google updates

Google is always tweaking and updating its algorithm to provide the best possible search experience. These improvements are a constant, ongoing process, and business owners and webmasters should expect to see some gentle fluctuation in the ranking and performance of their websites from one day to the next. This is perfectly normal - no cause for alarm.

On occasion, though, you might notice a particularly pronounced change in your website's rankings - even though you haven't made any changes to the site itself. This may be a sign that Google has released a more significant algorithm update.

It's important to keep an eye out for big Google updates, understand what impact they can have, and monitor the performance of your websites for any significant shifts. In 2020 so far, Google has released two core algorithm updates and two stand-alone updates: one that prevents featured snippet URLs from appearing in the organic SERPs, and one that changes the way Googlebot views nofollow links.

In this blog, we're going to take a look at these recent updates and the impact they've had, so you know what to look out for on your own website. Let's dive right in!

Core Algorithm Updates

Of all Google's updates, core updates make the broadest changes and happen most frequently. They're designed to improve search results pages so that Google can deliver the most authoritative and relevant content to its users. This year, we've already seen Google roll out two core algorithm updates: one on the 13th of January, and one on the 4th of May.

It's common for Google's core updates to have a drastic impact on your website's keyword rankings. Some sites experience severe ranking drops, others will see an impressive ranking boost - it's hard to predict!

Why does this happen? Well, Google's Webmaster Central Blog gives us a great way of looking at the situation:

"One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It's going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realise they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before. The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren't bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them."

What should you do if you notice a drop?

If you notice that your website is ranking much higher than it did before the update, bravo! Google thinks your content is highly relevant for its users.

However, if you notice that a particular page, an old blog post, or your website as a whole has slipped down the rankings following a core update, then the first thing to remember is that it doesn't mean your content is 'bad'.

What it does mean is that, if you want to reclaim those top positions in the SERP, you might want to revisit the content on these pages and make them better.

  1. Start by looking at the pages that now rank above you. What do those pages have that might make them more authoritative/relevant for a user?

  2. Re-assess your own content through a critical lens.
  • Can you provide a more substantial description of the topic?
  • Can you add links to authoritative sources?
  • Could you re-write the content to make it clearer/more concise?
  • Can you provide a more suitable heading?

By building better and more relevant web pages, you should start to see your website moving steadily up the rankings following a core update. Get in touch with our SEO specialists if you have any further questions about recovering dropped rankings.

Featured Snippet Duplication Update

On January 22nd, Google implemented an update that changed the way featured snippets appeared in the search results pages. Prior to the update, URLs that appeared in the featured snippet could also appear high up in the rankings, essentially giving that website twice as much exposure.

Post-update, you won't see duplicate URLs in the SERPs. If your webpage claims the elusive 'position 0' and is featured in Google's snippet, then it won't appear anywhere else in the rankings.

What impact will this have on your website?

Google has advised that the featured snippet position (or position zero) and position 1 are usually considered as the same position in most rank tracking tools, so you shouldn't see any dramatic drops in ranking.

In terms of your click-through rate, there are a few theories. Our own research suggests that holding the featured snippet is valuable for your website because it's the first port of call if a user wants to find out more information on a certain topic. Even on occasions when a user doesn't click through to your website, they're still being exposed to your brand and your featured content - so it's a win-win situation!

Sceptics argue that some users might choose to skip past all the on-page features like knowledge panels, featured snippets etc and head straight to the organic results. If this is the case, then this featured snippet update could be detrimental, but we're yet to see such an impact on our clients' websites.

Our advice? Keep an eye on your rankings and your inbound traffic. While it's unlikely that you'll see a drop as a result of this update, you can always re-work your content to gain a more beneficial ranking if you see that certain pages have been affected.

Nofollow Update

We've known that Google was changing the way it treats nofollow links since the end of 2019, but it wasn't until the 1st of March this year that the update actually went live.

Following this update, nofollow links will be treated as a 'hint' when Google is crawling and indexing your site, and might even affect your ranking.

Previously, nofollow links could be used to tell Google to disregard a certain outbound link. Essentially, you could tell Google "Hey, I don't want to endorse this website even though this link is relevant to my users". That's no longer the case.

When announcing this update, Google said, "Links contain valuable information that helps us improve search, such as how the words within links describe the content they point at. Looking at every link we encounter can help us understand unnatural linking patterns".

Generally, nofollow links will be treated as they were before, so the impact on your website should be minimal. As far as actions you should take, Google recommends using one of two new link attributes to identify the purpose of your nofollow links. For example:

  • rel="sponsored" to identify links that have been paid for, e.g. adverts and sponsored articles.
  • rel="UGC" to identify links in user-generated content, e.g. blog comments.

Google has said that they might still use these "sponsored" and "UGC" links as 'hints' when crawling your website, but using the correct identifications increases the likelihood that Google will understand why you've used a nofollow link, and they will assess the link accordingly.

Google updates happen all the time - it's part of an ongoing effort to perfect their search engine experience. On the whole, Google updates are nothing to be worried about, but having an awareness of them can help you identify the cause of traffic and ranking fluctuations. Contact us for more information about our search engine optimisation services.

SEO spring clean

Keeping your SEO up to date is a vital part of maintaining your website and growing your online audience. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned expert, spring is the perfect time to adjust your SEO strategy with a few easy tips and tricks.

