Business

Choral Project – Connecting People Through Choral Theatre, Education and Musical Excellence

Madison Choral Project was founded by Daniel Hughes in 1996 and has since been lauded by the San Jose Mercury News as “a Bay Area jewel.” The choir’s performances bridge the gap between text and music, singer and audience.

VOICE is based on the sentiment that choirs and singing defy borders, walls and distance, unite cultures and blend voices. It has brought together renowned music pedagogues, professors of teacher training institutions and conductors.

The Choral Project

The Choral Project is a professional choir that seeks to connect people to one another through choral theatre, education and musical excellence. Founded in 1996, it is known for presenting and preserving great works of choral literature while bridging the gap between text and music, and singer and spectator. The ensemble is equally committed to showcasing innovative and dramatically presented new work.

In addition to a comprehensive performing schedule, the Choral Project is involved in community outreach through a choral mentorship program and joint performances with local high school choirs. The ensemble has also commissioned and premiered works by contemporary composers such as Nico Muhly, Stephen Schwartz and Dale Trumbore. The Choral Project has recorded on the Clarion label and their albums include The Cycle of Life, Of Christmastide, Water & Light, Americana, Winter, One is the All, Tell the World, and Yuletide.

Aside from the group’s regular concerts, the Choral Project has a long history of collaboration and special projects with other organizations both in the Bay Area and across the country. The ensemble has appeared at many national and international events, including a performance at Washington D.C.’s National Cathedral, a live broadcast on Mexican national radio, and competing at the 58th annual International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, where they received second place in the mixed choir division.

As a part of its mission, the Choral Project strives to be a model for the future of professional choral singing in the United States. While there are many a cappella groups that operate on a semi-professional basis, few employ a full-time artistic director and rehearse their singers under a weekly schedule year-round. The Choral Project is committed to adopting this “project” model in order to offer its members a near-professional experience during their time at Pacific University.

The members of the Choral Project are a talented group of college students, who not only take a wide variety of classes, but are all highly involved in their own personal and professional lives. They often hold jobs outside the classroom, participate in campus organizations, and volunteer for a myriad of other activities. The Choral Project is a unique opportunity for these students to learn to lead and manage a group of their peers while developing the skills necessary to teach others.

The mission of Choral Project is to transform and heal the world through choral theater, education and musical excellence. The CP board of directors also supports the arts community through annual Alfred Nash Patterson Grants, which are awarded based on a rigorous application process that includes an in-depth review of applying choruses by a distinguished committee of artistic advisors.

In addition, the 501(c)3 organization supports choral excellence through outreach activities including a choral mentorship program, joint performances with visiting choirs and an annual Choral Composition Contest for high school and college students. The group is known for its dazzling performances and diverse repertoire. Their acclaimed recordings include Cycle of Life, Of Christmastide, Americana, Water & Light (which was #1 on the Clarion label), Winter, One is the All and Tell the World.

Choral Project members are also passionate about bringing the joy of music to people of all ages and backgrounds. The group’s educational programs encourage young women of richly diverse socio-ethnic backgrounds to find their voices in a supportive environment that builds self-esteem, confidence, and teamwork skills while developing an appreciation of world cultures and the power of music to bring people together.

As a nonprofit, Choral Project relies on the support of its volunteer corps to help usher at concerts and assist with fundraisers. We are grateful to our volunteers for the time and effort they put into this important work. We also rely on the financial support of individuals and organizations, including Choral Project members. To learn how you can support the organization, please visit our donation page.

For many years, Choral Project was the only professional choral ensemble in the state of Wisconsin. Its founder, Dr. Albert Pinsonneault, believed that the musical excellence of the choral art was not just something to be enjoyed by a small group of fans; that it had a profoundly positive effect on the lives of its members, and could therefore have a significant impact on the community as well.

The organization continues to operate in this vein. Our membership is diverse in terms of both race and gender, and represents a broad cross section of the community. Our goal is to provide our members with a professional experience and an opportunity for personal growth.

We perform a range of both traditional and contemporary repertoire, including the works of Bach, Debussy, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Holst, and Mozart as well as pieces by renowned composers such as Stephen Schwartz, Nico Muhly, Brent Heisinger, Joshua Shank, Michael Ostrzyga, and Eric Whitacre. In addition, our performances of newer music have been well received, including a world premiere by composer Brian Holmes. We have also had the honor of performing in some of the finest halls in the world, including Washington’s National Cathedral, San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Basilica, and multiple venues during our first international tour to Mexico and Costa Rica, where we were broadcast on Mexican National Radio.

Our recent productions include ICONS/IDOLS, a choral play for a dozen women that tells the story of Irene, Empress Regent and iconographer, in her struggle to establish her rule against the ninth century Iconoclastic Wars. It is the first of a tetralogy, and was produced as part of New Ohio’s Ice Factory in 2016.

The Choral Project is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), an organization dedicated to fostering and promoting choral singing through leadership, education, advocacy and fellowship. ACDA members are choral directors in public and private K-12 schools, community choruses, colleges and universities, and houses of worship. In addition to offering a variety of workshops and training opportunities, the organization provides a wide array of resources for its members and the broader choral music community, including the ChoralNet website, Choral Census, and International Choral Day.

It’s a well-established pattern that large orchestral sample companies, after dishing up their traditional four courses of strings, brass, woodwind and percussion, eventually get around to serving dessert in the form of a choir library. Spitfire Audio users have been banging their forks on the table demanding such a library for years, and finally got their wish in October of this year when the company released their new Whitacre Choir plugin.

A choir is a complex beast to capture in a virtual instrument, especially since the human voice is so dynamic and varied. Singers change their tone, tempo, dynamics, vibrato and even the way they connect notes to one another constantly. That’s why most choir samples invariably sound either synthetic and unnatural, or overly-emphatic, with vocal melisma (the artful connecting of a single syllable across multiple notes) being too often portrayed as ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s’ strung together without any real articulation or rhythm.

However, it is possible to create a powerful choir that feels natural and organic, and that’s exactly what the new Choral Project plugin does. It offers a variety of patch styles, including quick 4-part compositions with legato patches painted with a broad brush stroke, and more intricate short note and long note ensembles. It also includes individual solos, acoustic harmony voices and a rich reverb section with controls over Expression, Dynamic, Vibrato, Round Robins, Tightness and Release Trigger.

The entire library is based on 22 singers — 6 sopranos, 5 altos, 5 tenors and 6 basses — recorded in the majestic acoustics of Lyndhurst Hall at Air Studios in London, and featuring over 170 unique techniques with 111 distinct evolutions. In keeping with the rest of the Spitfire Audio catalogue, the choir was captured with a range of microphone placements — close, decca tree, ambient, wide outriggers and mid stage — to give you a wide range of control over how the voices fit in your mix.

Choral Project has a mission that goes beyond simply recording and releasing a product that sounds good. It’s about bringing the power of music to people who need it most. The troubled teenager finds a sense of purpose through the pursuit of artistic beauty, the shy girl discovers a courage she never knew she had, and the tough guy sheds tears as he hears his favorite song played by a group of strangers.

Online Marketing
Online Marketing

MCA Work From Home Reviews

MCA offers a variety of benefits to their employees, including flexible working conditions. Employees can work from home and are encouraged to participate in social activities. The company also offers a rewards program to encourage employee loyalty.

Online MarketingMCA is an excellent choice for small businesses seeking a reliable merchant cash advance provider. Unlike traditional business loans, MCA does not require any collateral and instead bases repayment on your debit and credit card sales. To learn more, visit MCA Work From Home Reviews.

What is MCA?

MCA is an abbreviation for “Merchant Cash Advance”. It’s a form of financing that isn’t a loan. Instead, it’s an advance on your business’ future credit and debit card sales. MCAs have quick approval turnarounds, and don’t usually require a good credit score or collateral like traditional loans. Because of these benefits, many small businesses turn to MCAs to get the funds they need quickly.

However, there are some drawbacks to MCAs. For one, they typically have higher interest rates than traditional loans. Another downside is that MCAs can have a negative impact on your business’ credit score. This can make it more difficult for your business to qualify for other financing options down the road.

In addition to high interest rates, MCAs often have other fees, such as a service charge, processing fee, and application fee. These additional fees can add up to a significant amount of money over time. Additionally, MCAs can have a short repayment period, which may make it difficult for your business to manage its cash flow.

A merchant cash advance is a lump sum of money that a lender will provide to your business in exchange for a percentage of future credit and debit card transactions. The amount that you pay back to the lender will depend on your average monthly sales. In general, the more sales you have, the lower your payments will be and the faster you’ll repay the advance.

Another important thing to note is that not all MCA providers report your payment history to the credit bureaus. This means that if you are late on a payment, your credit score will go down and your ability to secure financing could be affected.

To get an MCA, you’ll need to clear different national or state-level entrance exams. These exams will assess your skills in software development, computer networks, and multimedia systems. Once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll be able to apply for an MCA programme in various colleges across the country. The MCA course duration is two years. After graduating from the programme, you’ll be able to work in a variety of roles.

How does MCA work?

