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This is a sponsored post written by Botify. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

Your biggest SEO win may be where you don’t expect it.

Contrary to common belief, search engines – including Google – do not have unlimited resources to explore all websites thoroughly. They have a “crawl budget” they have to spend carefully. The internet is virtually bottomless, and although search engines explore a staggering number of sites, they still have to be selective and leave some out. They spend the “crawl budget” they think your website deserves, no more.

As a result, it is extremely common to find e-commerce websites with less than half of their product catalog crawled by search engines, or publishing websites with only a portion of their articles crawled.

Products Not on Display Can’t Be Bought

If you owned a physical store, would you keep some of your products locked away in storage, where buyers can’t see it, let alone put it in their cart?

Of course you wouldn’t. But that very thing is happening on most websites. If Google or Bing doesn’t know a page exists, there is no way this page can rank in search results and generate traffic. It’s a shame, as these “invisible” pages may include quality content that searchers are looking for. All these pages need in order to start generating traffic is to be found and explored by search engines.

Is This Happening on Your Website?

Forced to be selective to remain within your website’s crawl budget,  search engines ignore some pages knowingly, while other pages are missed by chance. If a page is linked only from pages the crawler did not explore, it is completely out of the field of vision, no matter how important the content.

This is an issue on most websites, and it takes huge proportions on large websites, where the part ignored by search engines may represent thousands or even millions of pages.

Crawl Ratio: The Foundation of High-Return SEO

Identifying priorities is often the most difficult step in SEO. You want to implement changes that will make a real difference and bring significant traffic from search engines, but how do you know what will accomplish your goals?

Maximizing crawl ratio – the proportion of pages Google explores on your site  – and making sure all pages with traffic potential are explored is your first step towards achieving that organic traffic. What good will it do to tweak pages, verify that title tags and H1 tags are properly set, and make sure they include high-quality content, if they don’t even exist in search engines’ world view?

35% More Organic Traffic After Improving Crawl Ratio

Let’s look at the example of an e-commerce website, which significantly increased organic traffic by increasing crawl ratio – particularly on product pages.

Initially, product pages had a crawl ratio of 54% from Google. This means that almost half of the product catalog couldn’t appear in search results.

After taking action to improve Google’s crawl on product pages (by enhancing navigation to products, reducing page depth, increasing the number of links to each product, and by removing pages which were wasting crawl budget – in particular internal search results with near duplicates), 92% of product pages are now crawled.

And the results are spectacular, with a significant increase in weekly organic visits on product pages:

Why Haven’t You Heard About Crawl Ratio Before?

Simply because very few tools deliver this key technical indicator. To be able to provide this, the SEO tool must:

Have visibility of the full inventory of pages on your website (provided by a website crawler)

Have visibility of search engine crawl, with every single hit from their robots on your pages (provided by web server log files analysis)

Combine the two types of information to show which pages are explored by search engines and which aren’t

Botify is the only SEO tool in the industry that combines all three features, along with segmented views of your website and tons of other key metrics, offering unparalleled insights into SEO priorities. With Botify you get everything you need to make the right decisions and get results.

Try it for free for 30 days!

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Biggest Challenges Facing Seo In 2023

When you’re preparing your strategy for next year, it’s vital to plan for potential upsets and challenges ahead.

This year, SEO practitioners overcame challenges posed by a lack of resources, issues with strategy, and the ability to scale processes.

Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, our State of SEO report finds practitioners anticipate machine learning and AI, Google updates, and the deprecation of third-party cookies to lead the way as the greatest shifts in SEO.

In this article, we’ll summarize key data points from our report, highlight three major challenges in particular, and look at relevant SEO trends that can aid in your strategy development.

All of the insights here are driven by our first-party survey data in the annual State Of SEO Report.

Summary Of Report Findings

When asked what were the biggest SEO challenges over the last 12 months, respondents stated:

Lack of resources (14.9%).

Strategy issues (12.3%).

Scaling processes (11.9%).