If you want to give your search engine rankings a boost this spring but you're not sure where to start, Designer Website's search engine optimisation specialists have got your back. Here are our top tips for a thorough SEO spring clean.

Identify new keywords

The world is constantly changing, and it could well be that lots of new keywords and topics have become relevant to your business since your last big SEO check-up. You may be missing out if you have not updated your content to reflect up-and-coming trends; roughly 15% of all Google searches are completely new queries, so you might be able to capture a lot of extra traffic if you add extra keywords to your SEO strategy.

Whether you update your existing website copy to address current search trends or add extra content via blog posts, this is a great way to stay ahead of your competitors and give your site a nice spring boost.

Keep things fresh

Think of SEO like dating. When you first starting optimising your website, it's really easy to build your online presence and create new content that helps your site to rank. You might feel genuinely excited every time you publish a new blog post or add an informative new page.

But as time goes on, the thrill begins to wear off. Your content no longer ranks as well as it used to, and fewer people are visiting your site and engaging with your brand. You might even consider giving up and abandoning SEO entirely (though as we recently discussed, this is seldom a good idea!).

If you haven't released any new content in a while, we thoroughly recommend updating your website with some fresh new landing pages or a string of blog posts. It's important to remember how much search engines (especially Google) love fresh new content - as with relationships, a little commitment to your SEO can go a long way!

Minimise duplicate content

Content duplication - where the same piece of content appears on two or more web pages - can have a huge impact on your SEO strategy if you let it get out of hand. Few website owners create duplicate content intentionally, but it can sometimes happen by accident; for example, if you write similar or identical descriptions for two subtly different products, search engines may only index one of those pages, which will prevent the other one from ranking.

Try to make every page on your website unique, and if you can't avoid repeating a significant amount of content across multiple URLs, use canonical tags to tell Google which version you want indexed.

Don't neglect local SEO

If you have a brick-and-mortar business that's open to the public, you need to make sure potential customers can find you. Local SEO is hugely important - it's been alleged that 43% of Google searches are for things in the searcher's local area, and in the USA, an estimated 80% of disposable income is spent within 20 miles of the home.

So make sure your local SEO factors are in shape for spring. At the very least, you should create a Google My Business listing and make sure your company's address and contact details are correct and up to date wherever they appear on the web.

Master Google Search Console

Checking technical issues is an important part of SEO. You've created your new content, you're targeting new keywords, and you've even eliminated all duplication from your website - now you should carry out a Google Search Console check to make sure your website is working as it should.

Search Console can tell you all sorts of useful things, from how many of your pages are indexed to whether your pages display correctly on mobile devices. If you're new to Search Console, Google have some videos to help you learn the ropes, but you might be better off hiring a team of SEO experts to look after this side of things for you.

Remember: it's important to keep your SEO strategy fresh and efficient if you want to maximise your organic search traffic all year round. If you want to get more from your website, the Designer Websites team can help - our SEO specialists work closely with our experienced team of designers and developers to deliver the best possible results for our clients.

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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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Search results is constantly changing and evolving so it’s important that marketers change their strategies if they want to achieve and maintain high rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Gone are the days where the SERPs are filled with hundreds of plain links. Now, featured snippets, rich cards and local results are the first things users see when using Google. But what impact are these features this having on website click-through-rates? Let’s find out.

A Quick Introduction to Featured Snippets

We’re sure you’ve come across Google’s featured snippets before but, just in case, let’s quickly get you up to speed on what they are.  

A featured snippet is a short summary of information from a trusted source or website that sits at the top of Google’s search engine results page (a position often referred to as ‘position zero’). Featured snippets appear above all other organic results and are shown for a wide range of questions, queries and keywords. They take up a huge section of the search results and might look something like this…

As you can see, typing ‘How to clean a car?’ into Google will show you a featured snippet with a step by step list of instructions and a labelled photograph. This quickly gives you all the information you need to get the job done, without requiring you to click through to a website. Helpful, right?

This isn’t the only style of featured snippet that we see in Google’s search results, in fact, there are 3 common types of featured snippets; paragraphs, lists and tables. Of these three types, paragraphs are by far the most common, currently making up around 80% of all featured snippets on Google.

Did you know that featured snippets are also the first point of reference for Google’s voice search results? With more and more smart devices and voice-activated assistants making their way into people’s homes, it’s clear to see why featured snippets are becoming more prominent in digital marketing strategies.

How Do Featured Snippets Impact Click-Through-Rates?

Google introduced featured snippets way back in 2014 to (in Google’s own words) “help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description and when they click on the link to read the page itself”.

Since featured snippets were introduced, SEO specialists have been increasingly concerned about their impact on click-through-rates. After all, why would users bother to click through to a website, if all the information they need can be found in the search results?

To tackle these concerns, Google adds a link to the source of the snippet of information prominently and cites the source website whenever Google Assistant reads it aloud as a spoken result. Google even sends a link to the Google Home app so users can ‘click to learn more’ if they so wish. But is this enough? How often do people click to learn more?

According to a recent study carried out by notorious SEO specialist, Rand Fishkin, “less than half of all Google searches now result in a click” (as shown in the chart above). Of course, this doesn’t mean that ranking highly is becoming less important, it just means that digital marketers need to be clever about generating content, adding schema markup to sites, and satisfying Google’s requirements if they want to gain maximum exposure in the search results.