An MCA is a type of business financing that’s different from traditional bank loans. While both have requirements like credit scores, assets and debt to income ratios, MCAs can move faster because they don’t require collateral or personal guarantees. In addition, they’re often more lenient about negative data on a credit report. Additionally, they offer flexible repayment options because they’re based on the business’s projected sales.

MCAs also work differently from other types of funding, such as a personal loan or invoice factoring or financing. They’re not loans, but rather advances against future credit and debit card sales. Lenders usually advance 50% to 250% of a business’s average monthly credit card sales volumes. The loan’s repayment schedule is then based on a percentage of those future sales, which can be adjusted daily or weekly as the amount of future sales varies.

This arrangement can be a lifeline for businesses in need of extra cash, but it’s important to understand the costs involved. In addition to the upfront costs, MCAs can have high APRs because they’re typically used for riskier businesses. This is because the higher the risk, the more expensive it is to borrow funds from a provider.

Another drawback to merchant cash advances is that they don’t build your business’s credit score, so they may not help you qualify for more favorable lending terms. In addition, most MCA providers do not report your payments to credit bureaus, so relying on this type of financing can make it difficult to establish your business’s credit.

If you’re looking for a work from home opportunity that offers great benefits, consider promoting MCA’s Total Security Membership. The company pays you for every person you refer who joins and makes a purchase. It’s a very affordable way to make money while working from home, and it’s a great way to get started with online marketing.

MCA is a team-oriented company with a positive culture. Its employees are encouraged to be innovative and strive for success, while providing a healthy work/life balance. The company also provides a wide range of perks, including health insurance, dental care, 401(k) retirement plan and flexible work arrangements.

Is MCA a scam?

MCA is a legitimate business financing option that helps many small businesses grow and thrive. However, like any financial product, there are dishonest players who will try to take advantage of unsuspecting business owners. These scammers will often charge hidden fees or even make the terms of the agreement difficult to understand. To protect yourself from these scammers, it is important to do your research before choosing an MCA provider.

In addition to hidden fees, some MCA providers also charge high APRs, which can be a drain on cash flow for the business. This is why it is important to compare rates and choose a lender that offers the best rates. You can do this by looking at online reviews or asking for referrals from fellow business owners.

While MCA can be expensive, it is still a good option for some businesses. For example, if your business has seasonal sales, an MCA can give you quick access to funds to cover expenses during peak times. Furthermore, MCAs don’t require hard collateral, which can be beneficial for new businesses or those with limited assets.

Another benefit of MCA is that it can be approved in as little as one to three days. This is faster than the typical bank loan approval process. Additionally, you can borrow as much as $500,000 or more with an MCA. Finally, MCAs can be a great solution for businesses with poor credit because they don’t check your credit.

Despite the risks, MCA can be a great option for small business owners who need fast funding. Just be sure to do your homework and choose a trusted lender. Also, make sure to read the fine print carefully and understand all of the stipulations.

MCA Work From Home is a company that pays their employees well and has an excellent employee retention rate. In fact, the average MCA worker makes $55,985 per year. This is a competitive salary for the industry and location. The company also has a diverse workforce, with 42% of employees being female and 40% being ethnic minorities. In addition, the company has a great work-life balance and is known for its culture of learning.

Is MCA a good opportunity?

MCA is an excellent opportunity for those interested in the field of IT and computer science. It offers a wide variety of career options and can help you find a job with major corporations. It’s also a great way to get a competitive salary. However, it’s important to know your skills and understand the scope of the job before pursuing this degree.

Many people are confused about the difference between MCA and MBA. While both offer good opportunities, MCA is more focused on the IT industry. If you want to become a business leader, an MBA is a better choice. Both programs are great for those who love to work with computers and technology.

MCA has a very positive work culture, and the company provides a great benefits package. The company also has a good employee retention rate. The company has a good balance between work and family life, and employees have a lot of flexibility. They also provide a variety of training opportunities for their employees.

If you’re looking for a job with a company that’s committed to improving the lives of its employees, then you should consider applying to MCA. The company offers a range of benefits, including medical, dental, and vision coverage, as well as flexible work schedules and remote work. The company is also a great place to learn new skills and build your career. It has a very positive culture, and employees are highly motivated to achieve success in their roles. In addition, the company offers competitive salaries and excellent career development opportunities.

SEO Ideas

Wrapping up 2021 with our top 10!


30-second summary:

12 months, several curveballs, and some masterstrokesIf you missed out, today is a great day to look through the Search Engine Watch lens for the year gone byKey themes that were front of mind in 2021 – Google’s updates, cookie death counter-strategies, mastering customer experience elements, trust-building, and alternatives for search marketing and ranking

As the world, people, and of course businesses motored through a year of uncertainties – these crackers of articles gave your strategies an unfair advantage.

#1 – Google Page Experience update is all set to launch in May 2021 – Webmasters, hang in there!

You asked, “What is Page Experience, anyway? Do we really need to have an overflowing to-do list?” – and we answered everything around this enigma. This piece touched upon every aspect, angle, and action point that SEOs needed to know.

#2 – The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death

The ad tech and search industry continued to remain precarious that Google will use the cookie deprecation as a new way to establish market dominance to feed its own interests. Google expert, Susan Dolan drew from her rich experience and detailed realities of the search scape. She also shared insights and predicted future key themes that rose out of the 3p cookie death.

#3 – Everything you need to know about the Google MUM update

As the industry bid farewell to BERT, Google’s Multitask Unified Model (MUM) update in June 2021 opened new search experience dimensions. The cranked-up competition for search visibility between businesses and advertisers – left SEO practitioners and agencies with yet another burning question, “How will we win MUM’s good graces?” Joe Dawson’s comprehensive guide left no stone unturned.

#4 – Why killing your content marketing makes the most sense

“Kill your darlings”, yes, we said it! Though it sounded outlandish, this piece held wise and valuable advice from best-selling author Joe Pulizzi on why this could be one of the best business decisions you could’ve made in 2021.

#5 – Quora and Reddit: Powerhouses for SEO and marketing in 2021

Everyone is obsessed with Google, but did you know Reddit is the seventh most popular website in the US while Quora has a DR of 91? This guide shone a light on how your search strategy could take advantage of these platforms with diversification, tap into great brand-building opportunities, and enhance your E-A-T standing.

#6 – Now is the best time to stitch your search marketing loopholes before 2022

The third-party cookie still stands at a crucial intersection between digital marketing, SEO, paid media, web design, and several business tangents. The industry needed to think hard and think differently for a contingency plan. SEO pioneer, serial entrepreneur, and best-selling author, Kris Jones helped weave a tight SEO and search marketing strategy way ahead of 2022. Why? Because a stitch in time saves nine.

#7 – Seven first-party data capturing opportunities your business is missing out on

The internet continued zigging in a privacy-focused direction as a response to consumers’ increasing demand for a transparent, responsible, and ethical outlook towards their data. First-party data became indispensable and consumer trust, invaluable. While the playing field inched closer to the great reset, we revealed some hidden first-party gems every business could use to redesign their search marketing strategies.

#8 – UX: an important SEO ranking factor

The story of SEO and UX began almost 20 years ago with both making a foray into the market in the 1990s. Since then, SEO practitioners saw seasons change and the Page Experience, paired with data analysis finally etched UX as a key ranking factor. Atul Jindal condensed years of his experience working with fortune 50 companies into this SEO guide to help you win at SEO and search experience.

#9 – Cross-channel marketing: why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the Google basket

The pandemic didn’t let us forget that while every business is unique, budgets too took a hit, making allocation stringent. But why did so many businesses still stick to the “big guns” when allocating spending? Adzooma CEO Rob Wass and Cambridge University’s Akanshaa Khare joined forces to challenge this notion. They produced some truly unique insights that would make stakeholders rethink their media spending habits.

#10 – Core Web Vitals report: 28 Ways to supercharge your site

Everyone remembers the chaos surrounding the Core Web Vitals in early 2021. SEO folks were keen to get ahead on optimizing their site and Twitter threads were full of speculation. Armed with information, we shared a 28-point checklist on action items to spot, optimize, and embrace the inevitable rollout of these new ranking factors.

Thank you for being valuable supporters throughout our journey. Team Search Engine Watch wishes everyone a happy year-end and an adventurous 2022!

*Ranked on page views, time on page, and bounce rate.

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The post Wrapping up 2021 with our top 10! appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

SEO Ideas

How to optimize keywords and SEO titles with popular keywords

30-second summary:

Title optimization of articles, blogs, or webpages is critical to get traffic and earn money from Adsense and affiliatesThe standard advice is to stick to one keyword phrase per page to maintain strict relevance and avoid getting penalized for keyword stuffingAdding extra related keywords, however, apart from the modifiers and words to create a sensible title has the potential to get more traffic to websitesHere are some good insights and tips on how you can optimize your keywords titles

Optimizing titles of articles, blogs or webpages is critical for getting traffic and earning money from Adsense and affiliates. The standard advice is to stick to one keyword phrase per page to maintain strict relevance and avoid getting penalized for keyword stuffing. But adding extra, related keywords, apart from the modifiers and words to create a sensible title, has the potential to get more traffic to your site.

In this article, I’ll review, my own experience in crafting carefully multiple keyword titles.

