What the H!@# is a Canonical Tag? First off, it is pronounced [kuh-non-i-kuhl] tag and it helps eliminate duplicate content on your site in the eyes of search engines. It is easy to implement, accepted by all the major search engines and can help your site in the rankings.
In its simplest form, a canonical tag tells the search engines which page to display in place of similar pages (like a 301 redirect), but without actually redirecting the user to the new page. When there are multiple versions of the same page/URL (example.com, www.example.com, www.example.com/) they are all considered the same in the eyes of the engines, which means the engines don’t know which URL to display in their indexes. This in turn can affect your pages’ search engine rankings and traffic to your site (something no one wants).
To prevent your site from potentially losing rankings and positions, simply add a canonical tag to the duplicate pages. Like other meta attributes, it is added in the <head> of your page’s code. You will want to add the canonical tag to all of the duplicate pages, but not the preferred page’s URL. Here is an example of code that will be added to the duplicate pages that you will not want indexed:
Add <link rel=”canonical” href=” www.example.com> inside the <head> section of the duplicate content URLs:
And by adding that simple line of code into the header of the duplicate pages, the search engines will understand that the duplicate pages all should be pointed to the preferred canonical URL. You can check your site’s duplicate content by going into Webmaster Tools and adding in canonical tags where appropriate. With these simple instructions and examples, start adding your own canonical tag today!
It hasn’t even been a month since I started interning here at EIM, yet I feel like I’ve already learned so much. Prior to arriving at EIM, most of my experience with digital media involved managing social media accounts for various local events and businesses and maintaining my own personal blog. As a recent college graduate who studied media and communications for four years, I felt very much aware of the power of social media and how sites like Twitter and Facebook have been reshaping our lives and the way we do business.
But while social media channels can certainly play a great role in things like brand management and customer engagement, it is really just a piece of the marketing puzzle. It’s not enough to just make a Facebook and Twitter page for your business and wait for fans and followers to roll in. It is very important to make sure your social media efforts line up with your overall marketing strategy. It’s also useful to find ways to integrate your social media pages into other channels such as your website, newsletters, mobile apps, print ads, and even TV commercials (see: American Express)
As social media strategist Jay Baer puts it, “Social media is not a solo act. It’s best as part of a jazz combo.” And one very important player in that combo that I knew very little about before coming here was “search marketing.” While working closely with the Web Marketing Team here at EIM, I’m really starting to recognize the importance of search marketing. SEO, SEM, paid search, and search engines in general all play huge parts in gaining traffic to your company website and reaching your marketing goals, whether that means increasing product sales or raising brand awareness.
The web marketing team here at EIM often gets asked casual questions about search engine optimization, be it at the office or even out at a social event. A client might ask about the newest tactic they happened to read about or how social media impacts organic search results. A family member might ask for an explanation of what exactly SEO means (this is a very common one). And we still get people wondering if you can pay for the top spot in the organic results of Google (you can’t).
With all these questions and varying levels of understanding, and with the almost daily changes in the search and social marketing industry, I thought it would be good to take a look at some basics in SEO philosophy.
Discipline yourself to stay focused. Content structured smartly and targeted tightly around your product or service offering will attract a more valuable corner of the search engine market and generate higher conversion rates once your visitors arrive on your site.
Think about your consumer. Content they want to see and anything that makes their experience on your site more engaging, more pleasant and more productive will lead to them talking about you and linking to you.
There are very few quick fixes when it comes to SEO. Search Engines are looking for who’s growing a following, developing quality content, and building a solid reputation within their respective space. The way a business would ideally gain attention and increase sales over time organically is exactly what SEO professionals are trying to emulate. So yes, the very nature of SEO is a manipulation of that organic growth, but it still needs to in fact emulate it. Any tricks that someone might suggest for “sneaking” your site up the results pages is bad business and will likely end up hurting you.
In March, Google released their brand new +1 button to their search results. This button is Google’s response to the Facebook “like”, and allows users to publicly +1 search results and ads on the Google network. This button can help you find quality web pages, based off of what people in your Google community are “+1ing “
Take a peek at this quick video provided by Google to learn a little more about the +1 button.
Originally, the +1 button was released to be displayed only on the search engines, but due to multiple requests Google has released a version of the button that can be placed and displayed on individual web pages. This allows webmasters to add the +1 button all pages across their site, and gives the consumer the opportunity to +1 said page if the find the information useful.
What’s the benefit?
The Google +1 button is a great way to help your site stand out amongst multiple other sites in your category or that provide a similar offering as you do. When users traverse the web they will be able to see all the pages people in their Google community have “+1ed” your page on Google search, and the total amount of people that have “+1ed” the individual pages itself. Knowing that one of their friends has liked a page can strongly encourage interaction with your site as apposed to others.
Google has provided an easy code/button generator that allows you to create your own +1 button is various sizes and the 44 available languages, and simply post the short code onto your page.
Social media is a huge part of marketing these days, and a great way to reach out and captivate your audience. When utilizing these channels there are some important steps you should take to make sure you cover all the bases when continuing to develop your brand on these networks.
So you have an active Facebook page… check. You’re active on Twitter… check. But what about Youtube? Do you have a channel set up? Youtube channels are a necessity these days, and there is much more that you can do to your channel than just uploading videos. Just check out the new promotion Dreamworks is running for the new Kung Fu Panda 2 movie coming out. And MAKE SURE you click for epicness at the end of the first video..
