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How To Win Against Spammy SEO Strategies In 2023

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How To Win Against Spammy SEO Strategies In 2023

What if you wake up one day and discover your website’s ranking crashing to the ground- with years of SEO effort invalidated by Google’s algorithm update?

Your website might have been involved in a black hat SEO practice called ‘SEO spam.’ Here is everything you need to know about it and how to act against it in 2023.

What is SEO Spam?

SEO Spam, also known as Spamdexing, is an SEO practice that involves unethical practices such as spamming other unmoderated websites to boost website ranking and promote faster web page indexing. This controversial approach comes in many forms- popular ones being keyword stuffing, link spamming, private blog networks, cloaking, and hidden texts and links.

With the persistent malpractice of SEO still apparent all over the internet, Google has been more aggressive in addressing it. This was especially evident in their release of the October 2022 spam algorithm update that shook the world of black hat SEO practitioners a day after its release.

Signs You’ve Been Practicing SEO Spam

One of the telltale signs that your website’s been affected by an algorithm update would be a drop in rankings. You’ll notice negative changes in impressions, clicks and overall traffic coming into your website- with some penalties completely de-indexing some of your pages.

Example of A Website

But what you need to worry about are the penalties from a spam algorithm update that tends to provide worse results in search ranking. Not only will your rankings dramatically drop, but it could result in Google de-indexing your whole website. So what can you do to prevent this?

6 Ways To Win Against SEO Spam

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing refers to spamming your target keyword all over your content. This is the practice of over-implementing your keywords to the point that it appears unnatural and out of context.

Here’s a painful example of keyword stuffing:

“What is instant coffee? Instant coffee is a ready-to-mix coffee that serves as a low-cost solution to caffeine intake. Instant coffee nowadays comes in different flavors. There are white chocolate-flavored instant coffee, mocha-flavored instant coffee, and even plain black instant coffee. This instant mix drink also serves as a health solution for some consumers. Some instant coffee shops sell slimming coffee in the form of instant coffee.”

This technique of SEO Spam is one of the most common malpractices of any aspiring SEO practitioner. Increased keyword usage does not equate to a higher ranking. A healthy ceiling for keywords written in the body of your content is 1%.

Use AI-generated Content as a Guide, Not as an Article

With algorithm updates favoring topical authority, the popularity of AI-generated content has been growing more and more popular in 2022. Digital marketers all over the internet have been publishing articles that are purely written by technology. This causes frustration for some search users regarding the accuracy of the information they’re looking for and has been catching Google’s attention for quite some time now.

The best way to exploit AI-generated content is to use it as the basis for content writing. You can start by analyzing the points presented in the generated copy. Then utilize that as a means to write your own unique content- publishing an article that’s relatable, relevant to your target market, and most of all, human.

Defer from Cloaking

Cloaking refers to presenting a search result that doesn’t match the expectation of the users. Imagine a user searching for the term ‘medicine for cough’. After searching they chose to click a particular result that they believe best represents the answer they are looking for (because a loved one or they themselves are suffering from cough) then they unwillingly find themselves on a web page that’s making them apply for a gym membership. What the?!

Visual Example of Cloaking

The content and meta tags you set in your pages must always be relevant to the search term you’re targeting. Not only does this prevent unintentionally practicing ‘cloaking’, but it even improves your overall website ranking.

Use Appropriate Hidden Content

Hidden content is sometimes stuffed in a website to manipulate rankings. This is done in a way that the text or link involved in increasing the rankings is stuffed within the HTML of the web page but not appearing (or minimally appearing) in the actual display. It can appear as the following:

  • White text on white background
  • Underneath an element (images, videos, and other forms of media)
  • Placed off-screen
  • Setting opacity to 0

It is also important to note that there are particular exemptions when implementing hidden content. These exceptions are the ones that are centric on improving user experience. Such as the following:

Keep Your Redirects In Check

Google only considers a redirect as SEO Spam whenever a user is directed to an unexpected web page. For example, a user clicking on a link text writing ‘SEO strategies’ was directed to a page about ‘farm animals.’ They fell trap in what we call a Sneaky redirect. Sneaky redirects are originally intended to build traffic to a website unrelated to the anchor text or search query.

