Kategorie-Archiv: SEO

How to optimize your Instagram account for search engines

Instagram is a powerful visual platform for digital marketers to take advantage of. Naturally, anybody taking part in a multichannel marketing strategy understands that efforts to market your Instagram profile should extend beyond Instagram itself.

Surprisingly, however, Instagram accounts are actually notoriously difficult to index and display in the search results.

This is because most Instagram users are, in fact, not so interested in promoting themselves, and in fact Instagram actually blocks search engines from indexing your Instagram images. The profiles themselves can still be indexed, but the images are not.

This represents a major hurdle for marketers hoping to get additional traffic to their Instagram account from the search results, but the hurdle is not insurmountable.

Let’s talk about how to optimize your Instagram account for search engines.

Make sure your profile is set to public

Instagram profiles are set to public by default, meaning that anybody can access your profile and all of your content. As a marketer, this is obviously how you want it. However, it’s a good idea to double check that your privacy settings were never altered and ensure that this hasn’t been changed.

To do this, go to your profile and click the hamburger menu icon:

Next go to “Settings” followed by “Account Privacy” and make sure that the “Private Account” toggle is set to “off.”

Set up social profile schema for Instagram

Google allows you to use schema.org markup to tell them which social media profiles are yours. If your brand gets a card in the Knowledge Graph, your social media profiles will then show up there:

Have your developer take a look at Google’s documentation on proper implementation of Social Profile structured data and ensure that your Instagram account is included.

Include your most important keyword in your Instagram name

The title tag for your Instagram page is automatically generated using your profile information, and it looks like this:

My Name (@username) • Instagram photos and videos

Including your primary target keyword under your profile name is the only way to get your most important keyword into your Instagram title tags.

We strongly discourage keyword stuffing here, but there is certainly a way to do this that is appropriate for your brand and your users. It’s simply a matter of changing, for example, “Casey’s” to “Casey’s Groceries.”

To update your name in Instagram, click the profile button:

Then just click the “Edit Profile” button and update the “Name” field.

Include a specific and keyword-rich bio

While editing your profile, you should also make sure that your bio is optimized for the search results.

You don’t have a lot of room to work with: your Instagram bio is limited to a maximum of 150 characters, similar to Google’s dynamic limit on meta descriptions.

Thankfully, “keyword stuffing” is more or less acceptable in an Instagram bio if you are using hashtag keywords, and the keywords are appropriate. Instagram hashtags are clickable links that take users to a list of posts with the same hashtag, so they are considered helpful for users.

If you have other brand accounts or influencers you work with, you can also include @ usernames here, and they will turn into clickable links.

The bio renders as html and is crawlable by search engines, and it is virtually the only text on your page, so this is where a massive chunk of the optimization takes place.

You can use a combination of TagBlender for Instagram hashtag research and the Google Keyword Planner for keyword research to arrive at what keywords to include here.

It’s a good idea to get at least a few words in your bio that aren’t just hashtags, however, in order to give the search engines a bit more semantic meat to work with. Flesh out your bio as much as you can given the limited space. Make it as clear as possible who you are and what you’re about.

While you’re editing your profile, you should of course also make sure that the “Website” field includes the URL for your brand’s website. While this link is unfortunately nofollowed, it still serves as a source of referral traffic and shouldn’t be neglected.

Treat your image caption like a title tag — because it is one

We tend to treat Instagram image captions as though they were meta descriptions, but we should be treating them more like title tags, because when Instagram creates a page for your post, the title tag includes the caption, like this:

My Name on Instagram: “this is my image caption”

So, here again we see how important the “Name” field in your profile is, since it also shows up here, even though your @ username does not. But the remainder of the title tag is taken up by your image caption.

This can result in some very messy and incomplete looking title tags in the search results:

The situation gets even worse when emojis are included.

I’m not suggesting that you keep the image caption short enough to stay within the title tag, since this would be a very, very short image caption.

However, it’s a good idea to check where your title tag will regularly cut off and make sure that the most important information is at the beginning of the caption and before the title tag cuts off.

