Super Bowl LII takes place this Sunday, February 4th at 6:30pm in Minnesota. Last year, more than 111 million viewers watched Super Bowl LI and the incredible comeback of the New England Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons. It can be expected that a similar number of viewers will tune in again this year as the Patriots battle the Eagles for what could be their 6th Super Bowl win.
Although actually watching the Super Bowl is the most important event this upcoming weekend, personally, I find that the food during the Super Bowl is just as important to the overall experience.
In my house, during football season, there’s always something “buffalo chicken” related, whether it be wings, tenders or a nice dip (my favorite). But, what about outside of my house? Which is most popular? To find my answer, I went to right to the source: Google. What is the most searched for buffalo chicken snack form during the week leading up to Sunday’s game? Looks like the Internet is with me because “buffalo chicken dip”, in red, has historically been the most popular of the “buffalo chicken” related snacks leading up to the Super Bowl:
Blue Cheese or Ranch with your buffalo chicken?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, with “buffalo chicken…”, in my house, comes the debate ranch or blue cheese. I was hoping to finally put an end to this debate and prove the blue cheese was the favored pairing, by researching average monthly search numbers using Google Adwords. Unfortunately, my research proved me wrong.
Comparing the query “ranch recipes” to “blue cheese recipes”, ranch outnumbered blue cheese by an average of 700 monthly searches, according to Google Adwords. Even the trend for these searches proved me wrong! “Ranch recipes” are more popular during AFC and NFC Championships and Super Bowl weekend than “blue cheese recipes”.
Based on that information, looks like I’ll be making a buffalo chicken dip with ranch instead of blue cheese mixed in.
Who wants to be healthy on Super Bowl Sunday?
Turns out, a lot of people do. As did many Americans, I set a goal to get healthier in 2018. Obviously, buffalo chicken dip with ranch dressing is definitely not the way to go about doing that. Lucky for me, I’m not the only one looking for either healthy or good Super Bowl snacks! Interestingly enough, looking at Google trends, the query “healthy super bowl snacks” has seen a 50% rise in search queries since last Super Bowl weekend. Looking at January and February 2017 average monthly searches for “healthy super bowl snacks”, the query had 1.2 million and 1.8 million searches, respectively.
Looking for inspiration to make some healthy super bowl snacks along with your buffalo chicken dip? The following websites are holding the top spots in search results:
Let’s not forget about those 3 million American’s who have celiac disease that need a gluten-free option to indulge in during the Super Bowl. Although queries surrounding “gluten-free super bowl snacks” range from 10 to 40 average monthly searches, according to Google Adwords, the following websites hold the top spots in search results for these treats:
Gluten-free or not, healthy snacks or buffalo chicken dip, I know I can’t wait until game time to watch Super Bowl LII and munch on some yummy treats, no matter what they are. Oh, ya, and Go Pats!
Earlier this year, Google started including brands’ social profiles within its Knowledge Graph panel. In the past, this feature only applied to famous people, such as actors, musicians and politicians. What does this mean for brands that Google will now pick up their social handles?
It comes down to two things:
• If your brand is already active in the social space and has a great presence, it will have even a better visibility in search results.
• If you haven’t had the time to build out your brands’ social profiles, this is yet another reason why you absolutely should. ASAP.
More importantly, Google now allows companies to add markup language to their sites to specify their official social profiles for search engine crawlers. Let’s take a look at why this update matters for search and how your plan of attack should look like to leverage it to your best advantage.
Here is a screen shot of the Best Buy Knowledge Graph:
Just as in the past, you see a snapshot from the brand’s Wikipedia page (as many of us know, this is how most Knowledge Graphs are generated). Right below it, Best Buy’s social handles are displayed. By the way, Google currently picks up profiles from the top social networks (interestingly, MySpace is on the list):
I do anticipate this list expanding. So, if Pinterest and Tumblr are an integral part of your marketing campaign, this is not by any means the reason to drop them and bring your brand back to the antique MySpace. Just like anything, take this update with a grain of salt and really think what the best strategy is for your brand.
