Whether you're a Millennial, a Generation Z, or just someone who spends a lot of time online, in this day and age we now expect to be able to get what we want almost instantly. Need somewhere to eat? Google it. Need new headphones? Amazon it. Need to get hold of someone? Facebook them

The internet has given us all the expectation that instant gratification can be had at the push of a button, but how impulsive are we when it comes to parting with our money? How has the online search game changed the way we shop?

Well, although it is much easier now to shop online than it is to elbow your way through in-store January sales, many will still choose to research a product before buying. This will vary between shoppers; some will choose to look at a product in a shop and find it cheaper online, and others will do some online research before going into stores. Either way, online research and instore/online shopping now come in hand in hand and that's something to keep in mind when creating your online marketing campaign.

Here are some of the ways search effects the buying process and what you can do to capture this traffic: 

Online Inspiration

People want, but they don't always know what they want. It's human nature; we get an idea but we want to know what everyone else is doing before making a final decision. So to start the research process we turn to a search engine; "cool room inspiration", "Secret Santa ideas", "hair inspiration", sound familiar?

With so many options to browse through its no wonder that people look online for ideas when they at a loss as to where to start.

Pinterest has built its empire on people's desire to be inspired. Losing the need for any written information, this visual platform gives us everything we need to get inspired all in one place. Social media is a great way to capture customers in their research stage. For visual inspiration, Pinterest and Instagram are great. To extend your reach and try to inspire those who didn't know they wanted to be inspired, Facebook and Twitter are very helpful too. Use hashtags to appear on relevant searches and capture this attention.

For more product specific searches, such as "flooring inspiration" a blog is a fantastic way to inspire and inform at the same time. Blogs are a vital way of not only inspiring customers but also for getting them to the products you actually sell, which is often where social media can fall short. 

Relevant, well-ranking blogs don't only attract organic website traffic, they can also give the customer examples of options they can get from you. Although they still may not be ready to make an actual purchase, your brand will be in their mind when they do.

Research and Rethink 

We want answers and we want them now, and luckily it's actually as easy as that. Of course, the internet is full of bias and misguided articles, but we still seem to trust a lot of what Google tells us. For instance, let's look at two of the biggest searches from the Christmas period:

"Which is better, Android or Apple smartphones?"

"Should I get an Xbox or a PlayStation?"

So following my initial search of "which is better, Android or Apple smartphones", Google gives me three relevant, recent articles. However, none of which give me my answer in the visible description, I could click but with my need for instant gratification my eye quickly goes to the "People also ask" snippet which gives me an instant answer: 

The top result in the snippet box actually seems a lot more bias, with a leading question of "Is an iPhone better than an Android". It seems like the same question I asked originally, but before i've even read the description it gives me the impression that Apple has the edge, later confirmed by the description, so I don't even need to read the full article. Despite this being an older article than the top result, it answers my question quicker. 

Without even searching for my next question, Google anticipates that I'm also needing advice regarding my Xbox/PS4 dilemma, another 2016 article lets me know that PlayStation comes out on top. So there we go, I'm getting an iPhone and a PlayStation 4 for Christmas (lucky me, right?). 

Of course, it's not as simple as that, many people will do further research before parting with the money particularly for these pricey items. Which is exactly why blogs are still so important for capturing organic traffic for those who do want more information.

However, it does highlight how important Google featured snippets have become, which is why we have previously written a blog about how to capture a snippet. With any of these products, a large part of it is personal preference, but for those with no opinion formed already, search research may be the thing that swings them either way. 

It's important to find out what your target audience is trying to research and create useful content that answers their questions, remain informative and interesting to get your opinion across - and do it quickly.  

Browse before you buy

In a way, search does also make the selling process far more competitive than when people shop in person. Although you may be able to find a product a couple of quid cheaper somewhere else, half the battle is won by the time you're in the store. Often, it's easier to be slightly unaware that a product is available for a couple pounds cheaper in a different store than to physically go store to store checking, and having to go back to find wherever the cheapest one was. 

But that's easy to do online so can make all the difference. It takes seconds to whip out your mobile phone and find out where to find the cheapest deal can be found. Amazon even makes a point of pointing out to you that you can find it cheaper somewhere else, which is great for me as a consumer as I look for that new PlayStation 4 of mine: 

Now I can see the cheapest option, the reputation of the seller and the delivery cost. If I'm quick I can pay a bit extra and get it tomorrow - instant gratification indeed.

Clearly, this puts pressure on ecommerce websites who now need to stand out in an over-saturated online market. Be sure to compare your prices and deals with your competitors, ask yourself: How much am I charging for my product/service? Is it still a good deal after delivery? Does my website make the product/service stand out from my competitors?