Let’s take a look at a featured snippet we were able to gain for a client in 2019, to see whether gaining this top spot has had a positive, negative or no noticeable effect on click-through-rate.

This blog (shown above) ‘The Most Common Garden Weeds in the UK’ was published in March 2019. By mid-May, we started to see a huge spike in traffic to the website, and more specifically, a dramatic rise in the number of people visiting this blog.

A quick investigation found that this blog had been selected to sit in the exclusive ‘position zero’ for keywords related to common lawn weeds uk. (We gave ourselves a pat on the back).

Between the time the blog was published (March 29th) and the end of the year (December 31st) this blog single-handedly drove over 50% of all new users to the website, more than any other page on the website! The number of clicks through to the blog totalled an impressive 70% of all clicks through to the website, so the positive impact that this featured snippet had for our client was unprecedented.

When considering why that is, it’s likely that the topic that this snippet addresses is driving users to click through. The common garden weeds are listed in the featured snippet, but users might want to find out more information such as; when the weeds are most prevalent and how to get rid of them.

What Can We Take from This?

What this shows is that users are certainly becoming less likely to click on webpages and ads because, quite frankly, they no longer need to. Google is finding the information they need and presenting it to them in an easily digestible way.

However, what our client’s results show is that featured snippets are an incredibly valuable feature that can drive lots of people to your website. Gaining ‘position zero’ puts your site directly in front of the user, and if they do want to find out more, then it’s your site they’re most likely to visit.

It’s important to bear in mind that even users who don’t click on the featured snippet are still being exposed to your brand, whether that’s visually or audibly. This improved brand awareness and authoritative position can only have a positive impact on your business in the long-term.

So, gaining featured snippets is certainly something that business owners and digital marketers should aim for as part of their marketing strategy. You can read more about writing to gain featured snippets in one of our previous blogs.

How to Gain a Featured Snippet >

If you’d like help increasing brand awareness, boosting your Google rankings or keeping your website content fresh and up to date, find out more about our SEO team here.

According to WordPress statistics, over 70 million blog posts are produced each month on WordPress alone. Based on those gargantuan stats, it’s fair to say that competition is pretty high in the world of online content.

With so much content produced every single day, it’s all too easy for a mediocre blog to quickly become buried under the rubble – only the very best content can stay above ground.

That being said, there are a few simple rules that you can apply to your content in order to keep it unique and engaging. Check out these content writing tips from the masters...

 

content writing tips, writing tips famous authors

 

Content Writing Tips from Literary Icons

When it comes to content writing advice, a simple Google search will fire back an endless list of results from a myriad of “experts” and “specialists”, usually accompanied by unfamiliar names and unrecognisable faces.

Why take the word of someone you’ve never heard of when you could sit under the learning tree of the biggest names in literary history?

Get the most out of your blog writing by channelling your inner Hemingway and following these steadfast tips from the very best.

 

Rules Are Made to be Broken

Elmore Leonard once quipped “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it”. From a content standpoint, this can be an extremely valuable lesson to learn.

If strictly adhering to conventional writing techniques makes your content sound boring, don’t be afraid to bend the rules and play around with your wording.

Content that lacks natural flow can become laboured and quickly result in the reader navigating elsewhere. Let the content speak for itself: if you have to sacrifice writing technique for the purpose of rhythm and tone, so be it.

Keep in mind the audience that you’re writing for and mould your content accordingly. A conversational tone can be far more effective (and fitting) in a light-hearted blog than one that rigidly follows the codes and conventions of the Queen’s speech.

It’s worth remembering that this advice also comes from the same man who wrote “10 Rules of Writing” for The New York Times, proving that even the very best like to colour outside of the lines from time to time.

 

Don’t Be Too Wordy

In a 1906 letter to his eventual fiancé, Louie Burrows, D.H. Lawrence laid out some pearls of writing wisdom to his would-be lover after reading an essay of hers on the subject of art.

In the letter, Lawrence reminds Louie to “be careful of [her] adjectives”, reminding her that “there is so much more force in a rapid style”. Roughly translated in 21st-century lingo, what Mr Lawrence was so elegantly trying to say to his betrothed was simply this - “don’t waffle”.

If you too are guilty of waffling, Lawrence advises to “look at your piece and see how many three-lined sentences could be comfortably expressed in one line”. Remaining concise without losing the point is a key factor in maintaining reader retention.

Coincidentally, Lawrence also goes on to say in that very same letter “don’t use hackneyed adjectives” and instead to “try to be terse and in some measure original” – which brings us nicely to our next point…

 

Don’t Rely on Clichés

George Orwell once said, “Never use a figure of speech you are used to seeing in print”.

While Orwell may be best known for his novels and works of fiction, that piece of advice can just as easily be applied to anyone looking to create written content online.

In fact, Orwell’s rule is a fantastic tip for any writer looking to engage their audience in a unique and memorable way, while also providing a great opportunity to inject a bit of personality into your content.

Tired tropes and overused phrasing can become instant fodder for eye-rolling. Try to stray away from clichés and mix it up in order to keep your audience engaged and interested.

Enjoyable reading translates to longer page dwelling times which has a positive effect on SEO, as well as the user experience.

So, don’t be afraid to drop the clichés like a bad habit and avoid them like the plague.

…D’oh!

 

For more content writing tips or to explore the professional content creation services at Designer Websites, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online using the button below.

