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When Google SERPs May Undergo a Sea Change

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I’m a search geek. I read through patents that provide hints and possible glimpses behind the curtains of search engines like they are novels.

I look for patents from specific inventors, like people who might keep their eyes open for news of a new Marvel movie.

Patents don’t always provide actionable insights, but they do suggest questions and possible things to look out for or understand how search engines may be working, or even to test.

I found a patent this summer which reminded me of the concept of a sea change and how search results could transform and undergo a sea change.

One of the inventors I watch out for is Trystan Upstill, at one point the Head of Core Web Ranking and Mobile Content Search at Google.

He has been involved in some of the more interesting patents and processes at Google, like one I wrote about on How Google May Rank Some Results Based on Categorical Quality.

If you read about that one, you may see some similarities to the patent I am writing about today.

He writes about things that we may never visibly notice, that sort of happen behind the scenes (or curtains), and decide upon which pages may fill the search results we see in response to a query.

A newly granted (July 2, 2019) patent from Google has his name on it as one of the inventors, and it was filed when he was still the head of Core Web Ranking at Google back in 2015.

Adjusted Search Features

The patent starts out simply enough, by telling us:

“The search system ranks the resources based on their relevance to the query and importance and provides search results that link to the identified resources, and orders the search results according to the rank.”

The results shown are responsive to a query, and the search engines look at features of a webpage that query may appear upon and other aspects of that query, and possibly other information when determining search scores for the resources that appear in SERPs.

But most patents describe a problem that they report upon, and that problem explains the need for a patent to have been written, with an invented process that might address that problem.

Sometimes a patent will also tell us about the state of the technology at the time that patent was also written. Here is the problem, and the state of the technology as described in the summary section of the patent:

“Typically the search operation implements a robust search algorithm that performs well over a wide variety of resources. However, sometimes particular features for a particular query and a particular set of resources may be quite important in determining the search scores for the resources, while for other queries the particular features may be much less important. For example, for a particular query with certain terms, the presence of those terms in the resources may have a very strong impact on the search scores for the resources; conversely, for another query with different terms, the relative importance of the resources in an authority graph may have a much stronger impact on the search scores than the presence of query terms in the resources.

However, the relative importance of particular features for particular queries and resources is often difficult, if not impossible, to predict a priori.”

What these changes to features a page is ranked upon may mean is that in response to them, sometimes Google might adjust search features and rescore resources after a while.

The process behind the patent can include:

  • Receiving data that indicates resources identified by a search operation that are responsive to a query and ranked according to a first-order, each resource having a corresponding search score by which the resources are ranked in responsiveness to the query relative to the other resources identified by the search operation as being responsive to the query, wherein the search operation scores each of the resources based, in part, on features of the resource and the query, selecting a set of the resources.
  • Determining, from the SERPs and for each of the features of the resources and the query, an impact measure that measures the impact of the feature on the ranking of the resources that belong to the set.
  • Re-scoring the resources for the query in the SERPs based, in part, on the impact measures and ranking the set of resources according to a second-order that is different from the first order.
  • Providing, to a searcher in response to the query, search results according to the second-order, each search result identifying a corresponding resource.

adjusted search features

Many patents include a section in their summary that lists what they refer to as “advantages” for using the process described in the patent. They are a forecast of what the expected outcome of the patent might be.

For this patent the expected advantages include:

  • Search operations may be adjusted to compensate for emergent phenomena that affect resource scoring.
  • Those adjustments may be determined at query time so that the foundational search operation need not be adjusted, and thus foundational search operation be built on known priors.
  • This approach allows for the retention of the foundational search operation that performs well for most resources in a corpus given a set of known priors, but also provides flexibility to adjust the search operation on a per-query basis when particular features affect the ranking of resources in a way that departs from the expected effects.
  • The re-ranking of resources resulting from scoring pursuant to the adjusted search operation tends to surface more prominent resources that are more likely to satisfy a user’s informational need, thereby increasing the quality of the overall user experience.

