Structured data: what is it & what can you do with it? Structured data allows web developers and SEOs to give meaning and context to content for search engines and their crawlers, allowing that content to be displayed understandably. In this article, I describe what structured data is, how you can use it, what it has to do with SEO and its importance in the future.
The term structured data is primarily a general term. Structured data – no matter in what context – is always present when it follows a certain pattern or format, that is when it is organized according to a certain schedule. The term schema is relevant in this case, which I will come back to later.
Since search engines deal with an almost infinite amount of information, the challenge lies in sorting and interpreting this data. Only when the information is sufficiently understood can it be used to best answer queries. Structured data enables website administrators to help search engines understand and interpret their website and information.
The Schema.org collaborative project
In 2011, the most prominent search engines joined forces and launched the Schema.org initiative. Google, Yahoo, Bing (Microsoft), and Yandex have now joined forces with this open-source project. The goal is to ensure that website content is uniformly labeled so that search engines can interpret it more easily.
Schema.org, in a sense, represents an ontology, that is, an all-encompassing conceptual scheme. For example, if I sell books in my online shop, I can mark individual product pages, so search engines know, “This is about [Book]!”
The entity [Book] usually stands for concrete literary works with specific characteristics. I can bring these characteristics closer to the search engines in a second step. I fill in a more or less extensive mask of properties, where each property represents a certain property. For example, it makes sense to define the Book’s title, the author, the number of pages, the language, the ISBN number, and the price, among other things.
A language is not complete with vocabulary alone.
So, with schema.org, the major search engines have built a constantly growing dictionary. To create an understandable language from this, grammar is needed, rules that make the language logical. Precisely this is complemented by the following markup languages: JSON-LD, HTML Microdata, and RDFa. Every grammar works differently, but they all offer me, as a website manager, the possibility to make my website easier to understand using structured data. What the pros and cons of these different languages are and what is the best choice at the moment, I will discuss in more detail later.
As a website manager, what good is structured data?
Of course, it is nice for search engines that they understand the information better, but what good is that to me as a website manager? The answer to this is visually stronger search engine results. According to the title, description, and URL, these so-called rich results show other elements such as review stars, breadcrumbs, and other notable elements.
Google search for Most people are okay with normal and rich results
Figure 2 shows a screenshot of a Google search for Most People Are Good, Rutger Bregman’s book. There is immediately a difference between the first and second results, namely the rating stars and the number of reviews. Besides, the first result shows a clear breadcrumb structure. The best example is shown last at amazon.com, where the price and availability are also displayed. For a user, this is, of course, valuable information, which in any case attracts more attention than the other results.
All these elements, so breadcrumbs, reviews, price, and availability, are fed by structured data. It happens that pages with structured data do not get these rich results. By contrast, pages that do not use structured data will certainly not get these rich results.
Another form, which can be especially important for mobile devices, are carousels. For example, the image below shows how Albert Hein has provided its kale recipe with structured data to be included in this carousel. Especially the probability of getting clicks in these types of carousels is much higher than in the normal search results.
Google search for ‘kale recipe’ including a carousel
By the way, don’t confuse these types of carousels with featured snippets, where Google gives a table, list, or text paragraph a prominent place at the top of the search query. Structured data does not affect these types of featured snippets.
Google search for ‘How do I cook an egg’ including a featured snippet
The fact that Google shows a featured snippet of a certain website here is solely due to the fact that Google has assessed the content of the page in such a way that it gives the best and most concise answer.
Google shows other possible ways to enrich the snippets to rich results using structured data in the Search Gallery.
How do you implement structured data?
First of all, you can distinguish between specifications for the quality of the data and for the technical implementation. One of the content’s quality requirements is that you may only mark unique content with structured data. In other words, only content created by myself or my users can I flag it. Also, the marked content must be visible to users. For example, if you provide a product with structured data, it must also be visible on the site. Also, you may not flag irrelevant or misleading content. This also applies to fake reviews or content that has nothing to do with the main content of a page.
Of course, it is a basic technical requirement that all content to be displayed in search results is accessible to search engines and their bots. This means that access should not be blocked by, for example, the robots.txt. You also need to use JSON-LD, RDFa, or Microdata for the implementation. To avoid possible errors and double marks, it is recommended to limit yourself to one of the three formats: JSON-LD, RDFa, or Microdata.
The implementation using RDFa is based on a slightly different approach. Instead of combining the structured data into one – also human-readable – block as in JSON-LD, the data is distributed over the entire content of a page. RDFa is ‘HTML5 extensions’: existing HTML elements are extended and provided with extra information to mark structured data.
HTML extensions are also used with Microdata. Microdata is, however, considered outdated and no longer actively developed. Nevertheless, I still regularly come across websites, also from customers who still work with Microdata. Hence it is relevant to mention this option briefly here.
Which format is best to use?
Have you not yet implemented structured data? Then I recommend using JSON-LD. Thanks to supporting from Google, Bing (since July 2018), and Baidu, this format is now ready for three of the big four search engines. Only the Russian search engine Yandex only supports Microdata and RDFa so far. If structured data has already been implemented using Microdata or RDFa, this can, of course, be maintained. However, it should be regularly checked how long the search engines will continue to support these two formats in the future.
Some of the markups have additional requirements that you should consider during implementation. These specific guidelines are all in the ‘Feature Guide’ in the Google Developers Portal.
