What is a Responsive Web Design ?
A Responsive design website uses CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), the technology used to adapt the layout of webpages to the viewing environment, by automatically detecting the resolution (width) of the electronic device that you are using. In other words, whatever is your device; all pages will be displayed in accordance of its requirements.
Why Smartphones can Influence the Website Design?
Because surfing on a traditional website, not adapted for small screens, doesn’t give a very nice user experience to your visitors. In fact, the reality is even worse, as according to a recent survey by Compuware, about 40% of users will close the website and visit a competitor’s website rather than struggling to find information on a poorly optimized mobile site and 57% of them will not recommend a company which provides a bad mobile site experience to its visitors.
Responsive Design is the Solution
Instead of creating several websites for each device: desktop, laptop, tablets, smartphones, Interactive Tv,… like it was the solution few years ago. Today, you only need to create and manage only one website with a responsive design which will distribute a tailored design and content for each of your device.
Major Benefits of Responsive Web Design
- You only need one accessible and fully designed website for all the devices: smartphones, desktop computer, tablets, interactive tv,…
- You will save money as you don’t need to create several versions of your website.
- It will save you a lot of time as you only need to use one CMS for all the devices, when you publish a post it will be perfectly displayed instantly on all devices.
- Your visitors enjoy content optimized for their devices.
- It helps to create a better user experience as visitors won’t need to learn how to deal with the mobile version since the website is the same.
- Your link building strategy only needs to be done one time! This is a huge advantage as you won’t need to establish several building campaign for each of your dedicated website. Your SEO development will need less time.
- You rank only one website and do not split your incoming traffic into several ones and so you gather your incoming traffic in one place. This strongly increases your SEO performance as none of your websites competes against each other, only one website is ranked.
- You don’t need to worry about preventing canonical issues and duplicate content penalties.
- You don’t need to develop an application for each smartphone operating system and as there are many of them: Android, RIM, Nokia, Windows Mobile, iOS,…
- It’s web-socially friendly; when your visitors will share your awesome content they will only share it from one URL and not several which as a consequence...
- Make your community stay at one place and not spread it over several social website accounts.
- You don’t need to worry about upgrading your website for the next generation of screens as it will fit for the bigger ones instantly.
- You don’t need to indicate to your users they are in the wrong website and they have to switch to the appropriate one.
- You show to your competitors that you are mastering the state of the art of web development and keeping your information tools up to date.
- You are in concordance with the Google policy which highly recommends the use of a responsive design:
“Sites that use responsive web design, […], with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration”
If you still have some doubts about the advantages of having a responsive design, keep in mind there are more than 1B mobile phone customers in China, 400 million of them are mobile Internet users and 150 million are 3G users.
Of course, you can still contact us if you have any interrogations or if you wish to have a responsive design website.
Here is the video presented by Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google:
According to Maile, here are the top 5 SEO mistakes:
1. Having no value proposition
As a business owner, you should have a clear value proposition. This value proposition should be clearly highlighted in your website and search engine results pages. Always keep in mind this question: why would a search user select my site in search results?
To do so, make your product or service compelling! Think of what differentiates your business from your competitors and integrate it in your content, page titles and meta descriptions!
For instance, you may be a non-profit organization, you may offer free estimates / demo / audit, or you may be the oldest independent shop in your city!
As an E-commerce, you differentiate from the competitions since you may offer low prices, free shipping, excellent customer service, and of course a great value proposition.
In brief, no need to start your SEO if you don’t have any good value proposition!
2. Having a segmented approach
This may sound a bit theoretical but this is really important.
Instead of having an single approach of your online strategy, you should align with other larger business goals and communication with every department.
You should consider SEO in entire user experience, from marketing campaign to conversion.
For example, your marketing team may have different marketing goals and may want to promote one campaign site, so you should take it into account and add new content and specific keywords into your main site.
3. Spending too much time in workaround
Other useful SEO advice from Google:
- Avoid rel=”canonical” from each component page in a series to page one, use instead new rel=”next” and rel=”prev” markup for paginated content.
- Submit new/updated content to be crawled through “Fetch as Googlebot” in Webmaster Tools.
4. Being caught in SEO trends
According to Maile, websites and search engines were used to chasing users in the past, so they can get more visitors and conversions.
However, today, some websites only chase search engine algorithms! They only think of the optimal keyword density for their content instead of writing compelling stuff.
I totally agree with this view. No need to optimize a website if it doesn't contain any compelling content!