However, even if you’re a small B2B business, this is a no-brainer to build out your profiles on top networks (at the very least, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn), just so you can own that Web real estate for the branded queries.
Now, Google+ is just as important as ever to your search campaigns. Below the social profiles’ links, Google Knowledge Graph displays your latest Google+ posts, followed by your competitors’ information. If you maintain solid presence in social channels and regularly update your brand’s Google+ page, you’d be able to push competitors’ mentions down the bottom of the Knowledge Graph panel and really dominate that digital real estate.
For example, in the following search results below, two competitive beauty brands, Kiehl’s and L’Occitane, both have solid Knowledge Graphs. However, due to the fact that more L’Occitane’s social profiles are picked up, in addition to the company’s Google+ updates, you have to scroll down the search engine result page to see competitive logos. In the Kiehl’s example, competitors’ presence is way more prominent:
So, if you are serious about your brand’s digital marketing, I highly recommend that you add the following to your to do list:
• Invest effort in building out your brand’s presence in top social networks.
• Maintain active Google+ page.
• Implement Google-recommended structured data markup on your site to distinguish your brand’s official social profiles. Conveniently, Google outlines a detailed guide on how to implement this markup in its Developer’s Guide here: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/customize/social-profiles
I hope I convinced you to think about social marketing. Stay tuned on more updates on how to integrate search and social to really benefit your overall marketing efforts!
No website is perfect. But of all the potential issues that could affect user experience, none is so obvious as the one that announces itself: the 404 error. If a user encounters this issue on your or your client’s site, the server will clearly state there is a problem, usually with some variation of “404 error: Page not found.”
If you manage a very large site, 404 errors are inevitable at some point. The key is establishing a process to find and resolve them quickly and efficiently.
What is a 404 Error?
A 404 error is a page that was not properly removed from a website or redirected in your content management system (CMS). As a result, the page appears to live on the website, but it no longer exists on your server. If a user tries to visit the page, they receive an error message.
Regularly resolving your site’s 404 errors is a signal to Google that you are maintaining a healthy website. It also improves user experience by minimizing the number of broken pages visitors may encounter.
Tips for Managing 404 Errors
- Prioritize: If you have a large site with hundreds of 404 errors, the best option is to prioritize your efforts. Use Google Analytics (or your preferred web analytics platform) to evaluate how much organic traffic each 404 page has received over a predetermined period of time. Tackle the pages with the most traffic first, and work your way down.
- Automate: You can automate redirects using the .Htaccess file in your CMS. Choose which page you want to be the replacement for a 404 error page. It may be a custom redirect page, or you may want to send users back to your homepage or to a search function. Please note: An .htaccess file is an extremely sensitive file in your CMS. We highly recommend your IT department sign-off on any edits to an .htaccess file.
3 Tools for Fixing 404 Errors
Outlined below are some tools to effectively find and resolve 404 error pages.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools (a.k.a. Search Console) is a resource from Google that web developers use to monitor website issues and control how their sites appear in search results.
Assuming your GWT is verified, here are the steps you take:
2. Select your domain
3. Select ‘Crawl’ on the left sidebar
4. Crawl Errors
5. Select ‘404 Errors’
6. Select ‘Download’ to export as Excel/CSV file
Screaming Frog (free and paid versions)
Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider is a tool that allows you to easily crawl hundreds of URLs for 404 errors. The free version will crawl up to 500 URLs; the paid version will crawl an unlimited number across your entire website. You just enter the URLs and the program creates a file ready for export.
Yoast SEO for WordPress (free and paid versions)
If you host your entire site or blog on WordPress, Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is a tool that can help you configure your pages for SEO. This plugin, which you download, allows you to edit your URLs, meta data, XML Sitemaps, as well as monitor for 404 errors via integration with Google Webmaster Tools. The premium version is available for $69/year for one site.
When to Use 301 Redirects
We highly recommend 301 redirects when you want to redirect individual pages or even entire websites. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. These types of redirects are especially useful when the missing page enjoyed a high organic search rank on search engines. The new, 301 redirect page maintains the SEO strength of the link even when redirected.
