One Wales Energy website

The people of Wales spend approximately £1.4 billion on electricity and gas every year. Very little of that money stays in Wales, with most of it going into the coffers of large energy suppliers based in other parts of the UK.

But a new Welsh energy company called One Wales Energy / Un Ynni Cymru are looking to change that. All of the company's operations (including their contact centre) are based right here in Wales, meaning that their customers' energy fees will be going back into the Welsh economy instead of leaving the country. One Wales Energy / Un Ynni Cymru have also pledged to improve the wellbeing of Welsh communities via a Charitable Foundation and a Community Affiliate Scheme that allows local groups to raise funds by recommending One Wales to their members.

As a proudly Welsh company, we at Designer Websites were very happy when One Wales Energy asked us to create a new website for them. Their goal was to drive pre-registrations from people who are interested in changing energy suppliers (the company are planning launch their service in early 2018), so we knew that the site would need to communicate the company's key selling points - competitive rates, simple tariffs, a commitment to working towards sustainability, and of course the benefits for Wales and its communities - in a clear, appealing fashion.

The new One Wales Energy / Un Ynni Cymru website is now live - click here to view it. The site features:

  • Responsive, mobile-friendly design
  • Bilingual content (site can be viewed in English or Welsh)
  • Blog engine for sharing news and updates
  • Search engine optimisation to improve the site's online visibility
  • User-friendly enquiry form for those interested in changing suppliers or becoming an affiliate

Does your business need a new website? Contact Designer Websites today to request a quotation.

Tree Force Ecommerce Website

Earlier this week, we finished work on a brand new ecommerce website called Tree-Force.com. Aimed at professional arborists and tree surgeons, Tree-Force.com makes it easy to purchase tree climbing equipment and related products online at competitive prices.

Here's a taste of what's available from Tree-Force.com:

  • Safety harnesses
  • Tool lanyards
  • Ascenders and descenders
  • Winches
  • Ladders
  • Work gloves

The website itself has a user-friendly design that adapts to the screen it's viewed on, allowing arborists to make purchases on the go using their mobile devices. In addition to the secure online checkout system, this site includes the option to pay in three different currencies (pounds, euros and Emirati dirhams), enabling the company to sell their products to a huge international market.

Visit Tree-Force.com now to browse the website for yourself!

In this modern day and age, we are all very much accustomed to using apps on a daily basis.

We use native apps on our phones for waking us up, planning appointments, tracking our fitness, speaking with our friends, checking public transport times, the weather, the news… the list is endless! It is for this reason that companies are often drawn to developing Apps for their customers, because it allows for better interaction with those customers, or at least that is the theory.

One of the problems with Apps is that they are very expensive to develop and maintain, especially as they have to be developed for multiple platforms i.e. Android and iOS. Another significant drawback is that it is often impossible to gauge how useful the intended audience will find the App, or whether it will be used at all. On top of this they are not indexed in the major search engines, so you have to do some level of marketing to create awareness of the App, which again is another cost.

Progressive Web Apps are significantly cheaper to develop, are very easy and cost-effective to scale, are directly integrated by default with your website, and can be indexed by the likes of Google. This makes having an App considerably more cost effective for your business.

If you’re up to date with the latest development technologies then you may have heard about Progressive Web Apps before now, but if not, and you are considering having an App developed for your business then read on.

What Are Progressive Web Apps?

Progressive Web Apps are fundamentally web pages that can look and feel like a native app on your phone. They combine the best functions of mobile apps (offline functionality, background updating, push notifications, shortcut icon) with the accessibility and shareable nature of web pages.

Not only is a Progressive Web App highly functional, it is also at the forefront of modern web page design, utilising the very latest technologies and coding practises. Another significant benefit is that through the use of something called ‘Service Workers’ these Apps can be used both offline and online, making them incredibly accessible. In fact, Google themselves vouch for Progressive Web Apps, stating that they are reliable, fast and engaging!

By combining the best parts of the web and mobile apps, Progressive Web Apps provide a seamless and immersive experience for the user.

What Are the Benefits of Progressive Web Apps?

Now you know what a Progressive Web App is, you may be wondering how it could benefit you. Here are a few reasons why you should consider using a Progressive Web App for your business.

  • Progressive

They are named Progressive Web Apps because they are built with progressive enhancement as their main goal. By nature, they must work on all devices and take advantage of the user’s device and browser which is what makes them progressive.

  • Offline Functionality

As mentioned above, the addition of a Service Worker means that Progressive Web Apps will work on low-quality networks and even offline. The Service Worker essentially allows your device to cache pages and functionality, meaning that they can work without an internet connection, as long as they have been visited/loaded at least once with a connection. The Service Worker also allows the App to take advantage of native device functions, send push notifications and allow background synchronising. These features help to keep your customers engaged.

  • Responsive

Progressive Web Apps are built to fit on all devices, meaning they are completely responsive from the very beginning. This extends the reach of your Progressive Web App and will provide a great user experience wherever a customer accesses it.

  • App-like Feel

Through the use of an Application Shell, Progressive Web Apps can feel very much like using a native app. An App Shell separates the functionality and the content, meaning the ‘shell’ of the Progressive Web App loads before the content. This is then cached, so it instantly loads on repeat visits. This ensures a great performance for the user each time.

To add to the app-like feel, a shortcut to the Progressive Web App can be added onto any device. This provides easy access and background caching, just like a native app. 

  • Easy to share/discover

The main benefit of being a web page that looks like an app is that it can be easily shared and discovered. Progressive Web Apps can be shared through its URL, extending its reach significantly. These Apps can also be indexed by the likes of Google, meaning that you can simply optimise them for additional traffic.

  • No Installation

Users also do not need to download Progressive Web Apps in the app store. This is a considerable benefit, because it has been found that on average an app loses 20% of its users for every step between the first contact and beginning to use the app. Progressive Web Apps limit the number of obstacles between your business and the consumer.

Case Studies

Alongside the many impressive benefits, case studies have also proven that Progressive Web Apps are delivering on their promise. Many popular brands have noted the benefits of Progressive Web Apps and have decided to make the change. It has been found that Progressive Web Apps provide higher user engagement, increased time on page and increased conversions.

For example, India’s biggest e-commerce website watched their conversions increase by 70% when they made the change to a Progressive Web App. User time spent on-site also tripled, and their re-engagement rate increased by 40%.

With stats like that, it’s hard to not be convinced by the allure of Progressive Web Apps.

A few more familiar faces such as Whatsapp, Airbnb and Trivago have also developed Progressive Web Apps for their businesses. Just head to any of these websites to get a feel for how seamless and immersive Progressive Web Apps can be for the user.

