How to Optimize for Landing Page Success by @rankranger

This is a sponsored post written by Rank Ranger. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

You want to optimize your landing pages so they rank successfully. Doing so is an essential goal – but it’s also a lot more complicated than it sounds.

We’ve spent countless hours thinking of ways to offer you SEO reports that allow you to approach landing page optimization with methodical precision.

Here’s how.

Step 1: Set Target URLs to Track Specific Landing Pages

Tracking domains is the backbone of a landing page strategy. But it has to be done right.

We highly recommend you set up target URLs within your campaign to start tracking your landing pages. There’s no sense in making more work for yourself. By implementing the target URL option within Rank Ranger, determining landing page wins is infinitely simplified.

In this regard, how the sites that you’re tracking are structured all fall under Rank Ranger’s purview.

The unique Rank Ranger features available to you within our target URL option can track a subdomain or even use wildcards to track any sort of directory.

Tracking Target URLs to zero in on landing page performance

Tracking Target URLs to zero in on landing page performance

Step 2: Track Landing Page Rank with a Multi-Layered Approach

With target URLs set up, use the Rank Tracker Dashboard to determine if the corresponding URL is your highest ranking page for a given keyword. Doing so should be easily determinable and unequivocal (which is why we decided on a highly visual indicator).

Multi-layered Rank Dashboard with SERP Snapshots

Multi-layered Rank Dashboard with SERP Snapshots

If you’re serious about achieving landing page success, making this determination is just the first step. That is, qualifying the success of the targeted URL is a must. This means a comprehensive rank analysis that includes:

  • Multi-layered rank tracking (which should incorporate an overall visibility score)
  • Competition analysis
  • SERP feature scorings

In other words, the point is not to simply see if the target URL you set up is your top page for a given keyword, but to qualify the page’s performance from multiple vantage points.

Step 3: Analyze Landing Page Fluctuations Religiously

It’s important to keep in mind that even if the targeted URL is not your highest ranking page for the keyword, it does not mean that you are not ranking within the top 500 results. Rather, it simply means it is not your highest ranking page.

Google, in theory, may be ranking another of your landing pages higher for the keyword. It could then very well be that your landing page is ranking quite well, just not as well as another one of your pages.

With this, monitoring landing page fluctuations is the natural next step in moving a landing page up the SERP. This is true even if you see that your targeted landing page is currently your highest ranking page for a keyword (i.e., you’ve met your target URL goal).

Just because a specific landing page is your top SERP performer now doesn’t mean it always was and always will be.

Landing Page Monitor includes landing page fluctuation graph & metrics table with SERP features

Landing Page Monitor includes landing page fluctuation graph & metrics table with SERP features]

Properly tracking a landing page means carefully monitoring landing page fluctuations on a per keyword basis.

Here, too, qualifying performance is the name of the game.

Seeing how long Google ranks another landing page above the one you’ve optimized for the keyword will help you understand how pervasive the fluctuation is, as will tracking how often a fluctuation occurs.

Of course, as a Google algorithm update rolls out you’ll want to pay even closer attention so as to monitor if any of your landing pages have been impacted, with Google giving new preference to another one of your pages.

Step 4: Survey the Full Ranking Impact of Your Landing Pages

A solid landing page, at its optimization peak, is going to rank for more than one keyword. This is quite common, and in some industries (think e-commerce) it’s prevalent.

When you’re in the process of updating a page, taking the full ranking picture into consideration can have big payoffs, especially if the page is ranking towards the top of the SERP for a good few keywords.

In order to accurately gauge the broad and overall health of a landing page, seeing its full performance across all of its ranking keywords offers a significant advantage.

You’ll want to see the day by day performance for all of a landing page’s ranking keywords both before and after making a strategic change to the page. That is, before making a change to a landing page, you’ll want to consider how it may impact the other keywords the page currently ranks well for.

Of course, after adjusting a landing page you’ll want to see the impact not only on the page’s top keyword but also the other keywords the page does well with. It may be worth it to sacrifice a position or two for a given keyword if it will boost your page’s ranking for a multitude of other keywords.

Landing Page Daily Snapshot monitors the keywords that a landing page ranked for over time

Landing Page Daily Snapshot monitors the keywords that a landing page ranked for over time

Step 5: Meta Maneuvers for Top Ranking Landing Pages

Having deep insights into a landing page fluctuations, along with knowing the ranking depth of a landing page, puts you on the doorstep of developing an actual landing page strategy.

A lot has already been said about the role of on-page optimization. However, even within on-page optimization there other factors at play that don’t draw as much attention as they should.

Think a  bit outside of the box and undertake a concerted effort to optimize meta-structure, such as the page’s title and meta description.

Properly optimizing a page’s title tag and meta description can be a bit elusive.

For example, the length (in pixels) Google allows before truncation varies across the world and even across various niches.

Beyond that, knowing exactly which keywords and phraseology will have the greatest impact on Google’s crawlers is not anywhere near being an exact science.

Fortunately, you need not reinvent the wheel. Rather than making guesswork out of the process, look at the competition.

  • What keywords are they using in their titles and meta-descriptions?
  • What changes have they made?
  • How has Google responded to these changes in terms of rank?

You need a tool that tracks all of this for you.

SEO Monitor with in-depth analysis of the top 20 competitors per keyword including title & description changes by competitors

SEO Monitor with in-depth analysis of the top 20 competitors per keyword including title & description changes made by competitors

Step 6: Measure Landing Pages Success in Real Terms

Landing page optimization may be a page by page process, but landing page success pertains to all of your landing pages.

