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SEO Trends and its ever changing landscape

Search Engine Optimization

Today almost every business has its presence online. To keep up with the race it is important to make your presence felt in the web-sphere and to top it, it is essential to also keep up with the ever changing phenomenon – Search engine optimization trends. If you really do not want to miss on the opportunities you must wisely track the various changes Google keep making to its algorithm and adapt to it as soon as you can.

Almost passing the halfway through this calendar year, it is a good time to review what the SEO trend has been this year and what profound impact it had on the business.

With that in mind let’s evaluate the top SEO trends so far this year.

Content is still the king

Website content comprises the foundation of your website. If your website hold the engaging and relevant content, it will always provide decent SEO value for a business. The image centric content is a latest trend it involves some well-placed pictures to emphasize certain points. Content doesn’t only mean text in the form of article, whitepapers or blog posts, it is much beyond that. Images, videos, infographics etc are being used effectively as a medium to share important information and this adds a huge value to the SEO.

Social media – important than ever now

Social media have provided businesses with an overabundance of new opportunities that they can encash by producing relevant and engaging content that can first build up the audiences and then keep them glued. While the content on various popular Social Medias won’t directly affect the rankings, however it often builds brand equity and solves the purpose of reaching out to maximum amount of consumers.

To fully leverage this, it is vital to have social sharing buttons on the website so that the content can be shared with ease by consumers whenever it is required.

Mobile optimized websites

To ensure your SEO efforts are on right track, the most important trend today is to have a website that is optimized to run smoothly on hand-held devices. This will provide maximum SEO value than ever. A good ‘responsive website’ is the need of the hour with the ever increasing rate of usage of the Smartphones and other hand-held devices.

This radical growth opens up a huge opportunity for every business to make them available to the mobile users on the go. The mobile search is big and is going to continue getting bigger. Here is where Search engine optimization comes into play. When the search is made, the search engine spiders patrol the web and digs out the most relevant and best-equipped site as a result to answer the mobile user’s query. If your website is perfectly optimized for the hand-held devices, your business online presence would be much powerful and this will add value to the SEO.

Increased use of microdata

The next trend in line is the use of microdata. For Google’s better comprehension with the content it is a good practice to associate every entry with microdata, such as images, indicators showing length of the content, reviews etc.

In the days to come this is set to further expand and over time microdata will be an integral part of every entry on the web and this way the search results will continue to evolve. There are already and there will be more tools available in the market to suggest adding the necessary microdata.

With these interesting SEO trends the SEO professionals need to look forward at how this will impact the way people search and how it will impact their business.

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Videos – The future of the web

All of us are well aware of the fact that it’s much easier to comprehend the visual image than to read something. For this reason, online video is gaining strength as a source for content marketing. It is the most lucrative methods for communicating with audiences. According to a survey, if you don’t have a video on your website you are missing on 86% of visitors that prefer videos over text.

Having a video is not a new concept and has been there for years, various organizations across the globe have invested a great deal in corporate videos and it has emerged as a powerful tool. However, in the previous few years it has taken off really high. According to Cisco research, it would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2018. Every second, nearly a million minutes of video content will cross the network by 2018.

YouTube has been ranked as number two search engine in the world according to the web it receives billions of views per day. Recent research from Cisco Systems suggests that online video currently represents 40% of all current consumer internet traffic. It also predicts that this will increase to 62% by 2015 and will grow so fast that two-thirds of mobile data traffic will be video by 2016. This stresses on the fact that we do not like to read anymore.

Earlier it has been said that “a picture is worth 1000 words,” on the other hand a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words according to Forrester Research.

Let’s look at some of the more valid reasons for why a video?

  1. Instead of static JPEGs, if you include videos of your product on your marketing page, to an audience it is the closest medium to reality.
  2. Having a video in the testimonials of your website, where a client is endorsing your product or a service imparts a much stronger message than seeing an endorsement in print.
  3. Google, MSN, Yahoo, AOL and countless other Search Engines give priority to websites containing video content
  4. It is proven fact that voice conveys rich information and it has an amazing way of converting information into meaningful content.
  5. Animated enlightenment have been shown to increase conversion rates
  6. It has been observed that people tend to establish an emotional connection more enthusiastically with video’s moving images and sound than other communication mediums.