Airbnb Progressive Web App

We have recently delivered a Progressive Web App to a Property Maintenance company, who use complex site audit forms to provide engineer assessments. Their engineers visit sites all over the country and often end up in basements, or in areas with little or no signal, so this App allows them to complete the complex forms on their device and submit them quickly and easily on site.

If the engineer has no signal at the time of submission, the App will save the data and submit it once they do have a signal. This Progressive Web App is a massive time-saving tool, which also saves considerably on printing and hand-completing forms. It is one example of how a Progressive Web App can deliver superb functionality in a very practical solution.

To see more case studies of Progressive Web Apps which have provided great benefits for the businesses, you can just head to Google’s case studies section.

So, are Progressive Web Apps for you?

Progressive Web Apps are redefining the way we look at native apps, and even websites. Since 2015 when the term ‘Progressive Web Apps’ was coined by designer Frances Berriman and Google Chrome Engineer Alex Russell, this new web technology has been on the rise. We think the technology is fantastic for businesses that want to take advantage of an App, whilst keeping costs down, and maintaining use of the very latest in scalable technology.

So, if your business is looking to develop time-saving functionality, or a highly interactive customer App, or even a series of forms that can be submitted offline, then we recommend that you take a close look at Progressive Web Apps, as they bring undisputable benefits to many business processes and client interactions.

If you would like to talk to one of our expert developers about a Progressive Web App project then please give us a call anytime, or drop us an email with your project brief and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

Search Intent

Since it was launched all the way back in 1997, Google Search has grown increasingly sophisticated and intelligent. Where once it simply looked at your search term and gave you a list of web pages containing that term, the search engine's algorithm can now understand and interpret queries on an almost-human level.

This acute understanding of search intent is visible in the highly-tailored results that Google now delivers whenever a search is performed. Here's just one example:

  • The search term 'swimming pool' usually indicates an intent to go swimming, and so Google responds to this query with a list of local pools and leisure centres.

  • However, if you type 'swimming cap' into Google, the results page is dominated by shopping results. This is because the algorithm has deduced from your search term that you're looking to buy something.

  • Now type in 'swimming rules' and notice how most of the results are information-based. There's a featured snippet, along with a 'People also ask' section that answers a variety of swimming-related questions. All of this indicates that Google interpreted your query as an attempt to learn about swimming.

Three very similar searches, three very different sets of results.

Swimming search results

This example demonstrates just how much Google (and its competitors - you'll get similar results if you try the same experiment on Bing or Yahoo) can now read into our search queries. Superficially, the phrases 'swimming pool' and 'swimming cap' are very much alike, but modern search engine algorithms have a very strong grasp of what different words mean and - more importantly - what we mean when we use those words.

How was this achieved?

Google and the other search engines didn't get this clever overnight. Their current level of sophistication is the result of years of testing and fine-tuning and gradual improvement.

In Google's case, a technology called RankBrain is largely to thank for the algorithm's advanced understanding of search intent. RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that learns as people search; when you google a phrase that RankBrain hasn't seen before, it makes an educated guess based on the meanings and common usages of the words you entered, then serves up results accordingly.

Here's what this process might look like in action:

  • You want to go and see the new family movie Penelope and the Magic Pencil at the cinema.

  • You go to google.co.uk and type in 'penelope magic pencil screenings'.

  • Google's algorithm doesn't immediately understand what you mean, but RankBrain knows that the word 'screenings' is semantically related to movies and cinemas.

  • Armed with this insight, Google now looks for cinema-related results that contain the words 'penelope', 'magic' and/or 'pencil'.

  • The best results are served to you via the Google results page. If Google can see your current location, the results are probably sourced from cinemas in your local area.

(In reality, of course, Google's all-knowing algorithm would already be aware of the Magic Pencil film and would thus have a far better clue as to what you were after. This is just a hypothetical example that shows how RankBrain can infer meaning from what looks at first glance like a string of random, unrelated words.)

So what does this mean for my website?

As Google has become more and more sophisticated, website owners who rely on organic Google traffic have had to become more and more sophisticated in their tactics. Ranking on the first page of Google results is no longer as simple as picking a popular keyphrase and using that phrase a certain number of times within your page copy; even if your page has a tonne of great links from high-authority websites, this won't necessarily guarantee you a high organic ranking in the current search climate. Google now prioritise search intent above all else, which means that webmasters and SEOs must do the same.

In order to get the very best results, search intent should be kept in mind throughout the entire website optimisation process, starting with keyword selection. Let's say you're setting up a new online sports equipment store - you're trying to decide what kind of searches you want to show up for, so the first thing you do is visit Keyword Planner and type in 'sporting goods' to see what gets the most searches.

When you order the resulting list of keywords by number of searches, it looks something like this:

  • sprinter (12,100 searches per month)
  • sporting (9,900 searches per month)
  • sports clothing (8,100 searches per month)

Lots and lots of people enter the words 'sprinter' and 'sporting' into Google every month, but trying to capture that traffic with a sporting goods website would be virtually pointless because the vast majority of those people won't be looking to buy sports equipment. Instead of picking the most popular term you can find that's vaguely related to sports, it's far better to pick a term that reflects the intent of your target audience.

Here's another example. According to Keyword Planner, 1.5 million people google the word 'tennis' every month, whereas the term 'buy tennis shoes' only gets a few thousand searches in an entire year. However, the 'buy tennis shoes' people are a far better match, intent-wise, for your ecommerce website than the people who simply type in 'tennis' - they could be looking for player rankings, or match reports, or information on the sport itself, whereas you wouldn't type in 'buy tennis shoes' if you weren't at least thinking of buying some tennis shoes.

If you're not sure whether the keywords you've chosen are a good fit for your website, google them! The results that pop up should give you a pretty good idea of what people mean when they use each term. For instance, most of the results for 'best football boots' are informative articles and lists, suggesting that Google sees this as a learn term rather than a buy term.

Best Football Boots

This keyword might be worth targeting with an informative, well-written blog post, but your shop page probably isn't a good fit.

By contrast, the results for 'cheap football boots' are all online stores where you can buy football boots, indicating that this term is a better match for your store's footwear department.

Cheap Football Boots

Creating intent-optimised pages

So you've chosen a good set of keywords that are highly relevant to your website and what it has to offer. The next challenge is actually ranking for those keywords (i.e. appearing among the top results when somebody types one of those keywords into Google). To do this, you'll need to create content that meets the needs of your target audience.

