Day 11 – Signals

Content Enrichment/ seo/

I recently attended an SEO talk by Chris Schwarz of DBG Technologies who introduced me to the concept of “Signals”.  Signals are very simply sections of any web page that indicate to Google that you mean business.  Certain types of functionality within a page can be detected and are considered by Google in it’s evaluation of you.

We can split signals into on-page and off-page signals.

On-Page Signals

Common examples of on-page signals include  a shopping cart, facebook like button/s, link to rss feed, slideshow of images, breadcrumbs or any other functional device that you may use to draw the attention or engage in interaction with a visitor.  It’s about being up-to-date with the latest technology and using it to good effect.  (ie Google attempts to gauge how good your website is by more than just content).

Off-Page Signals

Off page signals include pages that generate backlinks to your website, ie. linked-in, facebook, blogs, feature articles etc…  But it’s more than just having a link.  Google will look at how complete and active your related social media accounts are.  If you have a facebook page but make no posts then the fact that you have a facebook page may even work against you.    Google is trying to generate  “genuine activity” and “quality content”.  If your online social persona is idle then it may be completely ignored and you are probably better off not having it link to your webpage at all.   That goes for all of your accounts, youtube, vimeo, wordpress blogs, twitter etc…   Only link to accounts that you are actively using, because you are signalling google to check those pages out and in turn to be judged/ranked by how active and complete they are.

Signaling with your brand

Something worth noting is Google’s ability to identify your brand.   If you’ve ever used Google images and clicked on the link that says “visually similar” you may note that files with different names on different websites are very accurately identified by Google as being the same image.    For this reason having your logo / brand placed on all of your social media accounts will almost certainly signal to Google that you are serious about content and are putting in effort to produce a quality online presence.   At the same time if you are using lots of stock photography on your website Google is being signaled that you can’t be bothered to spend the time and effort to create your own unique content and may even penalize you for it.

How does being aware of signals help you in your marketing efforts ?  It used to be that search engines used to only look at content and meta information, nowadays it is more sophisticated, your on page signals can indicate your level of functionality and professionalism.   Choosing the right signals may also play a part in your google pagerank ie. filling your page with ads will likely be seen as poor quality design and may work against you.  Whereas a like/plus box, promotions banner or user feedback could very well increase your pagerank status.  Having a great looking facebook profile may contribute to more subscribers so it certainly wont hurt to spend time and money making it look great.  Think of it as branding your car, it may or may not create new business contacts but if you do it will then your logo and identity  will become more widely recognized.

 

eg. Make your signally clear !
Matthew Aldous - Adelaide SEO
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