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How Relevant Is SEO Now and for the Future?

How Relevant Is SEO Now and for the Future?

One of the questions a Long Island SEO company gets from its clients is how relevant SEO is. And you can’t blame them for asking, since there are many viewpoints that are splashed across the web. Some raise your anxiety level while others are more reassuring.

Will we be celebrating the death of SEO soon as a result of the disappearance of the concept of the keyword or search term? Or will SEO still be around for a long time while passing through an evolutionary stage?

There are many sites that claim “SEO is dead”, which is why people search for this phrase in the first place. These viewpoints claim that even if the practice of SEO may not be dead, it is ineffective. And there are the others that maintain the view that whatever happens, SEO will never lose its importance. Obviously there is a middle ground here, and you need to figure that out if you must implement the right SEO strategy to help your business or organization succeed in digital marketing and get its earnings on track.

SEO Isn’t Dead, It Has Just Evolved

SEO has indeed changed significantly, but that doesn’t indicate it isn’t there. It’s just that SEO and digital marketing aren’t just about keywords and links anymore. It is about providing a better user experience, which is what Google focuses on. That’s why it is important that you give users value in all that you do. That would involve quality, relevant and comprehensive content that’s also attention grabbing and share-worthy, a website layout that is well optimized for user-friendliness, a link profile that’s strong, and a strong brand. You need all these factors working together to ensure your online visibility is great and you manage to draw traffic to your site.

Providing the Optimal User Experience

SEO

Ultimately it is user experience that matters, and you must be able to provide it in a manner better than your competitors do. To do that, you need to ensure the user experience you provide is optimized for the device your potential customers could use for accessing the Internet. That involves incorporating a responsive web design that ensures your website loads well on mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop.

It’s No Longer Just Typing Search Terms

You also need to understand that search is no longer just about typing words on the search engine, it’s also about asking questions verbally with voice search. People could ask stuff randomly, such as “What’s the weather?” or “How to check blood pressure?” To ensure Google selects your answer to place directly on the search results page along with your link, you need to ensure that relevant bits of information are splashed all across the content of your web pages.

Sometimes it is video content that Google finds appropriate for certain queries. It is therefore important to incorporate informative and engaging videos and infographics in your page content, depending on the field of work your organization deals with. Make sure that your page design isn’t confusing or cluttered. You want visitors to be able to find the information they need fast, without having to scroll through paragraphs of content. Highlight relevant points in your website pages.

Google considers loading time an important element of a website’s performance, making it a vital ranking feature. While responsive design ensures your website loads equally on all devices, you need your base design to be efficient too.

SEO

Optimizing for Smart Speakers and Connected Devices

And it’s no longer safe to assume that people would search only through mobile or desktop. This is the age of connected devices, and the typical home now has its residents using smart home speakers such as Google Home and Alexa, smart watches, smart refrigerators, etc. This Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is spreading rapidly in the United States and globally too. People search by asking questions to their smart speakers. Many times, they don’t search at all but just give voice commands such as, “Play Justin Bieber” or “MLB game scores”. For information-related questions, the smart speaker reads out the most appropriate answer.

In fact, it is artificial intelligence (AI) that is powering the connected experience. AI helps understand the interaction of users with the connected devices and thereby offers them an improved experience. SEO needs to evolve to the connected experience. Businesses need to get their websites and digital marketing strategies optimized across all the smart devices to be successful in the present and the future.

To sum up, SEO is still alive. But the basic tenets have evolved significantly. SEO needs an integrated approach targeting textual and video interactional content, smart and responsive website design, typical efficient user search process, general user behavior, and connected devices.

An experienced Long Island SEO company has the resources required to design successful digital marketing strategies, make changes or even totally overhaul your SEO strategy.

What Is Search Intent and How It Improves SEO Ranking

What Is Search Intent and How It Improves SEO Ranking

Digital marketing services focus on ensuring an optimized website, better website ranking and good online traffic for a business. Search engines provide users the best results relevant to their queries and if your website ranking is good in the search engine then many targeted consumers will come to you. So, a smart SEO campaign based on how potential customers conduct searches is important.

The key point is to know the intent behind keyword search. When a user wants to find specific information, Google uses advanced algorithms to analyze which results are the best match for the given keyword. So, knowing the various categories of intent is important to have a search engine optimized content strategy to target not just the keywords but the intent behind keywords.