As one of the SEO factors that can easily be ignored, issues with redirects can accumulate the older a website gets. This is why it’s essential to regularly check your redirect paths- apply the appropriate redirect and make the anchor text relevant to your links. To get the full list of redirects on your website, check out my favorite tool, Screaming Frog.

Avoid Link Spamming

With backlinks being an essential ranking factor, it is important to keep your website safe from link spamming opportunities.

A lot of people nowadays see their authoritative pages as opportunities to make money. They choose to sell the convenience of creating backlinks in a website to boost others. These are exactly the kind of opportunities you should avoid. Google’s purposely improving its algorithm updates to address these types of issues.

Other forms of link spamming include excessive link exchanges between webmasters, automated link-building methods, and widely distributed links within the footers of varied questionable websites.

You must always be cautious about any form of ‘easy’ generation of backlinks. To this day, it’s still best to practice the traditional ways of reaching out to webmasters to build guest posts and diligently creating good-quality backlinks.

Learn more about the SEO malpractices of link building and how to fix them!

Key Takeaway

A famous writer once said, “Tradition is a guide, not a jailer.” What early practices of SEO teach us, is that search engines should service the users. It’s all about bringing them the relevant information that they need. As SEO professionals, we are obligated to fulfill this duty through appropriate practices in digital marketing. We should resort to being more creative in our craft and abstain from the tempting boost in rankings that the SEO spam methods offer.

If you want to learn more about how to recover from Google Penalizing your website, try checking out our guide on How to Fix Google Penalties.

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The 11 Best Digital Marketing Courses Free & Paid (2024)

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The 11 Best Digital Marketing Courses Free & Paid (2024)

A digital marketing course is a good entry point for anyone wanting a career in SEO or online marketing. It can help to provide a basic knowledge base as a starting point.

You can build many different specialized career paths, and if you’re just starting your career or seeking to understand digital marketing as a business owner, it’s good to get a general overview of the field first.

Of course, actively experimenting and getting experience is the best way to learn SEO and digital marketing.

The following digital marketing courses are listed alphabetically, not in order of quality or value. Each course will provide different benefits, so consider them carefully for your needs.

Free Digital Marketing Courses

Many businesses offer digital marketing courses as part of their digital strategies. If a company wishes to be seen as an expert in the field, offering courses makes sense to improve its reputation and acquire new clients.

These courses are great as a window into the most current digital marketing skills and trends. They’re often taught and developed by practicing experts. However, the quality can vary, so check the credentials and reviews.

1. Google Skillshop Fundamentals Of Digital Marketing

Screenshot from Google Skillshop, May 2024

Google is one of the leading digital companies. For many people, Google is the “face” of the internet and the first point of contact between humans and businesses online.

No matter how you feel about the vast control Google exerts over the internet and how business is done online, it’s one of the best places to start for general marketing knowledge.

The best things about the Skillshop is that it’s accessible, widely recognized, and contains refined content. There’s a lot to dig into, both in terms of digital marketing and Google tools.

Since you will likely encounter Google’s tools for managing websites, it’s a great place to start, and there’s a lot of content to continue your education in whichever way you need.

If you’re interested in search engine optimization or search engine marketing and ads, this is where you should start.

The fundamentals you learn in the Skillshop help you build a skill set around Google’s tools and services. You can also earn displayable certificates and awards when you complete the final assessments.

Experience Level

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing fundamentals and basics.
  • Step by step on how to take a business online.
  • Search engine optimization and search advertising.
  • Using Google’s tools.

Course Length

Course Features

  • 24 individual modules.
  • Introductions to important Google tools and search concepts.
  • Quizzes after each module and a final assessment.
  • Sharable award of completion.

2. HubSpot Academy Digital Marketing Course

HubSpot Academy Digital Marketing CourseScreenshot from HubSpot, May 2024

HubSpot is another big name in digital marketing. It specializes in “inbound” marketing strategies, focusing on activities like customer relationship management and content strategy.