Proficiency in optimizing a landing page is best done in the context of an overall landing page strategy. Evaluating this strategy on a page by page basis simply isn’t effective.

Successfully assess your landing page optimization strategy by looking at the overall trends of your pages across the board. You’ll be best served by isolating rank trends across all of your active landing pages.

Seeing an overall trend up the SERP can soundly determine the positive impact of your overall optimization efforts.

This shouldn’t be limited to just rank, however.

Rank is only a means to an end and the impact of your landing page optimization is often best judged by user behavior. To that extent, it’s important to view landing page rank changes in the context of both the data found in Google’s Analytics and Search Console. Meaning, how has your strategy not only increased rank but traffic, clicks, CTR, etc.

Having rank and user-oriented data in one place is a win-win.

search traffic and user behavior from Google Analytics and Search Console in one report

Landing Page Traffic Insights report – search traffic and user behavior from Google Analytics and Search Console together in one report

Rank Ranger: A Partner, Not Just a Platform

From your first steps toward landing page success to the moment you plant your flag on top of the SERP, Rank Ranger will be with you at every moment and help you overcome every challenge to reach your ranking goals.

With a prolific series of landing page reports and tools that not only offer a profoundly far-reaching look at landing page performance but present unique data not found anywhere else on the market, Rank Ranger puts your pages in position to win.

See for yourself, and we’ll see you at the top of the SERP!

Image Credits
Featured Image: Image by Rank Ranger. Used with permission. 
In-post Images: Images by Rank Ranger. Used with permission.

Source: Search Engine Journal (Original

You Don’t Lack Discipline, You Lack Motivation. There’s a Difference

As indie entrepreneurs we live and die by the execution of our ideas. Without the right focus and motivation, discipline alone won’t save you.

I find it’s very common for creatives and business builders to feel they lack discipline. We think if we had more discipline then we’d be making more progress on our idea.

I don’t agree. You don’t lack discipline, you lack motivation. You lack the internal drive, the clarity and focus of desire, that would make being disciplined almost easy.

As I said before, us indie biz people live and die off the ideas we execute. Not the ideas we capture in our Moleskine notebooks, but the ideas we execute.

And if you’ve got issue with motivation (or discipline, if you insist), then you’ve got big problems with execution.

But here’s what I believe: you deserve to bring your idea to life. You deserve it. You’re not sitting on your ass doing NOTHING; you’re doing things to make it happen… it just sometimes feels like, you know, you don’t do enough, you couldn’t do enough, you’re not enough and you’re never enough.

Again, that’s all false. You just haven’t learned how to turn on motivation and channel it at whatever project you want.

Imagine a Pill…

So, imagine a pill that, once you took it, would make clear to you exactly what you should be working on.

It tells you WHAT to work on next and it makes you feel WHY you should work on it. Focus to know what’s next, motivation to do the work enthusiastically.

This is the kind of thing I’m talking about. Us indie entrepreneurs need something like that, a quick hit that can keep us focused, engaged, productive and motivated… that we can take whenever we need to.

Sustainable Motivation

You know, a lot of us don’t feel like we’re disciplined enough, but the truth is, we haven’t learned how to TURN ON our motivation.

I have ended way too many days of my career feeling burnt out, empty and unproductive. In fact, I would get so depressed about this that it was effecting my marriage, my work, my livelihood.

So, for me, it really mattered that I figured out a way to TURN ON my motivation and, well, frankly, get my heart involved in my work.

You must know what it’s like to lose motivation, right? To be working on something, all fired up and excited, and then over time that excitement fades?

That’s called “unsustainable motivation.” It’s like a faulty engine, it just fizzle out over time. (By the way, did you know this is why we called our company Fizzle?)

What we need instead is “sustainable motivation,” motivation that renews itself, motivation that lasts and lasts.

15 years…

You’ve probably heard that adage, “it takes 15 years to become an overnight success.”

It’s become a cliché because it’s truth is repeated again and again in different success stories.

It takes an enormous amount of energy over time to be successful as an indie entrepreneur.

I’ll say that again: to create your own success it takes a ton of energy over time in the same direction. This is what’s happening those 15 years before someone becomes an “overnight success.”

This is what Elizabeth Gilbert was doing, writing articles and books for 15 years before her breakout success in Eat Pray Love. This is what every comedian and filmmaker is doing during all those years it takes to find their voice. And it’s what your business success will need from you as well.

It takes an enormous amount of energy over time to create your own success… so, why would you spend all that energy to pursue a direction you don’t fiercely care about!?

But many of us don’t know what we care about that way. Sure we love our kids, our spouses, our family and friends, we love having freedom to enjoy ourselves… but few of us know what fierce curiosities or cares we have that we could pursue as a side project or career.

I used to think that “my passion” or that thing I care fiercely about would just come to me one day—it would just hit me and I’d realize it. But now I know we all need a process for looking for it. It has to be discovered from the inside out, only YOU can discover it, and even if it takes time it’s the biggest work of your life.

“It takes an enormous amount of energy over time to be successful as an indie entrepreneur.”

Pop the question

So there’s a question I’ve been building up to. The way you answer this question matters not to me, but to you. How you answer this determines whether or not you have a chance at succeeding.

We know we need internal motivation, energy from within, to have enough interest and energy over time to devote to our project.

We know need to be consistent and diligent because it is going to take time to make our own success for ourselves, and our idea needs time to develop and mature and grow.

We also know that discipline alone isn’t enough. Any guru who tells you to hustle harder or get into #beastmode is giving you a recipe for burnout.