The ultimate goal is expressed there as providing resources that are “more likely to satisfy a user’s informational need, thereby increasing the quality of the overall user experience.”

This adjusted search features patent can be found at:

Search operation adjustment and re-scoring
Inventors: Trystan G. Upstill, Andre Duque Madeira, Wisam Dakka and Zhong Xiu
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent: 10,339,144
Granted: July 2, 2019
Filed: May 21, 2015

Abstract

“Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on a computer storage medium, for receiving queries, and for each received query: receiving data indicating resources identified by a search operation as being responsive to the query, wherein the search operation scores each of the resources based, in part, on features of the resource and the query, selecting a subset of the resources, determining, from the subset of resources and for each of the features of the resources and the query, an impact measure that measures the impact of the feature on the ranking of the resources that belong to the subset, adjusting the search operation based on the respective impact measures, and initiating the search operation to re-score the resources in the subset of resources based, in part, on the adjustment and to rank the subset of resources according to a second-order that is different from the first order.”

More on Adjusted Search Features That May Change Search Engine Scores

I mentioned search engine scores that may be created according to “multiple features of the resource and the query.” These features could be related to:

  • Information retrieval, such as features related to recall and precision.
  • The relative authority of a resource in a resource graph.
  • The query terms.
  • User feedback of the resource given a query and other queries.

The patent tells us that “these features may be modeled in the search engine as parameters, and various parameter values may be selected for each parameter.”

How these search features are valued may be part of the what makes search engine scores work well. They give us an example:

“For example, with respect to a resources authority score, a parameter value may be a weight by which a feature value for the resource–the authority score–is multiplied or otherwise adjusted; with respect to resource terms and query terms,

Parameter values may include synonyms, related terms, and weights by which matches of terms and term counts are multiple or otherwise adjusted; and so on.”

So according to this patent, search could be a very complex process that looks to multiple types of scoring contributions of different types based upon a number of different types of parameters which could be related to features from web resources on the content of a query.

The search operation, once built, tends to perform well over a wide variety of search queries and documents. This could present some issues that need to be overcome, and the patent describes those for us.

It tells us that:

  • Some features may exhibit much more influence on the scoring of the resources than for other queries and other resources
  • Some features may exhibit much less influence on the scoring of the resources than for other queries and other resources

When a subject is a fairly new one on the Web (which they are referring to as an “emergent subject”), Some aspects of a score may have more impact than others:

“Furthermore, such influences may be evanescent; for example, for an emergent subject, an information retrieval score may be more influential for the first several weeks, and then, at a later time, authority scores and user feedback scores may tend to grow in influence. Thus, tuning a search operation to compensate for these features is difficult prior to their detection, if not impossible.”

So, the focus of this patent is on “when certain features exhibit greater or lesser impacts on the ranking of resources for a search operation for a query and then adjust a search operation based on the impacts.”

If you’ve ever ranked a page in a fairly new subject area, and one day the search results that it appears in all of a sudden seem to shift around and change (undergoing a sea change), the next paragraph from the patent could explain why that might happen as search results get adjusted:

“The adjusted search operation is the re-run on the identified resources to re-rank the resources in a manner that takes into account the detected impacts. In some implementations, an initial search for a query is executed, and a proper subset of the ranked resources, e.g., the top N ranked resources, is processed to determine appropriate modifications to the search operation. The search operation, adjusted by the appropriate modifications, is then re-run to re-score and re-rank the resources.”

When I read the next paragraph in the patent, I was reminded of a post that Jason Barnard wrote about ranking at Google, based upon information he had received from Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, which he wrote about in How Google Search Ranking Works – Darwinism in Search:

“The search engine utilizes a search operation that generates search scores for the resources and ranks the resources based on search scores. The search operation quantifies the relevance of the resources to the query, and the quantification can be based on a variety of factors. Such factors include information retrieval (“IR”) scores, user feedback scores, and optionally a separate ranking of each resource relative to other resources (e.g., an authority score). The search results are ordered in a first-order according to these search scores and provided to the user device according to the first order, or, in some situations, may be re-ranked by an adjusted search operation and provided to the user device as search results’ ranked according to a second-order that is different from the first order.”