If you’re most interested in the inbound side of marketing, focused on understanding customers and improving how websites contributor to customer acquisition, then this is a great place to start.

Just like with Google, the courses are focused on HubSpot’s specific service areas.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s where they have the most expertise to share. Once you have an account with the academy, HubSpot will give you personalized recommendations, which makes sense – personalization is its bread and butter.

By being part of its ecosystem, you’ll get a personalized learning experience. Paying attention to how it moves you through its lessons and content can also be a good lesson for you!

Watching how the pros move you through an inbound platform can be eye-opening if you pay close attention.

While this course is only a few hours long, the HubSpot Academy has many digital marketing courses. It’s a great way to build your own education and continue to gain skills throughout your career.

Experience

Key Learning

Course Length

Course Features

  • Quizzes.
  • Certification.
  • Five languages: English, French, Japanese, Spanish, German.

3. Semrush Academy: Digital Advertising 101

Semrush AcademyScreenshot from Semrush Academy, May 2024

Semrush is one of the biggest tool companies in the SEO space. If you’re interested in getting into SEO research and analytics, this course could be a good starting point.

You can expect this to be a focused course about devising strategies, planning and applying budgets, investigating competitors, and other data-driven activities.

However, the number of guest course instructors means that you can get insights from a variety of industry professionals in different roles and businesses.

Like with the other brand-offered courses, Semrush sticks to its core areas of business so you can expect courses that prepare you for marketing activities covered by its tools.

This, again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You’re very likely to encounter Semrush in your career if you choose to focus on SEO.

While this individual course is short, the Semrush Academy contains many courses from industry leaders such as Kevin Indig.

There’s lots to dig into, and the variety of expert course instructors is an excellent feature in favor of this option.

Experience

Key Learning

  • Digital advertising strategies.
  • Audience profiling.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Channel selection.
  • Budget allocation.

Course Length

Course Features

  • Video course.
  • Short and accessible.
  • Certification.
  • Jumping off point for more detailed courses in the Semrush Academy.

Paid Digital Marketing Courses

4. Digital Marketing Institute + American Marketing Association Professional Certificate

Digital Marketing InstituteScreenshot from Digital Marketing Institute, May 2024

Unlike the free courses offered by individual marketing companies, the courses from DMI and AMA will be more platform-inclusive and cover a broader range of topics.

You’ll explore modules focused on different tools and marketing activities, allowing you to learn about analytics, social media platforms, content, SEO, and AI.

This sets you up to make informed decisions about where you want to specialize as a marketer.

Companies offering paid courses have an incentive to keep up with current developments and trends, as you can see by the AI-focused module in the screenshot above.

Bear in mind that it’s unlikely a general marketing course will be on the bleeding edge of new technology. As things change, the course needs to be adjusted and re-released. This takes time.

Paid courses are, of course, a much bigger up-front investment. Deciding if they’re worth both the time and money can be difficult.

One of the best ways is to look for reviews and ongoing conversations about the course and the company that offers it. You could even start new conversations on social media platforms and ask other professionals what they think.

This way, you can get more information about the teaching styles, how assessments are conducted, and what people got from the experience.

It’s always best to do this research independently, outside of landing pages. Armed with the direct experiences of people who’ve taken the course, you can decide for yourself if it will fit your learning style and career goals.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • AI.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media marketing.
  • SEO.
  • Paid search and display advertising.
  • Email marketing.
  • Ecommerce.
  • Analytics.
  • Digital marketing strategy.

Course Features

  • Two certifications.
  • Multiple in-depth modules.
  • Live webinars and Q&As.
  • Practice exams.
  • Recently updated with an AI-focused module.

5. Google Digital Marketing & Ecommerce Professional Certificate

Google digital marketing course on CourseraScreenshot from Coursera, May 2024

Coursera is an interesting platform. You gain access to courses by paying a monthly fee. So while the courses are paid, you’re not putting a chunk of money down for one individual course. If you try one and don’t like it, then you can try something else.

