Reddit Is A Customer Research Gold Mine [Infographic]

By Irfan Ahmad With over 82 billion page views last year, Reddit is one of the most popular destinations for people to form communities around niche topics- those topics likely include conversations relevant to your business.

Source: Social Media Today

    

Nine SEO techniques that take less than 15 minutes

By Christopher Ratcliff

Search Console Search Analytics

I know. It’s the 21st century equivalent of ‘8 minute abs’. But bear with me on this…

Search engine optimisation should be an ongoing process, mixing technical on-page techniques with quality content, good old fashioned marketing, plenty of research, tonnes of planning, masses of testing and all the while taking into account searcher intent, context, algorithm changes… I get breathless just thinking about all the work that needs doing…

Basically, SEO is a job that is never done.

But, if you are struggling with time and resources, there are SEO techniques that don’t have to consume your entire day.

The following can be done while sat down in the morning, enjoying a pastry, listening to some cool light-jazz and blissfully remembering that this is a much better use of your time than that other ‘resolution’ you toyed with doing four paragraphs ago.

Please note: we published a similarly titled guide to quick SEO tips, written by Josh McCoy, way back in 2012. This is an updated, rewritten version that reflects the subsequent changes and updates to the search landscape.

1. Check your site’s organic CTR, revise 10 of the lowest performing page’s title tags and meta descriptions

Head into your site’s Google Search Console, then click on Search Traffic>Search Analytics.

Then click on the Impressions and CTR filters for Pages.

Here you can take a look at the pages with high visibility, but low CTR. Perhaps all they need is an improved meta description or title tag?

For a more detailed overview, check out How to improve CTR using Search Console.

2. Add Schema markup to your 10 most popular pages

You can add rich media to your search results by adding Schema markup to the HTML of your pages.

captain america civil war review rich snippet

If you have a particularly massive site with years and years worth of posts, the idea of adding rich snippets to your pages can seem terrifying. Instead, make a spreadsheet of your most popular posts, then every day go through 10 of them and implement schema markup. This should help gradually improve the CTR of your results.

3. Improve your site speed by optimising images

Site speed is a hugely important ranking signal, and you can check your site’s loading time on both mobile and desktop with this new site speed tool.

Obviously improving the performance of your site is a complicated job best saved for the tech team, but you can help…

Images are are by far the ‘heaviest’ element when it comes to page load. So why not spend a few minutes working back through your most popular posts and making your image file sizes smaller.

For example, if there’s an image on your page that’s 1024 x 683 pixels, but the user only sees it at a maximum of 420 x 289, you could ease the strain on your page by compressing the file size with very little noticeable difference.

Read this article for full details: How to optimise your page images to increase site speed.

4. Check the proper canonicalization of your domain

Are you aware that your site may exist in two different places? Without even knowing it, Google could be indexing your content from both www.example.com and example.com and therefore you may be cannibalising your own pages in search.

Luckily it doesn’t take very long to fix this problem.

You just have to tell Google which is the preferred version of your domain for all future crawls of your site and indexing refreshes.

As it states on their webmaster help page:

If you specify your preferred domain as http://www.example.com and we find a link to your site that is formatted as http://example.com, we follow that link as http://www.example.com instead. In addition, we’ll take your preference into account when displaying the URLs.

To change this, visit Search Console, click on your site, click the gear icon then click Site Settings. And in the Preferred domain section, select the option you want.

5. Verify your Google My Business page, make sure your details are up to date

Kevin Gibbons wrote some good suggestions for us when it comes to optimising your page for local search:

  • Claim your listing, as often many people don’t.
  • Ensure your details are up-to-date (previously you might not have accepted credit cards).
  • Double check your opening hours and phone number as these often change over time or the business has new owners or management
  • Check the business images you are using and consider refreshing them or uploading higher res versions.
  • Check no-one has made an edit to your listing and changed the businesses’s website to their affiliate link, have seen this too!

There are loads more tips here: How to optimise your Google My Business listing.

6. Check that you don’t have any duplicate meta description and title tags

This is a very easy one. Just head back into Search Console, click on Search Appearance>HTML Improvements, then you can see exactly which of your pages contain duplicate metadata and you can alter accordingly.

