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12 Ways to Increase Traffic From Google Without Building Links

Izunna Okpala

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Link building is hard, but it’s not the only way to make traffic gains in Google’s search results.

1. In-depth articles
According to the MozCast Feature Graph, 6% of Google search results contain In-depth articles. While this doesn’t seem like a huge numbers, the articles that qualify can see a significant increase in traffic. Anecdotally, we’ve heard reports of traffic increasing up to 10% after inclusion.

By adding a few signals to your HTML, your high quality content could qualify to appear. The markup suggested by Google includes:

While Google seems to favor authorities news sites for In-depth Article inclusion, most sites that may qualify don’t have the proper semantic markup implemented.

2. Improving user satisfaction
Can you improve your Google rankings by improving the onsite experience of your visitors?
In many ways the answer is “yes,” and the experience of several SEOs hints that the effect may be larger than we realize.
We know that Google’s Panda algorithm punishes “low-quality” websites. We also know that Google likely measures satisfaction as users click on search results.
“… Google could see how satisfied users were. … The best sign of their happiness was the “long click” – this occurred when someone went to a search result, ideally the top one, and did not return.”
-Stephen Levy from his excellent book In the Plex
The idea is called pogosticking, or return-to-SERP, and if you can reduce it by keeping satisfied visitors on your site (or at least not returning to Google to look for the answer somewhere else) many SEOs believe Google will reward you with higher positions in search results.

pogosticking

Tim Grice of Branded3 reports a saying they have at their SEO agency:
While we have no direct evidence of pogosticking in Google’s search results, we’ve seen enough patents, interviews and analysis to believe it’s possibly one of the most underutilized techniques in SEO today.

3. Rich snippets from structured data
Google constantly expands the types of rich snippets it shows in search results, including events, songs, videos and breadcrumbs.
If you’re just getting started, check out this amazingly helpful Guide to Generating Rich Snippets from the folks at SEOgadget.

4. Video optimization
Pixel for pixel, video snippets capture more search real estate than any other type of rich snippet, even more than authorship photos. Studies show our eyes go straight to them.

video opt

Unlike author photos, video snippets are often easier to display and don’t require connecting a Google+ account.
Video snippets generally require creating a video XML sitemap and adding schema.org video markup.
To simplify things, many third party services will take care of the technical details for you.
Recommended reading: Getting Video Results in Google

5. Google authorship
Scoring the coveted author photo in Google search results doesn’t guarantee more clicks, but getting the right photo can help your click-through rate in many results.
What makes a good author photo? While there are no rules, I’ve personally tested and studied hundreds of photos and found certain factors help:

  • Use a real face, not a company logo, cartoon or icon
  • High contrast colors. Because the photo is small, you want it to stand out with good separation between the background and foreground.
  • Audience targeted. For example, young Disney fans are probably less likely to click on an old guy in a suit who looks like a financial adviser.

Google recently got more selective about the author photos it chooses to show, but if you implement authorship correctly you may find yourself in the 20% (according to MozCast) of all search results that include author photos.

6. Improving site speed
Improving site speed not only improves visitor satisfaction (see point #1) but it may also have a direct influence on your search rankings. In fact, site speed is one of the few ranking factors Google has confirmed.
One of the interesting things we learned this year, with help from the folks at Zoompf, is that actual page load speed may be far less important than Time to First Byte (TTFB). TTFB is the amount of time it takes a server to first respond to a request.

median

As important as page speed is for desktop search Google considers it even more important for mobile devices. Think about the last time you waited for a page to load on your cell phone with a weak signal.
“Optimizing a page’s loading time on smartphones is particularly important given the characteristics of mobile data networks smartphones are connected to.”
– Google Developers
Suggested tool: PageSpeed Insights

7. Smartphone SEO
Aside from speed, if your website isn’t configured properly for smartphones, it probably results in lower Google search results for mobile queries. Google confirms that smartphone errors may result in lower mobile rankings.