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For many businesses, professional copywriting services can be a Godsend. Providing sleek, readable copy that speaks volumes to your customers, a professional copywriter has the ability to raise the game of a brand exponentially.

A professional presentation can lend unrivalled credibility to a business, providing instant integrity and boosting customer confidence. Meanwhile, the alternative route can be the complete opposite, raising red flags and act as an immediate customer-repellent.

Professional copywriting is the tailor-made tuxedo of web content, while a DIY job represents a pre-owned hand-me-down. While both may get the job done, one will undoubtedly fit far better and leave a more memorable lasting impression to onlookers.

Like most things in life, the more you invest, the more you get in return. Professional content writing is no different – and here’s exactly why…

 

 benefits of professional content writing

 

Why Hire a Professional Copywriter?

Despite being a valuable skill that’s honed through years of practice, copywriting often gets held to a different professional standard than most specialisms, with many individuals opting to pen their own content unqualified.

To put that into context, that would be like a bride and groom sacking off a professional wedding singer in favour of their Uncle Steve on the basis that he sings in the shower. While undoubtedly the cheaper option, it’s also a real recipe for disaster (sorry, Steve).

The results of non-professional content writing can be dull at best and dire at worst, ranging from spelling mistakes and grammatical incorrections to verbose meanderings and unintelligible nonsense.

If you’re considering penning your own copy for your business, here are a few reasons why you might want to hire a professional copywriter to do your bidding instead.

 

Language

Any professional copywriter worth their salt will have a firm grasp of the English language so tight it could rival a boa constrictor on a budget.

Armed with a vast vocabulary and a mental spellcheck that requires no word processor, a pro will be able to turn the dullest of subjects into a textual feast for the eyes – error-free, well-structured and as engaging as a diamond ring.

A good copywriter will also be well-versed in the art of proofing and have an expert eye for faults and flaws. This should help to ensure that your finished copy is not only enticing and interesting to read but also grammatically correct with unwavering punctuation.

 

Research

Professional copywriters are often tasked with lending their wordsmithery to subjects outside their sphere of knowledge. As such, efficient and accurate research skills are paramount.

The benefit of this is that any statements made in your copy will, more often than not, be backed up with credible sources as evidence. Meanwhile, this process may also uncover additional details for inclusion that you may have overlooked out of familiarity.

If curiosity killed the cat, then a professional copywriter may need to have eyes in the back of their head for their own safety, because a healthy curiosity is key part of the job. A curious mind and thorough research skills, coupled with the ability to communicate the results is the perfect combination for golden content.

 

Perspective

If you’ve been part of a project from the get-go and are deeply rooted in the thick of it, it can be hard to see the wood through the trees. Hiring a professional copywriter can allow your company to take a step back and paint the bigger picture.

A fresh pair of eyes from an outsider’s perspective can be invaluable in providing accurate and unbiased content.

While a pro will naturally be able to create the message your brand is going for, they will also be able to highlight areas you may have overlooked through familiarity.

 

Engagement

One of the biggest perks of professional content creation is the ability to attract, entice and engage your target audience – an extremely important skill. Case in point: headline copy.

Research has shown that as much as 80% of people will read a headline but not the body of the article. Loosely, translated: a rubbish headline can leave the rest of your text untouched.

Imagine if The Ritz had an exterior that was dirty, decrepit and covered in graffiti. No matter how good the inside was, chances are, you wouldn’t venture past the front gate.

The same principle applies to headlines. A polished copywriter will be able to craft an attention-grabbing headline that’ll pique interest in a single glance.

 

Optimisation

With Google algorithm updates taking place multiple times a year, keeping on top of SEO best practices can be a near-impossible task for anyone not 100% focused on the task at hand.

A professional copywriter will be able to pen SEO copy effortlessly and optimising content will be second-nature, ensuring your pages are ranking as well as being perfectly readable.

In the long run, this can be the difference between being seen and your services

 

Professional Copywriting Services

Taking everything else out of the equation, professional content creation takes time, dedication and consistency – three things that are hard to commit to and maintain when your attention and expertise are needed elsewhere.

Even if you sell the greatest products/services in the universe, poor communication and clunky content can tarnish your brand instantly. Give your business the best chance of success with professional content from a pro.

 

For more information on our professional copywriting services, why not drop us a line today to find out more? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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For amateur and professional bloggers alike, the art of SEO is one that must be practised and perfected in order to ensure your content performs to its fullest potential.

That being said, to the untrained, non-SEO aficionado, the optimising content for search engines can seem like a daunting task.

Luckily, it can be a lot easier than you would think; optimised blogs that are ready, willing and able to perform aren't just reserved for those that have a computer science degree.

 

seo basics, seo for bloggers

 

SEO for Bloggers

Neglecting to implement the SEO basics can act as the ultimate anchor that’s guaranteed to drag your content down the pecking order.

To help your blog soar to the SERP heights it deserves, try implementing these simple SEO basics into your content and turn your underperforming blog into a Search Engine Optimus Prime.

 

Need for Site Speed

If your idea of reducing cookie size is to bite it in half, chances are you won’t know how to minify HTML or make AJAX cacheable either.

Luckily, there are simple ways to help boost the speed of your blog page and perhaps the easiest of these is to optimise your images.

Most bloggers will be well-aware of the benefits of imagery within a blog and include them accordingly, so optimising these images is vital.