Common mistakes with structured data
Due to the many different guidelines, it is easy to make certain mistakes in the markup. Even Google’s testing tool for structured data isn’t always helpful. Some common mistakes are easy to overlook, so here’s a quick summary.
Ratings or reviews (review snippet)
While using (third-party) widgets to implement ratings or reviews is generally not a problem, there are a few things to keep in mind. It is especially important that the review’s formatting always refers to the main content of a page. A common mistake is that a general review of a webshop is displayed page-wide via a widget, and can therefore also be seen on individual product pages.
Since this review relates to the webshop itself, Google can consider this as spam not to the individual products. In addition, reviews that do not come from the website itself should always contain a link to the source. It must therefore be clear to users and search engines where these reviews come from.
Invisible content for users
Flagged content must be visible on desktop and mobile devices. The user must be able to recognize where the content is located on a particular page, which is shown by a rich result in the search engine pages. The only option you have as a website administrator is to place content behind a tab, which opens to users after a mouse click. The condition is, of course, that the search engine bot can also read the tabbed content.
Misleading or Inappropriate Content
This may seem obvious, but the marked content must be relevant and fit a particular page’s content. For example, an all-inclusive trip to the Foo Fighters concert cannot be marked as an event. Marking the concert itself, on the other hand, is a correct implementation of the event markup. In short, be as specific as possible when tagging or marking structured data.
Is structured data relevant to SEO?
A frequently asked question from customers is how relevant structured data is for SEO. And this question, like many SEO questions, you can answer with: it depends. In most cases, the implementation of structured data has no direct influence on a page’s position in a search engine. Google and co. do not judge a page differently if it is marked with structured data. But in many cases, rich results increase the click-through rate because they provide more information and simply make the results stand out more from the regular results. Search results with review stars, for example, stand out more than results without such a markup. In this case, an indirect relevance for SEO can indeed be established.
In addition, John Müller (Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google) recently emphasized during a webmaster hangout that even when a certain type of structured data does not contribute to obtaining rich results, it can still help Google understand certain content.
Another special feature is the results of articles, recipes, and some other search functions. If your content is correctly tagged, it has the chance to appear in special boxes, such as the recipe carousel. Such carousels are usually at the top of the first results page – and ranking high in Google is ultimately the goal of search engine optimization.
Structured data tools
Fortunately, there are numerous tools for structured data that can help webmasters with the implementation or even check the rich results gained.
If this topic is relatively new to you, Google’s Codelab will get you started pretty quickly. Based on practical examples, you walk step by step through the various options. Note: Currently, Google’s Codelab for structured data is only available in English.
Schema Markup Generator
The “Schema Markup Generator (JSON-LD)” from Technicalseo.com is suitable for both beginners and advanced users. It contains all the usual markups, and you can create a valid structured data code in a few clicks.
Rich Result Test Tool
One of the essential tools for structured data testing is Google’s own Test Tool. Previously, this was mainly the Structured Data Testing Tool, but Google recently announced that this tool would be discontinued. It is not yet clear when, but Google has offered a replacement in the Rich Result Test Tool form.
The problem with this change is that the Rich Result Testing Tool only performs tests on rich results, where the Structured Data Tool also checks certain flags that do not (yet) lead to rich results. These are annoying developments for many SEO’ers and webmasters. The question is whether there will be a replacement or whether changes will be made to the Rich Results Test Tool, which also allows you to check and validate other structured data markers.
Then when you surf to a page you want to check for structured data, all you have to do is click on the bookmark. A new browser tab will immediately open the corresponding URL in Google’s Test Tool.
Structured Data – conclusion
Since the introduction of structured data, new data types are added regularly. What is currently in beta and could potentially be added by default to schema.org in the (near) future can be found here.
For example, Google added the speakable content type in August 2018 and has supported it ever since. This type of structured data is intended for content that speech assistants and smart speakers can read easily. At the moment, the ‘speakable property’ is only intended for publishers. This is expected to be available for all websites in the future.
Google is likely to expand the number of structured data options in the coming years. In addition, the inclusion of structured data no longer only affects the classic search results in Google search results pages, as the example of ‘speakable content’ shows. It enables websites to position themselves in other search areas and thus increase their own traffic.
This blog post is about performing a good SEO keyword research and how to find SEO keywords for your next website or project. We will go through this process step by step with you, so don’t worry if you don’t know everything yet. This blog post will help you find the most suitable SEO keywords for your SEO campaign, so without further ado, let’s get started.
When conducting a keyword search, many bloggers often use only one source. So they choose Google Ads, Uber Suggest, or SEMrush. These SEO tools all have an enormous database, however… Each of them draws only from one source, with one type of data. It becomes much more interesting when we combine these tools and can see data from different sources.
Step 1: Look at various search sources in search of SEO keyword suggestions
Google Ads has a rather commercial approach in determining what the right keywords are. They know very well that the user is willing to pay per click for keywords that will give their business more conversions. At the same time, Google Ads will not show other keywords that are less likely to convert.
Google Suggest and Google Related
In the SERP you can always get inspiration for your keyword research. When typing a search term in the Google search field, you always get suggestions for possible keywords. In addition to Google Suggest, you will also see some keywords related to your search term at the bottom of your screen.
Keyword Rankings Graph
Another popular option is SEMrush, in which the recommended keywords also rank for the pages for which the keyword that you were typing.
Topic modeling based keywords
Where do you get words and phrases that often appear in the same document as those in which your keyword is contained? For this, Alchemy API is a good tool to try.
