Category Archives: SEO

What You Need To Know About Google’s Duplicate Content Penalty?

 

As a website owner, it is crucial to understand that you cannot and should not ignore Google if you want to do well in the online landscape. Google dominates the search engine market by a huge margin. Therefore, if you want to propel your online journey in the right direction, it is vital to follow the rules laid down by Google. It is important to understand that staying on the right side of Google is in your interest.

If you follow the right practises, you can rank well on Google. However, if you break the rules, Google can penalise you as well.

That is why it is crucial to know what is right and the things that you need to avoid. And duplicate content is one such thing that causes a lot of confusion. There are many myths about duplicate content. It is vital to know the truth behind duplicate content and how Google perceives it.

Many website owners are afraid of duplicate content as much as they are of spammy links. Many people think that Google penalises websites for duplicate content.

Let us, therefore, take you through what you need to know about duplicate content, the myths, and the reality.

Google tried allaying the fears way back in 2008 when Susan Moska wrote on the Google Webmaster – “Let’s put this to bed once and for all, folks: There’s no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” At least, not in the way most people mean when they say that. You can help your fellow webmasters by not perpetuating the myth of duplicate content penalties!”

So, what is duplicate content?

According to Google, “duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.”

The way Google handles duplicate content is what makes people believe that they can be penalized for duplicate content by Google. What happens in case of duplicate content is that the duplicates get filtered in the search results.

The content that appears on the internet in more than ‘one place’ is known as the duplicate content. The phrase ‘one place’ in this context refers to a unique website address or URL, which means if the same content appears at more than one web address, then you have duplicate content.

So, what are the problems that duplicate content can cause?

Why does duplicate content matter?

Search engines can face three main problems due to duplicate content:

  1. It can become difficult for the search engines to know which version they need to include and exclude from their indices.
  2. The search engines get confused about whether to direct the link metrics to one page; or how to separate them between multiple versions.
  3. The search engines also don’t know which version to rank for a search query.
  4. So, what is the percentage of duplicate content on the internet?
  5. According to a study by Raven Tools, 29% of pages had duplicate content.

How does Google perceive duplicate content?

  1. Let us take you through what Google thinks about duplicate content:
  2. Google has clarified several times that it does not penalize websites for duplicate content.
  3. When people search Google, they want diversity in the search results. The users don’t want to see the same article over and over again. That is why Google consolidates duplicate content and show one version only.
  4. There are algorithms in place at Google to avoid duplicate content from impacting webmasters. The algorithms place the different versions of duplicate content into a group, and the best URL in the group is displayed. The algorithms consolidate various signals like links from pages within the group to the one being displayed to the users. Google says that if website owners cannot sort out the duplication issue themselves, then they will solve the problem at their end.
  5. Duplicate content can lead to adverse action from the search engines only if it is used to manipulate search results.
  6. The worst that can happen after filtering is that your best page will not get displayed in search results.
  7. What Google does is it tries to determine the source of the content and displays it for its users.
  8. In case somebody deliberately duplicates your content without your permission, then you can report and get the same removed.
  9. It is advisable not to block duplicate content because if the search engine cannot crawl all the versions, then how will it consolidate the signals.

Causes of duplicate content

There are several causes of duplicate content, and some of these are:

  1. www vs non-www
  2. HTTP vs HTTPS
  3. Session IDs
  4. URL parameters used for sorting and tracking
  5. Order of parameters
  6. Comment pagination
  7. Printer-friendly pages
  8. Index pages
  9. Trailing slashes
  10. Scrapers and content syndication
  11. Country or language versions
  12. Developing or hosting environments

How to solve the duplicate content issue?

Here are some of the solutions to solve the duplicate content issue:

Use canonical tags – A canonical tag or rel=canonical element or canonical link is used to consolidate signals, which helps search engines to pick up your most preferred version. When you use the canonical tag, it helps prevent problems that are caused due to duplicate content which appears on multiple URLs.

Use a 301 redirect – It is a permanent redirect which helps pass on most of the link equity or ranking power to the redirected page. It prevents the alternate versions of the pages from getting displayed.

Let Google know how to handle URL parameters – You can set the URL parameters so that Google gets to know of them. In this case, Google will not have to figure out what needs to be done. You make it easy for the search engine to find the original content.

Use rel=”alternate” – You can use this to consolidate different versions of a page, for example, mobile version or various country or language pages. The hreflang tags are a technical solution for websites that have similar content in several languages. It is used to display the correct language page in the search results. Google has clarified that sorting out the hreflang issue would not improve your search engine rankings, but it allows them to display the correct version during a search. This happens because Google identifies the alternate versions and consolidates the signals for various pages.

