Woman-looking-at-a-website-on-computerYou may think that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about search engines finding your website when a user searches in their browser. However, by optimising your website for search engines you will also be improving user experience and information for your website visitors at the same time.

Google is constantly striving to mimic human behaviour and is continuously refining its search algorithms to provide the best search experience; therefore, providing quality information to your readers is also going to help improve your search rankings.

Other important factors that Google and your customers will appreciate include faster page loading times, quality content and relevant images.

Technically, your website needs to be perfect, meeting industry standards such as w3c, have no errors and include a site map.

Let’s look at each of these and how to improve them for users and Google.

1.Page loading speed
Videos and images are the worst culprits for slowing a page down. How many times have you landed on a webpage and been frustrated while you wait for the page to load? This is even more noticeable when using a smartphone.

Images should be good quality and high resolution; however, image sizes should be reduced and compressed so they load quickly on the page.

2.Copywriting for SEO
Writing good quality content means keeping copywriting simple, easy to read, interesting and relevant to your readers.

Google ranks copy that is easy to understand and flows naturally. If your readers have to re-read a sentence to understand what it means, Google will have the same problem and rank you down for it.
Write for your readers first, then optimise your article for all the relevant keywords and include the most important one in the title. Breaking your content into sub headings and adding more keywords throughout your article will help Google understand what the article is about and help readers searching for specific content.

3.Quality optimised images
Providing images to back up your copy helps to break up long content, explains complicated subjects using infographics and provides additional information to Google.

Naming your image is important and titles, filenames and captions should be relevant to the copy that goes next to the image. Include alt text to describe your image; alt text is used by non-sighted users with browser interpreters and search engines to help understand what your image is about.

4.Technical optimisation
We have mentioned site speed and it is worth mentioning again because it is one of the most important ranking markers used by Google, especially as more and more users access the web on their mobile phones.

Constant checking for broken links, optimising pages for ranking keywords and making sure errors are fixed will help to keep your pages ranking on Google search.

Continuous improvement of your content and making sure all your information is kept up to date will tell your visitors and Google that your site contains the latest information and is constantly evolving.

Adding information with blog articles is an ideal way to continuously add new content to your site and inform users about your products and services.

Organising your articles into subjects and including the keywords you want to be found for will improve your rankings for that set of keywords.

If you want to increase the number of visitors to your website and find out which keywords your customers are using to find you, call 01584 890725 and ask for Mark to arrange a free audit of your website.
 
Online_search_content_marketingWhere do you start when you want to find a service or product?

Most of us start with a Google search. Some may use other search engines, but Google is still the most popular by far, around 90% of searches in 2018.

If you want to be found on searches, you need to be continually assessing and improving the content on your website.

How do you get to the top of search results?
Everyone wants to be on page one of Google but how does Google rank your website and decide where it will appear for a specific search?

Content marketing is the key to search success. Google was built to serve the best and most relevant content to its users. The content may be on a website page, blog article, white paper, video or anything else that will educate or entertain your audience.

Google will assess your web page and rank it against similar content on the web. The challenge is to achieve a page one ranking for the keywords you want to be found for and create better content than your competitors.
 
  1. Before you start copywriting website content, you need to know which keywords your customers are using to find your products or services and how many searches are being made on these keywords. Don’t waste time writing about your services or products using keywords with few or no searches being made.
  2. On the other hand, your keywords must compete with other content on the web; therefore it is also useful to know how competitive your keywords are. For example, it may be better to use a less competitive keyword to achieve a page one result than a highly competitive keyword and rank nowhere. Once you have gained some rankings you can start using the more competitive keywords.
  3. It is also essential to find out what keywords your competitors are using and where they rank on Google.
Armed with this information, you can include all the most important and effective keywords in your blog article or on your web pages. However, overstuffing keywords can have the opposite effect and get your content downgraded. To be most effective your content needs to be regularly monitored and assessed against your competitors, adding or changing keywords to improve page rank. Getting the balance right is a challenge.

