• 6 Ways Web Governance Helps SEO

    Before we get into all of the ways that web governance can help improve your SEO, let’s clarify that web governance is not the same as web management.  As we talk about in our post about What Is Web Governance:

    “Website management is all of the tasks which go into running a website, such as posting new articles or updating product pages. By contrast, web governance is all of the policies and procedures which say how management should be done. It is the supervision behind the management.”

    Coming up with a clear web governance model isn’t exactly the most thrilling part of running a website.  However, when you take the time to establish a solid web governance structure with well-defined policies, standards and procedures, your entire website benefits – including your SEO in these 6 ways.


    1. Web Governance Means All Content Creators Know What the Goal Is

    SEO is often treated as a goal in and of itself.  However, as any good SEO will tell you, simply increasing traffic shouldn’t be the goal.  Good SEO strategy is all about generating targeted traffic.  In order to do this, your content creators need more than a list of keywords and on-page SEO tactics.  They need to know what the ultimate goal is.

    When your web governance system is in place, you will have mapped out a clear structure.  At the top is a “central manager” or a committee which is in charge of steering the website in the right direction.   Each department may have different goals with SEO, but good web governance allows them to come together cohesively.

    You will know that your web governance is working when all content creators are upholding brand message and voice.  All content creators will know who the intended audience is, including how the audience thinks and speaks about the subject.  They will then create content which is structured in this way, such as using the right keyword terms.  Doing so will improve your SEO for the right type of traffic so you meet your larger goals.


    2. Web Governance Allows for Better Keyword Management

    Most large institutional or enterprise websites are well-designed and may have great features.  However, when it comes to content planning and organization, they usually fail miserably.  This is a major problem for SEO.

    One of the first steps in SEO is to do keyword research.  A large institution may be given a list of 500 words to target, of which 20 of them are considered “golden” and will provide the best conversions.  Content creators then start creating content based on the golden keywords.

    Here is where things get sloppy and require better governance.

    • You end up with a bunch of articles on the topic of Keyword A but no articles on Keywords X, Y, and Z.
    • Duplicate titles and H1 tags abound.
    • Internal linking gets very messy.
    • Users get confused.  So do search engines.

    Jesper Astrom does a good job of describing why this is just a big problem in this article about keyword property rights.   He uses an analogy where a friend tells you that, “The answer to all your questions is inside this building.”   You enter the building and find a million doors.  On each door, you see a sign saying, “The answer to your questions are inside.”  Yes, the answer to your question may be inside the building, but you don’t have time to open every single door looking for the answer!

    Instead of opening each door to find your answer, you get the heck out of that building.  On your way back to your friend, you see another building.  It has a sign which says, “The answer to your question is inside.”  You decide to give it a chance.  When you enter, you also see a million doors.  The difference is that all of the doors except on says, “Not in here.”  Only one door says, “Come on in, here is your answer.”

    In the analogy, the friend is a link and you are a search engine spider.  If a search engine spider can’t figure out where to go, they are going to get out quickly.  No amount of links can save the website!  You must be able to make your content unique and specific so the search engine spiders know where to go.

    Astrom recommends assigning important keywords to individuals in charge of parts of the website.  That person can then decide where, when and how the keywords are used.  If anyone else wants to use the keyword, they need to ask permission.  This can only be done if you have a clear web governance model mapped out.


    3.  Web Governance Means Content is Structured Clearly

    A big part of web governance is establishing procedures and standards.  This includes the SEO steps which must be taken before publishing any new content on the website, such as:

    • Optimizing titles
    • Using heading tags
    • Adding ALT text to images
    • Making sure content is adequate in length
    • Adding relevant links to content

    All of these steps help search engines better crawl your site and understand what pages are about. The better they can do this, the better they will be able to rank your website for the appropriate keywords.

    Usually these web governance procedures only need to be established one time and aren’t changed.  Once they are established, hiring new content creators and editors becomes much easier because you can provide them with clear instructions on how to best optimize their content for SEO.


    4. Web Governance Means that Your Website Stays Fresh

    Your teams are doing a great job of creating killer content that search engines and audiences love.  They are following all of the best practices for SEO, like setting meta tags and optimizing titles.   So, you don’t have anything to worry about – right?

    The problem is that the web is constantly changing. And chances are that your business goals are changing too.

