Understanding the “NoFollow” Attribute

In another post, I blogged about What Is the Purpose of Internal Linking? Is it Important for SEO? and I even talked about The Best Practices for Internal Links. However, there is still a cause of confusion, and that is the nofollow attribute.

Even though, it was introduced in 2015. Many people in the industry still gets confused over this attribute on links. Do we add this nofollow or not? Is it really important to begin with?

man holding his chin looking at his laptop

Google’s Nathan Johns of Google said that the nofollow attribute has not changed ever since. So, why are people confused? To clear things up, I created this post. Hopefully, this will shed some light on the true value of the “nofollow” links.

What is a “Nofollow” Attribute?

Baically, the “nofollow” will tell search engines NOT to “follow” a specific link. Ideally, it is used in instances when you aren’t sure of that link. You do not “endorse” it in any way.

So, should you “nofollow” links?

Whether a link is internal (within a website) or external (outside a website), it is still a vote of confidence. This means that you trust it enough to become a source of information.

Over the years, search engine acknowledge the fact that there are times that you need to link a page. However, you are NOT sure if:

  • The link is something you can trust.
  • It’s something you can control or monitor. For instance, the links in the comments section.
  • Links are tagged as “selling links” by search engines. At time, a harmless link ad can be mistaken as a shady link.

Thus, to address these issues present, search engines – not just Google – recognized the need for a “nofollow” attribute. Once you tick the ‘nofollow’ option, it is a way of telling the search engines that this link is not exactly a “vote of confidence”. I am merely linking the source of information, but it does not mean that I automatically trust the website.

If you want to know more about the “nofollow” link, refer to this help page regarding outbound links.

Here are some guidelines on when to “nofollow” an internal link:

  • When you are linking a page that is not accessible to many people such as a page that needs login credentials.
  • If it goes to a page that is not essential in the grand scheme of things. For instance, it is merely a page for all the references or a list of compiled works.
  • If it is a tag page. Generally, people rank for the actual pages and not the tag pages.

As a conclusion, if you are ticking the “nofollow” attribute on your internal links, that’s totally fine.  In terms of internal links, there’s nothing to worry about since there’s no obvious gains or penalties either. At the end of the day, it’s about what you prefer to do.

Still, nofollow links matter.

Use the “nofollow” attribute when you want to tell Google that you would NOT want to associate your website with this linked page. Thus, Google cannot penalize you for providing links to a shabby website.

The Best Practices for Internal Links

Now that I have discussed What Is the Purpose of Internal Linking? Is it Important for SEO?, I will now continue with the best practices for internal links. Both Google and Bing have made it clear that website should follow the proper guidelines.

If you haven’t read yet the article on internal linking, just click the link above. If you are done, go ahead and read the internal link recommendations for Google.

person touching and pointing MacBook Pro

Google’s take on internal links.

Google’s Matt Cutts took time to answer some questions about internal links. In a video posted on Google Webmaster, he answered that internal links will not typically hurt a website’s ranking.

It became a pressing issue when Google released the Penguin update. However, Matt Cutts assured the public that adding numerous internal links won’t cause trouble just as long as you are not exaggerating by adding thousands of internal links. For example, adding 5000 links in one page.

If you don’t exaggerate links and take it way too far, then, you have nothing to worry about. You are NOT violating the Google webmaster guidelines. Speaking of which, Google emphasized on the importance of providing relevant anchor texts for links. So, whenever you feel confused about the usage of internal links, always refer to the official rules provided by Google.

How about the Bing’s recommendations?

Remember, Google is not the only search engine available. Take time to also be familiar with other search engines such Bing, Ask, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, and many more. Bing, in particular, has another way in tackling SEO and internal links.

Yes, Bing has the usual things such as content and links. However, Bing gives importance to social signals unlike Google. For more information, you can review the Bing webmaster guidelines

As for links, Bing said the following:

Internal links – helps create a view of how content inside your website is related.  Also helps users navigate easily to related content.

