How to create SEO-friendly copy in a foreign language

If you want to grow your audience, it could be a great strategy to focus on a different language. Creating content in a foreign language can be quite a challenge though. In this post, I’ll discuss three ways to create content in a foreign language. I’ll also share some useful tips on how to write in a language that’s not your mother tongue.

Multilingual keyword research

SEO copywriting always starts with keyword research. Creating copy in a foreign language makes no exception to that rule. Jesse, our academy lead, wrote an awesome post in which he explains that creating copy in a foreign language could have large implications for your SEO. If you’re going to aim your content at a new foreign audience, you need to find out what words they are using when they search in Google. You’ll have to get in the heads of your foreign audience.

Learn how to write engaging copy and how to organize it well on your site: Combine our SEO copywriting and Site structure training. »

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Take cultural differences into account

Next to using the words your audience uses, you’ll need to make sure that the content you create matches the local niche of your audience. If you’re a British company and you want to get started on the French market, you’ll encounter some cultural differences. If you are a British company and you want to get started in the Chinese market, you’ll come across some really big cultural differences. Being aware of cultural differences is important if you’re going to create content in a foreign language.

Three options to create content

After you’ve focused on your multilingual keyword research, and on the possible cultural differences, you’ll want to start creating content. There are three ways to create new content:

Translate

You can translate the content you already have on your original website in the language of your choice. You can do that yourself (provided that you have mastered the language) or you can outsource this. Translating is the cheapest way to create new content. That’s a huge plus for this strategy. However, it hardly leaves any room for the keyword research you’ve done, nor for possible cultural differences.

Write new content

The second strategy for creating content in a foreign language is by writing entirely new content. Again, you can do that yourself (provided that your writing skills in the new language are up to scratch) or you can outsource this. If you choose to outsource, I would advise you to give a detailed outline of what you want your article to say. Native writers are usually best at embedding an article in a local culture. They can use examples of current affairs in a specific country. That’ll make the copy appealing.

Transcreate

The third option for creating content in a new language is a combination of the two other strategies mentioned: transcreation. A blog post from your ‘old’ website will be the inspiration for a new article or blog post. However, keyword research and cultural differences are taken into account. The content will not be translated literally, but in the end, the articles will pretty much have the same message. This strategy is probably is the most efficient way of creating new content in a foreign language. You do not have to come up with all new ideas, but the local culture and the specific words of your audience are taken into account.

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training »

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Tips for writing in a foreign language

You can only write content yourself if your writing skills in the new language are up to scratch. Otherwise, you should outsource the writing. Writing in a language that’s not your mother tongue can be quite hard. I know from experience. So, what can you do to improve your writing?

Read a lot… and after that, read some more

The best thing you can do is to read a lot. Of course, you need to read texts in the language you want to master. Read blog posts, newspaper articles, novels. Your brain will recognize patterns of words and memorize phrases, sayings, figures of speech and preferred word order.

Practice and study

Reading will help you to passively use the language. Practising by actually writing stuff will improve your skills even further. Write, correct and write some more. It will also pay off to study the basic grammar and spelling rules before you start putting pen to paper. That’ll help you to avoid the most common mistakes.

Use a tool or a native speaker

There are lots of tools out there that’ll help you with grammar and spelling in a foreign language. I always use Grammarly to correct my English. Tools like this are helpful. Another way to get feedback on your writing is to ask a native speaker for feedback. Native speakers will also be able to correct spelling and grammar, and besides that, they could give valuable tips on style and sentence construction.

Conclusion

Adding a language to your website could very well open your site to a whole new audience. Creating content in a foreign language can be quite a challenge, though. If you want to create this content yourself, your writing skills in the foreign language should be rather good. In any case, you should always do keyword research in a foreign language and take into account any cultural differences there may exist.

Read more: ‘SEO Copywriting: the ultimate guide’ »

 

The post How to create SEO-friendly copy in a foreign language appeared first on Yoast.

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A Beginner’s Guide to SSL: What It Is & Why It Makes Your Website More Secure (es-la)

Have you ever noticed that some URLs start with “http://” while others start with “https://”? Perhaps you noticed that extra “s” when you were browsing websites that require giving over sensitive information, like when you were paying bills online.

But where’d that extra “s” come from, and what does it mean?

To put it simply, the extra “s” means your connection to that website is secure and encrypted any data you enter is safely shared with that website. The technology that powers that little “s” is called SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

Is your website secure? Enter a URL here to test. 

In this post, I’m going to break down what SSL is, an updated version of Google Chrome that will soon flag websites which are not secure, and how you can evaluate and get SSL.