Search Console HTML Improvements

7. Keep on top of your image alt attributes

Google Image Search can drive a significant amount of traffic to your site, however you must remember that Google can’t ‘see’ your images, but it can ‘read them’.

Therefore describing your images accurately and concisely in the ‘alt text (or alt tags) section is very important.

Check back through your last handful of pages and make sure your images conform.

wordpress photo upload highlighting caption and description

You could even look at the alt tags at the same time as checking your image file sizes (see point 3).

For lots more information, check out How to optimise images for SEO.

8. Check your 404 error codes

404 pages occur when a Googlebot attempts to visit a page that doesn’t exist. Generally 404 pages are fine and won’t harm your rankings, but it is important to pay attention to them, especially if there’s a sudden increase.

You can check these in Search Console, under Crawl>Crawl Errors.

Then if anything looks to have been deleted accidentally, or a 301 redirect hasn’t been put in place properly, you can fix these straight away.

9. Keep on top of your internal linking

Regular and consistent internal linking to the most popular articles on your site is a key way to show search engines that your site has authority and that your content is ‘trusted’.

There are many different methods and tools to check which of your pages is the most popular for any search phrase, and therefore the ones you should be using to internally link for added SEO benefit.

Spend some time going back through your posts and ensuring that each post has a few internal links, paying particular attention to the anchor text used, and making sure they’re all relevant AND pointing towards pages you wish to see rank.

There’s an excellent, detailed best practice guide here: Internal linking for SEO.

So there you go. Nine quick things you can do to improve your SEO every day without taking up too much of your energy. Obviously this is far from an exhaustive list, but it’s definitely a start to getting the basics right.

Source: Search Engine Watch

    

Which kinds of links are most valuable for high rankings?

By Graham Charlton

prominent backlink types viperchill

What does link-building look like right now? What tactics work? Is it all about quality content or do more shady tactics still get results?

Glen Allsop of ViperChill posted another excellent article recently, distilling the findings from his own manual analysis of 1,000 search results.

He looks at the link structure of various sites, trying to ascertain the kinds of links that help some sites rank, the tactics (white hat and not-so white hat) used by sites to rank, and the effects of factors like number of links and word count.

It’s a monster of a post – more than 5,000 words I’d guess – but truly worth a read. All I’ll do here is list some of the key lessons from Glen’s analysis.

The most common backlinks are natural

Glen found that natural (i.e. earned) backlinks top the chart, which is as it should be.

However, the study also found that many high ranking websites have some very low quality backlinks. They are things like forum pages, blog comments, and non-English Blogspot blogs. They’re not earned, but can be easily created.

Indeed, a recent look at Skyscanner’s impressive search rankings revealed something similar. There are quality links there, but plenty which could be classed as ‘low-quality’. Perhaps these are the result of older link building efforts, who knows?

Link volume does not influence ranking

It’s about quality not quantity. As this chart shows, the volume of backlinks does not correlate with ranking.

Variety of linking domains helps

Obvious perhaps, but good to reinforce. A variety of links from different domains matters much more than volume.

referring

Longer content and high rankings

There have been a few studies suggesting a correlation between longer form content and higher search rankings.

It makes sense, as in theory, longer content can be more likely to satisfy the user (it’s detailed, covers key questions etc), and in turn more likely to attract links.

Glen’s data backs this point up. The average word count on all results was 1,762, and higher counts tended to correlate with higher rankings.

word-count-1 (1)

Link building tactics that still work

A few weeks ago, we talked about another finding around sitewide footer links used by some sites, and how tactics like this help the ‘rich get richer’ in search (this was another finding from ViperChill).

In this article, Glen looks at how Houzz uses a widget to mbed dozens of hard-coded links in the websites of those who host it. It seems this tactic is still in use.

Good content still works

Writing quality content to attract links is still an excellent tactic. Evergreen content is key to this.