So, how are YOU going to turn on motivation and focus every day? We know you won’t be successful if you don’t do it because you’ll get distracted or lose confidence. We know that if you DO do it your workload will be streamlined as you work smarter not harder. So, how are you going to do it?

It can’t be #beastmode. It can’t come in short sprints. It has to be ongoing; we don’t want spikes and falls, we want to elevate the baseline because another thing we know is that habits are more powerful than goals.

So, how are you going to do it? How are you going to turn on motivation for your business/project/idea day in and day out?

  • It should be something you can do any time,
  • It should be something you can do relatively quickly,
  • It should be something you make a habit of so you build the right mental muscles.
The truth is, most of us don’t have a great answer to that question. Most of us just “do a little work and see what happens.”

Right? Admit it to yourself if that’s what you’re doing right now. There’s no shame in it, that’s what MOST of us do. I’ve spent years doing that.

The danger, though, is that you’re really just throwing the dice at a craps table. Total luck, probably won’t work, let’s just try it… and you walk away worse for the wear but at least you tried.

I DON’T WANT THAT, THOUGH. I want to succeed. I want to enjoy the shit out of succeeding. I want life on my terms. I want to spend my time my way. And I want the job of my dream, namely, the one where I’m making shit I believe in and enjoying every moment of it and getting paid handsomely for it… and doing it all authentically.

If you’re comfortable with the craps table, lemme buy you a drink, but the rest of this post isn’t for you. If, however, you feel the same as me, let’s talk.

We need an answer to that question — how are you going to turn on motivation and intentionally focus it every day?

Truth is, I made something for you. If you’re interested, check it out.

If you want to turn on sustainable motivation and quit ending those days feeling depressed about what you DIDN’T get done… check it out.

If you care enough about your service, your customers, your future to realize you need to turn on motivation and intention daily… check it out.

And if you’re up for taking on the responsibility of being a DOER not just a dreamer… check it out.

I’m laying it on thick here—I know and so do you. But after 5 years of working with literally thousands of entrepreneurs I can say this really is the center of every issue you’ll have in modern indie business.

So, what’s your answer to the question? Your ideas are dying to know.

“you don’t lack discipline, you lack motivation. There’s a difference”

We made an excellent podcast episode about this topic, complete with insights from guest experts. It’s one of the biggest topics, one of the harshest realities, we all face. And there’s some powerful insights in here. Enjoy!

Subscribe (how to)  
Pocket Casts  
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Show Notes:

Source: Think Traffic (Original

New in SEOprofiler: find out how well your tagged keywords perform

Weekly SEO news: 17 October 2017

to the latest issue of our newsletter!

Here are the latest website promotion
and Internet marketing tips for you.

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter
and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please forward
this newsletter to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

New in SEOprofiler: find out how well your tagged keywords perform

If you monitor many keywords that are
related to your
business then it can become difficult to keep track
of all of them. The ‘tags’ feature in SEOprofiler helps you to create
clusters without changing the actual keywords.

Example: If
you sell shoes, you could add the tags ‘sport shoes’, ‘running shoes’
and ‘nike’ to the keyword “Men’s Air Max Tavas”. Then you can filter
your keyword lists to view all running shoes, even if the keywords do
not contain the term ‘running shoes’.

You can use an
unlimited number of tags

The Ranking Monitor in SEOprofiler
enables you to add an unlimited number of tags to your keywords. You
even assign multiple tags to the same keywords.

you can use as many tags as you want

This feature enables you to monitor
how particular keyword groups perform.

How to check the
performance of tagged keywords

Until now, you could check the
performance of your tagged keywords on the page “Ranked Keywords” by
filtering the keywords by tag. If there are many keywords with a
particular tag, the data can be a bit overwhelming.

That’s why we have added the new page
“Ranked tags” to the Ranking Monitor.

In addition to the existing features,
the new page shows the performance of tagged keyword groups over time.
This enables you to quickly find out which keyword groups perform best:

rankings by tags

The new page “Ranked tags” enables you
to see how well your tagged keyword groups perform on Google, Google
Mobile, Bing and Yahoo over time.

Extended reports for your clients

SEOprofiler also enables you to offer
your clients custom SEO reports in your company design. Of course, the
new page “Ranked tags” is also available in these web-based reports.
The reports have no reference to SEOprofiler and your clients won’t
find out that you use SEOprofiler to create the reports.

You can find the custom client reports
SEOprofiler > Your project
> Client reports > Web-based reports

Many more
powerful features

The Ranking Monitor in SEOprofiler
offers many more powerful features. In addition to the Ranking Monitor,
SEOprofiler offers tools for keyword research, web page optimization,
competitive intelligence, link analysis, link building, website
analytics, and much more. If you haven’t done it yet, try SEOprofiler

SEOprofiler now

Internet marketing news of the week

Gary IllyesGoogle’s Gary Illyes: removing
low quality pages won’t result in sitewide Google rankings boost

not guaranteed that you will see any positive effect from [removing low
quality content]. Basically if you have lots of crappy
content pages and hopefully you are not going to rank for those pages,
but if you do and you noindex those pages, then you are lowering your
own traffic by noindexing those pages.

I don’t like the idea of noindexing pages, I would much rather see site
owners improve the pages that show up in the search
results. For those that don’t show up in the search results,
those are not indexed, and if they are not indexed then typically they
are not affecting your site.”

does not use off-site sentiment analysis for ranking

Gary Illyes] clearly denied
sentiment analysis as a ranking factor. What he meant was that it’s
important to develop our reputation on the web. I talked about this
with him after the session.”