Keep the title short – one keyword phrase to a page

As a golden tip, start targeting individual keywords on separate pages and use multiple pages for related words. General landing pages for mixed or general topics generally will not work because you will not be able to compete for popular single keywords without adding phrases for longtail titles. The general advice is that you should keep the title short (less than 70 characters) and only target perhaps two or three primary keywords that are highly relevant to the content of the page and its objective. You can of course develop long-tail keywords that include your primary keywords plus a series of modifiers to make a ‘sensible’ title that makes sense to humans and the test the bots use to evaluate your sites.

void keyword stuffing

There is a lot of information on the dangers of keyword stuffing, which means over-use of your keyword or keywords in the title, description, and the body copy. Google invokes a penalty for keyword stuffing, though the threshold keyword density is not exactly known. There are various tools for counting keyword use frequencies. Keyword Density is simply measured as the relative number of times your search term (Keyword or Keyword phrase) occurs as a percentage of the total number of words on a given page. The ideal Keyword Density must not be greater than 5.5 percent. But various search engines have different thresholds before they apply penalties. Reasonably, high Keyword Densities can help boost page rankings but you don’t have to overdo it.

Keyword Density can be boosted by using your keywords repeatedly in the:

Title tagHeader tagComment tagBody tagAnchor tagImage tagAlt tagDomain name, andParagraph tag

Another general piece of advice for titles is not to exceed using the identical keyword in the title more than twice.

How Google and other search engines crawl and rank your keywords in the title

It is not widely understood, but Google and other search engines register and rank every individual keyword in your title and every combination – including various orders and positions for the keywords. Although there is a priority for phrases with the keywords in the order they are in the Title, and for words that appear first, Google will register all the keywords and phrases and derive a ranking for them.

Dilution of the weight of the keywords in the title

Google also appears to regard long titles as more likely to be Spammy (especially very long titles). Longer titles may also appear keyword-stuffed. Research has shown that the first keyword in the title has the highest weight; the second keyword has somewhat less weight and so on. By adding more words you may dilute the weight applied to each of them. For targeting two-word searches and phrases, it is important to keep keywords close to each other and in their ‘natural’ order. Try to match the likely order of the terms in the search phrase, to the order in the title.

Use multiple keyword phrases multiply your traffic

If Google derives a rank for all the words in the title, surely, by including two or three keywords rather than one will be more likely to get more traffic. The traffic for each word should add up and multiply. Understanding when this is appropriate and when it is not is the crux of optimizing titles. As explained previously the weight or value of the keyword appears to fall rapidly as you move from the first word to the last. More keywords appear to dilute the weight given for each word. Also, there is the important issue of relevance. Your page may be penalized if the words you use are not highly relevant to the content of the page.

The key aspect is competition – only use a single phrase if the competition is high

If there is a lot of competition for a keyword then it is best to only use a single keyword or phrase. Stick to the keyword phrase you have found using the Google Keyword Planner for use in the title. You know the statistic and competition for that exact phrase and it is unwise to fiddle with it. Various tools can be used to estimate competition for the phrase and the likely traffic. The Keyword Research tool shows how even minor changes in the phrase can dramatically affect traffic and competition.

If the competition is high you have to maintain the strength of your page and title to compete. Adding extra phrases will dilute the weight applied to the keyword. You will be competing against pages that are likely to be strongly targeted on that keyword phrase as well. You could lose the battle if you don’t have that singular, highly focused title for the keyword.

If there is moderate competition enrich your title with more keywords

For moderate competition, there are several ways you can go to use multiple keywords in the title.

1. Use two or more Modifiers

The solution to not duplicating the keyword is to add one or two extra modifiers or action words. If you look at the competitive keyword phrases shown by the Google Keyword Tool you will often find that two phrases look promising that both contain the primary keyword or phrase.

[action word 1 keyword] + [keyword action word 2] = [action word 1 keyword action word 2]

Let’s say, for instance, you are after a keyword title for your article about Green Tea health benefits and you want to use a longtail keyword narrowing the search to extracts. The obvious solution is:

Health Benefits of Green Tea Extracts

This provides a title for four phrases

Benefits of GreenHealth Benefits of Green TeaGreen Tea ExtractsHealth Benefits of Green Tea Extracts

Another example is a title about Professional Make-up Artists

Reviews of Professional Make-up Artists + Make-up Artist Portfolios = Reviews of Professional Make-up Artist Portfolios

This makes the title target four phrases in one:

Reviews of Professional Make-up ArtistsMake-up Artist PortfoliosProfessional make-up artist portfoliosReviews of Professional Make-up Artist Portfolios

In both cases, this very simple tactic makes it possible to create a short concise title that is enriched by optimizing it for more than one key term and narrowing down your target audience. Perhaps your article is about creating portfolios and how to find and review make-up artists and this title targets these keywords. Of course, it is often hard to find word combinations similar to these and it emphasizes that title design is a real art. These examples also show how the use of action keywords and modifier phrases to target buyers who are ready to buy, which will fulfill the aim of your website.

2. Long tail action based keyword choices

Long-tail titles using action words are generally more effective, as action-based queries usually attract users that have already got their credit card out and are hungry to find what they want and to buy it. Targeting your audience will lose part of the potential audience but the ones you have filtered for will be more likely to buy.

The role of SEO title optimization is to enrich the keywords in the title that potential buyers might use when conducting a search to target the group that is interested in your product or services.

The best strategy is to build the longtail keyword title, not by using poorly selected action words as modifiers, but by researching the action words and phrases as well for maximum benefit.

Combine competitive keyword phrases to enrich the title

The Google Keyword Planner Tool might show two promising keyword phrases essentially related to the same topic. Let say, for instance, that you are trying to market green tea extracts using their health benefits, particularly to help people having issues with losing weight. The Google Keyword Planner Tool shows three competitive phrases

green tea health benefitsgreen tea extractgreen tea health benefits for weight loss

These phrases can be combined in ways that retain the order of the words (with green tea as the first phrase) but allow all these phrases to work in your title.

For example

Green Tea Extract: Health Benefits for Weight Loss

This longtail keyword is optimized for all three competitive phrases.

The ideal separator for two phrases

What is the ideal separator when using multiple keyword phrases? It does not really matter. You can use a pipe (|), a colon (:) a dash (-), or a comma (,)

However, don’t use the underscore ( _ ) as search engines don’t recognize it as a separator. These characters have no ranking benefit, but they help make your title readable.

Dealing with plurals and synonyms

In some cases, you may want to expand the keywords in the title to include plurals, synonyms, and other expressions for your topic. For example “architect supply”, “architectural supplies” and “technical drawing equipment” essentially deal with the same topic. You will need to craft the title to include these variants if you can.

For example: “Architectural supplies: Technical Drawing Equipment for Architects”

One of the potential dangers with targeting a single term in your title is that it creates a tendency for over-optimization, even when it’s not intended. You may use that single keyword everywhere on your page. If you include variants this is less likely to happen.

Don’t overdo it!

You need to be careful because adding more keywords can mean that each of them will have less and less impact. The more you try to stuff extra keywords into the less natural it is going to sound. For example, if you use the following title it will appear in the search results as –

Cheap Coffee | Gourmet Coffee | Ground Gourmet Coffee

Google won’t like it as it will be interpreted as keyword stuffing. Your potential customers won’t like it because they will see it as unnatural and likely to provide useless promotional material

Much better would be:

Low Price Ground Gourmet Coffee and Fresh Roasted Bean Suppliers

Which version looks better in the search results? Which one is less likely to be seen as keyword stuffing and deception?

If you have a keyword ‘Recycling Information – How And Where To Recycle

What if you want to optimize an article for the keyword “Recycling Tips” as well?

You could build a title such as

Recycling Information – Recycling Tips – How and Why Recycling is Better

But this is clearly keyword stuffing and Google will probably penalize it.

A better option is

Recycling Information – Tips, Tricks and How to Recycle

You can see that your second keyword recycling tips is in the title, but with the keyword word information in between. This will be slightly less effective but Google will still list you page for the keyword Recycling Information – Tips. If you look at the search results where the matching keywords are shown in ‘bold’, you will notice that this often occurs even for pages that appear high up in the search results.

Final thoughts

Building traffic is important, but it is conversion rates that really matterThe keyword “tail” should not “wag” your dog (marketing strategy). Keep the focus on the major keyword and keep it at the front of your title.Use association and keyword matching to group keywords. Rank your potential phrases for search popularity, but make sure you can compete for them and cascade down by adding modifiers to build a longtail title that will work.Never forget that a human user will determine your conversion rates, not the search enginesYour titles must be readable and appealing

If you do all this along with writing high-quality content intended for people and optimized for Google, your articles, blog, or webpages will suddenly be ranking for multiple keywords with high conversion rates. You may even end up being in the first spot for a keyword that was never your main focus.

Jacob M. is a copywriter, marketing blogger, inbound marketing consultant, and founder of Write Minds. He can be found on Twitter @jmcmillen89.