Note that you can “enroll for free,” which begins a free trial. After the trial ends, you’ll be charged a subscription fee.

The course offered by Google is a great place to start if you’re trying out Coursera. It’s a long course series but still beginner-level. By the end of the free trial, you should know whether the course is worth it for you.

One thing to keep in mind is that the length of the course is not necessarily a selling point for a system designed to charge a monthly fee. Consistently assess the quality of the course and what you’re getting out of it.

Remember that it’s the learning that counts, not the certificate at the end. When you’re paying a subscription, you should avoid the sunk cost fallacy and pivot to new material if what you’re working on feels stale.

Remember to assess the price of the course by calculating the monthly fee against your actual completion rate. The site suggests a three-month completion time, which would cost $177, and would require just over 14 hours per week.

If you only had time for six hours per week, this course would take seven months and cost $413.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

Course Length

  • Seven courses.
  • 18 to 29 hours per course.
  • 170 total hours.

Course Features

  • Professional training from Google.
  • Certification.
  • Career support.

6. Harvard Business School Online Digital Marketing Strategy

Harvard Business School OnlineScreenshot from Harvard Business School Online, May 2024

Attaining a certification from an educational institution can boost your resume. The other benefit of a course like this is the learning environment.

If you struggle with learning things passively, a course offered by an educational institution is more likely to be prepared and taught by education professionals.

Education is a skill on its own. Courses like this, including faculty and practicing experts, can give you a better learning experience.

Educational institutions are also likely to have learning platforms and community functions to help support you while you learn. In terms of paying up-front for a course, the right educational institution could be a safe bet that you’ll get value out of the experience.

This course highlights practical examples, which tie any theory you learn to real-world situations.

One thing to be wary of is that educational institutions can adapt slowly to digital trends. The value of a course like this will heavily depend on the expert practitioners included.

One thing to note about this course is that it appears to be much more tightly planned than the six-month course we examined above. This isn’t a bad thing.

Concise planning and careful material selection can improve your learning experience, and the people who developed this course likely have experience developing syllabi.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • Learn about metrics, objectives, target audiences, and value propositions.
  • Paid, owned, and earned media.
  • Digital marketing strategy.
  • Attribution and calculating value.

Course Length

  • Seven weeks.
  • 6 to 7 hours per week.

Course Features

  • Learn from real-world cases, brands, and business experts.
  • Certificate of completion.
  • Six modules.
  • Community and networking group.

7. Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate

Meta social media marketing certificateScreenshot from Coursera, May 2024

This is another Coursera course, and so it comes with all the same notes we talked about with the Google Coursera course.

Run by Meta, this course focuses on social media, so you’re unlikely to get a broad overview of digital marketing as a whole. But you will get an overview of everything social media and brand management by one of the biggest brands in the industry.

Facebook has proven to be an incredibly enduring platform, and Meta owns other successful platforms and initiatives.

In addition to organic social media topics, you’ll learn about paid advertising. If you want to go into paid media, this would be a very helpful course for you as well.

Again, your mileage will vary depending on the time it takes you to complete the modules and how much time you have available per week.

Unfortunately, not all of this course’s modules give you time estimates. So, I would consider saving this one for after you have made a decision about whether Coursera as a platform is worth it for you.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

  • Social media marketing.
  • Brand management.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media paid advertising.

Course Length

  • Six-course series.
  • 10 to 20 hours per course.
  • Not all courses have exact hour estimates.

Course Features

  • Certification.
  • 22 languages.
  • Career resources upon completion.
  • Degree credit eligible (earn credits toward degrees from participating institutions).

8. NYU Continuing Education: Digital Marketing

NYU Digital Marketing CourseScreenshot from NYU Digital Marketing Course, May 2024

Note: Courses fill up quickly, so you may need to wait for a new semester.

This course is very much structured like a traditional college course but with open enrollment.

More structured like a college course than the Harvard course above, you will get many of the benefits that come with formal education.