What that doesn't mean is writing a thousand words about your chosen topic. As we explained earlier, it's not enough to just repeat your keywords over and over again and hope that Google will take the hint. You need to properly assess the intent behind each term you're targeting, then craft a high-quality web page that satisfies that intent.

We've already seen several examples of what that looks like in practice. You want to be the #1 result for 'best football boots'? You need to research the latest products and write a thorough article that lists the best boots and explains what makes them so great. More interested in showing up for 'cheap football boots'? In that case, you need to make sure you've got a secure, smooth-functioning ecommerce website that makes it easy for people to buy boots online, and at genuinely low prices.

Again, if you're not sure what kind of content you need to create for the keyphrase you're targeting, head to Google and see what already ranks on page 1. This will tell you what Google considers a good, relevant result for that query.

Do I still have to worry about writing keyword-rich copy?

This debate has been raging for quite a while now. Back in the day, targeting a particular keyphrase meant including that phrase in your website copy as many times as you possibly could. Known as keyword stuffing, this practice is best avoided in 2017 because the Google algorithm now penalises websites that do it.

With that in mind, it's best to take a more cautious approach these days: use your keyphrase frequently, but NOT to the point of sounding 'unnatural'. The litmus test is to read your content aloud - as long as it sounds like something a human might actually say, you're probably safe. Here's an example...

  • OK: Looking for cheap football boots? You've come to the right place! Here's at Charlie's, we've got a huge range of brand-name football boots at bargain prices. Our boots may be cheap, but they're certainly not lacking in quality - check out all these 5-star reviews from our previous customers!

  • NOT OK: Welcome to Charlie's cheap football boots store, the best place to buy cheap football boots online! We have a huge range of cheap football boots to choose from - order your cheap football boots now, or read our reviews to see what other customers think of our cheap football boots!

Nowadays, most SEO authorities agree that keyword density is nowhere near as important as tailoring your content to search intent. In other words, identify the need that you're trying to meet, then write copy that's suited to that need. Somebody who wants to buy a toaster is going to be more interested in your prices, your website layout, and the security of your online checkout system than in how many times you've written the word 'toaster'.

However, while this principle - 'make web pages for users, not search engines' - sounds reasonable enough in theory, it's a bit muddier than that in practice. While search engines are incredibly intelligent, they're still nowhere near as intuitive as actual human beings, and Google do still rely on keyword matching to some extent. Remember our Penelope and the Magic Pencil example from earlier? Your cinema won't show up for a term like that unless you've got the name of the film somewhere on your page, just as your sports store probably won't rank for 'cheap football boots' unless you've used the word 'football' in your copy at least once or twice.

Put your keywords in the right places.

The main difference between SEO in 2007 and SEO in 2017 is that, when it comes to keyword insertion, quantity doesn't really matter. Don't worry about keyword density or anything like that - instead, focus on making sure that your keywords are present in the places that count.

In rough order of importance, these are:

  • Page title tag. This should be a succinct summary (approx. 40-60 characters) of what your page is about. You definitely need to include your primary keyword here if you're going to have a shot at ranking.

  • URL. We're not suggesting that your domain name ought to be www.yourkeyword.com (in fact, Google have penalised unnaturally keyword-rich domain names in the past), but it's a good idea to look to your keyword list when choosing URLs for your internal pages. This isn't essential, and you definitely shouldn't create spammy-looking URLs just for the sake of getting your keywords in, but it makes it easier for search engines if your football boots page is actually called /football-boots rather than /store/category/footwear/46.

  • H1 heading. As long as it makes sense from the user's point of view, you should try to include your main keyphrase in your page's main (h1) heading. Some people will tell you that your h1 and your title tag have to be different from one another, but Google won't mind if they're identical; indeed, this might make more sense from a user perspective, since the heading on the page will match the heading of the Google result they clicked on.

  • Alt tags. Every image on your website should have an alt tag (a piece of HTML that tells search engine bots - who can't see pictures like we can - what an image depicts). If the images on your page are relevant to that page's content, it should be relatively easy to include your keyphrase in at least one alt tag. Consider using synonyms and variations of your keyphrase so that you're not using the same tag for every image - for example, if you've already got an image tagged 'football boots', you could use 'soccer boots' or 'nike football boots' for the other images on that page.

  • Meta description. The meta description (usually) serves as the little snippet of text underneath your link in the Google results page. This should be around 150 characters in length, and while it doesn't seem to have much of an impact on ranking, it's worth including your primary keyword(s) here too if it's reasonable to do so. However, the main aim of your meta description is to give readers a reason to click through to your website - so make sure it's enticing!

As far as the actual body text of your page is concerned, you shouldn't really have to think about whether or not to include your keywords: it's difficult to write even a few sentences about football boots without using the term 'football boots'. Bear in mind also that RankBrain assesses meaning and relevance based on the semantic relationships between different words and phrases, so a page that mentions 'football boots' over and over again probably won't rank as well as a page that uses lots of different football- and boot-related terms (goal, pitch, striker, tackle, kick, grip, studs, and so forth).

Summing up

Here's a basic plan to follow when trying to optimise a website for search intent:

  • Identify keywords that are relevant to your website and express clear intent to do/buy/learn whatever it is you're offering.

  • Use Google to see what sort of content currently ranks for those keywords. In-depth articles? Online shops? Local business listings?

  • Create content that meets the needs expressed by the keywords you're targeting.

  • Be sure to use your keywords in the right places (title tag, h1 heading, et cetera) while still focusing on helping the user and meeting their needs.

Of course, this is just the first step - links, reviews, blog posts, social shares, and lots of other things are often necessary to make it onto the first page. However, if you follow this plan, you'll have a strong chance of eventually achieving high rankings and capturing lots of high-quality traffic that actually converts.

If you need help driving organic traffic to your website, get in touch with Designer Websites - our SEO experts can help you to select the right keywords, create the right content, and reach the right people.

Ah yes, October - 'tis the season to start preparing for Christmas campaigns. 

You didn't read that wrong. With December being the most lucrative time of the year for most retail businesses, you really can't start planning your Christmas marketing campaign too early. With online shopping continuing to grow in popularity year after year, it's a great time to take advantage of the increase in sales during the holiday period. One way to do this is by utilising your brand's social media accounts.

Social media is a great way to communicate with your customers on a personal level, and there's no better time to do this than the Christmas period. With more people home from work and enjoying their downtime, inevitably, there is also an increase in social media traffic. So with that in mind, we have some tips on how to make your social media more festive this season.