SEO Ranking

What Is Search Intent?

Search intent is a new concept that focuses on why people conduct a search. Categorizing keywords based on intent provides a solid foundation for your search engine optimization and content marketing campaigns. For e.g. if you are a plastic surgeon and someone searches for a plastic surgeon with the name of the town where you are located (plastic surgeon NYC), then there is a high possibility that you provide what they want. This helps medical practices to get in front of potential patients at the right time to satisfy their requirements and this is the most effective marketing strategy.

Businesses looking to establish their brand and target customers higher in the market funnel must necessarily develop a deep understanding of the intent behind search keywords. searchengineland.com stresses the importance of understanding 3 categories of search queries to achieve this objective.

  • Navigational query: This is a query in relation to the website you want to go to. Google Chrome enables search from the address bar and you need not type in “www” or “.com.” Other popular browsers also allow searching from the address bar now. There are two main considerations in navigational search:
    • Businesses get an opportunity to get listed with other businesses and build brand awareness. This is an opportunity to create fear or anxiety among competitors by presenting your business as a force to reckon with.
    • This offers high-value traffic for the brand or business being searched; therefore it is important to ensure that your business enjoys a good reputation and has favorable reviews and social signals. This will earn you a high ranking in the search engine results.
  • Informational search query: These types of queries enjoy the largest volume and are usually based on a wide range of topics ranging from business and marketing to health, fitness and so many others. Information is the end goal and most businesses will have opportunities in informational search. So, identifying the queries related to the product or service you offer, and developing content based on it helps you to be more visible to your potential consumers, build brand awareness, credibility and traffic.
  • Commercial or transactional query: Commercial queries relate to the action you want a prospective customer to take. Such queries can be obvious or simple ones or more research-oriented. People could search for “plastic surgeon,” or “best plastic surgeon in New York.” The action you want someone to take will depend on your business and could include things like signing up for a newsletter, take a free trial, call your office etc. These keywords are commercial in nature and therefore high value. So, target these keywords and ensure that you are focusing on helping the visitor achieve what he/she wants once they reach your site.

Understanding Search Intent

It is important to ensure that your landing page fits the search intent of your prospects. For instance, when people search for information, don’t show them your product page. Similarly, if people want to purchase your product or service, make sure that they don’t land on an article page. Ensure that they are led to your shop.

Sometimes it is difficult to have a clear idea of the search intent of a query. Different people may have slightly different user intent, yet land on the same page. Asking your audience is a great way of clearly understanding search intent. Make a small survey with questions regarding what people were searching for and have that survey pop up if visitors come to your website. This could throw more light into the search intent of your specific audience.

Content Strategy and Search Intent

Understanding the intent behind the keywords you target simplifies the entire process of SEO. For organic SEO, identifying search intent is very important. Creating content that ranks high requires a clear understanding about what a searcher wants. Once the intent is clear, review the content and look for aspects that can improve the ranking of the content. You can take search intent rather than word count as the primary target when developing content so that you can work out how well you might perform against competitors targeting the same area. If you can answer a user’s query satisfactorily, and even provide additional information to show you are an authority on a particular topic in 300 words where your competitor has 800 words, you can always go for the shorter content.

If you wish to improve your SEO techniques to increase leads and conversions, consider obtaining reliable search engine optimization services from a reputable Long Island SEO company.

Page Speed Optimization Vital to Rank High in Mobile Searches

Page Speed Optimization Vital to Rank High in Mobile Searches

Page speed optimization is now important for all users focused on digital marketing and will be a major solution provided by an SEO company. In July 2018, Google announced page speed as a ranking factor in their mobile search results, just like on desktop searches. Earlier in 2010, this search engine giant had considered page speed as a ranking factor only for desktop searches.

Page Speed Optimization

The Speed Update, as Google refers to this update, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and a small percentage of queries. It is highly recommended that web developers consider how your site will impact user experience and what can be done to attract targeted audience. According to Search Engine Land, once you get above 3 seconds, many visitors leave before the page loads, many more will bounce, and your conversion rate will drop.

An experienced SEO company in Long Island, NY, we strive to maintain our page load time to within 2 seconds, though it varies depending on user’s device capabilities and network conditions. Site Speed Page Timings in Google Analytics helps to evaluate the average page load time, in seconds, for pages across your site and helps to spot any anomalies.

