Setting up a web server at home is a great way to fully understand how the internet works. How traffic communicates from the users’ browser down to the host where the website is located. Learn her how to set up your very own server.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing a website for search engines, this optimization can be directly on the website itself (on-page) or on other websites which mention your website (off-page).
In recent times search engines have evolved their search algorithms to detect activities (Panda, penguin, Hummingbird updates) which go against their quality guidelines with the goal of improving search positioning, this has resulted in many high profile websites such as eBay, Expedia to loose rankings.
Any activity which is directly influencing how your site is presented, be it optimizing the content, structure or even how fast your website loads and decreasing site errors such as 404, out of services etc.
Read more about On-Page SEO
One of the main factors of how search engines determine the ranking of a website is how many websites backlink to your website, ofcourse there are other indicators such as how relevant the backlink is, the authority of the website linking, where the link is placed etc.. Therefor, Off-Page SEO is how you as a webmaster can naturally increase the number of backlinks you get, the number of +1 by using link baits and other marketing campaigns to generate backlinks.
Any activity which affects how other websites refer to your site, it could be a backlink, a mention or a +1 in Facebook or Google +.
Read more about Off-Page SEO
Below are a few articles which mention Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
The International Search Summit or IIS is an annual event based in Munich and SMX (Search Marketing Conference). The main goal of the event is to share knowledge with running Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and PPC in many international markets. It is also a good venue to discuss key issues affecting business moving their online presence internationally.
Missed opportunities in international search
Speaker: Bill Hunt from Back Azimuth Consulting
Bill discusses issues that companies have translating content internationally whilst trying to scale translation services.
Most common issues with internationalization:
- Sitemaps not migrated from http to https
- 301 chain redirects for international content where the redirect has four plus redirects which is blocked by modern browsers
- 302 redirects when international URL’s change
Additionally companies can rank for the correct queries but the correct URL is incorrect. Example of this is when one country is ranking higher than the local country. This is a problem because most international (global pages i.e. “.com”) pages cannot monetise traffic due to payment methods / shipping not showing.
Fixing issues with href-lang can increase search visibility by over 200% in the correct country. It also reduces significantly issues with duplicate content. A good tool to consider is Google Search Console / International Snippets.
“We assume Google can figure it out”
Other common issues with href-lang
- Mapping ISO country-language in <head> but only country in sitemap
Indexing issues in other languages where duplicate content is found and Google / Search engines do not index the content
- Fixing this can increase overall traffic by over 60%
- Sitemaps with Issues in search console sitemap report
- Incorrect canonical tags where website managers clone the content to other countries
- DO NOT add canonical to main website, always canonical to the actual content on said country
- Always self-reference back to itself (from one page to another).
- Be careful with uppercase / lowercase in hreflang as they are caps sensitive
Forced Country Selection
Client question: “We set IP detection to give users a better experience but now traffic has decreased”
Common issues with auto IP detection redirect
- Always check that the IP detection is correct, by using Proxies
- Cookies settings sometimes override the auto IP detection redirection if you’ve gone to the main page first
- IP the location but content is different meaning that the actual content on the page will be localized but the URL does not change. The issue with this is that that search engines would be unable to index said content as there is no unique URL
- What is the default website language?
- What happens with search engine visits?
You should use user-agent detection to see if it is a bot and disable auto IP detection for search bots.
“98% of html language tag are usually incorrect”
Ways to fix this:
- Create a template driven website and not a localized site for each country, which can greatly decrease website manager / development costs.
- You can still have a central template for campaign pages and allow local website managers to create their own campaign pages.
User a content Collaboration Matrix
- Test key points of failure
- Ensure that local URLs / pages are indexing and NOT other markets
- Ensure that all local pages are indexed
Could I use Google Translate to translate content to all languages?
There are two issues of this, one is that Google considers automated translated content as a form of machine writing therefore you could get flagged for low-quality content, additionally the quality of translations especially for languages such as Arabic, Japanese where translations from English to said language is bad.
