On Wednesday, many Twitter users may have noticed that their beloved social network has begun displaying emoji characters – those small, cartoon-like pictures – on web and desktop versions of the site.
Whilst you are probably familiar with the traditional way that Google collects images for their popular Maps function, Street View, they have brought one of their little-known inventions to Australia.
It is common knowledge that, whilst pages with infinite scroll are often quite user friendly, they are not really appreciated by Google. The main problem with infinite scroll, as noted by the search engine giant, is that spiders cannot crawl the website as a user would without the ability to mimic behaviours, like scrolling to the bottom of a page, clicking to load more and so on.
Why is this bad for SEO?
It is important to remember that, if spiders cannot access the content, the chances of it appearing in organic search results are not very high. Spiders can’t always access all of the content on pages with infinite scroll, which leads to huge chunks of text not being indexed and whole websites being discounted from the results because they are not considered relevant.
How can we fix this?
To ensure that Googlebot can crawl all of the content linked via an infinite scroll page, it is recommended that either the webmaster or the content management system produces a paginated series that will coincide with the scroll. According to Google, infinite scroll is much more search friendly when converted to a paginated series (each component has a similar meta title).
Google has also shared a number of other SEO recommendations:
- Ensure that each page has a decent load time and that users who visit can easily find what they’re looking for;
- Ensure that there is no overlap in content between each of the component pages; and
- Test that the page works by checking that its values adjust as the user scrolls up or down.
John Mueller, the Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, has created an infinite scroll pagination demo to help you out. The demo outlines two key search engine friendly features – that all individual items are accessible and that each item is only listed once in the series. This demo can be accessed by visiting the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog.
image source: google
On the 30th of January, Facebook announced that a new standalone news reader mobile app, known as ‘Paper’, would be released in the near future. Whilst it has apparently been in the works for years, the announcement came only 24 hours after Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s famous CEO, revealed that they would be releasing more standalone apps this year.
What is it?
Paper will display content from 19 different ‘sections’ (such as sports, tech, pop culture and LOL), which users can choose to subscribe to. Each of these sections features a rotating carousel of images along the top with individual cards and stories below; a user can click on cards or stories that they wish to investigate further. For now, these sections cannot be personalised.
Users will also be given the opportunity to share their own stories on Paper, with anything posted also appearing on their Facebook Newsfeed. The app enables a user to preview what their posts will look like before sharing, ensuring that they are fully satisfied with the appearance. Users will also be able to share, ‘like’ and comment on stories, the same as with traditional Facebook.
It has been revealed that Paper was created by a 15-person team employed by Facebook Creative Labs. This is a broader initiative of the social network whose sole job it is to work on these standalone apps. It has also been announced that Paper sans advertisements, even though Facebook itself has seen quite a lot of success through mobile ads (53% of their revenue last quarter).
According to reports, Paper will be officially launched on the US App Store on Monday the 3rd of February. It will only be available to iPhone users in the beginning and there are not, as of yet, any indications of when an Android or iPad version of the app will become available. Whilst many have argued that Paper could spell the death of Facebook’s traditional app, only time will tell.
It feels like 2014 has only just begun, but already Brian (owner of social network, Blog Engage) has announced their first guest blogging contest for the year.
The general idea is pretty simple – all they are asking is that interested parties post a guest blog on the Blog Engage website and then promote it as much as possible. Those bloggers with the most social activity and comments on their blog at the conclusion of the competition will win a share of US$500.
It also gives Brian and the team at Blog Engage a chance to thank the sponsors of the contest (a full list can be found below) without whom this wonderful prize would not be possible.
Go Garden Guides
Just Gardening Fun
Earth Care Greenhouses
The contest runs from January 10 until February 15 with the winners drawn and notified on February 28. In between the competition closing and the draw date, entrants are still able to collect as much promotion as they can.
What do you get when one of the co-founders of Twitter, Biz Stone, and his former colleague, Ben Finkel, put their heads together to come up with a social search app that aims to answer all your questions? Why, “Jelly” of course! The pair developed the app by building on the concept of if you have questions that there is somebody out there who knows the answer.