Here’s a real example of one of our client websites-

Page Speed Optimization

Major factors that impact your website’s loading time include hosting and technical issues, size of the data or image, as well as network issues.

Key Tools to Check Your Site’s Page Speed

Google recommends using these resources to evaluate a page’s performance.

Page Speed Optimization

Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX)

This report is a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions. Users can access the data in Page Speed Insights by checking at a page level. The resulting data is also made available via Public Google BigQuery project and PageSpeed Insights.

As this data is based on real-world measurement, it reflects how real users experienced the visited origin and, unlike synthetic or local testing where the test is performed under fixed and simulated conditions, captures the full range of external factors that shape and contribute to the final user experience.

Lighthouse

Page Speed OptimizationA part of Chrome Developer Tools, Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for auditing and improving the quality of web pages. Users can run it against any web page, public or requiring authentication. It provides audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more.

When a URL is given to audit, this tool runs a series of audits against the page, and then it generates a report on how well the page did. The failing audits can be considered as indicators on how to improve the page. Each audit has a reference doc explaining why the audit is important, as well as how to fix it.

Page Speed Optimization

PageSpeed Insights (PSI)

This is a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations. PageSpeed Insights reports two metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOMContentLoaded (DCL). FCP measures when a user sees a visual response from the page and DCL measures when HTML document has been loaded and parsed. Faster times are more likely to keep users engaged.

PSI reports on the real-world performance of a page for mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved. While the Speed score categorizes a page as being Fast, Average, or Slow, the Optimization score categorizes a page as being Good, Medium, or Low by estimating its performance headroom. Google recently updated the PageSpeed tool to use data from the CrUX.

Other tools that can be used include

Pingdom

PingdomWith Pingdom, users can monitor their website’s uptime, performance, and interactions for a better end-user-experience. The tool helps to get instant insights into your website’s availability and performance so that you can outsmart competition with an amazing end-user experience. It can View file sizes, load times, and other details about every single element of a web page. This tool can also test your site’s availability and can enhance site performance with data from actual site visitors.

Google Mobile Test

Mobile Searches

A mobile-friendly website can improve your online presence. Google reports that 70% of mobile visits are still on a 3G data connection and are expected to stay there until 2020. This Google Mobile Tool shares a summary of your site page’s performance on 3G and also provides a report. It also provides a comparison with other sites in this specific industry and some suggestions for a fix. Users can also request a report that provides detailed advice on what needs to be fixed to speed things up.

When it comes to maintaining the ideal page speed for your medical website, you can rely on the services provided by a professional healthcare digital marketing agency in your area.

Coping with the Search Snippets Length Conundrum

Coping with the Search Snippets Length Conundrum

Healthcare SEO, like all other SEO specializations, would have found the month of May strange particularly because Google seemed to have made an about turn by reducing the snippet length back to 160 characters for the desktop and 130 characters for the mobile, based on observations in various SEO circles. In late 2017, Google had raised the visible snippet length to 230 characters. But now it seems to have reduced it again.

Is there a Fixed Character Count for Snippets Now?

Google’s John Mueller says that the length varies since the search results UI is dynamic. So the snippet length that works the best for the page is chosen. So is there any clarity here? Danny Sullivan went on to say there just isn’t any fixed length for snippets anymore. It would vary depending on what Google’s systems deem useful. Snippets are generated dynamically.

Based on RankRanger information, Search Engine Roundtable reported 160 characters for desktop sites and 130 for mobile sites. But Danny Sullivan maintains that webmasters must ensure that snippets are short and relevant. Rather than focusing on a character count, Sullivan urges creating Meta descriptions that are short and concise. But if you want your entire snippet to be displayed on the result pages, it is better to restrict it to 130 characters just to stay on the safe side.

Search Snippets

Stay Safe by Adding All Relevant Elements in 110 to 130 Characters

With these varying requirements of snippets, there is one way to stay clear of the confusion. Whatever happens to Google’s snippets policy, ensure that the most descriptive and relevant elements of your description are present in the initial 110 to 130 characters. So even if Google truncates the snippets, you’d have the most relevant elements visible.

Meta descriptions are important in physician website design, since they can bring about improved click-through rate and increase traffic to your website. Not only that, they are a major factor in improving your SERP position.