We recently did a blog on how to make your ecommerce website stand out, which you may find helpful. You can find it by clicking here

In Conclusion

The way we research online before means that creating relevant content is more important than ever to not only attract traffic to your website but to inform potential customers that what you're selling is worth buying, whether they buy from you instore or online.

Inspiring them to aspire to have your product/service is the first step, then its time to explain why you're the best place to make that purchase. Keep an eye on your competitors, the quality of your website and products, and what your customers need from you in order to make the most of search

If you want any advice on your online marketing, from website design to SEO we can help. Contact us today to get help from our friendly specialists.

New Label Source Website

Label Source are a UK-based business who supply a comprehensive range of labels, tags and signs to customers all over the world. Their product range is too diverse to list in full right now, but here are just a few examples of what they offer:

  • Asset tags
  • Electrical warning labels
  • Workplace safety signs
  • Pipeline identification tape
  • Quality assurance labels
  • Warehouse markers
  • Shipping labels

Label Source recently asked us to give their old website a new, more modern-looking design; more specifically, they wanted to make it easier for smartphone and tablet users to view Label Source's products and make purchases online.

We're pleased to announce that Label Source's new and improved website is now live - visit www.labelsource.co.uk now to see how it looks.

What's new?

In addition to the clean, professional new look that we created for the Label Source website, we also made the following changes:

  • Responsive Design - As mentioned above, one of this project's key aims was to ensure a good user experience on smartphones and other mobile devices. The new Label Source site has a fully responsive design that looks great and is easy to navigate on screens of all sizes.

  • HTTPS Encryption - The entire Label Source website is now under HTTPS (as opposed to HTTP). This means that all information entered on the Label Source site is now sent securely, so the company's customers can place orders safe in the knowledge that their data is encrypted.

  • Improved Back End - We also updated the back end of the Label Source website to make it easier for the company to manage their product options and category pages.

Do you have an ecommerce website that's in need of a redesign? Contact Designer Websites for a quotation!

SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites

A successful ecommerce business is a complex collection of business processes, automation, and manpower. This varies significantly among industries, but one thing is for certain, you need to rank well in the major search engines in order to achieve high-volume sales. Otherwise, you’ll be dependent upon advertising platforms like Google AdWords or Bing Ads.

However, ranking on page 1 of Google or Bing is not as simple as it might sound - especially if your products are very popular e.g. mobile phones. The fundamental requirements to rank well are a high-quality, user-friendly, very fast and mobile-friendly website. Once you have these in order, you can then utilise SEO techniques to further optimise your website for higher ranking. With that being said, let's dive into our SEO tips for ecommerce websites:

If your website is built on an old platform, loads slowly or is not secure, then you need to address these issues before wasting time trying to optimise your site any further. Here are some tools for testing the quality of your website:

Now, let’s go ahead and assume you have a good quality ecommerce website and you just want to focus on the further optimisations. Below you will find a few simple SEO techniques that you can utilise to enhance your chances of higher rankings for your ecommerce website.

Research and use unique keywords per page

You can and should research keywords for your industry, products, services, etc. Find out how your potential customer searches for your products or service by utilising tools like:

Once you have your list of keywords it’s a good idea to map each keyword phrase to a specific page on your ecommerce website. For this, we would recommend that you use a spreadsheet as it can get lengthy and disorganised unless in some sort of manageable order. 

Now, a big no-no in the world of optimisation is duplication, whether that’s duplicate paragraphs or just duplicate keywords. If you’re targeting the same keyword with multiple pages then Google will likely choose to only display one of those pages in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), which may mean you miss out on opportunities to be seen.

For example, let’s say that you have an ecommerce website that sells safety harnesses. You could just label all of the products a “safety harness” and still be factually correct, but the chances are you likely have a “Climbing Harness”, a “Rescue Harness”, a “Fall Arrest Harness” and so forth. Therefore, in order to capitalise on a wider number of searches, you should first find out how your customers search for safety harnesses. Look at how they phrase their search and even the types of questions they ask surrounding that product. The next step is to make sure you address each of those searches with a page for that product, using the keyword phrase that you’ve identified. 

I know the question you’re about to ask... in those examples, isn’t the word harness repeated? Well-spotted. Yes, it is, but rest assured that Google is not that pedantic and will be able to tell the difference in your meaning (they’re quite clever in that way). Duplication is usually picked up from repetition of the same words in the same format. So, if you try to rank 2 pages for the keyword “Rescue Safety Harness” then you would be better off setting the copy on one page as “Confined Space Harness” and the other as “Rescue Safety Harness”. This way, Google will see the difference and potentially rank both pages, whereas if both are just set as the latter then it is highly likely that only 1 of those pages will be indexed.