  • What is a smartphone error? It could include:
  • Redirecting visitors to the wrong mobile URL
  • Embedding a video that doesn’t play on a particular phone (Flash video on an iPhone, for example)
  • Pop-ups that aren’t easily closed on mobile
  • Buttons or fonts that are too small on a mobile device

Google recommends making your site responsive, but many of the top brands in the world, including Apple.com, don’t have responsive sites. Regardless, a good mobile experience is imperative.

8. Expanding your international audience
Does your website have traffic potential outside your existing country and/or language?
Oftentimes, the opportunities for appearing in international search results are greater than staying within your own borders, and the competition sometimes less. To see if it’s worth your while to make an investment, check out this
International SEO Checklist by Aleyda (who is also a mobile SEO expert—it’s so unfair!)

seo checklist

9. Social annotations with Google+
When you share content on Facebook and Twitter, your network basically sees it only when they are looking at Facebook and Twitter.
On the other hand, when you share content on Google+, your network can see it every time they search Google.
Google’s own research shows that users fixate on social annotations, even when presented with videos and other types of rich snippets.
The easiest way to take advantage of this is to expand your Google+ network and share good content regularly and often. Rand Fishkin elegantly explains how to use Google+ to appear in the top of Google results every time.
Additionally, content shared through Google+ often ranks in regular search results, visible to everyone on the web, regardless of their social connections.

10. Snippet optimization
This goes back to basic meta tag and title tag optimization, but it’s a good practice to keep in mind.
In the past two years, Google changed the maximum length of title tags so that it’s no longer dependent on the number of characters, but on the number of pixels used, generally around 500 pixels in length. This keeps changing as Google tests new layouts.
Because 500 pixels is difficult to determine when writing most titles, best advice is still to keep your titles between 60-80 characters, or use an online snippet optimization tool to find your ideal title tag length.
Google also updated its advice on meta descriptions, further clarifying that duplicate meta descriptions are not a good idea. Matt Cutts tells us that if you can’t make your descriptions unique for each page, it’s better to have none at all.
“You can either have a unique meta tag description, or you can choose to have no meta tag description.”
Google’s Matt Cutts

Given that duplicate meta descriptions are one of the few HTML recommendations flags in Webmaster Tools, does this indicate Google treats repetitive meta descriptions as a negative ranking factor? Hmmm….

11. Updating fresh content
Websites that stop earning new links often lose ground in Google search results. At the same time, sites that never add new content or let their pages go stale can also fall out of favor.
Freshening your content doesn’t guarantee a rankings boost, but for certain types of queries it definitely helps. Google scores freshness in different ways, and may include:

  • Inception date
  • The amount (%) your content changes
  • How often you update your content
  • How many new pages you create over time
  • Changes to important content (homepage text) vs. unimportant content (footer links)

fresh score

Recommended reading: 10 Illustrations on How Fresh Content Can Influence Rankings

12. Ongoing on-page SEO
The factors listed here only scratch the surface of earning more real estate in search results. Issues such as indexing, crawling, canonicalization, duplicate content, site architecture, keyword research, internal linking, image optimization and
1,000 other things can move ranking mountains.
The job of the Technical SEO becomes more complex each year, but we also have more opportunities now than ever.
It’s easy to think nothing is new in SEO, or that SEO is easy, or that Google will simply figure out our sites. Nothing is further from reality.

Google Developers

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A conference on blockchain and health is scheduled to be held at the Africa Blockchain Developers Call.

Izunna Okpala

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The Africa Blockchain Developers Call (ABDC) Pan-African Bootcamp on blockchain technology has declared its intention to hold a weekend conference on incorporating blockchain technology into Africa’s health sector.

In an attempt to execute comprehensive blockchain training sessions and promote the implementation of specially designed applications for different sectors in Africa, the Bootcamp, officially launched on 5 September, has taken on a host of African developers.

The Bootcamp also features virtual weekend conferences on many use-cases for blockchain. These conferences are aimed at encouraging creative and comprehensive discussions on the implementation of blockchain technology in Africa, including platform presentations by businesses and panel sessions on many Blockchain issues. The first meeting, focusing on Blockchain in Finance, took place on September 5. It featured a keynote speech given by Professor Anicia Peters, University of Namibia Pro-Vice Chancellor for Science, Innovation and Development.

