Local SEO

What is local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the process of enhancing your local online presence in order to attract more business from relevant local searches. It can be classed as ‘the practice of optimising your brick and mortar business for location-focused keywords and search terms’; such as “web design Barry”.

These searches can be performed across several different search engines, but with 90%+ market share in the UK alone, these searches are typically performed on Google, with the hope of being included in something called the ‘Google Snack Pack’.

The Google Snack Pack, also known and referred to as the ‘local 3 pack’ or ‘map pack’, is the boxed area that appears on the first page of Google search results when a local online search is performed. The Snack Pack box displays the top 3 local business listings most relevant to the search query and contains it’s very own search algorithm and set of rules. But why is it important for local businesses to appear in the snack pack? Let’s find out!

 

Why is local SEO important?

Optimising your local SEO means increased website traffic (if you have a website), leads and conversions since your efforts are placed into becoming more relevant to your base of local customers. It is a way to help smaller businesses compete more effectively against larger national organisations who have significantly greater amounts of resources at their disposal. By focusing on specific local SEO tactics, smaller firms are able to limit the impact of these bigger businesses that often optimise content for broader keywords and search terms and rely on brand recognition, rather than value offerings, to bring in footfall.

Further strengthening the case for local SEO are the fascinating stats that surround it. 46% of all searches performed on Google have ‘local intent’ (SER), “near me” searches are increasing 150% faster than traditional, local-based searches (Google) and 29% of all Google search engine result pages contain a snack pack in the results (RankRanger). 

With all of the advantages and buzz around local SEO, it comes to no surprise as to why so many businesses are battling it out to be included in the local 3 pack. So, what can you do to get in there? Here are the best ways to optimise your business for local SEO.

Improving your local SEO

1.       Create & Optimise Your Google My Business Listing

First things first, to get started with local SEO, you’ll need to create a Google My Business listing. For no charge, this establishes your business’ online presence and means you will appear on Google Maps. Not only will your business appear in search results across a variety of devices, but if Google authenticates your listing as a legitimate business, it could also appear in the sidebar space of a Google search.

 

There are several ways in which you can optimise your GMB listing to ensure Google not only sees your business but chooses it to appear in local search results. These are:

  • Keeping everything consistent between your listing, website & other online listings
  • Filling in every data point available i.e. Name, Address, Bio and Shortname
  • Keeping crucial business data updated such as opening hours and holidays
  • Get more reviews and engage with any that you do get

 

2.       Gain Regular Reviews

The last point that we made above is an important one. Getting your customers to leave glowing reviews about your business doesn’t just help to optimise your GMB listing and presence, but it also encourages more local customers to buy from you. The more footfall that your business experiences can lead to further positive reviews which then helps to build more signals to Google that your business is legit and worthy of ranking highly in local searches. Some tips to encourage your customers to leave positive reviews are:

  • Respond to existing reviews in a professional way, addressing any negative reviews that you may get and thanking reviewers for sharing their positive experiences
  • Asking for a review in-person after a sale has been made
  • Send post-purchase communications asking customers to leave reviews

 

3.       Optimise for Voice Search

Voice search has been rapidly growing over recent years, especially in terms of SEO. Therefore, it is crucial to optimise your content into a voice search-friendly manner, focusing on the way people ask questions when they speak rather than when they are typing. When performing voice searches using specific devices such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home or a voice assistant such as Siri, searchers opt for more long-tail keywords compared with regular search. As a result, you’ll have to adjust the SEO of your content to fit the more conversational tone of someone talking. A good tip here is to focus your efforts on traditional question starters such as who, what, when, where, why and how.

 

4.       Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly

Online mobile searches have also grown in popularity over the last decade with the increase in accessibility to mobile devices. In fact, in 2017, Google released its mobile-first indexing search results that prioritised mobile-optimised content over non-optimised content and even made it their primary index. This confirms the strategy behind optimising websites and content to be mobile-friendly, not just for local SEO, but for SEO as a whole.

Some tips for making your website more mobile-friendly are:

  • Ensure your website loads quickly
  • Use images and website copy only when needed and avoid filler content
  • Use bigger fonts that are easy to read
  • Implement an enhanced user interface for a great experience

 

 

5.       Greater Focus on Local Keywords

One of the most obvious ways to rank for local search results is to focus on local keywords, right? Of course, it is! Google’s own Keyword Planner allows you to filter keyword searches based on location, so you can get a better idea and understanding of the popular search terms for a specific area. This enables you to form a list of relevant local keywords that you can target to give yourself a better chance on ranking. Once you have these keywords, you can begin to implement content, meta tags and URLs to match.

Another great tactic that you can implement to increase local SEO results is to include mentions of location-specific landmarks and hotspots in your site’s content. For example, if your business offers web design in Cardiff city centre, including references such as “web design near Cardiff castle” could also bolster rankings in local search results.