Deploying Amazon’s GEO-targeting
Speaker: Andy Atkins-Kruger from Webcertain
What does this mean? How does Amazon do geo-targeting to selling physical content?
- Where I love?
- My cultural filters?
- My Personal Interests?
How does search engines understand language?
Search [engines] should know who I am from the query and language I use and specify.
Getting it right: Geo-targeting and hreflang
Speaker: John Muller from Google
John talks about internationalisation and gives tips in order for Google to index and rank better by showing most common problems.
“Critical: fewer URLs is better”
There are a few options a website can do to move their website internationally
- One site to rule them all
- Language targeting: One page per language
- Country targeting: One site per country
- Language & country connected: Can get quite complex
Issues that Google has to identify the language / country of the user when:
- A user is searching for the actual brand name
- You might see other countries with the same language competing with each other
Google always recommends having a backup i.e. when a user hits the wrong page and move them to the correct site i.e. show a banner asking the user if they are on the correct page.
This is also useful for the search bot (that most likely will come from a US IP range), always allow the search bot to discover the other country-languages, i.e. having the URL’s to the other languages on page such as in the footer or as a dropdown.
- Users search in a language and see content in that language
“hreflang is NOT a ranking factor” – John Muller at Google
The main goal of hreflang goal is to show the right content to the user and not another language.
Main issues with hreflang
Absolutely clean canonicalization – Links must be between canonical URLs and must be the same type
Reasonable granularity level i.e. do not launch for all possible country-language combinations
- Language – All users searching in said language
- Country – All users in that language
Any URL structure works as long as it is clear
Issues with hreflang
If you have issues in your <head> tag such as bad html coding, Google will close, the header early and therefore not see the hreflang and canonical tag. Google tag manager tag for example WILL break the header (if you implement it as iframe) and WILL break the header page. A good way to see if this is the case then use the Google rich snippet test tool to see if Google can see the page.
In http response (same as <head>) will override what it sees on the page
Google will ignore your canonical tag if they do not match across the board.
- 301 redirects
- Rel=canonical link elements
- Sitemaps entries
- Internal & external links
- hreflang links
Duplicate content issues with hreflang
Pure duplication can be combined as translations are not a duplicate content, but sometimes the content will be displayed. This is a big issue for DACH markets where German language is very similar.
AMP / Mobile pages must have canonicals to that AMP page.
This can be ignored if you go with responsive design and not a version for each page type.
Homepage is very important; you can use the x-default for the homepage.
Googlebot mostly crawls from the US & needs US-content; therefore, if your US is blocked, Googlebot cannot index it, then you will not index.
“Fewer URLs are better” – John Muller
- Reduce first, fewer URLs is better!
- Learn and fix canonicalization
- Get help from experts
Mobile first indexing
Google will primarily index / crawl content with a mobile search bot i.e. as a smartphone. It will still discover the desktop URL, but the rankings are based on mobile version.
Why: Most users are using mobile devices
- Check readiness i.e. if it is ready to be crawled by a mobile crawler
- Then crawl the page and track the desktop vs mobile page and then
- Crawl the desktop page
Are you ready for mobile first crawling for SEO? Here is a quick checklist.
Next Planned steps for mobile
What about AMP pages?
Readiness is determined per site by seeing if the content is equal (similar), and have a similar our0links. The images and alt-text is available, matches, and works. Additionally the data structure and hreflang / AMP etc.. is available on both versions.
International Keyword Research
By Umay Jones from Webcertain
Keyword research is founded upon three main pillars.
Image of three pillars of language
Defines how you interpret information and is the lens on which you few things.
Case study: company selling “chairs” in:
Analysis of queries:
Therefore if you use a machine translation (automated translation) it WILL NOT.
“Use linguists, as translators will not know the culture in the country” – Umay Jones
Misspellings and accents droppings and compound nouns: Be careful when Google AdWords and other bid / web analytics tools do not do a good job at really understanding misspellings with other languages apart from English, therefore be very careful in not “trusting” said tools.