Ecommerce websites quite often have hundreds of pages for each of their products, so this may seem like a tedious task. However, you should see this as an opportunity to rank for hundreds of different keywords. If you optimise your copy well enough, you may find your website reaches first page positions for a wide range of searches, which will result in much higher volumes of traffic.

Depending on the amount of copy on the page, it is usually recommended to stick to just one keyword per product page. This will allow you to target that keyword more efficiently, than if you were attempting to target multiple keywords at once. If you are instead writing a category page or a home page which usually has more content, you can try to target 2 or 3 keywords if you feel it’s necessary.

Ensure every page has a unique title tag/meta description

When looking at the SERPs, your title tag is your first opportunity to get your consumers attention. The meta description is then the snippet of information which will convince your consumers to click through to the website. This is why it is so important to get these aspects right. 

Google specifies that it is ‘important to have distinct, descriptive titles for each page of your site’. This is because it needs to be clear to the consumer what that page entails and shouldn’t be too similar to a page displaying an entirely different product. It is also important to try and include your chosen keyword in your page title and meta tag as this will clearly show Google what your page is about. 

Google recommends branding your titles with your company name, but this is optional and certainly doesn’t have to be done on every page. We recommend including this at the end of the title if you have enough space for it (we recommend no more than 63 characters including spaces), and also separate it with a delimiter such as a hyphen, colon or pipe. This means a good title tag will look something like this:

SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites | Designer Websites

Your meta description also needs to clearly explain what your page is about in a couple of sentences. In previous years, meta descriptions were only allowed to be around 160 characters before they were truncated by Google. Now, new SERP changes mean meta descriptions can now be displayed up to 278 characters. This should be more than enough length to include at least one instance of your keyword and create a unique and concise description of the contents of the page. 

Utilise an integrated blog to its full extent

A blog on your ecommerce website is not only good for keeping your customers updated, it’s a great way to target more keywords. When you’re planning each page of your website and choosing unique keywords, there are sure to be a few that don’t make the cut. These can be targeted with blog posts.

Plan ahead and write blog posts around these keywords in an attempt to bring more users through to the website. Try to provide informative content which will help your customers in some respect. This will not only help bring customers to the website, it will also create a level of trust between your company and the consumer.

Another way blog posts can be utilised is to try and achieve the ‘featured snippet’ on the Google SERPs. Even if you’ve not heard of featured snippets before, you’ve most likely come across one. This is the result that usually appears at the top when you ask google a question.

Here’s an example:

To achieve a featured snippet, you need to answer the question better than anyone else. It needs to be clear to Google that you have answered the question as accurately and concisely as possible. That means getting straight to the point and no filler writing (or keyword stuffing).

Featured snippets have been referred to as search position #0 as they come above the search position #1. It has also been found that achieving the featured snippet can increase traffic to your ecommerce website by as much as 500%, in some cases.

Utilising your blog to target keywords and attempt to achieve the featured snippet is a great way of increasing traffic to your website and improving ranking through the use of SEO techniques.

We hope these SEO tips for Ecommerce websites have helped you plan your next steps in the digital marketing world. If you are looking for professional help with your ecommerce website, then please get in touch anytime. 

 

Ecommerce Website Design Ideas

When you're trying to succeed in the world of ecommerce, there are lots of different factors to consider. Nowadays, most online shoppers expect ecommerce websites to meet each of the following criteria:

  • Secure checkout system
  • Appealing, mobile-friendly design
  • Minimal loading times
  • User-friendly site navigation
  • Extensive product information (so that people know exactly what they're buying)
  • Competitive prices
  • Positive feedback from other customers
  • Ability to contact the seller with ease

Consumer trust is key to the success of any ecommerce website, and you will probably need to tick all of the above boxes in order to earn the trust of the average online shopper in this day and age.

With this in mind, here are three helpful ecommerce website design ideas from the ecommerce experts here at Designer Websites:

Use engaging, good-quality product images.

Most people won't purchase something online unless they're certain of what they're paying for. Detailed product descriptions are important, but a picture is worth a thousand words, and a few good images will generally sell your product a lot more effectively than a few paragraphs of text.

Both quality and quantity are important here. You need detailed images that make your items look enticing, but you should also try to offer a variety of images for each product. Try to cover all bases: one no-frills image that clearly shows what the product looks like; one or two photos of the product in use; a picture to show what the product looks like in its packaging, and another to show what's actually inside the box. You get the idea - your product images should aim to answer every question the average customer might ask.