Pandemic-related issues (11.2%).

Alignment with other departments (10.7%).

Budget cuts fell from the number one challenge SEO professionals faced in 2023 to number six this year.

However, the fact that lack of resources and scaling processes were top challenges in 2023 suggests that 2023’s budget cuts had a lasting impact.

Looking ahead to potential threats in 2023, we asked respondents to select up to three “biggest shifts” and industry changes in SEO. Here are their top responses:

Machine learning and AI (18.7%).

Google updates (18.0%).

Third-party cookie deprecation (13.9%).

Competition for talent (11.5%).

Factors SEO professionals are watching as emergent factors are:

Machine learning and AI (11.3%).

Core Web Vitals (10.8%).

EAT & trusted sources (10.2%).

Mobile SEO (9.8%).

SERP features (8.3%).

SEO Pros Often Work With Limited Resources

Lack of resources came in as the top challenge faced by SEOs in 2023.

There’s little doubt that the industry is feeling the effects of budget cuts incurred in 2023, though another reason for the limited resources is that many SEOs aren’t working with large teams.

Over 40% of respondents report working with a team of 10 or fewer members, while roughly 5% said they work by themselves.

Adding new team members may prove difficult in the next year or two.

The State Of SEO Report goes into deeper detail about the challenges facing SEO professionals and what they’re worried about next year.

Recent And Continuing Growth May Prove Challenging

Several of the SEO shifts predicted for 2023 and beyond are potential impediments to growth.

Recent and continuing growth may prove challenging without the ability to scale as a team, and competition for talent is expected to be a major cause for concern over the next two years.

Deprecation of third-party cookies makes it difficult for SEO pros and marketers to sustain recent growth, as they’ll be expected to deliver the same or better results with fewer data.

Strategy Is A Concern For Many SEO Pros

SEOs listed strategy issues as one of their greatest challenges over the last 12 months.

Strategy issues may indicate that SEO professionals are struggling to prove their ROI (return on investment).

While over half of SEO practitioners (58.0%) we surveyed reported an increase in the ROI for their work, many struggled to prove ROI, and 29% of SEO professionals reported feeling ambivalent about their ROI.

In our chapter on Winning Strategies And Measuring SEO Success, we discuss how ROI problems are often the result of a disconnect between a brand’s target goals and the data being tracked.

SEO Pros Expect Machine Learning And AI To Have A Big Impact

Topping the list of biggest shifts over the next two years, as anticipated by SEO pros, is machine learning and AI.

Additionally, machine learning and AI were the top responses when SEO pros were asked to rank what they think will be the most important emergent factors in 2023.

To understand better why machine learning and AI are at the top of everyone’s minds, we turned to our in-house experts to get more context.

“As a disruptor, I can’t yet see AI being able to replace critical decisions and choices where there are several routes to take, and you have to make a choice based on expertise. The tool is only as good as the person driving it. At the moment, there is a flood of tools powered by GPT-3.

These are great for low-end volume content, such as product descriptions, but they widen the divide and elevate well-researched thought leadership quality content. As niches online become saturated by AI-spun content, the quality will be the only way to stand out. Ultimately, overuse will only have a detrimental effect.”

To see all of the first-party survey data and read more insights, download the State Of SEO Report.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

Set Plain Text The Default Text Mode In Textedit On Your Mac

TextEdit is a tiny app that lets you create various kinds of text documents on your Mac. From documents with fancy formatting to simple small letters, you can create everything with Apple’s own text editing app for Mac. One of the issues most users face while using the app, though, is switching between the rich text format and the plain text format. By default, the app comes with rich formatting enabled, and you are required to switch to the plain text mode each time you create a document that does not require any formatting.

If the majority of your TextEdit work requires you to create documents without formatting, you should just set plain text as the default text mode. It is quite easy to do.

Set Plain Text as the Default in TextEdit

You are not going to use a third-party app to get the task done. All you need is access to the TextEdit app.