If we look around ourselves, we will realize that, we rely so much on this practice. Fashion industry is thriving on the same concept. We often get influenced easily when we see a famous face from television endorsing a brand or wearing a designer dress and walking on the ramp rather than looking at the static image of the same dress. It is a proven fact that now a day’s a good video endorsement for a product could double or even triple the ’sale ability’ of the product.

The bottom line here is that the future of video in Web design is filled with possibilities. If you still feel that video is just another over hyped, passing fad, think again.

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Google’s new affiliation towards the ‘S’ – http’S’

Typically all the websites have been using the common http SSL also termed as ‘intermittent S SL’. Do you think it is that safe? The answer is No! Since, it protects only certain pages, like logins and transactions and the remaining site is completely exposed and vulnerable to attacks. It doesn’t provide any protection against data theft or hacking and is similar to the situation when in a bank you lock the main door and keep the lockers open.

The major search engine Google also is encouraging the use of https for every site, and few days back in one of its blog posts it mentioned that ‘We hope to see more websites using HTTPS in the future,” and also that “Security is a top priority for Google.” “We invest a lot in making sure that our services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. That means that people using Search, Gmail and Google Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google” wrote Bahajji and Illyes.

Google cares about security and to back the use of https has also announced to reward that completely secure websites will rank higher. The plan is to give more weight or better search ranking results to sites that are HTTPS encrypted.

So does https will affect search rankings? Yes, but probably not that much as Google described HTTPS has a “very lightweight” signal affecting very few searches. This is what it said – “For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web. “

As part of its efforts to encourage the use of HTTPS for sites, Google will publish detailed best practices for the strategy in the coming weeks to help make TLS adoption easier, wrote Bahajji and Illyes. However, they have mentioned some basic tips to get started.

  • Deciding what kinds of certificates they need, whether they are single, multi-domain or wildcard certificates, while also ensuring they use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Website owners should also set up their HTTPS sites so they don’t block crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag

In all aspects it seems wise making a move from an “http” site to a fully “https” secure site. This way we can 100% ensure that every interface we had with every page of the website is completely encrypted. The cookies store a user’s session, protecting login and transaction areas alone doesn’t prevent hackers from stealing them and then using them to reestablish the website sessions and gain access to all kinds of sensitive data.

However, there is also a flip side to using https. The number one disadvantage can be that it is very costly as it requires the installation with an entrusted server and there your identity must be validated. The famous SSL providers charge exorbitant. Another downside that we could consider is how the websites perform; using HTTPS for a web request will be relatively slower than using HTTP. There would be more intensive CPU usage, required. Other downside is a lack of caching which will obviously affect speed. So, where there are some cons to using https there are pros as well of using the SSL. It is particularly required when there is a need of giving personal information. If you have a trust seal, definitely your customers will trust you even more and your business will be safe.

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Website’s responsive design with Search Engine Optimization

search engine optimization

With the ever increasing rate of usage of the Smartphones, it has become critical part of website design and development to make a website that is responsive. With Responsive website, I mean here is that design that detects the device and adjusts the layout accordingly. As the screen size gets smaller, the page may show fewer images, less text, or a simplified navigation. It is a perfect example of ‘one-size fits all’. This works great for smartphones, tablets, laptops, huge monitors, and even for the dashboard of your car.

With the drastic growth in the mobile usage, it is projected that the number of mobile devices will exceed the world’s population in the near future. There are 6.8 billion mobile phones used by more than 7 billion people already. Countries such as US, Brazil, Germany, Philippines, Iran and many have already more mobile devices than their population. (Source: Wikipedia)

That radical growth opens up a huge opportunity for retailers and other businesses to make them available to the mobile users on the go. These days people are using their smartphones for very purpose, from making a call to sending a text, social networking and doing every type of possible searches on the mobile web. The mobile search is big and is going to continue getting bigger. To take advantage of this technology it is important that your business possess a responsive website design that can be viewed perfectly on any hand held device.