 

6.       Implement Location Pages or Location-Focused ‘About Us’ Pages

If your business operates in more than one location, then location pages are a must. These pages allow you to target very specific location-based keywords around a main keyword e.g. “Cardiff decking” and “Slough decking”. At the minimum, each of these pages will need to provide the following information:

  • Opening hours
  • Name, address and phone number
  • Reviews
  • Promotions
  • Google Maps location

When adding these pages to your site, it’s important to remember that standards SEO rules still apply and content should be unique.

If your business only operates in one location, then having an ‘About Us’ page that focuses on local, relevant information is imperative. If you run a coffee shop, for example, your About Us page is the perfect place to provide information that you supply the coffee and cakes for local fundraisers each year. This reaffirms your commitment to your local community and provides potential customers near you with confidence in your business, which can lead to increased levels of business and many of the aforementioned benefits such as positive reviews.

 

7.       Take Advantage of Online Directories

Websites such as Yell, Yelp, YellowPages and Foursquare are online business directories that help to get your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on the web, which is one of the most important, if not the most important element of local SEO. NAPs act the same way as backlinks do to a website and let Google know that multiple places on the web are talking about or mentioning your business. The key thing to remember when adding your business to these online directories is to ensure that all information remains consistent.

Online business listing should include the following basic information:

  • Accurate business name, address and phone number which is consistent across all directories
  • A backlink to your website if you have one
  • A thorough description of your business

 

8.       Build High-Quality Backlinks

According to Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study, ‘link signals’ were ranked number one and number two respectively in the most important factors for ranking in local organic rankings and the local pack and snack pack. Link signals are backlinks that point back to your website, so it’s important to get as many of these as possible, however, you do need to focus on their quality more than anything. The more relevant and authoritative the backlink is, the greater the signal is going to be to Google that your business is legitimate and also relevant to the local search being performed.

Some tips that you could follow to create high-quality backlinks to your website are:

  • Guest blogging on reputable websites that have a high domain authority
  • Produce high-quality content on your website that others want to link to
  • Engage with local businesses and influencers to link back to your website

 

SEO is a fast-moving and ever-changing industry, so you never know when Google will introduce new and innovative features to its search engine results page for local searches, but they are more or less guaranteed. Therefore, it is vital to keep on top of changes that can impact your local SEO. By starting off implementing the above eight points, you will ensure that your business not only takes advantage of lucrative local search opportunities but builds a solid platform that can be taken forward and progressed further when new and exciting local SEO features are announced.

Want to know more about how Designer Website can help your business with its local or national SEO, be sure to visit our search engine optimisation page today to see the professional and quality SEO services that our team of experts can provide. You can also get in touch with us if you require anything else!

 

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DJay Plumbing & Heating

DJay Plumbing & Heating is a professional plumbing company based in Dinas Powys, South Wales. Having no real online presence, DJay contacted us here at Designer Websites to help take his business further with a fully functional, responsive website that displayed his wide range of services and could help with future enquiries.

After some initial discussions, DJay decided that the best option for him was a modern-looking brochure site that was easy to navigate, offered the most important information about his business and services and allowed his potential customers to contact him easily. Once this was agreed, our professional design team got to work on creating the sleek design of the website’s homepage and internal pages.

How else did we help?

Once the designs of the website were signed off, our SEO team got to work on the site’s unique and enhanced copy. Armed with a list of services that DJay offered, our professional copywriters conducted thorough keyword research that helped to create optimised copy for each page. This enabled the site and the web pages to be more visible to search engines like Google and Bing and to rank high in search results when online users searched for the services that DJay offered.

Once these searchers found the site, however, they required a way to contact DJay if they were ever in need of his services. To do this, we implemented a simple enquiry form on the site’s contact page that allows users to submit their details and the nature of their enquiry. In addition to this, we also added a boiler quote form at the top of every page, enabling users to request a free boiler quote anywhere on the site.

The end result was an eye-catching website that worked extremely well across a variety of devices, allowing users to find and interact with the site at home or on-the-go. You can visit it here - https://www.djayplumbing.co.uk/

If you’re in need of a new website for your business, Designer Websites can help - request a free web design quote today!

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SafetyLiftinGear, a Bristol-based company that specialises in the sale of quality lifting equipment approached us here at Designer Websites way back in 2013 to help create an ecommerce website that was capable of selling their vast product range to both trade customers and the general public. Since then the website has experienced huge success, receiving new features and redesigns from time to time that has helped to make it what it is today. Enabling the company to sell on a national and international scale. 

As the business continues to grow, so does their popularity, which has resulted in huge demand for their products. This has led to their latest digital milestone of creating a brand-new Dutch-focused website for their products to be sold directly in the Netherlands, where again we have lent a helping hand. The new website now offers greater accessibility to SLG's products for the lucrative Dutch market.

How did we help?