So, what is the perfect example of internal links?

Just look at the website: Wikipedia. It exhibits the ideal internal linking system. You will notice right away that each page contains internal links that will lead you to another page. Their links are not presented in a spammy way. Usually, the internal links use keywords as anchor text.

Learn more5 Best Practices when Writing Anchor Texts

Best practices for Internal links.

For internal links, there’s nothing to worry about because Google said that there is no such thing as over optimizing internal links. You don’t have to fret over an anchor text penalty for internal links.

If you observe closely, in this article, I usually use relevant keywords as anchor text. If not, I will just stick to the page title.

A few reminders to take note:

  • Avoid the generic anchor texts. Yes, I know that most websites use the typical ‘click here’, ‘read more’, but do not overindulge by adding ‘click here’ 20 times!
  • Don’t randomly add links just to help website crawlers discover more pages. Internal links also help users to learn more about a topic. So, add links only when necessary.

What Is the Purpose of Internal Linking? Is it Important for SEO?

Internal links are essential for both users and search engines. For users, internal links improve the user experience. It will lead them to other pages that may be of use to them. For search engines, internal links help in discovering pages in a website.

Hands linked together.

Better together.

So, let’s define internal links.

Basically, in a page, you can insert 2 links: external or internal links. An external link is the type that points the user to a page outside the website. Meanwhile, an internal link is the type that redirects the user to a page within the same website.

For example:

“If you want to learn more about anchor texts, see my article on 5 Best Practices when Writing Anchor Texts.”

In HTML form, it would be:

“If you want to learn more about anchor texts, see my article on <a href=”https://www.phoenixwebsitedesign.com/blog/5-best-practices-when-writing-anchor-texts/”>5 Best Practices when Writing Anchor Texts</a>.”

Therefore, internal links are helpful in:

  • connecting related pages together,
  • enhancing website navigation,
  • helping search engines identify the other pages of the website,
  • spreading the link juice among the pages

Why are internal links important?

The main page of a website is lined to other important pages. Then, these pages are also connected to other pages. Hence, it is called a website because it creates a web of connected pages.

These links help the search engines work efficiently. The web crawlers deployed by search engines will be able to scan the website thoroughly since all the pages are linked together. If there is no internal link system, these crawlers will end the crawling process and move on to the next website.

The more connected pages your website has, the more pages it discovers. Hence, the more pages to report back to Google.

So, if pages are not connected, Google will only know a limited number of pages. In the search results, Google can only recommend a few of your content. Internal linking is your job in order for website crawlers to discover the pages of your site. Google will then understand your website structure and point the right audience to your content.

Internal links distribute PageRank to the internal pages.

Also, links aid in spreading your PageRank. In simple terms, a popular page can spread its popularity to other pages that may need some boost.

The most-clicked page can give some link juice to the pages that aren’t getting much attention. Together, the linked pages work hand in hand to add value to your website.

More onClearing the Misconceptions About PageRank

The connection between the internal links and SEO.

In order for internal links to help your SEO efforts, you should remember the following:

  • For internal links to have an impact, add it in page or post. Yes, you can still add them on the website footer or the sidebar. However, internal links are most valuable when it is inserted in the body of a page.
  • Link new pages to old page, and vice versa. This tells the readers that you have an updated post about the topic. So, take time to link old pages to your the newly published articles.
  • Like I said earlier, the strong pages can boost the not-so-popular pages. Add internal links within your popular page so it can lead readers to the other pages that aren’t gaining enough views.

 

5 Best Practices when Writing Anchor Texts

In my previous article, I talked about the anchor texts and how to write one. For this article, I will continue by discussing the best practices. To be honest, anchor texts already existed since the beginning of time. However, many still fail to follow the right way to write them.

man operating laptop on top of table

Writing better anchor texts can influence your SEO efforts in many ways as discussed on The Importance of an Anchor Text for SEO.