5. Slow iteration
Latest SEO tip: be agile, and don't forget to:
- Define metrics for success
- Implement improvements
- Measure impact
- Create new improvements
- Prioritize improvements based on market and personnel
In a nutshell, according to Google, a good SEO is about to:
- Do Something Cool
- Include relevant keywords in your copy
- Be smart about your tags and site architecture
- Signup for email forwarding in Webmaster Tools
- Attract buzz and natural links, votes, +1s, follows
- Stay fresh and relevant (social media, accessible on new devices, etc.)
Read also 10 other SEO mistakes millions of websites are doing!
Google now shows first positions
The change concerns the feature named “Top Queries” accessible via “Search Queries” in the section “Your site on the Web”.
Users will see rankings in search results data differently.
Previously, Google displayed the average position of all links to your website. Now, you will see the average of all the first positions.
How Google calculate the average position?
Let’s take our website as an example (them.pro). If you search for [seo services beijing] on Google, there are great chances that you see URLS from our site in positions 1 and 2, especially if you’re in China.
Let’s say another user search for [seo services beijing], and our URLs appear in positions 3 and 4.
With the old method of calculation, we would have had an average position of (1+2+3+4)/4=2.5 (let’s round up to 3). Now, with the new report, we average the highest position for each search result and therefore get an average position of (1+3)/2=2.
How will this affect my SEO report?
Well, as you may have guessed, when the new method of calculation is used in your Google Webmaster Tools, you will see lower average positions on your SEO report.
Of course, if you only have one URL return for the query, you shouldn’t see any difference (this may be the case for numerous search queries).
What about my previous data?
This change won’t affect your historical data. The new calculation method will only affect your search queries going forward.
How will this affect my website rankings?
No worries, this new method of calculation won't affect your website rankings. It will only affect the way data is computed in your SEO reports.
Here comes year 2012, and the time to look back at 2011 in order to check the most popular articles of our blog. In case you didn’t read all of our blog posts, here is a recap of our 12 most read SEO blog posts in 2011:
An article summarizing everything we previously wrote on how to optimize your website for China’s leading search engine. We give you free Baidu tips and ranking tools, but also advice on how to submit your website to Baidu index and optimize your Chinese URLs. More SEO tips.
2. SEO Jokes
One of our funniest blog posts. Who said Internet professionals don’t have any sense of humor?
A very interesting blog post emphasizing why choosing the right domain extension is crucial for your website rankings.
I really like this article. Many companies offer search engine optimization services, and it may be tough to make a choice among them. However, this article gives you clear advice on how to detect bullshit ones and helps you select the right agency to work with.
I really like this kind of articles where many useful (and free) optimizing tools are presented. Here they help you check your backlinks. More SEO tools.
We usually talk about optimizing your website. What about optimizing your mobile apps?
I think the article title is quite explicit :)
Similar to the previous article, but this time for Mozilla Firefox browser.
9. SEM vs. SEO
The blog post presents situations when SEM is a better choice than SEO. Yes, it happens sometimes!
Most websites are NOT optimized for search engines. Here is a recap of the 10 most common mistakes and advice on how to avoid them.
In case you still don’t have any Google Page for your business, the article gives you plenty of good reasons to think of starting one.
12. Google +1 Button
Why adding a Google +1 button on your site is a good idea, and can actually help you improve your rankings!
Bonus: SEO & Web Design Shanghai
As you may already now, THEM opened an office in Shanghai in 2011 in addition to our main office in Beijing. If you have any web projects you want to talk about, I’d be glad to meet you in Shanghai and discuss about your website and SEO needs.
On behalf of our team, I wish you a happy new year full of great rankings!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has traditionally been applied to websites only, and mobile websites in a certain measure. However, talking about SEO for mobile apps is more seldom. Yet, having your mobile application visible online is actually crucial for your success.
What is SEO for Apps?
Application marketplaces work similarly to simple search engines that only search a select inventory of mobile apps. Therefore all you know from SEO can be used when submitting an app.
When you think of SEO for mobile apps, keep in mind that you can actually talk about two things:
- Optimize your app rankings within mobile application marketplaces: key ranking factors include number of downloads, reviews, title, keywords, etc.
- Optimize your app rankings within search engines results pages (SERPs): traditional SEO ranking factors apply to app's download page.
How to Optimize your App?
If your end goal is to increase downloads and installs of your app, you have to optimize it to make it more visible in app stores and SERPs.
Here are 10 SEO tips to optimize your app in both mobile marketplaces and SERPs:
1. Define Target Audience Keywords
As for traditional SEO, you first have to define and understand your target market: who would be interested in downloading and using your app?