Another well-known and interesting SEO tool to find keywords is of course UberSuggest. Moz came in April this year with a successor to Open Site Explorer, Keyword Explorer.
Step 2: Select keywords that correspond to different types of search intentions that are in consultation with your content strategy
Imagine, for example, that you have a bicycle shop with a broad online range of racing bikes.
Specific keywords will be suitable to reach those people who are about to make a purchase. Possible keywords in our example: buy a road bike, bicycle parts.
Another group of SEO keywords exists for those people who are still at the very beginning of their purchasing process. They do have the intention to buy over time, but will not immediately result in a conversion for your shop. It concerns people who are looking for more information. In our example, this would be the best bike manufacturers, the advantages of a carbon bike.
If you want to find SEO keywords, you have to dive deeper.
A third possible category of keywords could be the potential influencers. We think of keywords like “best cycling fairs in London”, “most popular cycling magazines”, “5 most interesting cycling blogs”…
Of course, depending on your content strategy, you can perfectly achieve a different layout.
Step 3: Identify Keyword Metrics of keywords
In this phase, we will note the parameters for each of those keywords. What we do is we look at the search volume, how much competition there is for the particular keyword, and thus how difficult it will be to rank at the top of the SERP. To estimate the CTR opportunities start looking at the other issues that are shown in the SERP (videos, ads, info in the right sidebar), a score that expresses the personal interest that the keyword has for your business. The sum of these scores gives us an idea of the potential of each keyword. We can then arrange the keywords according to this score. You can do this with GoogleAds, Wordstream, KeywordTool io, Excel, Google Spreadsheets or Keywordexplorer.
Step 4: determine which keywords you will target and which content you will have to create for this.
The keyword with the highest score will be the keyword you will target for your homepage. For other keywords with a high score, you will create a new page.
Then you can set up a survey with your target group of cycling enthusiasts to hear from them what they find important when they are looking for a new bicycle or equipment.
This step-by-step plan and the tools provided will help you to find your SEO keywords in a very targeted way. Good luck and as always, post your comments below!
SEO tips and a step-by-step plan for more traffic to your online store
As an eshop owner, you have many different tasks. One of these is search engine optimization (SEO). After all, a beautiful shop with a great product range is of no use if no one can find it. And what could be better than free visitors via Google and other search engines? Saves you a lot of money on advertising costs. Because I know that your time is scarce and you want to achieve quick results, in this article, I will give you several top tips and an SEO step-by-step plan for more traffic to your online store.
Step 1 – Do a keyword analysis.
Search engine optimization of your online store always starts with a thorough keyword analysis. By first researching which keywords you can best optimize your online store for, you can work in a targeted manner and save yourself a lot of time.
Make a list of web pages within your online store that you want to optimize. This is often the homepage plus the category pages. If you have a rapidly changing assortment, the product pages are not the priority for SEO. If there is little turnover in your products, you can, of course, also include these pages.
For each page, think about which keywords your target audience would enter into a search engine. Then enter these keywords in the Keyword Planner of Google. This shows you exactly how often a specific word or word combination is searched and how much competition there is for each keyword. In addition, the keyword planner also provides suggestions for other keywords. This makes it easy to determine the best keywords for each web page.
A common word like ‘clothing’ has many monthly searches, but the chances of you offering exactly what the searcher is looking for is slim. A keyword like ‘buy kids clothes online’ has fewer monthly searches, but these searchers are much more likely to purchase intention.
Step 2 – Write SEO texts.
You now know which keywords your target group is looking for your products on. Then it is important to include these keywords on your website. You do this, among other things, by writing SEO texts. Write a unique and extensive SEO text for each page in your eshop, in which you return the keywords for that page several times.
Please do not overdo it. You write these texts in the first place for your visitors! To provide sufficient information in these texts, inspire the reader and encourage him to click through and place the products in the shopping cart. Place a title and subheadings in these texts and also use the keywords. Give each subhead a heading tag.
Step 3 – Meta title and meta description
With many (website and) online store software, you can enter the meta title and meta description per page. This is the text that will be shown in the search results.
Think carefully about these texts. Write a short and clear title containing the main keyword. This lets both visitors and search engines know what a particular page is about. You can then provide more information in the meta description. Also, include a call to action to encourage visitors to click on the link.
You must write a unique title and meta description for each page. Please don’t make it too long: use a maximum of 64 characters for the title and 140 to 160 characters for the meta description. This will prevent your text from being cut off halfway through.
Step 4 – Optimize photos and images.
You can also optimize the photos and images in your shop. This ensures, for example, that your products are found via Google Images. Give each image a good file name. Not a number or abbreviation, but a brief description of what is in the picture. Use the keywords in it. Make sure the image is the correct size before uploading it to your online store. This benefits the speed of your shop.
Title and alt attributes
Finally, you give each image a title attribute and an alt attribute. The title attribute is the text that appears when you hover your mouse over the image. The alt text is the alternative text of an image. This is shown if the image cannot be displayed. Choose descriptive and straightforward alt and title attributes and use the keywords there too.
Step 5 – Search Engine Friendly URLs
The URLs are also important for SEO. Provide short URLs that contain the most important keywords. This makes the website clearer and more indexable for search engines. Long URLs that contain many numbers or punctuation marks can deter visitors. A good URL structure for your online shop is, for example, loreleiweb.com/product-categorie/product/
Step 6 – Use link building for more traffic to your online store
You carry out the first five steps of this SEO step-by-step plan in the eshop itself. But SEO for your online store also takes place in part ‘outside the home.’ This is link building:
generating links from other websites (backlinks) to a specific website, to achieve a higher rating for a search engine for keywords relevant to that web page.
