Most people are casual Google users. They plug in a couple words and look for the right link. Usually, they don’t even finish phrases because Google suggests the right one for them. It's a good system – but we're not casual users. For marketers, SEO managers, and serious researches, there's another set of advanced Google searching tools called "Google search operators" or "advanced operators." These are ways of slipping a little bit of search engine code into your search phrases to make them far more accurate from a site operator perspective. Here are some of our favorites.Read More
Images and content are marketing's bosom buddies - they go together perfectly in nearly every platform, helping to emphasize one another and underline brand messages. That's great for the consumer, but what about on the backend, when it comes to Google's indexing practices? Can Google image index, for example, perform stunts like reading the text overlaying an image, or recognize the content of an image? In short, yes - they have that capability and they're already using it in many corners of the web. The real question in play, however, is how you can use that to your advantage in your own campaigns.Read More
Quality content is not a little island floating on your site, filled with carefully-crafted sentences. While you may indeed be creating quality content in the strictest sense of the word, Google cares just as much about the setting that lovely little gem sits in as the sparkling metaphorical stone itself. You'll need to be smart about the way you're presenting your content if you want that coveted Google stamp of approval, expressed as a lofty perch on the search engine's result pages.Read More
It's hard to talk about yourself, isn't it? You might be afraid you're not saying enough, or that the story you're telling is boring, or worse - that you're coming across like you're bragging. Introductions are basically throwing a handful of ideas at a new, unexamined wall and seeing what sticks - simply put, it's a little nerve wracking! While the process may be uncomfortable, don't be tempted to take the easy way out and put up the same old page as the rest of the industry. Nix the forced smiling headshots and ho-hum mission statements: your About Us page should have the same conversion goals as any other page on your site. If you're not sure how to write a page that avoids these tropes, here's where to start:Read More
We have discussed topic clusters before as a method of organizing your website and choosing how to connect your pages with internal links. Basically, topic clusters are an extra-simple mind-mapping technique where you choose one important topic – your pillar – and then choose a cluster of lesser, related topics that should be linked to the pillar.Read More
Let's talk about personalization and Google's big problem.
We're used to thinking of online personalization as a good thing in marketing – it helps engage the customer and sell products! But when it comes to search engines, personalization clashes directly with SEO: Using the exact same search terms, two different people can have very different top SERPs. That's a significant issue for teams that are trying to improve their page ranking (TechCrunch has a good piece on the other problems personalization presents). If you get different results every time you open a browser and check on the website, it may have nothing to do with your own SEO efforts!Read More
We have previously talked about the interesting effect of "dark social," or the social media activity that exists (i.e., eyeballs on your posts) that can't be measured by social signals or other metrics.
It's an interesting effect, and led to discussion about Facebook's dark posts...which are a completely different phenomenon! Don't confuse dark social with dark posts on Facebook: Dark posts are a method of advertising that can help you manage Facebook more effectively, and they can have a measurable impact. Here's what they are and how to use them appropriately.Read More
There's currently a battle going on in the marketing world – and it's all about the emoji. Should brands use emojis? If they should, where should they use the emoji at? Is it okay to include them in email headers – even if you're a B2B business?Read More
It's time to talk about the rarely explored QDF, or "Query Deserves Freshness." If you've been reading the 21 Handshake blog, you know we like digging down into specific factors that Google uses to determine page rankings – especially factors you can control, giving your site a boost by making Google happy. QDF refers to the important of having fresh content on your website: Let's look at why Google likes it.Read More
Google Analytics has long included a metric called "exit rate," which doesn't always get the attention that it deserves. When properly used, the exit rate can be even better at pinpointing website problems than studying your existing CTAs. Here's what it is and how it works.Read More