search Engine. Remember that Google has the lion’s share of searches, but they are not the only search engine.
Effective advertising is the fastest way to engage your audience and make them aware of your brand and reach new audiences.
Post regularly to social media and include video content. (YouTube is also a search engine.) Maintain an active presence on these pages. Add fresh content regularly and respond promptly to messages, comments and likes.
Unique and effective marketing is probably the best strategy when a market is saturated with product and service options, particularly when the services are very similar. Effective strategies and niche marketing can often make the difference for a company.
You may be wondering what those little boxes with information or videos are called at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) and how you can get your website to feature there.
Some of you have been writing perfectly valuable and informative content that interests and delights your audience, but your content is not in Google Featured Snippets. If you are one of those people who has an active blog rating in the first 10 places on Google Search Engine, this post is for you.
If you are not ranking in the first 10 places, then you will find lots of valuable information on how to boost your ranking.
In this post, we will discuss snippets, the main types of snippets that we see, how to optimize your website and content to appear at the top of the search results, and the criteria that Google search engine is looking for.
What’s a “snippet”?
The snippet is a single search result in a set of search results and generally consists of a title, a URL and a description of the page. The content of a snippet matches parts of the search query and you’ll see your keyword highlighted in the snippet description. Search engines often use pieces of your content to fill in the parts that make up the snippet. (Yoast )
The Google bot scans the websites and uses the data to formulate an index of information in the search engine. If your site is structured in a manner that the bot can easily process, there is a better chance of your website or social media properties being featured in the search results.
What’s a “featured snippet”?
A featured snippet works by pulling a short answer ranking 0 in the search results, directly into the SERPs, thus eliminating the need for the user to click on an organic search result. Featured snippets are a type of “answer box” or “rich answer. Since they are located on the most valuable piece of digital real estate – the top of the SERPs, they receive far more clicks and impressions.
“We display featured snippets when our systems determine this format will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description about the page and when they click on the link to read the page itself. They’re especially helpful for those on mobile or searching by voice.” – Google
This is what a featured snippet looks like:
Google Featured Snippet: Paragraph type
The Google Featured snippet guide will provide you with detailed information regarding when the featured snippets are activated.
Note: Your content has to be ranked within the top 10 on Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
Why Featured Snippets?
More traffic, better brand awareness and more conversions…
Getting a featured snippet could get more people to land on your landing page and improve the sales of your products or visibility of your site. If you are not looking to improve your Click Through Rate (CTR) then consider whether it is worth investing the time in optimizing your page for a featured snippet.
The importance Voice Search Engine Optimization has been discussed previously on this blog. With the increasing number of voice queries the importance of the featured snippet rises, since the voice query responses are pulled from the featured snippets. DBS Interactive claims that 1/3 of all queries will be Voice Search by 2020. Other studies claim that 50% of queries will be Voice Search.
Types of featured snippets
Here are the most common types.
- Suggested Video
- Numbered List
- Bulleted List
Paragraph Featured Snippets
This snippet includes an answer given in the text. It can be a box with text inside or a box with both text and image inside. Often, they’re displayed alongside an image chosen from another source. Typically they answer the following types of questions:
- How To …
- Who is….
- What is…
- Why is…
Table Featured Snippet
These tend to answer questions on pricing, rates, and data that are displayed to the searcher in a table format.
If you have a page where the data needs to be presented in a table format, the search engines will display the content if it is coded as a table in html markup. You can also mark it with the dataset schema markup.
Example of a table Featured Snippet
Video Clips Snippets
Search engines can also answer specific questions using text from video descriptions and offers them as a response when the query is asking for an instructional tutorial or when the user might benefit from video content. Video results are also a form of featured snippet.
Justin from Briggsby offers a great guide on how to get your YouTube video to appear on featured snippets.
Numbered List Featured Snippet
It is a response to a How do I… type of query and the response is formatted in an HTML numbered list.