Link building: how do you go about it?
Try to get links on other websites for every page you want to optimize. You can approach this as follows:
- Look for websites, blogs, forums, etc. that match your products and ask the owner to link to your shop.
- Guest blogging is also an option. You then write a blog for another website (whether about your own eshop), where your eshop link is placed.
- Send out press releases regularly. These are often included by different websites, which can give you some nice links.
- Be active on blogs, forums, and social media. Respond to updates and articles from others. On blogs and forums, you can often enter your website with your response, so that every response will give you a backlink.
Go for quality with SEO for your eshop.
It is important with link building that quality is more important than quantity—better 1 good link on a popular and relevant website than ten links on irrelevant shitty sites. Use the keywords as the link text. So do not use ‘http://loreleiweb.com’ as the link text. If you want to be found on ‘Wooden photo frames,’ this must be the clickable text. Do not only place links to your homepage, but also to deeper pages, such as the categories and product pages.
In everything you do: SEO in mind
The search engine optimization of your online store is not something that you do once and that you can then cross off your to-do list. In order to remain easy to find, you have to be constantly working on this, in everything you do in your eshop. If you add a new product (category), do keyword research right away, immediately write good SEO texts, think about the name and tags of the images, check what the URLs look like, and try to arrange several backlinks.
Hopefully, you now have a good basic knowledge with which you can get started with the SEO for your online store. How quickly you see results depends on how well you apply the above tips and the popularity of the keywords and what the competition is doing.
How to find SEO keywords? – Conclusion
Finding, selecting, and analyzing the right keywords for your website or campaign is the first step in a successful SEO process. An analysis of keywords (also called search queries, search terms or keywords) not only provides insight into the search behavior of your target audience but also offers opportunities for new content/markets.
Core web vitals is a new website user experience criteria created by Google. The metrics track key elements such as loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
With the introduction of several new website usability and website user experience criteria designed by Google, many website owners are concerned with how they will assess their current site performance. Unfortunately, there is a huge amount of data available on the Internet, all of which may not be appropriate for certain purposes. In this article, we will discuss the most important metrics that should be used to evaluate a website’s performance.
The New Page Experience Signal to help website owners prepare for changes, Google has given an early glimpse at the work that is currently being done. The New Page Experience Signal includes the following core web usability metrics: Mobile-friendliness, site loading speed, site navigation, and site error messages.
These are just a few of the most critical core web usability metrics that are used by both website designers and developers. It is up to the designer or developer to match these new measurements with existing web usability and website user experience criteria and measurements.
Site loading time is important because it is directly related to website usability, and many website owners are not satisfied with their site’s loading speed. Besides, most users will prefer a faster and more reliable web experience that uses fewer network resources. While the site loading time measurement is relatively easy, the selection of metrics is not as straightforward.
As previously mentioned, web page loading time is a measure of website usability. Although a website owner does not always control how quickly the pages load, he or she can control other aspects of the page, such as the content or graphics.
By controlling these aspects, a website owner can ensure that they provide good user experiences while providing adequate information to the website user. If a page cannot load, the user experience can be greatly affected and is likely to cause dissatisfaction.
A site owner must also measure site loading speed in order to measure user experience.
There are a number of different web usability and website user experience criteria that can be applied to a website to determine its ability to load, such as:
Internet Explorer. For example, an Internet Explorer user will want a website to load fast because it is not compatible with many of its features. If a page takes longer to load than it is easy to navigate, an Internet Explorer user is likely to give up the website and move on to the next one.
Another aspect of web usability and website user experience that determines how fast the page loads is the presence or absence of error messages. Error-free sites can be considered more comfortable to use since users will be able to navigate the website without any issues. Some websites use HTML coding that is not correctly formatted, while others use complicated scripting languages.
If a web page contains too much text, the user has trouble reading it or gets distracted by distracting elements, such as images and links. For this reason, users tend to become impatient when waiting for the page to load. A web page is also better off using images that have a consistent size and format.
Sites that do not load quickly should be redesigned in order to make the pages easier to read. Websites with poor navigation are often not used anymore because they do not offer enough information to the user, so there is usually no need to look at them.
Google Web Vitals – Conclusion
When a website fails to load, it is important to note its URL, which is often displayed on a separate web page, in addition to the actual title and information about the website. The URL should be kept short and precise, to prevent the user from being redirected to the incorrect page, which can cause additional problems for the user.
Despite SEO being around for years, most people are yet to understand how it works fully. As a result, they end up making mistakes, which negatively impact their SEO. Luckily for you, you can work with an SEO reseller who can offer guidance and teach you a thing or two about SEO.
While you have the option of getting help from an SEO consultant, you should also avoid making the following mistakes.
1. Duplicating content
Duplicate content in SEO means that the content appears on more than one web page. While you might not get jailed for posting duplicate content. It is not worth it. Why? Google bots will be confused on the pages to index if the content is similar. What that means is duplicate content will not work for your SEO.
To avoid duplication issues, it is simple: embrace authenticity and try as much as you can to post content that no one else has.
2. Not doing keyword research
One of the mistakes that most webmasters make is not doing keyword research. What that does is slowing down your SEO. Without keyword research, you will not be able to drive relevant traffic to your website. Keyword research is aimed at discovering phrases that most visitors use while searching for a product or a business.