Compressing the image file can work wonders, as can appropriate resizing; however, be sure to scale outside of HTML.

Finally, name the file appropriately and make the most of the Alt Text, ideally using relevant keywords in both.

 

Beverly Hills Copy

Reading copy online can be notably different to reading in print, particularly when it comes to article length.

While a chunk of text on a page may seem manageable, seeing a long, scrollable block of text can be off-putting, often leading the visitor to either skim-read or potentially not read your blog at all.

As such, quality copywriting is key and layout is never more important. To sum it up in a sentence, don’t waffle, be engaging and make the most of space by breaking up your text.

In addition to improving the quality and readability of your content, top-notch copy will also keep readers engaged in your blog for longer.

The resulting “time on page” and “session duration” stats will ultimately lead Google to the conclusion that you’re producing Grade A content (which hopefully is true!) and reward you accordingly with a better ranking.

 

Back-Link to the Future

How many times have you fallen down the YouTube rabbit hole, watching countless related videos only to wind up a million miles away from where you started? Such is the power of related content.

Internal linking is your blog’s very own rabbit hole, allowing your readers to easily navigate from the original blog to topics of relative interest with ease. Best of all, it keeps your readers engaged with your content for longer and, most importantly, keeps them on your site.

It’s also an inherently easy way to share link equity around your site; however, this shouldn’t be taken as an opportunity to shoe-horn in as many links as possible. Aim to keep your links as relevant as possible to the original post, ideally linking related anchor text within the body of the blog.

For example, a blog on a motoring site about legal tread depth would be perfect to link from an article about changing a tyre. Conversely, it’s probably not the best blog to link to from a blog about fashion.

 

Clash of the Titles

While it may seem obvious, it’s worth covering all the same – optimising your meta titles is vital when it comes to SEO.

If you’re targeting specific keywords, it’s a wise move to include your most relevant one in the title itself. If you’re writing a blog around the subject of the Atkins diet, there’s no reason that phrase shouldn’t be the title itself.

While the headers to become less impactful as you go down the line (H1s to H2s to H3s, etc.), incorporating keywords into your main headings and titles can reap many rewards.

It’s also important to remember that excessively long titles will become truncated, leading to what is, essentially, half a title.

Aim to keep your titles under 60 characters to ensure your blog title makes the cut without taking a cut.

 

URL-Raiser

Much like the title of the blog, another easy way to make your blog SEO friendly is to optimise the URL.

A URL that’s excessively long and/or full of random numbers, letters and symbols does no favours to anyone: from the person reading it to the person writing it and search engine bots in between.

A keyword-rich URL that’s concise, accurate and readable is key. This can help enhance visibility and social sharing, while it can also contribute to better SEO performance due to the fact that URLs are commonly used as anchor text via copy and pasting.

A link to sampleblog.net/URL-advice is pretty self-explanatory, even if the title of the blog itself is not present, increasing the user experience as a result. Conversely, ambiguous URLs can be off-putting, deterring clicks as a result.

 

 

For more SEO tips and blog writing advice, check out our SEO blogs for further details. Alternatively, why not drop us a line and find out all about our professional SEO services at Designer Websites? Call now on 01446 339050 or click the button below to get in touch online.

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

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

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

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

 

outdated seo, seo techniques

 

Exact-Match Domains (EMDs)

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

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

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

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

 

Exact-Match Anchor Text

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dedicated Pages for Keyword Variations

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

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

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

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

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

 

Writing for Bots

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Irrelevant Links

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

seo facts, facts about seo 

 

Key SEO Facts

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

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

  

Quality Matters

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

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

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

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

 

Link Building

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

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

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

 

Internal Links

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

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

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

 

Everything in Moderation

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

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

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

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

 

The Bigger Picture

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

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

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

 

Get Mobile

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

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

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

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

 

Analyse This

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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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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Wading through the muddy waters of Lake Google can be a troublesome task at the best of times, particularly when it comes to SEO.

Regular algorithm changes habitually move the digital goal posts, making the ability to adapt and react a vital part of the job for any self-respecting online marketing with an eye for SEO.

Naturally, the sheer volume of competition makes it difficult to swim to the surface of the SERP rankings, leaving you to jockey for position in an extremely crowded pool.

While it can be tempting to take shortcuts, the purest approach is often the one that has the longest lasting effects and they don’t come much purer than White Hat SEO.

So, dust off your ivory caps, mount that high horse and head for the moral high ground, as we take a look at the ins and outs of White Hat SEO.

 

white hat seo,white hat seo tips,white hat seo techniques,what is white hat seo

 

What is White Hat SEO?

If you read our last blog on Black Hat SEO techniques, you should know all about what not to do and which SEO tactics to avoid. From keyword stuffing to invisible text, it’s a dark art and one that can also be pretty risky.

This underhanded approach of manipulative methods and sneaky shortcuts will only work for so long before you inevitably get found out. The resulting penalty can see your site plummet down the search rankings and possibly even banished from the SERPs altogether.

On the other hand, there is White Hat SEO. The Ying to the Black Hat’s Yang, White Hat SEO offers Google-approved SEO strategies that play by SEO rules and regulations. White Hat SEO tactics are the best way to create an ethical online listing that isn’t in danger of falling out of favour.

 

Examples of White Hat SEO Techniques

Now we’ve identified what White Hat SEO is, it’s only fair that we paint a full, snowy picture to completely illustrate its squeaky-clean, albino goodness.