Other Factors Causing Snippets to Be Cut

While Google cuts off snippets that get too long for the available space, there are also some content management systems that shorten Meta descriptions. Now Google sometimes does not make use of the original Meta description, and rewrites it. In such situations your snippet isn’t cut because of any quality issues in your Meta description. While there isn’t any direct measure to prevent Google from rewriting the Meta description you’ve already written, you can ensure that it is descriptive and relevant enough, without being too long or too short. That strategy usually works since Google realizes that your Meta description accurately describes the page.

Meta Descriptions Are Still Important

Meta Descriptions

Now don’t think that since Google automatically generates a Meta description by itself you don’t need to take the effort to do that. While large websites ranking well don’t use Meta descriptions, with Google generating the snippets, you can’t afford to set aside the SEO benefits of Meta descriptions. We saw earlier that it can improve your click-through-rate significantly. Make sure you have one that is relevant and really builds interest because it is important for your SEO. Whether Google uses your Meta description in your search page snippets or not, the SEO advantages just can’t be overlooked.

To start with, you can evaluate the pages in your site generating the best ROI from organic traffic.

  • Pick those pages and optimize their Meta descriptions.
  • Make sure you have enough information in those initial characters to capture the user’s attention. Ensure that you don’t add any information that is not needed for the user to click through.
  • If you can include the primary keyword naturally, go ahead and add it, but not in an artificial manner.
  • A call to action must ideally be included to invite the reader to check out your website.
  • The first 130 characters should convey the most important and compelling part of your message.

Advanced healthcare SEO and medical mobile SEO services can help write the most appropriate Meta description for your desktop and mobile websites. That can go a long way in improving your click-through-rate and building organic traffic.

What Is the Mobile-first Index? Tips for Webmasters

What Is the Mobile-first Index? Tips for Webmasters

Running a healthcare website is a dynamic task since new search innovations keep altering the healthcare SEO landscape. Google has been making some changes to serve the mobile searching user base more. The mobile-first index could be here anytime, though its full launch has always been delayed.

Google advised webmasters in late 2017 to check their log files to notice if they found any increased Smartphone Googlebot activity. If so, Google said that it could be an indication of Google’s mobile-first index being tested on their site.

What Is the Mobile-first Index?

Back in November 2016, Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz indicated that Google would be rolling out a mobile-first index. As part of this update, Google would be creating and ranking search listings based on the page content’s mobile version. Google won’t be crawling the web from the perspective of a desktop browser, but a mobile browser.

In 2016 Google said that for webmasters having a desktop site but no mobile site, it would be indexing the desktop version. Webmasters having a mobile site must ensure the content on that site is similar to its desktop version. Google would crawl the mobile version, unless you only have a desktop site.

Google therefore recommended a responsive website design which works for desktop systems as well as mobile devices. With a responsive design you have the same page-by-page content as your desktop site on your mobile site.

By mid-December 2017, Google confirmed its launch of the mobile-first index not for all sites, but a few. It also revealed that it is monitoring those sites closely to test the impact of the roll out.

Google’s Tips for Webmasters

Google has also offered some other tips on its Webmaster Central blog to help your site get ready for the fuller rollout of the mobile-first index:

  • Ensuring that your site’s mobile version contains high quality and relevant content with images having alt-attributes, text, and videos – Google specified that the content should be in indexable and crawlable formats.
    Mobile Version
  • The mobile version of your site as well as your desktop version should contain structured data. URLs in the structured data must be updated on your mobile site pages. This is essential for user-friendly search features and indexing.
    Structured Data Mobile

    Structured Data Desktop

  • Both site versions should contain metadata. Metadata provides the vital clues about the page content to index and serve it. The Meta descriptions must be equivalent across your desktop and mobile versions.
    Metadata Mobile

    Metadata Desktop

  • There aren’t any changes required to interlink with sites having separate mobile URLs, such as the m-dot sites. Sites having separate mobile URLs can maintain the existing link rel=canonical as well as link rel=alternate elements.
  • In the case of separate mobile URLs, check the hreflang links. When you’re employing link rel=hreflang elements to internationalize, ensure that you link between your desktop and mobile URLs separately. Your mobile URL’s hreflang must point to the other region or language versions on the other mobile URLs. Likewise, use hreflang link elements for linking your desktop URL with the other desktop URLs.
  • The servers that host the site must have sufficient capacity for handling the improved crawl rate by Google’s servers. This is an issue only in the case of sites having their mobile version on a distinct host. Sites with dynamic serving and responsive web design wouldn’t find this a problem.