The courses are organized into sections with limited slots, which means they’ve planned for a certain number of learners and their needs. It’s going to be more interactive than a more free-form course taught with videos.

These courses are live and offered at specific times over the course of a semester. The benefits of this can be huge, as you’ll be participating in live lectures and learning.

You’ll have a community of other students to collaborate with, and your instructor may be available directly during certain times.

The disadvantage of this structure is that the course may not work with your schedule, and you won’t be able to learn at your own pace. This is a strict commitment if you want to make it worth the money.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

  • $400 to $1,000 per course.

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing strategies and tools.
  • Audience development and consumer analysis.
  • Branding.
  • Multimedia marketing channels.

Course Length

  • Each course is one semester long.

Course Features

  • Five courses to choose from.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.

9. Wharton University Of Pennsylvania Digital Marketing Certificate

Wharton University online digital marketing cert programScreenshot from Wharton University, May 2024

The Wharton program is another course offered by a college that comes with a certificate. Getting a certificate at the end can be a draw for your resume if you don’t have much relevant or recent experience.

You can enroll in this course immediately, and it’s a small weekly time commitment, which makes it perfect if you’re already busy.

On the other hand, it’s quite expensive compared to the other courses on this list, and since it’s an on-demand course, you won’t have access to the same college-style benefits of the NYU courses.

This course focuses more heavily on business and business management than others in terms of content. This could be great if you need to brush up on your business fundamentals, but it may not be ideal if you have business chops and want to really focus on digital marketing.

It does prioritize analysis, and a course from a college with a strong business background will definitely be a good candidate for improving your data analysis skills. If you’re heading into a data-focused career, this course could be perfect.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing fundamentals.
  • Ecommerce.
  • Metrics and metric analysis.
  • Research and analysis.

Course Length

  • Six weeks.
  • 3 to 5 hours per week.

Course Features

  • Four courses in the certificate program.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.
  • Certification.

10. UCLA Extension Digital Marketing Course

UCLA Extension digital marketing course.Screenshot from UCLA Extension, May 2024

Note: Make sure you’re applying for the online course if you can’t attend an in-person course.

Much like the NYU course, this is a more traditional college-level course. It is priced and organized consistently with other college-level courses. Don’t look at the price on this one and assume it’s not as valuable because it’s cheaper.

The online version of this course has no scheduled meeting times, which makes it slightly more accessible than the NYU course. But it’s still organized, very much like a college course.

It’s also taught by a marketing executive, so it’s another “best of both worlds” situation – college-level learning with the insights of an industry expert.

You can even check out the course syllabus at the bottom of the page to give you an idea of the content it will cover, as well as the books you’ll learn from.

While it doesn’t give you a breakdown of hours per week, you can get a very good sense of what you’ll learn over the course of the 11 weeks.

Experience

Price

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing introduction and overview.
  • Digital marketing strategy.
  • Developing KPIs and monitoring metrics.

Course Length

Course Features

  • Apply this course toward a certificate or specialization from UCLA.
  • Four units.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.

11. University Of Illinois Digital Marketing Specialization

University of Illinois digital marketing course.Screenshot from University of Illinois, May 2024

To finish our list, we have a college offering a course through Coursera. Like the other Coursera courses, this is split into a series of sub-courses. Most of the sub-courses are in the 20-hour range.

Like the others, the actual “price” of this course will depend on your weekly availability and completion rate. With the four-month estimate, this costs $236. If you only do six hours per week, it will cost $354 and take six months.

This course series provides a robust overview of general concepts and is ideal if you are brand new to digital marketing or marketing in general. The first modules start from the beginning and take you through the inception and development of digital marketing.

If you view the series of courses, you can see that this series is planned methodically and that you will build knowledge and skills in an intuitive way.

First, it introduces analytics theory, and then the next module covers analytics in practice. This kind of organization will help you fully grasp the core concepts and then walk you through applying them in practice.

This course would be a great place for you to begin your journey, and it might even be worth it if you already know some of the more basic concepts for the way in which it organizes and presents the material.

