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It is no secret that our use of the internet is becoming more and more mobile, but the day when we actually favor mobile search over desktop connections may be sooner than previously thought.

While speaking at SMX West last week, Google’s Matt Cutts told the crowd he “wouldn’t be surprised” if mobile search exceeded desktop queries by the end of this year. Another Google speaker during an informal round-table gave a similar comment at the International Franchising Association conference in New Orleans earlier this year.

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Google refused to give an official statement, but it makes sense. Google doesn’t want anyone to be picking sides. Instead, they want to focus on cross-platform experience and marketing so that we can make the internet equally efficient and useful on every platform.

The comments are assumed to be referring to the global query volumes rather than the US or North America. Globally mobile traffic lies around 30 percent of all internet traffic, and North America has relatively similar ratios. However, many developing countries, such as India, already use mobile search far more often than desktop.

It is inevitable that one day mobile and desktop traffic will either reach a stalemate, or mobile traffic will begin to eclipse home desktop use. But, whether it will be this year is anyone’s guess. Personally, I’d be wagering on sooner rather than later.

 

So you’ve been having steady traffic on your website for a while now. You are eyeing expansion and everything seems fine. Suddenly, your traffic nose-dives. There are a few reasons this can happen.  Some are very easy to fix, while others are more problematic. Here is a six question checklist to help identify what is causing the issue and how to solve the problem. Before going through the checklist, please make sure this is actually a search issue. If you go to Google Analytics and go to Traffic Sources->Sources->Search->Organic and select a range of a few months, you will see an image depicting your traffic with the sudden drop. If there is a drop in traffic on this chart, you likely have a serious search issue.

  1. Has the Analytics Tool Been Removed or Altered? – This tiny issue is by far the easiest to fix. It can happen frighteningly easy and frequently, but use an Analytics checker/debugger tool, and you can quickly find and fix this issue.
  2. Have There Been Any Significant Website Changes? – Sometimes just redesigning your website can shatter your rankings. Even removing content or restructuring what order your content appears in can have big effects on your site. Usually, this issue can be solved by using an Analytics tool to see if there were any changes right before the drop in traffic.
  3. Have You Been Hacked? – It is not as easy to know when you’ve been hacked as movies might make you think. There are spam attacks that don’t affect Active pages, but instead create new directories with spam content. This makes the hack harder to find. If a search engine picks up on it, the website is often penalized. Google and Bing Webmaster Tools can help you quickly find out if you are vulnerable to hackers. You can also do a manual search of “links:[your URL here]” to search for meta descriptions that look like spam. The solutions to being hacked vary but once you’ve uncovered the issue, you can look for specific solutions. Usually, it will involve loading a clean backup and changing all passwords.
  4. Has There Been a Major Algorithm Update? – If none of the above questions have helped, it’s quite possible your traffic issues are being caused by an update. Look through available and reputable resources to see if other websites are dealing with similar issues. If your problems are caused by algorithmic changes, it is time to seek professional help. Changing code won’t fix the problem. Instead, you will likely have to make large shifts in company practices, strategies, content and link building.
  5. Has the Site Been Hit With a Ranking Penalty? – If an algorithmic update isn’t your problem, chances are your Web site has been penalized. If you have incurred penalties, it means there has been a sudden spike in bad links or spam content. You should audit who is in charge of making sure your site is following SEO policies and make sure they are up to date with the best practices.
  6. Are You The Victim of Negative SEO? – Negative SEO happens when a competitor manages to automate spammy links at your Web site, causing site wide ranking drops. Bing Webmaster Tools has a Disavow Links Tool but unless you’ve seen a sudden rise in spam content or bad links, you can ignore this tool.

These steps can help you fix sudden traffic drops but you may have to hire professional assistance if the first two questions didn’t help. Luckily, these problems are fixable and soon your site will be back up to its steady flow of traffic.

You can read more about identifying search traffic drops in John Lynch’s article over at Search Engine Watch.

 

Most people skim articles until they find something that catches them. You could use a gimmick to grab people’s attention, but the best way to get your readers to read your entire post is to create high quality content with proof to back it up. Case studies are one easy method to get into a topic while providing your readers with quality information. They are also one of the most favorable forms of content on the internet and wonderful “social link bait” or quality links.

Creating a case study should be easy if you can write high quality content. By adding reasearch and data, you can make a superb case study.

All case studies are unique. Your experience on a given topic and the amount of time you allocate for creating content make every study different. You will have to experiment, but the more time you put in will probably decide how good your content will be. You’ll need to do a lot of reasearch so that you can disect whatever the topic is well enough for your readers to understand. True quality content takes a lot of effort and time to make something the majority of a demographic will be interested in.

Case studies have a lot of benefits, including increased website traffic, brand recognition, social link bait, networking and overall site improvement.

Out of the many benefits of creating high level content, especially case studies, one of the best is the creation of social link bait. Social link bate is “any content of feature within a website designed specifically to gain attention or encourage others to link to the website.”

Social media has become ingrained in the lives of millions.  This has lead many away from Google and SEO over the past ten years. This is why link building is essential. “People will start caring less about links in future years because social popularity will become the new link popularity.” (Point Blank)  Google and Bing have even started including social media information in their searches. It also seems logical that Google will put in place a “social rank” system to compliment the “page rank” system many are unhappy with. With these changes, more professionals have seen the divide between research and data-driven results.

Social link bait is similar to regular link bait except it is shared by more websites. Social media is the most common platform for our demographics to share link bait.

To create social link bait, remember that it must be “socially sharable.” You can use sites like ThingLink for image optimization. It even includes a way to include links in your images.

Articles are simple and classic, but content can be made other ways. Why not try out a case study and try to make some social link bait? Money isn’t needed to make viral content and trying these methods might be a great start.

Gregory Smith writes for Search Engine Journal.