This patent also tells us about feedback scores based upon information from query logs and click logs:

“In some implementations, the queries submitted from user devices are stored in query logs. Click data for the queries and the web pages referenced by the search results are stored in click logs. The query logs and the click logs define search history data that include data from and related to previous search requests. The query logs and click logs can be used to map queries submitted by the user devices to web pages that were identified in search results and the actions taken by users. The click logs and query logs can thus be used by the search system to determine queries submitted by the user devices, the actions taken in response to the queries, and how often the queries are submitted. Such information can be stored as feedback scores for the queries and resources.”

And Then There Is Reranking of Results, or Adjusted Search Features

This is part of an adjustment of results as has been described in the patent when there may be shifts in the values that results were scored upon to modify search results:

“…the re-ranking engine, for each query, processes resources identified by a search operation as being responsive to the query and ranked according to the first order, selects a proper subset of the resources, and determines, for each feature the search operation takes into account, an impact measure that measures the impact of the feature on the ranking of the resources. The re-ranking engine can then adjust the search operation based on the respective impact measures, and initiate a subsequent run of the search operation to re-score the resources based, in part, on the adjustment, resulting in the search results’.”

Search Operation Adjustment & Re-Ranking Resources

When search results are ranked, the influence of each feature involved in ranking those is calculated, and any changes to those features may be measured by their impact.

If the impact doesn’t meet a threshold, then the re-ranking engine will not rerank the search results. If it does meet that threshold, then the results will be re-ranked.

The patent provides this peek at how reranking might take place, when Google decides to use adjusted search features.

“…then the process adjusts the search operation based on the impact measures (314). A variety of adjustments can be used. For example, depending on a category of the query, the search algorithm may be adjusted in different ways. By way of one example, if a query is categorized as being a “product” seeking query, then a relevance weight parameter value related to certain commercial content, such as reviews, pricing information, etc., may be increased; conversely, if a query is categorized as being an “informational” seeking query, then the relevance weight parameter value related to certain commercial content, such as reviews, pricing information, may be decreased, while a relevance weight parameter value related to anchor text linking to the resource may be increased, etc.”

And synonyms may play a role as well:

“…if an impact measure related to synonym matching terms is high, then the feature of query expansion may be adjusted such that a more aggressive form of query expansion is used.”

Adjusted Search Features Takeaways

The article that Barnard wrote names specific types of features that may be used to rank pages, such as topicality, quality, speed, RankBrain, entities, structured data, freshness.

Those aren’t described in this patent or discussed in any detail, but they do seem like they could be features of ranked resources or queries that could influence how a page may be ranked, which are mentioned in this patent.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Barnard’s post, I would recommend it. I read it around the same time that I first saw this patent, and I highlighted the paragraph from this patent that tells us that pages may be ranked based upon a variety of factors.

While this patent doesn’t tell us the same factors that Barnard was told, the idea that multiple factors may be involved in ranking pages at Google is one worth exploring in more detail, if you can.

What this patent adds to what Barnard told us was that Google may, upon seeing changes in the impact of different ranking signals that it may have used to rank a page beyond a certain threshold, Google may adjust rankings by applying a reranking process.

So, if you see the results that you have gotten used to for a particular query that you have been following, knowing the SERP place around that query well, and who else occupies positions in that SERP place, and you may suddenly see it shift around and change.

It is possible that Google may have adjusted search features and changed those results because the impact of ranking signals for those features may have changed.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, September 2019



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Why behavior analysis is important online business

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30-second summary:

  • A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
  • In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners.
  • Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles.
  • MD of SEO Discovery shares a guide to help you understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

In today’s digital age, the customer journey is getting complex day by day and if you are doing online business then it’s vital to understand your customer journey. A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.