The new Dutch SLG website has the same great look and feel of their existing website. Something that their customer base knows, loves and feels comfortable with using. It was vitally important to not disrupt the positive user experience and functionality that their users were used to. As a result, our mission was to replicate the existing site as best we can, but to ensure the fit for the new language was right. This required redesigns that catered for updated text and page layouts. In addition to the design tweaks, we also integrated a new native payment system (SISOW), enabling swift and secure transactions for their Dutch customers.

You can visit the new Dutch SafetyLiftinGear site here - https://www.safetyliftingear.nl/ 

If you’re in need of a new website for your business, Designer Websites can help - request a free web design quote today!

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Another week has come and gone and a host of tech updates have been dropped, along with huge news from one of the world’s leading social media platforms. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

iOS 13.2 is released with a new batch of Emojis

The latest software release from Apple sees the introduction of this year’s Emoji update. A total number of 398 new Emojis have been released which includes the usual new animals, foods and hand gestures. The biggest addition to this year’s collection of Emojis, however, is the disability and gender-neutral options, along with a new way to select skin tones.

(Image: Emojipedia)

 

Apple release 3rd gen AirPods

This week saw the release of the AirPods Pro, the third generation of Apple’s wireless earbuds. Coming in at a whopping £250, the latest rendition offers several features that their predecessor does not.

Firstly, the new AirPods look different. I mean, how else are people going to know you don’t have the old AirPods right? The new earbuds are slightly smaller and now come with flexible, silicone ear tips for a more secure, sealed in-ear fit. Three different sizes of these tips come in the box. Aesthetic differences aside, the AirPods Pro have built-in microphones that detect external sound which then gets cancelled out, offering the highly-rumoured noise cancellation feature. Along with noise cancellation, Transparency Mode lets users hear noise from their surroundings while wearing the AirPods, activated by new force sensors. The new “Adaptive EQ” feature automatically tunes music to the shape of your ear.

Just like the second-gen AirPods, the AirPods Pro support wireless charging and hands-free voice commands. However, the new AirPods are both sweat and water-resistant, perfect for those rainy, outdoor runs and sweaty gym sessions.

 

Twitter implements a ban on political ads

In an announcement made this week by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the social media platform will stop selling adverts concerning candidates for office, elections or political issues such as immigration and climate change. In a series of tweets, Dorsey unveiled the incoming policy changes which will take effect next month. He stated that the reach of political messages should be “earned” by getting people to follow an account or share a tweet rather than being “bought” through advertising.

The change in policy comes as the debate over political messages on social media platforms heats up ahead of the 2020 US elections. Twitter’s social media mammoth counterpart Facebook has been widely criticised over allowing politicians to lie in ads on its platform, with executives defending their policy through a means of safeguarding free speech.

 

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What a week it's been in the technology world. Huge announcements and changes have been delivered by the biggest names in the industry which are sure cause quite a stir. If you've missed any of this week's news, Designer Websites has you covered! 

 

Apple Reveals New Products at 2019 Event 

To many, September marks the end of summer and the beginning of colder, wetter months. To others, September only means one thing. iPhones. Over the last few years, technology enthusiasts have become accustomed to finding out what the latest and greatest products Apple have in store for the world during the month of Septemeber, and this year's been no different. 

This week saw Apple's head honchos take the stage for yet another instalment of yearly product and service announcements. And they didn't disappoint. In no particular order, here are the five biggest takeaways from this year's Apple event:

  1. Apple TV Plus, the company's streaming service, launches November 1st costing $4.99 per month. Apple is offering a year-long free subscription when you purchase a new Apple product.
  2. The 7th gen iPad has a new 10.2-inch display. The premium-level iPad is set to launch with an A10 Bionic processor and Smart Connector.
  3. Apple Watch Series 5 releases with an always-on retina display. The latest iteration of the world's favourite smartwatch delivers an overdue feature which Apple fans have been crying out for since its introduction in 2015. The new watch also offers menstrual cycle tracking and brings back ceramic and titanium faces.
  4. iPhone 11 offers more than the XR in every way possible. Apple's new 'budget' smartphone delivers more than its predecessor with a 6.1-inch LCD display, new A13 Bionic processor and GPU.
  5. iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone 11 Pro Max bring a new three-camera system to the iPhone. Complete with telephoto, ultra-wide and regular lenses, the new iPhone camera is capable of shooting in 4K at 60fps and has the ability to record different subjects through each lens. Both phones feature the same A13 chip as the standard iPhone 11 and come in four colours. 

(Image: Apple)

 

Google to treat nofollow links as 'hints'

One of the biggest shakeups in the SEO world occurred this past Tuesday and search engine giants Google, announced changes to the ways that nofollow links will be treated.

In the past, links to content with the rel="nofollow" attribute would not be recognised by Google within its search algorithms. That is set to change, with Google stating that it is time for link attributes to "evolve". Two new attributes for sponsored (paid-for) links and user-generated content (UGC) will be introduced to give Google a better understanding of links and use them to help index and rank content. Something that will surely make SEOs all over the world re-think their strategy. 