What is SSL?

First, let’s start with a definition from SSL.com:

SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private.”

Let’s break that down.

When you land on a website page that has a form, after that form is filled-in and you hit ‘submit’, the information you just entered can be intercepted by a hacker on an unsecure website. 

This information could be anything from details on a bank transaction, to high-level information you enter to register for an offer. In hacker lingo, this “interception” is often referred to as a “man-in-the-middle attack.” The actual attack can happen in a number of ways, but one of the most common is this: A hacker places a small, undetected listening program on the server hosting a website. That program waits in the background until a visitor starts typing information on the website, and it will activate to start capturing the information and then send it back to the hacker. Scary stuff that is no longer just is sci-fi movies.

But when you visit a website that’s encrypted with SSL, your browser will form a connection with the webserver, look at the SSL certificate, and then bind together your browser and the server. This binding connection is secure so that no one besides you and the website you’re submitting the information to can see or access what you type into your browser.

This connection happens instantly, and in fact many suggest is now faster than connecting to an unsecure website. You simply have to visit a website with SSL, and voila: Your connection will automatically be secured.

Everything You Need to Know About Chrome 62 and SSL

Google is getting ready to release a new version of their popular Chrome browser, version 62, which will begin to indicate that a page is not secure if it contains a form, but does not have SSL-enabled. Chrome has approximately 47% browser market share, so when this update is rolled-out a significant number of websites will be affected almost immediately.

According to recent HubSpot Research, up to 85% of people will not continue browsing if a site is not secure. In January 2017, Google rolled out a similar update that only applied to sites collecting sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers. With that in mind, users are now familiar with seeing this “not secure” warning, and per the research below will often leave a site because of it.

SSL-Research-Not-Secure (1).png

If you utilize incognito mode in your browser, Chrome will always indicate a page is not secure if it does not have a valid-SSL certificate installed. If you use Chrome outside of incognito mode then this “not secure” warning will only display when starting to enter information into a form.

Image credit: 9to5Google

This means that wherever you host content that contains a form, even if it’s just asking for an email address, you should enable SSL. Keep in mind that if you have content hosted in different platforms, it will be important to talk to each of them and ensure SSL is setup before this Google Chrome update is live. In reality, if it’s not cost prohibitive for you, it’s best to enable SSL across your entire website regardless if a form exists on the page because it can have SEO benefits that we’ll cover in the next section.

Is SSL good for SEO?

Yes. While the primary purpose of SSL is securing information between the visitor and your website, there are benefits for SEO as well. According to Google Webmaster Trends Analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji, SSL is now part of Google’s search ranking algorithm:

Over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”

In addition, Google has publicly stated that two websites which are otherwise equal in search results, if one has SSL enabled it may receive a slightly rank boost to outweigh the other. As a result, there is a clear SEO benefit to enabling-SSL on your website, and across all your content.

How can I tell if my website has SSL?

When you visit a website with SSL, there are a few distinct differences that display within the browser.

Check your site for SSL with our free tool.

1) The URL says “https://” and not “http://”. 

It looks like this:


2) You’ll see a little padlock icon in the URL bar.

It’ll show up either on the left- or right-hand side of the URL bar, depending on your browser. You can click on the padlock to read more information about the website and the company that provided the certificate.

3) The certificate is valid.

Even if a website has the “https://” and a padlock, the certificate could still be expired — meaning your connection wouldn’t be secure. In most cases, a site that displays as https will be secure, but if you encounter a site that asks for a lot of personal information it may be worth double-checking to be sure the certificate is valid.

To find out whether the certificate is valid in Chrome, go to view > Developer Tools. From there you will need to navigate to the security tab and you can see if the SSL certificate is valid, or expired. If you click the “View certificate” button you will be able to see more information about the SSL certificate and the specific date it’s valid through.

How can I get an SSL certificate for my website?

The first step is to determine what type of certificate you need. For example, if host content in multiple platforms (on separate domains/subdomains) it may mean that you need different SSL certificates.

For most, a standard SSL certificate will cover your content, but for companies in a regulated industry — such as finance, and insurance — it may be worth talking with I.T. because there are specific requirements within your industry that specify the type of SSL certificate you need.

The cost of SSL certificates vary, but you can get a free certificate or pay a few hundred dollars per month to obtain a custom certificate. On the free side — Let’s Encrypt offers certificates at no cost but I would strongly recommend that you have someone knowledgable about the DNS and technical setup of your website to help with this. These certificates will also expire every 90-days, so you’ll need to make sure they stay up to date. 