Gary IllyesGoogle’s
Gary Illyes:
featured snippets are evolving and changing 

Illyes said at the State of
Search conference yesterday in his keynote that how featured snippets
work, both in user interface and how they rank, is evolving. He said
what works for them today, may not work tomorrow. He added that the
rules behind why they work and how they work is changing.”

score in 2017: Should you care?

are a lot of reasons quality
score is an unreliable predictor of cost per conversion. However, I
believe that the biggest reason is also the simplest reason: Quality
score is Google’s metric, not yours.

Quality score matters to Google because it helps Google make money, not
because it helps you make money.”


  • Google just bought a podcast app cofounded by former
    Netflix executives.
  • Google to give $1 billion to nonprofits and help Americans get
    jobs in the new economy.
  • Yandex introduces Alice, an Alexa-like assistant
    that speaks Russian.
  • Google bombs are our new normal.
  • Google’s learning software learns to write
    learning software.

Source: Free Weekly Search Engine Optimization SEO News (Original

Siempre Selena

My love of music started with Selena Quintanilla. One of my dearest childhood memories is of my mom and I belting her classics like “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Techno Cumbia” in the family van during our annual road trips to Mexico. But Selena’s influence in my life goes so much further than that.

I’m the daughter of a Mexican immigrant single mother and grew up in a small, primarily white town in rural Texas. Selena taught me that being Latina was a powerful thing, and that with hard work and focus, I could do whatever I set my mind to. She showed me that my hybrid cultural identity was a valuable gift I should embrace. Watching her made me proud to be Mexicana.

Today we celebrate Selena’s legacy with a Google Doodle. Set to her iconic song (and my roadtrip favorite jam) “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” today’s Doodle follows Selena’s early life through the milestones that solidify her legacy as “The Queen of Tejano” and one of the most successful and iconic Mexican-American entertainers of all time.

She released “Selena,” her first studio album with Capitol EMI, on this day in 1989. Among many notable accomplishments throughout her career, she consistently stayed at the top of the billboard charts, and won a Grammy for best Mexican-American album of 1993—making her the first female and youngest Tejano artist to win the award. But she was much more than a talented musician and entertainer. A fashionista and trendsetter, she often designed and created entire outfits for her performance wardrobe. In her free time, she was active in community service, and a strong advocate for education.


Above all, Selena is a beacon of inspiration and hope for Latinx, immigrant, and bicultural communities around the globe. By embracing and celebrating all parts of her cultural heritage and persevering in the face of adversity, she forged an emotional connection with millions.

In addition to today’s Doodle, we partnered with the Quintanilla family and The Selena Museum to create a new Google Arts & Culture exhibit in honor of Selena. In the experience, you can tour beautiful high-resolution imagery of some of her most prized possessions, including iconic outfits, her first Grammy, her favorite car, and artwork from her adoring fans. We were also honored to host Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister, for a Talk at Google last week, which you can check out here.


So thank you, Selena, for being a role model and a hero to a little Latina girl in Granbury, TX and to countless others. And thank you for all the inspiration and joy your music and legacy continues to bring to the world.

Source: Search (Original

LinkedIn is Testing Autoplaying Video Ads on Mobile by @MattGSouthern

LinkedIn is the latest social network to begin selling autoplaying video ads. These ads will look just like other video posts, and will play without sound unless clicked on.

Microsoft, parent company of LinkedIn, only began letting users upload their own videos to the professional network in August.

Since then, the company reports video posts are already being shared 20 times more than other posts — making them highest performing content type.

When you couple that with the fact that video ads are typically more expensive more expensive to buy, you can begin to understand why LinkedIn is jumping into video advertising so quickly after introducing videos.

There is no doubt that LinkedIn is late to the party when it comes to offering video ads, but judging by the success of organic videos it’s conceivable that video ads will find similar success.

Only 18% of LinkedIn’s business comes from advertising, as of October 2016. The company also relies on selling subscriptions and advanced recruiting features as a form of revenue.

If initiatives like video ads are any indication, LinkedIn may begin to see more of its revenue coming from advertising now that it’s owned by Microsoft.

LinkedIn will begin to sell video ads to a test group of marketers at first, with the long term plan being to make them available to all advertisers.

In order to create video ads, advertisers can start a sponsored content campaign out of video uploaded through campaign manager, their company page, or showcase page. Existing ad targeting options can also be applied to video ads.

Source: Search Engine Journal (Original

Must-know tips to grow your salon business (or any retail business really) with Zing’s Lisa Conway | #386

Ex hairdresser and now business coach to hairdressers, Lisa Conway, reminds us of some fundamental business and marketing principles that when applied will skyrocket any type of retail business.


“The first problem is, most (business owners) never buy what they sell. I call them vegetarians that work in butcher’s shops! It’s all wrong. If you don’t ever buy what you sell, how would you know what it’s like?”

Lisa Conway
Zing Coaching

Must-know tips to grow your salon business

There’s loads more tips and insights just like this that will help you build that beautiful business of yours into the empire it deserves to be. Hit the PLAY button or subscribe free to hear the full interview. You’ll also find the full interview transcription below.

If you have questions about to grow your salon business (or any retail business), then you’ll get this answers in this interview:

  • What are the fundamental business and marketing principles I must apply in order to grow my business?
  • Should I own a niche or be a generalist?
  • How do I choose a niche?
  • What are most salon owners doing wrong?
  • How do I create a memorable customer experience?
  • How do I price my services?
  • How do I attract, retain and manage great staff?
  • How many hairdressers does it take to change a light bulb?!

