3 Tips to Get the Most from URL Shorteners | Cohlab Digital Marketing

URL shortening is not new; in fact it has been around for many years. And while some may argue reasons why a small business should not use them, they can’t argue that there are some truly great benefits on the pro side. A URL shortener is a service that takes a long and messy looking URL and shortens it into a small and clean looking address. While this in itself can provide some obvious benefits, there are ways a small business can take the use of a URL shortener to the next level. Here are three important tips to get the most out of your URL shorteners.

What URL Shorteners Should I Use?

We recommend two URL shortening services for small business applications. The first is Google’s own Goo.gl. There are several benefits to using Goo.gl. First, people trust Google. Because a shortened URL provides little detail on what it points to, some can be leery. Knowing that Google is behind it and that they remove short URL’s used in spamming, they may not think twice. Also, Goo.gl offers some great analytics tools and is also fabulously easy to use.

Another great service is called Bit.ly. Like Goo.gl, Bit.ly is also a powerful analytic tracker with a full functioning dashboard to make things very easy and understandable. Also with Bit.ly, you are able to create branded short domains so that your short links are clearly recognized as coming from your company. Whichever platform you choose, it’s always good to use your short links wisely to get the most out of them.

Pay attention to your analytics

One of the best uses for shortened URL’s is the ability to better analyze your statistics. This is especially true for your social media. In fact with Bit.ly, you can even have a different short link for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that points to the same content, and find which social media platform performs better. It can provide invaluable information about your audience and make your marketing efforts significantly more effective.

Use them in unique ways

Shortened URL’s are great for online marketing. Just don’t overlook ways in which they could be useful for traditional marketing as well. A great example would be to use alternate short links on different marketing materials to see which garner the most response. They are also great for things like billboards or signs so you can match specific content with an easy to remember address. Using a little creativity can make them go a long way for you.

Target Your Marketing

Shortened URL’s make it exceptionally easy to track click-through rates, and even determine in which areas you are finding the most response. This helps you to segment your audience and target the right people based on how they interact with your brand.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your digital marketing efforts compare with others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

Meta Tags That Google Recognizes

In our article titled Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Keywords Meta Tag, we discussed the reasons why you should stop focusing on keywords meta tags. Google decided that because of widespread misuse, they would no longer be a focus. Instead, other on-page and off-page optimization techniques should be used that will have a real impact on ranking. And, while keywords meta tags may no longer be of use, there are other types of meta tags that you should continue using that are recognized by Google.  The below list is not exhaustive however it does cover all of the meta tags recognized by Google, any meta tags not recognized by Google have been ignored.

Meta tags are added to the <head> section of the HTML page and typically look like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=”en”>

<head>

<meta charset=”utf-8″>

<meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=Edge,chrome=1″>  <meta name=”description” content=”Organize anything, together. Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, know what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.”>

<title>Trello</title>

Google Recognized Meta Tags

The following list includes the current Google recognized meta tags.

  • Description: <meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />
  • Title: <title>The Title of the Page</title>
  • Robots: <meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” /> and Googlebot: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />
    • “noindex”
    • “nofollow”
    • “nosnippet”
    • “noodp”
    • “noarchive”
    • “unavailable_after:[date]”
    • “noimageindex”
    • “none”
  • No Site Link: <meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />
  • No Translate: <meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />
  • Google Verification: <meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />
  • Content Type: <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” /> and Character Set: <meta charset=”…” >
  • Refresh (Redirect): <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />

Google Recognized Meta Tag Descriptions

<meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />

Description meta tags provide a short description of the page, and should be unique for each page.  A readable tag that contains important keywords and entices the searcher to click on your link is the goal. They can be any length; however typically will work best at 160 to 170 characters long. Anything longer will likely be truncated by the search engine so it is important to write quality description meta tags.

<title>The Title of the Page</title>

The title tag is not actually a Meta tag, however it is listed here because the title tag is most often used in conjunction with the Meta Descriptions. Like the description, the title is important because it will likely be shown as the page title in search results just above the description when searchers are provided their results. Read more about Google recognized meta descriptions and titles.

<meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” />

<meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />

It is the robots meta tags that directs how the search engine crawling and indexing behaves. Above you see two examples. The “robots” meta tag is for all search engines while the “googlebot” tag is Google specific. By default, the values are “index, follow” which is the same as “all”. They do not need to be specified, however there are other values that must be added to the tag. If you are using multiple tags, they can be separated by a comma as shown in the above example =”…, …”. The following list of values are used to modify search engine behavior.