 

(Image: Google)

 

Spotify now lets you share music to Snapchat

Spotify has announced it is adding the ability to share your music with a snap on Snapchat. This may come as a surprise to some people due to the feature being available on other high-profile apps already, such as Instagram. Nevertheless, the feature is on its way, so long as Snapchat is installed on the same device you're using Spotify on.

When selected, Snapchat will automatically create a snap that displays song information and album art for a particular track. This can then be sent to your Snapchat friends or to your story. A cool addition with this feature allows you to start listening to any track that has been sent to you with a quick swipe up.

 

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

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Another week has come and gone with huge announcements from the world's biggest tech companies including Apple, Facebook and YouTube. So, without further ado, let's jump in! 

Apple Music now available on the web

Starting in beta this week, Apple Music users will now be able to stream their favourite tracks straight from a browser without having to install iTunes or a separate Apple Music app. The new web interface is available as a public beta for subscribers at http://beta.music.apple.com/.

When launching the interface, users will immediately see the similarities between the new standalone Music app that Apple is launching with macOS Catalina later this year. Apple has stated that it should work in all browsers, across all devices, including Chrome OS, Windows 10 and Androids.

The beta site excludes some features that users may be used to, including the flagship Beats 1 live broadcast, original music videos and smart playlists. Apple says it will be adding more features over time, however. The new site moves Apple on par with its biggest competitor Spotify, which became the first platform to hit 100m paid subscribers this year.

Image: Theverge.com

Facebook Dating launches in the US

This week, social media giant Facebook announced that it's launching its dating service in the US, with plans to expand the new feature to Europe by early 2020. Facebook's dating service is currently available in 19 countries which includes Singapore, Mexico and Canada. Eventually, Facebook plans to release the service on a global scale.

Facebook will begin to integrate features from Instagram, the Facebook-owned app which was purchased in 2012. This move is planned in the hope that more users in their late teens and 20's will try the service, providing them with the ability to add recent Instagram posts to their dating profiles. They can also add one of their Instagram followers as their 'Secret Crush', that lets them select up to nine Facebook friends they're interested in romantically. By the close of the year, Facebook plans to bring both Facebook and Instagram stories to the dating service, allowing users to posts photos and videos to their profiles that disappear after 24 hours.  

 

Image: newsroom.fb.com

YouTube launches a new hub for fashion & beauty

YouTube, the Google-owned video site, launched a new hub for fashion and beauty content; YouTube.com/Fashion

Derek Blasberg, director of YouTube Fashion and Beauty said this week, "The aim for /Fashion is to create an ultimate destination for style content that bridges both our fabulous endemic creator community and the more traditional worlds of fashion and beauty. My hope is that anyone looking for all things style will now have a place to come and be inspired by what they see."

The new hub will feature videos from various YouTube creators, livestreams of runways shows and collaborations with world-renown brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton. YouTube stated that the number of fashion and beauty channels on the site grew more than six times between 2014 and 2018 and generated billions of views last year. 

 

Image: Pixabay.com

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. 

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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!

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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!

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Universal Partners FX Website

Universal Partners FX (UPFX), based in London, are world-leading specialists in foreign exchange services. They work across borders for both organisations and private clients, safeguarding their money through currency transfers. Their team of experts work to guide their clients from market volatility, providing bespoke consultation at every stage of the FX process. Boasting over 100 years of experience in the FX industry, UPFX provides its clients with the unmatched expertise needed to develop a financial strategy that sails over market volatility. They provide a safe, secure and efficient online FX platform that allows personal and business international money transfers to take place. So, why did UPFX approach us? Let’s take a look!

Why UPFX came to Designer Websites

UPFX approached us here at Designer Websites as they believed that their website was in desperate need of a makeover, a redesign that brought them up-to-date with competitors and one that would be more visually appealing to their existing and potential clients. They were also having several issues with how the website loaded, functioned and acted when users were visiting. As a result, we advised that instead of optimising their current site, we create a brand-new website that was fully responsive, optimised and loaded quickly.

To kick things off, our design team created new visuals for each page on the existing website, including new icons and page layouts. Once the new look of the website was created, our SEO team completely rewrote the copy for each page to be fully optimised for industry-specific keywords, as their previous site lacked the much-needed optimisation to capture the organic traffic from search engines. Once the design and copywriting were complete, our development team made sure that the site functioned well, loaded quickly, and linked to their external sign-up forms, something which was paramount for the client. In addition to all of this, we included a landing page functionality, which enables UPFX to create specific pages that they can point online advertisements to!

We are proud to announce that the new UPFX website is now live and can be viewed here!

If you are interested in having an existing site re-designed or having a new, bespoke site developed for your business, then please feel free to get in touch with the Designer Websites team below.