In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners. According to Statista, 88.05 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned in March 2020 worldwide, which means over 88% of people added selected products into the cart and left without buying for various reasons. This is a massive business opportunity loss for ecommerce players.

Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles. Without adequate knowledge of analytics, your marketing won’t work because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. All the marketing suits come with analytics tools to help perceive the behavior, engagement metrics, and demographics of the visitors coming to a website. The most common web analytics tools are Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kiss Metrics, and Mixpanel. They generally come with the following features and capabilities:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Mobile analytics
  • Attribution modeling
  • Segmentation
  • Ecommerce tracking
  • Funnel analysis
  • Cohort analysis
  • Cross-device tracking
  • In-page analytics (Session recording, click tracking, heatmaps)
  • Goal conversion tracking
  • Event tracking
  • A/B testing

Every feature has its own data sets which can be compared to help you make informed decisions. Today we are going to understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

What is a Cohort Analysis and why is it important?

Cohort analysis is a subset of users grouped by shared characteristics. It simply allows you to compare the behavior and metrics of different cohorts over time.

Cohort Analysis Example – Finding Engagement Drop

Let’s suppose you have an online food ordering website/app and using acquisition date (when users started their first sessions) cohorts you can find out when in the customer lifecycle your users tend to drop off.

Cohort table for behavior analysis

The best way for visualizing this data is to chart out the retention curve, portraying retention over time.

Cohort Curve - Behavior analysis

This retention curve clearly reflects the most important insight – around 75% of the users stop using the website after the first day. We can see a downfall in the engagement. Hence, it’s evident to improve the overall experience and abet customers through daily offers/coupons to boosting retention.

Cohort Analysis Comparison – Organic vs Direct

The below cohort analysis indicates that organic traffic has a better retention rate than direct.

Cohort - Organic vs Direct - Behavior analysis

 

Visitor behavior analysis and its importance

It’s a process of tracking user behavior on a website and there are some great tools in the market that give accurate information. Tools like Hotjar, MouseFlow, Crazy Egg record visitor sessions to see how visitors are navigating on the website. They also offer click tracking and heatmaps to analyze the most engaging and ignored (skipped) elements on a page.

Screenshot - Mouseflow - Understanding visitors' behavior analysis

If you look at the above heatmap, you would notice that no one bothered to click on “PORTFOLIO” in the top menu, which means people aren’t interested in see the portfolio. Maybe we have to replace it with something more interesting (like Case Studies, Achievements, and more) which grabs a visitor’s attention. These kinds of insights help you add/remove elements to improve page engagement.

Using filters, you can further segment your audience to dig deep and pull out actionable insights, see those filter below:

Screenshot - Mouseflow_Filters

In Google Analytics, behavior flow gives you a visual presentation of how people are navigating on your website. You can apply segments to get a deeper view of their behavior and it also enables you to apply different dimensions on top of these segments to get actionable insights.

 GA Behaviour Flow

The power of these analytical tools lies in the fact that it allows you to view which customers leave and what’s making them leave your website/app – so that you can fix it. You can also hire a professional digital marketing agency that can help you find these hurdles and remove them to enhance your overall engagement.

Mandeep Singh is the MD of SEO Discovery. He’s mission is to provide affordable digital marketing services to startups and SMEs. He’s an official member of Forbes Agency Council. You can find him on LinkedIn.



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Top 15 Chrome extensions for social media marketers

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30-second summary:

  • When it comes to the internet browser, Google Chrome, with its extensive list of extensions is the indisputable chart-topper.
  • As a digital marketer, you have to keep track of so many things – different projects at various stages of development, research, reporting, new leads, existing clients, et cetera.
  • Bhavik Soni shares a list of the top 15 Chrome extensions that will make social media marketers more productive, smart, and efficient.
  • These are categorized into extensions for – Productivity, research and tracking, content creation and implementation, and digital marketing. Dive in!