Brand names should also be localised
Some countries do not use a Latin keyboard; therefore, if your brand name is in Latin characters then you will have issues targeting said country. Therefore, consider localising your brand name in other characters. Example is how Adidas changes its name in other markets, as the meaning can also be offensive in some.
Adidas keyword search volume in other countries
Conclusion: knowing the language does not mean being an expert in said language, a person might know how to write but might have little cultural knowledge of said country, therefore consider hiring / contracting specialists that really understand the culture and not just the language.
Keyword planner issues
You need to be aware of limitations on many keyword planner tools
Take away from this talk
- Understand the culture
- Be aware the language and include misspellings, accents, terminology etc…
- Don’t rely on the translators and the keyword tools
- Always work with not only native, but also skilled, experienced linguistics
- Explore the local search options
International PPC on a global scale
Case study looking at ELS an English language learning company.
- In 13 languages
- Active in PPC campaigns in 26 languages with AdWords, Yandex, Baidu etc…
- Active campaigns in 38 Countries
Year on Year (YoY)
- CTR by 61%
- CPA decrease by 30%
Key market achievements
“This was accomplished by Website Improvements, Campaign Management Optimisation, Linguistic Optimisation and Content Improvements”
Additionally having a centralised Approach to account management was key in this optimisation as this allowed the company to standardise campaigns and align overall KPIs and ROI. Whereas with a country-centralised approach there are issues with in-country teams were they my want more responsibilities and power within their own market and thus might create an agency dilemma (my comments, not speakers).
[INSERT PPC IMPROVEMENTS]
ILS wanted to optimise the entire account as Google had released extended ads in 2016 and therefore they created an approach (see below).
The roadmap looked as follows
- PPC Campaign structure optimisation
- Content Creation
Report and Budgeting
“Try to treat each market as a completely unique one as each market is different even if they speak the same language”
With the above implementation in the Thai market together with an optimisation of the contact form submission logic, the Thai campaign had an average contact rate from 20-40 per month to over 150 successful contacts. As this worked well in the Thai market, this was then “cloned” the strategy to other countries.
This to consider when running international PPC Campaigns
- Do not direct translate
- Share PPC keywords with translators and create landing pages
- Have an international calendar so you understand key events in said market
- Create marketing personas to better understand the audience in said country
- Campaigns in similar languages should be adapted linguistically
Try, Analyse and optimise your campaigns
What they observed:
- In developing markets: Users do not want to submit a lot of information about themselves.
- In developing markets: Internet connects is slow
- Decision process fast in developing markets
- Festive periods make decision making longer especially in developing nations i.e. carnival in Brazil
- CPA in developed markets higher therefore have more focused campaigns
Different markets have a device distribution higher than others do and therefore mobile ads should be forced above the fold on mobile.
Featured snippets at SIXT
Speaker Izzi Smith from Sixt
“its no longer enough just to rank first place”
Rich snippets and greatly increase the quantity of traffic to your website. As the visibility is before the 1st SERP results. The quality of the traffic is also very good as they already are aware of what content to expect. Additionally, users often trust more featured snippets then other content on the SERP. With conversational search, the data is also derived from featured snippets.
Old rich snippets:
How to start and be featured in the featured snippets?
- Do keyword research: Find question / phrases
Evaluate what keywords you currently rank with
- You could also use RYTE tool where it stores all past keyword rankings and not just 3 months
- Evaluate your potential queries
Additionally, use tools such as “answer the public” where it will create lists of potential questions with said query.
Asses the query intent
Ask yourself if you would like to create a featured snippet that is too easy to answer, as the intent would have been fulfilled within Google SERP and not on your site.
Avoid knowledge graph
- Be factual
- Provide data and source
- Write as a human
- Structure answer content with the most relevant format
- Paragraphs: Often triggered with Do, what etc…
- Length should be between 40-50 words
- Prepositions and plurals for lists
Avoid fully answering a question so that you have a “more” in the list.
Case study: Car model landing pages
When SIXT has as new car, they create a landing page for said car i.e query. “rent a ford mustang”.