Now, more than ever, it gets essential that users while searching on the mobile for a product related to yours are able to find your site with ease. Here is where Search engine optimization comes into play. When the search is made, the search engine spiders patrol the web and digs out the most relevant and best-equipped site as a result to answer the mobile user’s query.

Search Engine Optimization

Hopefully, by now you must have agreed to that ‘Mobile optimization and SEO go hand-in-hand’ and must have given you a fair idea of what responsive websites are and how they can help you in your business. Now, let’s talk about various ways to better mobile search engine optimization.

  1. Make it on the go: You should optimize your website for the user’s hand held devices. These devices usually come in numerous shapes and sizes. Websites designed for desktop typically do not execute well on hand-held devices, unless they have been made responsive. Moreover, you can provide mobile and desktop users with either the same URL (responsive design or dynamic serving) or different URLs (mobile-specific pages)
  1. Information rich: Create a relevant, information-rich website, and include pages with rich content. Pnder over some keywords that user’s would type to search your pages, and include those keywords in the website content wisely. The more relevant, compelling and regularly updated the content, the more frequently people and spiders will visit, and the more readily it will be recommended, by linking from other sites and social media. Instead of using images, use text to display important content or links. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the “ALT” attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.
  1. Use the unique capabilities of mobile devices: These days mobile devices comes with very distinct features, playing to the advantages of mobile devices will improve the mobile experience and thus improve SEO. There are some functions that do not exist for desktop such as SMS, camera, GPS, voice etc.Because of this mobile-optimized site is usually a different Website from the desktop site. There are so many such distinct features that are widely used across the globe by retailers. These are:
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Click to caller
  • Mobile/promotional coupons usually sent through sms
  • Store locator – Mobile’s GPS is coupled with mobile mapping for this feature can guide the visitor straight into your store.
  1. Local mobile searches: More than anything else, locality is of prime importance to Mobile searchers. The Our Mobile Planet survey (Ipsos and Google, May 2013) found that 94 percent of smartphone users had conducted a search for local information and 84 percent had taken action as a result. Another survey Mobile Search Moments (Nielsen and Google, March 2013) found that 63 percent of people who take action following a mobile search do so within an hour, 84 percent do so within five hours.
  1. Social Networks: These days’ Social networks have an undeniable fancy influence on all search engine discoverability; maximum users today access social networks from mobile devices. For example, 874 million or 74 percent of Facebook’s monthly users worldwide are mobile, according to Facebook’s Q3 earnings.
  1. Quick Mobile sites: Sadly the typical mobile page takes more than seven seconds to load. However, according to the new speed guidelines from Google says that ‘above the fold’ content should take less than 1 second to load. For the SEO purpose slow loading pages are not recommended and they can attract penalty from Google.
  1. Content should be visible and no hidden inside the apps: Web search engines can’t search in-app content. Using “app store optimization” and mobile advertising, you can make your ap more discoverable within mobile app stores.

In the near future, the traffic from mobile devices will outshine traffic from desktop devices. Still there is enough time to make your web presence felt across devices and ring the SEO and content marketing bell to ensure maximum reach.

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Content – The King of web development!

website design

Typically not being considered a part of website designing which is oftentimes restricted to only technical aspects, website content is as important as any other phase of website development and designing is.

Though, visuals and images are essentials to any website as these are the first thing that visitors see when he views the website. The way a website design has been done forms the initial impression. However, after the initial impression Content is the king, as it plays the most significant part. For it is the content that connects to the visitor and keep them interested and bring them back to the website for more each time.

website design

For any website having a relevant and up-to the mark content is as essential as the aesthetics in the designing of the website that serves for a perfect user interface.

