Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rankings in Mobile Search Results Set to Change in April 21st - Here is What You Should Do!

Google has updated it's mobile search ranking algorithm and site rankings are set to change in April 21st, 2015. Is your site ready to tackle that change? If you still haven't taken measures, it's time for you to do so. Here is a checklist of all the things you should be doing to keep your website safe in mobile search rankings.

1- Ensure that your site does not have any faulty redirects. Simply redirect smartphone users from a desktop page to its equivalent smartphone-optimized page. DO NOT redirect all the desktop users visiting several different inner pages to the home page of the mobile site. For ex- www.example.com/ should be redirected to www.m.example.com/ and www.example.com/foo should be redirected to www.m.example.com/foo and not www.m.example.com. (If your site is responsive it's best and there won't be any issues of faulty redirects). Have a look at the below image to have a more clear idea:



2- Check whether the search engine crawlers are able to accurately crawl all the pages of your smartphone optimized site. You can simply submit a mobile sitemap under GWT in the similar way as the regular sitemap. (If your site is responsive then you don't need any extra sitemap).

3- Make sure that Googlebot can crawl your JavaScript, CSS and image files by using the “Fetch as Google” feature in Google Webmaster Tools.

4- Make sure your robots.txt is working properly.

5- Take the mobile friendly test and check there aren't any issues with your site https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

6- Use HTML5 standard tags to include videos or animations. Other formats might not be supported by mobile videos and might cause the below message to get displayed.


7- If any user is visiting a desktop page from a mobile device and you have an equivalent mobile page at a different URL, redirect them to that URL instead of serving a 404 or a soft 404 page.

8- For promoting app downloads, make sure the interstitial is not blocking the user from completing tasks.


It is recommended to use HTML banner or image, similar to small advert, that links to the app store where the user can download the app.



9- Make sure your mobile site loads quickly. You can use the Page Speed Insights tool for making your site faster.

10- Check the Mobile Usability Section under the GWT to find out issues that might affect the mobile users from properly accessing your site's content.

Make sure to follow all the above guidelines in order to make your website mobile friendly and to keep your site safe from any negative ranking fluctuations.

Why It's Important?

Making your website mobile friendly is important because if your site loses mobile rankings it can drastically impact the organic traffic to your site. Just check the amount of mobile traffic your site is getting and then think if this traffic is affected, your overall website traffic might get down. So, in order to keep your web traffic stable, please follow the above guidelines.

Also See:

70% of Mobile Searches Call a Business Directly From Search Results
Website Carousel For Mobile Search Queries

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Google Updates Definiton of Doorway Pages in Quality Guidelines

Google has updated the old definition of doorway pages and added some clarifying examples in order to combat doorway page spam. Doorway pages are a set of webpages (same or different domains) that is created specifically for the search engines and redirects the users to the same destination. This can be frustrating for the end users because even after clicking on different search results, the user is taken to the same landing page URL. 

Here is the old definition of doorway pages as per Google:


And here is the new definition:


So, please don't waste your time and money creating doorway pages cause they might land your entire web properties into trouble. Anything that goes against the quality guidelines is dealt severely with Google. 

Also See:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How Can You Use Cohort Analysis Report in GA to Increase Conversions?

Cohort analysis helps us to examine a segment of users who share a set of common characteristics over a period of time. Performing an analysis on this refined set of customer data/user data can provide some valuable details as to how we can strengthen our current marketing strategy. 

What is a Cohort?

A Cohort is a group of users segmented by time who share the same set of characteristics. For example - The Indian Cricket Team For the World Cup 2015 is a cohort because all the members share common characteristics, they all played for India in the World cup 2015. 

Why Cohort Analysis Matters For Your Business?

Businesses often survey the performance of new customers acquired with the help of a particular marketing channel. 

This is simply a cohort. It’s all customers who were acquired from a particular channel. 

Here are some more examples of Cohorts:

  • All customers who ordered during Christmas.
  • Performance of customers who are from Sweden.
  • Performance of customers who register on the site through Facebook.
  • Performance of customers in the first week of the month.

Performing Cohort Analysis Using Google Analytics

The Cohort report in GA has 4 main sections - Cohort type, Cohort size, Metric and Date range. Let us learn about each of these sections in the coming para.

Cohort Type - The Cohort Type corresponds to the table column that includes the total number of users in a cohort. Currently, only 1 option is available i.e. the Acquisition date. The cohorts are grouped based on when users started their first sessions. 