Get more from your content
To make the most of the time and effort that you spend copywriting for your website or blog, you can post articles to your social media pages with a link back to your website. Google will consider the quality of links to your website and backlinks from your social media pages will help improve your website’s page ranking.

You could also use the articles in a regular email newsletter to your clients and prospects, increasing exposure for your article and providing an opportunity for more backlinks to your website.

Additional exposure can be gained by producing regular sales leaflets based on the article that can be used by your sales team in PDF format or printed copy.

Monitor and measure return on investment
To measure the success of your articles and new page content, Google Analytics provides a range of reports covering which pages and articles are visited most so you can see exactly what is working and what is not.

From your emailer system, you will be able to get statistics on exactly who has opened the email and who has clicked through to your website links.

These are just some of the ways to benefit from content marketing. Please call 01584 890725 and ask for Mark if you would like to know how it could work for your business and get a free audit for up to 10 of your keywords.
SSL_CertificateDuring 2018 there was a lot of information circulating around the internet about SSL certificates (Secure Sockets Layer). This was mainly because in July Google started to mark all sites without an SSL certificate as “not secure”. Websites with an SSL certificate show up with a green padlock and “https://” before the address at the top of your browser.

Google is keen to improve internet security to make web browsing and the transfer of information safer for internet users and gradually, more sites are adding SSL certificates. All our new websites and any site refreshes we do will automatically have an SSL certificate, if requested.

How does an SSL certificate work?
SSL provides security between a web server and a browser by setting up an encrypted link between the two. This protects any data being transferred while you are connected to the website.

SSL certificates are definitely needed if you are taking payments from your customers through a shop for example. If you have forms on your website which capture sensitive information, then you should probably get an SSL certificate. For straight forward content websites without any forms then the decision is not so clear; you probably will not need one unless some of the following benefits are important to you.

SSL benefits
By encrypting any data moving between your computer and the web server, you will avoid the risk of cyber criminals stealing information.

Visitors to your website will view your green padlock and will have confidence that your website is secure.
Google has communicated the fact that they are boosting the page rank of websites with SSL encryption. No one is sure how much of a boost this provides but if your competitors have an SSL site then there is an argument to say that you should also have one.

How do I get one?
We have set up a new server to quickly and effectively handle the addition of SSL certificates to all our existing customers’ websites.

We will have to transfer your website to the new server and test your website to ensure adding the SSL has not broken anything.

Because we are effectively changing your website’s URL, this can mean internal and external links will stop working unless we add 301 redirects. Therefore, some work is necessary to transfer your site to the new server and set up and manage the SSL certificate. The price to do this will depend on how large and complicated your site is.

After reading the above, if you would like to add an SSL certificate to your website or would like to discuss if you would benefit from it, please contact one of our team.
 
If you are searching for ways to increase sales in today’s competitive environment, there are 5 steps you can take to start generating enquiries.

infographic1.Website performance
Your website is the hub of all your online activity.

Even if you are advertising off-line using press ads or mail drops, the first thing most people will do is go online to check out your website and research your business before taking any further action.

Like a lot of things from designer clothes to product packaging, image and design are important and will create the first impression visitors will have of your business.

Quality of build is also important. What determines how successful your website pages are at being found by search engines will depend on how the site has been constructed, how engaging the content is and the relevance of the keywords used.

It takes the skills of a good designer and web developer with an understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to provide a sound foundation for your website to develop and grow as your business goes forward. With the right management, continuous SEO work and generation of new content, these skills will help you achieve a page one ranking on Google over a period of time.

A good website is an investment and you will reap long-term rewards if you take time at the beginning of the project to work with your developers to give your website the best chance of converting visitors into clients.

2.SEO
Assuming your website has been developed with SEO in mind, this will provide a good starting point to monitor and improve the rankings of your most important keywords on the main search engines.

A new website will take around 6 weeks to settle and start providing the keyword ranking information needed to identify where to concentrate efforts on improving page content to move keywords up the page rankings.