Like the Google Coursera course, this would be a great candidate to spend your free trial on.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing basics.
  • Planning and measuring digital marketing.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media.
  • Marketing channels.
  • Data gathering and analysis.

Course Length

  • Seven courses.
  • 13 to 28 hours per course.
  • 145 total hours.

Course Features

  • Seven courses, including basic principles, data and analytics, and digital media.
  • Certification.
  • 22 languages available.
  • Regular assessments.

Digital Marketing Courses FAQ

What Kind Of Digital Marketing Course Should I Take?

Digital marketing courses can help you learn the core concepts that you can apply to any specific skill set.

They are offered at various lengths – some with certifications, and some without. Some are offered by colleges with open enrollment.

The core factors you should consider are:

  • What you’ll learn from the course: Is the description specific about what you’ll get from the experience?
  • Price: Free courses can be high-quality, but they tend to be short and lack interactivity. Paid courses offered by colleges will likely have the most support and community.
  • Certification and credit: Certifications can be helpful to share, but focus on the value the course offers to you first. Some courses can be used toward college credits, which is helpful if you are seeking a degree or professional certification from a college.
  • Hands-on work and real-world examples: Courses that offer learning by doing and seeing theory in action can have much more value.

Why Digital Marketing Courses Matter

There’s a lot of information out there for free. With enough research, you could learn most of the theoretical concepts yourself without giving up your money or your data.

But this can be time-consuming, and self-guided learning isn’t always the best solution. It’s easy to get inaccurate information or hit roadblocks.

Courses, especially those led by professional educators, give you a structured environment, resources, and sometimes community.

The right course could be the best way to reach your goals.

More Digital Marketing Course Overviews From SEJ


Featured Image: Chay_Tee/Shutterstock

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Attain Superior Growth & ROI With Organic & Paid Tips

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Holistic Search 2.0: Optimizing and Measuring Organic and Paid Performance

Silos don’t cut it anymore. User journeys are too complex for you to view and track channels separately.

To improve your campaign performance, you need a holistic view of your marketing activities and how they intertwine. This is especially true for organic and paid search strategies. 

You need to be front and center with your ideal customers at multiple touchpoints, including active interactions and passive awareness. An ideal marketing strategy has paid and organic campaigns working in tandem, and it’s becoming harder to succeed without doing both.

If you’re looking to drive quality growth in your own campaigns, iQuanti can help.

Join us live on July 24 as we delve into this intricate relationship between organic and paid search channels. You’ll get actionable insights for measuring success to maximize their combined potential.

You’ll gain a comprehensive, data-driven understanding of how to measure, analyze, and optimize holistic search marketing efforts, ensuring sustainable growth and superior ROI for your business.

You’ll walk away with:

  • Integrated Metrics and KPIs: Learn how to define and track key metrics to capture the performance of your organic and paid search campaigns, so you can make informed strategic decisions that work.
  • Attribution Models: You’ll see firsthand how strong attribution models are crucial to understanding your customers’ journeys, allowing you to identify influential touchpoints and allocate budget effectively for maximum ROI.
  • Optimization Strategies: You’ve gathered data from your campaigns…now what? Take the data and leverage it to further optimize your paid and organic search campaigns, increasing conversions along the way.

Shaubhik Ray, Senior Director of Digital Analytics Solutions at iQuanti is an expert at crafting holistic search strategies to reach more of your ideal audiences at relevant stages in their journeys. Now, he’s ready to share his insights with you.

You’ll walk away equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to execute a combined organic and paid strategy that improves the performance of each channel.  You’ll gain data-driven insights on how to align a combined strategy with business goals and lead your organization to success.

Sign up now and prepare to maximize the potential of combining your organic and paid campaigns.

At the end of the presentation, you’ll get a chance to ask Shaubhik your burning questions in our live Q&A, so be sure to attend.

And if you can’t make it that day, register here and we’ll send you a recording following the webinar. 

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Screaming Frog SEO Spider Version 20.0: AI-Powered Features

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What’s New with Screaming Frog SEO Spider 20.0?

