It's been a short week for us here at Designer Websites as we all enjoyed a long weekend for August bank holiday. However, the SEO, PPC & technology worlds never stand still and plenty of exciting things have been happening this week! Let's take a look...

Competitor ads appear on local business profiles

This week people started noticing Google ads appearing in local business profiles. Up until now, businesses have had a perception of ownership or exclusivity on their business profiles, but of course - like everything else that appears in search results - business profiles are owned by Google. Here's an example of what these ads look like:

Photo from searchengineland.com

Here you can see a business profile for a Chrysler store in California. Below all of the contact options, you can see an ad for Valley Hi Toyota, a different car dealership that's over an hour away from the Chrysler dealer.

Will this be helpful for users? In a way, yes, especially when you're doing something more mundane than buying a new car. Let's say you're trying to find a Chinese restaurant for your Friday night takeaway, perhaps the one you select is closed tonight, but Google advertises one that's open - it will save users time and they might even like the new restaurant more! 

For business owners, this feature is likely to be more of a nuisance and, so far, the SEO community agrees. Google is essentially drawing potential customers away from your business as they view your business profile. Worse still, businesses can't pay to remove the ads so they're here to stay. 

Can humans keep up with AI?

Alibaba's Jack Ma and Tesla's founder Elon Musk took to the stage at an event in Shanghai to share their views on the potential future impact of artificial intelligence. Despite being two of the most influential leaders in the technology community, their predictions for the impact of AI couldn't have been any more different.

Photo from bbc.co.uk

Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma was 'quite optimistic' about the future of AI and suggested it's nothing to be scared of. Musk's response, 'I don't know man, that's like famous last words'. Musk believes that humans are simply the 'boot loader for digital super-intelligence', in layman's terms, a simple catalyst for its creation that will eventually be no longer needed. To avoid this fate, Musk suggests that we need to find a way to connect our brains to the computers so we can "go along for the ride with AI".

Despite their conflicting opinion on this topic, the two businessmen did agree that one of the biggest issues we face worldwide is population collapse. As more thing become automated and people starting to use more of their time for pleasure, both men predict a severe decline in population. They suggested that using AI to help people live longer and healthier lives could be part of the solution. 

Google tests content highlighting

Google have confirmed they are testing a new feature that will take users directly to the most relevant information on a page, depending on their query. Yep, Google is finding even more ways to serve users the information they want as quickly as possible, and we're not mad at it! Google originally introduced this feature on mobile, but it's now being trialled on desktop too.

Photo taken from searchengineland.com

So, here's how it works. Certain queries will show a featured snippet, the content of which is pulled from a source that Google considers highly-authoritative on the topic. When a user clicks the website shown in the snippet, Google with move the view down to the passage featured in the snippet to show users the most relevant content. 

 

Photo from searchengineland.com

This should provide an extra stream of traffic to well-optimised content as more chunks of it appear in search results. The best way for SEOs to stay on top of this is to keep an eye on whether their websites are doing this in Google search and rearrange or replace ads/call to actions in a more appropriate location on the page.

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow Designer Websites on Twitter! See you next week. 

Follow Us >

The world of SEO is a lot like the world of fashion: if you want to stay relevant, you’ve got to keep up with the latest trends.

For SEO specialists, that means staying abreast of the latest Google algorithm updates and failing to do so can see you fall behind as a result. What’s more, continuing to use outdated SEO techniques can not only be ineffectual, it can even result in you being penalised as a result.

While the list of ageing SEO tactics grows with each passing year and every additional algorithm update, there are still a few old-school SEO techniques that continue crop up, despite their ineffectiveness.

Here are a handful of the most common outdated SEO offenders still prevalent in 2019.

 

outdated seo, seo techniques

 

Exact-Match Domains (EMDs)

Exact-match domains are essentially examples of websites where the web address itself is rich in keywords and describes what the site itself does.

For example, a business that focuses on student housing in Cardiff may have opted for a domain like studenthousingcardiff.co.uk. Think of it as the Ronseal effect – it does exactly what it says on the tin.

EMDs were once deemed to be a fool-proof SEO tactic, allowing sites to scale the SERPs like Sly Stallone in Cliffhanger. However, their effectiveness has since plummeted and the popularity of EMDs has fallen dramatically… like John Lithgow in Cliffhanger.

