#SEOPodcast292 – Do You Need an XML Sitemap?
Chuck: Let me say it one more time. Take the ad text and use it as your meta description for the ads that are converting. I hope that I didn’t have to say that [0:23:14] [Indiscernible].
Chuck: Don’t take the ads that Google has posted all on its own and use those. Please.
Chuck: Yeah. That ad that wasted all your budget and didn’t get any conversions, don’t use that one.
Chris: Now, be careful. Drill down on this. We’re not just talking about AdWords conversions. We’re talking about actual conversions to business. If you get a ton of AdWords conversion, let’s say you get 100 but none of those convert into business — they call. They fill out a form, and they don’t become customers. They don’t get you money in some ways. But you have some other ad that only converted a lot lower percentage —
Chuck: But those people.
Chris: — but five of them became customers —
Chuck: That’s what you go for.
Chris: — choose that one.
Chuck: That’s what you go for. I would probably reverse engineer it. I’d start from analytics, looking at your conversions, and backtrack all the way through your pay. Figure out which ad led to that contact form submission which ad led to that phone call and then start it from there. We’ve got technical difficulties.
Chris: Yeah. A lot of that will be good though.
Chuck: Number three, monitoring your site links. We were just talking about this at our Algo Cat, site links and call-outs and extensions and things like that. Monitor those. Janet says, “Site links are a great way to drive traffic deeper into your website if it’s to a place where you want your visitors to go.” She’s right.
I think what you really have to do here is understand the purpose of those site links. More importantly, understand your site, which pages convert on your site, which pages get the most traffic on your site, which pages have the lowest bounce rate, have the most time on site. Get that sort of data because those are the pages that you likely want to include in your site links, the pages that have the highest engagement, the pages that actually convert people. You don’t want your FAQ page showing in your site links.
Chris: Or just like you were saying, back it out, out of analytics. Where are the most actual conversions —
Chuck: Coming from.
Chris: Any one of the pages in the path that led to a conversion, probably —
Chuck: Might be a site link.
Chris: — good words for site links.
Chuck: Exactly. Yeah, number three, monitoring site links. Number four.
Chuck: Lack of structured markup. Bing! Janet, great one. That almost could have been number one. She goes onto say, “Rich snippets are a fantastic way to make your SERP result larger and more visible.” Duh, she’s absolutely right. We were just talking about this.
Structured data, for those who may not know what that is, it’s really just a code that you can put on certain elements on your website, like articles or events or dates or addresses and things like that.
Chuck: They really do a couple of things. One, helps the bot, the Google bot or the spider, whatever is indexing that site, helps that better understand what the content is about, helps the browser understand how it needs to present it, and it helps the user convert better because that same-structured data turns into a rich snippet or a site link or whatever you marked it up for.
So, when you have a lack of structured data markup then you’re really telling the bot, “You just need to forget what this is. I could have made it easier for you, but I’ll make it hard.”
Chris: Good luck.
Chuck: Good luck.
Chris: Here’s my site. Good luck.
Chris: Treat me well.
Chuck: So, taking the time to mark your data is extremely important, for at least these things. There are over 100 things you could use structured data markup for, but I will suggest your NAP. Anytime your name, address and phone is on your site, mark it up.
Chris: Structured markup.
Chuck: Any products you have, mark them up.
Chris: Hopefully, your shopping cart does it already. If not, frankly, choose a different cart.
Chuck: Choose a different cart. This is a quick punch in the face to WooCommerce because they do that already.
Chuck: Reviews, mark them up. Events, you having any events that’s going on that you’re literally advertising on your site, mark those up too. There’s a whole gamut of things that you could be marking up for but at the very least, markup those, and you should be pretty good. Lack of structured markup, ironically, this is a problem across the Internet that’s just a newer adaptation to SEO that a lot of people just aren’t taking advantage of.
Chuck: I see this one all the time, broken analytics tracking.
Chris: We’ve actually, back in the day, we’ve created it a couple of times. “Let’s go check out that data.”
Chris: “Who forgot to put the analytics on?”
Chuck: Or, who broke it? Broken analytics data. She said that analytics are the marketer’s and the webmaster’s best friend. It tells you who comes, who goes, how they got there and how they interact with your website. She also says, “You can’t adequately benchmark organic traffic and track progress without analytics firing properly.”
She’s right. Analytics data drives decisions. You must have accurate data. You must have the right statistics about how your site is performing. So, I will say not only to make sure your data is working, that it’s not broken; I would say, improve how it is working. Make sure your analytics is filtering out the right things, like your IP address and spam bots and ghost bots and all that sort of deal.
Chris: Ghost visits, yeah.
Chuck: Ghost visits. Make sure that is not only working right, but filtering out right because there’s nothing worse than a whole bunch of skewed data.
Chris: How about goals?
Chuck: Make sure your goals are implemented, multiple goals. Depending on your site, for every conversion type, should be a goal. Product purchase, goal. Contact form submission, goal. Newsletter subscription, goal. Make those goals.
Chris: Or maybe it’s goal!
Chuck: Exactly. Yeah, punch in the face to Javier.
Yeah. You want to set a goal for all your conversions. Frankly, we’re working on setting up goals for phone calls. Why? Because that’s a conversion. You need your analytics to be able to track that. Why? So you can go and reverse engineer it and figure out how that call happened, where that call came from, which site link led to that phone call. If your analytics are fixed and installed properly then you’ll have access to some kind of data.