  • noindex” – The page will not be indexed.
  • nofollow” – The links from this page will not be followed.
  • nosnippet” – A snippet will not be shown in the search results. In other words, the page will be removed from all search results.
  • noodp” – The alternate description from the ODP/DMOZ will not be used.
  • noarchive” – A cached link for the page will not be shown.
  • unavailable_after:[date]” – Allows you to set a date to end crawling and indexing.
  • noimageindex” – An image that appears will not show your page as the referring page.
  • “none” – This is used to apply both “noindex” and “nofollow”.

<meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />

The site links search box is sometimes displayed for specific websites, as well as other site specific links. Using this meta tag will stop Google from showing this box for your site.

<meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />

In some cases, the language your website uses is not likely to be the language the searcher would like it to be. When it is determined that this is likely the case, Google will place a translate link in the search results. While this is a great way to broaden your reach, there are sometimes scenarios when this is not preferred. In those cases, this meta tag will remove the translation link and any translation provided by Google.

<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />

Including this tag on the main or top page of your website allows you to verify ownership of it through Google Webmaster Tools. Google will provide you the input data for “name” and “content”. The site verification tag must match what is provided exactly and is case sensitive. Your site will then be considered “Google Verified”.

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” />

<meta charset=”…” >

A site’s content type and character set are defined using these meta tags. It’s important to note that the content type value should be surrounded by quotes. Failure to do so may cause the character set to be misinterpreted. It’s also recommended by Google to use Unicode/UTF-8 when it’s possible.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />

In some cases, you may want a user to be redirected to another page or site after a set amount of time. This meta tag allows simple way to do this. The caution is that not all browser programs support this code and confusion can result. It is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium that this is not the best meta tag to use. Google instead recommends using a server-side 301 redirect in its place.  If your site is built in WordPress we recommend the Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

The Importance of A/B Testing Your Tags

Description and Title Meta tags should undergo a/b testing. If you are unfamiliar with the process, a/b testing (also called split testing & multi-variant testing) is a method of comparing two different versions of a web page to see which one performs better. For testing tags, you would simply post two separate versions of the same page, but using a different set of tags. Then, both pages go live and are shown to similar visitors over the same time period. Using your analytics, the two pages are compared to see which version has a better conversion or click-through rate. By testing your tags, it allows you to confirm the success of any new design or change to your webpage. Instead of simply guessing and hoping that your tags will bring success, a/b testing will prove what is performing and allow you to make decisions about any code changes with actual data.

Other Meta Tags

There are many different meta tags that are used and the level of helpfulness they provide is debated. Below is a short list of a few types of meta tags that can be used.

  • Authorship markup meta tags that provide information about the author of your content can also help with your rank. Google is ranking content from authors they decide are reliable sources.
  • Social meta tags including open graph tags can help you gain an edge in the growing world of social media. Using the various tags can help grab attention and gain valuable clicks, and can even optimize how your content will appear in an individual’s social media timeline.

Professional Meta Tags and SEO

With so many changes that occur in SEO, partnering with an experienced and professional digital marketing firm can be a huge help. Many of us are not as in-tune to the trends, nor do we have the experience and knowledge to include meta tags in our web pages effectively. This makes Finding the right SEO company especially important. At Cohlab, we pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge of SEO and are dedicated to ensuring our clients experience real success.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

Google Translate Example for Your WordPress Website

We are providing this page as an example of how the Google Translator would work on your blog should you ever need to include translation capabilities.  The Google Translate plugin is a basic translation service which programmatically updates the page.  Do not confuse this with a true translation service which will translate your entire site word by word.  When using Google Translate you have the option of selecting specific languages or all the languages that Google supports, for this example we are showing some of the languages.

We are providing two options for translation:

  1. At the bottom of the page we have included the capability to select the language flag then press translate.
  2. On the far right there is a yellow tab with the word “Translate”.  Click on the tab to get flag options then select one for the translation to happen.

After you have translated a page, go to another blog post to see what happens.  Does the content remain in the language selected?  Does it change then offer you an option to change back?  Did you notice the Google Translate bar at the top of the page?

Beyond the accuracy of the translation, it is important to take into account the translation usability of your website.  Remember that as you start selecting the architecture of your website translation capabilities.

Google Translate Example Content

The Great Gatsby – by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chapter 1

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought — frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.

And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes, but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction — Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the “creative temperament.”— it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No — Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.

My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this Middle Western city for three generations. The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on to-day.

Read More of the Great Gatsby

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