You should also use rel=”prev” and rel=”next” for pagination issues.

Start content syndication, but always follow the best practices.

TL; DR

Scraping or spam can also cause some issues. Hence, you should not disallow in robots.txt, do not nofollow, do not noindex, and don’t canonical from pages that target longer-tail to overview-type pages. You should use the abovementioned signals for your specific issues so that search engines know how you want your content to be viewed.

Though duplicate content does not lead to any official penalty, yet it can sometimes impact your search engine rankings. If there are several pieces of appreciably similar content in more than one location, then it can become difficult for search engines to display the correct version for a specific search query.

If you want to improve your rankings on Google, you need to have a robust SEO strategy. You can get in touch with vStacks Infotech for a smart SEO strategy. We know what it takes to improve your rankings.

Tips To Increase Organic Traffic To Your Website

 

If you want to do well in the world of business, you need to have a website in place. But not all websites are doing well on the internet. If you want to do well in the online landscape, you need to make sure that your website ranks high on search engines so that you can attract the requisite traffic. If your website ranks lower in the search results, it is difficult to get the desired traffic.

So, what should you do to get the desired traffic?

There are two things you can do to increase the traffic – you either take the paid route or try to increase it organically.

Increasing traffic organically is the best way to get sustained traffic. You, of course, can opt for a pay-per-click campaign if you want instant results. But it is not possible to keep running a PPC campaign to get the requisite traffic. The cost you invest in advertising and the returns you get overtime will not make for a profitable model. Hence, it is crucial to invest your time and energy in activities that increase your organic traffic.

According to Brightedge, more than half (51%) of all website traffic comes from organic search.

And, more than 40% of revenue comes from organic traffic.

Yes, organic traffic is what your site needs if you want to do well on the online circuit. The best part is you don’t have to invest your money to increase organic traffic.

So, what should you do to keep getting visitors on your website?

There is a lot that you can do to increase organic traffic to your site.

But before getting into what you should do to increase organic traffic to your site, let us try and understand the meaning of organic traffic.

What is organic traffic?

According to Techopedia, “search engine traffic refers to the visitors who arrive at a website by clicking search results leading to that particular website. Using a Web analytics program, a website’s overall search engine traffic can be segmented to show the percentage of search engine traffic for individual Web pages or site sections. Search engine traffic is used to describe traffic that a site has not paid for, in contrast to paid search engine traffic, which results from people clicking through on a sponsored search result or ad. Search engine traffic is also known as organic search engine traffic.”

Organic traffic is the traffic that you get from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The traffic comes to your site from unpaid resources because your website ranks high on these search engines.

Organic website traffic can deliver visitors that are specifically looking for services or products similar to what you offer.

9 techniques that can increase organic traffic to your site

As a marketer or website owner, it should be your endeavor to increase organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic to your site is bound to increase if you rank on the first page of Google, and the traffic can exponentially increase if you rank in the top three positions or the featured snippet for a particular keyword.

Here are nine techniques that can help you increase organic traffic to your website:

  1. Don’t just optimize for search engines, instead optimize for your target audience – You need to know for whom you are writing your content. Try and create educational and informative content that resonates well with your buyers, which helps improve your SEO. You need to address the issues of your buyers and know the keywords they use in search queries. If you optimize only for search engines, it is not going to help you much.
  2. Make sure you use longtail keywords – Don’t just run after the most popular keywords in your market. It is important to use keywords that are relevant and specific to your products or services. Search engines like Google will identify your site or blog in due course, helping you climb the search rankings, and it will become easier for your customers to find you.
  3. Pay attention to blogging – If you want to increase your organic traffic, you cannot avoid blogging. It is the best way of increasing your organic traffic. It allows you to create relevant and meaningful content for your target audience. But make sure that your blogs are nicely written, informative, and original, which adds value to your audience.
  4. Connect to others on the blogging arena – It is important for you to read, comment, and link to other websites and blogs in your niche so that they can do the same for your content. It can increase and attract more prospects.
  5. Make sure you create high-quality content consistently – You need to write and publish high-quality content regularly and consistently. The more you produce high-quality content for your website or blog, more are the chances of attracting organic traffic.
  6. Work on your meta title, URL, and description – If you want to optimize your web page or blog post effectively, you need to work on the meta title, URL, and description. Make sure you convey your message clearly so that search engines can pick your content for specific searches. Also, ensure that you work on all your pages to optimize them properly.
  7. It is important to use internal links – It is necessary to create internal links. When you write blogs, you should always use internal links so that you can take your prospects to more relevant content present on your website. Creating internal links will help you keep your prospects on your site for a longer duration, which, in turn, can also improve your search engine rankings. But ensure that you don’t overdo internal linking.
  8. External links are also important – If you want to improve your rankings on Google, you need to ensure that your content has adequate external links from trustworthy and reliable sites. Google prioritizes websites that have external links. Connect to people in your niche, and ask them to connect to your site. Also, encourage your clients, friends, suppliers, and vendors to link to your site.
  9. You should use social media and exploit Google Analytics – You should use social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. to build your reputation on the internet. You can add a share button on your content so that your content can be shared extensively. But make sure that your content is worthy of sharing. Also, you should use Google Analytics to track your visitors. From Google Analytics, you can get to know where your prospects come from and the keywords they use. You can fine-tune your content strategy accordingly.