Nineties movie references aside, EMDs today are more of a deterrent than an SEO tool, appearing spammy and illegitimate to both Google and Joe Public alike. This can, in turn, hinder conversions and make link building more difficult.

 

Exact-Match Anchor Text

Exact-match anchor text is hyperlinked text that matches the exact desired keyword or phrase of the page. While sparing use can be…well, useful, overuse can be extremely detrimental to your site.

Exact-match anchor text can be seen by Google as a tell-tale sign of deliberate link building and, as such, can be deemed to be search engine manipulation, resulting in your page/site being penalised.

To avoid incurring a penalty, try to create natural links related to the anchor phrase by either opting for a partial match or an unmatched linkable phrase.

For example, if the exact match keyword is “Halloween costumes”, a partial match could be the phrase “Check out our range of Halloween costumes”.

Meanwhile, a safer bet would be to link the phrase “Check out our variety of spooky fancy dress options” – relevant yet completely unmatched.

 

Dedicated Pages for Keyword Variations

While the old-school method of targeting a single keyword on a specific page may have worked in a by-gone era, Google’s ever-evolving algorithm has luckily put this process to bed and tucked it in tight.

Thanks to the increasingly clever semantics of Google’s Knowledge Graph, the search engine is now able to take into account relative words and phrases that correspond to the search term.

The arrival of RankBrain – Google’s cutting-edge AI system – allowed it to understand the user intent even further, providing even more relevancy and accuracy in the search results.

If you have created singular pages for keyword variations in the past, keeping such superfluous content can be an issue and actually hinder your positioning in the SERPs.

If possible, merge the content and remove the surplus pages, placing their desired relevant keywords in positions of prominence within the surviving page.

 

Writing for Bots

Another classic way of attempting to boost Google rankings is to tailor your content to appeal to Google bots, keyword stuffing and shoe-horning phrases in wherever they will fit (and even where they won’t).

For example, once upon a time, a blog targeting the keyword term “writing for bots” may have looked like this:

“Writing for bots is great for SEO. If you’re thinking of writing for bots, check out our guide on writing for bots to help you uncover the secrets of writing for bots.”

Thankfully, this form of content manipulation has been largely eradicated, allowing the content itself to flow naturally and freely in a far more logical and readable way.

Think of it as the digital equivalent of forcing an impressive phrase into your French oral exam. While it may tick the box in terms of application, the phrase itself can be extremely out of place contextually and stick out like a sore thumb in practice.

Bottom line: write for the individual reading it, not the bot combing it, to ensure your content is extraordinaire and not a whole lotta bof.

 

Irrelevant Links

Google is continuously updating its system to keep spam to an absolute minimum, with algorithm changes constantly evolving the way it processes our search requests.

In the pursuit of backlinks, some SEO strategists will opt to link to any content regardless of quality, provided it garners reciprocated backlinks to their site. Nowadays, if this happens to enter spam territory, it could spell trouble.

Relevant backlinks that are relative to your target demographic, your business or your market, providing useful user information can help improve your SEO standing.

Conversely, off-topic, irrelevant links that have nothing to do with your content can have an adverse effect and attract penalties from Officer Google.

 

For more information on outdated SEO techniques and the best tips for today, why not check out our other SEO blogs? Alternatively, drop us a line on 01446 339050 or use the button below to get in touch online.

Contact Us

Another week and another DW Roundup blog where we take a look at all of the biggest news from the worlds of SEO, PPC, digital marketing and tech! It's been another busy week for announcements and releases so let's dive straight in.

 

Apple releases its 'Apple Card'

This week saw the public release of Apple's latest contribution to the tech world in the form of their 'Apple Card', the company's attempt to join the credit card market. Currently available in the US only, Apple Card's Vice President Jennifer Bailey stated that the tech giants are 'thrilled with the overwhelming interest in Apple Card and its positive reception." Apple also announced that they will be extending its 3% Daily Cash (cashback) to further apps and merchants, this is currently only available through Uber, Uber Eats, Apple Stores and Apple services such as iTunes. 

Following the announcement, however, a storm certainly started to stir across social media when Apple warned the public to keep their Apple Cards away from leather and clothes. If not, they run the risk of their shiny new credit card becoming permanently discoloured. To combat the potential aesthetic damage that may occur as a result of the Apple Card coming into contact with other metal items and materials such as denim, Apple has advised storing the card in a container made of soft material, just not leather. Will this have an impact on the number of people who apply for the Apple Card? Only time will tell. 

