5 SEO tips for maximizing Facebook traffic and visibility

Since 71% of online users have Facebook, a business Facebook page is likely a part of your branding. Just like your website, SEO is just as important as your Facebook is almost a second home page. While social media marketing can be expensive, Facebook SEO is completely free and can easily be improved to benefit yourself and your target audience with these steps:

  1. Effectively brand your name and URL

Choose a good name. This cannot be changed, so be careful and selective when creating your page. The first word is most important by Google’s standards. Keep it simple and concise and avoid stuffing it with keywords. If visitors get a vibe from it being “spammy,” they will either unfollow you or leave your page. Trust the rest of your page to attract your target audience. Additionally, customize your URL. Unlike your name, your URL can be changed to one of vanity once you have at least 100 “likes.” Again, be specific and concise to improve your likeliness to be found. It should be unique to your brand, but still easy to remember.

  1. Complete your entire profile

Ensure that your profile is filled out as much as possible, keeping all information, content, and pictures uniform to your other social media channels and similar to your website. This consistency looks professional and makes both your Facebook and website easier to use. The About Us section is particularly important because it is similar to a meta description. It needs to be short enough to be displayed in a search engine result, but also contain the most important keywords for your target audience to find you. Use keywords strategically, but try not to overuse them with more than six essential keywords.

  1. Include sufficient contact information

By displaying as much contact information as possible, whether it is phone number, address, email, and business hours, Google is able to display your information faster to those who need it. As Google prioritizes local information, your address and location is becoming more important to be available. Think about searching nearby businesses to visit: the ones with the highest accuracy will be more helpful to those searching.

  1. Utilize all new features

Facebook is constantly implementing new features, especially as advertisements continue to grow on this platform. The call-to-action tool allows visitors to easily interact with your page, whether it is signing up, booking, contacting, playing a game, downloading an app, shopping, or watching a video. Messenger, payments, and saved replies are other great features that truly allow your Facebook to be a second homepage for your target audience. Utilize them, and your customer interaction will be greater on top of an already solid SEO.

  1. Post and share strategically

Not only should you make sure the first 18 characters of posts are using specific keywords, also include plenty of links to your website. Google boosts pages with links to relevant websites, thus boosting your Facebook. You can include a raw link your post text, or you can use Facebook’s feature to attach a link. Either can be beneficial, especially depending on if you use images with your posts, which you always should! Search engines love images, especially if your content is unique and relevant.
The most important part of implementing good Facebook practice is not for SEO, but to maximize the user experience. By creating a cohesive brand between platforms, your target audience is more likely to engage with your business. As always, never try to manipulate your SEO. Be honest and get honest results.

301 Redirects: How They Affect Your SEO

A 301 redirect is a way to redirect traffic to a current and updated web page. These are necessary if a URL is broken or no longer active. 301 redirects are important for user experience, which can also strongly affect the SEO of your website.

301 or 302?

To first clarify, there are two kinds of redirects. 301s are permanent and include PageRank, MozRank, Page Authority, and Traffic Value. Previous pages will be removed from Google’s index and replaced by the new page. Some percentage of “link juice” will be lost in addition to PageRank.

Alternatively, 302 redirects are temporary. These are best used if testing a new webpage. 302s can be used as a temporary detour while fixing a page. They may not pass any traffic value to the new page, so it is best to avoid them if possible. All PageRank, MozRank, and Page Authority will remain the same, and the detour page will not gain any traffic value. After working hard on the SEO of your website, you don’t want to sacrifice your accumulated SEO value for a 302 redirect. They have the potential to greatly harm your SEO if created by accident, so they should be used sparingly and with care. Google will still view them the same as 301s, but it’s best to be specific and relevant and stick to 301 redirects.

But my SEO?

Search engines like Google will quickly notice the change to a redirect. Your SEO is immediately affected. However, if your website is large and complex, it could take a while for Google to completely forget the original page. If your website is new, you shouldn’t need any redirects, but it is important to realize the immediate effects of your website’s SEO.

301 redirects are a great way to accidentally test your SEO. Moz tested Google’s theories to see how much 301s can actually change your SEO, and they found results identical to Google’s predictions. On average, SEO is 15 percent below where it would be without any redirects. If your SEO is well-established, you could have better results despite the 301 redirect. However, if your website is extremely new and undeveloped, then that redirect could produce even worse SEO results. While 15 percent is only a benchmark, you can develop your own measurements using MozBar. By testing your redirects, you are able to see the ease of use for visitors while ensuring traffic is continuing correctly.

Still, Watch Out

While it is possible to add or delete 301 redirects, it is best to keep them forever. If you do remove a 301 redirect, then Google’s connection to your web page is broken, and the reputation of your domain becomes flawed.

Still, it is important to not redirect all old pages to a homepage. While this may seem like a holistic fix, it actually causes Google to view these pages as a 404. Instead, redirect old pages to other internal pages instead of a homepage. Your site and content is likely to change, so redirect old pages to newer, more updated content to help your visitors and your SEO.