  • Anchor texts aid search engines in understanding your website.
  • If written appropriately, it can help in strengthening link profile.
  • Lastly, a good anchor text can set realistic expectation, and helps the users decide if it’s a link that they should click.

Rule #1: Choose the right words.

Evaluate carefully if the anchor text of the links is appropriate for the topic. A relevant anchor text will give an idea to its readers. They will definitely know what to expect when they click it such as the specific content and the scope of the topic.

When writing anchor texts, be sure to:

  • Not use common words such as: ‘click here’, ‘read more’, ‘right here’, ‘know more’ and so on. These words do NOT tell what the link is about. Users may know what the contents are basing from reading the article. However, search engines won’t. Google will only know what the linked page is about basing from the anchor text you provided.
  • Not include words that are not related to the linked content.

Rule #2: As much as possible, never stick to a URL anchor text.

Another common practice is that many people use the URL of a page, or better known as Naked URL.

These URLs are not effective anchor texts. Yes, it will not cause problems. However, it ain’t the best choice. It is still recommended to add the specific page title as its anchor text.

Rule#3: Keep the anchor texts short and simple.

If you complicate it, the search engines will have a hard time understanding its purpose. The more words you add, the more difficult for search engines to comprehend.

Here’s a good anchor text:

<a href=”https://www.phoenixwebsitedesign.com”> The Importance of an Anchor Text for SEO </a>

Example of a ‘bad’ anchor text:

<a href=”https://www.phoenixwebsitedesign.com”> The anchor text is a link text that is the visible and clickable to its readers.</a>

Rule #4: Link texts should have a different format compared to the normal texts.

Your links should be very visible. The readers should not have a difficult time spotting the link texts from the normal texts. It is recommended to use a different text color for all your links. Usually, clickable link texts are indicated in blue.

Rule #5: Avoid over optimizing anchor texts.

Lastly, you should not over do the linking process. Here are some tips to keep it simple:

  1. If you are not sure of the website you are linking, click the “nofollow” tag.
  2. When you are uncertain on what text to add, stick to the website or brand name such as Phoenix Website Design.
  3. Avoid adding the exact keywords as the anchor texts. For example, use read these linking building tips rather than saying link building tips only.

How to Create the Ideal “About the Company” Page? (Part 2)

In How to Create the Ideal “About the Company” Page?, I talked about 4 essential elements. Now, I will discuss more things to add on your location page. As we aim to make SEO optimizations, we all must remember to always satisfy the user’s intent. We strive to always help them and anticipate all the questions they may ask about the business.

website displayed on a MacBook Pro

Having said that, these are the things you might want to add in order for the web visitors to learn about your growing business. Read them below:

  • NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number)

    • Your business name, address, and phone number(s) are necessary to be part of the page.
    • Not only that, it should be consistent with your other pages such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Bing Places for Business profile. Wherever your users may go, they will see the same details about your business.
  • Photos

  • Images are also important in a page and not just mere texts. These are a great opportunity for you to showcase photos that may help entices more people to your website.
    • Indoor Photos
      • Surprisingly, many business do not publish interior photos. These images will facilitate in setting expectations.
      • Most importantly, these photos will help in the decision making like in the healthcare sector.
    • Outdoor Photos
    • These photos will also aid in locating the business especially for the new customers. It should include the following:
      • Business logos.
      • Neighboring businesses in the area.
      • Parking details if available.

How to Optimize Images?

You can’t just add various photos of the business because you need to optimize it as well. We can’t deny that the large photos nowadays are shot from a professional cameras.  The file size occupies a lot of space. To remove such unnecessary details in order to save space, delete the excessive meta data. There are such applications that can remove details without compromising the quality of the images.