The example used here is a beginners guide to the Paleo diet, from the nerdfitness blog. It has attracted links from 800 domains and continues to deliver traffic to this day.

paleo diet

Why does it still attract links? Four reasons:

  • High ranking. It’s up there right now, so when people look for resources to link to, there it is.
  • It’s a good article. It’s there because it serves a need. It’s also comprehensive which means people don’t need to look elsewhere.
  • Internal links. The sidebar on the homepage links to the post so it continues to accrue traffic.
  • Loyal audience. The site has an engaged audience who appreciate and link to the content.

Dodgy tactics can still work

There are still plenty of dubious tactics that are helping websites achieve high rankings.

For example, this .info site has 195,000 links from 242 domains, that’s more than 800 per domain. I’m ‘sure’ they’re all earned, natural links though…

refer

The study found less private blog networks than expected, but also finds that they still work.

In summary

I’ve only scratched the surface of the study here, so please check out the full article for much more. It is itself a great example of creating quality (and long-form) content that attracts links. I’m sure we won’t be the only site linking to it.

Source: Search Engine Watch

    

Google’s Joris Merks on the importance of leadership for digital transformation

By Graham Charlton

Joris-Web-Banner

Joris Merks is Head of Digital Transformation, Northern Europe at Google, and works with companies to embed digital-first thinking into their strategies.

He’ll be participating in a Google Squared webinar tomorrow (June 30), looking at how to drive a culture of innovation in your company.

Can you tell us a little about your role at Google?

I am EMEA Head of Curriculum design in the Google Digital Academy team. That means I work with a team and vendors to build workshops and education initiatives that help Google’s advertisers understand what the impact of digital is on their business and help the feel equipped for digital transformation.

What does digital transformation mean to you?

I look at digital transformation as a chain reaction of experiments that continuously helps companies to understand how to make the best use of new technology.

In this way they stay in tune with their customers, who are also using digital technology, keeping their businesses ready for the future.

What should the first steps be in a process of digital transformation?

It starts with a clear vision from company leaders of where technology is going and how that could affect the business.

Then these leaders need to give strong signals to people in the company about which challenges need to be fixed and a culture that rewards experimentation and entrepreneurship needs to be created.

Without this culture, people aren’t very likely to invest in new experiments. This is because any experiment with new technology is always more work and more risk compared to just doing what you always did. People won’t be wiling to pick up more work and risk if there is nothing in it for them or if they might even risk losing their job or bonus when an experiment fails.

Should companies centralise digital functions, or should these be distributed across various teams/departments? What are the pros and cons?

I think it depends on the stage of development a company is in and on the type and size of company. Companies with a digital-focused business model obviously should have centralised digital functions.

Smaller companies tend to have functions where digital and traditional marketing are embedded in the same teams.

Large companies that have heritage in the offline world and are in transformation tend to start out with specialized digital teams, which is good to make sure you ramp up fast enough. However, at some point in the digital transformation new and old teams must break through their silos because they are in the end serving the same customer and should provide a seamless journey across channels.

I believe eventually the differentiation between the two worlds will go away and all marketers will have a digital mindset. For the sake of ramping up fast it can however make sense to have a period where digital is a separate skill set in the organization.

How much of digital transformation is about technology and how much is about culture?

I’d say it is equally important and next to technology and culture there are also factors such as creativity, knowledge, organisational structure and strategic processes.

For example, if new technology arises, creative people are needed to find out what cool and useful things you can do with that technology.

The people that are our creatives and the people that understand tech are however often not the same type of people, so the art is bringing them together to come up with new ideas to experiment with.

The big trap with digital is that it can be treated too much as a technological development and that focus is a lot on data. With that focus digital will always stay a specialism in the company and the company will never have a fully digital mindset.

There are many obstacles facing brands as they examine new digital tactics and technology (e.g. legacy systems). How do you drive digital transformation in such an environment?

I think sometimes big tough decisions need to be made in many areas at the same time. That is definitely true for legacy systems.

For instance brand and digital departments might be using different tools to manage their campaigns. That means you can never have a single view on the customer, which again means you can never be customer friendly in your advertising.

Someone then needs to make the decision to go for one holistic approach. That will require short term investments of time and money but is a crucial decision in order to be ready for the future and not lose your business in the long run.