At 18, Lisa Conway discovered her passion for hair and beauty and has never looked back. With over 30-years experience working in then owning salons, Lisa knows a thing or two about what it takes for them to succeed. She now spends her time helping other hair and beauty salon owners grow business they love through her current business Zing Business Coaching.

Lisa Conway, Zing Coaching


Here’s what caught my attention from my chat with Zing’s Lisa Conway:

  1. Lisa’s no-nonsense approach to business and marketing. It’s simple, she calls a spade a spade, and simply gets on with it. For someone who has (on occasion) mastered the art of procrastination, it’s refreshing to hear her views.
  2. The easiest way to find a niche is to identify what you truly love, and build a business around it.
  3. Buy what you sell. I often listen to other marketing and business podcasts to see how they go about it – It gives me a chance to see how high (or low, in some cases) the bar is, and what I need to do to stay ahead of the game.



But the marketing gold doesn’t stop there, in this episode you’ll also discover:


Other resources mentioned:


Please support these businesses who make this show possible:

DesignCrowd is the world’s #1 custom design marketplace where, with access to 550,000 designers, you’ll get the perfect design every time. Get $100 off at

And you gotta love it when your business expenses reward you! When you apply for an American Express Business Explorer Credit Card by November 30, and spend $3,000 in the first three months from the Card approval date, you’ll receive a bonus one hundred thousand Membership Rewards Points. Search Amex Business to find out how. New American Express Card Members only. Terms and Conditions Apply. I always wanted to do that!

If some thing in this episode of Australia’s favourite marketing podcast peaked your interest, then let me know by leaving a comment below.

May your marketing be the best marketing.

Tim Reid of Small Business Big Marketing

Timbo Reid
Want to subscribe to The Small Business Big Marketing Show?
Subscribe FREE on iTunes or Android

The post Must-know tips to grow your salon business (or any retail business really) with Zing’s Lisa Conway | #386 appeared first on Small Business Big Marketing.

Source: Small Business Big Marketing (Original

Intimately know the most efficient way to solve your client’s problems (and they’ll use you time and time again)

Intimately know the most efficient way to solve your client’s problems. Afterall, being the most efficient business in your industry can be a great point-of-difference in a world of sameness.

I call today’s idea the customer efficiency hack.

Everytime I fly to Sydney I arrange for taxi-driver Joe to pick me up. This is unusual on three counts – 1. I prefer Uber over taxis; 2. There’s plenty of taxis waiting already outside; and 3. Joe’s the most expensive option.

So why Joe?

Well, I was reminded exactly why only yesterday. As we left Sydney airport, Joe pointed out the banked up traffic on the freeway leading into town – it was bumper-to-bumper and would have turned a 30-minute trip into easily an hour plus. So instead of joining the cue, he calmly weaved his way through side streets and got me, stress-free, to my CBD hotel in the usual 30-minutes.

The lesson? Intimately know the most efficient way to solve your client’s problems. In a world where everyone is time poor, time is the new currency, and people will pay you above the odds if you save them lots of it.

So, here’s my 3-steps to ensuring your customers choose you every time:

  1. Have an intimate understanding of your client’s’ problems that your business can solve.
  2. Map out how you can solve each one in the quickest, most pain-free way for them.
  3. Provide your most efficient solution … every time; and if you have client-facing staff, then make sure they do so as well.

Pro-Tip: Don’t make a song and dance about it. Joe doesn’t. He just does what he knows is best for my situation. As a result, I use him every time. And no, you can’t have his number!

That’s my 3-steps to being a ridiculously efficient business, ensuring customers choose you … every time.

To help you bring this low-cost marketing idea to life, here’s some additional resources:

6 tips to help you understand your client

5 ways businesses can stop wasting customers’ time

As always, you’ll find more marketing inspiration in my popular marketing text The Boomerang Effect.

So, what have you got to lose?


The post Intimately know the most efficient way to solve your client’s problems (and they’ll use you time and time again) appeared first on Small Business Big Marketing.

Source: Small Business Big Marketing (Original

Google Shares Details About the Technology Behind Googlebot

Posted by goralewicz

Crawling and indexing has been a hot topic over the last few years. As soon as Google launched Google Panda, people rushed to their server logs and crawling stats and began fixing their index bloat. All those problems didn’t exist in the “SEO = backlinks” era from a few years ago. With this exponential growth of technical SEO, we need to get more and more technical. That being said, we still don’t know how exactly Google crawls our websites. Many SEOs still can’t tell the difference between crawling and indexing.

The biggest problem, though, is that when we want to troubleshoot indexing problems, the only tool in our arsenal is Google Search Console and the Fetch and Render tool. Once your website includes more than HTML and CSS, there’s a lot of guesswork into how your content will be indexed by Google. This approach is risky, expensive, and can fail multiple times. Even when you discover the pieces of your website that weren’t indexed properly, it’s extremely difficult to get to the bottom of the problem and find the fragments of code responsible for the indexing problems.

Fortunately, this is about to change. Recently, Ilya Grigorik from Google shared one of the most valuable insights into how crawlers work:

Interestingly, this tweet didn’t get nearly as much attention as I would expect.

So what does Ilya’s revelation in this tweet mean for SEOs?

Knowing that Chrome 41 is the technology behind the Web Rendering Service is a game-changer. Before this announcement, our only solution was to use Fetch and Render in Google Search Console to see our page rendered by the Website Rendering Service (WRS). This means we can troubleshoot technical problems that would otherwise have required experimenting and creating staging environments. Now, all you need to do is download and install Chrome 41 to see how your website loads in the browser. That’s it.

You can check the features and capabilities that Chrome 41 supports by visiting or (Googlebot should support similar features). These two websites make a developer’s life much easier.