Numbered List Featured Snippet
Essentially it is the same as the numbered list, but the order of the list is less important.
Bulleted List Featured Snippet
There are additional types of featured snippets that are less prominent.
How do you get started?
Google offers a rather cryptic guide to featured snippets since it merely informs the reader how to opt-out of having the content used for featured snippets.
If you are eager to learn how to optimize your post aiming to get a featured snippet, here are some tips:
How to get a featured snippet
Google and Bing search engines have different criteria, so content that appears on Google does not always appear on Bing. Google results tend to be more impartial.
1. Rank in the Top Page of Google
You must rank in the first top 10 pages on Google to get your featured snippet. This can be a challenge and involves some effort, like
- Follow good SEO practices
- The page should be mobile friendly
- Include good keywords,
- Inbound links from authoritative sources,
- Internal linking,
- Have an error free website,
- Load quickly,
- Use SSL, and
- Be built for humans, not only for robots or machines.
Here are some tools that can help you test your site:
2. Do keyword research and aim to respond to search intent
Your content must be perfect. Use E-A-T (Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness) Principles to perfect your post. It should include factual data written for humans, that is supported by other resources. Do not stuff your posts with the keywords. Carry out Problem and Solution Search, not just keywords (Izzi Smith– Sixt Case Study). Make sure to answer all the questions that your target audience ask. Leave the user thirsting for more information so that s/he will click through.
Google uses a strategy called the Intent Matching Engine to discover whether users are finding what they are searching for.
Check the Search engine results pages to see how the SERP is formatted. In order to rank, you must offer the Best Answer. Check out the “People also ask” section. A lot of times you’ll find this section beneath a featured snippet to see what the intent is. This is a good resource for you to find out what users may be asking that you can answer.
Additional research tools to help you:
Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool
Answer the Public
Check Competitor Sites to see what they are ranking for. Perhaps you can discover another spin on your topic.
Simply ask your audience what they prefer to receive from you.
3. Create correctly formatted text at the top of the post for the featured snippet.
The text should emulate what an abstract does for a scientific paper. That text should contain a clear answer to a question in 40-60 words. SEMrush analyzed nearly 7 million Featured Snippets. And they found that the most Featured Snippets are 40-60 words long
4. Markup your content correctly
Markup your content correctly with HTML markup so that the bots can understand what you have. Correctly mark headers, lists, bullet points and include a description of your images. Also use dataset schema markup. And Schema.org markup so that the robots can understand what you are presenting.
5. Pick good original images
Generally speaking, use high quality images that have been compressed for viewing on a web page, be appropriate for the topic discussed, and be of a 4:3 aspect ratio. Remember to fill out the title and Alt Text when you load the image. This is the data that the bots use to know what your image portrays. Here is Google’s guide.
Here’s more about image optimization.
6. Include a Q& A section on your website
Research related keywords and include those questions in a section on your site dedicated to the topic.
What are the search engines like Google looking for in the Snippet?
They want a specific response to the users question so that in many cases, he would not need to click in order to find the answer.
In order to rate, the content must “Fully Meet” the criteria:
The user is clearly looking for a specific webpage or website and the result block with the specific webpage or website Fully Meets the user’s need.
The user is trying to complete a device action and the result block accomplishes the desired request.
The user is looking for a very specific fact or piece of information and the result block provides the information immediately, thoroughly, accurately, and clearly. No other results would be needed.
Before using the Fully Meets rating for queries seeking a very specific fact or piece of information, you must check for accuracy and confirm that the information is supported by expert consensus where such consensus exists. – Raterhub
How long will you keep the Featured Snippet?
It seems that the ranking is pretty unpredictable. Also you cannot track it from Google Search Console. You will need an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush to be set up to track that.
Google has indicated that Featured Snippets will be around in the near future and Bing is also testing this feature.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post about SEO. I am inspired to write about topics that will help your digital visibility and use questions that you ask. If you have found this article valuable, please
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