Those decisions typically require strong leadership and vision. Without that it is very easy to keep focusing on those things that deliver you short term business without making the efforts needed to keep your long term business.

Which companies do you see as great examples of businesses which have embraced digital? What are the common factors in their approaches?

There are many of such examples. I think the key thing they all have in common is strong visionary leaders.

If people we work with find it get stuck in digital transformation, that is almost always because the way they are incentivised, their targets, their bonuses and career opportunities are driven too much by short term business results.

Those are the companies that will one day get an extreme wake up call because a new competitor will come out of nowhere with a new business model using new digital technology in smart ways and winning customers at high speed.

Where does data fit into digital transformation?

Despite the fact that I think the focus has been too much on technology and data, data definitely is becoming more important. I think no one can deny that.

I always advocate the balance between data, mind and heart. Data to measure everything you can measure, mostly the proven successes so you can optimise them further.

Mind is needed to look ahead into the future, assess how your business may be affected by new developments and craft the right experiments to be ready for that future.

Data isn’t very good at helping you with that because data is always based on the past. Even when models make predictions they are always based on past data. The heart is needed to recognise the moments when someone comes up with a great creative idea of something cool you can do with new technology.

On those moments you shouldn’t ask how much money you will earn from it. If the idea is fundamentally different from anything you tried, you can’t know. If, however, your heart starts pounding, that probably means it is a great idea worth exploring. You can bring the measurement in afterwards, but don’t kill the idea upfront due to lack of good data.

Joris will be taking part in a Google Squared webinar tomorrow, looking at the five fundamental limitations of data that create challenges in digital transformation. You can sign up for the webinar here.

Source: Search Engine Watch

    

How to Solve Your Biggest WordPress Page Speed Problems

By Ian Cleary

How to Solve Your Biggest WordPress Page Speed Problems

Did you know that 42 percent of people expect a web page to load in under two seconds and that 40 percent will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load? According to KISSmetrics, a single second delay in page load time will decrease conversions by seven percent.

Your page speed matters. Not only does it matter to your site visitors, but a slow-loading site can mean lower search engine rankings, too.

The good news is that if you’re using WordPress, there are several easy fixes that can help speed up your site. Take a look at these solutions to your biggest WordPress page speed problems. As you work through these steps, test your site speed at Pingdom to see how your loading times improve.

GUEST POST: This is a guest post from Mike Wallagher from Start blogging online

Test Your Plugins

One of the biggest culprits of slow WordPress sites is the plugins you install. Installing too many means that users have to download more files when they visit your site, which takes the site longer to load. Installing one with a bug or one that’s incompatible with another plugin can wreak havoc on your load times.

When it comes to your plugins, there are two steps you can start with to help speed up your site:

  1. Begin by uninstalling any plugins you aren’t using or don’t need. Having fewer plugins installed can make a difference on page speed.
  2. The amount of plugins you have isn’t the only factor that impacts page speed. The quality of those plugins matters as well. If you’re still having slow site problems after deleting the plugins you don’t need, test the remaining plugins to see if one of them is causing the problem. Simply deactivate each plugin one at a time, and see if the site speeds up. If it’s quicker after deactivating one, then you know that one is the problem. If nothing changes after deactivating each plugin one by one, then chances are your plugins aren’t your issue, and you can breathe easy knowing that the plugins you’ve chosen are working as they should.

Switch to a More Reliable Web Host

If your plugins aren’t the culprit of your slow WordPress site, then another likely suspect is your web host. Your page speed relies on how fast your web host’s servers respond to user requests. That’s because each of your web visitors has to contact your host’s servers to load your site. A slow server means a slow website.

While you can’t do anything about the server speed, you can control which server you host your website on. Switching to a faster one, such as by upgrading your account or by changing web hosts completely, is a viable long-term solution.

To avoid slow hosting, choose a web host known for their fast site speeds. There are plenty of web hosts that average page speeds under one second, so you shouldn’t have to settle with a slow web host. Just some of these quick, reliable hosting options include:

  • Dreamhost
  • A2 Hosting
  • InMotion Hosting
  • SiteGround
  • HostNine

If you get a chance, talk with other WordPress users about their host, or read web hosting reviews to see which one of these fast web hosts is the best option for you. Remember: Web hosting isn’t just about the speed, but that’s a huge plus!