If you want to know more about how to increase traffic organically, you should get in touch with vStacks Infotech. We are a digital marketing company, and we know how to create a robust SEO strategy for your website. A robust SEO strategy, coupled with social media marketing, can ensure that you keep getting traffic organically.

How Small Businesses Should Leverage Social Media?

 

Effective communication is integral to the growth and development of organisations, both big and small. You need to devise ways and means to effectively reach out to your target audience and keep them engaged.

So, how do you effectively communicate with your target audience?

Without a doubt, social media is one of the best channels available that offer ample opportunity to businesses of all sizes to effectively reach out to their target audience.

If you want to engage with your audience effectively, you cannot ignore social media these days.

But as a small business, are you leveraging social media to your advantage?

In case you are not using social media to your advantage, you are missing big time on opportunities. But small businesses should know how to devise an effective social media strategy to reap its benefits. Here are some of the benefits of social media and how small businesses should leverage social media to their advantage.

Benefits of social media for small businesses

The social media channels have made it possible for small businesses to engage with their customers effectively and scale new markets. In case you want to stay ahead of your competitors and improve customer experience, then it is vital for you to use social media effectively. Here are some of the major benefits of social media for small businesses:

Using social media effectively can improve your website traffic.

Social media increases brand awareness. When used effectively, you can create a space for your brand among your customers.

Social media can be rewarding for your customers. You can ask your customers, who follow you on the social media platforms, to use the promo code in your posts to avail the discount.

Social media can generate the right kind of buzz for your business. Social media is probably the most cost-effective method to generate buzz for your small business.

You can use location-based social media apps to bring in customers from your area.

Social media can help you connect with other businesses.

How should small businesses use social media?

If you are a small business and want to connect with your customers and prospects, you should start using social media effectively to climb the success ladder. Small businesses might feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting started with social media, but there is nothing scary about it. With a bit of planning, you can use social media to your advantage. Here are some social media tips for small business owners:

To start with, you should have a good plan in place – Just like you have a strategy for growing your business, you should also have a plan for social media marketing. Though you can start posting organic posts for free, without a robust social media marketing plan, it will not help you achieve much. To achieve the desired results, you first need to have a definite plan in place. Having a social media plan upfront will ensure that your social efforts support your business goals.

Your social media plan should include the following:

You should set clear, attainable, measurable, and relevant social media objectives and goals for your business. It is important that you base your goals on what you want to achieve from your social media campaign – do you want to increase your customer base or do you want to boost your conversions.

Do a bit of research on what your competitors are doing on social media. It will help you formulate your social media strategy as you would come to know what works and things that you need to avoid.

In case you are already on the social media bandwagon, you should take stock of what your campaign has achieved so far, and where you need to improve.

It is also important to create a social media calendar. It helps your social media campaign if you post the right content at the right time. Try to make sure that you follow the 80-20 rule where 80% of your content should be educational, informational, and entertaining, and the rest can be used to promote your brand or for selling your product.

The second important thing is to know your audience – Understanding your audience is probably the most vital thing for your business. You can compile data on your present customers, and then go further with social media analytics to know what your customers are buying from you and who all are interacting with you online. You can formulate your social media plan according to the preferences of your audience.

If you know your audience well and understand what they want, your social media campaign can generate a huge response.

The next most important thing is to select the right platforms for your social media campaign – Going by your gut feel in selecting the right platforms for your social media campaign would not help you much. For example, if you think you can avoid Facebook, then it is wrong because it remains the most popular social media platform even today. You need to know where your online audience hangs out the most.