Your medical website needs to be visible, and for that it must have a great mobile site rich in useful content with a user-friendly layout. Professional mobile SEO services can help ensure your website performs well in the rankings and gets to the people you are targeting while serving their health information needs.

How to Get Your Healthcare Center Figure in Facebook Local Searches

How to Get Your Healthcare Center Figure in Facebook Local Searches

Mobile SEO services are really important for healthcare practices these days, since a good deal of search is carried out on mobile phones. Social networks such as Facebook are capitalizing on this trend.

Facebook Local Is Here

Your specialty healthcare center needs to figure in local search results. But it’s also important to have an active Facebook business page with good user ratings and reviews particularly since the social media giant has now launched Local, an app that helps users search for places or events in their vicinity. So not only is appearing in Google’s local search results important, but figuring in Facebook Local’s suggestions as well since it looks set to become a really popular tool for people looking for something in their town or city.

Facebook Local

Facebook Learns Lessons from Failed Events App to Launch Local

Facebook’s Events app was not as successful as Google Calendar. But that hasn’t discouraged the social networking giant. It is kind of re-launching Events, but is now aiming it at Foursquare, Yelp and other such local search platforms, and it’s called Facebook Local. This is an improved version of the Events app and aims at enabling people to find stuff to do or places to visit nearby.

Facebook really wants to be an influencing factor in local search. To provide these results, Facebook will be drawing on its 70 million business pages along with reviews of these businesses and check-ins of the user’s friends.

As of now, ads are not featured. So you can’t expect to stand out with some marketing, but Local’s product manager Aditya Koolwal indicates that advertising could be incorporated in the future.

This App Can Really Get Popular

Facebook Local is available for Android and iOS. With this, people can look for places such as restaurants, clubs, picnic spots, tourist destinations, cinemas, and hospitals or clinics. They can also search for events such as concerts, exhibitions, etc. Users must log in to their Facebook accounts to use the app. That gives the app further information about the places or events the user’s friends have liked on Facebook.

Users Set a Destination and the App Shows Them What They Want

Users can search for events and locations by category or by name. They can also browse the listings on Facebook. For the users the app organizes locations and events into various categories such as music, games, fitness, food, drinks, and health. These results can be sorted in terms of popularity, relevance, rating and distance from the user’s location.

When users select a location, they also get its address, working hours, Facebook rating, popular keywords used by people on Facebook when describing the location, and also pictures of the location posted on Facebook. Other information available includes directions to the location with the help of a maps app, and links to call the place. Users will also be led to check out the location’s Facebook page or its website.

As users download the app, they have to log in to their Facebook accounts. That’s how Facebook Local can reveal what their friends have liked and who among them has liked a particular location. They can allow Facebook to track their locations, or decline the request. They can also set a location, such as a town or city as their preferred destination for recommendations. The place need not necessarily be the location where they are residing.

Easy Categorization of Events and Destinations

The home tab of the app has a search bar at the top with links for browsing locations on the basis of category.

Below that home tab you have lists of upcoming events happening nearby in three sections:

  • The “For You” list mentions trending events near the user’s location and events RSVP-ed to by the user’s friends through Facebook.
  • The “Events” list mentions events nearby in chronological order.
  • The “Guides” section classifies the events by interest such as games and music, arts and culture or causes and fundraisers. Causes and fundraisers are something your clinic or hospital can conduct to attract the socially conscious.

Even if users don’t allow Facebook Local to track their location, they need to set some location to use the app for searching or browsing. This enables Facebook to gauge the interests of people in that location. If users set some location, it is an indication that they are interested in the destination.

Identifying People’s Interests in a Destination

For your healthcare center to make the most of Facebook Local’s potential, it would be great to organize interesting events that raise health awareness and are related to the treatment options you provide. Since users on social network apps usually search for restaurants, malls, theaters, nightlife destinations, and events normally connected to these, your events must revolve around what people tend to like in your destination, such as awareness programs relating to health hazards of binging, impact of regular partying on the body, things that could go wrong in a club, alcohol and drug rehab programs, etc.

The experts at an experienced healthcare digital marketing agency offering mobile SEO services can strategize the right plan to make use of emerging mobile search services.

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