Sometimes there isn’t a good page to redirect to. In this case, a custom error page should be provided.
Creating Custom 404 Pages
If a permanent 301 redirect does not make sense, then you can consider creating a customized, visitor-friendly error page to appear in place of the missing URL. Typically, website use the same custom page across the site for 404 errors.
Custom error pages typically feature the following:
- A message to the user explaining that the page no longer exists
- A search box to help a visitor find exactly what they want
- A link to the home page
We hope this has been a helpful tutorial on how to find and fix 404 pages.
You can make it even easier on yourself and have Charles River Interactive give your site an in-depth SEO Analysis. Contact us today.
Interested in learning more tips for managing your website? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:
3 Reasons to Use Google Tag Manager
Mobile Search Updates: Why You Need a Mobile Site
We’ve done it. You have done it. So have a lot of other people we all know.
What is it?
Searched for information about a health condition online. As of February 2015, Google made it easier to find this type of information with a knowledge graph containing details for more than 400 medical conditions. And in early September, they more than doubled the number of conditions and enhanced the visual appearance of the health conditions knowledge graph, and added a downloadable PDF with the information. So now, when you search for a common condition such as “asthma”, you will see a page that looks like this:
I’m sure you’re thinking, “This is great – I get information about the condition, including symptoms and treatments. I don’t see any problems.” The problem is what if you are a hospital or medical facility with an asthma treatment program, and you have just spent time optimizing your web pages to rank in one of the top positions for the term? Now you are not only competing with health information sites such as WebMD as well as other hospitals, but you need to drag the searcher’s attention away from the bold visual.
All is not hopeless with this development. There are opportunities for hospitals and health care providers, including:
- Users that will scroll past the knowledge graph to organic results are likely to be more qualified leads. Students and casual browsers who are simply looking for definitions and general information will have no need to look further. Patients and families truly looking for care for a condition will be seeking additional information.
- Long-tail queries are (at least for now) not displaying the knowledge graph. So although phrases such as “exercise induced asthma” and “pediatric asthma” have less search volume than the broad term “asthma”, organic search results have better visibility and thus better click-throughs.
Beyond this, the question that remains for hospitals and healthcare providers is whether there is any benefit for them in maintaining pages on their site about medical conditions. For users that are seeking care for a condition, there is still value in gaining a ranking position in that space as the knowledge graph does not provide direction for treatment. Bottom line – perhaps there is a silver lining in the knowledge graph in allowing hospitals to do what they do best, provide treatment.
Since its launch in 2011, there has been reluctance among many marketers and non-marketers to embrace Google+ as a preferred social platform. Any mention of Google+ is usually met with an eye roll and the common (often-rhetorical) question: ‘Who even uses Google+?’ What has been lost on some, however, has become an advantage for others, considering the Google-owned social network functions hand-in-hand with local search and organic search display.
You can find local search influence in the Google Carousel, Google Maps, and on mobile devices – all three pull from Google+ and local search.
Google+ commands 300 million users and influences 43% of all Google searches with local query intent. Since the early years of Google’s social network, there have been several updates to increase ease of use. Previously known as Google Places, which became Google+ Local, the platform evolved last week to become Google My Business. The recent launch of Google My Business has changed the way we utilize Google products through the successful integration of social, search, and maps, all of which provide a better experience for customers worldwide (Google My Business is available in 236 countries and 65 languages).
Two of the most important updates in Google+ evolution are the improved user experience and cleaner dashboard operating system, as Local SEO experts have been bemoaning both for years. Google took notice and delivered a strong solution with Google My Business.
Google My Business Updates – in plain English
With a majority of web traffic coming from Google, many website owners tend to forget that Bing and Yahoo often round out that list in second and third place. While these numbers don’t (and maybe never will) match the traffic from Google, it’s important to keep in mind what’s on Bing’s radar.
Unlike Google, Bing does not officially announce algorithm updates. However, they do announce new features, such as the deep links directly in the search box, as seen below. This feature is similar to Google sitelinks, however Bing displays these results without even having to click the search button.