Make it Festive

If you want to take advantage of the Christmas holiday period you have to be willing to get involved. This is where starting early can pay off as you can prepare your Christmas campaign and the content to go with it. You'll see most brands make their social media particularly festive, with many changing to Christmas profile and cover pictures which show off their offers and holiday spirit. Some will also use hashtags to get their customers ready for the season such as Coca Cola's iconic #HolidaysAreComing. This reminds customers that the holiday is approaching and to keep shopping in mind. 

It's not uncommon for non-retail brands to get into the spirit too and this is a good thing because in an online sea of holiday joy your business can look like a bit like a social Scrooge if you choose to ignore Christmas. Keep it fun and consistent so people can recognise your posts and engage with them. 

Cross Promote

With the high saturation of Christmas posts over social media it can be easy to get lost amongst them. Whatever your marketing strategy is this Christmas, it's important to share it across your social platforms. This isn't exclusive to online offers either, whether it's a TV advert or an in-store exclusive social media is a fantastic way to get noticed.

(John Lewis 2016 Christmas Advert)

 John Lewis is an expert for this, their highly anticipated advert doesn't just end on the TV screen, they know exactly how to use their other platforms to get extra exposure. Their 2016 campaign #BusterTheBoxer was seen all over their social media, with the playful pooch even getting his own Snapchat filter. Even if you didn't see the advert on TV or Youtube (although we find that hard to believe), you undoubtedly saw it across social media.

Promoting your Christmas campaign across social media platforms is a great way to extend your reach to as many people as possible. 

Get Personal 

For most, Christmas is a time to think about others and businesses should keep this in mind throughout their marketing campaigns. Social media is a great way to communicate with consumers on a more personal level, and it's a great way to remind them how much you appreciate their custom. A good way to do this on social media is to promote special offers to customers, such as free shipping days or discount codes. Using social media to do this allows people to recognise how following your online activity is a great way to gain benefits and hear about your offers first.

DW Christmas Jumper Day

It's also the perfect time to put the face behind the brand on show. If you want to connect with people via social media it is a good idea to show that you are people too. This personal touch doesn't have to be too invasive - sharing a "Christmas Jumper Day" or a picture of festive decorations is a nice way to remind customers that you aren't all serious business all of the time. 

Try to schedule posts on your social media wishing your customers a Merry Christmas too - many use social media as a way to wish their friends and family love over the holidays, so it's always nice to add that personal message from your brand too.

If you want any help with your online Christmas campaign this year our expert team is here to help. Visit our contact us page today to see how we can help you make your brand more festive this year.  

Go Theory Website

One of the most daunting parts of learning to drive is taking your driving theory test. If you're worried about failing your theory test or missing something important during the hazard perception video, our latest project may well be of interest to you: Go Theory is a new service that allows learner drivers to revise their theory knowledge, take practice tests, and even watch sample hazard perception clips online.

Designed and developed by the team here at Designer Websites, the Go Theory site also features an audio description service (for people who prefer to learn by listening) and a number of display options for dyslexic users. It really is the ultimate way to prepare for your driving theory test, and we're very proud to have worked on such a useful and inclusive website.

All Go Theory users get a free 48-hour trial of the service - to create your account, go to www.gotheory.co.uk now!

SEO vs SMO

So, you have a new website. It looks good, it’s quick and user-friendly. There’s just one small problem. No one can find it.

If this is the problem you’re currently facing, you may have found yourself scouring the internet to find a solution. If you have, you’ve most likely been thrown into the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This method of digital marketing works to put your website on the front page of Google for search terms that relate to your business.

If you’ve delved a little further, you may have also come across a term called Social Media Optimisation (SMO). SMO refers to optimising your social media platforms to bring more traffic to your website. SEO has been around since the introduction of search engines back in the 90’s. SMO, however, is a relatively new method of driving traffic to your website and only came about in 2006 when it was first mentioned in Rohbi Bhargava’s article 5 rules of social media optimisation.

Though their abbreviations differ by just one letter, SEO and SMO are vastly different. This article will explore the differences between SEO vs SMO.

What are SEO and SMO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation uses a variety of different methods to make your website rank highly on the search engine results pages (SERPs). These methods include: 

  • Keyword Planning

Keyword Planning is the process of choosing a specific keyword(s) to target on each page of the website. This is vital to SEO as a clear keyword strategy means pages will not compete with one another for the same search terms. Each page will have a specific purpose. 

  • Good Quality Optimised Copy

Each page on the website needs to have unique, optimised copy that focuses on specific keywords in order to rank highly on google. The copy needs to be well-written and easy to understand.

  • Meta Title & Description

Ensuring each of your web pages has a unique meta title (the title of the page which tells Google what the page is about) and a meta description (the snippet of text that appears below the title in the SERPs) is another important part of SEO.  

  • Link Building

Link building is a part of SEO which aims to gain links from other websites. Each link to your website from a reputable source is a good sign to Google, as these links are effectively ‘votes’ for your website. Combined, this alludes to the popularity of the website. The aim of link building is, therefore, to gain high-quality links in order to improve the ranking position of the website.  

  • User-Friendly Website

The user-friendliness of your website is relevant to SEO. If your website is unresponsive, slow and difficult to use – it’s not going to get a good ranking on google. 

Social Media Optimisation (SMO)

Social Media Optimisation is a digital marketing method which focuses on making your social media platforms engaging enough to bring traffic to the website. 

  • Create Shareable Content

Increasing social links through SMO involves developing content that people want to share and link to. Creating a blog on your website, for example, is ideal for this method of SMO as it is easy to link to. 

  • Make Sharing Content Easy 

This method of SMO involves adding share and social link buttons to your website and blog in order to encourage sharing, recommending or bookmarking. 

  • Providing Value to Users

This includes adding outbound links into your content even if it doesn’t help drive traffic to your website. This helps your website as you will gain a loyal follower base who will see you as a fountain of knowledge. Valuable content also helps with SEO as Google’s rank brain algorithm decides that useful resources should be at the top of the SERPs.  

  • Rewarding Loyal Followers

This type of Social Media Optimisation involves rewarding your loyal followers with the occasional ‘thank you’, follow back, or even competition prize. By letting them know you value their support, you will gain a loyal follower for life.  

Do SEO and SMO help one another? 

Whereas SEO mainly focuses on improving your websites ranking and the ability to drive visitors through the likes of Google - SMO focuses on driving traffic via social media platforms. Both SEO and SMO operate in different spheres, but they do impact one another.

The main priority of both SEO and SMO is to drive traffic to your website. It makes sense that they should work together to bring as much traffic in as possible.