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SEO Ideas

How to write clear and SEO-friendly paragraphs

Paragraphs? Isn’t that what you get when you insert a white space after a bunch of sentences? Do you need to think about where to put that whitespace? Or can you just put one in whenever you feel like it? Well, writing correct and clear paragraphs is really important for the readability of a text. And, as Google ‘reads’ text too, it’s also important for Google! So in order to get that great content, you’ll need to give your paragraphs some extra SEO love! In this post, I’ll explain why paragraphs are important for SEO and I’ll give tips on how to write clear and SEO-friendly paragraphs.

Why are clear paragraphs important for SEO?

Paragraphs give structure to a text and help readers understand the meaning of a text. They divide a text into little chunks and make clear which sentences belong together. Readers use that structure to make sense of the text. When written properly, paragraphs help readers to understand the connection between the topics that are presented in the text. Paragraphs make a text easier to read, especially if they are accompanied by the right subheadings.

As Google is trying to mimic a human-like experience, writing clear paragraphs is really important for SEO as well. Google wants to present the user with well-written text. Google wants the reader to be able to understand the text. And, Google itself will have a much easier time understanding your text and assessing the topic, if that text is written well.

Core sentences

When deciding whether or not to read a certain article, people tend to scan through a text. While scanning, they tend to read the first sentences of every paragraph. I usually refer to these sentences as core sentences. These core sentences are the most important ones in your paragraph and should contain your most important message. Lots of English writers call them ‘topic sentences’, but I like the term ‘core sentences’ (this shows that I am native Dutch, as I translated the Dutch term into English). The idea is that if someone reads the first sentences of all the paragraphs in a well-written article, they’ll understand what the article is about. They’ll understand the core of the article.

The existence of core sentences or topic sentences is not unknown to Google. Google understands that readers pay extra attention to those, Google knows that writers will use these sentences to get their message across. So when you’re writing, use these sentences for SEO! If possible, make sure to put your focus keyphrase in that first sentence of a paragraph.

What does a clear and SEO-friendly paragraph look like?

A paragraph is more than just a bunch of sentences and whitespace. So what does a clear and SEO-friendly paragraph look like? Let’s explore some characteristics!

ddress one topic

A paragraph should always be about one topic, one aspect, one thing. It should have one message. You should not try to address multiple things in one paragraph (unless you’re summarizing). A paragraph should really be a thematic union. The sentences of a paragraph should belong together and when you want to start talking about something else, you should start a new paragraph.

Make them complete

Your paragraph should be complete. That means that you should not go one about the same thing in the next paragraph. Everything you are going to discuss about a certain topic should be in one paragraph. After a whitespace, there should be a change in the focus of the text.

Keep them short

An SEO-friendly paragraph should be rather short. Try to keep paragraphs to a maximum of 10 sentences. You can have some paragraphs that are longer. Mixing up shorter and longer paragraphs makes for a good read. If a topic is too large, you may have to cut it up into two categories and make two paragraphs out of it. In that case, make sure to critically assess your topic. If you are writing about something for more than 10 sentences, you’re probably addressing different things. Make sure to divide your paragraph in a smart way.

Use subheadings!

Add subheadings to your paragraphs to help readers to understand what that specific paragraph is about. Subheadings really help a reader to grasp the main message of your text. People use subheadings to determine whether or not to read your article. And, they use them to understand the argumentation of the text.

Start with your core sentence

An SEO-friendly paragraph always starts with a core sentence in which the message of the paragraph becomes clear. After that, a good paragraph has a few supporting sentences that are all about that same message, but elaborate upon or bring nuance to that main message. The paragraph optionally has a concluding or a transitional sentence, which rounds things up or creates a bridge to the next paragraph.


An example of a paragraph with a core sentence, supporting sentences, and a transitional sentence.

Short recipe for a clear and SEO-friendly paragraph

So, let’s make this practical. Let me give you a short SEO love recipe for clear paragraphs. And let’s make them SEO-friendly while we’re at it!

Decide what the message of the paragraph is. What is it that you want to say in this specific paragraph? What is the central topic in this paragraph?Get that message into a sentence. That’ll be the first sentence of that paragraph. Is it possible to use your focus keyword in this sentence? That would be awesome! Will it make you sentence weird? Don’t use it.Write a few supporting sentences in which you elaborate on that first sentence. You could also bring nuance or a different view. But make sure to stay on topic.Optional: write a concluding sentence in which you round things up. You could also write a transitional sentence to make room for your next topic.Assess whether or not your paragraph is too long. If the paragraph is rather lengthy (more than 10 sentences), consider splitting it up into two paragraphs.Do you need a subheading for this specific paragraph? If so, write one. When in doubt, use a subheading. People generally don’t use enough subheadings in their text. And if it makes sense, try to use your focus keyphrase in the subheading. Re-read that paragraph. Does it make sense?Last checks: make sure you don’t use too many long sentences. Avoid passive voice as much as possible and check whether or not you used enough transition words.

Love your site and write clear paragraphs

You write posts and articles because you want people to read them. You want people to understand them too! And you want Google to rank your content high in the search engines. Writing clear paragraphs really helps make your texts more readable. And, it will help Google understand your texts as well. So, give those paragraphs some of your SEO love. Especially those first core sentences deserve some extra SEO love. That could really make all the difference. And it’s not hard work. It’s just a little love. Let’s spread that SEO love! 

Read more: How to write an SEO-friendly introduction for a blog post »

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SEO Services

How to create the right meta description

The meta description is a snippet of up to about 155 characters – a tag in HTML – which summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show it in search results mostly when the searched-for phrase is within the description. So optimizing it is crucial for on-page SEO. In this post, we’ll show you the characteristics of a good meta description, and how Yoast SEO can help you with it.

Table of contents

What is a meta description?Why set a meta description?Characteristics of a good meta description1. Keep it up to 155 characters 2. Use active voice and make it actionable 3. Include a call-to-action4. Use your focus keyword5. Show specifications, where possible 6. Make sure it matches the content of the page7. Make it unique How Yoast SEO helps you write meta descriptionsWhat does the keyphrase in meta description assessment in Yoast SEO do?How to get a green bullet for the keyphrase in meta descriptionWhat does the meta description length assessment do? How to write a concise meta descriptionWhat to do if you need meta descriptions for a lot of pages? Meta descriptions for social sharing

Did you get a red bullet for the keyphrase in meta description check in Yoast SEO? Read what this check does, and how to turn this bullet green. Yoast SEO also checks the length of your meta description. Read about how that check works, and how to write a concise meta description.

What is a meta description?

The meta description is an HTML tag you can set for a post or page of your website. In it, you can describe what your page is about. If you’re lucky, Google will show it beneath your page’s title in the search results. It brings you an opportunity to convince search engine users that your page will offer what they are looking for.

In Google’s search results, this is where it can be displayed:


A meta description from yoast.com as seen in the search results

And this is what it looks like in the HTML code of the page:

Why set a meta description?

Its purpose is simple: it needs to get someone searching with a search term on Google to click your link. In other words, meta descriptions are there to generate click-throughs from search engines.

Search engines say there is no direct SEO benefit from the meta description – they don’t use it in their ranking algorithm. But there is an indirect benefit: Google uses click-through-rate (CTR) as a way of working out whether you’re a good result. If more people click on your result, Google considers you to be a good result and will – based on your position – move you up the rankings. This is why optimizing your meta description is so important, as is optimizing your titles.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that Google will display the meta description that you’ve written. But, as there is a chance it will, it’s always worth the effort to add it to your post or page.

In this Yoast SEO academy video, Fleur will explain how titles and meta description help increase your visibility on Google:

Characteristics of a good meta description

Based on the research we did on this topic, as well as our own experience, we came up with this list of elements you need to write a good meta description: 

1. Keep it up to 155 characters 

The right length doesn’t really exist; it depends on the message you want to convey. You should take enough space to get the message across, but keep it short and snappy at the same time. However, if you check the search results in Google, you’ll mostly see snippets of 120 to 156 characters, like in the example below. 

Unfortunately, we can’t fully control what Google displays in the search results. Sometimes it decides to show the meta description, and sometimes it just grabs some sentences of your copy. Either way, your best bet is to keep it short. That way, if Google does decide to show the meta description you’ve written, it won’t be cut short. 

2. Use active voice and make it actionable 

If you consider the meta description the invitation to your page, you have to think about your user and their (possible) motivation to visit your page. Make sure that your description isn’t dull, difficult or too cryptic. People need to know what they can expect to find on your page.

The example in the image below is the kind of description you should strive to write. It’s active, motivating, and addressing you directly. You just know what you’re going to get if you click on the link!

3. Include a call-to-action

“Hello, we have such and such new product, and you want it. Find out more!” This overlaps with what we said about the active voice, but we wanted to emphasize it once again. The meta description is your sales text. Except, in this case, the “product” you are trying to sell is the page that is linked. Invitations like Learn moreGet it nowTry for free come in handy and we use them too.

meta description of the SEO copywriting training page on yoast.com

4. Use your focus keyword

If the search keyword matches a part of the text in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to use it and highlight it in the search results. This will make the link to your site even more inviting. Google sometimes even highlights synonyms. In the example below, both the Academy Awards and Oscars are highlighted. Getting your results emphasized like that makes them stand out even more.