New content and improving existing content are amongst the most important factors in SEO. Having a Blog on your website and regularly posting informative articles will help improve your keyword rankings.

We already work with a select number of our clients to achieve page one rankings. First, we carry out a review of your keywords and competitor activity. Then, if we think we can achieve results for you we would recommend a programme of work to achieve success. We will be honest with you if we think SEO is not the best way for you to achieve results and we consider one of the other steps below to be more cost-effective for your particular business.

3.Social media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are some of the most popular social media sites. For small businesses with limited time, I would recommend focussing on one social media platform and spend your time there. Social media can be very time consuming if you want to generate quality leads and increase your connections with the aim of sending them to your website or taking the conversation off-line for a more detailed discussion. Call me to find out how.

4.Advertising
Developing a successful advertising campaign will bring a constant supply of leads into the business.

Choosing where to advertise and creating the adverts for a campaign that will generate enquiries will need research into your products or services. Price comparisons, competitor research and an understanding of your target audience will help decide where to advertise and what to say in your adverts.

Online advertising such as Google Adwords can drive traffic to your website immediately. Campaigns can be set up and tested very quickly to find out what works using conversion tracking and Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of click-throughs to your website.

Social media paid advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn is relatively new and can be very effective for some businesses. Like Adwords, adverts can be tested and refined to maximise response rates and conversions to provide a constant supply of enquiries to your website.  

Press and TV advertising are still relevant for some businesses; however, it is more difficult to track responses to justify the cost unless you can direct readers to a specially developed landing page or unique phone number to record visitor numbers.

Whichever route is best for you, your website will be the hub of the activity.

5.Email marketing
Sending regular emails to your clients and prospects, providing you have their permission, is still one of the most effective ways of getting your message to your audience.

If you are writing a regular blog article for your website, as well as sharing on social media, send a link in your email to the article and continue to remind subscribers of your products or services.

Further reading
You will find more information about each of the above steps in some of our previous articles and I will be writing in more detail about each of the above in future articles. Alternatively, visit the Marketing Services section of our website.

Call 01584 890725 to discuss how you can use these and other marketing techniques to grow your business.

Mark Langston.
 

23rd March 2018
Clients often tell me that the hardest element of putting together information for their website is writing the content.

Understandably, clients want to write the content themselves because they know their business and it saves the cost of employing a copywriter. However, what they often overlook is the time and effort that is needed to write copy when you are not a regular copywriter.

This time can often be better spent developing ideas to generate more traffic to the new website and therefore increasing sales. Good copywriters can save you a lot of time and can often bring a more constructive view of your business to the content.

There is another important reason why copywriting website content should be left to the experts; keywords and key phrases. These are the words and phrases that describe your products or services and are being used by your customers on search engines to find what they are looking for. If you have not done research to find out how many searches are being done for your keywords, your pages will not be attracting the most valuable searches.

Copywriting_website_contentKeyword copywriting and content marketing
Do you know how many searches are being done on your keywords or what keywords your competitors are using?

If your competitors are being found for high performing keywords and are above you in page rankings, these are the keywords you need to incorporate into your own pages.

Using industry standard software, we can find out a range of information such as:
  • Where your competitors are positioned for the most valuable keywords.
  • What keywords they use to rank on Google.
  • What keywords they consider to be important.
  • How competitive the keywords are.
The software also provides us with invaluable information to help optimise your web pages.

When you write your content, you should include your keywords on the page in a balanced way; too many repeated in a small amount of copy and you will be penalised for spamming. Your copy should be interesting and easy to read; write for your audience first, then for the search engines.

If you want to (or must) write the content yourself, subscribing to one of the many proprietary software tools provides you with a definite advantage over your competitors and will make your time spent at the keyboard more productive.

Alternatively, save the subscription and the time and pay a content marketer to do it for you.

Give me a call on 01584 890725 to find out how to get a better return on your time and invest in content that will help grow your business.

Mark Langston
 
 
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