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In this blog, we bring to you all of the major talking points from across the world of SEO, PPC, digital marketing and tech to ensure you're kept up-to-date and not missing out on anything important! This will be the first edition of a weekly DW roundup blog, so be sure to keep an eye out each week! So, what are we waiting for? Let's get into it...

Google launches a new algorithm to better understand useful and timely information

The Vide President of Search at Google, Pandu Nayak, announced that the tech giants have released an update to how their search algorithms to keep featured snippets up-to-date with fresh and relevant information. 

This latest release aims to make sure that Google provides searchers with answers that are not just accurate but also timely. Here is what Google said in their announcement:

"As part of our ongoing efforts to make Search work better for you, a new algorithm update improves our systems’ understanding of what information remains useful over time and what becomes out-of-date more quickly. This is particularly helpful for featured snippets, a feature in Search that highlights pages that our systems determine are most likely to have the information you’re looking for. For queries where fresh information is important, our systems will try to find the most useful and up-to-date featured snippets."

(Image from searchengineland.com)

 

Google adds 'get a quote button' to Google business local knowledge panels 

Google has added a new call-to-action button to service level businesses in the local knowledge panel for listings that have Google My Business messaging turned on. The reason behind this addition is clearly to make more searchers use Google's messaging feature. By making this button more noticeable, businesses are bound to get more messages via Google Messaging. Remember to get this feature, you will need to have messaging enabled. Click here for instructions. 

(Image from searchengineland.com)

 

Apple is reportedly releasing three 5G iPhones in 2020

With more and more networks beginning to roll out 5G networks, phone manufacturers are starting to release phones that will be able to access them. One of these manufacturers is of course Apple. Many reports have previously stated that Apple is set to release a 5G-compatible phone in 2020, however, according to new reports, all three of their 2020 mobile devices are set to support the 5G network. 

(Image from theverge.com)

Google temporarily banned from listening to voice recordings 

Regulators in Germany have ordered Google to stop listening to voice recordings from people using its Assistance software in the EU. The ban will last for three months while Germany's data watchdog conducts an investigation. 

 A small percentage of voice recordings made into Google's Assistant service are heard by human workers and third parties, with the intention of better understanding people's search queries and improving the software. Those recordings, however, have the potential to include private and sensitive information. Other tech companies such as Amazon have also come under fire for how they use their voice data.  

(Image from theverge.com)

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

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A&L Scrap Car Dealers Website

A&L Scrap Car Dealers, the new addition to A&L Vehicle Recycling, is a family-run scrap car dealership located in the heart of Barry, South Wales. With more than 10 years’ experience within the scrap car and recycling industry, A&L provides professional and reliable services that their customers within the local and surrounding areas can trust. A&L’s business has been developed throughout the years on the excellent recommendations of their loyal customers in both scrap car and scrap metal services. However, without an established online presence apart from a few listings in local directories, A&L weren’t fully able to reach a wide range of customers that could elevate their business to the next level. That’s where we came in!

How did we help?

A&L approached the team here at Designer Websites as they were looking to build the online presence that the company desperately needed. Having been without a website, potential customers were having to find information on the company and the services that they provided via directory listings or through the business’ Facebook page, both of which contained scarce details. We were tasked with creating a functional website that delivered the important information about the company and the services that they offered as well as integrating a quote system that potential customers could use to discover the value of their car if they were looking to scrap it.

As A&L had no previous website, our design, SEO and development team had to work from scratch to deliver what was needed. As a result, comprehensive keyword research was conducted in order to identify industry-specific search terms, so that pages could be designed and created to include optimised copy and SEO. This enabled A&L to better capture online searchers and rank highly within search engine results. Once the design and copywriting were complete, we created the unique quote system that allowed users to input their car’s registration number and receive a free, no-obligation quote for the value of their car. This was developed in-house with every step of the process carefully curated, including a postcode lookup, which helps populate address fields. The quote system has been integrated with https://ukvehicledata.co.uk/pricing in order for accurate and reliable vehicle data to be pulled and displayed to the user.

We are proud to announce that the new A&L Scrap Car Dealers website is now live and can be viewed here!

If you are interested in having an existing site re-designed or having a new, bespoke site developed for your business, then please feel free to get in touch with the Designer Websites team below.

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Voice Search & SEO

It’s pretty safe to assume that what was once dubbed a ‘fad’ that was destined to fade away, has now surpassed all expectations and has become a staple in the lives of millions of people across the world.

Over the past few years especially, voice search has experienced a monumental increase in use and popularity offering online users a different way to search the internet and gather the information they need, with 55% of teens and 41% of adults using voice search more than once a day (Google) and voice search alone growing 35x since 2008 (KPCB). The growth of voice search isn’t expected to slow down either, it is predicted that by 2020 50% of all searches will be made by voice (Comscore).

But why has voice search grown so much? Lets’ take a look!