Chris: You do all that so you can reinvest. You may reinvest in the time to make the proper site link — that’s a reinvestment — or more pay-per-click or more SEO effort or articles.
Chuck: Or maybe that site link page, you may reinvest in changing how that page looks; moving the form around, making some page adjustments. The fact that you have that data, you can make those educated decisions. You’re not just guessing at what you think maybe worked. You actually have data to support it.
She’s right. I understand the logic for it. In some cases it’s necessary. You want to make it a pop-up. You want to make it isolated. You want to remove all distractions and make that the focus. I get it. But from an SEO perspective, there’s a lot more value in having that video embedded directly in the content, in that page. That way, that whole page, they work together. That video helps that page rank for search terms and, vice versa, that page helps that video rank for search terms when they’re on the same page together. So, you want to embed them there.
I will say, try to stay away from the Flash embeds because those are just not going to show on some people’s devices.
Chris: On some browsers and —
Chuck: You’re going to have some issues. Here’s another pro-tip about embedding video. Make it responsive. It has to be responsive. People hate going to a mobile site on their phone. They’re looking at it. When a video comes up, you have to pinch and zoom, or adjust to horizontal view or landscape view because the video didn’t respond. You didn’t embed it right. So make sure those videos are responsive when you embed them.
Number seven —
Chuck: — is a pretty good one. Too much code, as a matter of fact, she says, “Extraneous codes.” She says, “We have to stop the insanity with extraneous code. If your page doesn’t need that code, get rid of it. Extra code just slows down your page speed.”
She’s right. Get rid of all that extra code. Clean your theme up. Get rid of plug-ins that you’re not using. Get rid of extra tracking codes. You’ve got 2, 3 old analytics on there. Get rid of those. Have one. Multiple style sheets and all that stuff, consolidate those. Get rid of the extra code. Watch your site speed up, and watch that inherently make your ranking go up because site speed is pretty important. So, yeah, get rid of extra code.
One of the real reasons you want to get rid of extra code, especially from a content management system relation, because you leave gaps and potential holes to get hacked because you left some plug-in that was outdated. You still have it active. You’re not using it, but it’s active on your site. Now you didn’t update some security release or whatnot, and now you’re vulnerable because it is extraneous code. So, remove all of that and keep what you’re actually using active. Everything else, get rid of it.
Number eight, she says, “No XML site map.” Good one. She says, “How fast a new post on my company’s blog would appear in the Google index if I had it on the XML site map and the site map registered through Search Console, eight seconds.” Interesting. She also said, “It literally was indexed by Google more quickly than I could switch my browser views and search. So, if you’re writing great content on your site, make sure the search engines can see it as soon as they can can be ranked.”
Duh. Thank you, Janet, great answer. She is absolutely right. This is something we’ve always done. Anytime you’re adding a new blog post, you’re adding new content, you’re adding some new pages, you’re adding new products, you’re adding whatever to your site, there’s some new update, update your site map. Resubmit it. You just have to do it because it’s the easiest way to get your newest content in Google’s index.
Chris: You’ve got to add one caveat. Normal sites are probably not going to get an eight-second turnaround. The reason hers does is because she’s constantly updating content, so Google is always going back to her site to index her site.
Chuck: Yeah. She’s posting frequently and so she gets frequent visits.
Chris: Yes. If you haven’t updated your website in a year and then you upload whatever, a —
Chuck: A site map.
Chris: — a blog post — and she made sure it was on the site map — then open up another browser. It’s not going to be there. Google is not going to come back until you actually go into Webmaster Tools and resubmit that site map.
Chuck: Resubmit that page. Exactly. So, go do that. Anytime you update your site, update your site map, and have Webmaster Tools or Search Console resubmit it. So, punch in the face to you, Janet, great article, the Eight Most Common but Simple Missed Opportunities in Optimizing Content.
Chris: All right, good stuff. Wow. All right. So that is the meat of our podcast. We’ve got a little bit of —
Chuck: Blank stare, yeah.
Chris: — blank stare.
Chuck: It’s more of a moment of silence today. This moment of silence goes out to two different people. The first one is Dana Lookadoo. May you rest in peace, Dana. We give condolences to your husband and your family. You did a lot for the SEO industry, Internet Marketing as a whole, and we appreciate you.
The second one goes to some kids. We had a school bus accident here in Houston area. School bus ran over a cliff, off a freeway, and some kids lost their lives. Things are even worse when children die. So we just want to take a brief moment and pay respects.
Yeah. May you all rest in peace.
Chris: All right. So, this wraps up our podcast. I always like to say, if you’re looking to grow your business with the largest, simplest marketing tool on the planet —
Chuck: The Internet.
Chris: — call eWebResults for increased revenue in your business. Our phone number is 713-592-6724. If you have a referral, that’s somebody who’s interested in Internet marketing, they need the service, you can send them to us. They pay their bills, we pay you. It’s actually pretty simple how that works.
Remember, we are filmed live at 5999 West 34th Street Suite 106 — the transcripts of this podcast and the video of this podcast, which apparently is going to be eight sections on this particular podcast —
Chuck: I know. Ustream, a blank stare to them.
Chris: Yeah. We need to come up with something else. Are available on our website, ewebresults.com. Of course you can find them on our YouTube page, youtube.com/ —
Chris: Until the next podcast, my name is Chris Burres.
Chuck: Charles Lewis.
Chris: Bye-bye for now.
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