Even though we don’t know exactly which version Ilya had in mind, we can find Chrome’s version used by the WRS by looking at the server logs. It’s Chrome 41.0.2272.118.

It will be updated sometime in the future

Chrome 41 was created two years ago (in 2015), so it’s far removed from the current version of the browser. However, as Ilya Grigorik said, an update is coming:

I was lucky enough to get Ilya Grigorik to read this article before it was published, and he provided a ton of valuable feedback on this topic. He mentioned that they are hoping to have the WRS updated by 2018. Fingers crossed!

Google uses Chrome 41 for rendering. What does that mean?

We now have some interesting information about how Google renders websites. But what does that mean, practically, for site developers and their clients? Does this mean we can now ignore server-side rendering and deploy client-rendered, JavaScript-rich websites?

Not so fast. Here is what Ilya Grigorik had to say in response to this question:

We now know WRS’ capabilities for rendering JavaScript and how to debug them. However, remember that not all crawlers support Javascript crawling, etc. Also, as of today, JavaScript crawling is only supported by Google and Ask (Ask is most likely powered by Google). Even if you don’t care about social media or search engines other than Google, one more thing to remember is that even with Chrome 41, not all JavaScript frameworks can be indexed by Google (read more about JavaScript frameworks crawling and indexing). This lets us troubleshoot and better diagnose problems.

Don’t get your hopes up

All that said, there are a few reasons to keep your excitement at bay.

Remember that version 41 of Chrome is over two years old. It may not work very well with modern JavaScript frameworks. To test it yourself, open using Chrome 41, and then open it in any up-to-date browser you are using.

The page in Chrome 41 looks like this:

The content parsed by Polymer is invisible (meaning it wasn’t processed correctly). This is also a perfect example for troubleshooting potential indexing issues. The problem you’re seeing above can be solved if diagnosed properly. Let me quote Ilya:

"If you look at the raised Javascript error under the hood, the test page is throwing an error due to unsupported (in M41) ES6 syntax. You can test this yourself in M41, or use the debug snippet we provided in the blog post to log the error into the DOM to see it."

I believe this is another powerful tool for web developers willing to make their JavaScript websites indexable. We will definitely expand our experiment and work with Ilya’s feedback.

The Fetch and Render tool is the Chrome v. 41 preview

There’s another interesting thing about Chrome 41. Google Search Console’s Fetch and Render tool is simply the Chrome 41 preview. The righthand-side view (“This is how a visitor to your website would have seen the page") is generated by the Google Search Console bot, which is… Chrome 41.0.2272.118 (see screenshot below).

Zoom in here

There’s evidence that both Googlebot and Google Search Console Bot render pages using Chrome 41. Still, we don’t exactly know what the differences between them are. One noticeable difference is that the Google Search Console bot doesn’t respect the robots.txt file. There may be more, but for the time being, we’re not able to point them out.

Chrome 41 vs Fetch as Google: A word of caution

Chrome 41 is a great tool for debugging Googlebot. However, sometimes (not often) there’s a situation in which Chrome 41 renders a page properly, but the screenshots from Google Fetch and Render suggest that Google can’t handle the page. It could be caused by CSS animations and transitions, Googlebot timeouts, or the usage of features that Googlebot doesn’t support. Let me show you an example.

Chrome 41 preview:

Image blurred for privacy

The above page has quite a lot of content and images, but it looks completely different in Google Search Console.

Google Search Console preview for the same URL:

As you can see, Google Search Console’s preview of this URL is completely different than what you saw on the previous screenshot (Chrome 41). All the content is gone and all we can see is the search bar.

From what we noticed, Google Search Console renders CSS a little bit different than Chrome 41. This doesn’t happen often, but as with most tools, we need to double check whenever possible.

This leads us to a question…

What features are supported by Googlebot and WRS?

According to the Rendering on Google Search guide:

  • Googlebot doesn’t support IndexedDB, WebSQL, and WebGL.
  • HTTP cookies and local storage, as well as session storage, are cleared between page loads.
  • All features requiring user permissions (like Notifications API, clipboard, push, device-info) are disabled.
  • Google can’t index 3D and VR content.
  • Googlebot only supports HTTP/1.1 crawling.

The last point is really interesting. Despite statements from Google over the last 2 years, Google still only crawls using HTTP/1.1.

No HTTP/2 support (still)

We’ve mostly been covering how Googlebot uses Chrome, but there’s another recent discovery to keep in mind.

There is still no support for HTTP/2 for Googlebot.

Since it’s now clear that Googlebot doesn’t support HTTP/2, this means that if your website supports HTTP/2, you can’t drop HTTP 1.1 optimization. Googlebot can crawl only using HTTP/1.1.

There were several announcements recently regarding Google’s HTTP/2 support. To read more about it, check out my HTTP/2 experiment here on the Moz Blog.


Googlebot’s future

Rumor has it that Chrome 59’s headless mode was created for Googlebot, or at least that it was discussed during the design process. It’s hard to say if any of this chatter is true, but if it is, it means that to some extent, Googlebot will “see” the website in the same way as regular Internet users.

This would definitely make everything simpler for developers who wouldn’t have to worry about Googlebot’s ability to crawl even the most complex websites.

Chrome 41 vs. Googlebot’s crawling efficiency

Chrome 41 is a powerful tool for debugging JavaScript crawling and indexing. However, it’s crucial not to jump on the hype train here and start launching websites that “pass the Chrome 41 test.”

