‘Nofollow’ tags are an HTML attribute that tells search engines not to pay any attention to links that appear on a webpage.
It was created in 2005 by the major search engines as a way of combatting link spam and dodgy SEO practices, though its impact in helping to win that fight is debatable.
Recently I’ve had a few conversations around the use of nofollow tags so thought it would be helpful to give an overview of why they’re important and in what context they should be used.
I worked on a conference talk called Ban the Blog with a colleague about a year ago. It was a purposefully provocative title and an extreme view, but one I believe many businesses and website owners need to heed (yes, I get the irony of writing this on a blog platform, but hopefully you'll see past that minor contradiction).
Blogs can often become a content dumping ground and despite the rising influence of structured content strategies into the broad digital direction, let's start a blog' is still a statement that is regularly touted in planning sessions.
But creating a blog and chronologically presenting what you produce isn’t necessarily the answer to your content needs.
Putting your content in date order may make sense in some instances (and with some CMS platforms it’s your only option), but just because it's your latest, it isn't necessarily your greatest or the most relevant for your audience.
I hate the word granular. I spend half my life tweaking and fiddling with PPC campaigns across different platforms.
The word granular invariably means spending even more time setting up campaigns. The problem is, the only way to achieve, monitor and maintain success in PPC is by going granular. The same holds true for Google Product Listing Ads.
I first went granular with my bog standard AdWords search network text ads soon after starting out in PPC. I went granular with my Product Listing Ads at a much later stage however.
When I first setup Product Listing Ads (PLAs) I had to do so with the assistance of the official Google documentation and a few third party guides. It’s all a bit fiddly.
Most of these guides seemed to encourage large ad groups for one reason or another. Against my better judgement I just went along with it, wasting thousands of pounds in the process.
Product page copywriting is vitally important, but seems to be overlooked by some ecommerce sites, which simply plonk the standard manufacturer's descriptions on their pages.
Paying attention to product page copy can help improve conversions rates, as better copy can be more informative and persuasive.
It can also help your site to stand out in the search results over competitors who have paid less attention to their product descriptions.
I've rounded up some examples of great product page copywriting here, but first some views from the experts on the essentials for effective copy...
Last month, with the help of Dr Pete Meyers from Moz, we looked at how PPC ads are changing and what they will look like next year.
Some of these predictions have already happened, such as the yellow 'ad' labels and less obvious background shading.
One of the themes of that article was Google's efforts to make ads blend in more on results pages, something Dr Meyers referred to as 'ads in sheep's clothing'.
This is now happening in Google's UK results, with the top PPC ads on some brand searches resembling results more than ads.
An argument for not reporting results in marketing: if you find yourself in times of crisis having to report frequently, try reporting on actions rather than numbers.
Report on the things you did rather than the traffic you achieved.
Here is my argument for not reporting results in marketing...
Pretty sounding search algorithm updates (Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin...) have plunged many digital publishers into peril as their content plummets out of search engine results pages in consequence.
The decline in visitors impacts the performance of ads, which hits revenue. Under pressure from the publisher and ad sales team, the media title’s SEO and editorial teams try to reverse engineer Google’s update and work out new tactics that will improve their search engine performance.
In the main, quality publishers producing compelling shareable editorial need not worry too much about Google algorithm updates. Google’s focus has generally been to prioritise quality content.
However, a key objective of the Hummingbird update is to accommodate the fact that more searches are being conducted, and more content is being consumed, on smartphones.
As people are beginning to use their smartphone’s voice recognition functions to actually talk to Google search apps, Google has started to respond to search terms given in natural speech, a key part of the Hummingbird update.
'Big whoop', right? No. Massive whoop, especially for the 68% of the UK’s 175 top publishers do not have a digital site that displays effectively for mobile devices.
According to our recent Digital Landscape Report, Russia has the highest number of internet users in Europe, and represents a potential growth market for ecommerce.
In addition, just under half of Russia's 61m web users are buying online, though a mistrust of the finance industry means that cash on delivery is the prevelant payment method.
There are barriers though, such as mistrust of retailers, and the risk of parcels going AWOL due to the number of people living in communal apartments.
However, as our report, and this two part infographic from Search Laboratory shows, there are many opportunitues.
PR is no longer the future of SEO. It already is PR.
SEOs recognise this, and the majority are now carrying out online PR: whether they call it that or not, all decent SEOs are now creating content and reaching out to online influencers.
General marketers realise this. In a survey we recently conducted of 250 UK marketers, 52% said that PR and SEO work closely together in their organisation, and a whopping 71% think their PR agencies are experts at SEO.
But how are those PR agencies performing in their newfound position as SEO experts?
One of my favourite talks from SearchLove London 2013 was Hannah Smith’s ‘23, 787 Ways To Build Links in 30 Minutes’.
Among Hannah’s tips for sustainable link building, she mentioned a neat tool that helped her pick up 257 links at around $14 per link.
This tool was Zemanta, a seemingly fantastic way of providing scalable outreach.