The analysis will help you know the kind of keywords that your competitors are ranking for, most used keywords and the ones that are relevant to your target audience.
3. Having a poor web design
The moment you think of setting up a website, the first thing that you should do is find a web developer that will do a great job. Use experience is critical when it comes to SEO. Whether or not your web architecture is easy to navigate will determine how long the users will want to spend time on your page.
A good design will keep the visitors coming for more of your content.
4. Ignoring mobile responsiveness
Most web owners are yet to realize just how crucial mobile responsiveness is. About sixty percent of the search queries originate from mobile devices. What does that tell you? Most of your customers will use mobile devices to get to your web pages. You need to, therefore, make it easy for them to access your website by making it responsive to mobile.
One of the ways through which you can achieve this is by optimizing your page loading speed and compressing your images while at the same time maintaining their quality.
5. Having unrealistic expectations
Most people who have no clue about how SEO works have the notion that it can work overnight. Well, that is not the case. For you to get the results that you desire, you need to work. SEO is all about hard work and consistency. It is the only way that you can get a good ROI.
Above are just some of the common mistakes that most people make in SEO. By avoiding them, your SEO will certainly head in the right direction.
As a lawyer, you know a thing or two about complexity and nuance. That doesn’t mean you want to spend more time than you need figuring out how to make your online marketing work.
After all, even lawyers need a break!
Fortunately, search engine optimization (SEO) for law firms isn’t difficult to understand or implement. It can take some time, though, so you might think about hiring pros to implement this marketing strategy.
Here’s what you need to know!
Lawyers Should Claim Their Business on Google
Google My Business isn’t just for plumbers and local boutiques. As a legal professional, you should absolutely claim your listing as well. This means filling in your address, hours, phone number, and other relevant information.
Are you closed on specific holidays, or do you take one day of the week away from the office to handle other pressing responsibilities? Make sure to note that on your Google profile.
Another aspect of law firm marketing is to register with relevant business sites and professional directories. These citations help you stand out to Google, as long as your information is consistent. The name, address, and phone number you list should be the same on every platform.
Encourage Your Clients to Leave Reviews
Everyone jokes about lawyers until they need one – and then they want only the best. How do they know that you’re the best? It’s not what you say; it’s what others say about you.
Part of your customer service process should always include asking clients to leave a review. You can ask in an email, with links to Yelp, Google, and other relevant sites. You can ask in person. Whatever you do, make it as easy as possible for clients to share their experiences.
You don’t have to worry too much about negative reviews. Simply respond as best you can – sometimes a great response to a bad review builds your credibility more than having all great reviews!
Take Advantage of Focused Keywords
Focusing on specific keywords helps you rank more highly in search results. However, what keywords are most important?
As you might guess, you’re not likely to get on Google’s first page for the term “lawyer.” Instead, focus on keywords that your clients might use while looking for your help. What about “DUI lawyer in Milwaukee,” if you offer that service?
By using these more extended locally-focused keywords throughout your website, you’ll be able to attract the people who are looking for someone like you. This makes it easier to educate them and invite them to contact you for a consultation.
Create Helpful Content to Educate People
Did you know that 96% of people who need legal advice search for it online?
An important part of law firm marketing is to make sure your website provides the advice they’re looking for – and invites them to contact you for a case review. The more often you have new information on your site, (especially focused on your keywords), the better you’ll do on search results.
If you’re a DUI lawyer, you can write about what people should do if they are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. What can they do if they are charged? You might also want to talk about legal strategies and the importance of having a professional represent you.
If this seems like a lot to handle in addition to your legal work, that’s understandable. Fortunately, you can find a digital marketing agency that will handle your online marketing and SEO, so you can focus on serving your clients.
Structure Your Website to Maximize SEO Impact
This aspect of SEO is a bit more technical, but it’s easy to understand the basics. You want to make sure that the internal structure of your website is easy for Google’s crawlers to interpret and full of the keywords you want to focus on.
Each of your legal services should have its own webpage on your site. For instance, if you’re a Milwaukee lawyer, you might have subpages focused on “DUI in Milwaukee,” “Assault in Milwaukee,” and other similar niches.
Each of these websites can then rank highly in that specific niche, allowing you to spread your influence over a wide variety of keywords.
Again, it might be helpful to get a professional to build this site structure for you since it’s a time-consuming process and you have a business to run!
Law Firm Marketing SEO is Vital
People who search for legal topics online are generally looking to take action now. They are either in legal trouble or know someone who is. As a result, you can’t afford to not focus on ranking highly for the services you offer.
These five tips will help you rise above the rest with killer legal SEO. When you rank highly, you’ll get the clicks, calls, and clients that your business needs to succeed.
ADA Compliance can be hard to understand. The disability community in the US has been actively fighting for their rights to accessibility long before the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) was signed into law. However, ADA compliance is something that started going mainstream in the past few decades, with the corporate world, as well as local, state and federal governments at the forefront.
ADA compliance in and of itself has made huge strides and milestones in the past couple of years. Today, 99.99 percent of businesses are required [by law] to be compliant with ADA regulations. They have to ensure that their facilities and services, including digital assets (website, software, mobile apps, etc.), are accessible to all.
For smart businesses, however, ADA compliance is no longer just about accessibility; it can also make a huge difference for the company’s reputation, customer acquisition, and bottom line. According to Digital Authority Partners, ADA lawsuits can attract fines of up to $75,000 for the 1st offense alone.