    Content which may have been fresh when it was posted may be outdated by the time a user finds it through a search engine a year later.   At Monsido, some of the most common issues that our customers see are:

    • Broken links
    • Content which mentions products or services which aren’t offered anymore
    • Old phone numbers, email addresses, or other outdated contact info on pages

    Fresh content is incredibly important for SEO.  Not only do search engines favor fresh content, but having a high number of crawl errors sends signals tells the search engine spiders that your website is of a low quality.  Even broken outbound links may harm SEO.  Further, if you’ve got inaccurate info or 404 errors on your website, you’ll have a higher bounce rate.  This is bad for your conversions, and is also bad for SEO.

    Over at Moz, there is a good article about how to deal with outdated content, such as delating the old content and then redirecting it to a fresh page. In order to take these steps, you must have clear web governance system in place.  Your web governance procedures and policies will outline when and how your website will be maintained, who is in charge, and what should be done with the different types of outdated content.

    Unless you have a really small website, chances are you won’t be able to revisit every single page on your website to check for freshness and broken links.  This is where web governance tools like Monsido come in.  Monsido scans your website on a weekly basis looking for broken links, quality assurance errors and other signs of old content.  You can even set your own policies, such as to search for an old product, to make sure it isn’t found anywhere on the website.  Yes, this is a shameless plug ;)  You can learn more about Monsido's features here.


    5. Web Governance Means Better Interdepartmental Communications

    When creating content, one of the goals may be to get more leads through search engine visibility.  But chances are that your content also has many other goals – such as when content is used as part of social media marketing campaigns, for increasing conversions, or for brand image.

    Unfortunately, few organizations excel at interdepartmental communications.  In some severe cases, they even compete for resources and funds.  Many issues also arise when different departments rely on each other, such as when your social media marketing and SEO departments rely on your content department. Instead of focusing on their individual goals, each department needs to be made aware of the larger enterprise goal and actively participate in helping to achieve these goals.

    Think of it like a dance troop where each dancer is doing their own routine on the stage.  Sure, they each might look good on their own, but the entire scene looks chaotic.  What they need is a choreographer to put all of the movements together in a cohesive way.

    Web governance is the choreographer which pulls everything together. At the head of the web governance structure, you have a central manager or committee which establishes goals.  Each department below this level is given its own goal and clear procedures on how to achieve them, as well as the procedures and resources they need for communicating effectively with other departments effectively.


    6. Web Governance Creates a System of Accountability

    Web governance means having clearly defined goals, resources, and roles.  Collectively, this makes it possible to analyze how effective your methods are so you can see what is working – and what isn’t – and adjust your strategies to get the best results.

    Over at Diffily, there is a good article which talks about how to audit web governance.  Here are some of the questions that Diffily suggests asking when auditing your website and creating accountability:

    Did the issue arise because the policy was ignored? For example, if there are H1 errors on your website which are negatively affecting SEO, is it because an employee was negligent?

    If not, then did the issue arise because a process isn’t being followed or because the process isn’t up to scratch? If the H1 wasn’t the result of negligence from an employee, was it because the policy wasn’t clear.  For example, do you have a clear policy as to how to use H1 tags versus Title tags?  If this is the root of the problem, then you need to make a clear policy for the issue.

    If not, then did the issue arise because of inadequate resources? If you don’t give your employees resources like tools (such as a good keyword research tool) or adequate time, then you can expect issues like H1 errors.  You may need to shift your resources around to fix the issue.

    If not, then did the issue arise because of another problem with web governance? When the issue isn’t caused by any of the above, you may have a severe dysfunction in your web governance structure.  A big cause may be lack of authority.  Without a central manager or committee to steer the teams in the right direction and facilitate communication between teams, issues are likely to arise.

    You can see how this auditing system could be applied to achieve SEO benefits.  All content would be created in a way which follows policies about keyword use, Title tags, linking, etc.  If a SEO issue occurs, you’d be able to identify the reason it occurred.  Was the SEO error made because a staff was lazy?  Was the SEO error made because the policy isn’t clear?  Are staff members missing resources like time or tools?  If you can’t answer these questions in regards to SEO issues appearing on your website, then your web governance needs improving.

  • 4 Reasons to Improve Web Accessibility

    If you have an audience which widely suffers from disability (such as if you are an ophthalmic surgeon and many visitors are visually impaired), then it obviously makes sense to focus on web accessibility. Yet, what many website owners don’t realize is that improving web accessibility can benefit your website in numerous ways.   Here are the 4 big reasons you should improve web accessibility.

    improve web accessibility


    Web Accessibility Increases Audience

    An estimated 15% to 20% of the world’s population has some form of disability. There are also temporary disabilities, such as if a person were to break his/her fingers or arm. As the world population lives longer and gets older, we are likely to see more age-related disabilities such as vision impairment.