There are 2 main reasons behind the rise in popularity:

  1. Searching with your voice is faster than typing - According to Bing, searching with your voice is 3.7x faster than typing. With faster searches comes faster results, so there’s no surprise as to why more people are choosing to use their voice rather than a keyboard.
  1. Voice search is perfect for mobile searches – The popularity and increase in accessibility to mobile devices have, in turn, resulted in the increase of voice search. With 60% of mobile searchers using voice at least ‘some of the time’ (Stone Temple).

 

The features of voice search

Searching with your voice is very different from searching through typing, so naturally, its characteristics and features are going to differ from traditional search. This is something SEO’s will have to bear in mind and consider if they are to cater for this new, emerging search market and take advantage of the changing online landscape. Again, there are a number of driving forces behind voice search; how people search, when people search and what people search for.

 

How people search

The emergence of voice search has changed the way in which people search for information in 2 ways. Firstly, searches are now longer and secondly, searches are more conversational.

Traditionally, when we use a keyboard to search for information, we tend to use short phrases to find what we need because it saves physical effort. Using voice search on mobile phones and voice assistants such as the Google Home or Amazon Echo, allows searches to become more conversational, however, as these devices are powered by artificial intelligence, making them smarter the more we use and interact with them. Therefore, there is less need to use shorter, ‘computer language’ searches with a now greater emphasis on natural, human-like dialogue.

When searching for the best way to clean a composite deck on your computer or phone, you may type ‘composite decking cleaning’ into the search bar. This is what we would consider, ‘short, computer language.’ When using voice search, however, you’re more likely to say ‘how do I clean composite decking?’ The first search is shorter, only containing 3 words, whereas the second is longer with 6 words. Purna Virji of Moz found that speech searches tend to be longer through the tail.

It’s important to remember to not make the mistake of likening voice search optimisation to using long-tail keywords within your content. Voice search is much more likely to contain question phrases, which has a big impact on how we conduct keyword research and on-page SEO.

Content needs to give users direct answers to the questions they’re asking, otherwise, it’s going to be very difficult to get your content to the people who need it. A great way to find commonly asked queries around a particular subject is to use a tool called Answer the Public. Simply enter a keyword to receive a bunch of related questions around that keyword. Here’s what we get when we search for ‘composite decking’.

 

Each one of these natural language phrases is an insight into the mindset of your target audience that allows you to tailor your content to match their queries.

 

When people search

As a result of voice search being much more convenient, people are using it in more places and on a more regular basis than ever before. According to Google, ‘near me now’ searches have increased by 150% over the last two years, with these searches happening in places that you may not expect.

A survey conducted by Stone Temple found that users were significantly more likely to use voice search in public places last year in comparison to the previous year. Places such as gyms, cinemas and even public toilets! Proving that searchers have a lot more local intent when they’re searching on their mobile phones.

As a result of this, SEO’s can gain increased traffic by carefully incorporating a number of distinct keywords into their content. Such as

  • Landmarks around businesses
  • Including ‘near me’ in title tags, meta descriptions, anchor texts and internal links
  • Including phrases that people use to describe the area around your locations
  • The titles of local organisations that are relevant to your business

This is further emphasised by the fact that in 2016, 22% of people used voice search to find local information (Internet Trends Report) and that 50% of local mobile searches by a consumer lead to a store visit in a day. There’s no greater incentive to optimise for voice.

 

 

What people search for

Voice changes how users get their search results. Slowly but surely, Google is moving away from a search engine where people go to gain masses of information, to a place where people go to gain instant answers. This trend is emphasised by the introduction of SERP features such as Knowledge Panels and Featured Snippets, which has resulted in the number of organic clicks dropping as the information and answers that users are searching for are appearing right there in the results.

Google is implementing the same answer-focused algorithms to provide voice searchers with results as the intent of their searches change. So, enabling your content to answer the common questions that searchers are asking by targeting SERP features such as Featured Snippets is the best way to be shown for voice searches.

 

Optimising for Voice Search

Now that we’ve looked at the main characteristics that voice search has changed about traditional search and briefly on how you can manipulate your content to satisfy these changes, we can now delve a little deeper into the technical aspects of how to optimise your website and business for the best voice search results.

 

Utilise structured data

Schema markup, also known as structured data, is a great way to optimise the content on your website for search engines to pull it and offer it to voice searches.

If you do not know what schema markup is, visit our previously written blog here to learn more. Essentially, schema markup is metadata. Data about the information on your website, which is found within your site’s source code. Searchers cannot see this data, but it helps search engines to organise and classify your content such as opening hours, contact information and address.

As previously stated, voice searchers usually want instant answers. By enabling search engines to classify essential business information as such will give you a greater chance of being ranked over competitors. Google has recently announced support for new FAQ structured data. Making it easier for your answers to commonly asked questions to be classified by Google and presented to users in both normal and voice search.

Submitting a detailed sitemap to Google and ensuring your structured data pages aren’t blocked by robots.txt and other control methods are greats ways of getting your content classified also.