4. Plain text is now the default text mode. Create a new document by selecting “File” followed by “New,” and you will see that there are no formatting tools like what used to appear when you created a new document in the app.

If you wish to enable the plain text mode only for a single document, you can do so using the following steps.

Enabling the Plain Text Mode for a Single Document

Conclusion

Many times a user only wishes to create a plain text document without any formatting, but TextEdit comes with the rich text mode by default. The guide above should help you switch to the plain text mode so you can create simple and unformatted documents on your machine.

Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who’s written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He’s been into the field for last eight years and hasn’t spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.

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How To Win At Seo & Ppc (And Save Money Doing It) With Octoboard

This is a sponsored post written by Octoboard. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

If you are an SEO, PPC, or marketing professional, you are operating in a super competitive space.

The competition is fierce. Companies use every opportunity to get ahead of the game.

Cloud data is one such opportunity.

The software that you’re using generates terabytes of data daily.

How Businesses & SEO Professionals Use Octoboard to Win

Today, less than two years since the launch of our first product, over 18,000 companies rely on the data that we process.

This is why top marketing professionals, SEO agencies, and PPC freelancers use Octoboard.

1. Impress Clients & Teams: Share Cloud Data Insights

Used by 87% of all Octoboard clients (based on a sample of active clients in the last 3 months).

Check out the full list of data integrations and over 200 templates that are available on the platform. All templates and dashboards can be modified or extended with some 3,500 data visualizations available in the system – maps, graphs, charts, and data tables.

2. Automatic AI Insights via Slack & Email

We followed the big data trend and added a machine learning feature that will report on the latest SEO and PPC trends automatically.

Octoboard will constantly monitor data changes for you. We identify trends and send regular updates on your business performance and marketing metrics changes.

You can connect to your data once and start getting updates in your email box or company Slack channel. Our machine learning algorithms will automatically discover trends that you may miss.

3. Reduce Churns: Automate SEO, PPC & Ecommerce Client Reporting

Used by 95% of marketing agencies, online stores, and SEO freelancers.

Marketing agencies save hundreds of hours monthly by sending professional-looking automated reports to clients. Most agencies charge clients extra for this feature.

Clients who see regular updates appreciate the hard work that agencies put into online marketing and stay with agencies for many years. This feature is a real churn killer.

With over 200 data templates pre-built for you, it is definitely much easier to set up and use than Google Data Studio.

4. Extra Revenue: Add Client Portal to Your Website

Used by 69% of SEO and PPC professionals.

You can build client portals and host them on your website directly. Enable this feature and your clients will be redirected to login pages that look like part of your site.

Octoboard will do the heavy lifting behind the scene. It is 100% white label.

Businesses use client portals to create more value for the clients, reduce churn, and build extra revenue streams.

(Octoboard only charges $8 per client – how much you charge your clients for this feature is entirely up to you.)

5. Motivate Teams & Monitor SEO Trends on Office TV Dashboards

Used by 59% of startups.

Create dashboards using our templates and show them on monitors in your office.

Your teams stay up-to-date and focused on their targets and key performance metrics (Analytics, Paid Advertising, Support dashboards, Marketing campaigns, SEO, and keyword ranking changes).

Our Octoboard for Business product also offers real-time data that includes live website traffic, live email subscriptions, online purchases, and support queries.

SEO trends are available from hundreds of data points from Google products, SEMrush, and Octoboard’s own keywords ranking analytics and SEO Audits.

6. Generate More Revenue: Run SEO Audits for Client Websites

Used by 82% of agencies.

Octoboard offers SEO Audits as a free add-on to all our customers.

You can run audits for your client websites, add results to client portals, online dashboards, and distribute them in automated weekly reports.

All white label features are available in Octoboard as free add-ons.

This is our new feature and is in Alpha from June.

Let visitors run white label SEO Audits for their websites.

Follow up with SEO Audit PDF documents and collect client opt-in for marketing and promotional material about your services.