When it comes to the internet browser, Google Chrome, with its extensive list of extensions is the indisputable chart-topper. From simple theme-based to technical coding-related, the extension list in chrome is practically endless.

This extension-packed list also boasts a wide variety of efficient social media extensions that boost professionalism, punctuality, and productivity. And, who wouldn’t love a convenient free plugin that makes life easier!

As a digital marketer, you have to keep track of so many things – different projects at various stages of development, research, reporting, new leads, existing clients, et cetera. These extension apps create a focus-orientated and organized work environment by keeping marketers updated on project developments, sending to-do reminders, enhancing content, and more.

In short, these install-and-use plugins act as the ace up their sleeves for social network marketers. They work as useful gadgets and trained assistants. They are the must-have social media marketing tools for every marketer.

You can optimize and make Google work for you in a jiffy by adding these 15 Chrome Extensions to your browser today.

Chrome Productivity Extensions

1. StayFocused: App block & website block google chrome extension

Designed to boost productivity, the StayFocused extension limits the amount of time you spend on vanity Googling. It offers the brute force you need somedays to anchor your focus to what’s more important.

Pricing:

Free

2. Momentum: Personal dashboard new tab chrome extension

Perhaps, Momentum is the best Chrome extension for productivity. It steers your focus from idle to important by motivating you with quotes, encouraging positivity with mantras, and inspiring with serene photography. Features like Daily Focus, To-Do, Countdowns, Metrics, Event Reminder and Links help you browse the internet with intent. What’s more? The plus version is available for just $3.33/month.

Pricing

$3.33/month

Research and tracking extensions

3. Diigo Web Collector: Highlighter and bookmarker for chrome

Diigo is a research chrome extension that lets you highlight important phrases, bookmark and save pages, write notes, and collect references at a single place. It comes in handy for social media marketers, who generally invest hours in R&D for planning a campaign, learning trends, and comparing the competitor’s strategy.

Pricing:

Free

4. Google Analytics URL Builder: Online UTM tracking

This is a tracking extension that lets you build UTM parameters. With the help of this plugin, you will be able to gauge the effectiveness of the UTM tags used in the campaigns. Google Analytics URL Builder also allows you to share templates with others, saves time when you have to generate URLs manually, and shares progress with clients.

Pricing:

Free

5. Ghostery: Makes web cleaner, faster, and safer

Ghostery is designed to block ads and trackers, this productivity chrome extension makes a great social media marketing tool. With its help, you will be able to learn the trackers on the competitor’s sites that they use to attract, engage, and convert the visitors.

Pricing

$11.99 USD /month/user*

6. SpyFu: SEO and PPC tools for professionals

Yet another efficient tracker extension that lets you peek into the competitor’s site data. Spyfu reveals extensive information, including where the competitor appeared on Google in the past nine years. The social media marketing (SMM) plugin also shows all keywords bought on AdWords, every ad variation, and every organic rank for $33/month.

Pricing

$33/month

Content creation and implementation

7. Canva: Design is all around us

How social media advertising will perform relies a lot on visuals. Photo-driven platforms like Instagram and Pinterest yield better ROI than content-driven Twitter or Facebook. It is because photos get more engagement. To ensure you can make most of this social media trend, creating impressive and attention-grabbing posts become imperative. It is where Canva comes into the picture.

Pricing

Free

8. Figure it Out: Solve your time zone pain

A digital marketer works for clients and target audiences in different time zones. For them, Figure it Out proves to be a handy tool. It is an extension that lets you keep track of up to 10 time zones, and makes scheduling posts accordingly.

Pricing

Free and paid ($3/month)

9. WhatFont: Identify fonts on web pages

We get it, fonts are tricky. Download an app, and it gives you hundreds of fonts that are too similar-looking, too familiar, or too quirky for your campaign. One day you browse a site – may be a competitor’s – and find just the font you were looking for but have no clue which one it is.