In Conclusion

301 redirects can multiply quickly as a website gains more content and web pages. While necessary to redirect broken or outdated pages, it is best to build your website carefully to avoid them. If you don’t redirect your page at all, then there will be a dead 404 page, which should be avoided at all costs. Even if your website is relatively new, it is important to pay attention to URLs early on to ensure traffic is logical and allows for growth.

Instagram Algorithm Apocalypse: What it means for your SEO

A couple weeks ago, the internet went crazy with fear over the rumored Instagram update. The new algorithm was rendered apocalyptic. Many brands and celebrities were posting pictures with an arrow recommending to follow their accounts for updates. Hopefully you know by now that this is not the best way to optimize your accounts, but it proves the misconceptions of algorithms shape the way customers perceive brands.

Algorithms don’t exist just for fun. Over time, as the internet and social media platforms become more heavily populated, there are more users and many more posts. Feeds are becoming more expansive, and most people are unable to stay fully updated with their feeds. As a result, social media platforms have begun to adopt algorithms to improve the user experience. Facebook has already integrated this, and while some businesses may claim it has raised the cost of promotion, I think this is an expected trait of any mobile marketing. As the market becomes more saturated, costs will increase.

Twitter has begun to implement a similar algorithm, but Instagram admits there will not be an update for several more months. When there is an update, users, especially businesses, will need to rely heavily upon an engaged audience. If this worries businesses, then it proves that their content might not be engaging users as much as they think.

The Instagram algorithm update will simply curate content so that if a user likes a particularly account often, they will see more of those posts as to not miss any of their favorite posts. Likes are becoming dollar votes, which is why businesses should focus on engaging their customers as opposed to throwing content at them. If their followers like their posts regularly, they shouldn’t lose any of their influence. If followers aren’t liking any of their posts, then they will not show up on their feeds as often. Furthermore, if followers aren’t liking any of their posts, then they may not have the right followers. Quality is far more important than quantity regarding followers and engagement. This means businesses should focus on providing quality content that will keep users engaged.

This seems relatively obvious to someone who knows anything about SEO, but most consumers are unaware of these practices. They dislike the idea of something controlling their perspective. Consumers don’t want any higher authorities distorting their social media experience and don’t like the idea that social media platforms understand their habits, even if it is liking and commenting. Clearly, Google and Instagram are not trying to violate the privacy of any users, but are simply trying to improve the user experience in order to retain users and prevent information overload.

This fear proves that authenticity rules when utilizing SEO. While there may be temporary ways to game the system, whether it’s in search engines or social media, it is not in best practice to do so. The best practice is to create quality relationships with visitors that keep them engaged with your business. Customers enjoy genuine feelings toward brands, and it is easy for them to detect anything forced or artificial. Consumers are becoming more informed, and this makes brand transparency far more important than ever before.

If you were a new customer, would you want to visit your website? Would you want to like your Instagram post? If not, then there is a larger issue at hand. Quality content and posts will maintain and generate an audience, and there is no need to worry about algorithms regarding social media outreach.

Additionally, this proves the growing importance of mobile marketing. Your website needs to be available on a mobile platform that is easily accessible. More customers are viewing websites from a mobile device, such as from a link in an Instagram bio. By making your website easier to use, you’re improving your overall brand engagement.

As always, focus on improving your website for the simple reason of making the most out of visitors’ experiences. This is the most sustainable approach to embrace any and all algorithms, in the present and the future.

SEO Done Wrong: TJ Maxx

A Case Study on What We Can Learn From TJ Maxx and its SEO.

TJ Maxx is an American department store chain under TJX Companies based in Framingham, Massachusetts. Stanley Feldberg first founded Zayre Corp in 1956 and was president until 1978 and only retired in 1989. Once the company sold its Zayre name, the core brand of TJ Maxx remained. The next year began a series of expansion, beginning with TJX, HomeGoods, and TK Maxx in the European market. TJX acquired Marshalls and doubled in size, landing it on the S&P 500 in 1996. Following further expansion, TJX was 141st on the Fortune 500 in 2004. Ernie Herrman just recently took over as CEO at the beginning of 2016. TJ Maxx has over 1000 stores across the country, and a new TJ Maxx recently opened off of Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and the company shows no sign of slowing expansion.

In the online world, their URL is http://tjmaxx.tjx.com/store/index.jsp. Ew, right? Momentology offers a case study on what TJ Maxx is doing wrong and how other businesses can learn from it.

Although TJX is the parent company, the subdomain approach is odd since TJ Maxx is the primary location for visitors and customers. Typically, if a business decides to use subdomains, it is to simplify navigation for visitors. For example, business.com might use shop.business.com or blog.business.com. This ensures visitors are reaching the content they want. Here, TJ Maxx customers typically will not be interested in corporate TJX. Why bother?

Looking at metrics, no one is linking to tjx.com and they are instead linking to tjmaxx.com since the retail site is more popular than the corporate site. Local listings even still include links to tjmaxx.com. While it still redirects, there is no purpose in this and should be avoided. Local listings lead to the TJ Maxx homepage after a redirect.