 

Claiming your Google My Business listing

As we touched on above, voice search experiences a high number of local queries by searchers. Therefore, it is essential to claim your Google My Business listing, where you can input your business’ name, address, contact number and description.

Another important feature is choosing relevant categories that your business falls under. Selecting the correct category can be the difference between your business appearing at the top of voice search results or not.

 

Become mobile-friendly

As mobile phones are one of the main devices in which voice searches are performed, you need to ensure that your website is mobile friendly. Google recommends a responsive website that loads fast, which again you can learn more about in our blog here. With voice searchers wanting instant answers to their questions, your website will need to load information as quickly as possible.

Once your website design and speed are up to scratch, you can now focus on your content. In order to rank for voice searches, ensure your content is optimised for it to be scanned quickly. Leave a lot of white spaces, use short sentences, small paragraphs with simple words and engaging sub-headings.

 

Answer customer questions in blog posts

We identified above that voice search has changed how people search. With robotic keywords being replaced with longer, more conversational keywords as users look to receive direct answers for commonly asked questions around a particular topic and even provided a tool to help understand the common queries around a particular search term. This is a great starting point to understand what information searchers in your industry are looking for.

Once you understand the questions commonly asked by searchers, you are then able to create content to cater to them. One way to do this is to create a FAQ page which provides short and concise answers to all of the frequently asked questions from your customers. Another is to create dedicated blog posts that focus on single questions. Here you have more freedom to answer a question in more detail, giving search engines more content to choose from and give back to voice searches.

Creating content around your customer’s common queries dramatically increases your chances of appearing higher in voice search results.

Voice search and its impact on users and businesses over the last decade has changed dramatically. Its future is unpredictable, but recent years have shown us that it is not slowing down anytime soon. Therefore, it is important that marketers and business owners do not ignore this trend and instead understand how to best optimise their website and content for voice. It is not easy, but by optimising for voice search your content will become more ‘human’ and will accommodate will ever-changing dynamic of online search.

Each year, Google hosts its I/O keynote event where they share their upcoming innovative hardware and software updates with the world. This year, the keynote was held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre of Mountain View, California and yet again, Google unveiled a whole host of changes and updates across their product line and operating systems.

Introduction  

The event kicked off with speaker Sundar Pichai reiterating Google’s mission to ‘organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ and how this translates into what Google does and what they’re trying to do. He mentions that Google has transformed from a company that helps with finances to a company that ‘helps you get things done’, and how they are achieving this new rhetoric with the help of their new products and services. Sundar moves on to say that building a more helpful Google starts with search, the core aspect of Google, and demonstrates some of the changes coming to search, starting with more detailed news and podcast results. Sundar claims that what’s most helpful and understanding in the world is ‘visual information’, which leads onto the first major highlight of the event!

Visual information – AR in search

The first innovative feature shown off was the inclusion of augmented reality right into search results. Now, you can get 3D models within search results that can be brought into the real world with the help of your device’s camera. Google’s AR and Google Lens VP Aparna Chennapragada demonstrated the new feature to watching crowd where she brought to life a human muscle, a pair of shoes and a terrifying great white shark! These 3D models aren’t just to play with however, they can be used to help with shopping (seeing how a pair of shoes look with a particular outfit), or with education (seeing how a certain muscle flexes and extends). Google has partnered up with many organisations such as NASA and New Balance to integrate these AR images into your results.

A smarter Google Lens

Google Lens is the AI assistant that works with your smartphone camera provide users with ‘visual answers to visual questions.’ Google has made improvements to the Google Lens so that it can now leverage Google’s extensive amount of data to help you choose what to eat at a restaurant for example, simply by pointing your smartphone’s camera at the menu. Here, Google Lens will display the most popular dishes, images of what they look like and customer reviews. It can even help with splitting the bill! Further demonstrations are shown in the integration of Google Lens with Translate. Here, Aparna demonstrates how Google Lens can help with translations of unfamiliar text with providing not just text translations but with audio, highlighting each word as it’s read out to give you more context on what the text means.

Assistant becomes more helpful

Thanks to developments within recurrent neural networks, Google has been able to create new speech recognition and language understanding models to make Assistant perform locally on your smartphone. This has resulted in speech procession at near zero latency and transcription in real time, even completely offline. The new and improved Assistant will now understand your questions and queries and provide you with answers up to 10-times faster. Multitasking across several apps is now possible with Continued Conversation, where you can make a number of requests in a row without the need to say “Hey Google” every time. The Assistant will now use what it learns about you to better understand the context of what you say and offer more personalised suggestions as it learns your daily routine and preferences in entertainment, style and food. A new ‘Driving Mode’ will also provide hands-free assistance when you’re navigating the roads with Maps or Waze.