Choose a Faster Theme

Another factor that plays a role in website speed is your WordPress theme. A poorly written theme means that it takes users longer to load your site. When you choose themes “bloated” with features you’re not using, all you’re doing is making users load aspects they don’t even see.

Instead, opt for a premium lightweight theme that won’t slow your site down. Start with one of these suggestions:

Genesis Framework

the genesis theme

The Genesis Framework is a popular theme that’s known for its fast loading times. Plus, it comes with several child themes and customization options so that you can make it all your own. This premium theme costs $59.95.

Avada

the avada wordpress theme

Another popular one, Avada is ThemeForest’s bestselling theme. This multipurpose theme features unlimited designs, a responsive layout, great support, and more, making it a fantastic theme for anyone. The regular license costs $59.

Divi

divi theme

The Divi theme from Elegant Themes is one of WordPress’s most versatile themes. With tons of customization options and a drop-and-drag page builder, you can do almost anything with Divi. Plus, it’s fast. Download with your Elegant Themes’ membership, which starts at $69 per year.

If you want more ideas for lightning-fast WordPress themes, check out this list of fast-loading themes.

Optimize Your Images

Did you know that when you upload images to your site, the user has to download that same image file regardless of how it appears to them? For example, you may upload an image that is 2000 x 3000 pixels but display it as 200 x 300 pixels on your site. Though the user sees the smaller image, their browser has to access the larger file.

Optimizing your images is all about using the proper file size for the images you’re displaying. The good news? You don’t have to go through and manually update your images. Instead, you can install an image optimization plugin that will automatically do all the work for you. That way, you can compress your file sizes so that users spend less time downloading your images to view the site.

Start by trying one of these image optimization plugins:

Enable Browser Caching

Every time your visitors land on your site, their browsers have to contact your host’s server so they can download your site files again. Obviously, this takes time.

However, you can reduce that time by enabling browser caching. This means that your files will be stored on a visitor’s browser for a certain length of time. While they’ll have to download your site files the first time, each subsequent visit will be faster because they’re accessing the files straight from their browser rather than your server.

The W3 Total Cache plugin will get you started. With it, you can set up caching for images, pages and posts, feeds, and more to easily speed up your site.

Add an Expires Header

An Expires header is related to browser caching. This tells a browser how long to store a file in the cache. For example, if you define that the cache expires in one month, then a visitor who accesses your site a month after their first visit will download the files again. This means your site will load faster more often when you define longer time frames for files that don’t get updated frequently.

It’s possible to set Expires headers on specific files. For more about how to set up Expires headers, read this tutorial from GTMetrix.com.

Control How Many Post Revisions Are Stored

In WordPress, every time you make a revision to a page or post, you create a new version of that post. However, old versions are still stored on your server. This can increase your backup file size, boosting post query times, and affecting your site performance.

Instead, control how many post revisions you store so that old files you don’t need aren’t present on your server. You can do this with the WP Revisions Control plugin. Once you install the plugin, head to Settings > Writings to define how many revisions to store for each post.

Use a Content Delivery Network

A content delivery network (CDN) is a service that takes all your static files and allows visitors to download them quickly by serving the files from servers geographically closest to the website visitor. The closer they are to the server, the faster the file information can transfer, which speeds up your site for users across the globe.

For example, if you work with a CDN that has servers in the United States and India, then website visitors from India will receive the files from the server closest to them rather than trying to access the files from the U.S. servers. MaxCDN is just one example of a content delivery network, and it’s especially useful if you have a wide audience from all areas of the globe.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to easily speed up your site to promote conversions and improve your search engine rankings. Which one of these tips will you start with?

MikeAbout the author: Mike Wallagher is founder of Start Blogging Online who helps bloggers get their blogs up and running.

Mike also writes some great posts, make sure to check out his site.

The post How to Solve Your Biggest WordPress Page Speed Problems appeared first on Social media and content marketing technology.