That’s when WhatFont comes to the rescue. A single click and it reveals not only the name but also the family, style, weight, size, line height, and color of the font.

Pricing

Free

10. Unsplash Instant: Beautiful photos in your new tab

For every social media marketing post, there is a tedious task to find high-quality, professional stock pictures, usually for free. Unsplash Instant lets you find great photos ranging from flowers and skies to desktops and artsy portraits. You can save them for free and use it for all kinds of commercial use.

Pricing

Free

11. Colorzilla: Advanced colorful goodies

Colorzilla allows you to hover over any color shown on a webpage and learn about its hex code for future use in a social media ad post. With this plugin, you will be able to create consistent color themes, appealing visuals, and come up with perfect palettes.

Pricing

Free

12. Sniply: Drive conversion through content

Social media promotions through third-party content are more effective when they include a tempting call-to-action that takes the reader to your own online space. Sniply helps you make those conversion-generating posts by letting you add custom CTA to any piece of content. On the dashboard, the plugin will show how many clicks your links are getting and the level of engagement for tracking purposes.

Pricing

$29/month

Digital marketing extensions

13. IFTTT for Marketing and social media automation

IFTTT free digital marketing extension syncs multiple apps and automates them, thus saving a lot of time and effort. In simple terms, you could post a pic on a dozen different platforms all at once.

Pricing

Free

14. Buffer: Share content easily

With this social media extension, you will be able to schedule and manage posts across different platforms. Buffer will also let you follow up with analytics to track the performance of each post.

Pricing

$85/mo

15. LastPass: Free password manager

By downloading the LastPass Chrome extension, you will not need to remember dozens of passwords to each social media platform. This free password manager will do it for you. You could also create a master password through LastPass.

Pricing

Free

Let’s sum it up

Here’s a guide to 15 best Chrome extensions available for social media marketers. From saving bookmarks to managing posts and passwords, these plugins will work as assistants to digital professionals.

Note: Details like pricing are subject to change as per the respective tool provider.

Bhavik Soni is a Creative Writer at Auto Monkey. We provide an original analysis of the latest happenings in the social media industry. Connect with Latest Social Media Trends and News plus tips on Twitter, Facebook, and other social tools on the web.



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How to make your website ADA-compliant and win at SEO

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30-second summary:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites.
  • An ADA-compliant website helps more people than those covered by ADA.
  • There are many SEO benefits such as increased visibility on google image searches, and featured snippets.
  • Co-founder of Ally digital media, Abhishek Shah says, “Responsive websites help with ADA compliance and further improve your website’s overall search presence.”
  • The four best ways to make your website ADA-compliant with a clear outline of its ADA as well as SEO benefits.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites. Specifically, Title III of the ADA has taken an official stand on how websites should be accessible for disabled users. However, when you look at what’s necessary to make a website ADA-compliant, you will see that these also will help improve your site’s SEO.

Some elements such as title tags, heading structure, alt text, and responsive design are things all websites should include. By ensuring these are done properly and in an ADA-compliant way will maximize your website’s effectiveness.

How ADA accessibility prioritization benefits everyone

Ensuring your website complies with the ADA helps you serve a larger audience and gives a boost to your search engine rankings. This is because most of the necessary components of making your website ADA compliant feed directly into SEO best practices.

After all, the whole point is to make your website easier to view, understand, and navigate. What business doesn’t want all that for their website?

Four ways an ADA-compliant website helps improve your SEO

Here are 4 ADA-compliant must-haves (in no particular order) that will help improve your SEO. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good place to start.

1. Title tags help screen searches and readers

Title tags are very basic SEO. They let the reader, and search engines, know what the page is about. A title tag doesn’t show up on your website. Rather, it appears on the results page of a search engine, and the tab at the top of your web browser.