Of course, you should also ensure that the images on your website aren’t so large that they slow the whole page down. Loading speed is a critical issue for Internet users these days, and even an extra second or two can have a disastrous impact on your website’s conversion rate, so make sure those beautiful images are optimised for a smooth, speedy browsing experience!

Put lots of emphasis on customer reviews.

We all seek approval from other people, and this tendency can be clearly seen in the behaviour of online shoppers: by and large, we're far more likely to buy something if several other people say they did the same and had a good experience.

For this reason, you not only need to gather reviews from your satisfied customers, you need to put those reviews right where everyone will see them. Your ecommerce website design should ensure that every potential customer sees all the 5-star ratings and positive comments that your other customers have left. It should also be clear how many people have reviewed each product, since a 5-star average rating is a lot more persuasive if multiple people have given the product full marks.

Shoppers see positive reviews as seals of approval - they have a hugely reassuring effect on the potential buyer, so make sure those ratings and recommendations aren't buried way down at the bottom of the page.

Make it easy for users to find what they're looking for.

The modern Internet user is an impatient creature, and the more barriers you put between them and what they're looking for, the more likely it becomes that they'll leave your website and shop with one of your competitors instead. As we mentioned before, it's important to ensure that your pages load quickly, but it's just as important to make the journey from one page to the next as seamless as possible.

This can be achieved in a number of different ways:

  • Make sure your website's search function works properly, and ensure that the search bar is easy to find no matter what page the user is on

  • List 'related products' (or similar) on your product pages. That way, if the user decides that the product they're looking at isn't quite what they need, it's easy for them to find a suitable alternative.

  • Put important information - your delivery options, your returns policy, and so on - somewhere that's reasonably easy to spot so users don't waste time trying to find it.

  • When designing your site hierarchy (i.e. your categories and sub-categories), put yourself in the shoes of your average user and try to come up with a sensible structure that's easy to navigate even if you've never seen it before.

  • Make your homepage as helpful as possible. It may be tempting to simply fill your homepage with the products you're most keen to sell, but this may not be best for the user. Again, you should endeavour to put yourself in their shoes: if someone arrives on your homepage, are they looking for a specific product or piece of information, or are they just browsing for ideas? Do they want to know about your company, or do they want to see the newest additions to your range?

Essentially, your aim should be to minimise the number of clicks / actions the user has to perform in order to achieve their goal.

If you need a bespoke ecommerce website designed by professionals, we at Designer Websites are the people to call. Request an ecommerce quote here!

Should facebook advertising be part of your marketing strategy

With so many different advertising platforms available, it’s easy to not consider your everyday social media network as an efficient method of generating revenue. After all, Facebook is just for funny dog videos, right?

If you thought that you would be wrong. In fact, just this month, Facebook’s advert revenue topped $10.3 billion with their revenue per user reaching more than $5 for the first time. These figures are especially impressive when you consider Facebook also marked 2.07 billion monthly active users in their third quarter of 2017.

With Facebook publicly hitting milestone after milestone this year, many businesses are considering the prospect of adding Facebook advertising to their marketing strategy, but is it right for your business? To help you make that decision, we’ve put together a few things to consider.

More...

Slide Candy's new website

Ski season is upon us once again, and with many thousands of people set to hit the slopes between now and the spring thaw, Slide Candy - a ski equipment rental company serving the Méribel and La Tania resorts in France - wanted to make sure that their online presence was in peak condition.

The Slide Candy team asked Designer Websites to give their site a modern new look that would appeal to skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels. Their new and improved website is now live - visit www.slidecandy.com to view it.

Here are just a few of the features that we built into the new Slide Candy site:

  • Responsive Design - Slide Candy were concerned that their old site was difficult to use on mobile devices. Our designers came up with a stylish new design that (in addition to looking great) is totally mobile-friendly, making it easy for skiers to book equipment and make use of Slide Candy's call-out service while out and about.

  • Improved User Interface - The Slide Candy site allows snow sports enthusiasts to reserve their equipment in advance via an online booking system. While overhauling the website, we made this booking system better-looking and simpler to navigate, making it easier than ever to get the right equipment for your French skiing holiday. You can even choose whether to pay in pounds or euros.

  • Product Information - On the new website, the products that Slide Candy sell (including skis, snowboards, boots and helmets) are conveniently sorted into four different categories: Blue, Red, Black, and Kids. This makes it easy to find the right ski equipment for your ability level, and the high-quality product images make sure you know exactly what you're hiring.

If you like the look of the new Slide Candy website and you want the Designer Websites team to create a responsive ecommerce site for your business, please get in touch today to request a quote.