For SEO experts, our toolkit is crucial. It’s how we make sure we can quickly and effectively assess how well our websites are performing. Using the best tools can put you way ahead of other SEOs. One example (and one tool I’ve personally been using for years) is Screaming FrogIt’s a powerful, straightforward, and insightful website crawler tool that’s indispensable for finding technical issues on your website.

And the good news is that it keeps getting better. Screaming Frog just released its 20th major version of the software, which includes new features based on feedback from SEO professionals.

Here are the main updates:

  1. Custom JavaScript Snippets
  2. Mobile Usability
  3. N-Grams Analysis
  4. Aggregated Anchor Text
  5. Carbon Footprint & Rating

Custom JavaScript Snippets

One of the standout features in this release is the ability to execute custom JavaScript snippets during a crawl. This functionality expands the horizons for data manipulation and API communication, offering unprecedented flexibility.

Use Cases:

  • Data Extraction and Manipulation: Gather specific data points or modify the DOM to suit your needs.
  • API Communication: Integrate with APIs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT from within the SEO Spider.

Setting Up Custom JS Snippets:

  • Navigate to `Config > Custom > Custom JavaScript`.
  • Click ‘Add’ to create a new snippet or ‘Add from Library’ to select from preset snippets.

setting up custom JS snippets screamingfrog 20setting up custom JS snippets screamingfrog 20

  • Ensure JavaScript rendering mode is set via `Config > Spider > Rendering`.

Crawl with ChatGPT:

  • Leverage the `(ChatGPT) Template` snippet, add your OpenAI API key and tailor the prompt to your needs.
  • Follow our tutorial on ‘How To Crawl With ChatGPT’ for more detailed guidance.

Sharing Your Snippets:

  • Export/import snippet libraries as JSON files to share with colleagues.
  • Remember to remove sensitive data such as API keys before sharing.

Introducing Custom JavaScript Snippets to Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 significantly enhances the tool’s flexibility and power. Whether you’re generating dynamic content, interacting with external APIs, or conducting complex page manipulations, these snippets open a world of possibilities. 

Mobile Usability

In today’s mobile-first world, ensuring a seamless mobile user experience is imperative. Version 20.0 introduces extensive mobile usability audits through Lighthouse integration. 

With an ever-increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, ensuring a seamless mobile experience is crucial. Google’s mobile-first indexing highlights the importance of mobile usability, which directly impacts your site’s rankings and user experience.

 Mobile Usability Features:

  • New Mobile Tab: This tab includes filters for regular mobile usability issues such as viewport settings, tap target sizes, content sizing, and more.
  • Granular Issue Details: Detailed data on mobile usability issues can be explored in the ‘Lighthouse Details’ tab.
  • Bulk Export Capability: Export comprehensive mobile usability reports via `Reports > Mobile`.

Setup:

  • Connect to the PSI API through `Config > API Access > PSI` or run Lighthouse locally.

Example Use Cases:

  • Identify pages where content does not fit within the viewport.
  • Flag and correct small tap targets and illegible font sizes.

mobile usability analysis on screamingfrog 20mobile usability analysis on screamingfrog 20

With these new features, Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 streamlines the process of auditing mobile usability, making it more efficient and comprehensive. By integrating with Google Lighthouse, both via the PSI API and local runs, the tool provides extensive insights into the mobile performance of your website. Addressing these issues not only enhances user experience but also improves your site’s SEO performance.

N-grams Analysis

N-grams analysis is a powerful new feature that allows users to analyze phrase frequency across web pages. This can greatly enhance on-page SEO efforts and internal linking strategies.

Setting Up N-grams:

  • Activate HTML storage by enabling ‘Store HTML’ or ‘Store Rendered HTML’ under `Config > Spider > Extraction`.
  • View the N-grams in the lower N-grams tab.

n-grams analysis on screamingfrog 20n-grams analysis on screamingfrog 20

Example Use Cases:

  • Improving Keyword Usage: Adjust content based on the frequency of targeted N-grams.
  • Optimizing Internal Links: Use N-grams to identify unlinked keywords and create new internal links.