As with your bio, make sure that your caption is focused and keyword rich, but keep in mind that this will also be acting as a call to action from the search results. A string of hashtags may make sense and look fine on Instagram, but in a title tag in the search results it will look a great deal more spammy.

Link directly to your Instagram posts

This is arguably the most important step in the process.

The Instagram web app is mostly buried in JavaScript, and that means that the links to your individual Instagram posts from your Instagram profile don’t count as “real” links according to Google. For this reason, the vast majority of Instagram posts are not indexed in the search results.

You can not promote your individual Instagram posts merely by promoting your Instagram profile. In order for anybody to find these posts in the search results, you will need to link to them directly from your other channels, making sure to copy the link that points directly to the post.

To get the link, click the ellipses in the bottom right corner of the post:

And then click the “Copy Link” button from the pop-up:

You will want to naturally include a link to your post from as many of your platforms as possible, within reason, in order to ensure that the post gets indexed.

This can be accomplished using Instagram recap blog posts, or by including citation links to your Instagram posts whenever you post an Instagram picture to your blog.

In Shopify’s Instagram followers guide, they also recommend following, liking, and commenting on your competitor’s followers posts, since about 34% of them will follow back. The more followers you have, the more links you’ll pick up from followers linking to your posts across various platforms.

Conclusion

While Instagram is not an SEO-friendly platform, taking these extra steps will help your Instagram profile and posts turn up in search results when similar brands will likely be invisible. We recommend working these steps into your process to give your Instagram profile a boost in visibility.

Manish Dudharejia is the president and founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego based digital agency that specializes in website design & development and ecommerce SEO. Follow him on Twitter.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Why Wikipedia is still visible across Google’s SERPs in 2018

Google is always evolving. But some things in the world of search never change.

One such thing is the presence of Wikipedia across the Google SERPs. From queries about products and brands to celebrities and topical events, Wikipedia still features heavily across Google searches – even while our habits as search engine users change (with voice and mobile increasingly having an impact), and while Google itself works to make its results more intuitive and full of rich features.

Back in May my piece No need for Google argued that wikis themselves were fantastic search engines in their own right (check out wiki.com if you want search results that delve into the content on Wikipedia as well as other numerous wikis). Wikipedia’s visibility on Google is testament to the continuing value and usefulness of “the free encyclopedia anyone can edit.”

So how does Wikipedia manage to maintain this visibility in 2018?

Natural ranking

Even in 2018, Google’s SERPs are still dominated by the organic rankings – a list of web pages it deems relevant to your query based on a number of factors such as size, freshness of content, and the number of other sites linking into it.

Unsurprisingly, Wikipedia’s pages still do the job when it comes to appearing in Google’s organic rankings. It has massive authority, having been established for nearly 20 years and now boasting almost 6 million content pages. There has been plenty of time for inbound links to build up and there are an ever-growing number of pages on the domain giving other sites more reason to link back.

So Wikipedia is a massive, well-established site. It also does really well in the fresh content stakes. Around 35 million registered editors keep tweaking and adding to the site’s content, as well as countless more users who make changes without signing in. Additionally, more than a thousand administrators check and verify whether changes should be kept or reverted. This ensures the site is being amended around the clock – and Google is always keen to rank sites which are actively updated ahead of those which are published and never touched again.

Another element of Wikipedia’s natural ranking prowess is thanks to its on-site SEO. Here I’m referring to things like how it uses internal links to reference its own pages which are handy for both users and Google’s crawlers. Internal links are super easy to add when editing Wiki-pages – and thus appear peppered throughout most articles on the site. Also, note the site’s use of title and header tags, as well as its clean URLs.

These features aren’t the toughest SEO hacks in the world, but you can see how added together they keep Wikipedia visible across Google’s organic rankings in the face of increasing competition and ever-emerging SEO tactics.

Featured snippets

Wikipedia is doing well at remaining visible in other parts of the SERPs too. Featured snippets are the box-outs on Google’s results pages which appear above the natural results. They seek to give a summary answer to the searcher’s question, without the user needing to click beyond the SERP.