Though no one truly knows precisely how much different factors affect the Google ranking position of a website, it has become clear that social signals do affect SEO rankings indirectly. In fact, in 2010 retweets on Twitter were even described as a ‘new form of link building’. More recently, another study was conducted which concluded that a larger presence on social media does gain a higher place on the SERPs.

In fact, to see SMO impacting SEO, just search the name of a popular brand on Google. It’s more than likely their Twitter account will be listed within the first 5 results.

Mcdonalds SMO

This is clear evidence that Social Media does have an impact on SERP’s.

Likewise, if you’re spending time and money on SMO, directing people to your website from social media, or trying to gain links from other businesses via social media, then it is important that you have a high-quality website with a good user experience.

Driving visitors to a website with a poor user experience will just result in a high bounce rate (single page visits). The user-friendliness of a website is part of SEO. Therefore, it is clear to see that SMO can also be impacted by SEO.

Why SEO and SMO Should Work Together

 SEO is a fundamental part of digitally marketing your business and SMO is gaining importance as social media becomes a larger part of everyday life. If you do one without the other, it is likely that your business will be left behind.

Google changes their ranking factors frequently, so it is important that your social media platforms are fully optimised. The value of social signals could change in the future, so SMO will ensure you’re prepared if their value increases. Furthermore, SMO is a good way to drive traffic and increase brand awareness.
However, you also need to ensure your website is fully optimised as this is where your conversions will happen. This is why SEO is essential and should be used in conjunction with SMO.

Depending on the business, the benefits from SMO can sometimes be seen quicker than the benefits of SEO. However, if you stop updating and optimising your social media platforms, the traffic can bottom out quickly.

SEO, on the other hand, is more long-term. If you achieve a high-ranking position for your website through SEO, it is less likely that you will lose mass amounts of traffic if you pause SEO efforts for a day or two.

Therefore, though they have different methods of driving traffic, every business marketing strategy should ensure SEO and SMO work together in harmony to drive as many unique visitors to your website as possible.

Do you need help with either SEO or SMO for your website? Get in touch with our SEO experts today to find out how we can help you.

Silver Fern Therapy Website

Silver Fern Therapy provide a variety of services across England and Wales, including:

  • Locum wheelchair therapists for clinics, nursing homes, etc.
  • Wheelchair assessments to help wheelchair users get the right chair for their requirements
  • Ergonomic consultants to help companies design and manufacture people-friendly products

Silver Fern recently contacted us because they needed a functional, professional-looking brochure website through which to advertise these services. That website - designed, developed and optimised by the team here at Designer Websites - went live earlier this week, and you can view it here: www.silverferntherapy.co.uk

In addition to the responsive design that we created for Silver Fern Therapy, we also provided the following:

  • Enquiry forms that make it easy for visitors to enquire about the company's various services
  • CV upload option that allows therapists to apply for work
  • Blog engine, allowing the Silver Fern team to publish news and updates with ease
  • Search engine optimisation, targeting a range of relevant keywords

Do you need a user-friendly website for your business? Click here to request a quote from Designer Websites.

Long Tail Keywords 

Trying to rank on search engines, like Google, is becoming more and more difficult, especially with the ever-changing face of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and the growing competition online. Finding ways to capture traffic to your website is absolutely crucial to online success, and often this means attempting to get your website in a top position on the front page of Google, the holy grail of search engine traffic – but how can you achieve this?

We all want our websites to be found on page 1 for broad search terms that represent our business, but this can be extremely hard if your business faces significant competition online, especially where the competition is very large brands with deep pockets for marketing. However, all is not lost, in fact, this often means that you just have to work a little harder at long tail keywords, which more often than not can drive the most valuable traffic to your website.

In this article, we will be explaining what long tail key words are, and how targeting them can help to drive valuable traffic to your website.

What are long tail keywords?

A long tail keyword is a search term that is typically around 2-4 words long, albeit they can be longer. A long tail key word is mostly defined by how specific it is rather than its length.

Example broad search term: Exercise Class

Example Long-tail keyword: Boxercise Classes in Cardiff

So, unlike broad search terms, long-tailed keywords are far more specific, and therefore usually have substantially lower search traffic volumes. So why use them? We want MORE traffic not less, so why target phrases with substantially fewer searches?

Well, in the example above, the chances are that your business offers more than just Boxercise classes. So now the next step is to consider a page targeting each keyword term e.g. Spin Classes in Cardiff, Zumba Fitness Training, Hardcore Fitness Class, etc. Through this, you can start to build the volume of traffic up, and all you’ve done is negate the types of broad searches that may not have resulted in a buyer anyway.

Over the last decade, consumer searching habits have become more defined as users have become savvier with search engine result. This means that people tend to understand that a broad search for anything will not necessarily deliver what they are looking for, so they now naturally provide more specific search terms.

You can take advantage of this new method of search with long tail keywords. A lot of big companies rely heavily on the broad terms as they believe this provides them with a stronger position, but invariably it actually doesn’t. This is why long tail keywords will work in your favour as there is less competition from the larger companies. 

Why should we use long tail keywords?

The most important thing on your website is your call to action. So in this case, you want someone to sign-up for a class, right? Therefore, what you need is traffic that results in conversions, not just random visitors which makes long-tailed keywords very useful. Imagine you're a gym based in Cardiff and ask yourself this: will it be easier to convert someone who searched “Exercise Class” or “Boxercise Class in Cardiff”?

Long-tailed keywords are now natural searches for result-savvy consumers, but for the not so savvy searchers, they tend to come a little later. For example, a user might start by searching for “exercise class” and then realise that it’s not really what they were looking for, or the gyms advertised were national and not local, so they decide to search for “exercise classes in Cardiff”.  They then find gyms but not necessarily the classes they want, so next, they search for something even more specific, like “Zumba classes in Cardiff”, and finally they receive the results they were looking for. Either way, we all usually end up searching for what we want via long tail keywords when we are serious about buying or booking.

With that being said, in some cases, it may well be necessary to target obvious ‘broad’ search terms for your business. However, it is highly likely you will be faced with a high-budget battle against your competition. In this case, we recommend working on your long tail keyword opportunities first and then focusing on the broad terms for your business.

Long tail keywords also apply to PPC advertising

If you run pay per click (PPC) advertising for your website, then it would benefit your business to consider the same strategy. For example, setup your campaigns to focus on the long tail keywords first, and then work backwards to include some of the broader search terms for your industry in tightly budgeted campaigns. This usually results in much better conversions on the long tail keywords, and a mopping effect on the broad terms, which tend to be more expensive.

Long-tail keyword focus will reduce your bounce rate

The bounce rate on your web pages essentially tells you how many people search for a term, or hit a link to your website, and only read one page before leaving. High bounce rates are generally-speaking very bad because it likely means someone who found your website left before navigating around - although, of course, there are instances where this is acceptable behaviour.