SEO benefits

Title tags, while basic SEO, are very important. This tag needs to match your user’s intent. For example, when someone googles “best phone” the phrase best phone (or a variation like “best smartphone”) will appear in the title tag.

Writing a title that accurately reflects what the page is about is the best way to get found and clicked on. It’s why a title tag should be specific: “The best Android phones for 2020” is far better than “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

ADA benefits

For those who need screen readers to help them use a computer, a specific title tag such as the above example is much more user-friendly. So, it is vital the title tag accurately reflects the page content.

The accessibility guidelines say the title should be “The best Android phones for 2020” instead of “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

2. Descriptive alt text

Alt text is not the same thing as a caption. A caption is visible usually beneath an image. Whereas alt text is not visible on the front end of the site. The alt text is a written alternative to a page’s visual elements. This includes: .jpegs, .pngs, and .gifs. the alt text is a description of an image that lives in the backend of the site.

SEO benefits

Alt text lets search engines know the subject matter of an image. It also helps search engines to better understand the page. Additionally, if you want images to show up in Google, then writing descriptive alt text is a must-have.

ADA benefits

For web users with visual impairment using screen readers, descriptive alt text is read aloud. This helps a visually impaired reader get a better sense of what’s going on, on any given page.

A useful descriptive alt text might be: “woman at café with laptop drinking coffee” 

A useless alt text would be: “SEO tips for freelancers | Get more clients with SEO | Writing your way to success with SEO”

3. Responsive design

Responsive design has been around since 2012/2013 in one form or another. But it means more than just your website being able to adapt to whichever screen size it finds itself on.

It’s about where your logo sits, how easy is your site to navigate, how easy is it to read, and how quickly does it load?

SEO benefits

Websites that offer good, functional user experience rank better in search results. User experience isn’t just one ranking factor but an umbrella term for quite a few. Google has said that a site that takes longer than three seconds to load on a mobile site will rank higher.

How easy content is to read (and how useful it is) is also an important ranking factor.

ADA benefits

Good responsive design puts the user first. It starts from the premise that a website needs to be easy to look at, easy to navigate, and be easy to understand.

This is why you need legible text for the visually impaired. As well as quick load times for people with slow internet. And straightforward navigation to make it easy for people to get around your website.

4. Proper heading (and subheading) structure

Headings (which show up in the code as <h1> or <h2> or <h3> etc.) define your content’s hierarchy. These headings (and subheadings) work along similar lines to when you wrote essays in school.

Proper heading structure:

  • Goes in order: a h3 doesn’t go directly after a h1.
  • Describes the copy beneath it.
  • Follows a sequence: if your h2 is “4 ways…” then the h3s would be each of those points.

SEO benefits

When your writing is clearly structured it is easier to read, and easier to follow. It’s also easier for Google to crawl your content and understand what is the most important (starting with h1, and so on).

Good header structure can also your content appear in the featured snippets in the search engine results page (SERPs).

ADA benefits

For users who have limited reading comprehension or cognitive impairments, clear and direct headings make it easier to read. Headings and subheadings let a reader know what’s worth reading and what’s worth skipping over.

And just like a reader skips heading, so too can a screen reader. Which only reinforces the need for a strong, clear heading structure.

An example of a website that has both good SEO and is ADA compliant is Enviro Safety Products. When you review this site you will see it ticks all the boxes, and provides the user a seamless, friendly experience.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA-compliant) - Example

Source: Enviro Safety Products

How making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO

By applying all the necessary ADA compliant elements to your website, you are helping the one in four Americans with a disability use your website. Additionally, you will also greatly enhance your website’s SEO.

If you would like to know more about how making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO, you can throw questions in the comments section below.

Abhishek Shah is the co-founder of Ally Digital Media, a leading voice in digital media and marketing. He advocates for evidence-based marketing strategies to fuel the businesses. He can be found on Twitter @abiishek.





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