These are general trends, but with a bit of research (especially demographic profiling), you can find out where your audience prefers to spend their online time. It is always better to use a combination of platforms to reach a wider audience.

Concentrate on building relationships – Social media allows you to engage directly with your customers, prospects, and followers. Without asking your prospects to buy upfront, you can cultivate strong relationships with them over time. Most people who follow small and medium-sized business on social media, tend to buy from them in the longer run.

People who engage with your content on social media expect you to respond to their queries. And, when you respond promptly, it builds trust which is the building block of developing strong relationships with your customers.

And, one way of developing a relationship with your prospects is to form Facebook Groups. You can build community, develop relationships, and increase brand loyalty among your group members who in turn can act as brand ambassadors for your business.

You can also use social channels to develop relationships with other business owners and influencers in your vertical.

Focus on expanding your audience – You can use social media tools to target new audiences after you have saturated your market. For example, you can use Facebook targeting options to reach out to new audiences. You should never lose focus on your core market, but ensure that you tap into new audiences once you are ready to expand. You can also exploit social media to bring in new customers to your local business.

Make it a point to share captivating visuals – People these days want to see more of visual content. Data from Twitter shows that people are more likely to engage with a tweet that has visual content such as video, GIF, infographic, or photo. Also, some of the other visual-first platforms are Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. People, especially the younger generation, are more likely to make their travel plans or visit a restaurant after they see their friend’s video or image on social media. All you need to do is do a bit of research online, and you will find many high-quality pictures that you can legitimately share with your content on social media.

Concentrate on quality instead of quantity – Social media spoils you with options. But it is not necessary that you make your presence felt on all the platforms. What you need to do is create quality content and identify the platforms where you think you can connect with your audiences. Your social media posts should offer value to your customers. People will not engage with your content if you only try to sell your product. What you need to understand is that social media marketing is about relationship building.

It is, therefore, important that you start with one or two social channels and after mastering it you can expand your reach.

It is important to select and use the right social media tools – If you want your social media campaign to fetch you great results, you need to make sure that you select and use the right social media tools. Social media tools can simplify your job by automating much of the work. These tools can improve your productivity which increases your social efforts.

Monitor, track and respond to the conversations – Social listening is an important aspect of social media. If you want to make your social media marketing efforts more effective, you should monitor your campaign and respond to all those who engage with your content. You should also keep a tab on the online conversations that are happening about your business and respond to it appropriately.

Also, when you track and monitor your social media campaign, you can fine-tune your efforts so that it produces better results. Monitoring and tracking will also help you determine what is working for you and things that you need to avoid or improve.

If you are the owner of a small business house, and you want to make a mark on social media, you can get in touch with vStacks Infotech now. We will make sure that you get a robust social media marketing strategy so that you can communicate with your target audience effectively. vStacks Infotech has been leveraging social media for businesses of all sizes, and our customers have had tremendous success in keeping their clients engaged.

What You Need To Know About Backlinks, And Its Importance In SEO

 

If you have a website, you should know the importance of ranking among the top few search results. Every website owner wants to rank high on the search results. However, it is not possible for the search engines to accommodate all the websites on the first page. Only a limited number of websites can figure on the first page.

So, how can you improve your organic ranking on the search engines?

As search engines frequently change their algorithms, it becomes imperative for the website owners to put in place a smart SEO strategy to climb the search engine rankings. SEO or search engine optimisation is a method which is used to increase the quantitative as well as the qualitative traffic to your website through organic or unpaid search engine results. A lot of factors influence your search engine rankings, but backlinks are one of the most vital of them all.

In case you want to climb the search engine ladder, you need to make sure that your website has relevant backlinks. That is the reason why you need to know about backlinks.

So, what are backlinks?

A Backlink or an inbound link is a link from an external website to your site. It is the building block of an effective SEO strategy because these are links that are directed towards your website. In simpler terms, when a website or a webpage has a hyperlink, which redirects to your website is referred to as a backlink.

Search engines, especially Google, considers your website reliable and trustworthy if it has several backlinks that come from reliable sources. And, one thing which website owners need to understand at the start is that the quality of the backlink is much more important than its quantity.

Backlinks are considered to be of high-quality if they come from authority websites that have some relevance to your content. Backlinks that redirect to your website should be real, and it needs to come from a similar niche. For example, if your website is about cookery and your page is linked to a furniture website, then these links become irrelevant because they negatively impact your search engine rankings.