The next conference, scheduled to take place on October 3rd, will focus on the theme: Blockchain in Health. The keynote speech will be given by Arnab Paul, President of the Kolkata Chapter in India. Several organizations and startups will also give platform presentations via their representatives based on medical use cases for blockchain technology.

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Pan-African incubator, MEST Africa to invest $700k in its Class of 2020

Izunna Okpala

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After graduating its 2020 class a month ago, MEST Africa, the Pan-African incubator, revealed that it will invest $100k each in seven start-ups.

In the final pitching event, fifteen teams participated, but only seven were picked, adding $700k to the overall funding round for this class.

In addition to the funding, start-ups can also participate in the ongoing incubation programme at MEST.

Ashwin Ravichandran, managing director of MEST Africa, had this to say, speaking about the range.

This was the first time that our entrepreneurs were educated online and away from our campus for the most part, and I’m proud to say they came out stronger than ever. We are incredibly excited about the 7 companies in which we have chosen to invest and look forward to continuing our support and mentorship as they start their companies across the continent.

The seven startups include:

Shopa, a last-mile ordering and delivery startup for informal retailers in Africa.

Heny, a forum to explore new flavors and perspectives for young professionals by changing the way diners eat.

Boxconn, a network that offers companies and individuals access to a list of confirmed distribution partners nearest to them, instantly delivers packages from one location to another.

KPILens, a start-up that automates the documentation, tracking and assessment process for development organizations and makes it simpler.

Tendo, an online network that ties independent resellers to companies, aims to tackle two of the biggest issues facing Africa: unemployment and gender inequality.

Joovlin, helps fintech platforms and merchants increase their sales by interconnecting mobile wallet users and allowing them to transact with each other.

Eleka, streamlines onboarding procedures for customers that are fraught with lengthy and expensive labor measures.

Move In Rentals, Credia, Uyolo, VendoorPro, Trastea, Cornerstock, Colibri, and JidiTrust are the other startups that didn’t receive funding from MEST.

Last year, MEST invested $100k in eleven startups while celebrating its 11th year in business. The sum, $1.1 million, represented the organization’s largest single cohort investment.

And although the amount this year is $400k smaller, the selected startups will have the opportunity to enter the incubator ‘s portfolio of over 40 startups across Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

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Get Financial assistance through the Bold.org Scholarship for US Universities

Izunna Okpala

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Tuition waivers or scholarships are financial assistance incentives intended to help students pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree. A scholarship is only just a one-time test. Other school scholarships are annual and provide money per semester or school year for the students. These grants are special from student loans because they don’t have to be paid back.

Students will earn the money in their name directly as verification. In other instances, the money is donated to the school for the student. The student would then pay the school in those cases for the difference on any money owed for tuition , fees, room , and board. If the scholarships and other forms of financial aid are adequate to cover the direct costs of education, the applicant may be refunded the excess money.

About Bold.org

Bold.org is a Scholarship website established in 2019. The platform’s concept is simple: corporations, charities, and even individuals can build a personalized scholarship, internship, or student grant opportunity. Such programs could be targeted at helping a range of high-potential individuals with a wide array of interests, talents, and backgrounds.

The kind of Scholarship in Bold.org

Bold.org scholarships tend to be very precise, which is a very positive thing for students. There are scholarships for students who love reading, Native American youth scholarships and scholarships for students who want to have a major in philosophy.

Like several other sources of scholarships, the programs aim to help a wide variety of education levels from high school students to medical students! Below are some of the best scholarships we profiled at Bold.org:

  1. Minority Women in STEM Bi-Annual Scholarship
  2. One Move Ahead Chess Scholarship
  3. High School Social Leaders Scholarship
  4. The “Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship
  5. Bold.org No-Essay Community Scholarship
  6. Recent Immigrant Scholarship
  7. Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship

How do I get signed up?

You can get signed up for free on the Bold.org website. Signing up is easy should only take five minutes or so.

My Profile in Bold.org

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