Tools: AWR Cloud keyword tracker where you can filter for featured snippets.
Day Two at SMX Munich 2018
Mobile first indexing
Is your website ready for mobile first indexing? Use the Google search console to find errors in the crawler.
Be careful with hreflang annotstions, always use the hreflang to the mobile equivilant.
You can check if your international targeting tags are working by using GWC
There are other tools in the market you can use such as Polly with python and other free tools.
Use the technicalSEO.com tool to see if your mobile site is working.
Keep your eye on loading times
Use tools like kingdom and server analytics to determine if there is an error
Consider doing a page speed audit
Don’t forget the basic SEO things such as title, meta description etc… and don’t make content for the crawler only.
Consider a readability test
Consider a html 5 and not iframe for video content
Image quality over quantity always
Don’t use stock photos
Remember to add rich snippets for the featured snippets in google SERP
The SEO playbook
Session by @suzzicks
This session talks about what’s key in SEO.
Mobile first articles that go more in detail.
You can see that Google is changing queries from query search (keyword) to entity search I.e. being able to understand the fundamental question itself.
Prioritizing the query in context and to better understand the intent
we must understand that a location / time is an entity.
An entity does not need a website, it can also have a location in maps / my business etc…
entities are language agnostic
i.e. they are the same no matter what language they where queried and therefore are universal. Therefore they started grouping the “entities” together such as “supermarkets”, “restaurants” etc…
Google is asking users about the entities to enrich their understanding of the entity (POI). Such as the type of restaurant etc… This will also help with voice search and answer questions based on its input.
Thing have to be classified correctly for the machine learning to improve and suggest recommendations
Google has started translating reviews from other languages to yours.
Google has added PWA where it uses universal links to link from website to within an app installed.
Multiple choice parameters to perform actions within the local space. This information can also be use with Google voice assistant.
Do an SEO local audit for the client.
Check out local SEO Guide
This will give you a lot of insight and what factors influence local SEO rankings.
Clients always what to Benin the map pack.
- Number one signal is your address within the city and the proximity of the user to the POI. Sadly you can’t optimise for proximity
- Link signals: 29% of Ranking factor. These are links from local business, entities etc… Look at things that that company is doing locally and ask them what relationships they have.
Get client signals to determine what links you can get by asking them some questions.
Finding Marketing unicorn campaigns
Search markets tweaks
Redirect rules are a lifesaver when migration from one website to another or simply when you want to clean your URL’s. Below is a list of redirect rules I use quite often.
As an experienced SEO professional, I’ve often done SEO audits of websites with more than one million pages. Doing audits in such a scale requires some heavy lifting and the traditional SEO toolset simply can not handle the amount of data and the scale of these audits.
Excel is a wonderful tool to manage large rows of data. It is particularly beneficial for SEO as there are many data intensive tasks such as keyword research, backlink audits, SEO content quality assurance (checking for 404’s, <titles> etc…). Below is just some formulas I use day to day, this is mostly for my own use but I’ve put it here for the sake of house-keeping (For the below formulas to work the value’s to be changed should be in cell A2).
Excel formulas for URLS
## Remove https and / from end of url ##
## Count number of levels i.e. “/” in domain after tld ##
## Remove .ifolor from end of url ‘## * issue I currently have at the
## Remove domain and language from url ##
## Keep only domain ##
## Get COUNTRY_LANGUAGE from ifolor url
=VLOOKUP(IF(LEN(A2)<24,A2,IF(23-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(LEFT(a2,24),”/”,””))>2,LEFT(A2,23),LEFT(A2,20))),’G:\GMC\_Newtech\Content\[All pages overview.xlsx]look_up’!$B$3:$C$17,2,FALSE)
Excel formulas for Date and time formatting to value
## Convert hh:mm:ss in toggl to minutes ##
## How to convert Webtrends date format to value in excel (EU) ##
Regex formulas to find and replace text
I would highly recommend using notepad++ to do any mass html editing / cleaning.