5. Show specifications, where possible 

If you have a product for the tech-savvy, it can be a good idea to focus on the technical specs. For example, you can include the manufacturer, SKU, price, things like that. If the visitor is specifically looking for that product, chances are you won’t have to convince them. As in the example below. The watch can help us stay fit? Sign us up, that’s all we needed to know. Note that to optimize your result in this manner, you should work on getting rich snippets.

Google result for Apple Watch Series 5

6. Make sure it matches the content of the page

This is an important one. Google will find out if you use the meta descriptions to trick visitors into clicking on your result. They might even penalize you if you do it. But besides that, misleading descriptions will probably also increase your bounce rate. Which will also lower people’s trust in your company. It’s a bad idea for that reason alone. That is why you want the meta description to match the content on the page.

7. Make it unique 

dding the date to the snippet preview

People often ask questions about the date shown in the Google preview of our Yoast SEO plugin. We’ve added this because search engines may display a date with your snippet. So it’s important to factor it in when you decide on the right length of your meta description. Unfortunately, there’s no way to directly control whether this date is shown or not, but you can try to manage the dates they use in the search results.

If your meta description is the same as those for other pages, the user experience in Google will be hampered. Although your page titles might vary, all pages will appear to be the same because all the descriptions are the same. Instead of creating duplicate meta descriptions, you’d be better off leaving it blank. Google will pick a snippet from the page containing the keyword used in the query. That being said, writing a unique meta description for every page you want to rank with is always the best practice.

How Yoast SEO helps you write meta descriptions

If you’re on WordPress and using Yoast SEO, adding a meta description is easy as pie. Firstly, you can write it in the Google preview section of Yoast SEO. But, Yoast SEO also gives you feedback on it in the SEO analysis. The plugin checks two things, the meta description length and whether you’ve used your focus keyphrase in it. So let’s see how the plugin helps you, and what you can do with it. 

What does the keyphrase in meta description assessment in Yoast SEO do?

This check is all about using the keyphrase in the meta description. A focus keyphrase is the search term you want a page to rank with. When people use that term, you want them to find your page. You base your keyphrase on keyword research. In a nutshell, after you do your research, you should end up with a combination of words that the majority of your audience is most likely to search for. We’ve already discussed that when you use your keyphrase in the meta description, Google will likely highlight it. That makes it easier for people to see that they’ve found what they are looking for. 

Yoast SEO checks if and how often you use the words from your focus keyphrase in the meta description text. In addition, if you use Yoast SEO Premium, it also takes into account the synonyms you enter. If you overdo it, the plugin advises you to limit the use of your focus keyphrase.

keyphrase in meta description check in Yoast SEO

How to get a green bullet for the keyphrase in meta description

If you don’t mention the keyphrase in the meta description at all, you’ll get a red bullet. So, make sure to write one. But, don’t stuff your meta description with your keyphrase, because that will also get you a red bullet. And, make sure to mention all the words from your keyphrase near to each other. Search engines are pretty smart nowadays, but you still need to make it clear what your page is about. 

Yoast SEO Premium plugin takes the synonyms you’ve added into account when it performs its analysis. This allows you to write more naturally and will result in a text that’s a more pleasant read. Moreover, it’s easier to score a green bullet this way. Use it to your advantage!

Unlock all features in Yoast SEO Premium

Save time on your SEO and get access to all of our SEO courses.

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What does the meta description length assessment do?

This check measures whether your meta description is too short (less than 120 characters) or too long (more than 156 characters).  When your meta description has the right length, you’ll get a green bullet. If it’s too long, or too short, you’ll get an orange bullet in the SEO analysis of Yoast SEO (or red, if you’ve marked your article as cornerstone content).

Meta description length check in Yoast SEO

How to write a concise meta description

A good meta description convinces people that your page offers the best result to their query. But, to be the best result, you must know what people are looking for. What is their search intent? Are they looking for an answer to a question? If they are, try to give them the most complete answer. Are they looking for a product? Write down what makes your product stand out and why they would best buy it in your store. Be concise and convincing!

You get real-time feedback on the meta description length in the Google preview section in the Yoast SEO sidebar or meta box. If you want to write a meta description, click on “Google preview” in the Yoast SEO sidebar. This will open the snippet editor and you’ll see input fields to edit the SEO title, the slug and the meta description. When you start typing in the meta description input field, the snippet preview at the top of the Google preview editor will immediately show your new text. Underneath the input field, there is a bar. It’s orange when you start typing and will become green when you’ve added enough information. When you add too much text, it will turn orange again.

Google preview editor in Yoast SEO
Google preview editor in the Yoast SEO sidebar

It’s also possible to write or edit your meta description in the Yoast SEO meta box underneath your post editor. Just go the SEO tab in the meta box (if it’s not on this tab by default) and you can start typing in the field under Meta description right away.

What to do if you need meta descriptions for a lot of pages?

Does it feel like you need to change all your meta descriptions after reading this? But not sure how to fit that in your schedule? Google has the answer:

If you don’t have time to create a description for every single page, try to prioritize your content: At the very least, create a description for the critical URLs like your home page and popular pages.

You can check which of your pages rank highest with Google Search Console. Simply take it from there. Additionally, it’s also possible to optimize your meta descriptions with variables in Yoast SEO. Allowing you to speed up this process a lot without having to worry about duplicate descriptions.

If you prefer to write a unique description for each of your pages, and you’ve got a lot to get through, you can use the Bulk editor tool in Yoast SEO. Head over to the Tools page, click on ‘Bulk editor’ and then select the ‘Description’ tab. You’ll be able to see any meta descriptions already set for your pages, and you can quickly add new ones without having to open each page individually. However, with this tool you won’t get warnings if your description is too short/long, or if the focus keyword is missing.

Meta descriptions for social sharing

Do you have Yoast SEO? In that case: check the Facebook and Twitter preview in the Yoast SEO sidebar or social tab in the Yoast SEO meta box below your post or page. You can add a separate description for your social media channels there. In Yoast SEO Premium, you even have social previews that show you what your post or page will look like when shared on social media.

Read more: How to use the Google preview in Yoast SEO »

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SEO Ideas

Four tips for SEM teams to adjust to a privacy-focused future

30-second summary:

Within the digital marketing space, the conversation around privacy and cookie changes has focused heavily on programmatic and paid socialBut how will third-party cookie deprecation and new privacy regulations impact paid search?Here is what search marketers can expect and how to prepare

In the digital marketing world, targeting, measurement, and optimization have foundationally relied on the ability to accurately track user behaviors and performance across the web. However, as we all know, platforms like Google and Apple have introduced privacy-focused initiatives over the past few years that complicate targeting and measurement for advertisers.

When discussing the impacts of these changes, much of the conversation has focused on programmatic and paid social, which are undoubtedly the digital channels feeling the greatest impact. What has not been discussed in great detail is the impact on search marketing. How should advertisers adapt their paid search strategies to adjust to these new realities?

Before digging into action items, let’s recap the newest updates and how they’ll impact paid search campaigns.

Chrome’s privacy updates will have a greater impact than iOS.

There are two key privacy changes top-of-mind for search marketers in 2021. App Tracking Transparency (ATT), introduced through Apple’s iOS 14.5 update, requires a user to opt-in before a company can track their data across other apps or websites. Fortunately, the impact of this update on search programs for most advertisers is limited. Advertisers may see fluctuations in universal app campaign (UAC) volume, and search properties with a larger app-based audience (for example, YouTube) will experience some degradation in measurement and targeting. By and large, though, the ATT update is more of an issue for programmatic advertisers than search marketers.

Google Chrome’s third-party cookie deprecation, coming in 2023, will have a larger impact on paid search. From a targeting perspective, remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) will become less effective without data on users’ behaviors across non-Google properties. As of Q3 2020, RLSA accounted for 20 percent of Google search ad clicks for Merkle advertisers – so this is a significant segment of traffic. There will also be new measurement challenges, especially for companies relying on proprietary reporting tech.

While iOS 14.5 is already a reality for advertisers, there is more than a year left to prepare for Google’s third-party cookie deprecation. There are several steps search marketers can take now to optimize performance within a more privacy-focused environment.

1. Lean into first-party data audience solutions to target

Effective audience segmentation and targeting will continue to be critical in search moving forward. Google offers several in-platform audience options, such as in-market and affinity audiences, that don’t rely on third-party data and can be leveraged by advertisers indefinitely.

However, there’s a greater opportunity for organizations to differentiate themselves by crafting a strong audience strategy using their own first-party data with Customer Match. Many advertisers already use Customer Match to some degree, but the data may not be refreshed regularly, or it may not be segmented in detail. The transition away from third-party cookies is the perfect impetus for fine-tuning a first-party data strategy.

First, advertisers should assess the quality of their first-party data. How comprehensive is the data that’s collected? Are there a lot of duplicate records, or is there a reliable unique record for each customer? All of the slicing and dicing in the world won’t be helpful if the data you’re working with is fundamentally flawed.

Next, marketers should assess opportunities to segment their customer lists in meaningful ways – a single “email subscribers list” isn’t going to cut it anymore. Smart segmentation is always important, but it will become even more critical because it will empower Google to build more tailored similar audiences.

After establishing segments, there must be a plan to refresh those audiences frequently. Determine an appropriate cadence for updating customer match lists and determine who’s responsible for doing it. Currently, this can be done through the Google Ads API or within the Google Ads interface.