Branding Your Youtube Channel
Not every business has hundreds of thousands of dollars to dedicate to developing Youtube Pages like Dreamworks does. However, all businesses should want their Youtube channel to be cohesive with their brand, and Youtube makes their channels fairly customizable to allow you to do so.
The first step is to change the colors on your channel to represent your brand and drop in a custom background image. Get creative with your Youtube background! You have the opportunity to drive users viewing your videos to your other social media platforms and even your website, so use the space wisely. Check out Home Run Inn Pizza’s Youtube Page to see what I’m talking about.
SEO value of Youtube
Youtube is a great way to boost your SEO rankings for your website as well. If you host all of the videos on your website through Youtube it then creates cross-linking that is great for boosting your organic rankings. Also, make sure you are Optimizing your Youtube videos correctly so they can be properly crawled by the search engines, and give you the most bang for your buck as possible.
StumbleUpon is a recommendation engine that allows you to view web pages, photos, and videos all over the web based on your tagged interests. You can seamlessly “stumble” from page to page, liking and disliking each page you view on the way. StumbleUpon then begins to learn what you like and provides you with related information based your like/dislike behavior. They also offer a very targeted CRM paid advertising option where they discretely insert your web page into users “stumbles” (about $.05 per visit/ $50 CRM).
Check out this quick video to learn more:
What are the benefits?
StumbleUpon is a great way to generate additional traffic to your website, and every time you submit a page to the site you have a change to hit a potential social media home run—it seldom happens, but when it does you have the potential to get hundred of thousands, or even millions of visitors to your site.
StumbleUpon can also be great to create some additional SEO value for you website. If your page/video/image gets enough likes to make it to the top of its category, you will be seen by millions of users. Since StumbleUpon’s user base is so large (15 million +), many people can find your pages and link to them, ultimately increasing cross linking between your website and therefore boosting your website ranking. Your StumbleUpon profile can also rank well if it gets a lot of interaction, and a large amount of users like your posts.
Being that I am the last person at envisionit media that would do a search for recipes, I still found this latest improvement Google has made to enrich the online search experience pretty significant. You know, for those that love to cook (not me), but more importantly for those that feature recipes on their website and want to increase their online exposure for them.
So what is Google Recipe Viewer? Well, in the past, you could do a search for “chicken recipes” in the search bar, and hope that recipes appear in the results. Now, you can filter your results on the left hand side of the results page to search by ingredients, cooking time, even calorie count!
If optimized properly, recipes can get search presence better than ever before. How do you tag recipes to appear better? Recipe View is based on data using rich snippets markup which can be added to the pages of your website that have recipes on them. Pretty simple right? With a little bit of HTML coding, you can be on your way to maximizing the value of your recipes posted on your website.
Don’t yet have recipes posted online? If it is relevant to your business, and can increase the user experience on your website, well by all means, contact us and we can help you out!! And for those of you that actually um like to cook enjoy!!
So things over at Google are getting a little scary, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although it is still technically in testing phase, Google is allowing users to block domains/hosts from appearing in your personal Google search results. They are also allowing users to report bad links and content farm websites through a new Google Chrome extension. The idea behind the extension, called Personal Blocklist is that users can block websites they don’t want to see in their results and Google can then determine bad websites and content farms by looking at the patterns of websites people most often block.
This is the first time that Google has given a searcher the ability to have an impact on search results and the search engine as a whole. Because of this new extension, users can effectively have an impact on page rank since “the extension will also transmit to Google the URL of the web page on which the blocked or unblocked search results are displayed.”
There are currently 116,995 users worldwide and an average of 23,835 weekly downloads. The extension also has a perfect 5 star user rating. At this pace it’s not going to change the Internet, but it’s a very interesting direction and one to keep your eye on. It is also cool because if you use Google Chrome you can now easily block those websites you don’t want to show up in your results. As search gets more personal, this will certainly have an effect on SEO and finding creative ways to get in from of people who can actively manipulate search results.
So, you’ve been told 2011 is all about local. As well as mobile. And social. And video. And reviews. And probably a number of other important elements of the online world. So what the heck do you focus on? Well…when it comes to getting your site found on search engines: all of them.
But! Fear not. Don’t freak out. This doesn’t require elaborate marketing campaigns combining all of these mediums. (In fact, avoid that.) And you don’t need to have the next “Old Spice Guy” idea for social media to have an impact. This just means getting your presence into a healthy mix of all of these mediums, which really comes down to providing great service and engaging with your customers. In other words, do good business. And use these online elements in a natural way.
Here’s an example of how you might integrate them into your everyday business process:
Let’s say you have a special 3-day only deal for your retail website. Assuming you have your Google Places page claimed and optimized, you post the deal there on Monday (the start of the sale–one of your slowest days).
You also tweet about it and share it on Facebook, thanking your existing customers for being loyal fans
An hour later, you notice several retweets of your deal and thank those followers for sharing the love
Another friend of one of the retweeters sees the message, but wants to learn more about you first, so they search for you on their mobile phone. Luckily, you have a well-optimized mobile site, so this person quickly finds you and has easy access to exactly the information they needed (maybe info like what your company does, some testimonials, products, etc.).
In honor of end-of-year reflection and round-ups, I wanted to use my last blog post of 2010 to pay homage to the classic Top 10 List. From popular radio to Cosmopolitan to Letterman to your best friend’s blog, Top 10 Lists have always been able to captivate the curiosities of many an audience. They can be fun or insightful, they make us laugh, they make us think…and sometimes they might even rile us up. Put that sucker on your website and BAM: you’ve got a simple little viral SEO tool.