Lets ponder on ‘Why people chose to go to a website?’ The reason is for the search of information. They type in a URL, choose a bookmark, click on a link or simply put in keywords or key phrases in the search engines. Therefore, most of websites get the traffic from people in search of some or the other information on the web. Google now a day’s scan the whole web pages and the content they hold, therefore your website stands a better chance to be returned as a search result if it has appropriate, relevant and quality content. The more relevant your website content is to the search requested, the higher your page will appear in the results.

Once your website has quality and relevant content, other sites may want to attach to the content of your website and this too will in-turn get you more traffic and better rank on Google.

Usually, in the internet marketing industry content is treated as a separate entity aside optimization. However, the matter of fact is that website content comprises the foundation of your website. If your website hold the engaging and relevant content, it won’t matter much if the search engine optimization & SEM is performed or no. It will eventually get onto the page one of Google. People often mistakenly take SEO as the only reason to write. However, this nowhere is the case. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is done to increase your website and its content’s visibility across the web-sphere, where more and more people can read it.

Your website performance is highly influenced by the content it has and that is what it takes you to the better ranking. If you have useless or irrelevant content on the website, the users will chose to make a switch, hit the back button from your site and search for the more relevant information on your competitor sites may be. There is when the users are bouncing back from your website and your bounce rate goes miles up.

On the other hand, the best content can do is to engage people so much so as they become the return visitors to the site or bookmark or favorite it. This way the more people your site engages, the more you help by providing valuable content the bigger your reward will be. Want better conversions try helping people conquer their problems.

website design

At the end, the conclusion is that you must commit to memory; content is the essence of your website. Whichever way you chose to beautify your website, no matter how good your design is or how fast your site is, the only thing that people will come back to your website for is its CONTENT and it is the only King!

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Website – a digital experience

website design credofy

Despite being in this industry for a long a time, I never put a question to myself that ‘What is a website?’ What is website design?’ or simply ‘what is design?’. Let’s begin with website – “Website is a collection of web pages prepared and maintained as a compilation of information by a person, group, or organization”. Then what is website design or web design? Here we know what web is but have you ever thought of what design exactly is? Put up this question to 5 different people and you’ll get 5 distinct answers. You may find countless definitions of design on the web too.

A design is an outline, sketch, or plan intended for a specific purpose in the web language. Similarly it has its significance in the website design.

Oftentimes, a website design is usually taken as a visual aspect only. However, it involves much more than that such as its usability, navigation, audience and their surfing habits, layout, accessibility and many other logics put together to make the user experience superior. A single website is put together with so many design elements such as information construction, website structure, user interface, website layout, colors, contrasts, fonts and images as well as icons design. All the components are combined with the basic principles of design to be able to create an outstanding output that matches with the set objectives for the website.

website design credofy

However, these days only a good website design with groovy images, fabulous colors and as much as necessary content is not enough for the consumer’s best digital experience. Even the fanciest websites do not make it to the list of best websites, as they do not provide the visitors with easy to use format and sensible content. The consumers have set very high standards for any website performance. They usually don’t spend more than few seconds on a website if it doesn’t load quickly, in other words if it is slow they do not mind switching to the other websites instantaneously, that offer the similar information they are looking for. Also, with the advent of technology, quicker networks today’s end user does not want to feel the difference in experience while browsing a site on the web or on a hand held devices. There is negligible scope for any website to survive if it is slow or is not providing trustworthy information of value to visitors in a wise and easy-to-use format. Since there is no dearth of choices of sites for consumers online, they do not want to spend their time on sluggish websites.

website design credofy

It is not easy providing a great digital experience to your audiences. How a website performs is considered so vital these days that it has become a priority for achieving the success. To have a website designed perfectly it requires loads of effort and involves considerable planning and it takes into account not just how a website looks, but demands for the best of content, nature, easy to use navigation and how the information has been arranged.

 

The era has arrived where the designer should be so equipped that he should be able to design a website that should respond differently when viewed on devices of different dimensions but should be equally easy to use on each.