Even if Googlebot can “see” our website, there are many other factors that will affect your site’s crawling efficiency. As an example, we already have proof showing that Googlebot can crawl and index JavaScript and many JavaScript frameworks. It doesn’t mean that JavaScript is great for SEO. I gathered significant evidence showing that JavaScript pages aren’t crawled even half as effectively as HTML-based pages.

In summary

Ilya Grigorik’s tweet sheds more light on how Google crawls pages and, thanks to that, we don’t have to build experiments for every feature we’re testing — we can use Chrome 41 for debugging instead. This simple step will definitely save a lot of websites from indexing problems, like when’s JavaScript SEO backfired.

It’s safe to assume that Chrome 41 will now be a part of every SEO’s toolset.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Source: SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog (Original

Does Googlebot Support HTTP/2? Challenging Google’s Indexing Claims – An Experiment

Posted by goralewicz

I was recently challenged with a question from a client, Robert, who runs a small PR firm and needed to optimize a client’s website. His question inspired me to run a small experiment in HTTP protocols. So what was Robert’s question? He asked…

Can Googlebot crawl using HTTP/2 protocols?

You may be asking yourself, why should I care about Robert and his HTTP protocols?

As a refresher, HTTP protocols are the basic set of standards allowing the World Wide Web to exchange information. They are the reason a web browser can display data stored on another server. The first was initiated back in 1989, which means, just like everything else, HTTP protocols are getting outdated. HTTP/2 is one of the latest versions of HTTP protocol to be created to replace these aging versions.

So, back to our question: why do you, as an SEO, care to know more about HTTP protocols? The short answer is that none of your SEO efforts matter or can even be done without a basic understanding of HTTP protocol. Robert knew that if his site wasn’t indexing correctly, his client would miss out on valuable web traffic from searches.

The hype around HTTP/2

HTTP/1.1 is a 17-year-old protocol (HTTP 1.0 is 21 years old). Both HTTP 1.0 and 1.1 have limitations, mostly related to performance. When HTTP/1.1 was getting too slow and out of date, Google introduced SPDY in 2009, which was the basis for HTTP/2. Side note: Starting from Chrome 53, Google decided to stop supporting SPDY in favor of HTTP/2.

HTTP/2 was a long-awaited protocol. Its main goal is to improve a website’s performance. It’s currently used by 17% of websites (as of September 2017). Adoption rate is growing rapidly, as only 10% of websites were using HTTP/2 in January 2017. You can see the adoption rate charts here. HTTP/2 is getting more and more popular, and is widely supported by modern browsers (like Chrome or Firefox) and web servers (including Apache, Nginx, and IIS).

Its key advantages are:

  • Multiplexing: The ability to send multiple requests through a single TCP connection.
  • Server push: When a client requires some resource (let’s say, an HTML document), a server can push CSS and JS files to a client cache. It reduces network latency and round-trips.
  • One connection per origin: With HTTP/2, only one connection is needed to load the website.
  • Stream prioritization: Requests (streams) are assigned a priority from 1 to 256 to deliver higher-priority resources faster.
  • Binary framing layer: HTTP/2 is easier to parse (for both the server and user).
  • Header compression: This feature reduces overhead from plain text in HTTP/1.1 and improves performance.

For more information, I highly recommend reading “Introduction to HTTP/2” by Surma and Ilya Grigorik.

All these benefits suggest pushing for HTTP/2 support as soon as possible. However, my experience with technical SEO has taught me to double-check and experiment with solutions that might affect our SEO efforts.

So the question is: Does Googlebot support HTTP/2?

Google’s promises

HTTP/2 represents a promised land, the technical SEO oasis everyone was searching for. By now, many websites have already added HTTP/2 support, and developers don’t want to optimize for HTTP/1.1 anymore. Before I could answer Robert’s question, I needed to know whether or not Googlebot supported HTTP/2-only crawling.

I was not alone in my query. This is a topic which comes up often on Twitter, Google Hangouts, and other such forums. And like Robert, I had clients pressing me for answers. The experiment needed to happen. Below I’ll lay out exactly how we arrived at our answer, but here’s the spoiler: it doesn’t. Google doesn’t crawl using the HTTP/2 protocol. If your website uses HTTP/2, you need to make sure you continue to optimize the HTTP/1.1 version for crawling purposes.

The question

It all started with a Google Hangouts in November 2015.

When asked about HTTP/2 support, John Mueller mentioned that HTTP/2-only crawling should be ready by early 2016, and he also mentioned that HTTP/2 would make it easier for Googlebot to crawl pages by bundling requests (images, JS, and CSS could be downloaded with a single bundled request).

"At the moment, Google doesn’t support HTTP/2-only crawling (…) We are working on that, I suspect it will be ready by the end of this year (2015) or early next year (2016) (…) One of the big advantages of HTTP/2 is that you can bundle requests, so if you are looking at a page and it has a bunch of embedded images, CSS, JavaScript files, theoretically you can make one request for all of those files and get everything together. So that would make it a little bit easier to crawl pages while we are rendering them for example."

Soon after, Twitter user Kai Spriestersbach also asked about HTTP/2 support:

His clients started dropping HTTP/1.1 connections optimization, just like most developers deploying HTTP/2, which was at the time supported by all major browsers.

After a few quiet months, Google Webmasters reignited the conversation, tweeting that Google won’t hold you back if you’re setting up for HTTP/2. At this time, however, we still had no definitive word on HTTP/2-only crawling. Just because it won’t hold you back doesn’t mean it can handle it — which is why I decided to test the hypothesis.

The experiment

For months as I was following this online debate, I still received questions from our clients who no longer wanted want to spend money on HTTP/1.1 optimization. Thus, I decided to create a very simple (and bold) experiment.

