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

 

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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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Our latest website project sees local dentistry practice Porthkerry Dental Centre, combine a number of their dental centre websites into one amalgamated site – Vale Dental Centres!

A popular dentist located in Barry, Porthkerry Dental branched out to a number of practices in and around the local area over the years with a total of 3 centres now under their ownership. Unfortunately for Porthkerry Dental, their online presence was a little confusing with a combination of websites for their different centres available and no clear indication about what services were available at each practice. That’s where we stepped in!

How did we help?

Porthkerry Dental approached us here at Designer Websites to help make the information on their dental centres and services easier to find and understand. In order to make their online presence clearer to their past and potential patients, we proposed creating a brand-new website that combined the scattered information under one new domain. To do this, we needed to collate the information that was already available on their centres and services and streamline it into one property that patients can visit.

After gathering this information, we were able to dissect it and create new, optimised pages that targeted a number of popular search terms related to the industry such as teeth whitening, orthodontics and emergency dental treatment, as well as establishing which practice each service is available at. In addition to each web page being optimised for search with new high-quality copy, the new site is also fully responsive, enabling patients to have the same fantastic user experience no matter which device they’re using – perfect for when a desktop isn’t handy!

The brand-new Vale Dental Centres website can be viewed right here - https://www.valedentalcentres.co.uk/ 

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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Established in 1990, South Wales Windows and Doors is the longest-serving family-run double glazing business in South Wales! Since then, they have built a profound reputation for excellence in both the products they offer and the service they provide. With nearly 30 years’ experience, they help homeowners in and around Cardiff, South Wales and the South West by supplying and installing double glazed windows, doors and conservatories of the highest quality, all designed to the customers’ specifications in an efficient and cost-competitive way.

How did we help?

Having helped with their last website redesign in 2016, South Wales Windows and Doors approached us again, as they were looking for another freshen up which reflects their current vision for the business. They tasked us with creating an updated website design that not only looked the part but was easier to use and navigate for their past and potential customers.

As a result, we were able to produce a fantastic looking, easy-to-navigate, responsive website that performs great no matter which device it’s being viewed on. We not only improved the aesthetics of the website, but we also created new copy for the whole site to ensure each page was fully optimised to rank highly in search engine results for industry-specific keywords. We amalgamated a number of website pages in order for the information on products and services to be streamlined and easier for customers to find, as well as creating new pages for services that have launched since their last redesign!

You can visit the new and updated website right here - https://www.southwaleswindowsanddoors.co.uk/

If you’re interested in a bespoke, professional-looking website for your business, please contact the team here at Designer Websites below for a free, no-obligation web design quote.

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Published - September 4th 2017 / Updated - March 18th 2019

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

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

Google Ads Show First on Search Engine Results Pages

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

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

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

Every Click Costs with Google Ads

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

Managing Google Ads can be complex, however, the Google Ads tool allows you to organise your adverts into campaigns and groups, which then give you greater control and organisation of your adverts. 

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

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

Google Ads Uses a Complex Bidding System

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

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

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

Google Adverts & Landing Pages

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

For example, this is H&M’s homepage:

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

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

Google Ads does not impact your websites organic ranking

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

Conclusion

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

You can run Google Ads yourself, however, if you want to maximise the ROI our experts are here to help. Click below to learn about our PPC services! 

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Published - 26th February 2018 / Updated - 12th March 2019

New Google Search Console

Over a year ago, Google announced via their Webmaster Central Blog that the new version of Search Console (originally made available to a limited set of users in August 2017) was going to be released to all site owners who use the tool. The big roll-out took a few weeks, but the majority of users are now able to access the redesigned Search Console interface.

Search Console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) in an indispensable tool for website owners, and so we'd like to take a moment to walk you through the updated version and explain how it can be used. The new Search Console is still being built, and certain reports have not yet been migrated into the new version, but what is there is well worth exploring if you're serious about looking after your website's health.

How do I view the new Search Console?

To access the new version of Google Search Console, simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.google.com/webmasters and click the big green 'SEARCH CONSOLE' button.

  2. Sign into your Google account to continue.

  3. Once you're on the Search Console home screen, select the property (website) you'd like to manage.

  4. Go to your Messages (under 'Dashboard' in the menu).

  5. Look for a message with the title 'Introducing the new Search Console for [website URL]' and open it up. (If you haven't received this message then you probably don't have access to the new Search Console yet - it is still being rolled out, so be patient and you should be granted access soon.)

  6. Click the 'Open the new Search Console' button in the body of the message.

I'm in! So what's new?

The first thing you'll notice upon accessing your new and improved Search Console is the sleek new design.