Many other domain providers will sell SSL certificates that generally range from $50 to obtain a certificate for one domain, up to a few hundred dollars for multiple-domains. This process will be easier than using Let’s Encrypt, but does have a cost associated with the certificate.

(HubSpot customers: If you’re hosting content on HubSpot, SSL is available for free within this promotion. To find out more, contact your Customer Success Manager, or visit our SSL page.)

One of the other key considerations is the validity period of a certification. Most standard SSL certificates that you purchase are available for one to two years by default, but if you’re looking for longer-term options, then look into more advanced certificates that offer longer time periods.

WordPress Plugins To Help Install SSL

If you utilize WordPress to host your content and website, depending on your domain provider, you may need to obtain an SSL certificate and then install it. Here are a few plugins that can help you:

  1. Really Simple SSL. Purchasing your SSL certificate is just the first step. This plugin helps you install it across your all your WordPress content. There are premium versions available to help you install it across sites, and verify there are no warnings on your website. Premium versions run from $20 up to $145 for a full-service configuration and optimization of SSL.
  2. Insecure Content Fixer. Once you have an SSL certificate and it’s installed, your not quite done yet. If your website is built with any hard-coded references to “http”, such as an image file, then it will show a warning when trying to load that securely. This plugin can help you find and fix anything coded that way so your site displays properly, and securely for visitors.
  3. WP Force SSL. Ok, now that you’re done obtaining SSL, installing it, and fixing any errors, it’s time to make sure all your traffic sees the secure version of your site. This plugin will force all traffic to HTTPS so it only loads securely. I strongly recommend that you check for insecure content (also known as mixed content) before enabling this. Without checking for mixed content first your site may appear with warnings because of those insecure files. 

(HubSpot customers: All files hosted within HubSpot File Manager are automatically encrypted with SSL, and in one-checkbox you can force all visitors to utilize the secure version of your site, no plugins required. To find out more, contact your Customer Success Manager, or visit our SSL page.)

 

 
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Don’t Freak Out, but Facebook Added a New Kind of Feed

When Facebook makes any change to its algorithm or News Feed, the standard response is that it’s cause for panic.

For example, you may have recently heard some speculation around the channel’s recent “Explore Feed” rollout: an alternative News Feed designed to help users discover content outside of their existing networks, like friends and Pages they already follow. Hence, the name — it allows users to “explore” new content, without leaving Facebook.

That, of course, is likely Facebook’s main motivator here, and aligns with its growing efforts and modifications that encourage marketers to create content exclusively for this particular channel, rather than linking to content that requires users to navigate elsewhere. 

But here’s our take on the matter: It’s definitely not cause for panic. In fact, it could actually help your brand.

Let’s start with the fact that this alternative feed has actually been available to mobile users for quite some time now, under the “More” menu that you find in the navigation options toward the bottom of the app.

Now, it’s been rolled out to desktop users on the navigational sidebar, which Facebook confirmed in a statement to TechCrunch:

“We are beginning to roll out a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, automatically customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them. … We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore relevant content from Pages they haven’t connected with yet.”

But what does this mean for the marketers and brand managers who rely on Facebook to maintain a presence and grow awareness?

At this point, it appears that the Explore Feed is not replacing the News Feed, which will still be the main landing navigation for Facebook users. And that makes sense — there would likely be quite an uproar from users who were suddenly flooded with content from brands they haven’t actively followed, rather than their existing networks of friends, family, and followed brands.

So fear not: Users who have already Liked your page will still see your content, with the caveat that in 2015, it was reported that organic reach fell to 2.6% (you can read more about why that happened and how to work with it here). 

Users have to voluntarily navigate themselves to the Explore Feed, which means that they have to actively choose to discover new content there. How that will ultimately perform, we can’t be sure. But, according to my own scrolling experiment, it doesn’t contain any paid ads or sponsored content — yet.

Which indicates that, like so much else in the realm of a social media feed, the Explore Feed is based on an algorithm that curates content based on what you’ve liked and shared in the past. Admittedly, I don’t use Facebook for personal purposes much, so the algorithm seems to be trying to figure out what I might like — though, judging from the number of food- and dog-related posts appearing there, it could be well on its way.

But furry friends and food porn aside, the Explore Feed provides an opportunity for users to discover your brand if they’ve liked or shared similar content in the past. That presents an opportunity: If you’re inspired or motivated by a certain brand or its audience, for example, you can use that to guide the content you create for Facebook with the goal of growing and attracting a similar audience. Be original, though — you want your own content to offer something helpful and unique that users won’t find elsewhere.