And, why are they important for your website?

Backlinks are known to improve your search engine rankings provided they are of high quality. As mentioned earlier, search engines including Google consider your website to be more trustworthy, reliable, and relevant if they have links that come from authority sites related to your business. But make sure that you never get backlinks from spammy, harvested, or paid sites. Buying backlinks randomly will not improve your search engine ranking; it can only have a negative effect.

Search engines (including Google) measure the relevancy of a website through the number of backlinks it contains. Search engines (including Google) consider that if a web page is linked by other relevant pages several times, then it has the quality and should rank higher. And, this is the main purpose of building relevant backlinks. Also, when you get a backlink from a website, it passes the link juice to your website which is what helps you climb the search engine rankings. Another benefit of creating quality backlinks in SEO is that it helps you to increase your organic traffic.

Hence, if you want to climb the search engine ranking and increase your organic traffic, then you should concentrate on creating relevant backlinks for your website.

Faster indexing is another big advantage of relevant backlinks in SEO. Relevant backlinks in SEO helps your pages to get indexed faster on the search engines. Websites that have several relevant backlinks are picked up faster by the search engine bots for indexing. Hence, if you want Google to index your pages faster, you should create high-quality backlinks for your website.

Types of backlinks

There are two types of backlinks – dofollow backlinks and nofollow backlinks.

  • Dofollow backlinks – Natural linking of one website to another without putting the no-follow tag is termed as a dofollow backlink. These type of backlinks (dofollow backlinks) pass on the link juice to the website which helps it in climbing the search engine ranking.
  • Google crawlers crawl the dofollow backlinks which help Google bots to reach the page that has been given the link. That is the reason why dofollow links are considered vital in search engine optimisation. Every link by default that is given to a website is a do-follow link.
  • Nofollow backlinks – Backlinks that contain the no follow tag are referred to as no-follow backlinks. These links are not all that relevant from the SEO perspective.
  • Google crawlers ignore the links with no tags when they crawl a web page. Google crawlers don’t bother to crawl to the linked website via the nofollow link. Also, nofollow backlinks are not relevant in search engine optimisation, and it does not improve your page rankings.

How to create relevant backlinks?

Now that you know that creating relevant backlinks is vital for your SEO strategy, here are some ways that you should adopt to get relevant backlinks for your website:

  • 1. You should create high-quality content for your website that is relevant to your audience. When you produce high-quality content, people with related content will automatically link back to your site, and this is the most natural way of getting a relevant backlink. Also, high-quality content will attract many followers who can share your content on various social media platforms.
  • 2. Get into a habit of writing guest articles on top forums and blogs.
  • 3. Look for influencers in your niche and request them to review your products on their site.
  • 4. You also need to leverage high-quality Q&A sites like Quora to increase traffic to your site. You can participate in the discussion boards and link it to your blogs. You can comment on these sites to engage with your prospects and increase your brand awareness.
  • 5. You can use tools like SEMrush, Open Site Explorer, Open Link Profiler, and Ahrefs to review backlinks of your competitors and fine-tune your SEO strategy. Here are some more ways that you can adopt to get relevant backlinks for your website.
  • 6. You can start relevant threads in Forums, and then link it to your blog posts.
  • 7. Work on broken link building. Usually, every link on a website links to another page online. However, since websites frequently move their content around, some of the links ultimately break or point to pages that are not in existence (the 404-page error you sometimes see when you click a link). When you find broken links on other websites, try and identify the content they referred to originally, then offer the site the chance to replace the broken link with a valid link. Use Ahrefs Broken Link Checker to get to the links that are not working. You can go to Internet Archive to find out what the original post was about and if you generate relevant content for that broken link, then you can offer the owner of the site to replace your link with the link that is now broken. This is how you get a backlink by working on the broken link building exercise.
  • 8. Social bookmarking is also important (because they are considered as backlinks); hence target sites like Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
  • 9. Submit your blogs posts on blogging communities (BlogEngage, Medium, Ampower, etc.)
  • 10. You can also visit Answer sites and ask questions related to your blog, and then link to your blog in your questions.
  • 11. You can also submit your blogs to top blogging directories.

Backlinks, therefore, are an integral part of an SEO strategy. To get on top of the SEO game, you need to focus on creating relevant and top-quality backlinks for your website.

For an effective backlink building strategy, you can get in touch with vStacks Infotech now. vStacks Infotech is a one-stop shop for all your digital marketing needs. Also, if a smart SEO strategy is what you want for your website, we have you covered.