To help keep your SEO plan righteous, virtuous and, most importantly, effective, here are a few examples to keep you on the White Hat straight and narrow.

 

Keyword Research

Like any job, doing your homework before you jump in can reap many rewards and SEO is no different. Modern KW technology makes it relatively simple to identify a laundry list of keywords for you to sprinkle within your content in order to keep it ranking and relevant.

However, it’s important not to go overboard. There’s a fine line between keyword inclusion and keyword stuffing, and overuse of keywords could see the former become the latter with seamless ease.

Additionally, try not to choose keywords that are hugely competitive. The greater the demand, the less likely you are to rank. Instead, target long-tail keywords for a better chance of hitting the jackpot.

 

Quality Content

In the world of SEO, content is truly is king and quality content will rule the roost long after it’s first penned (especially if its evergreen). As such, creating well-written content that’s readable and engaging is one of the most effective White Hat SEO techniques there is.

While it can be time-consuming, providing original content that is relevant and useful to your site visitors can translate into serious results. The top 10 blog listings on Google typically comprise of 2000 to 4000 words, so don’t be afraid to dive deep into the subject matter.

Creating unique content about topics you fully understand and have expert insight to can help establish you as an authority on the subject, making your content both original and sharable. Which leads us nicely to…

 

Link Building

Backlinks are Google’s main indicator of which site page is most reliable and relevant to the search term, and therefore most worthy of a high SERP listing. As a rule of thumb, the more backlinks a page has, the higher it will rank on Google.

Backlinks can be gained ethically by writing testimonials, guest blogging and creating partnerships with other sites. Meanwhile, creating original, authoritative content that’s sharable is also a great way to organically bolster your backlinks.

 

Business Listing

In its never-ending quest to provide increasingly accurate results, Google also takes into account the location of a business when displaying SERPs. This can particularly helpful for those looking for local services.

For example, a Brummy on the hunt for a restaurant in Birmingham probably isn’t going to be interested in a steakhouse in Birmingham, Alabama. As such, Google weeds out the irrelevant and reports back with the most applicable geographical results.

Adding a Google My Business (GMB) listing for your company is a great White Hat technique in ensuring local SEO. Meanwhile, it could also attract additional traffic through Google Maps’ “near me” function – a tool used by 82% of overall smartphone users (rising to 92% for Millennials) according to figures published by Uberall.

 

For more information on White Hat SEO techniques and how to avoid Black Hat SEO, drop us a line on 01446 339050. Alternatively, drop us an email using the button below.

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Any business owner or content provider will be well aware of the importance of SEO when it comes to online visibility. The better the SEO, the stronger your page will be in terms of SERP rankings.

However, like any arduous process, there are always going to be those who seek out shortcuts in the hopes of getting from A to B quicker and with as little effort as possible.

Welcome to the world of “Black Hat SEO” – the black market of page ranking; the seedy underbelly of content manipulation; where businesses go to achieve digital dominance by any means necessary.

If you’re thinking of going rogue and donning a black hat in your quest for SEO supremacy, you may want to think again. It isn’t without its risks and short-term gain could very easily result in long-term heartache.

 

black hat seo, what is black hat seo

 

What is Black Hat SEO?

In the halcyon days of the western cowboy movies, the heroes and the villains were commonly distinguishable by their choice of headwear. For the purpose of black and white cinematography, the colours of choice were logically monochrome: the good guys wore white, while the bad guys wore black.

So, perennial silver screen hero, John Wayne, would typically be found sporting a milky Stetson, while someone like Lee Marvin would don an inky, villainous crown. For a more recent example, see Christian Bale and Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma (FYI: top film!).

From an SEO standpoint, the same rules apply: “white hat SEO” ethically relies on human audience behaviour as opposed to the search engine’s, while “black hat SEO” focuses on manipulating the search engine and breaking the rules, all while showing two fingers to search engine guidelines.

 

Examples of Black Hat SEO

The dark arts of Black Hat SEO come in many forms, from the glaringly obvious to downright devious. Here are a few examples of the most common offences and how to spot them.

 

Spam Comments

If you’ve ever read a blog or online article with a comments section at the base, chances are that you’ve come across comments comprising of nonsensical fluff that’s completely irrelevant to the preceding post.

The comments section is a veritable playground for Black Hat SEO tacticians and typically filled with more spam than a war-time lunchbox.

While this was somewhat effective in the mid-2000s – resulting in follow links and flowing pagerank to your site for the priestly sum of zero – this process has since been found out, making the minimal benefits hardly worth the bother.

The net is now largely wise to these tactics and spam comments now offer no follow links, while many websites have removed the ability to embed comment content altogether.

Nevertheless, playing the law of averages, the more spam comments of this nature, the more referral traffic you can expect to receive, albeit of a questionable nature of varying quality.

 

Duplicate Content

Content created in a copy/paste manner can be used to deliberately manipulate search engine rankings in order to generate more traffic to a chosen site. While this can not only negatively impact the user experience, it can also detrimentally affect the original site.

Search engines universally prefer unique content to duplicated text and typically won’t show multiple forms of the same content in the SERP. As such, twin copy replicated elsewhere can become problematic and leave certain pages omitted from the results page.

Duplicated content can confuse the search engine, making it difficult for it to know which result is more relevant to a given search. In turn, this can have an adverse effect on ranking and a knock-on effect on traffic as a result, while it can also dilute link equity as well.

