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.
 
Website design has changed significantly over the years and is constantly evolving as our use of the web via different devices increases.

Web-design-and-user-interfaceA web designer will consider a number of factors that will determine the navigation, layout and placement of content on a website to get the desired action from the user.

You may have noticed that modern web designs generally follow a similar theme these days. There is a good reason for this. From studies on user interface and the use of eye tracking software, we now understand what attracts a viewer’s eyes and where they tend to look first. We can then make sure the important information such as menu and calls to action are placed within these areas.

There are other factors to consider, such as how search engines will rank your web pages from the content and keywords on the page. The headings and where they are placed will influence which keywords search engines will prioritise and rank your page for.

These are the stages a designer will go through when developing your new website:

Research
  • Competitors.
  • Keywords (software is available to help with this).
  • What makes your business unique in your market?
  • Visitor analysis if you have an existing website (use Google Analytics, if installed).
Site map, navigation and wireframe
  • What do you want to communicate?
  • Plan the navigation and pages needed.
  • Consider content for each page, text and images.
  • It is more efficient to design around your content than fit your content into a design.
  • Create a wireframe for your website.
Copywriting and keywords
  • Identify best performing keywords.
  • Include keywords in your headers and your content.
  • Break down information into bite sized chunks with sub headings.
  • Write a new page for each subject and set of keywords.
  • Select suitable images to complement and break up large areas of text.
Engage and convert
  • What are your main messages?
  • What do you do, how do you do it?
  • Required call to action: sign up, telephone call, gather information or email?
  • Testimonials, reviews or case studies to back up your content.
Search Engine Optimisation
  • Build your site to the latest web standards.
  • Develop the site to ensure search engines can crawl all of your pages.
  • Check for errors and site issues before going live.
  • Continuous research and improvements to pages and content.
  • Measure and monitor keywords and site rankings.
Your input is valuable at every stage to of the design process. Whether you decide to write the content yourself and supply images or hire a copywriter and photographer, you should always have the final approval on how your business is presented on the World Wide Web.

Mark Langston
Successful content marketing relies on developing a strategy that is tailored to your own individual business requirements. The strategy you adopt will depend on the most effective media that reaches your customer base.

Content marketing covers a wide range of media, from writing articles for your blog, email newsletters and posting to social media. Other methods include:
  • Case studies and white papers
  • Webinars and videos
  • Press articles
  • Printed materials
Your content marketing strategy needs to be planned to achieve specific measurable goals. For example, one of our clients provides commercial insurance to businesses and their aim is to use content marketing to build brand awareness, establish themselves as experts in their field, improve customer retention, and generate leads.

Their strategy includes producing regular articles covering detailed information about insurance services that businesses may need to protect themselves from financial risk.

Well written, informative articles with unique content posted on their website and shared on social media, together with a regular newsletter to clients, provides a number of benefits for them:
Article_writing
  • Informs existing clients of other insurance products available
  • Communicates their industry knowledge and expertise
  • Earns customer trust
  • Creates content for social media sites and newsletter
  • Provides effective Search Engine Optimisation to improve their website rankings

Effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
One of the key benefits of adding content to your website via a blog is SEO. Search engines such as Google regularly update the way they rank websites and deliver search results. Consistently, the most important factor that affects a website’s ranking is the visible content on the site.

Regularly adding relevant content to your website, either by adding pages or writing blog articles, enables the search engines to rank your site against your competitors.

What makes content relevant?
Content is more relevant if the subject you are writing about is being searched for by your customers. For example, if you write an article on “videotapes” you will attract fewer searches than for “Blu Ray DVDs” because videotapes are now obsolete. Therefore, before you start your article, you will need to do some keyword research to ensure you are writing for your target audience.

I find it useful to have a list of relevant keywords at the top of my page when writing an article to make sure the most searched for keywords are included in the article. I use SEO software to help with this research. This applies to any content added to your website.

If you need help with keywords or writing articles for your website, give me a call.

Mark Langston
Answer - when the Penguin in question is the algorithm introduced in April 2012 and used by Google to assess a website’s page ranking measured against standards of website user experience and content.

The Penguin update was introduced to penalise websites that used manipulative techniques to improve their rankings.
 
These techniques include dubious link building – these are links from websites to your website that have no relevance to your site whatsoever.  Only links from sites that are well ranked themselves and have relevance to your products or services are going to be acceptable.

Another technique is adding content that is not useful or even visible to the user of the website, some examples being:
  • Keyword stuffing – adding keywords multiple times to a page
  • Hidden text – adding text the same colour as the background
Keeping up-to-date with these changes is vital, not only to comply with Google and other search engine requirements but also to deliver a website that is going to be relevant and useful to the user, which after all is exactly what search engines are trying to achieve.

Content is king and providing relevant, well written content for your visitor is not only going to help them find what they are looking for on your website, but also gives your site the best chance of moving up the page rankings.

For more information about Search Engine Optimisation visit our Search Engine Optimisation page.

Mark Langston
Clients often come to us exasperated that their website is not generating the sales or enquiries they expected.

It is easy to think “build it and they will come” but these days with so much competition, unless you do something to drive traffic to your website it will end up rarely being visited.

With most searches, research and buying decisions being made online by businesses and consumers alike, it makes sense to start with online promotions to get things moving.

Google accounts for somewhere around 90% of all online searches, so if you want your site to be found you need to be high on the Google page rankings for at least some of your main keywords.

There are two ways to achieve a page one listing, one is instant, the other can take a while longer.  The two methods are:

1.    Google Adwords Pay Per Click advertising
2.    Search Engine Optimisation/Search Marketing, improvements to the website.

Google Adwords
If you want immediate results to start driving traffic to your website from day one, then Google Adwords provides a very effective and measurable way of achieving this. However, costs need to be carefully assessed and research carried out to find out which keywords to use and how much you will have to bid for them.

Search Engine Optimisation/Search Marketing
This is all about the quality of your website. This includes how the website has been built to conform to certain standards to ensure the website performs well for users and search engines. Just as important is the content on the pages and how pages work and link together.

Where your site is currently positioned on the search pages and how competitive your particular industry or category is will determine how much work will be required to gradually move the site to a page one position. This can take weeks or months to achieve so has to be regarded as a long term goal.

Future blogs will cover both of these options in more detail, in the meantime if you want to find out more about Google Adwords go to our Marketing Services page.

Mark Langston

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