In this explainer article, we are going to walk you down the timeline of ADA compliance evolution. We’ll cap it off by telling you what ADA compliance means in the digital age – why every aspect of your business, including its website, should be ADA compliant.
Before ADA Was Passed
The fight by Americans with Disability community for their rights to accessibility has a lengthy and colorful history, but here are a few historical highlights in the pre-ADA era:
1972 – All children, no matter their disability, are guaranteed the right to free public education thanks to the famous Mills vs. Board of Education ruling.
1973 – The Rehabilitation Act (1973) is signed into law, becoming the first legislation to protect the civil rights of the individuals with a disability. Discriminating against anyone on the basis of disability is deemed a criminal offense under Section 504 of the Act.
1975 – The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975) is signed into law, prohibiting exclusion of disabled kids from attending public schools. The act also requires school districts to teach and offer special services to kids with disabilities.
1988 – The Tech-Related Assistance Act for Individuals with Disabilities is passed into law. This made it possible for state initiatives designed to help provide better access to Americans with a disability to be funded by the federal government.
The Birth of ADA Compliance
Rep. Fish, Rep. Coelho, Senator Durrenberger, and Senator Harkin, all of whom members of the 101st Congress, introduced the revised ADA in 1989. The same year, this revised accessibility rights legislation is then passed by the Senate, garnering 76 against 8 votes. The following year, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is ratified by the house and ready to be signed into law.
On July 26th, 1990, then-President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law, marking a new era in ADA compliance. The signing made ADA the most eclectic piece of legislation designed to protect the civil rights of Americans with the Disability community.
In 1991, the rules and regulations governing the ADA are issued. The ADA compliance regulations came in a set of four Titles – Title I (Employment), Title II (State & Local Government), Title III (Public Accommodations) & Title IV (Telecommunications)
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued the regulations for ADA Title I, guaranteeing equal employment opportunity to people with disabilities.
- The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) concurrently issued their compliance regulations for ADA Title III & Title II.
- The United States Department of Transport (DoT) issued their compliance regulations for ADA Title III & Title II
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued the compliance regulations for ADA Title IV.
In 1992, Title I, Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disability Act came into force. A year later (1993), Title IV of the ADA followed suite.
1998 – The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Amendments are signed into law by President Bill Clinton. These amendments essentially strengthen Section 508 of the ADA. More specifically, the US Federal government’s electronic and information technologies (read: government software, websites, etc.) are required to be accessible to all. Of more importance is that these amendments formed the foundation of today’s ADA website compliance.
2006 – The NFB (National Federation of the Blind) files a lawsuit against giant retailer Target. The NFB claimed that Target’s website wasn’t accessible to members of the blind community. More crucially, Title III of the ADA is for the first time interpreted as applicable to internet resources and websites.
2008 – ADA compliance is reviewed after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments of 2008. In short, the amendments broadened the definition of who is “disabled.”
2010 – This is the year ADA compliance made its way into the online video segment. Following the signing of the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) into law, it was required that all online videos be captioned before being posted for public access.
2014 – Netflix was sued for ADA non-compliance. The ruling made it clear that Netflix and other internet-only companies are also subject to ADA compliance.
2016 – ICT Refresh for Section 508 of the ADA is approved by the United States Access Board. In essence, the approval recognized WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) as the standard for ADA website accessibility.
On January 18th, 2018, ADA compliance is made mandatory and applicable to just about any website. This means that all websites must adhere to WCAG 2.0 standards.
What Does ADA Compliance Mean to Businesses in the Digital Age?
In short: A LOT.
Right off the bat, it’s crucial to remember that not complying with ADA website regulation is against the law. The ADA, its members or the DoJ can slap you with a huge lawsuit if your digital business is found to contravene ADA website accessibility regulations.
Of course, there are plenty of other solid reasons to make your website ADA-compliant. For starters, it is the right thing to do. And if that’s not good enough, remember that one in 5 Americans has a disability. So, if your website isn’t ADA compliant, then you’re simply ignoring over 20 percent of the US population. That’s absurd, to say the least. Not sure where to start with ADA website compliance? Check out this list of consulting companies that can help you figure out
This guest post comes from Codrin Arsene, CEO @ Digital Authority Partners, a Chicago creative agency
2019 is in full swing and along with it are a new years worth of SEO strategies and techniques looking to make an impact. As we see in every new year, SEO is an ever-changing sector that continually grows and adapts to fit the demands of advancement in Internet marketing.
While it’s true that many SEO tactics remain useful throughout the years, each year will have an individual set of trends that will allow you to ensure that your website remains relevant and optimized. Among many of the important trends in SEO this year, there are three specific strategies that will likely become more important over the course of the next year.
Content marketing has changed and search engines along with it. Google’s algorithms no longer reward sites for purposeless content simply meant to fill space through continuous posts. The demand for content has become highly focused on emphasizing quality over quantity.
In August of 2018, Google rolled out a major algorithm update known as the medic update that fine-tuned the search engine to promote content of value over content of volume. Research for the medic update studied over 300 sites affected with low performance in terms of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Of these sites, 41.5% were found in the health, medical, wellness and fitness industries. The harsh realization of the amount of unreliable, low quality content in these industries, and across the web, led Google to swiftly shift gears before poorly curated content is able to produce a negative impact on a reader’s life.
For 2019 and the years to come, content creation should be primarily concentrated on putting forth information that is beneficial to the target audience while also providing an accurate representation of the brand’s purpose and desired voice.