 

Keyword Stuffing

As the name suggests, keyword stuffing is the process of overcramming certain buzzwords and phrases into your page in order to maximise its visibility for those particular terms.

While, on the surface, this may seem logical, it can quickly degenerate into a smorgasbord of spam that not only seems unnatural but, at times, can become almost unreadable.

Spamtastic copy often makes little sense and, needless to say, is not user-friendly, negatively affecting your user experience, tarnishing your credibility and ruining the professional presentation of your site.

 

Invisible Text

Perhaps the sneakiest of all the examples on this page, invisible text takes keyword stuffing to another level.

This method uses coloured text on an identically coloured background, camouflaging it from visible view.

As a result, the site still ranks for the chosen keywords present in the hidden copy, yet the text remains unseen to the site visitor.

 

Black Hat SEO Tactics to Avoid

Naturally, Black Hat SEO tactics aren’t without their risks. Playing against the rules is essentially playing with fire when it comes to your website ranking. While you may get away with for a while, it’s only a matter of time before you face a serious burn.

Black Hat tactics can result in notable damage to your page’s long-term performance, while repeated offences can see your site banned from certain search engines entirely (although this punishment is admittedly quite rare).

More typical ramifications commonly result in a site receiving a serious demotion in the search rankings, nullifying the Black Hat tactics in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, the risk of digital banishment is an ever-present danger if you repeatedly stray to the dark side.

To avoid your Black Hat strategy turning into Black List misery, we recommend steering clear of these short-term fixes and instead focusing your time and efforts on conventional White Hat methods that don’t draw the ire of the SERP police.

 

For more information on Black Hat SEO tactics and the effects of unethical SEO, drop us a line today on 01446 339050. Alternatively, get in touch using the button below and find out more about how we can help you achieve SEO results the right way.

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In the world of SEO and content marketing, there’s no disputing that content is indeed king. However, not all kings are created equally.

Like any monarch, a good king wants to reign for as long as possible and, in the world of SEO, the true king of longevity is undoubtedly evergreen content.

 

evergreen content

 

What is evergreen content?

Okay, before we go any further, let’s put a label on evergreen content so we know exactly what we’re dealing with here.

Taking its name from the evergreen tree that maintains its leaves all year-round, evergreen content is content that stays relevant long after its initial publication date.

For example, a blog titled “Fashion Tips for 2019” will automatically become dated the moment 2020 hits, not to mention the content within it will be very much seasonal and specific to that time period.

Conversely, a blog based on the subject of “How to Get Bigger Biceps” may still be relevant in ten months, if not ten years times, provided the text within it doesn’t refer to anything topical at the time of publication.

 

Benefits of evergreen content

Most content, particularly newsworthy posts and topical reporting, stays relevant for a relatively short period of time.

Take a review of a football match, for example. While the article may receive a lot of attention upon publication, the hits will significantly drop off in next to no time, as the story quite literally becomes “yesterday’s news”.

Meanwhile, evergreen content will remain consistently applicable, regardless of when you view it. As such, the KPIs of evergreen content are a steady flow of traffic over time, self-generating repeated backlinks and healthy amounts of sharing over social media.

When it comes to content marketing ROI, evergreen content also provides excellent economical value. While it may take a little longer to produce and require more time and attention to detail, the end result will last and provide a far greater return over time.

 

Creating evergreen content

If you’re looking to create long-lasting content for your site, there are a number of tips for evergreen content that are well worth keeping in mind.

Here are a few different ways to approach your content in pursuit of evergreen pastures.

 

Get educated

Content that’s designed to educate and inform is a great starting point when it comes to creating evergreen content. “How To” guides and FAQs are prime examples of this, providing a solid base for useful information that can be relevant long after it’s published.

For example, if you own a website that sells musical instruments, a post detailing how to change guitar strings is pertinent and won’t become dated any time soon.

Meanwhile, a history site that posts factual blogs dedicated to historical events is unlikely to feature information that changes over time, barring any new evidence or scientific breakthroughs.

 

Be practical

Similarly, practical content that can be used by the reader can also stand the test of time. This is particularly applicable to content that promotes personal growth and self-betterment.

Useful information that can be applied in the real world in a manner that’s not tethered to a specific time period can live a long and prosperous life, even in the fast-paced environment of today’s modern world.

For a prime example of this, look no further than How to Win Friends and Influence People. Dale Carnegie’s self-help classic was first published pre-WW2 in 1936 and still sells in bundles to this day.

 

Vital statistics

Research, results and statistical information are also key players when it comes to evergreen content. Authoritative content backed by supporting evidence is also a magnet for backlinks, which can be invaluable for SEO.

While date stamping and time referencing is generally to be avoided when constructing evergreen content, research and statistical info are somewhat of an anomaly, as information such as this can often be referred back to after the fact and still be deemed useful.

For example, a post studying crime rates in the UK can be utilised years after the fact as a point of reference for comparative purposes, providing a useful means of measuring positive or negative change and trends.

 

Subject matters

The topic itself can also have a heavy influence on the longevity of an article, with fast-moving industries that are constantly evolving typically breeding posts with a shorter shelf life.

Subjects such as fashion, sport and politics where a revolving door of news is commonplace often feature content that becomes old extremely quickly. Meanwhile, steady topics that remain relatively constant over time – such as health, careers, parenting, etc – can prosper long into the future.

