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WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION - SEO 2014

rappamtSummer is a glorious time. Here at GB, we see some rare, but welcome downtime. The great Brendan Bailey gets his rollercoaster fix at Hershey Park, Anthony Rappa dangles dangerously off of the side of mountains, and I finally get to work on our website, getting it back up to snuff with the latest technology.

Wonder what a digital marketing company does to their own website to retain a competitive edge? Well, I'm happy to tell you.

#1 - Have a contact form? Get a privacy policy!
We've all seen them, though most of us have never read a single one. We're talking about "privacy policies," the dreaded fine print of the internet. Google rarely comes out and says "DO THIS" when it comes to search engine optimization, leaving the challenge to people like us at GB to figure it all out. However, one of the recent commandments that the mighty Google has released is that the future of SEO "IS ALL ABOUT USER EXPERIENCE."

So what does that mean? Essentially Google wants to refer the highest quality businesses to their customers (the people doing the searching) in hopes they have a great experience both on, and offline. Google feels that if they refer you to a shady business and you have a bad experience, you may not return to them for your search needs in the future. What does that mean for you? In short, its probably a good practice to think like a big business when it comes to your website. The "big, reputable guys" all have privacy policies noting what information they are collecting and where its' going for pages such as contact forms, so why shouldn't you?

This is a small and easy update to your site that Google really does check for. Recently, some of our paid campaigns via Google received a lower quality score for not having a privacy policy on a page where a lead generation form was located, so we make sure to resolve that issue for both our client's advertising, and our own campaigns.

#2 - Open Graph Search SEO
This definitely falls more onto the technical side of things, and it can seem a little bit complicated. In short, for the non-techies out there, the Open Graph Protocol makes each page a social object.

Here is a handy application of how OG can help your website in a way that people can actually see, not just some hidden code in the background of things:

You've probably had the experience of placing a link into your Facebook status box in efforts of sharing something with your friends and having Facebook automatically create a little excerpt for you along with a thumbnail and hyperlink. Sure, this is very handy, but what if the information you're trying to convey to your raving fans, so that they, in turn can repost your genius all over the web,  isn't properly generated by Facebook? You've seen this when you post a serious news article, and Facebook decides that a photo of a cute baby duck is an appropriate accompaniment, or when they post a string of nonsense tags alongside a photo you're trying to share. Open Graph allows you to describe each page, article, video or entire website as you see fit, so social sites can index it better, and, most importantly, you can decide how your content is presented to your audience, with your original intent intact. Here is an example:

 

Open Graph Example

#3 - Installing An SSL Certificate
Finally! Google comes right out and says something they want! Google wants to make the web a safer place. While a little controversial, they call for something called "HTTPS Everywhere." This basically calls for a higher level of security on your website by purchasing something called an SSL certificate. This is already very common in the ecommerce world, but Google wants to bring it to the rest of the web. Some may feel this is overkill on static websites, but we're not here to debate, we're here to get higher rankings, and Google makes the rules on that front.

What's the point?

Again this comes back to Google's original claim of SEO benefiting sites that lead to a stronger "user experience." So now, if you visit our website, you will notice it says https://www...... instead of the typical http://www.... a quick way to tell if a site is secure.

Honorable Mention
Play Space Invaders Pinball On Our Site!

gameoverWhile it will likely have no effect on our SEO we've successfully added the ability to actually play a hybrid version of Space Invaders and Pinball on the Culture page of our website. This is purely for our, and your, enjoyment, but we're pretty sure it'll improve the user experience too. Whether or not Google agrees is yet to be seen.

Click here to check it out and give a try!

What's your highest score? Post it in the comments!
Enjoy the rest of your summer, we'll see you again soon!