8. Switch & Save

With Octoboard you can use SEMrush, Google Analytics or Google Search Console to monitor your keywords and another third-party product to add SEO Audit lead capture to your website plus one more to monitor keywords rankings.

Or you can switch to Octoboard’s own features that provide keyword rank tracking, embeddable audit forms, and automated reporting.

You will save hundreds of hours every month and thousands of dollars every year by switching to just one platform and stop paying for multiple products.

Octoboard pricing starts from just $20 per month.

Less logins – more savings – more work done!

Final Words

2024 is a difficult year for everyone. We are happy that our goal to keep Octoboard a low-cost platform is working for many businesses that are now switching from more expensive systems to Octoboard.

As the world is quickly getting even more digital, as more businesses go 100% online, we expect the importance of cloud data to increase. We hope that you will start using cloud data more, especially if it is now so easy to do with Octoboard.

After all, it is your data, so make good use of it to beat the competition and stay on top of your game!

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Men’s Rowing Competes In Biggest Race Of The Year

Men’s Rowing Competes in Biggest Race of the Year Terriers hope to medal at IRA Championships this weekend

Athletes in the second varsity eight boat work on their precision and technique heading into the IRA Championships. Photos by Jackie Ricciardi

During Tom Bohrer’s first year as head coach of the BU men’s rowing team, the Terriers achieved a goal that had previously eluded them: they placed two varsity boats in the grand finals of the 2009 Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships. Thanks to National Rowing Hall of Fame inductee Bohrer’s expert tutelage, the Terriers earned that year’s Clayton Chapman Award for most improved team in the country—and have returned to the IRA Championships each season since.

Now, as the Terriers prepare to compete in the 112th IRA Championships, beginning tomorrow, Friday, May 30, in Mercer County, N.J., their sights are set on one goal: medaling in the grand finals.

Since rowing is a tradition that predates most Division I sports, the IRA Championships remains an invitational event, with 24 schools selected to compete every year. This year, member schools Columbia, Cornell, Pennsylvania, Navy, and Syracuse selected 19 additional programs (including BU’s) to compete at the regatta.

“It’s the race of the year,” Bohrer says. “It’s our championship. The tradition is over 100 years old, and features some of the best college rowing in the country. We’re honored to be invited, and feel we have a good chance of putting all our boats in the grand finals.”

With the school year over, the Terriers have been able to devote the final week of their season exclusively to training. “This is what we focus on the entire year,” says cocaptain Kyle Peabody (CAS’14). “Now that we’re able to commit to rowing full-time, it certainly increases our conditioning, and that showed in our performance at Eastern Sprints. All five of our boats didn’t just make the grand finals—they were in the race right down to the finish line. We’re settled into our lineups, and I feel we’re really solidifying our rhythm heading into the IRA Championships.”

During a recent practice, Bohrer honed in on specific skills by having the athletes repeat the process of getting the boat started with an initial stroke and then work on their form by rowing one-handed at times.

“At this point in the season, most of the technical aspects of our training are complete,” Bohrer says. “We’re really trying to improve our sharpness. It’s not all about speed; precision can be even more important. That’s what rowing is all about: everyone getting their blades down at the same time, pushing off together, and stroking in unison.”

During last year’s championships, the second varsity eight and the varsity four boats finished in the top five, and BU finished 12th overall in team points. Bohrer believes this year’s varsity eight could finish in the top five for the first time in program history.

“You want all your boats to do well, and all the races are important, but the varsity eight is the big one,” he says. “Most of those guys are seniors, and they’re part of the second full class that’s come through since I’ve been here. I can safely characterize most of them as selfless. They could’ve hung their head when things didn’t go their way a few years ago, but they didn’t. They work hard, have fun, have good values, and instill those qualities in everyone else. Going into the biggest race of the year, there’s no one I trust more than them.”