Once a foundation is in place for your audience strategy, revisit your approach quarterly to ensure that segments continue to align with attributes important to your customers and your business. This also creates a natural check-in point to confirm that lists are being updated as expected and that they’re all receiving traffic. If needed, audience bid modifiers should be adjusted to reflect current performance.

On the topic of bidding…

2. Test or transition to Smart Bidding to take advantage of Google’s proprietary signals

While we, as advertisers, will have lesser user data available to us without third-party cookies, Google will continue to have a wealth of information about its users and their behavior on Google-owned properties. Google Ads’ Smart Bidding allows advertisers to take advantage of those audience signals to reach the right person at the right bid with machine learning. That’s not to say that segmentation isn’t important with Smart Bidding – it still is. One of the many signals the bidder looks at is all of the audiences a given user belongs to, including customer match audiences.

Advertisers can and should take advantage of custom audience segmentations through Google Analytics, Looker, or Google Cloud Platform (Big Query). And they should automate the pushing of defined customer audiences to Google marketing activation to maximize business data with Google’s Smart Bidding.

Whatever your advertising goals may be, there is likely a Google Ads Smart Bidding strategy to suit your business needs. For search marketers not yet using Smart Bidding, it’d be smart to start testing in early 2022 to iron out any kinks and have a full-blown Smart Bidding approach before 2023.

3. Get comfortable with new reporting methods

We’ve talked a lot about adapting to the changes to come with targeting, but privacy updates also create challenges for reporting. There will be a measurement gap that advertisers need to solve. Fortunately, Google Ads has solutions in place to help fill holes with enhanced and modeled conversions.

Enhanced conversions improve reporting accuracy by using an advertiser’s hashed first-party data to tie a conversion event to an ad interaction. Enhanced conversions are powerful in that they make a one-to-one connection between an impression or click and a purchase. Modeled conversions, on the other hand, find their power in scalability; Google has been using them to report on cross-device conversions for several years. When used in combination, advertisers get the benefit of precision where a one-to-one connection exists, while smartly estimating conversions in areas where it does not.

As privacy regulations increasingly muddy the reporting waters, the stakes are higher to work with Google to fill the gaps. If you’re relying primarily on proprietary technology for reporting, consider using Google’s measurement system to get a more complete picture of performance. Understanding the full impact of search is critical for being able to optimize and allocate budgets effectively. Note that Google’s global site tag or tag manager is required to appropriately track conversions.

4. Monitor universal app campaigns for performance changes

Advertisers using UAC to drive app downloads via paid search should closely monitor performance for those campaigns. So far, Merkle has observed a slow downward trend in tracked installs as a result of Apple’s ATT update. To avoid the effects of ATT, some advertisers are increasing their investment in Android or shifting spend there entirely. UAC can continue to be an effective channel for marketers, but reduced visibility on iOS may require bid or budget shifts in order to hit performance goals.

Conclusion

Privacy updates are changing the way marketers approach targeting and measurement. Don’t panic – but do put a plan in place. With the right adjustments, search advertisers can effectively pivot along with the industry. More than ever, advertisers must value first-party audiences driven by search to further customer engagement, experiences, and marketing ROI. Using that first-party data, in conjunction with machine-learning-based bid strategies and modeled and enhanced reporting, will create a foundation to help future proof search campaigns for privacy updates in the years to come.

Matt Mierzejewski is SVP of Performance Marketing Lab and Search at Merkle Inc.

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SEO Blogging

Zero click search: the new consumer comfort zone

30-second summary:

Zero click search presents advertisers with the opportunity to pro-long budgets during periods when the paid search landscape is hypercompetitiveBrands can cash in on zero click searches for the organic element of their overall search strategy to gain visibility and drive conversionsBarilla Group’s global digital & search marketing manager, Nitin Manhar Dhamelia advises on zero click search optimization and measurement

Historic context

Back in 1998 when Google was founded, it served 10,000 searches per day and by 2012 it was 3,500,000,000 searches per day.​ And in 2021, search volumes continue to explode with Google serving around 5,600,000,000 searches globally per day.​

Its success in becoming a transitive verb was borne when Google tasked itself with bringing order to the chaos of the world’s knowledge. It knew that to achieve this magnitude of top-of-mind awareness, the key would be to create a window to the web that was inclusive, accessible, and easy to understand for the general population; it knew that inclusivity would accelerate adoption. Even today, the search giant is always working on improving the consumers’ search experience and 2021 saw several key algorithm updates roll out – passage ranking, page experience, page titles, MUM, mobile-first indexing, and more.

Not too far ahead in the future, Google is going to make it even easier for consumers to access information about brands.​ But why?

Micro funnels

Because people visit Google in key decision-making moments along the buyer journey – essentially, each Search session can be deemed a micro funnel. In fact, after the pandemic, there is no undoing the great reset. Nearly, 15 percent of Google search queries Google attended were first of their kind. And 81 percent of consumers discovered new brands online during the pandemic.

“There isn’t a world where people revert back to their 2019 behaviours, and part of that is now a part of their comfort zones.” – Corie Barry, CEO, Best Buy

Google’s own recent retail report identified four key consumer insights:

Dynamic demand: People’s buying patterns will continue to change in response to unpredictable timesDigital inspiration: People will use the internet to be inspiredConvenience: People will prioritize convenience while shoppingSupportive spending: People will be more mindful of how and where they spend their dollars with “values” playing a major influencer

Even though less favored by advertisers, zero click searches are pockets of opportunity for brands to focus on as part of their branded search strategy.

With great power comes great responsibility

With its always-on innovation focus, Google is constantly expected to eclipse itself (for the better) and the way it aims to achieve that is by presenting information in ever more easy-to-digest consumer-friendly formats.​

Its solution? Bringing convenience and comfort to their searcher’s online journey with zero click search. This means redesigning the search experience to align with a lucid consumer journey, which in some cases implies that – the journey both starts and ends in Google, and without a single click in the search results:

Squid Game Google zero click search

In terms of how this translates into volumes of searches, take a look at the data from an industry study below:


Zero click search data

What does this mean for brands?

In my own research the split of traffic between the core search marketing channels for a keyword that has a “need” intent, calculates to:

Paid: 6.5 percentOrganic (above the fold): 31.5 percentOrganic (below the fold): two percentZero Click Searches: 60 percent

Extraordinarily, the last number isn’t too far off an original 2020 study that was made of a sample size that is far greater than most brand marketers might have immediate access to.

However, when smaller, localized in-house studies surface very similar results it drives the conversation forward into where we need to focus a proportion of our overall search budgets: creating data-driven content that contributes to adding value and top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) to consumers.

Tips for brands to optimize and measure zero click search

The people also ask (PAA) feature in Google (essentially website content derived FAQs in Search results) are around six times more likely to appear in a search results page versus featured snippets.  And therefore, PAA should not be underestimated as a branding tool. So the first tip is to create editorial content that resides on your website and optimize for PAA – using long-tail search data.

And the second tip is to optimize your content for featured snippets across brand and partner websites – your keyword traffic or search traffic insights could help prioritize this activity internally.

Another interesting insight that stood out was – regardless of the industry, most “big” brands will trigger a PAA.

PAA box visibility stats

Measuring zero-click performance

Gauging the impact of zero click search remains a frequently asked question itself and a continued enigma that has hampered brands from focusing on this highly important search facet. These are some valuable avenues for search marketers to track the zero click search features’ performance:

1. Understand relativity

Understand the relationship between impression volume and average ranking for a target keyword(s) in the Google search console to create insights into where branded content can trigger a zero click search result.

2. Track soft metrics

This is where the soft metric shines – so by focusing on zero click SERP features for brand vs competitor domains, it’s possible to create an index to track the outcomes and evolution of a soft metric such as ‘share of intent’. This will help you grow product or service awareness/consideration via the zero click search element of your Search Strategy.

Piecing all this information and tailoring it to your brand will positively add a new dimension to your search marketing strategy.

Nitin Manhar Dhamelia is the global digital & search marketing manager at Barilla Group. Nitin has a 15-year track record of global B2B/B2C team management, governance, commercial experience, across Americas, EMEA, APAC.

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SEO Ideas

How to use headings on your site

Headings help users and search engines to read and understand text. For example, they act as signposts for the readers and make it easier for them to figure out what a post or page is about. Headings also define which parts of your content are important, and show how they’re interconnected. Here, we’ll give you pointers on how to think about headers and use them to improve the readability of your content.

Table of contents

Why use headings?Use headings to show text structureUse headings to improve accessibilityUse headings to improve SEOHow to use headings effectivelyStructuring your headingsHow to structure your headingsWhat does the subheading distribution check in Yoast SEO do?How to get a green bullet for your subheading distributionAn example heading structureAdding headingsUsing your keyphrase in the subheadings Yoast SEO can help you with the keyphrase in headings assessment How to add your keyphrase in your subheadingsHeadings in WordPress themesCheck your blog’s headings

Did you get a red or an orange bullet for subheading distribution in Yoast SEO? Learn how to distribute them better. Or, did Yoast SEO give you feedback on the way you use your keyphrase in subheadings? Learn how to improve that.

Why use headings?