    Do you really want to shut yourself off from 15-20% of potential website visitors?

    Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of websites are accessible by people with disabilities. If you take the step to make your web accessible, you might find yourself with a big edge over the competition. As W3.org points out, people with disabilities are particularly likely to be loyal customers of websites that work well for them, and word-of-mouth marketing can be significant among these groups.


     

    Legal Compliance

    Depending on the nature of your website, you may be legally required to comply with web accessibility standards. Several nations (including Canada, EU, and UK) currently have web accessibility laws. It is likely that we will see more countries adopt such accessibility laws, especially for websites in the public sector.

    Not complying with these web accessibility laws could cost you. In 2000, a blind man sued the Sydney Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and won because the committee had failed to make their website accessible to blind users. In 2008, Target paid $6 million in damages to the National Federation of the Blind for failing to put ALT text on their product images and other accessibility issues.  These are just some of the legal cases involving web accessibility issues.

     


    Web Accessibility Improves Website Quality

    Following web accessibility standards won’t just help people with disabilities, but makes your website more accessible for ALL users, and may have SEO benefits as well.   For example:

    • Using ALT Text: ALT text helps visually-impaired users understand images, but it is also very important for SEO, people using Image Search, and for when images fail to render. Read more about ALT text here.
    • Simpler Website Designs: People with cognitive disabilities have trouble understanding complex web designs and navigation. But simpler website designs also can reduce bounce rate, improve conversions, and make mobile browsing easier for users.
    • Including Transcripts: Video and audio transcripts are important for people with hearing disabilities, but it is also good web practice to include transcripts for people who prefer to read or who may be in a situation where they cannot listen to audio (such as when using the web at a café or library without headphones).
    • Removing Flickering Content: People with seizures and neurological disorders can have serious problems with flickering content, such as automatic animations, and this type of content should be removed. Removing flickering content also is good practice for all users, as it is generally considered annoying and distracting.
    • Allowing More Time for Tasks: People with physical disabilities often require more time for tasks such as filling in forms, so you should allow more time before the page times-out. This is also good practice for all users and can improve conversion rates.
    • Including Multiple Contact Options: If your only method of contact is a phone number, this can be problematic for people with hearing disabilities. But it is also good practice to include multiple methods of contact, as studies show people prefer having options like phone, email, and Live Chat.


     

    Building an Accessible Website is the Right Thing to Do

    For centuries, people with disabilities were pushed out of society and didn’t have access to basic services. Even today, with many laws and regulations for accessibility, disabled people can still find themselves excluded from society and it can be difficult to participate in daily life.   The web has opened many doors for people with disabilities.

    Thanks to screen readers, blind people are now able to read newspapers. A quadriplegic, for whom going to a shopping mall can be a strenuous task, is now able to easily purchase a gift for a friend by shopping online. People who are unable to speak can still participate in debates and discussions in online forums, chat rooms, and communities.

    Web accessibility is the moral thing to do. And, because it has so many other benefits for your website and overlaps with other website quality issues such as mobile design and SEO, there is no reason why you shouldn’t improve accessibility to allow disabled people to take full advantage of what the web has to offer.

    Learn more about how to improve your web accessibility here.

    Image credit: "web accessibility word cloud" (CC BY 2.0) by  itjil 


  • We’ve Outgrown Our Office Again!

    Back in 2013 when we started Monsido, we were in a cramped office space where our ideas literally bumped into each other as they came out.   This intimate environment brought out some great innovations, but soon our ideas needed more space to grow. So we moved to a new office.   Well, it turns out that our big ideas needed even more space! Now, we’ve moved to a new location where we can grow even further.

    Our new location means we have the space to expand our team to serve you even better. We will be better able to stay in contact with our international customers and can be even more flexible with scheduling demos and training.  And, most importantly, we have the space to brainstorm and develop even more great ideas and improvements for Monsido features.

    Monsido is really proud to be the website quality assurance tool of choice for businesses and institutions worldwide, and that we are highly rated for what we do. We look forward to furthering our growth by providing high-quality services. A big thanks to our customers for making it possible!