There is no mark-up that Wikipedia is including on its pages in order for its content to be included in featured snippets. Rather, it is the strength of the site’s content – which usually see a concise and clear (read: edited) summary at the top of each article page – which is helping Google’s crawlers to ascertain what information on the page would be useful to the user in that context.

“People also ask”

It follows that if Google is including Wikipedia articles in its featured snippets, that it also retains visibility (albeit small, before a user makes a click) in the search engine’s “People also ask” boxes.

Again, Google is crawling and delivering this content programmatically. When searching for “midterms 2018,” Google’s algorithm is smart enough to understand that searchers are also asking more long tail questions around that search term – and even if Wikipedia doesn’t have a presence in the organic listings (in this instance, most of these places are given over to news sites), it still receives some visibility and traffic by virtue of its clear, concise and crawlable content.

Knowledge graphs

Knowledge graphs appear towards the right hand side of the Google SERPs. They typically feature a snippet of summary text…

Images and/or maps…

And a plethora of scannable details and handy links…

They are generated in part from Google drawing on content the algorithm crawls programmatically (as in featured snippets), as well as that which is marked-up to alert the search engine to useful details. Businesses can increase their chances of being included in knowledge graphs by signing up to Google My Business and adding the necessary information to their profile, as well as by using on-site mark up.

As you can see from the examples above, Wikipedia content is frequently used by Google to populate knowledge graphs. Again, this is likely due to the natural authority of the site and the easily-crawlable text, rather than any SEO-responsible mark up. But it is a good example of showing how visible the domain is thanks to the strength of its content. Frequently, as is the case with the above “landmarks in plymouth” query, Google will opt to display the informational Wikipedia content (and elements from other sources) in the knowledge graph while giving over the rest of the SERPs to other pages – but it is still visible.

Site links

Another way Wikipedia is good at ensuring it grabs another bit of SERP real estate – as well as giving searchers more reason to click through to the domain – is by giving Google good reason to display its site links.

These are generated by a mixture of relevant links Google crawls from the page in question (“United States Senate elections” in the above example), as well as other related pages on the same domain (“Ras Baraka” is the re-elected Mayor of Newark, but his page is not linked from the elections page).

Wikipedia succeeds here, where the BBC doesn’t, by virtue of its flawless site-structure and liberal use of internal linking – making it easy for Google to draw out the most relevant links for the query.

Takeaways

There are a number of places in Google’s increasingly rich SERPs that Wikipedia doesn’t tend to appear as frequently, if at all. These include: image packs, video results, news and social carousels, sponsored (and retail orientated content), and local results. The reason for this is obvious in most cases, but not in all. Images and video do, of course, feature across thousands of Wiki-pages, but it is arguable that other sites are that bit better at optimizing this kind of content. After all, wiki software was established when much of the web was text based, so we can understand why Google may be more likely to display this content from more modern CMSs.

With that being said, seeing the degree to which Wikipedia is still visible across the SERPs not only highlights the increasing opportunity for SEOs to find some visibility amid increasingly competitive results pages, but also goes to show how important domain authority, good (updated, concise, edited, readable and crawlable) content and excellent internal linking is to acquire and maintain visibility on Google in 2018.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Amazon emerges as search advertising powerhouse

Amazon is already well-known for its rising dominance of the ecommerce market and other fast-growing segments like AWS, its leading cloud computing platform — now, their search advertising business is booming as well.

In fact, it’s on track to generate more than $10 billion in advertising revenues over the next year, a nugget found within Amazon’s most recent third-quarter financial results. In September, the global powerhouse unified its disparate ad products and systems under one brand, Amazon Advertising.

The accelerating growth of Amazon’s ad business poses a threat to established digital advertising platforms including Google and Facebook. The Seattle-based internet giant is forecast to push past Verizon’s Oath and Microsoft to the number three position behind the “duopoly” of Google and Facebook with market share of more than four percent this year. In comparison, the duopoly’s share of new digital ad dollars is declining, forecast to garner only about 48% of new ad spend in 2018 vs. 73% two years ago.