Use headings to show text structure

Headings are signposts that guide readers through an article. Therefore, they should indicate what a section or a paragraph is about. Otherwise, people won’t know what to expect.

Readers like to scan content, to get an idea of what the text is about and to decide which sections of the text they’re going to read. Headings help them do that. Scanning the text becomes significantly harder for your readers when it doesn’t contain any headings. It’s even worse when you add long stretches of text after a heading. You don’t want to scare off people with the infamous wall of text.

For web copy, it’s good practice to make sure that your headings are informative to the reader. Some people like to tease their audience in the headings, trying to entice them to read further. While that can work very well, it’s also very easy to get wrong. Remember that the main focus of headings should be on the content – and the primary purpose should be to make the text easier to read and understand.

Also, keep the following two things in mind: firstly, a paragraph should start with a core sentence on which you elaborate in the rest of the paragraph. When restructuring your text to add a heading, make sure the first sentence of your paragraph contains the essential information of that paragraph. Secondly, consider how the information is structured in your paragraphs and what the relation is between paragraphs, and how a subheading can help make that information easier to digest.

Read more: Why text structure is important for SEO »

Use headings to improve accessibility

Heading structure is important for accessibility as well. Especially for people who can’t easily read from a screen. Because headings are in HTML, a screen reader can understand the article structure and read them out loud. By reading or listening to the headings in an article, visually impaired people can decide whether or not to read an article. Also, screen readers offer shortcuts to jump from one heading to the next, so they are used for navigation as well.

Don’t forget that, in many cases, what’s good for accessibility is also good for SEO!

Keep reading: Writing accessible content: 4 checks you can do with Yoast SEO and the block editor »

Use headings to improve SEO

It’s generally agreed that how you use headings doesn’t specifically impact your SEO. Making minor tweaks to individual headings likely won’t help your performance. However, there are indirect benefits. Using headings creates texts of higher quality that are easier to read. A better text is better for users, which is better for your SEO.

If visitors can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, they’ll probably leave your site and look for another answer to their question. This is why text structure and heading use also impact SEO. Search engines pick up on people bouncing from your site. When you have a high bounce rate, search engines can conclude that your page doesn’t give searchers what they’re looking for. Consequently, you might get lower ratings.

With headings, you should always put the user first. Use them to add structure and signposts to your content, and to describe what each section is about. If your headings let users know what your article is about, they’ll help Google understand your content, too.

How to use headings effectively

So, what is the best way to use headings? There are two things that we can advise you on: you should structure your headings well, and you should use your keyphrase in them. Yoast SEO can help you in both cases. In the Readability analysis, it checks how you distribute your headings. And, in the SEO analysis, it checks whether you’ve used your keyphrase. So let’s explore the importance of these two aspects, and take a look at how you can use Yoast SEO to write great headings. 

Structuring your headings

NOTE: There are two different sets of ‘rules’ when it comes to how to use HTML heading tags; the ‘classic’ approach (from the HTML4 standard), and, the ‘modern’ approach (from the HTML5 standard). We’re going to focus on the classic approach, as there are some usability and SEO challenges with the modern approach (you can read more about that here).

When you’re editing an article in WordPress, you’ll usually see different ‘levels’ of headings in the text editor – from ‘Heading 1‘ to ‘Heading 6‘. These come in different sizes; moving from largest to smallest. Behind the scenes, these are converted into HTML heading tags; from to . Your theme probably uses these HTML tags in its templates, too.

That’s why, when we talk about how to structure headings and content well, we talk about H1 tags, H2 tags, and so on. We’re referring to the underlying HTML code to differentiate between the levels of headings.

How to structure your headings

Your H1 isn’t the same thing as your page title. For more information, you can read about the difference between an H1 and the SEO title.

Firstly, you are limited to using one H1 heading on each page. The H1 heading should be the name/title of the page or post. On this page, that’s “How to use headings on your site”. You can think of your H1 like you would think of the name of a book. For example, on a category page, your H1 would be the name of that category. Or, on a product page, it should be the product name.

Then, as you write your content, you can use H2 and H3 subheadings to introduce different sections – like the “How to improve the distribution of your headings“ section, which you’re currently reading, which sits within the “Structuring your headings” section. Think of H2 subheadings like the chapters of a book. Those individual sections might also use more specific headers (H3 tags, then H4 tags, etc.) to introduce sub-sections. It’s rare for most content to get ‘deep’ enough to need to use H4 tags and beyond unless you’re writing really long, or really technical content.

What does the subheading distribution check in Yoast SEO do?

The subheading distribution check assesses whether you’ve used enough subheadings in your text. Most texts of over 300 words need subheadings, to help readers scan the text. So, this check will notify you if your text is longer than 300 words and doesn’t contain any subheadings. It’ll also let you know if a text section following a subheading is too long — i.e., more than 300 words –, and suggest you add subheadings to improve the readability of that part of the text.

We also have a video that explains more about the subheading distribution check and the keyphrase in subheadings check in Yoast SEO:

How to get a green bullet for your subheading distribution

So, what to do if you get an orange or red bullet in the Yoast SEO plugin for your subheading distribution? Well, first of all – and this is quite obvious – don’t forget to use subheadings! You should try to create a subheading for every separate topic in your text. This could be for every paragraph, but also for a couple of paragraphs discussing the same topic. 

We advise putting a heading above every long paragraph, or above a group of paragraphs which form a thematic unit. The text following a subheading generally should not be longer than 250-350 words.

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n example heading structure

Let’s say that we have a blog post about ballet shoes. We’ve chosen “ballet shoes” as our focus keyword, and written an article about all the reasons why we like ballet shoes. Without headings, there’s a risk that we might end up writing a really long, rambling piece that is hard to understand. But if we structure things logically using headings, we not only make it easier to read, we help focus our own writing.

Here’s what the structure of that post might look like:

H1: Ballet shoes are awesomeH2: Why we think ballet shoes are awesomeH3: They don’t just come in pink!H3: You can use them for more than just dancingH3: They might be less expensive than you thinkH2: Where should you buy your ballet shoes?H3: The 10 best ballet equipment websitesH3: Our favorite local dancing shops

See how we’ve created a logical structure, using H2 tags to plan out sections and H3 tags to cover specific topics? We’ve done the same thing in the post you’re reading right now!

This is a good example of how your headings should be structured in a medium-length article. For a shorter article, you should use fewer (or more general, high-level) headings. If you want to go into much more detail, there’s nothing stopping you from using H4 tags to create even ‘lower-level’ sections.

dding headings

But wait, it’s good to know how to structure them, but how do you actually add headings? If you’re using WordPress, there are a couple of ways to do this:

Via the editor
The easiest way to add headings is through the editor. If you’re using the new block editor, you can click the + button and select ‘Heading’. Then, you can select which heading (H2, H3 etc.) you want to add.

Image showing the option to choose the Heading block type using the block editor

If you’re still using the classic editor in WordPress, it’s easy too. Make sure you’re on the visual tab of the editor and select ‘Heading 1’ or another heading from the dropdown menu.

Selecting a header in the classic editor

Using HTML
It’s also possible to add headings using HTML. In the classic editor, you will need to make sure you’re on the text tab (or directly in the code), and use heading tags , etc. to specify each type of heading. End each heading with a closing tag like . Like this:

Header tags in an HTML editor

In the block editor, you can also switch between the visual editor, or edit as HTML. To do that, click on the three vertical dots in the block toolbar. Then, select the Edit as HTML option. Like this:

Image showing the option to switch to Edit as HTML using the block editor

Using your keyphrase in the subheadings 

Headings give you a great chance to use your focus keyword (or its synonyms) prominently, to make it really clear what the page is about. By adding your focus keyphrase to your subheadings, you stress its importance. Moreover, if you’re trying to rank for a keyphrase, you’ll have to write about it. If none of your paragraphs address the main topic, you’ll probably have a hard time ranking.

Still, just like keyphrases in general, it’s important not to overdo it. Add your keyphrase where it makes sense, leave it out where it doesn’t.

Yoast SEO can help you with the keyphrase in headings assessment 

After you insert your keyphrase in the Yoast SEO meta box, the keyphrase in subheadings assessment checks whether you’ve used it sufficiently. In Yoast SEO, you’ll get a green bullet if you use the keyphrase in 30 to 75% of your subheadings. Keep in mind that we’ll only check your H2 and H3 subheadings. If you have Yoast SEO Premium, the plugin can even check your use of synonyms.

Keyphrase in subheading check

How to add your keyphrase in your subheadings

Whether you add your keyphrase to a subheading depends on the paragraph(s) it’s connected to. Every paragraph in your text should tell the reader something about the topic at hand. In addition, your subheadings are nothing more than a very short outline of what you are going to say in one or more paragraphs. Therefore, it should always be possible to add your keyphrase to one or more subheadings. If you’re still struggling to achieve this, ask yourself a couple of questions about the structure of your article.

Does my text discuss the topic described in the keyphrase? If not, should I pick another keyphrase?Do my current subheadings accurately describe what I discuss below them?What paragraphs are most closely connected to the topic and the keyphrase?What questions do these paragraphs answer concerning the topic and the keyphrase?