  • ImageOptim – The file optimizer is free and open source. It removes meta data and supports many file formats. Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
  • TheExifEr – With this, you can start editing your EXIF metadata like the image title, description, and location. You can even import from photos from Flickr, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
  • Business Description

  • Most businesses forget to add the necessary description, and just stick to the same generic description. No, do not just add the location. In a tweet, JR Oakes reminded the public to carefully think what to put in your location pages. It’s not enough to add the same content and just replace the areas, cities, and counties.
  • These are the things you should to keep the page distinct and useful.
    • Menu –  This is a MUST if you own restaurants.
    • USP – What makes your business unique? Write it down!
    • Business Locations – Where are your stores located? List all your branches and add their respective contact details.
    • Products – Of course, don’t forget to include all the brands you carry.
    • Services – What are the services offered in your store? Be specific in listing down the products and services available.

The Importance of an Anchor Text for SEO

An anchor text is the clickable part of a link. This text is visible to the users and is usually indicated in blue. What you include as the link’s anchor text can make or break your website’s rankings. Hence, choosing the right words is extremely important.

woman browsing on the internet

Below, you will get to know the fundamentals of the anchor text and know how it can affect Google penalties. I will also discuss the different ways in creating an anchor. Let’s start with the most basic question.

What is an anchor text?

As I mentioned earlier, the anchor text is the clickable link text. If you want me to be more concrete, it is located within an <a href> tag. Look at the example below to see my point:

<a href=”https://www.phoenixwebsitedesign.com/blog/”> Example of an anchor text.</a>

Another example is when you do a Google search. Upon showing you the search results, Google will display possible results you may want. The page title of a web page is the anchor text that Google uses.

The Kinds of Anchor Text

When writing anchor texts, it’s really up to you to formulate what it is best depending on the article you are creating. However, if you are still confused on what to add, here are some of the types of anchor text that the SEO practitioners follow.

The Link Between Anchor Texts and Google Penalties

You see, Google values both internal and external links. If the links pointing to your website seem shady, of course, it become a red flag. Google will start monitor the incoming links. If it sees a valid reason, then, you will definitely be penalized for it.

Links are seen as a vote of confidence. A website that has a lot backlinks will, of course, enjoy higher rankings in the search results. Backlinks are NOT about the quantity. To gain more credible backlinks, you have to read my article about What are the Backlinks That Are Harmful to Your Website?

If you think there are suspicious links, don’t hesitate to have them removed. More on: What to Do after Being Penalized by Google?

Remember, the anchor play a significant role in determining a link’s fate. Google’s Penguin update is there is to make sure that the anchor texts are properly optimized. There are myths lurking around. So, it is best to equip yourself on what is correct and what is wrong. Read: 3 Linking Strategies that You Should Not Believe (Part 1) and 3 Linking Strategies that You Should Not Believe (Part 2)

3 Important Characteristics of a Great Website (Part 3)

When I talk about “great” websites, people think it’s mostly about the aesthetics. Well, it is NOT really about web design. This article is more than that scope. A great website goes beyond the design element. To name a few, you need to consider the on-page SEO, off-page SEO (or the link building efforts), and many others.

Besides, there are over 200 ranking factors as published on Backlinko. A visually stunning website won’t amaze Google’s standards. Thus, you have to make an effort to reach out to both website crawlers and users.

MacBook Pro and iMac both showing website

Number 7: It follows the E-A-T.

What does EAT mean? It stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.

If you read Google post on the Webmaster Central, you would know that it gave guidelines in assessing website content. Google emphasized on knowing E-A-T for your website to appear more often in the search results.

In short, your website has to show credibility and authority. Google values content that are written by experts. So, if you have the academic background to talk about a certain topic, then show it. To know more about the E-A-T, take time to review the Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

Number 8: Backed up by social media.

With the numerous social media platforms, you can’t deny its effect in today’s borderless world. People share almost everything on social media. Generally, people lives have become an open book. You should take advantage of this shift and try to win in the realm of social media.

Social signals – such as comments, likes, shares, favorites – are an indication that your website is accepted by the social networks. Sadly, social media success will not happen in a snap. It takes constant effort in advertising. Other than that, you will need to prepare a social media strategy in order to promote social media likes, shares, and follows.