## RegEX for finding text before and after specific texts ##
By @SimoAhava from netbooster www.simoahava.com
- resources: //developers.google.com/tag-manager/enhanced-ecommerce
- GitHub: //github.com/sahava/eec-gtm
- Slides: //www.simoahava.com/analytics/track-content-enhanced-ecommerce/?utm_source=link&utm_medium=powerpoint&utm_campaign=smx
Respect the stateless web
Things like intent and content efficiency are difficult to unveil in the stateless environment.
How do you reliably persist state?
- Browser cookies
- HTML Storage
The issue is when someone flushes the cookies or deletes the html storage therefore the data becomes meaningless.
Solution could use server-side computation but how to overcome the this problem of stateless collection? Forget KPIs?
Enhanced eCommerce for content
Traditional eCommerce analytics only look at sessions which end with a “receipt page. With the Enhanced Ecommerce adds funnels such as:
- Product impressions
- Click on impr.
- View product details
- Add to cart
- Checkout step 1
- Checkout step 2
- Checkout step 3
Enhanced eCommerce shifts the focus from conversions to the entire journey.
Enhanced Ecommerce for content
Allows you to understand the relationship between promotion impressions and actions taken on it.
- Determine the terminology:
Then, work on data collection.
- Leverage the Data Layer
- Feel free to leave something out if it isn’t relevant
- Design the data collection with analysis in mind – not (just) because its fun and cool
- Read Google’s Dev Guide
By Simo Ahava @ Netbooster – Head of Analytics www.simoahava.com Twitter: @SimoAhava
I’ve been following Simo’s blog for quite some time and meeting him in person is truly a pleasure.
The major problem with Google Analytics is that it is designed for the masses, it is meant to fit overall businesses.
“Reporting on a single metrics or snapshot of a funnel is like telling only the punchline of a joke”
Event tracking schemas
- Interaction events
- Page view events
These are sessions with an eCommerce transaction.
- All sessions data is arbitrary
- Data quality is something you work towards
- Make metrics / KPI’s more meaningfull
- Stay away from aggregate metrics
Aggregate > Segment > User centric > Cohorts > Predictive
- How can an arbitrary, fictional metric ever be a good KPI
Presented by Jess Sauer @jeffalytics
How to measure what your doing in digital marketing.
1. Strategies win championships
Start with the outcome, determine what you need to know and what will help you improve your business and give you business insights.
E.g. I would like to reduce unhappy customers I will generate more income.
Set a goal: i.e. sign up 5,000 new users in 2015
- 5,000 new users
- 416 users / month
- 352 users + 3% growth
- Budget: 100,000 EUR
- 5,000 new users
- Big content
- Email capture
- Paid search
- Video production
- Graphic designer
- Landing page software
- Email opt in
- iTunes store
- Google Analytics
2. Understand what’s possible in analytic
Google Analytics is constantly changing as they continue to update their platform. Here are a few updates which are available today:
- Demographics reports: Tells you about your audience, their market segments, age, gender etc…
- Benchmarking reports: Compare your site with other similar site
- Channel Groupings: i.e. creating a brand / non-brand channel
- Content groupings: group pages which are in the same layout / structure i.e. static pages, category, product detail pages.
- Universal Analytics’s:
- What is universal Analytics:
- New method of collecting visitor data
- Less Reliant on Cookies
- Track Users Across Devices ( this is still in its early stage)
- Processes data in the cloud
- Allows Custom Data Integration
- Most new features are universal only
- Custom Dimensions
- Custom Metrics
- User Based Reportings
- Custom Data Upload
- Measurement Protocol
- Cloud based configuration
- What is universal Analytics:
- Google Tag Manager:
- Speed of Deployment
- Less Reliance on Developer Resources
- Automated Event Tracking
- No code updates
- Custom data layers
- Variables (formerly macros)
- Cross Domain Tracking
- Custom HTML Tags
- Custom Tag Firing
- Trigger based on Execution (formally called rules)
- Third party tags
3. Find your strategic framework
- Agree on which tactics to deploy
- Mind the 80 / 20 rule
- Define your teams
- Choose your tools
- Work the plan
The international search summit focuses primarily on international SEO and is hosted alongside SMX Munich. International SEO is the process of improving search visibility on major international search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Sesnam (Czech), Yandex (Russia) and Baidu (China).