Simply put, without highly focused content, sites will find themselves on the third page of search engine results. Focused content will target specific topics aiming for valuable information rather than focusing on competitive keywords.
As artificial intelligence becomes more important in digital marketing, so much structured data. Structured data organizes data into a format that is easily processed and analyzed by search engines. Search engines easily identify this markup and at times use it to display enhanced results, known as rich snippets. These snippets provide the searcher with beneficial information detailed directly on the results page. Thus providing searchers with a preview of the specific information they’re hoping to find and increasing the potential that they will click on your result.
In order for search engines to efficiently understand the additional details from a markup on a webpage, it must be added through standardized formats or syntaxes and standardized classifications of the concepts and vocabulary used. For SEO benefit, greater value comes from the vocabulary markups found through Schema.org and Microformats.org. Schema.org provides a collection of structured data markups supported and encouraged by search engines.
Through structured data, Google’s understanding of the site or page’s purpose is facilitated and your rankings are improved. Structured data should be available for both mobile and desktop versions of a website to encourage the best results.
Google’s image search can yield a significant amount of traffic for a site given that images are properly optimized with the keywords and meta data needed to get them noticed. Images are used throughout a website and are typically embedded into blog posts or other forms of content and can attract the attention of readers before they even read the words on the page. By optimizing images, a website can benefit from a faster page load speed and enhanced user experience in addition to improved SEO rankings as search engines continue to improve in their ability to recognize the elements of an image.
Images can be optimized through a number of ways including
- Choosing the best format for its application
- Condensing an image’s file size, dimensions, and resolution to improve site speed
- Properly titling the image
- Including all pertinent alt tags
- Adding a short, yet detailed caption or description
- Adding image structured data
- Properly aligning image with text
At 1 Source Media Group based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, our commitment to providing the highest level of comprehensive SEO services drives us to stay up-to-date with the growing trends and tactics of the industry. For Internet marketing services that will reshape your business online, contact us today.
Link building was an ever-loved source of income for SEO companies, but times have changed. Not that the construction of external backlinks is avoided, but it takes more time and effort now. And that is exactly the intention after the Google update Penguin.
Link building prey for trade
The keyword within the current link building is ‘natural backlinks.’ Opposite of ‘natural’ is ‘unnatural,’ and that calls for a brief historical overview.
It has always been the driving force of Google to quickly give the useful results of what is being asked for. These results become better if users express their appreciation for other websites by placing a link on their own website. In short: good content with good links. A wonderful idea and the link building phenomenon was born.
As with any beautiful phenomenon, this idea called “greediness in people”. Obtaining links to your own website could, for example, be obtained through link exchange or via paid placement. Consequences were websites with a separate page links (the older readers are digging in memory for now) and providers of 1000 links for demolition prices. The big problem was that people lost control over where their own website ended up.
Google mainly wanted to deal with link exchange, but that was not so simple.
Intermediate solution seemed to be ‘3 Way Linking’: A links to B, B links to C and C links back to A. But here too the lack of control broke up because A does not know anything about C before C links A, and if Once there is a link, Google also reads it.
Link building through content
We are now at Penguin 4.0.
One of the characteristics of Penguin is that Google can focus more on the pages themselves than on the entire website. This is good news. It requires the importance of internal links and therefore also better, relevant content. Fortunately, we all already have that (!).
If you include a link to other great content in that excellent content, Google values it. Good websites get links to other good websites. Under a link, there is a bunch of good websites, and that increases the value (link juice).
This is link building in a natural way: good content with good links.
The own package on the left
It is a nice feeling when you see how many backlinks there are to your own website.
This can be done in many ways, free of charge and paid. For example, asking Google a link:loreleiweb.com is very funny, but 500,000 results is not a realistic representation. SEOkicks Backlink Checker is doing better, and there are a lot of counters. Seek, and you will find quickly.
What is Penguin doing now with those already existing links?
That is sometimes just swallowed, especially if those links have come about through the mentioned link exchange operation. This shows how important control over your own external backlinks is. Google luckily provides a tool with which inbound links can be removed.
Link building in WordPress
Of course, we want to know how that is with link building via WordPress plugins. If we ask ‘link building’ and ‘backlinks’ to WordPress.org, then the revenue is diverse. There are plugins for:
- link internally
- check for inbound links
- delete existing links
- linking in blogs
Regarding plugins for external linking, some are still under development.
An existing one is the British plugin Link to us. Their advertising cry is’ Need SEO Backlinks? Let your visitors link back to your site with this simple but effective widget. ‘ Here we give away the control again, and that is exactly what we do not want. Above the description of the plugin, however, “This plugin has not been updated for more than two years .”
Apparently, linking to us is not up to Penguin 4.0.
Search engine optimization (SEO) consists of components. Wood splinters now fly here and there, because such a large open door has rarely been shattered. Does not everything consist of elements? Yes, but it is convenient to know which of these are essential and manageable.
Components of a website
In a previous article on SEO three parts were mentioned that are essential to be found by search engines:
- the text component (keywords, unique content, etc.)
- the indexation component (overview for visitors and search engines)
- the popularity component (relevant for visitors and search engines)
It would have been easy to put a link to that article, but we do won’t.
If the interested reader goes to that article, the attention for this article is gone. Compare it with the route to McDonald’s. If someone asks where McDonald’s restaurant can be found and the answer is ‘You turn right at Kentucky Fried Chicken, continue to Burger King and McDonald’s is to the left of Domino’s Pizza.’ The chance of Big Macs closing a sale – is getting smaller.