Image: Apple

 

Google redesigns its Play Store

Another tech giant, Google, has this week announced an incoming redesign of its Play Store. So, what's the biggest change? The removal of the colourful green header in favour or a cleaner and brighter whiter style. Similar to Apple's App Store, the new Google Play Store contains separate tabs for categories such as apps, books, games and TV shows. The tab bar now appears on the bottom for phones and in a sidebar on tablets and Chrome OS devices and icons now portray a more 'rounded' look, which offers a similar style to that of iOS. 

Image: The Verge

 

More indexing issues for Google? Surely not...

We're afraid so! After Google announced last week that they had resolved the indexing issues that they were faced with, it seems as if that was very short-lived. It appears Google is once again having issues indexing new content, an obvious problem for content creators like us! It is unclear how widespread the troubles are at this point, but Danny Sullivan from Google validated the issues on Twitter stating, "yes, I believe there might be some issues.” Yet another twist in the problems faced by tech giants.

 

Image: Google

 

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow Designer Websites on Twitter!

Follow Us >

When it comes to keeping your finger on the pulse, there are certain facts about SEO that every business manager should know.

SEO is hugely important when it comes to a company’s digital performance and plays a massive role in ensuring a business' online presence is exactly where it should be.

Don’t let your business become MIA. Become a SERP VIP with this handy rundown of SEO facts every business manager should know.

 

seo facts, facts about seo 

 

Key SEO Facts

The world of SEO can be a complex one to navigate, particularly if you aren’t necessarily an expert in the field. Luckily, you don’t need to understand the intricacies of SEO to make it in the world of business, but it does help to know the basics.

If you’re a business manager looking to sharpen your SEO skills, here are a few key pointers that are well worth keeping in your mental back pocket for a rainy day.

  

Quality Matters

While content may indeed be king, it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. Churning out content can risk a dip in quality, watering down the overall effectiveness as a result.

In addition to ranking higher in search engines, quality content can strengthen customer relationships greatly, leading your followers to actively seek out your posts.

Conversely, poor quality content can have the opposite effect and put people off, sometimes damaging customer relationships irreparably. As such, it’s important to exercise quality over quantity.

Some of the best content often tends to be evergreen, unique and authoritative, which can, in turn, open your site up to a world of in-roads from elsewhere. Which leads us nicely into our second point…

 

Link Building

Creating original, authoritative content that provides a unique, informed perspective can attract other content providers to link back to you as a source. This will give your site more credibility in the eyes of Google and allow you to rank higher in the SERP as a result.

Similarly, developing relationships with other sites for mutual linking purposes can prove to be extremely beneficial, providing much of the same results. Like any business, synergistic relationships are a key to success and SEO links are no different.

Think of your site as a restaurant: the more recommendations you get from customers, peers and industry stalwarts, the better your reputation is and the more trusted and established successful your brand becomes as a result.

 

Internal Links

In addition to external links, linking internally to other pages within your own site can also be a great way to improve site traffic and secure conversions.

Wowing your patron with a stunning steak dinner only to direct them to the pancake house across the street for dessert makes no business sense. The same principle can be applied to web links.

If you’ve hooked your visitor with the content on one page, they’re far more likely to visit another page on your site. Strengthen that relationship with internal links to other relevant topics of interest to make the most of your audience while you have their attention.

 

Everything in Moderation

While it may seem logical to implant relevant SEO keywords wherever possible to enhance your Google rankings for that term, you might want to rethink that strategy.

It is possible to oversaturate your site with keywords and make your site too keyword heavy. This is commonly known as keyword stuffing – a black-hat SEO technique that’s a Google no-no.

Cramming each page with SEO terms and keywords not only seems spammy to Google but can also leave the content almost unreadable to the user. Remember, nobody wants to be force-fed spam, no matter how it’s served up.

Keep your keyword placement natural and logical. If you have a feeling your text may sound a little spammy, read it back and see for yourself. If it passes the self-read test, you’re probably in the clear.

 

The Bigger Picture

While images may look great and act as an eye-catching way of grabbing the reader’s attention, the pictures themselves have no bearing on SEO.

Search engines only monitor the text present on the page, making the content of the images largely irrelevant from an SEO POV. Even if your image contains text – e.g. a banner image containing all of your relevant keywords – Google’s bots won’t be able to detect them.