“Take the opportunity to be present and engage more personally with your followers,” advises HubSpot Academy Social Media Professor Crystal King. “Spend more time developing quality content that your followers will be excited to share.”

The desktop rollout is in its earlier stages, so it’s likely to evolve and undergo modifications as users adapt to it. As always, we’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Featured image credit: Facebook

25 Last-Minute DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Tech Geeks & Marketers

Halloween is a fun holiday, and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It doesn’t have recognizable songs or vacation days associated with it, and it falls on a busy time of year for most people in the workforce.

But that doesn’t mean you should skip the festivities at your office Halloween celebration. How many days of the year are you encouraged to dress up and goof around at work? Probably zero.

We want you to have fun this Halloween, so we’re taking the work out if it for you. We’ve compiled a list of DIY Halloween costume ideas that are easy to put together, inexpensive, and work appropriate. As a bonus, many are marketing and technology-themed, so even if your family and friends don’t get your costume, your colleagues definitely will.

25 Last-Minute Office Halloween Costumes for Marketers & Tech Geeks

Evergreen Office Costumes

1) Alt Text

This was HubSpot Director of Offsite Content Corey Wainwright‘s office Halloween costume a couple of years ago. It’s great because you don’t even look dressed up if you have a casual office dress code, so you can just blend in.

All you need is to dress in 90s alternative garb — she went with black jeans, combat boots, and a flannel — and tape a piece of paper to yourself that says something like img2017.jpg. Or if you want to follow best practice for good alt text, you can put something more descriptive, like “alt_text.” Your choice, you SEO rebel, you.

2) SEO Ninja

Speaking of dorking out on SEO, you could be everyone’s favorite LinkedIn title — the SEO ninja. Dress in all black, put on a black ski mask (kinda creepy if you already have one, but we don’t judge here), and tape keywords all over yourself.

3) Mobile App

Wander around holding an appetizer — candy, cheese and crackers, chips and dip … whatever you have on hand. Boom. You’re a mobile “app.”

This costume also doubles as a great way to introduce yourself and make friends at a party.

mobile-app-costume.png

Source: Opportunity Max

4) Instagram

Another way to turn handing out food into a costume: Dress up like a hipster and hand out graham crackers.

5) Ghostwriter

Grab a white sheet and cut a hole for your head and arms. Dob some black ink spots on the sheet, get a book and one of those feather quills (or just get a feather, I suppose), and you’re a ghostwriter.

6) Whitespace

Dress in all white — add white face paint and a white wig if you’re ultra-committed. Then add a hint of color somewhere on the outfit, like a colored tie or scarf, or even a paint splotch. That color splotch will make the white space more prominent, transforming you into “whitespace.”

7) Error 404 Page

You’ve most likely encountered a funny error 404 page before, and you can make it a funny costume, too. Grab a sheet of paper, write “Error 404: Costume Not Found,” and tape it to your outfit.

 

A photo posted by RachAel Klopfenstein (@theklopf) on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:33pm PDT

8) (Monty) Python

If you’re into programming code, British comedy, and low-effort costumes, being (Monty) Python is perfect. Dress up in anything remotely snakelike in your closet: olive green clothing, snakeskin accessories, and fake vampire teeth that can serve as your fangs.

Then, to amp up the dork factor on this costume, add two coconuts or a gold chalice to embody Monty Python on his quest for the Holy Grail.

9) Facebook

Grab face paint or eyeliner and write “book” across your cheeks. Just like that, you’re the world’s biggest social network for Halloween.

And for your sake, we hope your colleagues actually get it:

Halloween-Jim_Bookface-Jim.jpg

Source: AndPop

10) Unicorn

Here’s another tech-friendly, double-entendre costume: Be your own version of a tech unicorn. Here at HubSpot, we love this tech icon, and you can easily make your own version of a unicorn horn with help from this article.

aid2617087-v4-900px-Make-a-Unicorn-Horn-Step-10-Version-3.jpg

Source: WikiHow

11) Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are nothing to joke about — they can seriously threaten your technology and data security. But on Halloween, you can dress up as a play on phishing emails for an easy DIY costume. All you need are a stick, a piece of string, and an envelope. Bonus points if you own a bucket hat and vest to complete the ensemble.