  • The New Monsido Spell Check Tool

    Having misspellings on your website is bad for your reputation and harms user experience. As part of website Quality Assurance, it is important that you take steps to detect and fix misspellings on your website. Monsido Quality Assurance tool is here to help! For a long time, our Spell Check feature has been in beta. Now, we are finally ready to launch the new version of Spell Check. Here are some of the features you can expect and how to make the most of them so no misspelling ever goes undetected.

     

    Brand New Spell Check User Interface

    Keeping track of misspellings is easy with our new Spell Check User Interface. In an easy-to-understand visual form, we show you:

    • Number of Misspellings found and on how many pages
    • Number of Potential Misspellings found and on how many pages
    • List of the most common misspellings on your site
    • List of the most important pages with misspellings
    • Graph showing misspellings throughout your scan history

    It really couldn’t be simpler to get a complete overview of how your website is doing with spelling errors. Right from the Overview page, you are just a click or two away from solving the most pressing spelling issues on your site!

     

    Monsido Spell checker

     

    Potential Misspellings

    When we first created the Monsido misspelling tool, we only flagged misspellings. We soon realized that this wasn’t good enough. Now, we’ve split flagged words into Misspellings and Potential Misspellings.

    Potential misspellings are the words which haven’t been confirmed as misspellings yet. Once you confirm a misspelling, you can easily find it in the Misspellings section. This ensures that you are quickly alerted to common misspellings, such as a product name which your copywriters often get wrong.

     

    View Misspellings by Page

    At Monsido, we are all about giving you options and control over how you manage your website. One way we do this is by letting you view errors by page. Now you can do this with misspellings too! Just select “Pages with Misspellings” to see a list of pages along with each page’s Language, number of Misspellings, and number of Potential Misspellings.

    From here, you’ve got numerous options. You can confirm the misspelling, add it to your dictionary, ignore it for that page only, or view the misspelling on the page.

    pages with misspellings

     

    Add Words to Your Dictionary with One Click

    Every website has some correct words which may get flagged as misspellings. For example, your brand name might be viewed as a misspelling. We’ve made it easier than ever to add these words to your dictionary so they don’t get flagged again.   All you need to do is click “Add to Dictionary.” Since the page language is automatically detected, the word automatically gets added to the appropriate dictionary!  You also have the option of adding a word to all of your language dictionaries.

    add misspelling to dictionary

     

    Multiple New Language Dictionaries

    Monsido is a global company with customers around the world, and many of our customers operate in multiple languages.   So, we are really proud that our Spell Check feature now has 39 language dictionaries.

    We won't list all of our new language dictionaries here, but we would like to point out that you can now choose different forms of English (US, UK, CA, and AU), different forms of German (German, Austrian German, and Swiss High German), as well as many more languages.

     

    Language Automatically Detected

    Having multiple language dictionaries could have gotten messy and caused numerous words to incorrectly be flagged as misspellings. To prevent this, we’ve implemented a powerful function which automatically detects what language is on a page. That way, your Dutch pages aren’t getting flagged misspellings on your mostly-German site, your Spanish pages getting flagged as misspellings on your mostly-English site, and so forth.

    Unfortunately, our Automatic Language Detector can’t detect the difference between different types of English (US, UK, CA, and AU) right now. US English is set as the default form of English. If your website has English content, please remember to choose your type of English under “Default Language” in the settings. In the case of English, the “Default Language” will override the Automatic Language Detector to make sure your site is being scanned for misspellings with the right type of English.

     

    Ignore Words On a Single Page

    Do you have a website where you talk about foreign politics? But you also have an employee named Ms. Forein?  You can see how those two words on your website could cause some confusion! For situations like these – where a word might be a misspelling on one page but correct on another page – we now allow you to ignore words on a single page instead of throughout the entire site.

    To ignore words on a single page:

    • Select “Pages with Misspellings.”
    • You will see a list of pages where the misspelling is found.
    • Next to each page, you will see two icons. Click on the “Confirm” icon. You will now have the option to “Add to Dictionary” or “Ignore” for just that page.
    spell check ignore on page

    Of course, we still let you ignore a misspelling throughout your entire website too. You just need to go to add the word to your dictionary.

     

    Not Quite Perfect, But We Are Getting There!

    These are just some of the improvements we’ve made to the Monsido Spell Check feature. The feature isn’t 100% perfect yet, but we are getting closer. We hope that these improvements will make it even easier to manage your website. If you have any questions, remember that we are here for you!

Monsido Web Governance Suite

The Monsido Web Governance Suite delivers key insights to achieve a better web experience for your visitors.

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