Stone and Finkel announced the app on their company blog on January 7, saying that “Jelly is designed to search the group mind of your social networks – and what goes around comes around. You may find yourself answering questions as well as asking”.
The app can be downloaded from either iTunes or Google Play, ensuring that users of all devices can participate. Users can then submit questions that can be answered by anyone within their existing social networks. It is also possible for questions to be forwarded outside of the app, allowing for a much broader audience and a wider range of responses.
Stone and Finkel were also eager to point out that the app also lets users perform searches using images. “Images are in the foreground of the Jelly experience because they add depth and context to any question. You can crop, reframe, zoom and draw on your images to get more specific”.
Amy Gesenhues of Search Engine Land pointed out that this is not the first attempt to answer questions in the social search segment – Ask.com, Quora, Yahoo Answers, Google Answers and Facebook have also tried to crack the market but have been unsuccessful. Only time will tell, however, whether Stone and Finkel have managed to make an impression with Jelly.
In a video recently posted on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Maile Ohye (the Developer Programs Tech lead at the company), discussed a beginner’s approach to building an SEO strategy for a website. Whilst this is, by no means, the amount of work that can be completed by an SEO professional, it is certainly a start for anyone interested in optimisation.
Ohye outlines 4 steps to building an SEO strategy:
- Understanding the ‘searcher persona’ workflow
Basically, people will search for a particular query and will then select a website from the ranking and display shown. They will then read the page content and will be drawn in by the conversation and motivation. It is important to create a seamless searcher workflow.
- Determining company and website goals
Ask yourself a number of questions – what is your business’ goal? What can your product or service do that no one else can? What does success look like? What components are involved? How does your website play a part in this success? What do your competitors do well?
- Auditing the site to best reach the audience
You need to think about what sorts of groups you are targeting and where they are located. Then, think about their objectives and whether their query terms match your content. There is no point in saying “search friendly” when everyone searches for “SEO”.
- Executing and making improvements
You can use Google Webmaster Tools to further monitor and optimise your website. Improve search with better marketing, improve your page content to upsell your products or services, and offer a great experience and remarketing to encourage repeat customers.
Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles that must be faced when creating an SEO or even just an online strategy. Fortunately, Ohye outlines many of these in the video (including people only being concerned with their own role and needing to know what sites competitors are linking to) and provides a few suggestions on how to overcome them.
With November well and truly under way, many people in the online realm are wanting to know what 2014 will hold for their websites. This is why it is time for use to release a brief look at the 2014 SEO ‘Playbook’, which will provide webmasters with some important points that they should begin focusing on in the coming months.
But first, how do we know what 2014 will hold for SEO? This information actually comes from 3 sources:
It should be noted that Google genuinely does want to be helpful – their vision, so far, aligns well with good marketing practices. Just remember that anytime a Google spokesperson reveals something about their algorithm, they are doing so with an agenda in mind.
As SEO’s, we depend on each other’s positive and negative experiences to discover trends and understand their significance in terms of our work. It has become clear that, these days, observation should be less about trickery and more about best practices.
Did you know that there are researchers who scour Google’s statements about search and SEO’s observations for whatever information they can quantify? They gather measurements on thousands of pieces of data, compare them to ranking results or site traffic and publish the results.
Secondly, we need to take a closer look at Hummingbird, which is Google’s newest algorithm and was a complete replacement of the old one. It was actually implemented a month before Google said it was and affected 90% of search results – but no one noticed. This is likely because the biggest changes occurred to long-tail queries.
So, what should SEO’s be focusing on in 2014? Based on all of the information that has been gathered, we can expect to focus on content and authority.
This actually has a number of sub-categories. First, we need to use concepts – go through your current content and make sure it uses phrases that match how people think and search. Second, we need to focus each piece of content on a specific concept. And, third, we need to employ a 4-point content strategy.
This also has a number of sub-categories. First, it is important to not substitute social media for link building. Second, architecture and URLs need to be kept simple and readable for people (every page should be accessible within 4 clicks of the homepage). And, third, non-canonical issues should not be ignored.
If you work in the SEO industry, it is likely that the above information is going to prove important in the coming months for ensuring that your client’s websites continue to rank well and draw in traffic.