12) Copycat

Here’s a technology spin on a classic Halloween costume. All you’ll need are cat ears, eyeliner-drawn whiskers, and a sheet of paper. Write “Control + C” on the paper, tape it to your outfit, and you’re a copycat.

sub-buzz-22134-1476718504-4.jpg

Source: BuzzFeed

13) Fully Vested

If you work in a company where people would get the joke, put on a bunch of vests (at least three, but even more is encouraged), and that’s about it. You’re fully vested.

14) Nerd

What I love about the nerd costume is that it’s effortless and always unique — there are many ways to be a nerd in this day and age. Are you a tech nerd, a video game nerd, or a book nerd? The sky is the limit with this costume. Show up wearing glasses with your favorite accessories, such as a magic wand, book, or lightsaber, to complete the effect.

Topical Office Costumes

15) The 2017 Solar Eclipse

This summer, the solar eclipse took over the internet — and the country. As millions of people flocked to the path of totality to (hopefully) catch a glimpse of this rare event without burning their corneas, millions more made jokes about it on social media.

For this costume, you’ll need a work pal to dress up as the sun and the moon with you. One of you wears black, the other wears yellow, and you both wear dark sunglasses. Then, at the Halloween party, the one dressed in black spends the whole time standing in front of the one in yellow.

annular-solar-eclipse-promo.jpg

Source: CBS News

16) The ‘Evil Kermit’ Meme

If you haven’t heard of this mega-popular meme this year, you’ve probably seen it somewhere: It features Kermit the Frog, face-to-face with his evil twin, Evil Kermit. Evil Kermit looks identical, except for the black cloak.

evil kermit halloween.png

For this costume, you and a coworker can keep it simple: You both wear green shirts, and one of you wears a black hoodie or jacket on top. If you really want to commit to the costume, you’ll spring for some green face paint to complete the ensemble. Walk around the party together, facing one another, for maximum effect.

17) Eleven from Stranger Things

Eleven from Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things is universally beloved, and it’s a bonus that her signature look is a comfortable and easy-to-assemble costume. Rock your best Eleven with a dress, a denim jacket, and a box of Eggo Waffles.

the-stranger-things-actress-behind-eleven-doesnt-love-eating-tons-of-eggo-waffles.png

Source: Business Insider

18) Pokémon GO Trainer

Pokémon GO had roughly 45 million people walking around in cities glued to their phones last summer (and I was among them). To pay homage to the explosion of this tech trend, you’ll need a t-shirt that’s red, yellow, or blue. Using fabric paint or permanent marker, write Valor (for red), Instinct (for yellow), or Mystic (for blue) on your shirt. Spend Halloween walking around pointing your phone at objects, and you’re the spitting image of a Pokémon GO trainer.

Gotta catch ’em all, right?

 

A photo posted by Odinia (@marshmallowsie) on Aug 9, 2016 at 4:44pm PDT

 

Group Office Costumes

19) Google Algorithm Update

Find a couple of office buddies for this one — one panda, one penguin, and one pigeon. You might be thinking, “what the heck is the pigeon algorithm update?” 1) It’s a thing, and 2) we checked Amazon for hummingbird costumes and there aren’t any cheap ones available.

google-algorithm-update-halloween-costumes.jpg

Source: Opportunity Max

20) Black and White Hat SEO

This is another SEO-related costume, and I think you can figure this one out on your own. I recommend wearing a black hat for one, and a white hat for the other, and having “SEO” embroidered on each one — which you can easily custom order.

21) Dancing Girls Emoji

If you’re the owner of one of the nearly more than 1 billion Apple iPhones sold worldwide, you’re probably familiar with the dancing girls emoji:

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 2.13.14 PM.png

Source: Brit + Co

The easiest version of this costume is to find a buddy and dress all in black together. If you’re committed to emoji authenticity, buy black bunny ears to complete the look.

22) Series A Round of Funding

Get a bunch of people together, write the letter “A” on your shirt, and line up. (You could do subsequent funding rounds using the same principle, too.)

23) Snapchat Filters

Here’s another group costume idea that pays tribute to Snapchat’s filters feature.

There are numerous options that you and your team can choose from to embody this costume. You could dress up as vomiting rainbows, cat and dog ears, a flower crown, or a face swap, and this could be as DIY or store-bought as you’re interested in pursuing. For example, here’s some inspiration for a couple of the dog filters:

snapchatfilter.jpg
Source: PopSugar

24) Snapchat Ghosts

Put a marketing spin on a classic Halloween costume by arriving as a Snapchat ghost. You’ll all need a white sheet and to pick which ghost you like the most.

maxresdefault-24.jpg

Source: YouTube

25) Instagram Filters

For this group costume, you’ll need white t-shirts and fabric markers. Draw an Instagram photo frame on the front of your shirts, and each team member can write a different Instagram filter‘s name inside the photo frame. Or, create frame props with different filters on them like the group did below:

M-nahalloween-1.jpg

Source: Nails Magazine

Ask Yoast: Lower rankings without HTTPS?