Source: Razor Social

    

sqoop metastore timezone in GMT

By Simran Kaur

The database has all its dates in GMT while sqoop automatically takes local (Asia/kolkata) for incremental updates.
It probably picks that up from JVM but I need it to use GMT for certain jobs and local for others. How do I get about this?

The link https://community.cloudera.com/t5/Data-Ingestion-Integration/Sqoop-s-metastore-timezone/td-p/16306

discusses the same issue.

Is there an actual workaround for this?
The solution given in the thread did not really work for me .

Source: Stack Overflow

    

HTML / Javascript Multiple scroll effect?

By ChrisBean

It might be a little bit tricky to understand what I’m trying to achieve so I try to describe it as simple as possible for me:

I want to use a slight variation of the iMac scrolling effect with 2 elements on a website. A fullwidth video and fullwidth picture laying on top of each other. I want to “connect” them via a scroll effect.

It starts with the fullwidth video, displayed at 100% of the screen (no zooming on the video) upon scrolling I want the video to become smaller (or to fade out) until it completely disappears then revealing the picture beneath that is displays at roughly 300% of it’s original size (zooming takes place here) at the start, resizing to 100% of it’s original size once the scrolling is finished.

(For a better understanding: it’s supposed to like like it’s zoomed out of the eye. Pretty much the reversed version of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vnA_KIojLg but much shorter)

I’ve already managed to combine video and picture using 3 CSS elements to arrange them, pretty much like the original:
https://jsfiddle.net/o3sno3b8/4/

.video {
  height: 100%;
  width: 100%;
  margin: 1340px auto 100px;
}

.mac {
  height: 613px;
  width: 764px;
  margin: 1340px auto 100px;
  background: white url("http://www.crispin-m.de/opener.jpg") no-repeat 0 0;
  -webkit-background-size: 764px 613px;
  background-size: 764px 613px;
  backface-visibility: hidden;
}


.mac.intro {
  position: fixed;
  width: 2548px;
  z-index: 9999;
  height: 2052px;
  -webkit-background-size: 100% auto;
  background-size: 100% auto;
  margin: 0;
  top: 0;
  left: 50%;
  margin-top: -300px;
  margin-left: -1274px;
  -webkit-transform-origin: 50%;
  -ms-transform-origin: 50%;
  transform-origin: 50%;
}

I do however struggle with getting video and picture to fullscreen size and initializing the scaling down (and thus disappearing) of the video as well as having the picture started at (roughly) 300%.

Does anyone have a piece of advice for me on this? Or even better: a more simply solution than what I pieced together?

Source: Stack Overflow

    

Beautifulsoup Redirect Error

By Steason Tee

Every forbes url will be directed to their welcome ads (http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/) first then redirect to the page which user want. May I know how to fix this redirect? Although had inserted br.set_handle_redirect(True) but still doesn’t work.

# !/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*- 

import mechanize
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
import urllib2
import sys
import csv
import requests
import time
import datetime
import cookielib

# Browser
br = mechanize.Browser()
br.set_handle_equiv(True)
br.set_handle_gzip(False)
br.set_handle_redirect(True)
br.set_handle_referer(True)
br.set_handle_robots(False)
br.set_handle_refresh(mechanize._http.HTTPRefreshProcessor(), max_time=1)
br.addheaders = [('User-agent', 'Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64; rv:32.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/32.0')]


# Cookie Jar
cj = cookielib.MozillaCookieJar('forbesc.txt')
#br.set_cookiejar(cj)
cj.load()

opener = mechanize.build_opener(mechanize.HTTPCookieProcessor(cj))
r = opener.open("http://www.forbes.com")
cj.save("forbesc.txt")

def scrap():
    for link in ('http://www.forbes.com/companies/apple/'
,'http://www.forbes.com/companies/ally-financial/'):
        html = br.open(link).read()
        soup = BeautifulSoup(html, "html.parser")

        try:
            Company = soup.find("div", class_="forbes-list").text
except AttributeError, IndexError:
            print 'Not Found'
            continue


def start():
    scrap()

start()

Source: Stack Overflow