Cohort Size - The time frame that determines the size of each cohort. This corresponds to the date and number of users in each cohort cell in the dimension column. You can choose by day, by week or by month.

The following types are available under Cohort Size:

Per User

A- Goal Completions per user 
B- Page Views per user 
C- Revenue per user 
D- Session Duration per user 
E- Transactions per user 

Retention

A- User Retention

Total

A- Goal Completions
B- Page Views
C- Revenue
D- Session Duration
E- Sessions
F- Transations
G- Users

Metric - The metric corresponds to all columns in the table, except the Cohort Type column, which displays the dimension. This is what you measure under this analysis.

Date Range - The time boundary that determines what data appears in the report. This corresponds to the number of rows in the table.

In the example below, we have created a cohort by day, using the metric "user retention" for the past 7 days.

Cohort report in Google Analytics


The first column identifies the cohorts and the number of users in each cohort. 

The rest of the columns reflect the time increments you choose for Cohort Size. For example, if you select by day, then each column includes one day of data. There are 13 time-increment columns, 0-12.

By analyzing the cohorts we can easily check whether performance improves or deteriorates. As you look down the column at data for each newer cohort, you’re looking forward in time (for example, Day 4 for the second cohort occurs after Day 4 for the first cohort though they appear in the same column).

Also See:

Macro and Micro Conversions for Online Portals
Learn Analytics FREE
How to Find the Best Day of Conversions Through Analytics
Data Sampling in GA
How to Create Goals in GA?
Google Tag Manager
Multi Channel Funnel in Google Analytics
Regular Expressions on Google Analytics
Search Queries in Webmasters Tools
Expert Competitive Analysis

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Google to Rely on Trustworthiness Instead of Site Popularity - Here Comes Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) Ranking Score

We all have talked about links in the past but in future Google is set to consider trust (accuracy) of the content as a major ranking signal instead of site popularity which is solely based on links. A new ranking factor named Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) score is set to affect all the webpages and they shall be ranked on the basis of high to low KBT scores. (Certain exceptions apply as the actual Google algorithm is based on so many other factors) but most importantly links will lose some of its importance to KBT scores.

What is Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) Score?

Judging the quality and accuracy of information is a tremendous task. Traditionally Google evaluated it using exogenous signals such as hyperlinks and browsing history. These signals however weighted popularity of a webpage more instead of it's trustworthiness. Some less popular websites having very accurate information neveer get the same visibility because the main ranking algorithm relies of PR that is measure of popularity. 

To break the shackles, Google has proposed a way to distinguish errors made in the extraction process from factual errors in the web source by using joint inference in a novel multi-layer probabilistic model. This trustworthiness score is known as "the Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT). 

What's New In This Model?

Under this new model, sites having high PR scores or DA might have low KBT scores because none of the PR algorithm or Moz DA algorithm includes factual correctness of information while computing the webpage scores. Hence, this new model if proved to be correct in the longer run will provide new means to judge the quality of the webpage. 

KBT is different from all other previous models of source importance computation. PageRank and Authority-hub analysis consider signals from link analysis. EigenTrust and TrustMe consider signals from source behavior in a P2P network. 

Web topology, TrustRank, and AntiTrust detect web spams. But, KBT considers an important endogenous signal — the correctness of the factual information provided by a web source.

What Will Be the Effect of KBT Scores On My Site?

Sites that are having high popularity like the QA sites often have inaccurate information in them because those are directly answered by users and are not proofread by any editors. This is opposed to the information provided by Wikipedia which are proofread by editors. Hence, QA/Forum sites although have a score in popularity (means high DA, PR as well as high Alexa) but they might actually have a low KBT score. If your site does not provides accurate data, it might fall in the category of low KBT score and hence lesser rankings.

Low Page Rank Sites Might Have High KBT Scores 

and

High Page Rank Sites Might Have Low KBT Scores

Does High KBT Scores Means High Rankings?

The short answer is no :) 

The Google ranking algorithm is composed of so many factors and KBT is just one of them. So, there is no guarantee that a high KBT score might guarantee high rankings always. But yes, most of the times if other factors favor your site then you can enjoy higher visibility on Google.

Are Links Dead?

Not at all. Links still hold a lot of value because site popularity is still a factor in the ranking algorithm. Links might have lost some of its value but they are not dead.

How to Increase KBT Scores?

KBT scores is based on trust. Google compares the quality of the information presented on your site with several other pre-compiled resources and checks its accuracy. This means, having accurate information in your site is more important than ever. if the content facts presented on your site matches with those present in n number of high trust score websites then you will have a high KBT score.