Number 9: It gets backlinks from other websites.

It’s not enough for your website to have enough social media proof. A great website gets links too!

When a website gets many backlinks, Google sees this as a positive indication of your website. It will then have an advantage over website that have only a few backlinks.

Since links are valuable in Google’s standards, a lot people tried to outsmart Google by producing unnatural links in order to gain higher rankings. Unfortunately, Google was able to catch up with the shady link building efforts. With the help of updates like Panda and Penguin, Google can now penalized websites with suspicious links.

To get natural links from reputable websites, take time to strengthen relationships and don’t just interact merely for business reasons. Read these articles on:

At the end of the day, all you need to remember is that you need to assess all the incoming links pointing to your website. If you found any unnatural links, don’t hesitate to remove these links because it can harm your site in the long run. To know more details about the Google disavow tool, read the guide on how to disavow backlinks right here.

 

3 Important Characteristics of a Great Website (Part 2)

What makes a website great? In order to be great website, it should do these 5 things:

  • Fulfill user’s search intent,
  • Make users happy,
  • Give the users what they want,
  • Provide search engines useful content,
  • And generate traffic and sales for the business owner.

Of course, to do this, you have to remember what I discussed on 3 Important Characteristics of a Great Website (Part 1).

MacBook Pro on top of brown wooden showing a website

Plus, I will add more characteristics below. You have to read them carefully:

Number 4: It has applied optimizations for SEO.

Adding useful content is good, but applying SEO optimizations are way better. You have to make sure that the content you published are optimized for search engines as well. In short, Google has to also understand what the page is about.

SEO can either be on-page, off-page, or technical. In this portion, I am talking about the things you can enhance in your website itself. This is what you call on-page SEO.

To understand on-page SEO better, here are the links to help you:

Number 5: Trusted by its users.

To be honest, trust comes easy if you just fulfill what you promised your users. If you don’t give them false hopes, then, they will easily trust your website.

However, if you start selling questionable products or provide mediocre content, they won’t trust a word you are saying.

Value your users because they bring in the money. If you treat them with the utmost respect, they will surely trust and patronize your website. If you will just trick them, don’t expect trust from your users.

Here are the benefits of trust to a website:

  • Users will share your content on their social media accounts.
  • They will mention your brand.
  • They will be loyal followers of your website.
  • Most importantly, they will become loyal customers of your products.

Number 6: It has a visible contact information.

Often times, people search because they need something. Most probably, they need your contact to call your delivery hotline. Perhaps, they need to visit your physical store and need specific directions. They searched for your company because they have official business. This is why online guides emphasize on the NAP (Name, Address, Phone number.)

If you have a website that has no contact information, then, what’s the point of your website?! You are creating a barrier between you and your customers.  A website should be a way for people to get in touch with your brand. See: How to Create the Ideal “About the Company” Page?

Usually, the “Contact Us” page is on the upper part of the page. It is best if you include your contact page as part of your main navigation.

Add essential details such as:

  • phone number(s),
  • an email address,
  • a Google map of your physical store,
  • the official social media accounts,
  • and a contact form to send in questions.

More on: 3 Important Characteristics of a Great Website (Part 3)

3 Important Characteristics of a Great Website (Part 1)

You might be curious and ask, “What makes a website great?”, “What is a good indication for a website to be great among other websites out there?” Well, you are in luck. In this post, I am planning to dissect every little detail. This will be divided into multiple posts to cover all the bases. I will be very specific in each element so you will learn exactly what you need to do.

MacBook Pro displaying a website

Number 1: It contains useful content.

Of course, without enough content, a website will be useless. It is essential in achieving success online. Google and users are always searching for the best content that will quench the thirst for knowledge. You can easily tell if one is liking your content basing on the following:

  • bounce rate – if the bounce rate is high, it means that users are quickly leaving your site.
  • average session duration – this is the total time of all the pages clicked. Individual sessions depend on whether a user engaged with the content.
  • time in site – if the average time they spend in your site, it means they are reading or browsing longer.