Duplex can now use the Internet

Google introduced Duplex to the world last year in extraordinary fashion, in which Google Assistant was able to make phone calls for you to perform services like book a table at a restaurant or a hair appointment. This year, Google announced that Duplex has learned to use the Internet! Demonstrated on stage where we see Assistant book a rental car, Duplex will filter through the booking site, entering all of your details as it navigates – there goes the ‘I am not a robot’ defence!

Auto-delete Google’s data collection

With the recent hysteria and spotlight over privacy and data, Google has made an attempt to curb the user’s worries by allowing them to micro-manage what data Google holds. Coming in the not so distant future to Location History and Web & App Activity is the new ability to select a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved (3-18 months) and any data older than the selected time will be automatically deleted from your account.

New low-budget Pixels

Despite the popularity of the Google Pixel range, Google realised that the pure Android smartphones ended up being priced above the affordable levels that made so many customers fall in love with the Nexus phones many years ago. As a result, Google is going back to its Nexus roots with new low budget Pixel devices. In addition to the new devices, Pixel owners will also benefit from the new features such as the anticipated AR directions in Google Maps, robocall screening and enhanced battery life.

Google Home and Nest combine

One of the final announcements of the event saw the introduction of the new Google Nest device, which sees the power of the Google Home and Nest combine. Here, your Google and Nest accounts will combine to give you greater control and security over your smart home devices. As part of this merger, the Google Home Hub has now become Google Nest Hub.

And there it is! All of the major announcements from this year’s Google I/O event! For more information and details, visit the official site dedicated to the event here - https://events.google.com/io/schedule/events/

Hyper Recruitment Solutions is the science-based recruitment business set up by 2012’s The Apprentice winner Ricky Martin after receiving an investment of £250,000 from co-owner Lord Alan Sugar. Specialising in science jobs, HRS help to match some of the biggest employers in the country with the most talented and vibrant job seekers to fill crucial roles and positions within sectors such as engineering, biotechnology and pharmacy.

We’ve been working with Ricky and the HRS team ever since they launched way back 2012, assisting with their original website design and development, and a number of redesigns since. Sometime last year, Ricky contacted us as he was hoping we would once again be able to provide our professional services to bring his website up to date with another redesign, providing it with the contemporary look and feel it now craved, as well as some additional technical features which enhance the user experience even more. 

How did we help this time?

Firstly, we updated the design to a more modern look! We also enhanced the code using the very latest coding technologies, standards and optimisation techniques. We have made the new HRS website much easier to navigate, highlighting the essential information needed by both employers and job seekers, as well as the vital advice and support aimed at successful candidates who have acquired important roles within organisations. Along with this totally new redesign, we also fully integrated their chosen in-house software solution, namely RDP Pro, into the website using the latest RDP API. The integration means that the HRS staff can focus on using RDP Pro, whilst the website automatically pulls information on positions offered through the company, without any need to manage the website. The integration with RDP Pro also allows job boards to be automatically populated, thereby simplifying the internal management of job advertising. This seamless integration means jobs instantly appear on the website, perfect for eager jobseekers! 

As well as this bespoke integration with RDB Pro, we have also introduced new features to the job search such as job alerts and the ability to save individual jobs to a wish list. Increasing the level of interaction and functionality that potential recruits have with HRS. 

With simplified menus, sleek new page layouts and a host of new features, we're sure that both Ricky and Lord Sugar are as proud of the new look as we are. Despite the new design, we haven't compromised any of the things that made the previous site great such as incredibly fast loading times and responsive pages, allowing users to have the same great experience no matter what device they are using! 

You can visit the new, fresh-looking HRS website here: www.hyperec.com 

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

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JMS Infotech Ltd is a company based in Milton Keynes, England, that produces the JMS One, a fully-automated end-to-end staff management system. 

This system is built to offer both workers and employers a reliable, easy-to-use system which allows a number of job functions to be completed with ease and in an extremely effective manner. Some of the areas of business that the JMS One operating system assists in are:

  • Bookings
  • Timesheets
  • Recruitment 
  • Rota management 
  • Management reporting 

One of our current clients NOA Healthcare, that we recently helped to create and launch a brand new website for, have implemented the JMS One system as part of their recruitment operations. Making them the first healthcare recruitment company in the UK to use a fully-automated online booking system, resulting in an average weekly fill rate of over 95% on their jobs listings. 

How we helped...

JMS contacted us here at Designer Websites as a result of an organic internet search, which resulted in an online enquiry being submitted through our website. After a brief discussion, we were tasked with updating the website that JMS already had, to be fully optimised for search as well as being responsive in order for users to browse and navigate seamlessly, request demos of their system or utilise their client login across a multitude of devices. 

We are proud to announce that the sleek, newly optimised and responsive JMS website is now live with additional pages consisting of company and product information as well as an integrated enquiry form. You can now visit the new website here - https://www.jmsinfotech.co.uk/

If you’d like to enquire about having a great, responsive website created for your business then get in touch and tell us more about your project, we’d love to hear from you! 

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