According to a recent Bloomberg TV segment on Amazon’s increasing share of total online ad spend, 54 percent of product searches across the entire internet now occur on Amazon, said Jumpshot CEO Deren Baker. Sponsored ads on Amazon have increased during the last 18 months, with clicks on product searches via sponsored ads on Amazon rising from three to seven percent. Two thirds of these clicks are on the first page of search results, said Baker, increasing pressure to run sponsored ads up against competitors and Amazon’s private labels.

In another extension of its full-court press to rapidly expand its online advertising business, Amazon is now testing a pilot program that lets advertisers use search queries to retarget ads across the web using its demand side platform. It’ll be the first time Amazon’s rich search data will be used outside the walls of its own platform for advertisers to capture shoppers‘ intent and serve up more personalized ads.

Advantages over Google in brewing ad platform wars

With more than half of U.S. online shoppers starting their product searches on Amazon today, Google is at a disadvantage in understanding their purchase behaviors in detail. It doesn’t have the data intelligence that Amazon has in terms of what products were actually bought, when those transactions occurred, what journeys the shoppers took in purchasing their final selections, and what other products were added to shopping cart before the final check-out.

Based on that rich set of behavior-based data, Amazon can put it to work with smarter sales pitches that follow shoppers wherever they go on the internet through retargeting campaigns. This added layer of intelligence could help relieve consumer frustration and wasted ad spends that online search expert, journalist and entrepreneur John Battelle recently wrote about in a self-described “rant” against dumber ad retargeting campaigns.

While he’s described programmatic advertising as a “database of intentions” and “the most important artifact in human history, replacing the Macintosh as the most significant tool ever created,” Battelle complains that adtech is failing because people are sick of being followed by ad targeting so stupid that a fourth grader could do better. One ad he describes is for a robe on Amazon that he’d just purchased a few weeks ago that popped up while reading The New York Times – most likely served up via Google Adwords. With Amazon’s smarts, this can be avoided.

Since Amazon’s business plan seems focused on becoming the everything company, marketers will naturally be drawn to spending more with the emerging advertising powerhouse. For example, now with its new Whole Foods business, Amazon can make correlations between online and offline shopping behaviors. It also has insights into video and music preferences through its 100-million plus Prime members. And, Amazon is consistently the “go-to” e-commerce player for major shopping events from Cyber Monday to Mother’s Day to Prime Day.

Lastly, and importantly, Amazon is a step ahead of incumbents in terms of all the purchase data is has tied to attribution, the science of assigning credit and allocating dollars from a sale to the marketing touchpoints a customer was exposed to prior to a purchase. This metric is used by companies to help optimize campaigns and allocate future ad spend based on performance.

Some cautions about what Amazon needs to get right

According to advertiser feedback from Amazon’s new retargeting pilot for its demand side platform, some agencies chose not to participate in pilot stage because they can’t use blacklists or evaluate ad inventory for brand safety issues. Avoiding ads being placed next to brand-inappropriate content has emerged as what many describe as an industry brand safety crisis.

While Amazon has been a beneficiary of brand marketers moving budgets closer to the point of sale due to a brand-safety backlash on other search and social channels, it needs to deliver brand-safety features for off-platform campaigns to pick up significant steam. Like many other ad giants, it will face more scrutiny in terms of user privacy concerns as it moves beyond its own walled garden where it owns all the data and interactions and doesn’t need to be concerned with ad blocking. Beyond its own walls, Amazon needs to rethink and reshape its data policies.

Historically, Amazon has faced complaints about its advertising tools and lack of support for marketers to implement campaigns. It needs to improve self-service capabilities and provide excellent service for advertisers to grow its business significantly.

From a broader societal and legislative perspective, Amazon needs to be mindful of its impact on media publishers in a world that’s now dominated by three ad platforms: Google, Facebook, and Amazon. It is sure to be more closely monitored by legislators who already view Amazon as a growing target for monopoly concerns. Also, as Amazon’s knowledge of our buying patterns and inner desires rises, along with its ad business, it may be increasingly scrutinized for being a good corporate citizen that does not play into unhealthy, hyper-consumerist tendencies.

Gary Burtka is vice president of U.S. operations at RTB House, a global company that provides retargeting technology for global brands worldwide. Its North American headquarters are based in New York City.

The post Amazon emerges as search advertising powerhouse appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com