As we've already mentioned, the new Search Console doesn't yet offer as many different reports as its predecessor, many reports are still to be migrated over in the coming weeks but a number have been included in the new design. The main features of the current version are as follows:

  • Performance
  • URL inspection
  • Index coverage
  • Sitemaps
  • Mobile Usability 
  • AMP
  • Products
  • Manual Actions 
  • Security Issues
  • Links

Let's familiarise ourselves with these reports one at a time...

Search Console Performance Report

Performance

The 'Performance' report is more or less identical to the 'Search Traffic' report in Search Console Classic. The interface is a little different, and interestingly, there appears to be some disparity between the data in the 'Performance' and 'Search Traffic' reports, but it's still essentially the same tool. Use it to see which queries drive clicks/impressions for your website.

 

URL Inspection

The 'URL Inspection' tool offers website owners detailed crawl, index and serving information about web pages, directly from the Google index. Here you can view the last crawl date, the status of the last crawl, any indexing or crawling errors and the canonical URL for a page. It will provide information on successfully indexed pages, any AMP and structured data errors as well as any indexing issues. The URL Inspection tool also allows users to run live tests against a live URL. Details are not provided on the last time Google indexed that URL but on what Google sees on that URL in real time.

 

Search Console Index Coverage Report

Index coverage

Of all the features that the new Search Console brings to the table, its 'Index coverage' report is unquestionably the most exciting. One of the most frustrating things about using the old Search Console was spotting that Google hadn't indexed some of your pages...but having no way to find out which pages the algorithm had passed over.

The 'Index coverage' report aims to give site owners a clearer idea of which pages have and haven't been indexed (and, more importantly, why). Blind Five Year Old wrote an in-depth blog post about this report back in October, but here's a quick summary of what 'Index coverage' shows you:

  • Error - Pages that HAVEN'T been indexed because of some kind of error (e.g. server error).

  • Valid with warnings - Pages that HAVE been indexed, but with some issues that you may want to inspect.

  • Valid - Pages that HAVE been indexed successfully.

  • Excluded - Pages that HAVEN'T been indexed, usually (though not always) intentionally. For instance, a page with the 'noindex' tag or a canonical tag that points to an alternate URL will show up in this section of the report.

This report makes it easier than ever before to see which of your pages aren't getting indexed, and to establish what you need to do about it. This report now uses mobile-first indexing data when available, instead of using desktop indexing data for sites that have already switched to mobile-first. This only impacts the data related to the 'error counts' and 'new issues' in the report.

 

Search Console Sitemaps Report

Sitemaps

Again, this is just a nicer-looking version of a tool that we've been using for years (find it in the old Search Console under Crawl > Sitemaps). You can submit sitemaps and check the status of all submitted sitemaps here; handily, you can also click through to an 'Index coverage' report for each sitemap you've submitted.

 

Mobile Usability 

The Mobile Usability report is an important tool for all site owners as it provides critical information to help fix mobile usability issues. With Google using mobile usability as a factor in their ranking algorithms, it is important for site owners to keep a close eye on this report to ensure that issues are fixed when they appear. Issue names are the same as in the old report, but users are now able to submit a validation and reindexing request when an issue is fixed.

 

Search Console AMP Report

AMP

If your website includes any AMP content, this report is worth keeping an eye on as it will inform you of any errors on your accelerated mobile pages. This isn't anything new, though - the old version of Search Console includes a very similar report under Search Appearance > Accelerated Mobile Pages.

 

Products 

The Products section of the new Google Search Console helps users to see how well their product markup is performing in Google's search results. This is an important feature, especially for e-commerce sites in managing their product markup. This report allows e-commerce site owners to quickly see what issues they have with markup and fix them. In order to be able to see this report, site owners will need to add product markup to their products to show up in GSC. This can be used on a product page to describe a single product or on a shopping aggregator page that displays a single product.

 

Manual Actions

The Manual Actions section of the new Search Console is the same reporting tool that you've been using in the old console with a fresh, new look. Manual actions are issued by Google against a site when a reviewer from Google has determined that pages on the site are not compliant with Google's webmaster quality guidelines. Therefore, it is an important section that needs to be regularly checked. 

 

Security Issues

The Security Issues section of GSC will let site owners know if Google finds any security issues with the site, pretty self-explanatory. The types of issues can include hacked URL's, deceptive pages, malware, harmful downloads and more. This feature was available in the old the Search Console so users should be familiar with it and the information provided. For a full breakdown on the details on the security issues monitored, click here

 

Links 

The Links section of the new Search Console consolidates the functionality of the 'Links to your site' and 'Internal Links' reports found in the old Search Console. This updated link report, according to Google, is "more accurate" than the old Links to your site report. For a more detailed analysis of the data, you can get in the links report, click here.

And that's just about it - for now, anyway. Google is still building the new Search Console, so keep your eyes peeled for additional reports as 2019 progresses.

Do you need an expert to look after your website and make sure it's running at peak performance? Contact Designer Websites today by clicking below - our website optimisation specialists will help you to achieve online success!

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