Imagine visiting an online shop, and receiving a notification from your browser that this site is not secure. You’re probably not so eager to buy something there and provide this website with private or sensitive information. Well, both your visitors and Google most likely agree. In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS would become a ranking signal. So it’s definitely something to take into account as a website owner. But getting an SSL certificate and moving your website to HTTPS can be difficult, as we at Yoast know all too well. If you don’t do it right, it can have a negative impact on your rankings. But what about the other way around? In this Ask Yoast, I discuss what to do if you suspect your rankings have lowered because you don’t have an SSL layer.

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Larry Launstein Jr. emailed us a question on this subject.

How do you optimize a site that has been lowered in the rankings because of lack of an SSL layer? Is there a workaround
for this, or does it need to get an SSL layer no matter what?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Lower rankings without HTTPS?

“So what can you do to optimize a site that has lost rankings, because of lack of an SSL layer or basically because of lack of HTTPS? Well, if all of your competitors have HTTPS and you don’t, at some point you might start losing some rankings because of that.

But I honestly do not believe that that is your only ranking problem if you have a ranking problem. But does every website need HTTPS in the future? Yes. Should you thus be doing that right now if you’re working on your site? Yes, by all means.

If you do migrate, though, make sure that all the old URLs redirect properly to the new ones and, basically, get an SSL certificate and thus HTTPS for your entire site as soon as possible. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Let us help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.
(note: please check our knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.)

Read more: ‘Ask Yoast: redirecting your site to non-www and HTTPS’ »

The post Ask Yoast: Lower rankings without HTTPS? appeared first on Yoast.

Create a website with SEO in mind: Content optimization

If you make a website from scratch, you need to take a few SEO related things into account. It’s incredibly important to do this right from the start, as that will prevent a vast number of future headaches. Things like speed optimization and the right use of heading tags help to improve your website for both your visitors and Google. Now, I am sure you have covered the technical basics we described in the first part of this article. Just be aware of what you are doing, add focus and you’ll be fine. The greatest challenge begins when you start adding content to your website.

In this article, we’ll go over a number of steps everyone who makes a website should take when optimizing content.

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training »

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Filling the website with content

You can optimize the entire technical side of your site and still find it lost on page two or more in Google. SEO isn’t a trick. It isn’t something your web developer can do for you. It’s something you can get guidance in, for instance with our SEO courses, or in our Yoast SEO (Premium) plugin. But first and foremost, SEO is seriously effortful optimization. A continuous process, and something you, as a website owner, should make a strategy for. If you make a website, be prepared to write valuable content about the topic/purpose of your website. And that process starts with a bit of research.

Keyword research

Speaking from experience, I have often seen product manufacturers describe a product from their point of view. Let me give you an example: our Yoast SEO Premium plugin has an internal linking feature, which analyzes what posts on your website best match the content you are writing in your new post. You can copy that link from the WordPress sidebar and paste it into your post, to optimize your site structure. How awesome is that? Well, it might not sound so awesome to the user. They’re probably wondering what exactly they’re gaining with this feature. From a developer point of view, the description matches the feature. But for the user, the description should be:

Our internal linking tool allows you to create valuable links to all pages of your website, which will help these pages to rank in Google.

And even that might be a bit technical. In your keyword research you should focus on customer lingo first: how do people call your product? Find the right keywords and start writing. Want to learn more about keyword research? Take our SEO copywriting course for more insights.

Setting up the menu and site structure

In that same SEO copywriting training, we continue the SEO process for your website with the next step: site structure. You can even take our site structure course for more on this subject. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good structure. It’s the foundation of you visible site. If you set up a proper site structure right when you start a website, you’ll make optimizing your content so much easier.

As Marieke put it:

Your users need the structure to navigate through your site, to click from one page to the other. And Google uses the structure of your site in order to determine what content is important and what content is less important.

That’s a quote from our ultimate guide to site structure. It’s as simple as that. Optimizing the site structure influences SEO, UX, crawling of your pages and, let’s not forget, the right structure makes maintenance so much easier.

Good site structure will also help highlight the most important pages for your users. Include these pages in your (main, sub or footer) menu. As with customer lingo, use the data collected from Google Analytics to find the pages your visitors like most, and use these in your menu. Read more about optimizing your menu here.