Optimise Your Ecommerce Website This Christmas

Phew, Black Friday is finally over! So now it’s time to relax, right? WRONG. 

Do you run an ecommerce website? Well, you can sleep when you’re dead, my friend. Okay, perhaps we are being a little bit dramatic, but when you’re this close to Christmas it’s actually time to put more energy into your website, not less.

It’s the busiest time of the year for most retailers, and ecommerce has seen a huge increase in sales over the last few years. So if you are trying to make the most of your ecommerce website this Christmas, here are some tips.

Make it Mobile Friendly

These days it’s not uncommon for people to have multiple devices, and different people will favour each for different things. In fact, last year there was evidence to suggest that many people used their mobiles or tablets to browse and research products before making a final purchase using their desktops.

Whatever way someone chooses to access your website, you need it to perform perfectly - if your website doesn't work well on a platform it's not likely that someone will check if it does on another.

Be sure that your website is responsive across all devices, allowing everyone to have a good shopping experience whatever way they decide to buy. 

Deals on Delivery

We’ve all done it, one second you’re trying to get a new hoover and the next your shoulders deep in impulse buys including a TV you don’t need and gadgets that you won’t be able to work. But there they are, all ready for checkout… then suddenly, you’re struck by a delivery charge that snaps you out of your hypnotic-shopping-trance.

Willing to spend hundreds of pounds of stuff you don’t need? Perhaps… Willing to spend £5.99 on delivery for said stuff? I think not.

We aren’t saying delivery should always be free, but make sure you compare with your competitors. Up to 61% of people abandon during checkout because of extra costs. If they have seen your competitors offering better deals on delivery, it may be just the thing that gets them clicking away from your website.

Deals & Discount Codes

Similarly to delivery, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing here. Everyone loves a bargain, some people shop purely for the satisfaction of getting a good deal. 3 for 2 deals, discount codes, free next day delivery deals - all of these (and similar deals) give customers the impression that buying now is getting them the best value for money. Around Christmas this is particularly important, if you have a lot of people to buy presents for you'll feel particularly thankful for anywhere you can make a saving.

Another thing to remember is with SO many brands having deals on this time of year, you don't want to stand out for the wrong reasons. 

Email Marketing

T'is the time of year where your inbox is full of Christmas themed emails, but it really is a great way to remind customers that your website is worth visiting. Whether you're letting them know about a deal you're running, products coming back into stock, or sending a notification about an abandoned shopping basket (which have a 40% open rate), emails should attract attention and hopefully website traffic. 

It's important not to be too spammy, no one likes being bombarded with emails, but reminding customers your sale ends in a few days for example, is a great way to encourage them click directly through to your site. Make sure your emails are useful, engaging and to the point

Reward Loyal Customers

Everyone loves being rewarded, the satisfaction of a job well done! What did your customers do to deserve a treat? Well probably nothing in particular, but it's still nice, isn't it? Giving exclusive codes to those who have shopped with you before or perhaps those who follow you on social media reminds customers that it's worth being interested in your brand.

Ideally, you want to keep customers coming back and this is easy to do when they share good experiences with you. Peer to peer recommendations is also one of the best ways for your brand to gain trust, we appreciate our friends and family's opinions so it's always worth making sure every customer you have is happy with their service. 

If you need help creating an ecommerce website we are more than happy to help. Our team of specialists are experts in creating bespoke websites that best represent your brand and services. Request an ecommerce website design quote here.

New Sandison Easson Website

With offices in both Cheshire and London, Sandison Easson & Co. are among the UK's leading medical accounting firms. Catering exclusively to clients in the medical and dental fields, the Sandison Easson team provide a wide variety of specialist services, including:

  • Annual accounts
  • Tax declarations
  • Bookkeeping
  • Business structure advice

The firm's clients include GP practices, consultants, registrars, and dental clinics.

Why did Sandison Easson come to us?

The Sandison Easson team got in touch with Designer Websites because their website was old, dated, and not particularly representative of the highly professional service they provide. We were asked to design and develop a responsive brochure website that would meet the following criteria:

  • Design tailored to Sandison Easson's target audience (doctors, dentists, practice managers, etc.)
  • Information about the firm's services presented in a clear, easy-to-digest format
  • Emphasis on Sandison Easson's status as highly knowledgeable and experienced specialists

In addition to the mobile-friendly design and easy-to-use enquiry form, the new Sandison Easson website features a professional-looking 'Meet the Team' page, a client login function, and a blog where the firm will be able to share all their latest updates and insights. See the site for yourself at www.sandisoneasson.co.uk.

If you need a professional-looking website for your business, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Designer Websites. Request a free, no-obligation quote for your project here.

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.

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.

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!