This is how we want to keep the attention here. So read on 🙂
What is a component in our case? The dictionary gives 11 descriptions, and our preference falls on ‘Composing part of a whole.’ Recently you might have noticed many articles appearing on social media, screaming out loud things like ‘making content SEO-proof is total nonsense,’ ‘that Google no longer pays attention to keywords’ and so on. This opinion seems to be reflected. Perhaps this is because Google is far advanced in appreciating natural language, no idea. But the fact that the article as mentioned earlier can no longer be found says enough. Optimizing is worth the effort.
Components as a part of the whole
SEO remains necessary for web pages to be found.
Now there are quite a few components, and some of them are part of others again. It remains clear that the three elements mentioned are important and manageable.
1). The text component is obvious.
The text contains what is relevant for all parties (writer/search engine/reader). The joke is that the reader basically has nothing else to do than reading. It is up to the writer to use the right tools so that the search engine displays it for the reader. The right keywords make all parts and thus ensure:
- unique Title Tag of about 65 characters
- unique and page-wide Meta Tag Description of about 150 characters
- Headings (H1, H2, etc.) with unique keywords
- unique content on the page containing the keywords (no page about fast food chains that ends with ‘This also applies to components’)
- internal & external links with keywords from the target page
Now, this is one of the components that mainly relates to the searchability of the web pages themselves. But there’s more. Components that are less visible.We now focus more on the websites as a whole.
2). The indexation goes a step further than the text component.
Text that is brilliant is not yet text that is found. Indexing within SEO means that search engine web crawlers register and record web pages in their databases. Mind you, their own databases: Google only shows results from the Google database. Some websites meet their requirements to be relevant and well-organized.
What is important to score in these components, is:
- The logo – with the keyword in the Alt text – that links to the start page
- Breadcrumbs so that the visitor knows where he is
- An XML sitemap (for search engines) and possibly an HTML sitemap (for visitors)
- Log in to Google Webmaster Tools to track down errors (a link indeed, because we have since passed ‘the McDonald’s point’)
After two more or less substantive components, it is time to give the website a reputation.
3). The popularity component is a distinctive factor.
Assuming that the previous components are correct, it is time to make web pages attractive. A condition in the text component is to be unique in everything. This is not easy. The content can successful, but relevance that is something difficult. There may be other web pages that meet the components in their own area and which – according to search engines – are more relevant to the reader. Of course, we do not choose that!
Then it is important to make the website manually popular in addition to good and unique content.
Understanding and improving your own popularity is mainly achieved by linking:
- determine your personal link profile (who links to my website)
- link to the pages of important sites
- use Social Media
- read about link building
For example, ‘Content is King’ still applies, and I believe will be a monarch for many years to come.
Google PageSpeed Insights has recently received an update, and it’s better than you have anticipated. Achieving a perfect score of 100 is now a lot easier and I was actually surprised, how well I had scored on the new platform. This is primarily good news for internet agencies and freelancers who offer speed optimization and SEO. We all know that explaining the scoring system to your clients is always a bit tricky and hearing your client say: “Why does my website only score 76? That is only average?” can lead to a lot of unnecessary misunderstandings. Your client won’t be happy if he just paid you $10,000 and his site barely reaches the average score. So, having an official page speed platform where everyone with a semi-optimized website and a cheap shared hosting plan can score a solid 95+ mark, without CDN or caching, is definitely something we didn’t even hope for.
What are the benefits of Google’s new PageSpeed engine?
PageSpeed Insights now uses Lighthouse as its analytics engine, as well as field data from CrUX. This allows Google not only to evaluate the code but also to take into account the website’s performance. This means that Google no longer evaluates your blog or site based on what you can do to improve your site; your site is now being assessed based on how it actually performs in real time.
The PageSpeed update is ideal for OCD speed junkies.
Of course, if previously you have struggled to achieve any semi-decent result with PageSpeed Insights, now that you can easily score 100, it can be a great boost for your ego. But let’s not forget, that this isn’t a numbers game, it is about improving the user experience, which in turn can provide more web traffic and more conversion.
How to achieve the perfect score?
Process your website through PageSpeed Insights. Are you under the score of 100? Then, there is a number of things you have to ask yourself:
- Do I use a good web host? (Also read, why optimized WordPress hosting is important for the speed of your website!)
- How do my plugins influence the speed of my site? (Also read: Can you have too many WordPress plugins?)
- Has the code already been fully optimized? (Also read: Tips for optimizing your CSS code)
- Are my images all optimized? (Also read: How can you best optimize images for your WordPress website?)
- Do I use a good caching plugin? (Also read: The five best caching plugins for WordPress)
Thanks to the new PageSpeed engine, it is now much easier to achieve a perfect score, either for your own ego or for the client, who needs to feel like he did waste his money for nothing. However, as ironic as it may sound, that does not mean that your website is fully optimized! The difference between the old PageSpeed Insights and the new one is that you can have a score of 100, yet there can still be a room for improvement. That means we have to look differently at the results of PageSpeed Insights, and not take it for granted.
In a world where everyone can basically achieve a perfect score of 100, most people will probably stop making improvements, when they reach that goal. If you are the one who continues and does everything to offer your visitors the best possible user experience, you can get ahead of your competitors, who only strive for the absolute minimum. Good luck!