Learn how to write engaging copy and how to organize it well on your site: Combine our SEO copywriting and Site structure training. »

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One page per topic

Keyword research is done, the structure is set up, so now we can start writing. And we’ll create one page per topic. Need more pages to elaborate on a topic? Then feel free to do so, but use a new, long tail keyword for every new page.

Using one focus keyword per page, you force yourself to make a hierarchy in your collection of keywords, something you already started when doing your keyword research.

Small step back to keyword research

Now I see you thinking about this focus keyword and the analyses in our plugin during your writing process. You know that feeling when you check keyword density and wonder what to do with synonyms? The first thing to do here is to check Google Trends. Let’s say we optimize for (just an example!) “create a website”. A synonym is “start a website”. Google Trends tells us the main keyword should be “create a website”, see graph here:

Make a website - Google Trends

But we use “start a website” a lot ourselves and want to include that phrase in our post as well. In the Yoast SEO Premium plugin, I can simply insert a second focus keyword. Overall keyword density should be right in that case (check both keyword tabs), as we know Google treats them as the same keyword: If I do a search for “start a website”, “create a website” is also a highlighted (bold) keyphrase in the results. “Make a website” is also a valid synonym. Just a small peek into the way I approach this myself.

Title tags

Using the focus keyword we mentioned earlier, creating a great title for your page is easy. Google still values that title highly, so put some effort in improving it. We usually use the title as the main article heading (or the H1 we mentioned in part 1 of this post). Besides that, it’s used as the most important part of the actual <title> tag, the tag that also defines your title in Google’s search result pages. This tag is not only visible when someone shares your post on Facebook or Twitter, it’s also used when someone bookmarks your site.

Optimize the title page according to these guidelines.

Optimize your content

Learn how to write engaging copy and how to organize it well on your site: Combine our SEO copywriting and Site structure training. »

Content SEO training bundle

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Here we go: use Yoast SEO to optimize your page’s content. I’m just going to tell you that again. And if you don’t use WordPress, that’s not even an excuse anymore. We have Yoast SEO for Magento 2 and Yoast SEO for TYPO3 these days (created with our partner MaxServ).

Our SEO analysis will tell you, every time you write a post or page, what can be improved on your content:

Yoast SEO analysis

Read our SEO blog, as there’s a ton of free information about content optimization in there. And subscribe to our newsletter to keep your knowledge up to date.

How about meta descriptions?

I felt the need to at least mention meta descriptions here. Most SEO plugins, plans or whatever, mention meta descriptions as a must-do. I agree to a certain level. If you can write a nice, optimized ‘invitation’ to your website, you should most definitely add a meta description to your product pages. Usually, there is so much unrelated content on a product page (dimensions, manufacturer info, terms of service, etc.) that there’s always a risk that Google creates a meta description for that product page that doesn’t give the right information. So it makes sense to serve your own.

On regular pages and posts, Google will most probably grab a piece of related content, including the keyword used in the search query. That makes a lot of sense for news sites, for example. Still, I recommend adding a meta description to all your important pages. Facebook will use it as a description as well. And usually, when you are setting up a page on your website, it’s not that much work to add it, right?

Go make a website!

So, with this second part about content optimization, we have covered the very basics of SEO related things you should take into account when you make a website. I am sure you can come up with more insights, more tools or any other help for people that want to create a new website. Please feel free to add these in the comment section below this post, our readers (and I) will appreciate that!

Now go start that website!

Read more: ‘The ultimate guide to SEO copywriting’ »

 

The post Create a website with SEO in mind: Content optimization appeared first on Yoast.

Are Amazon ‘Sponsored Products’ Ads Worth It?

 

Say you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones or a new guitar tuner. Where would you start your search? Google, right?

Not so fast. According to a 2016 survey of 2,000 consumers, 55% of people actually skip Google altogether and start their online shopping searches directly on Amazon. Google still remains the top search tool for B2B purchases and services, but Amazon is steadily overtaking them in the B2C market.

Need help getting started with inbound ads on Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, or Facebook? Book a free meeting with The Center for Inbound Advertising here.

So what does this mean for you, the advertiser?

When you’re thinking about your online advertising strategy, you want to meet your consumers where they are. And if you’re a B2C company, that place is — more likely than not — Amazon.

Google and Facebook still command the biggest slice of the pie in the online ad market, generating respective revenues of $80 billion and $27 billion in 2016. But the two tech giants only control around 20% of the market, leaving plenty of room for a new player (say, Amazon) to emerge.