Following that, you must know what words and terms your audience search. You can use free SEO tools to see what keywords people use according to specific filters such as country, language, etc., and also get additional suggestions.
Of course, when you target a specific audience, it doesn’t exclude other users to find and use your app, you’re just more likely to attract the users who are most valuable to you.
2. Optimize App name
Having a good name for your App has positive impacts in terms of SEO, both in search engines and mobile app marketplaces.
When I say a good name, I mean you should consider having relevant keywords in your app’s name that can include your brand name, but more importantly additional keywords that describe the app, and will be added to your keywords tag (see below).
Remember you have to think about character limits and ensure you follow the guidelines for each application store, especially if you use brand names (you may be requested to show licenses before your app can be approved).
3. Optimize App URL
As in “traditional” SEO, the URL of the app is also a ranking factor. You must ensure that the URL of your app contains your keywords.
Note that the name of your app will automatically be used as your file name in the URL for your application.
If you don’t want to have an SEO-unfriendly auto-generated URL with numeric APP ID, it clearly means you should be sure to have the keywords you want in your file name (and avoid including special characters).
4. Create Keyword Tag
After downloads, reviews, and name, keywords play an important role in promoting your app in Android Market and Apple App Store.
For instance, in the Apple App Store, you should optimize all your keywords for 100 characters maximum, including spaces. You can separate your keywords with commas only.
Keep in mind that Apple App Store understands keywords one-at-a-time (rather than in phrases) unlike search engines. Therefore don’t forget to include plurals and synonyms to rank for those keywords.
I’d recommend you to think about what people who don’t know your application may search if they're interested in an app like yours.
And contrary to what you may read, spamming the keyword tag with un-related keywords or your competitor’s name won’t help you rank higher, and may even result in having your app rejected.
5. Optimize App Description
When you write your app description, think about it in terms of potential users just scanning it. Most people won’t read your app description, especially if it’s free, so the vital information must be clearly highlighted.
What should you write in your app description? Share insight on what makes your app unique, without going overboard on features and specs. Focus on the main values your app offers.
Pay strong attention to how the text is formatted in the app, notably where line breaks since most of users will read your app description from their mobile phone.
For instance, in the Apple app store, each line can contain 120 characters, and you only get three lines above the fold (before you have to click “more”), so that is a maximum of 360 characters including spaces.
A great tip is also to include user reviews directly in your app’s description, especially if your app doesn’t have many reviews in the store yet. This will encourage people to download your app, as well as add pertinent keywords in your download’s page, and therefore help you rank in search engines.
6. Choose Right App Category
Choosing the right category to submit your application to is actually crucial.
Your app can be listed in multiple categories but you have to find the ones that both reach your target audience and have the least competition, notably in terms of apps and keyword search rankings.
MobClix is a very useful tool that can help you determine the level of competition between different categories of Apple apps.
For example, you can divide the number of apps by free and paid, and then even sub-divide within the different categories.
7. Display Screenshots and Icons
Don’t neglect your images as they may have a great influence on conversion for apps. Your application should display great images, especially good quality icons, as well as visual screenshots.
Pay attention to quality of images, as well as sizes that may differ from one mobile marketplace to another. Besides, remember that large landscape images may be cropped.
8. Add Video Trailer
Another great feature of Android Market is video trailers that enable you to showcase your app.
You simply need to add the URL of your video on YouTube. As text description, keep it short and highlight the top features of your app.
Video trailers clearly increase downloads and conversions for apps.
9. Get User Reviews
User reviews are taken into account by mobile marketplaces to rank your app. Of course, the more positive you have, the better.
If your app is new and doesn’t have many reviews, you can invite your users to leave positive feedbacks. However, make sure they like as reviews don’t expire.
In addition, and as social media, interaction with the community is something vital. Try to spot top influencers among your users and interact directly with them. That is how you’ll satisfy them and get more and more users.
10. Promote App on Social Networks
Anything that is done online to promote your app is good for your SEO. From websites’ reviews to social networks, strive to promote your application online.
Use all your knowledge about SEO to optimize your pages to drive traffic to your app’s page.
For instance, the Android Market allows visitors mark apps as +1 and recommend them with their followers on Twitter. Those are simple but great ways to lead visitors to your app’s download page.
Feel free to share your other SEO tips for mobile apps!
Google will be paying more attention to the ads on websites. The search engine’s goal is to penalize websites that abuse of advertising, said Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, during his keynote session at PubCon in Las Vegas.