Explore Related Topics:

The Us Is Making Its Biggest Investment In Broadband Internet Ever

Last Friday, the House of Representatives passed a historic infrastructure bill, which includes $1.2 trillion allocated towards supporting planes, trains, energy systems—and the largest investment ever for broadband internet, to the tune of $65 billion. President Biden is expected to sign it into law on Monday.

More than 30 million Americans live in areas with no broadband infrastructure, meaning their access to high speed internet is limited. This is a bipartisan issue, and its effects were felt most during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when employees worked from home and kids went to school online. 

“This is something both sides of the political aisle have talked about for a long time,” says Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy at the Center for American Progress. “This bill is in line with the sort of rough estimates of what it will take to try to bring broadband internet to everybody in America.”

Here’s what you need to know about what this bill means for internet access.

What will the bill do?

The government has allocated $42.4 billion towards a Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program, which is just what it sounds like, says DeGood. In areas without internet service, or with spotty, intermittent service, there will be an auction in which private companies can bid on how much money they would need in order to build out real broadband internet access. 

The Pew Research Center consistently finds that affordability is a huge barrier to broadband adoption in the United States. A program called the Affordable Connectivity Fund seeks to address this, allocating $14.2 billion to provide a $30 monthly subsidy to bring down the cost of monthly internet access charges for households that are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. This program is a continuation of the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, or EBBP, started during the pandemic to help low-income Americans get online.

Two billion dollars will go towards making sure indigenous communities have access to the internet, and $2.75 billion will go towards “digital equity plans,” like computer labs for your local library.

Did COVID-19 spur this?

The pandemic definitely played a role in pushing this bill to pass. “I think we’ve known for a long time that access to broadband was unevenly distributed,” Tejas Narechania, faculty director at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, says. “But the pandemic, working from home, schooling from home, ordering online, and relying on streaming services for entertainment sharpened our focus on the need for reliable internet everywhere.”

Narechania points out that the EBBP benefit, which started during the pandemic, is what has been modified and extended in this bill. But the EBB offered households subsidies of $50, while this new bill will only offer a subsidy of $30, so some households will have to pay $20 more out of pocket for internet service.

“But the program was due to expire, so these consumers are in fact better off than they otherwise would have been,” says Narechania. 

Will this bill be enough to get internet access to everyone?

Experts have made different estimates on how much it would cost to get wall-to-wall coverage nationally. It’s tricky to know how much this bill will narrow the digital divide because we don’t have accurate maps of where service is or isn’t, says DeGood, because of the nature of the technology. 

One of the provisions in the bill is to give the government more authority to demand better data from these private network providers. Unlike road maps, where experts can look at a map and see where there is or isn’t a road, with the internet, experts can examine a map and see that fiber optic cable has been laid down, but not know who is accessing that cable. 

Our estimate is “based on guesses as to whether or not people are being served based on fiber maps and other wireline technology,” says DeGood. Just because a line might pass by someone’s property doesn’t mean they automatically have internet access. 

“Based on the best estimates that are out there, this $65 billion should probably get the job done,” says DeGood. “But if it’s a little bit short, I have every reason to believe that Congress will come back and spend more in future years if there are gaps left.”

Is this changing how we view the internet?

In 2024, the UN General Assembly declared internet access “a human right.” But for a long time, the internet was seen more as an optional add-on than a necessity. But this could be the beginning of a shift in the way we see the internet, says DeGood, looking at it as more of a public good—like electricity or water—than a private luxury.

Adie Tomer, senior fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, thinks the internet can indeed now be compared to a utility like electricity. “No one living in a modern economy right now can imagine a day without electricity,” he says. “From charging your phone to the dishwasher, everything runs on the electric grid. And as of March 2023, broadband became an essential utility for Americans.”

But unlike electricity, Timer says broadband is a privately run utility service that is highly underregulated, specifically lacking regulation around a universal mandate to provide affordable and ubiquitous service.

And broadband access is one of the most pressing issues in our society today. “This is easily the infrastructure sector with the biggest gaps in the United States,” says Tomer. “So it is really, really important that we get to work on this.”

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