Experts estimated that Amazon earned around $1 billion from ads in 2016, but some say that number will surpass $2.5 billion in 2017. They’re on the fast track for exponential growth in the coming years, but since they’re still not officially a major player in the online ad business, there’s an incredible opportunity for advertisers to get in early and score better ad positions at a lower cost than more established properties like Google AdWords.

Who can benefit the most?

If you are an e-commerce company, advertising on Amazon is something you should definitely explore. B2B companies, consulting firms, lawyers, others will still see better ad returns on more established properties like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook at the moment.

Getting Started With Amazon Ads

Amazon has several advertising programs to chose from, but the best one to get started with is Amazon Sponsored Products. The Sponsored Product ads are really just image ads — similar to display ads in Google Adwords — but the cool thing is that they appear in search results on Amazon right next to the searched products. So when I do a search for “guitar tuners” in Amazon I get this: 

The only visible difference between the sponsored and the non-sponsored results is the gray “Sponsored” tag that appears above the product title. You’ll also see sponsored products can appear in the sidebar.

The same search in Google yields this: 


 

The process for Amazon Sponsored Products is very similar to advertising on Google AdWords: you select keywords, and your ad will show up when someone searches for them. Like AdWords, you pay only for the clicks you receive on your ad.

And when someone clicks on your Sponsored Product Ad, they’re sent to your landing page, which would typically be your Amazon product detail page. You could also send them outside to a page on your website if you choose.

You Might See Better Results on Amazon vs. Google AdWords

A major difference between Google AdWords and Amazon ads is where people current sit in the purchasing process when they search on each platform.

People searching on Google are more likely to be at the beginning of the buyer’s journey, i.e., they just began their search and or are currently just browsing for solutions/products. But when someone begins their search on Amazon, that person is usually more prepared to make a purchasing descision.

Building Your Amazon Ad

Amazon provides a complete introduction to getting started you can see that here.

But just to highlight the process:

  • You will need to have an active seller account on Amazon.
  • You need to have active product listings in at least one of Amazon’s product categories.
  • You need to have Buy Box.

The Buy Box is the box on a Amazon product detail page where customers can begin the purchasing process by adding items to their shopping carts.

Some Nuts and Bolts: Keywords, Ad groups, and Bidding

Just like Google AdWords, Amazon sponsored products uses keywords to trigger your ads. You can choose automatic targeting — letting Amazon choose your keywords for you (this is the right choice for new advertisers), or you can choose manual targeting — where you choose your own keywords (a good choice after you have accumulated some data from a running campaign).

There are three types of keyword matching: broad, phrase, exact.

Ad groups are used to group SKUs together for automatic or manual targeting.

Reporting in Amazon Ads

Amazon will also provide advertisers with data about searches for particular keywords. Similar to Google AdWords, you have to be an advertiser to get access to this informative data. The data includes which search terms are working and performing the best, enabling you to add new keywords and refine the performance of your campaigns.

For each keyword, the search terms report will include data on:

  • Campaign
  • Ad group
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Click thru rate
  • Cost per click
  • Conversions/number of orders placed
  • SKU for the sale
  • And more

 

The Dollars Make Sense

While Google and Facebook (and even LinkedIn) dominate the marketplace in online advertising, that dominance comes with a corresponding higher cost-per-click. According to content26.com, “the average CPCs on Amazon Marketing Services was about 38% lower than Google Adwords”.

Why is this? Google AdWords has been around for over 15 years, and originally cost-per-click was not very high. But with increased visibility and popularity of the platform, CPC rates have continued to rise along with the number of advertisers. This means more and more advertisers are competing for the same amount of space.

Amazon is just getting into the game, having only been around advertising-wise for about five years. The number of advertisers seeking space on the platform is much lower than Google, which means less competition. In addition, the advertising on Amazon is only focused on products, which means less competition from related services like you see regularly on Google AdWords.

All of this implies a lower cost-per-click for advertisers of products on Amazon.

Plus, while Amazon uses past performance and sales on Amazon to determine positioning, sponsored content on Amazon can turbocharge newer and smaller companies and get them more consumer attention. You can use sponsored content to help push your listing to the top of the search results.

Get In Early

If you have a product to sell, now is the time to consider using Amazon sponsored products ads. You can get in relatively early, at a lower cost-per-click, and have a chance to promote new products at the top of an Amazon search. It’s still very early days for Amazon advertising — this creates a big opportunity.

For more information about inbound advertising on Amazon or any of the other platforms – AdWords, LinkedIn, or Facebook you can arrange a meeting with me here — there is no charge for these meetings.