There are still other factors to consider. Anyway, here are the related articles regarding content:

Number 2: It is mobile-friendly.

Today, in the world of online search, almost 80% of searchers are using mobile phones. Not only that, 57% of them use multiple devices. So, if they used a tablet in scrolling for news, they probably have another smart phone ready to receive emails and such. You really can’t deny the vastness of the mobile sector. The numbers are even increasing! People prefer to use mobile devices in order to cope with the fast-paced lifestyle we now have.

Yes, even Google likes a mobile-friendly website. So, if your website isn’t accommodating to all mobile users, then, it ain’t great in Google’s eyes. Hence, don’t expect a higher ranking in the Google search results.

What should you do?

  • Make sure there aren’t any scroll bars on the mobile view.
  • The texts are readable and aren’t a major eye straub!
  • Users can easily find what they want without much clicks.

Lastly, check how mobile-friendly your website is. Visit the Mobile-Friendly Test created by Google.

Number 3: It loads swiftly!

If you visit Think with Google, you would know that as the page load time increases, the bounce rate also increases. This means, the longer your website loads, the bigger chance the user will just bounce to another website.

Let me be very concrete… If the load time is around 1-3 seconds, the bounce rate increases by 32%. However, if it takes around 10 seconds to load, the bounce rate is amplified to 123%. That’s more than 100%! So, if your website takes that long, surely, people will leave your website! Just like mobile-friendliness, Google values website speed. No one likes a slow website.

For more speed tips, read these related articles:

More on: 3 Important Characteristics of a Great Website (Part 2)

Advantages of Using Google Posts for Your Business

Are you looking for a free tool to boost your sales? Back in 2017, Google launched Google Posts, a tool inside Google My Business that allows business owners to post images and brief text. This will be displayed as part of the knowledge graph once a user searches for a specific listing.

Google Posts is effective in boosting traffic, sales, and engagement. However, you need to utilize and optimize it properly. If you do so, you will enjoy the following advantages:

Google Posts is a free tool

Small businesses that don’t have extra budget for marketing and SEO will benefit from using Google Posts. It’s a free tool which you can access directly on your GMB account.

You only need to craft brief texts and an optimized image. Since it’s free for all and accessible, there’s no excuse not to utilize it for your business’ benefit.

You can use it for marketing

Google Posts gives you an added edge on marketing. Since it’s still under-utilized, you can soar past your competitors by posting consistent content. You can use this portion to promote your new products, services, special offers, limited discounts, and more.

This is an easy-to-use tool that will complement all your other marketing efforts. The best part here is you can schedule each post so it will be published on the best time without doing it manually.

It boosts your SEO efforts

Google Posts also provide a ranking factor for your listing and website. The traffic coming from your posts is said to have a heavier weight than the traffic from organic search. Considering that it’s a free tool, Google Posts is a must-use for businesses across industries and niches.

This free ranking tool doesn’t have a steep learning curve. It’s also a great way to nudge your audience to enter your sales funnel.

You can boost your audience engagement

Is your business virtually invisible to your target audience? Aside from optimizing your GMB account, make sure that you also utilize Google Posts. You should also add call to actions and links so the traffic will direct your website or social media pages.

Being consistent with posting and creating fresh content is important to get the most out of Google Posts.

You can optimize Google Posts for voice search

Voice search is becoming a new trend. In fact, 2 out of 5 adult internet users will use voice search to look up a service, product, or information. About 46% of all these searchers will look for a business listing.

With this trend, you must start keeping up. You can start by optimizing your Google Posts with conversational keywords and content.

Final words                                   

Google Posts is one of the newest tools that the largest search engine has to offer. When you utilize it properly, you will see results on your sales, traffic, and visibility online. Besides, this free tool is built inside the Google My Business. You no longer have to create another account or to visit another platform.