Macy’s, another leading department store, takes a different approach. When listing local stores, the Google link is directly to the local store’s webpage. This makes sure that searchers are finding exactly what they need, and not just a general posting.

This is just another reason why businesses should optimize their websites not for search engines but for visitors. The user experience needs to be seamless, or else they won’t return. Similarly, if the user experience is subpar, then search engines will not benefit the website.

In addition, TJ Maxx websites often aren’t indexed enough to be crawlable.

Source: Momentology.com

Source: Momentology.com
Source: Momentology.com

Macy’s again beats TJ Maxx in providing crawlable links that are easily indexed by Google, allowing customers to easily find what they need regarding Macy’s website.

If we can see that TJ Maxx could use a lot of improvement, then why does TJ Maxx continue to do this?

The website tjmaxx.com used to be the domain when the website “peaked” in March 2013 in terms of web traffic. Maybe after that, TJ Maxx was looking for ways to improve their SEO and were simply unsure of how to improve them again.

Momentology offers a tutorial on how TJ Maxx could potentially fix and improve their crawl efficiency and SEO which could in turn result in millions more in revenue annually. Think SEO wasn’t a big deal?

If you’re wondering why few SEO case studies exist, it’s because most SEO providers don’t want to publish their true results. Unfortunately, there are more often dissatisfied clients than satisfied, making it difficult to publish positive case studies, especially while maintaining confidentiality.

While there may not be too many reports on what hasn’t worked for individual businesses, there are many resources with general SEO advice. While always changing ,they offer guidelines to optimize your website and improve your SEO in a dynamic environment.

Have you ever personally came across a website with poor user interface? How has that experience shaped your own SEO pursuits? Share your story in the comments below!

The Present & Future of Google Algorithms

Google is constantly revising and improving its algorithms in order to keep the search engine experience as efficient and authentic as possible. Here are some of the most recent improvements as well as what changes we can expect in the future:

Mobile-Optimization over Desktop

Mobile platforms are gaining a significant presence over traditional desktop search engines. Whether through mobile devices or mobile apps, people are searching for answers at their fingertips. Last year, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches and the new Google algorithm Mobilegeddon focused more on mobile accessibility. This provided more optimal search results. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action, so it is important not only for SEO but also for your business. While some say that desktop-specific sites are no longer necessary, you should still primarily focus on a template that is easy for visitors to use while also recognizable from all platforms. User experience is essential.

Considering 89% of mobile time is on apps, Google is beginning to pay more attention to them. When you include important keywords in your app it makes your business more searchable and easier to access. This trend is only going to grow, so it is essential for small business owners to stay on top of their SEO and optimize their mobile experience. Again, aim to optimize the user’s experience over the search engine results. Lines are beginning to blur between what is web and what is social media. Don’t fret – this just provides more opportunities to improve SEO.

Social over Factual

Social media is also increasing its presence within search feeds. Now, when searching a certain business, social media posts will be indexed in results. This allows the customer’s experience to improve your SEO but doesn’t discredit actual content from your website. All this means is that you need to connect your content to your social media platforms in order to create a more cohesive brand. Creating quality content for your site as well as your social media platforms is only going to increase your search engine presence and overall visitor satisfaction.

Aggregated Content over News

Twitter is always changing it’s algorithm, which consequently changes the way search engines work to aggregate live coverage and events. Content aggregating can be tricky, but it can also provide more specific results for target visitors. Twitter offers “Moments”, which explain an event through third-party coverage and opinions as opposed to typical news and media coverage. It is advised that you create or curate content, not aggregate, however, this trend is most likely going to affect Google’s algorithm in the future. Be prepared and open to change.

Video over Text in B2C Content

Video will continue to be important in Business-To-Consumer Content. While written content is the standard, video apps like Vine, Snapchat, and Periscope are revolutionizing the way we consume visual content. Google ranks video content as 50x better than plain text content, a number that will only grow in the future. Consumers want to watch exciting videos on their feeds that allow them to connect with your social media content. While searching, they want specific, exciting examples that visually share what your business has to offer. Proper keywords and tags will promote your video content in Google, but also keep in mind that quality content is still most important.

Conclusion

While the many Google algorithm updates like Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, Payday, and Pirate may sound like a weird zoo, don’t let them intimidate you. As always, never try to manipulate the algorithms. It is important to remain on top of the latest trends. Be sure to create the best website and content possible for your visitors. Remember, the goal is to optimize their experience. Google is constantly searching for ways to help determine what searchers really want.
What Google algorithm updates would you like to see in the future?

Searchable – About Us

Searchable is a blog based on simplifying search engine optimization. Whether you’re new to SEO in your position or while working on your startup, we are here to help you build your website and maximize your search potential.

Our team consists of Emily Beaupre, Chad Dorger, Mary Kesinger, Ana Plefka, and Becca Warren – all students of Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business.