A typical example of a searcher who bounces is where a consumer has searched for, say “exercise class”, and they hit a page showing a gym not local to them, or doesn’t have the specific class they are looking for, and so they leave within seconds. This will happen a lot if you focus heavily on broad search terms.

If your website focusses heavily on long tail keywords instead, then you will attract searchers who are looking more specifically for that product or service and are therefore less likely to bounce, and more likely to buy.

How to choose the right long tail keywords?

Do your research

You need to spend time doing valuable keyword research. You may assume that your customers think about your brand, products or services in the same way that you do, but that doesn't mean they will search for you in the same way. Although you may be an expert in your industry, it is still vital to research what is actually generating search traffic to figure out what keywords you should target.

Tools such as Google's Keyword Planner allow you to see statistics concerning search volume and estimated bid costs for different keywords. This provides you with an opportunity to weigh up your options and make a logical keyword plan.  There are other keyword research tools out there, but these are beyond the scope of this article.

Identify niches

As discussed, long tail keywords allow you to better target consumers who are more focused in terms of what they are looking for. This often occurs once the person has done their product/service research and have a better idea of what they are looking for, and will naturally narrow their search term.

So, we talked about exercise class types and using the niche terms for these, but colours are often a good niche in certain markets too. For example, someone who may be interested in buying decking may have looked through various websites and information. Following this research, that customer has learned more about the product that best suits their requirements. Through this product research, the customer has arrived at the conclusion that they would like “grey composite decking”, which is now the term they search for, therefore targeting this niche term and bringing you closer to capturing a sale.    

Your keyword research should include as many niche terms as you can think of, as these often produce highly valuable search terms.

Keep it balanced

As discussed earlier, a wise place to start is to focus on the long-tail keywords first, and then later consider the broader terms, which should result in a balanced strategy.

Remember to focus on a small set of keywords per page, and do not contaminate other pages with the same keywords (read more about why you should avoid this here). Good luck! 

For expert advice on this subject, or any other online marketing subject, our team of friendly SEO Experts would be more than happy to assist, so if you need help please get in touch with us!

Recently, a long-time client of ours got in touch to ask if we could help him to expand his business into a potentially lucrative new realm. As an experienced ISO 9001 consultant specialising in the planning and implementation of  quality management systems, he wanted to offer small- to medium-sized businesses a faster, easier way to get ISO certification, and that's where the idea for ISO Accelerator came from.

Launched last week, ISO Accelerator is a new website that allows British organisations to get their ISO 9001 certification sorted out online. In case you've never been through it yourself, the ISO 9001 accreditation process tends be rather drawn-out, usually requiring multiple site visits and consultations before certification is finally awarded. However, with ISO Accelerator, small/medium-sized businesses can condense the whole process down to as little as 7 days.

This service is explained in detail over on the ISO Accelerator website, which we designed to ensure that the fast-track certification process really was as smooth and as streamlined as possible for each user. The website is responsive (so it works just as well on mobile devices as on desktop PCs), and the clear, professional-looking design instils trust in the user and helps them to understand every step of the process before getting started. Visit www.iso-accelerator.co.uk to take a closer look.

Do you need a winning website to get your business idea off the ground? Contact Designer Websites today!

New Styrene Systems Website

Polystyrene packaging has a lot of different uses, but it's not particularly eco-friendly. Many local councils don't recycle polystyrene, and as a result, an awful lot of EPS (expanded polystyrene) packaging just gets thrown away and sent to landfills.

However, we recently worked with a company who specialise in combating this problem. Based in West Wales, Styrene Systems manufacture compaction machines that are specifically designed to process expanded foam waste products like EPS packaging. Their heat densifiers and screw compactors effectively crush polystyrene down to a much smaller size, reducing the burden on landfill sites and easing the costs of polystyrene disposal for businesses.

For instance, their H100 heat densifier can take 1 tonne of bagged EPS - enough to fill 11 skips! - and densify it so effectively that the whole lot will fit on a single pallet. Not only is densified EPS far cheaper to dispose of, it can actually be sold and reused, keeping it out of landfill altogether.

Styrene Systems came to us because they needed a slick, user-friendly website that would help them to promote the benefits of their densifying equipment. We're happy to announce that their new site is now live - it has a responsive design, a bold and modern look, and a simple layout that makes their fairly niche service ultra-simple to understand.

To take a look at how this project came out, visit www.styrenesystems.com now.

Does your business need a new website? Contact Designer Websites to request a quotation >

Even though search engines are complex and technologically advanced systems, they are by no means perfect, and often, are not as effective as we'd all like them to be. For instance, search engines can sometimes struggle to interpret website data. To help search engines better understand the information on our webpage, we can 'mark-up' our webpages with something called 'schema markup', which makes page data easier for search engines to read and interpret.

Although schema markup has been around for a while, and is a very a powerful form of optimisation, very few sites actually use it and are missing out on potential benefits. In some cases, this is simply down to lack of knowledge, so with this article we hope to help our readers understand schema markup, and how to best use it.

What is Schema Markup?

Implementing Schema markup is the process of adding structured data elements to the code in your webpages. These structured elements make it easy for search engines to quickly, and easily read your web page, so that they can interpret your data and represent it in the correct way for appropriate searches. As a result of this structure, the search engines can very quickly pick out elements from your pages to show in the appropriate search result formats e.g. images, price lists, reviews, etc.

For example, let's assume you're writing an article about Philadelphia - the film that allowed Tom Hanks to pick up his first academy awards - you can mark it up using the 'movie' item type to inform the search engine that your page is about a film, and not the city, or the brand of cheese, and that way it will be picked up by the search engines and potentially displayed as part of their search results.

 

So, as you can see from the above snippet, Google have output a result that represents the film, gathering their images, links, dates, etc. from a variety of sources online. If you use schema markup correctly then they would potentially use your site as a source, and provide a link to it for the user to follow.

If your webpage isn't marked up in this way, it can still be read by the search engines of course, but essentially the easier and faster you make this for the likes of Google, the more likely your site will be shown in results like this. So, adding structured data allows you to provide clear context to your information.

Another example of the use of structured data can be seen below, and in this instance the searcher has entered a term that Google have interpreted as - this person wants to see a film reel type result of batman films by date. This type of result displays a chronological order of the Batman films based on the search term 'Batman Film Series'. 

There are in fact many different structures or layouts in the search engine results these days, and they all essentially come for schema markup from within appropriate websites. For example you've probably seen location-based results, image or product based results, event driven results, news feeds, etc.

