In 2016, most web users expect websites to load in less than 3 seconds and if they don’t, they will click the “back” button in a heartbeat. Also, slow websites are typically penalized by Google, which will cause any natural rankings you have to drop over time. This is definitely not good for business and in this article, we will look at a few tips to increase your website speed.
Minimize HTTP requests
The first tip is that you should minimize HTTP requests. When someone enters your website’s URL or clicks on a link to your site, 80% of those few seconds are spent loading the different aspects of your page. These aspects include your style sheets, flash animations, images, scripts etc. In order for these elements to load, HTTP requests need to be made for each element which takes time. So, the easiest way to speed up your website is to reduce the number of HTTP requests that need to be made by simplifying your website, combing various style sheets into just one, using CSS instead of images, reducing scripts etc.
Next, another tip is to enable compression of your web pages. If you’re creating high quality content pages as you should, then you probably have pages that are 100kb or more. This is quite large and will cause your site to slow down. You can fix this by compressing your pages with tools like Gzip. By using a compression tool, you can reduce download time by as much as 70% since compression will reduce the overall bandwidth of the page.
Enable browser caching
Lastly, be sure to enable browser caching for your website. This is basically when a person visits your site for the first time, all of your website’s elements are downloaded and stored in their temporary cache. This information is kept in the cache so that any subsequent visits will cause the site to load faster and increase your website speed for that user.
In closing, we have just looked at a few ways to increase your website speed. Once you implement the above tips, be sure to continue testing and experimenting with other methods to see what works best.
The implementation of Google’s Knowledge Graph, which was launched back in 2012, is a very important milestone in the search engine world and has already had an enormous impact on the way we acquire new information and extract valuable data from the internet. As such, the importance of having your website sit at the first position in Google’s search results is getting more and more irrelevant. In this article I will try to explain why it is so and how you can potentially benefit from this.
Knowledge Graph examples
Even if you have never heard of the Knowledge Graph, you have probably already seen it in action whenever you search for something online. Here’s an example (in the form of a screenshot) of what happens when you Google for seo services vancouver:
When looking at the results page above, you’re immediately attracted to the fancy map, am I right? This is a great example of how even sponsored AdWords advertisements can be less attractive for most people than the completely free Knowledge Graph placements, as seen above in the form of a map, of companies near us offering search engine optimization services.
Getting answers more efficiently
Google, being the world’s top search engines, is constantly working on helping people find what they’re looking for faster and more accurately. Thanks to the Knowledge Graph this is now possible and more often than not you find yourself not needing to visit any actual websites any more because the correct answer to your question has been extracted by Google automatically. For example, if you simply ask Google “what’s the weather like today“, you can see a result like this:
The above data has been automatically pulled from the weather.com website and as you can see, we no longer had to visit the actual website to know what the weather is like in our area.
This is useful on the desktop computer and saves us from the hard work of having to click the mouse twice, but the true power of this new technology becomes apparent when you’re using your smartphone’s voice to text feature and simply talk to your phone. Your phone will then read the first result back to you. Congratulations- we are one step closer to “Her“.
How to get on Google Knowledge Graph
Nobody really knows all the necessary requirements of getting your business or website to show up as a Knowledge Graph result and most of the time Google decides on who gets the honors on its own.
That being said, there are still a couple of things you can do right now to increase the chances of your website showing up as part of the Knowledge Graph search engine results page placement:
- Aim for better user experience – Whenever you create new content, aim for providing the best end-user experience in the form of accurate and to-the-point solutions to the problem you’re writing about. Since Google’s algorithms are becoming more and more aware of what we are writing about, sometimes all it takes is to simply write for the human reader, disregarding the old fashioned search engine optimization tricks which can now be considered spam.
- Write high quality unique content – Unless you’re /b, writing deep and meaningful content will help you get Google’s attention. Writing quality content means doing prior research on the topics you’re writing about and staying far away from content creation and article spinning software. This basically means writing unique content and getting your facts straight as well as quoting trustworthy sources (ie. Wikipedia).
- Get a Google+ page – Just like Facebook fan pages, the Google+ page helps you to get in touch with like minded people and therefore find new potential clients for your business. It’s been observed that the more you interact with your audience and more importantly, the more your audience interacts with your Google+ page, the higher your chances of getting into the Knowledge Graph. So make sure to ask your clients to share your stuff and write good reviews about your service.
- Put your business on Google Maps – This goes hand in hand with your Google+ page and will definitely help you get a boost of traffic from local clients looking for what you have to offer (check out the map example at the beginning of this article).
- Use structured data – Most of the time Google will find important pieces of information by looking for the presence of structured data on your website. This is how you explain to the search robot what your website is about, who or what is on a certain image between your blog posts and how various bits of information are related to one another.
The future of search is fascinating
As a developer I can’t help but wonder what the search engines will be like in 10 years from now. Because of the advancements in Artificial Intelligence, we probably don’t have to use traditional tools like the keyboard or a mouse to get answers to our questions almost at the speed of thought.
This is all great and exciting, but at the same time challenging to the internet marketer of today because if Google can find answers to all of our problems, how are we supposed to get any new traffic to our websites let alone generate a sale?
Ranking higher than your competitor in search results is vital to any business, but as time progresses, more and more websites will clutter the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) making it harder to keep up with your competition. In this article I will explain how to do keyword research like a professional SEO company.
From building solid backlinks to implementing Rich Snippets in order to be more attractive on a SERP, there are simply too many aspects to consider them all in just one article. However one of the most important things you can do is pick good quality keywords for your blog posts and articles that have low to moderate competition and therefore allow you to rank higher with less effort.
Get new keyword ideas first
It’s a good practise to consider every keyword and search query variation before you even start writing your article or blog post.
I know It’s hard to think of every possible case right off the bat so in order to get new keyword ideas I use the Google’s free Keyword Planner by feeding it just a couple of keywords and phrases that I think people would be searching for.
Here’s an example
Suppose I created a tool for web developers that generates responsive Youtube embed code for them based on the video’s URL (true story).
When I think what people would type in the search engine if they were looking for my tool I come up with three likely keywords that I want to use:
- responsive youtube video
- make iframe responsive
- make youtube iframe responsive
By submitting these keywords to the Keyword Planner I realise just how many more terrific keywords and phrases people are using to search for similar services that I never would have thought about!
Let’s do some research
I now have a whole lot of keywords and phrases that Google suggests I should use and by clicking on the Avg. monthly searches tab I can sort them from high to low. This way I can weed out keywords that get too little action per month and would be of no use for me.
Normally I don’t look at keywords that get less than 100 searches per month, but to be honest, there’s not really a universal blueprint for this so just choose the keywords that make sense and get a decent amount of queries each month.
Checking for competition
Contrary to popular belief, the competition tab in Keyword Planner is completely irrelevant for us because it’s meant for advertisers- the guys who pay Google through Adwords.
Don’t make the mistake a lot of newbies do by simply looking in the competition tab and sorting out keywords with “Low” competition. This approach is just plain wrong. But how do you check for real life competition?
Simply put the entire phrase between quotation marks to look for that exact phrase and see how many results can Google fetch for us.
Now I know just how many websites are using this exact phrase in order to rank so I can easily figure out my chance of ranking higher based on the ratio of avg. monthly searches vs the actual results on a SERP.
Proper research takes time and patience
Congratulations, you now know how to choose which keywords to use inside of your articles the right way. Hooray!
But as you probably realised, doing keyword research the way I explained can be very time consuming if you have a hundred different phrases on your plate so If you want to save some of your valuable time, I can do the work for you for just five bucks!