Internal Linking Opportunities:

The N-grams feature provides a nuanced method for discovering internal linking opportunities, which can significantly enhance your SEO strategy and site navigation.

The introduction of N-grams analysis in Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20 provides a tool for deep content analysis and optimization. By understanding the frequency and distribution of phrases within your content, you can significantly improve your on-page SEO and internal linking strategies.

Aggregated Anchor Text

Effective anchor text management is essential for internal linking and overall SEO performance. The aggregated anchor text feature in version 20.0 provides clear insights into how anchor texts are used across your site.

Using Aggregated Anchor Text:

  • Navigate to the ‘Inlinks’ or ‘Outlinks’ tab.
  • Utilize the new ‘Anchors’ filters to see aggregated views of anchor text usage.

aggregated anchor text report on screamingfrog 20aggregated anchor text report on screamingfrog 20

Practical Benefits:

  • Anchor Text Diversity: Ensure a natural distribution of anchor texts to avoid over-optimization.
  • Descriptive Linking: Replace generic texts like “click here” with keyword-rich alternatives.

The aggregated anchor text feature provides powerful insights into your internal link structure and optimization opportunities. This feature is essential if you are looking to enhance your site’s internal linking strategy for better keyword relevance, user experience, and search engine performance.

Aligning with digital sustainability trends, Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 includes features to measure and optimize your website’s carbon footprint.

Key Features:

  • Automatic CO2 Calculation: The SEO Spider now calculates carbon emissions for each page using the CO2.js library.
  • Carbon Rating: Each URL receives a rating based on its emissions, derived from the Sustainable Web Design Model.
  • High Carbon Rating Identification: Pages with high emissions are flagged in the ‘Validation’ tab.

Practical Applications:

  • Resource Optimization: Identify and optimize high-emission resources.
  • Sustainable Practices: Implement changes such as compressing images, reducing script sizes, and using green hosting solutions.

The integration of carbon footprint calculations in Screaming Frog SEO Spider signifies a growing recognition of digital sustainability. As more businesses adopt these practices, we can collectively reduce the environmental impact of the web while driving performance and user satisfaction.

Other Updates

In addition to major features, version 20.0 includes numerous smaller updates and bug fixes that enhance functionality and user experience.

Rich Result Validation Enhancements:

  • Split Google Rich Result validation errors from Schema.org.
  • New filters and columns provide detailed insights into rich result triggers and errors.

Enhanced File Types and Filters:

  • Internal and external filters include new file types such as Media, Fonts, and XML.

Website Archiving:

  • A new option to archive entire websites during a crawl is available under `Config > Spider > Rendering > JS`.

Viewport and Screenshot Configuration:

  • Customize viewport and screenshot sizes to fit different audit needs.

API Auto Connect:

  • Automatically connect APIs on start, making the setup process more seamless.

Resource Over 15MB Filter:

  • A new validation filter flags resources over 15MB, which is crucial for performance optimization.

Page Text Export:

  • Export all visible page text through the new `Bulk Export > Web > All Page Text` option.

Lighthouse Details Tab:

  • The ‘PageSpeed Details’ tab has been renamed ‘Lighthouse Details’ to reflect its expanded role.

HTML Content Type Configuration:

  • An ‘Assume Pages are HTML’ option helps accurately classify pages without explicit content types.

Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements:

  • Numerous small updates and fixes enhance stability and reliability. 

Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 is a comprehensive update packed with innovative features and enhancements that cater to the evolving needs of SEO professionals like us. From advanced data extraction capabilities with Custom JavaScript Snippets to environmental sustainability with Carbon Footprint and Rating, this release sets a new benchmark in SEO auditing tools.

Key Takeaway

Add this to your toolbox, or update to version 20 to explore the rich array of new features from Screaming Frog to optimize your website’s SEO, usability, and sustainability. It’s a no-fuss tool with tons of features that will help you stay ahead of your competitors, and ensure your websites perform optimally in terms of user experience and search engine visibility.

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