However, that being said, the ALT tags used in the back-end allow you to remedy this issue. Make good use of the image ALT tags by using them to describe the image, including relevant keywords where possible.

 

Get Mobile

Smartphones have changed the world in terms of how we live our daily lives. From information and social interaction to shopping and entertainment, the power is quite literally in the palms of our hands.

More and more of us are using phones and tablets as a web browsing tool, with many preferring it to the traditional method of a laptop or desktop computer.

As such, incorporating mobile-friendly functionality to your online presence is a must and disregarding such an approach is virtual insanity.

Ensure your site has a responsive design that’s optimised for mobile use and capable of being used by someone searching online using their phone.

 

Analyse This

Einstein is believed to have once said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

If you continue to plough on with your existing SEO tactics without identifying whether or not your efforts are successful, you can expect more of the same with little or no improvement. Worse still, misinterpretation of results can have an actively negative effect on performance.

If knowledge is power then lack of knowledge can leave you weak and vulnerable. As such, accurate analysis of SEO tactics is vital when it comes to maximising performance and incorporating necessary changes.

The ability to know when you just don’t know can also be a great trait to have. If SEO isn’t your cup of tea, hiring an SEO expert can be a smart move.  After all, understanding is one thing, implementing can be an entirely different ball game.

 

 

So, there you have it, seven magnificent SEO facts every business manager should know, laid out in all their glory. Now you’re up to speed, there really is no excuse for falling behind with linkless, immobile content that’s overflowing with keywords and empty ALT tags – you’ve been warned!

 

That being said, if you’re interested in learning more SEO tips or would like to find out more about the SEO services we offer at Designer Websites, why not give us a call today? Drop us a line on 01446 339050 or click the link below to get in touch online.

Get in Touch

Welcome to the latest instalment of our weekly DW Roundup blog, where we catch up on all of the latest and greatest news from around the tech world! It's been a busy week this week in terms of news and announcements, so let's get straight into it...

Google adds bulk review management to GMB listings 

In an attempt to help businesses save time, Google has added a new feature to Google My Business, which allows a business that has multiple listings to see their reviews on one single page. This can be seen by visiting the reviews section at https://business.google.com/reviews. The announcement given by Google is as follows; "Businesses can view reviews for multiple listings at once. With bulk reviews, you’ll be able to view, reply to, and flag reviews for multiple listings from one place.”

This is a very useful update for businesses that manage more than one location or listing. This allows you to quickly view all of the reviews under your GMB account, without the need of clicking into each individual listing to see its reviews. 

 

Twitter testing feature that allows users to follow topics of interest

Shortly, Twitter will allow its users to follow interests, the same way they would follow accounts. When the new feature goes live, users will be able to follow specific topics such as television shows, sports teams and celebrities, with a selection of tweets about the topic inserted alongside tweets in the timeline. 

Topics will be curated by Twitter, with tweets being identified through machine learning rather than editorial curation. For now, only sports-related interests can be followed by users. This feature represents Twitter's attempt to help users find the best content on the platform even if they don't know which accounts to follow. Users will also be able to mute topics that they do not wish to follow (perfect for avoiding spoilers for your favourite tv show). Other features that Twitter plans to incorporate include searchable DM's, the ability to re-order photos in a tweet after they've been attached and support for Apple's Live Photos.

 

Instagram face filters now available for everyone

The tool used by Facebook to create augmented reality effects, Spark AR, is now open for anyone who wishes to make custom face filters and other effects for Instagram Stories. The tool was previously limited to just approved creators, but the latest update allows anyone to create and upload their AR filters to Instagram. This has led to Instagram adding an Effect Gallery tab on artists' profiles, allowing them to display their creations to other users.

(Image: www.theverge.com)

 

Google shares more details on its recent indexing issues 

Over the past few months, Google has experienced several issues with indexing. Whether it's new context not getting indexed, or old content being dropped as a result of part of the index being lost. All of this has led to Google releasing a blog post, discussing their indexing problems, how it fixed them and the lessons it has learnt.

Going forward, Google has stated three key decisions it has made for communicating about indexing issues:

  1. Explore more ways to quickly share information within Search Console about widespread bugs and have that information serve as the main point of reference for webmasters to check.
  2. Post more promptly to Search Console data anomalies page. 
  3. Continue to tweet as quickly as possible about issues to quickly reassure webmasters Google are aware and that the issue in on their end.

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Follow Us On Twitter >