by Shelley Magnezi | Apr 29, 2022
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?
by Shelley Magnezi | Feb 1, 2022
WordPress 5.9 “Joséphine” released on January 25, 2022, is a major WordPress core release. The release was named in honor of acclaimed international jazz singer Joséphine Baker. Baker, a lifelong civil rights campaigner, believed that all people could live in harmony together, in the same way as different instruments in a jazz band blend together to make a whole piece.
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!
by Shelley Magnezi | Jan 10, 2021
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.
by Shelley Magnezi | Apr 17, 2020
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
- Share it with your community
- Subscribe below for future posts.
by Shelley Magnezi | Dec 19, 2019
The most important aspect of site structure is user friendliness. Your website should be structured in such a way that your audience can easily find what they are looking for on your website.
Site structure is an important element as well as a challenge in Search Engine Optimization strategy. Since search engines crawl through your site by following links, the structure of your website is a very important aspect of SEO.
I was considering going to “Top Golf” with some friends. The cost of the game was part of our decision whether to go or not. I looked on their website. It had locations. I picked one. It told me how much it costs to reserve a VIP slot, how much it costs to reserve a bay, but not how much it costs to play a game. Eventually, I gave up and picked another activity. The link may be hidden in their site somewhere, but I have no idea how to find it.
- The importance of Site Structure
- Thinking about Structure
- How to incorporate or improve site structure
- How to maintain site structure
A. Why is website structure important?
Once upon a time I knew an alcohol researcher named Jan. Jan was an executive in her organization who was an expert in her topic. She needed some work related help at her home, and so I offered to go over there. I discovered something very interesting. Every surface in Jan’s living room was covered with printed research articles. Some were hers, but many were written by other experts in her field. There might have been a few hundred articles in Jan’s living room. Jan knew where all her articles were, but I had no way of knowing. The only way that I could know is to go through them one by one. It could have taken weeks.
That is what it is like for a search engine to try and navigate the content on your website.
1. The structure of your website is critical for the user. If the content is not organized, it is impossible to find it.
What if Jan had organized her articles into topics and labelled them with sticky post-it notes? All articles related to a topic such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome would be placed in a single pile. DUI could be another pile. If Jan had done that, it would be easy for me to find her articles and there would also have been more space in her living room. Maybe even space for her to sit down…
2. Site structure is important for the search engines.
It gives them important clues and links to your content.
What do search engines do?
A search engine has
- a crawler, spider or bot
- an index
- an algorithm
The search engines store every single item they have found in a huge database known as the index.
In the early days of the internet, you had to submit a site to a search engine so that it would know that the site exists. Google was the first search engine to create the spider or crawler. The crawler follows links from one site to another. Once it finds a link, it will follow it to that website. Then it crawls that site and all the links and saves the data in its index. When there is a change, then the search engine saves those changes. It crawls the pages periodically to check for changes. If there are a lot of links to the site the search engine crawls it more frequently. If there are fewer visitors (links) to the site, the search engine crawls the site less frequently.
Now that the search engine knows about the site and the links on the site, it can serve these results on search engine results pages when users type in queries.
The problem is that when the user types in a query or uses voice search to query, there are millions of other pages with those search terms and that presents a lot of competition for any website. The search engine determines which of the thousands or millions of results is the most relevant. This is where the algorithm comes into play. The search engines have a secret mathematical formula that determines which page will answer the query the best.
The significance of the story is that search engines follow links. Included in those links are internal links to pages and posts within your website. If there are a lot of links to a page, the search engine will crawl it often. If there are few links, it will not crawl it often. It interprets pages with many links as important. Taking that into account, consider the website structure as a guide for the search engines.
B. Think about site architecture
Let’s return to our story of Jan. How could she differentiate the important articles from the other articles? If she put the important articles on the top of each pile, she would see those first.
When you organize your website think about which pages are important?
Think about what you want the user to do once they reach that page?
What is it that makes your website so special and why you put that up in the first place?
Think about your mission.
What do you want people to find?
If you could show me 5 pages on your website, which would you choose?
We call those cornerstone articles. They should be lengthy informative articles. They could also be products, important sales pages, or informational pages. These pages should be landing pages. There should be sufficient context to understand who you are and what you are trying to do. They should have action items on them for the user.
Make conscious decisions about which articles you want at the top of your pile. Incorporate those pages in your other content so that search engines will know that they are important.
C. How to Incorporate Site Organization
The cornerstone articles should have the most internal links pointing towards them. The links cannot be random. They have to be in context and the topics have to be relevant. If you do not already have related content, you need to write a lot of different niche articles related to that broader topic. The niche articles should include search terms that are less competitive. If the search engine finds the little niche articles (known as long tailed articles) and they contain a link to the main topic (the head article), that will help with the rank for the main article. The main article will become cornerstone content.
For example, if Jan had a website and she was trying to rank for the term “alcohol”, it would be extremely difficult since there is so much competition for that term. However, if she had niche articles about FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) and Interlock Devices in cars to prevent DUI that had links to her article on Alcohol, then she would find it easier to rank for FAS and Interlocks and ultimately show the search engines and the users the links to her Cornerstone content on Alcohol.