Deciding what structured data to use can be difficult, and you may be worried that not every search engine will be able to understand your structured data markup - but there's no need to be concerned because this structured data has a standard which is controlled by Schema.org. In fact, if you want to learn more about schema you can visit their website, which is a great place to start when your planning your structured markup content.

Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex collaborated - yes, you read that correctly -  to develop a specific vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can implement directly into your HTML, to help you define the different elements of your content - like reviews, opening times, dates of events, or images. This vocabulary helps to standardise schema markup and is fundamentally an agreed-upon set of code markers, or tags, that inform all the major search engines exactly what to do with your data.  

How Does Schema Benefit SEO?

Schema markup helps to clearly define data elements in a page, often referred to as microdata, which in turn will make it easier for search engines to pull out the relevant parts of your webpage as and when they need it.

Search engines often refer to this microdata as Rich Data, Rich Cards or Rich Snippets, which essentially means that these bite size chunks allow them to produce richer results for their customer – the searcher. 

So, by making it easier and faster for the search engines to index and retrieve your data, you in turn increase your chances of them choosing to show your website in search engine results, increasing your visibility and potentially your revenue.

We all use search engines to find products we want, and we all want faster results that are easier to decipher without having to click through lots of pages. So, this is what the search engines recognise, and schema markup allows them to get that data to the screen quicker, and present it in a smart way.

Take the below result for example, we don’t have to click on the page to see the price, the review rating, or whether they have stock of the Java Peanuts, it’s done simply in the search engine result itself with the aid of schema markup.

 

Here is an example of a website using schema markup 

Now, schema by itself will not necessarily improve your rankings, but the more user friendly and search engine friendly you make your website, the more likely it is that you’ll appear high up in the search engine results. As discussed, schema markup will improve your visual offering and make it easier for the search engines to reach-in and pick out appropriate information; so really, it’s an obvious choice to include them. 

Not only that; as we're in the age of artificial intelligence, and as voice search becomes more and more popular, the need to make your web pages easier for search engines to read is becoming increasingly more important.

Despite all this, only a small factor of the web uses schema markup on their websites - with schema.org claiming that only over 10 million websites have implemented schema markup, which is around 1% of the total number of websites in the world wide web.

So, what's stopping SEO's and website owners from implementing schema into their websites?

Why Aren't People Using Schema Markup?

If you're new to schema, or you struggle to understand code, marking up your webpage can be difficult, which is why most SEO's are put off by use this SEO technique. Even tools such as Google's Structured Data Markup Helper, which was designed to help you implement schema independently, requires you to have a good understanding of schema in order for you to use it to mark up your webpage. 

Also, many SEO's struggle to understand schema markup vocabulary, and find that the information provided on the schema.org site hard to follow, and due to the lack of help and resources, many just give up trying to implement schema to their webpage, missing out on all the benefits.

Many people are also put off by using schema markup, because they feel it provides zero benefit in terms of traffic, with some SEO's even suggesting that they lose traffic from featured snippets because the web searcher can find what they're searching for without having to click through to their site. In most cases, this isn't going to be strictly true; of course if you're result shows data like a higher price, zero reviews or no stock, compared to the next result showing the opposite, then yes you just shot yourself in the foot, but to the end user this was useful information, right? So like anything its a case of strategizing how you present your markup in the results. 

Despite the misunderstandings of schema markup, it is a seriously beneficial and useful SEO technique, and is one that is relatively easy to utilise if you have the understanding, and coding ability to implement. Here at Designer Websites, we have a team of expert web developers and SEO specialists that can optimise your website using schema markup, among other techniques of course, so please get in touch if you'd like to discuss further. 

To request a quote or for more information on our website optimisation services, please click here.

Google Adwords The Basics

Unless you own a website or you have a keen interest in online marketing, you may not have heard about Google AdWords before. This platform plays a huge part in the world of online advertising, but many Google users may not know what exactly it is or what it does.

To help you better understand, we have put together the following simple guide to understanding Google AdWords.

Google AdWords Show First on Search Engine Results Pages

First things first, a brief introduction. AdWords is an online advertising platform developed by Google, which allows businesses to advertise on the search engines' results pages.

For example, as you'll see from the image below we have searched for ‘women’s clothes’. Now, the first 4 text results (marked with a green 'Ad' label) are AdWords Text Ads; which are followed by normal non-paid 'organic' results, which in-turn is followed by 3 more Text Ads (bottom of the page). On the right-hand side, you can also see Google 'Shopping Ads', which are a different style of paid-for adverts within AdWords.

All of these businesses are employing AdWords to show their adverts whenever someone searches for the phrase ‘women’s clothes’.

Every Click Costs with Google AdWords

Unlike offline advertising methods, you only have to pay for your Google Ad if it gets clicked, making AdWords one of the best advertising platforms on the planet in terms of ROI. However, managed poorly it will simply bring you lots irrelevant traffic that will not convert into sales or bookings. 

Managing AdWords can be complex, however, it's not rocket-science, and the AdWords tool allows you to organise your adverts into campaigns and groups, which then give you greater control, and organisation, of your adverts. 

In simple terms, you choose the keywords that work for your business and allocate a maximum click cost, which is essentially how much you are willing to pay Google for a person to click your advert. You organise your keywords into appropriate groups and campaigns, and then set a budget on what is the maximum you want to spend on each campaign. When you budget runs out, the adverts stop showing, until the budget allows them to again. So, the higher the budget you set, the longer your adverts will be displayed, and therefore the more clicks you can achieve.  

There are a great many complexities to running successful AdWords campaigns, and the depth of this complexity will depend upon your business, i.e. how many products and services you offer, whether your competitors also run AdWords campaigns, how popular your keywords are, etc.

Google AdWords Uses a Complex Bidding System

Though this may seem simple (pay for an ad = get shown on Google), it is really not that easy! As you can imagine, there are millions of clothing shops across the world. All of these clothing companies, if they’re marketing savvy, will be aiming to have a Google Ad on top of the SERPs. So, with so much competition, Google employs a bidding system to decide who gets those top spots, for how much time, and what cost per click.

It's more complex than this, however, you can envisage the AdWords bidding structure as a straight-up auction; whoever is willing to pay the most per click, wins! Google is the auctioneer, the product is the top spot on Google for say "women’s clothes", and the auction hall is full of eager clothing businesses across the nation, or even the world.. how much are you willing to pay for a click?