Google Penalizes Ad Heavy Pages
Google’s search algorithm will be able to analyze the proportion of ads, as well as their visibility compared to the real content of the page.
Ad heavy websites usually make it difficult for users to find good content on web pages, notably because ads usually obscure content.
Others websites that abuse of advertising also try to fool users in making them believe ads are part of the content, especially affiliated websites that want monetize their website by generating more traffic through sponsored links.
In these both cases, websites may be considered as spam by Google, and see their rankings dramatically decrease.
Above The Fold Ads
Besides, displaying too many ads in the “above the fold” section of your website is also something to avoid in terms of SEO. “Above the fold” is the area of a webpage that can be visible without scrolling.
However, this announcement is a bit odd since Google AdSense advices you to place ads above the fold.
Google Is Not Perfect
Matt Cutts also admitted that Google’s search algorithm still occasionally makes mistakes and unfairly marks a website as spam.
If your website has been marked as spam but you don't agree with this decision, you can report the problem to his team of spam experts.
SEO always evolving
As Matt Cutts noticed, “SEO will always be evolving”. Google strives to deliver a better search experience to users with better, fresher, and more personalized results.
Well, SEO survived Panda update, and will survive Google’s latest search algorithm update that allows users to get fresher results.
Read more about our SEO tips for Google and Baidu.
Today I am writing about Baidu SEO audit tool available in Baidu Zhanzhang, the Chinese search engine’s equivalent of Google Webmaster Tools.
The service is currently in a beta version and isn't available to everyone.
The tool checks and grades your website on a scale of 0-100 according to several factors, namely:
- The length of your URLs. Keep them short! According to Baidu, the length of your URLs should not exceed 255 bytes.
- The use of dynamic parameters. Check your URL parameters to avoid creating several URLs which access the same page, and therefore avoid having duplicate content issues.
- Your Meta data. If you do not include or use generic terms in Title and Meta Description, you could negatively affect your display and rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Your frame information. Baidu recommends you not to use any iframe on your website.
- Your flash. As you know, search engines cannot read everything contained in flash animations. However you can write text descriptions to help Baidu better understand the content of your flash animation.
- Your images. The use of “alt” tag helps Baidu better index your website’s images.
Well, this is not very detailed SEO information but Baidu makes a good step in providing users with support. If you want to read more, you can have a look at our previous articles on how to do Baidu SEO.
Below are 10 major SEO mistakes made by millions of websites and some advice on how you can avoid them!
Google released its +1 button. Basically, when someone likes you, he/she clicks on the button to show their appreciation.
it means that google will have access to millions of people’s vote (a bit like the facebook “like” button).
What is google going to do with this piece of information?
Well, they included it in their rankings algorithm to know where to show your website when someone searches for what your website deals with.
To which extend?
We don’t know, experience will tell. The impact of this +1 button is not known for now. They just said they’ll take it into account.
What I think ?
Ok, so I see on the forums people arguing that this information won’t really be used because people can create fake accounts. That is simply not possible. And here is why :
- Facebook (the enemy) has already this “likes” and has millions of them, if google doesn’t react now, facebook could build … a better search engine than google. And let me tell you this is the biggest threat the mountain view company is facing.
- If they are smart, and I bet they are, their algorithm will take into account numbers that will separate fake accounts with real ones : is the google account used everyday? Is it open since a long time? Do they correspond with more than 100 / 1000 people? They have access to data that could help them differentiate most part of fake and real accounts. They would be stupid not to use it (and again, I believe they are not)
- They make you work for them for free ! yes, they have wonderful computers, but what if they had millions of people liking something, wouldn’t that be a sign that this something is interesting, probably, somehow ? yes.
Should you add that button?
Well, if traffic, visitors, prospects, clients, buyers, are important to you. Then YES you should. If you don’t care about it (then can you remind me why the hell did you open a website ? ;)
Where to find it to add it to your website?
Because Baidu is China's top search engine (far ahead of Google - see our previous post about search engine market share in China). By the way, Baidu CEO Robin Li recently confirmed at the Web 2.0 San Fransisco that the search company would soon expand into new countries, beyond China and Japan.
Baidu follows specific ranking rules that you should understand if you want your Website rank well on Baidu.
It has now been a couple of years we have been working on SEO for Baidu. Below is a summary of our previous posts giving you SEO tips and tools for Baidu:
- Baidu SEO tips: what you should absolutely know in order to rank higher on Baidu
- Our Baidu rank tool to easily check your Baidu ranking (and your Google ranking too)
- How to submit your URL to Baidu
- How to optimize your Chinese URLs for Baidu