Maximising international opportunities
by Immanuel Simonsen from @imSimonsen Webcertain
Source ecommerce = emarketer
The great web content mistakes
9 in 10 Europeans would prefer access a website in their own native language, and 52% of people say that language is more important than price.
Do not look localization as a cost center.
Different countries / different channels
Share of on-line market mobile share of total:
- Asia has 46.6%
- Africa 45.8%
- Europe 34%
Which devices did you use to purchase on-line?
Google consumer barometer < Tool to find out user channels
Ecommerce – Where is the money and how valuable are these markets
In 2009, you could reach almost half of the addressable economic potential on the web.
Google’s John Muller talking about international href-language
John talks about the correct uses of href-language and the common mistakes webmasters make using the tag.
- Href for different brand in different locations:
Answer: that’s fine
- Question: How long does it take for Google webmaster geo-targeting update itself?
Answer: It takes some time for Google to re-crawl, re-index and analyses href-tags, therefore if you do make a change/update to your href-lang, it will take some time for it to update.
- Always use Exact URL’s
- Geo-targeting for sites & countries; hreflang for pages & variations
- This isn’t always trivial. Get help & keep things simpler.
Yandex – Webmaster recommendations for international search:
He starts by talking about the future of the economic situation and how the internet is changing, he talks about a major Yandex focus on China.
- Russia’s rise in mobile internet use is expected to pass the US next year (2016).
- One of 3 Global search engines is Yandex (Google, Bing and Yandex)
- Digital Ad trends in Russia for 2015:
- 36% of Russian businesses are reducing radio advertising
- 24% of Russian business reducing TV advertising
International Keyword research
Presented by Ben Lefebvre
He talks about the importance of localized keywords, where search marketers should not directly translate keywords.
Things to take from this presentation:
- Accents are very important
- Character replacements and compound nouns
- Misspellings and dropping accents
- Character replacements
- Compound nouns
- Cases and Scripts:
Scaling on-line marketing efforts for a global brand
by Nicolas Stadtelmeyer for stylight.com Twitter @stadtelmeyer
- Keep functional organisations
- Build project team for initial set-up and localization
- Keep consistent structure across all countries (Website, OM Set-up)
- Slim set-up through shared skills
- Don’t overemphasise localization
Setup and scaling paid search for international markets:
- Define Dimensions
- Design MCC Accounts & Campaign structures
- Build campaigns by combinations of dimensions
- Scale campaign building through automated processes
- Automated building and focus on optimization
Search strategies for seasonality:
- Seasons when working with countries on different hemispheres
- Cultural customs i.e. Spain buys many gifts after Christmas whereas US, UK before
- Law requirements in each market: i.e. France has a regulated sale period, here cloths sales (around 5-10 of January).
- Times of week: Countries such as Brazil usually have a low weekend search volume compared to DACH countries
Launching in a New Market SEO Challenges and Check-list:
By Rahul Gupta
- Start with your target audience where consumer behaviour in your new markets and determine your first impression matters.
- Selecting the right traffic channels
- What search engines does this market have
- What social media networks are used in that market
- What PPC channels / display networks are used
- Find the local influencers in that market
- Reach out to experts in the market, maybe hire a local PR/SEO agency to help work
- Look into competitors back-links to find more influencers, publishers and communities (low hanging fruit)
In-house vs outsourced content
- Determine resource requirements for your content creation process
- Complete the keyword research inhouse
- Assess several content agencies in the local market
- Working with freelancers or agencies that use articles spinning tools
- writers who are not located in your market
- Content creators that are not aware of SEO
Prioritize and bundle your products
Use external sources to prioritize site structure & indexation logic.
- What sets you apart from the rest? Work on your USPs, Use onsite space efficiently
Display legal elements & local trust badges.