As I alluded to, this auction is not that straight forward, you can also win by providing high quality and highly relevant adverts, which land on highly relevant pages, within a highly user-friendly website, all scoring points with Google and meaning that you may pay less than your competitors for those top spots. Google wants advertisers to see a relevant advert to what the user searched. For example, I search "women's dresses" so I want to see an advert that suggests something relevant, and then I want to land on a page showing dresses i.e. not the home page of a clothing store website... unless it only sells dresses of course. So Google rates the relevance of your advertising, and they call this their quality score. You need a very high-quality score to keep your click costs competitive. The complexity runs deeper, but for now, we'll leave it there.

Google Adverts & Landing Pages

While this may seem a bit strange, Google Ads, more often than not, will not take you straight to the homepage of the website. Instead, they usually take you to something which is known as a landing page. Landing pages are often dedicated pages, but usually are the product (or service) specific page, that is most relevant to the term you searched e.g. "Women's Clothing".

For example, this is H&M’s homepage:

And this is a H&M landing page for ‘women’s dresses’:

As you can see, there is a distinct difference between the two. H&M’s homepage includes everything the website stocks, whereas the women's dresses section on the site is used as the "landing page" for the adverts for this search term; directing searchers who hit their adverts to the exact products that they were searching for.

Google AdWords does not impact your websites organic ranking

Though Google AdWords can indeed play a big part in increasing traffic to your website, and conversions, it has no direct link to the organic (non-paid listings in Google) search results pages. Even if you are running hundreds of Ads and spending millions of pounds, it will not increase your organic ranking.

Conclusion

 AdWords can be a fantastic tool for driving instant traffic to your website but consider the difference between extra traffic and extra customers/buyers. There is a significant difference between the two. Making AdWords work for your business requires intimate knowledge of the advertising platform itself, along with knowledge of your business, and its competitors. 

You can run AdWords yourself, however, if you want to maximise the ROI our experts are here to help, just click here to request a free quote today.

Kitchen Economy

Since 1978, Kitchen Economy has been Cardiff’s local Euronics provider of high-quality home appliances. They work closely with some of the biggest names in white goods including Beko, Zanussi, Cannon, Belling and Hotpoint. Alongside selling a wide variety of these great products, they also have a dedicated spares department to help fix any issues you may have with your appliances!


They work to provide the best possible service to Cardiff and the surrounding area and you can find them situated in their long-standing appliance store in Roath. As they aim to cater to each and every one of their customers, Kitchen Economy opted to go for a full redesign of their website to make it as user-friendly as possible.
They found their old website had become out-dated and came to us to achieve a more modern look for their brand. Alongside a fresh new look, they also wanted their website to become fully responsive across all devices.

What did we do?

Our design team worked to provide a modernised version of their existing functional e-commerce website. The redesign included making the website more visually appealing, with large and high-quality images, alongside clear call to action buttons. We also integrated the Kitchen Economy blog onto the category pages to provide new and useful information while customers browsed the website.

Looking to compete with the likes of AO and Currys with their modernised new design, we worked to provide a responsive, secure and attractive new website. The Kitchen Economy website is now served entirely over HTTPS, meaning that all information users send via the website is encrypted and secure.

We are very proud of the new website and if you’re in need of any new electrical appliances, we’d love if you checked it out today!

Here’s what they had to say about their new website:

Kitchen Economy Tweet

Are you also looking for a fully responsive, secure and SEO friendly website? If so, get in touch with us today for a free quote

From October 2017, Chrome will show a 'NOT SECURE' warning on any HTTP page containing a text form

Switch your website to HTTPS

Google are currently on something of a crusade. They want their users to feel totally secure as they browse the web, and so they've been doing their best to force website owners to take user security more seriously. Google Chrome already shows a 'Not secure' warning on non-HTTPS pages that collect sensitive data; for instance, checkout pages and login screens must be served over a HTTPS connection in order to ensure that card details, passwords, and other sensitive details are encrypted. If you're asking users to enter that sort of information on a HTTP page, Chrome will flag up the risk with a notice like this:

Google Chrome 'Not Secure' Warning

As things stand, that 'Not secure' warning is only shown on pages where a user is explicitly asked to enter 'sensitive' data, such as:

  • Passwords
  • Credit / debit card details

However, Google have now announced a major change that could cause a lot of problems for website owners. As of October 2017, the 'Not secure' warning will appear on EVERY non-HTTPS page that contains a text input form, regardless of the form's purpose.

This means that, from October onwards, the following pages will need to be secured with a SSL certificate:

  • Any page with a search bar
  • Any page with a contact / enquiry form
  • Any page with a newsletter signup form

Basically, if your page contains ANY element that allows the user to enter and submit some sort of information - whether it's their credit card number, their email address, or the name of the product they're looking to buy from your website - then you'll need to get that page secured with an SSL certificate by October.

With this change looming on the horizon, a lot of website owners will need to think very seriously about implementing HTTPS across all pages if they have not already done so. For instance, it's quite common for ecommerce sites to use HTTPS on their login/register and checkout pages while serving all other pages over an unsecured HTTP connection, but once this Chrome update takes effect, the people who visit those websites will start seeing 'Not secure' messages everywhere they click.

And those two little words will often be enough to put off potential customers and send them running to a fully-secured competitor instead.

What do I need to do?

If you are currently serving text input forms over an HTTP connection, you will need to purchase an SSL certificate and install it on the server where your website is hosted. You will then need to update things like canonical tags and internal links so that they point to your website's new URL (beginning with https:// rather than http://). You will also need to ensure that the proper redirects are in place so that anyone trying to access the HTTP version of your website is automatically sent to the secure HTTPS version.

If that to-do list seems a little intimidating, don't worry - all you really have to do is ask your website developer to make the necessary changes for you. They will know how to install the SSL certificate and update everything 

Do I need to switch to HTTPS if my website doesn't contain any forms?

Perhaps you've been reading this and thinking 'this doesn't concern me - I don't have any search bars, contact forms or anything like that on my website, so I must be safe'.

If so, we have some bad news for you. Google have made it quite clear that the October update will merely be the latest step towards their ultimate goal, which is to mark ALL HTTP pages as 'Not secure'.

This week, Google sent out an email to webmasters warning them of the imminent expansion of the 'Not secure' message. That email included the following ominous statement:

"The new warning is part of a long term plan to mark all pages served over HTTP as 'not secure'."

So while your unsecured website may survive the update in October, you won't be able to escape that 'Not secure' shame notice forever. And given that users are increasingly expecting to see that little green padlock at the top of their screens no matter what they're doing online, it's probably a good idea to get that SSL certificate and upgrade to HTTPS sooner rather than later.

Further Reading: Why Convert Your Website to HTTPS?