D. Maintain the site structure
Whilst you are working on your marketing strategy, you should also add blog posts to your site. Over time, you probably have lots of articles. Your site becomes cluttered and you might have several posts on similar topics with the same or similar key words. Search engines consider that to be duplication. The search engines will see the different posts all using the same keyword. It confuses them. It does not know which article to show. The search engine considers the two similar articles with the same or similar keywords to be competing. It demotes both the articles. This is known as keyword cannibalization because unknowingly you are competing against yourself. Each of the articles is “eating” the other. If you are not sure if you are suffering from keyword cannibalization then in the search engine enter the term.
site:yourwebsite.com search terms
Example : site:https://topgolf.com/us/ prices
Change the url and search terms for your own. If there are many articles with the same keywords, then you should change that. Link from all the less important pages to the most important page. That way the search engines will understand that the topics are similar but one is more important. What should you do if they are equally important? Combine the articles and make one long article. Before you delete one article, make sure that you redirect the user to the new article. If you delete a post or page, always redirect so that the search engine does not serve a ‘404’ (Not found) code on your website. If the user comes to a 404 page, they realize that they have reached a Dead End. You can help them find what they are looking for by providing a site map. This may prevent them from clicking away.
Make sure that your mission is reflected in the site structure. Your headlines, taglines, content and images should reflect your mission so that people have no doubt about what you sell or are trying to tell them.
Continue to add content and revisit old content.
Control your site structure and improve it.
by Shelley Magnezi | Aug 30, 2019
If you wanted to answer a general knowledge question like the name of the current Google CEO or your local house representative, how would you search for the information?
- Would you type it into your electronic device?
- Would you ask Alexa, Siri, Cortana or Google?
According to Forbes by 2020 half of all search engine queries will be made by voice search. Even if that figure is a little optimistic, it still means that a huge chunk of searches on search engines will be made with voice in the near future. Mobile Marketer claims that there will be a huge surge and the number of voice assistants will jump to threefold their current rate. Bright Local claim that 58% of users have used voice search to find information about a local business. As business owners or bloggers we should be asking ourselves :
- Who is using the technology and what devices are they using?
- What search engines are providing voice search results?
- Is there a way for us to become early adopters and incorporate this concept into our website?
- What does the Return on Investment look like?
Who is using Voice Operated Search Queries?
According to Path Interactive Research some demographics are adopting faster than others. The age groups that have the largest amount of voice queries are 13-18, and 45-54. The most surprising detail is that people over the age of 64 use voice search 1-3 times a day.
What devices are used for Voice Engine Searches?
Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa results are provided by Bing. Google powers the Google Assistant.
How can I measure voice search data on my website?
The short answer is you can’t.
Voice searches on mobile search widgets and apps are being recorded in Google Analytics and Safari devices as “direct” vs organic. Similarly, visits from Google voice search sources (Assistant, Home, and Google Siri) and voice searches from Bing-powered devices like Alexa and Cortana are also recorded as “direct”. If you see a surge in “direct” traffic on pages of your site, aside from your Home Page, it may be from these searches.
How can I target Voice Search Engine results on my website?
- You can do some keyword research, however according to Moz blog people are searching with phrases and not single words. Many people are asking for directions, and 22% are asking for local content or “near me”. Neil Patel had a great suggestion on how to deal with this kind of search using Answer the Public . It provides a question graph.
- Create blog posts answering the questions that apply to your topic. Try to include a natural language question with a longer query phrase and provide an answer. Listen to the questions that potential clients ask and attempt to include those on your website. That is the information that people are looking for.
- You can add a Frequently Asked Questions page, and the more information that you offer, the more likely it is that your content will be featured in the search results. This is why a blog post on the question is recommended in addition to a question and answer paragraph.
- Claim your Google My Business listing. Make sure that the correct business category has been selected since Google will use it to direct traffic to your site. Check that the address is updated if you have a brick and mortar store and include pictures of the business. All businesses can put in a phone number and business hours. Request that clients give you reviews.
- Search Engines have robots that scan our websites. If we want to be featured on these search engines, we need to communicate with them and feed them information in a format that they can process in addition to being user friendly for humans. We can provide the search engines with the data that they need by using tools like:
- Applying Schema markup or structured data.
- Submitting a sitemap to the search engines.
- There is a file on all sites called robots.txt. Sometimes people do not set it up correctly, and it can block the search engines from searching the site.
- Google search engine has rolled out a new feature where people can click from an image to a website, so I would provide a link to the page or blog post from the images that I use.
- Is your website mobile responsive? Use the Google Page Insights to check .
- Does your web page load quickly? People simply do not have the patience to wait around, so your site should load within 2 seconds on mobile.
- Test Voice Readiness . This tool gives you an estimate what results you would receive if you were using devices like Google Home Assistant or Alexa. It works for local businesses only, not for general information or products.
Unfortunately, since the tools to measure the effectiveness of voice search result optimization are yet to be developed, it is difficult to measure whether applying new strategies is effective or economical. The tactics mentioned here will also help with general search engine optimization (SEO) and implementing these suggestions is likely to improve traffic.
I recommend that you plan to target voice engine optimization in your marketing budget. As an early adopter, you are more likely to gain an edge.
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