I decided to disable HTTP/1.1 on my own website ( and make it HTTP/2 only. I disabled HTTP/1.1 from March 7th until March 13th.

If you’re going to get bad news, at the very least it should come quickly. I didn’t have to wait long to see if my experiment “took.” Very shortly after disabling HTTP/1.1, I couldn’t fetch and render my website in Google Search Console; I was getting an error every time.

My website is fairly small, but I could clearly see that the crawling stats decreased after disabling HTTP/1.1. Google was no longer visiting my site.

While I could have kept going, I stopped the experiment after my website was partially de-indexed due to “Access Denied” errors.

The results

I didn’t need any more information; the proof was right there. Googlebot wasn’t supporting HTTP/2-only crawling. Should you choose to duplicate this at home with our own site, you’ll be happy to know that my site recovered very quickly.

I finally had Robert’s answer, but felt others may benefit from it as well. A few weeks after finishing my experiment, I decided to ask John about HTTP/2 crawling on Twitter and see what he had to say.

(I love that he responds.)

Knowing the results of my experiment, I have to agree with John: disabling HTTP/1 was a bad idea. However, I was seeing other developers discontinuing optimization for HTTP/1, which is why I wanted to test HTTP/2 on its own.

For those looking to run their own experiment, there are two ways of negotiating a HTTP/2 connection:

1. Over HTTP (unsecure) – Make an HTTP/1.1 request that includes an Upgrade header. This seems to be the method to which John Mueller was referring. However, it doesn’t apply to my website (because it’s served via HTTPS). What is more, this is an old-fashioned way of negotiating, not supported by modern browsers. Below is a screenshot from

2. Over HTTPS (secure) – Connection is negotiated via the ALPN protocol (HTTP/1.1 is not involved in this process). This method is preferred and widely supported by modern browsers and servers.

A recent announcement: The saga continues

Googlebot doesn’t make HTTP/2 requests

Fortunately, Ilya Grigorik, a web performance engineer at Google, let everyone peek behind the curtains at how Googlebot is crawling websites and the technology behind it:

If that wasn’t enough, Googlebot doesn’t support the WebSocket protocol. That means your server can’t send resources to Googlebot before they are requested. Supporting it wouldn’t reduce network latency and round-trips; it would simply slow everything down. Modern browsers offer many ways of loading content, including WebRTC, WebSockets, loading local content from drive, etc. However, Googlebot supports only HTTP/FTP, with or without Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Googlebot supports SPDY

During my research and after John Mueller’s feedback, I decided to consult an HTTP/2 expert. I contacted Peter Nikolow of Mobilio, and asked him to see if there were anything we could do to find the final answer regarding Googlebot’s HTTP/2 support. Not only did he provide us with help, Peter even created an experiment for us to use. Its results are pretty straightforward: Googlebot does support the SPDY protocol and Next Protocol Navigation (NPN). And thus, it can’t support HTTP/2.

Below is Peter’s response:

I performed an experiment that shows Googlebot uses SPDY protocol. Because it supports SPDY + NPN, it cannot support HTTP/2. There are many cons to continued support of SPDY:

    1. This protocol is vulnerable
    2. Google Chrome no longer supports SPDY in favor of HTTP/2
    3. Servers have been neglecting to support SPDY. Let’s examine the NGINX example: from version 1.95, they no longer support SPDY.
    4. Apache doesn’t support SPDY out of the box. You need to install mod_spdy, which is provided by Google.

To examine Googlebot and the protocols it uses, I took advantage of s_server, a tool that can debug TLS connections. I used Google Search Console Fetch and Render to send Googlebot to my website.

Here’s a screenshot from this tool showing that Googlebot is using Next Protocol Navigation (and therefore SPDY):

I’ll briefly explain how you can perform your own test. The first thing you should know is that you can’t use scripting languages (like PHP or Python) for debugging TLS handshakes. The reason for that is simple: these languages see HTTP-level data only. Instead, you should use special tools for debugging TLS handshakes, such as s_server.

Type in the console:

sudo openssl s_server -key key.pem -cert cert.pem -accept 443 -WWW -tlsextdebug -state -msg
sudo openssl s_server -key key.pem -cert cert.pem -accept 443 -www -tlsextdebug -state -msg

Please note the slight (but significant) difference between the “-WWW” and “-www” options in these commands. You can find more about their purpose in the s_server documentation.

Next, invite Googlebot to visit your site by entering the URL in Google Search Console Fetch and Render or in the Google mobile tester.

As I wrote above, there is no logical reason why Googlebot supports SPDY. This protocol is vulnerable; no modern browser supports it. Additionally, servers (including NGINX) neglect to support it. It’s just a matter of time until Googlebot will be able to crawl using HTTP/2. Just implement HTTP 1.1 + HTTP/2 support on your own server (your users will notice due to faster loading) and wait until Google is able to send requests using HTTP/2.


In November 2015, John Mueller said he expected Googlebot to crawl websites by sending HTTP/2 requests starting in early 2016. We don’t know why, as of October 2017, that hasn’t happened yet.

What we do know is that Googlebot doesn’t support HTTP/2. It still crawls by sending HTTP/ 1.1 requests. Both this experiment and the “Rendering on Google Search” page confirm it. (If you’d like to know more about the technology behind Googlebot, then you should check out what they recently shared.)

For now, it seems we have to accept the status quo. We recommended that Robert (and you readers as well) enable HTTP/2 on your websites for better performance, but continue optimizing for HTTP/ 1.1. Your visitors will notice and thank you.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Source: SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog (Original