Most of the time, you’ll find that answering these questions helps you add the keyphrase to one or more of your subheadings. If you can’t, you should probably consider question number one again. If that doesn’t solve your problems, consider educating yourself on copywriting and text structure, to get a clearer view of how a good piece is structured. Your keyphrase should be central to the topic. Therefore, you should be able to add it to a couple of subheadings.

Headings in WordPress themes

Most themes will use headings as part of their HTML code, but some don’t follow best practices. Almost all themes will automatically use the name of your article in an H1 tag. This is helpful because it means you don’t need to repeat the post name inside your content.

Unfortunately, some themes use tags incorrectly – they use tags in an illogical order (e.g., an H4 then an H2), or use tags messily in sidebars, headers, and footers. This can cause problems for accessibility, as the order of your headings might not make sense. Users, search engines and assistive technologies usually look at the whole page, not just your content area.

If you have a custom theme, you might be able to fix this by adjusting your HTML code. If you’re using an off-the-shelf theme, you may need to reach out to the developers. Either way, you should check whether your headings make sense on each template type on your website!

Check your blog’s headings

Using headings well is helpful for your users. It increases the chances of people actually reading your article, improves accessibility, and might even contribute to SEO. So add them into your copy – just make sure you use them correctly!

There’s a handy button in the upper left of the content editing screen in the WordPress block editor, named Details. This shows an outline of the page you’re editing. If you’ve structured your content well, it should look something like this!

If you’re still using the Classic Editor in your WordPress website, you can test your published article via the W3 Validator.

Read more: WordPress SEO: the definitive guide to higher rankings for your WordPress site »

The post How to use headings on your site appeared first on Yoast.

SEO Ideas

What makes a good website?

People often ask us to explain what makes a good website. Whether we have a list of elements that a great site should have. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all answer to this. As in many things SEO, the answer is: it depends. What kind of site do you have and what do you want to achieve? Who do you want to target? There are, however, a few best practices that help you get underway. In this post, we’ll list 7 elements that can help every site become a good site and a better search result.

Table of contents

Holistic SEO7 elements of a good website1. Your website satisfies user intent and has a clear goal2. Your website has technical prowess3. Your website is trustworthy, safe and secure4. Your website has a great design and stellar UX5. Your site has awesome, user-centered content6. Your site is mobile-friendly (or rather, designed mobile-first)7. Your site can ‘talk’ directly to search enginesSo what makes a good website?

Holistic SEO

The number one thing to keep in mind is something that we at Yoast advocate a lot: holistic SEO. Essentially, holistic SEO helps you strive to be the best result. This comes down to optimizing every part of your site on all levels, from satisfying user intent with your content to offering a stellar user experience. If you combine all these things in a solid SEO strategy, implement the enhancements and keep an eye on the results, you’re on the right track!

7 elements of a good website

Many things we deem important for a good website are hard to quantify. There’s a lot of talk about quality in SEO, for instance. Even Google has been saying for years that you should focus on the quality of your site and content. After every algorithmic update that Google implements, the answer for those who lost rankings is the same: it might not be your fault, because other sites might seem to be a better fit for this specific query. Nonetheless, you should work on the overall quality of your content. 

People flock to the Search Quality Raters Guidelines for input on how to do that, looking for any guidance at all. Now, you shouldn’t take everything that Google says as gospel, but in this case, they are right. You should improve your content — always! Make sure to look at user intent and the behavior of your potential customers. Periodically redo your keyword research. And check your niche, what’s happening in your part of the market? By continually evaluating your SEO strategy, you’ll get a grip on the changing market and find new opportunities.

1. Your website satisfies user intent and has a clear goal

Do you know your audience? Do you know your business and what it is you contribute to this world? Why should anyone come to your site and do business with you? It’s not because you think you have an awesome product — that just doesn’t fly anymore. “Build it and they will come?” Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. You need to have a clear mission and goal for your website.

If you want to succeed, you need to know your audience. You have to uncover everything about them. You can probably find out what they say they want, but is that the same as what they really need? Does your product or service merely offer a possible solution to a problem or does it make your customer’s life genuinely better? Are you selling a drill or a hole in the wall? 

Your story has to be right. It has to align with what people want and need. This means you should nail search intent for your site. Uncover all the different ways of how people can end up on your pages and tailor these to answer their questions. Map out your user journey from A to Z and place your content in strategic spots. Also keep a close eye on the way you formulate your answers. More often than not, a conversational style will turn out to be what you are looking for. 

2. Your website has technical prowess

A good website is easily crawlable and shows search engines what they can and can’t index. Good sites don’t have a huge amount of errors. A good website loads super fast, from anywhere in the world. Make sure you do everything you can to get those pages to load as fast as possible.

Technical SEO is incredibly important, but you can get ahead of the curve by getting the basics right. Thoroughly think about which CMS you’re going for and how you’re going to run it. We may be a bit biased, but WordPress has given us everything we need. It’s solid, flexible and has a huge following. WordPress is pretty SEO-friendly, but with a bit of help from Yoast SEO, you can get your WordPress SEO going in no time. Also make sure to pick a reputable hosting company, one that’s flexible and helpful.

3. Your website is trustworthy, safe and secure

Both search engines and users are looking for signals that signify trust. Why should your site and content be trusted? Things like regular downtime might be an indication of sloppy maintenance. A missing green lock icon can mean you don’t take security seriously. There are a lot of hints that they look for. 

Search engines like Google want to give searchers the best possible result. Increasingly, if a search engine doubts the claims you make or if you use sketchy ‘experts’ to validate your content, they will not show your content. Instead, they will pick a result that has proven to be a good and trustworthy result. That’s why you need to work on your trustworthiness on all levels, both technical as well as in content.

In addition, your site should be a safe haven for visitors. You need to have your security in order. A hacked site isn’t getting you anywhere! And a hacked site is easier to prevent than it is to fix. Use up-to-date software, have your SSL in order, create strong passwords and use tools such as Cloudflare to protect your site from DDoS attacks. 

4. Your website has a great design and stellar UX

Does your website need to be beautiful? Let’s be honest, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The design of your website needs to help fulfill the goals you set. Your message should come across loud and clear. The design should be on-brand and well-thought-out. But more importantly, your site should be clear and easy to use for everyone. Accessibility is not something you should scrimp on. 

You also need to consider user experience. Which is not only how something looks, but also how it feels. It’s about giving users an enjoyable experience, something they will remember. UX is also not letting users wait long for your pages to load, getting them frustrated because they can’t read the text on your site thanks to your color scheme or because they can’t hit the buttons on your mobile site. Think to yourself: how can I turn any possible frustration on my website into happiness? 

And happy users might just have higher buyer intent, so get those CTAs in order!

5. Your site has awesome, user-centered content

Be user-centered, not company-centered. Good content helps your users accomplish their goals and you want to offer this content at the right moment while keeping the business goals firmly in sight. To do so, you need to know your user inside out, as I mentioned earlier. Understand them, understand their behavior and focus your content on that. The content you offer should be clear and easy to understand by using language your users know well. Try to bring something unique to the table. Do the research and present original reporting.

6. Your site is mobile-friendly (or rather, designed mobile-first)

For the last couple of years, mobile traffic has kept growing and growing. If your site is not mobile-friendly by now, you should really get to it and work on your mobile SEO. But if your site has been mobile-friendly for a while, it is time to start looking at building your next site mobile-first. 

It’s not a new concept, but most sites are still being developed desktop-first. After designing the desktop view, the designer crams it down to mobile size, often losing its authenticity and freshness along the way. Adopting a mobile-first mindset helps you focus on the tasks users should be able to perform on your mobile site. It helps to clean up the clutter and, more often than not, lets you come up with a minimal and fully focused design. Less is more, remember? 

7. Your site can ‘talk’ directly to search engines

For years, search engines tried to read content on pages to determine what that page is about. They need that content to be able to match the search query with the indexed pages that give the best answers to this query. Turns out that truly understanding what something on a page is or means, is harder than it seems, especially for machines. Search engines need a little guidance to discover the true meaning of elements on a page. Enter, structured data in Schema format. 

Schema is kind of like a translator for search engines. It describes elements on a page, so search engines can now say with certainty that a review is a review and a recipe is a recipe. In return, because Google is so certain about the content, marking up these elements can lead to rich results in the search results pages. This includes carousels, nutritional information for recipes, star ratings, FAQ dropdowns, swipeable How-To boxes on mobile and much, much more. Structured data is one of the areas search engines spend a lot of resources on these days, so make sure to get on board.

We noticed this and built a complete and fully extendable Schema framework inside Yoast SEO. This structured data implementation builds a complete graph for your site, so search engines not only know what everything means but also how everything is connected to the bigger picture. In addition, Yoast SEO comes with a few structured data blocks and we’re working on adding more in the future.

So what makes a good website?

There’s a lot that goes into building a good website. It’s not simply buying a domain, getting some random host, installing WordPress and picking a theme that looks cool. When you leave it at that, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You need to plan to get things right. You need a strategy — which is probably the most important element of a good website.

These are some of the most important elements you should focus on while developing or improving your site. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, so I’d like to ask you: What is your number one focal point for building a good website?

Read more: 4 tips to quickly improve your site in the current situation »

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