After all, career advice from the 1980s can still be relevant today. Fashion advice, not so much.

 

Stand out

If your site produces content at a rapid pace over the course of the day, week or month, it won’t take long for your evergreen content to become buried beneath other content that may not be as enduring.

To keep your evergreen content strong in the public consciousness, it may be worth adding an additional tab or drop down in your site navigation, such as “Top Blogs” or “Guides”.

This can help highlight these pages and make them stand out from the crowd of daily blogs and content.

It also allows you to expose your visitors to your evergreen content in a far simpler manner, without requiring them to dig through pages of historical content to find them.

 

For more information on content and SEO, give us a call today on 01446 339050 or hit the button below to get in touch online.

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SEO tips,SEO mistakes,how to avoid SEO mistakes

 

Remember that scene in Rambo IV where the Burmese soldiers throw landmines into a murky pond before forcing the villagers to walk blindly into those same muddy waters?

No? What do you mean you’ve never seen Rambo IV?! It’s a classic!!!

Well, for many content providers, that scene pretty much sums up the world of SEO in a nutshell. The landmines are SEO mistakes, the villagers are the content providers and Google is the Burmese Army, eagerly waiting for you to put a foot wrong.

Luckily, your pals here at Designer Websites are playing the part of John Rambo, equipped with our trusty bow and arrow of SEO tips to help you make it through those waters unscathed.

The fact is, SEO can be a real minefield: one wrong step, misguided keyword or neglected precaution could see your content go up in smoke.

Don’t wait for Google to draw first blood; take the SEO war straight to their door with this standard-issue survival guide to SEO.

 

Common SEO Mistakes

When it comes to SEO, the forever-changing, ever-evolving Google algorithm makes staying above water in the SERP a never-ending task.

Even those with an ironclad strategy and bulletproof knowledge can find themselves caught out from time to time, especially when it comes time for an algorithm change straight out of left field.

To help you stay ahead of the curve, here’s a handful of the most common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them.

 

Poor Planning

Jon Bon Jovi once sang, “I don’t know where I’m going, only God knows where I’ve been”. If JBJ applied that same mindset to SEO, he’d make for a pretty poor digital marketer.

In the world of SEO, strategizing is a key part of the process; failure to plan and neglecting to track your performance along the way can lead to a myriad of issues down the line.

How to avoid

Create an organised SEO strategy and track its KPIs. As the old saying goes, “proper planning and preparation prevents p**s poor performance”. Meanwhile, the beauty of tracing KPIs is that it allows you to refocus if certain aspects of your strategy aren’t up to scratch. If one area of your approach shows signs of weakness, don’t be afraid to amend accordingly, take action or change course.

 

Creating Duplicate Content

Duplicating content can be extremely detrimental to SEO. Worse still, duplicating content can also be extremely detrimental to SEO.

Jokes aside, mirror-image text can lead to search engine confusion, preventing or delaying indexing. This kind of digital déjà vu is a common offence for e-commerce sites, often due to the sheer volume of their product catalogues; however, that’s not to say other content providers are immune.

How to avoid

Keep content unique across the board. While it can be tempting to copy and paste content from A to B when a common theme allows, the most effective way to avoid duplication is to simply be original. Whether it’s product copy or a meta description, fresh wording can make all the difference. Conversely, it’s important to stay consistent when it comes to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­things like URLs – e.g. avoid interchangeable use of caps – as this can also confuse the search engine.

 

Targeting the Wrong Keywords

Another common mistake is that many content providers try to run before they can walk when it comes to keywords. If your site sells football boots, chances are your listing is not going to compete with SportsDirect anytime soon.

Targeting keywords with a huge search volume is not something to hang your hat on, particularly for newer, younger websites. It’s the equivalent of walking into a gym for the first time and trying the lift the heaviest dumbbell – start light and work your way up.

How to avoid

Don’t try to cover every keyword in your chosen topic; instead, try focusing on less competitive keywords. This will allow you to gain traction from a less crowded marketplace, building your site reputation which will then allow you to effectively target high-volume keywords down the line.

 

Ignoring Old Content

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race and settle into the “new content” production line. However, overlooking existing content on your site can be an easily avoidable error.

Historical content that is past its sell-by date is like hoarding an old collection of insignificant newspapers: no-one’s going to read them, they’re cluttering up space and, for all intents and purposes, they’re virtually useless in their current state. But they don’t have to be…

How to avoid

Much like a newspaper, you can recycle your content to breathe new life into an old post. If your historical content still holds relevance, simply upgrade with new stats, figures and information, updating its design and potentially adding new imagery/video. Better still, a simple factual facelift necessitates less work which presents a higher ROI.

 

Neglecting Internal Links

If you’re publishing copy on your website or blog and not linking internally to other relevant pages on your site, you’re seriously missing a trick. Any time you publish new content, it’s wise to keep in mind ways you can link this to other content within your overall site (or group of sites).

If your target audience is viewing your content, you’ve already done the hard work. The reader is clearly interested in your content by their very presence, so redirecting them to other relevant pages can be effortless. Think of it as a street promoter enticing you into a club with the promise of free entry. Once you’re in the venue, it’s far easier for the bar staff to shill the BOGOF cocktails.

How to avoid

Write your content with your existing content in mind. If your subject matter is close to that of another, find ways to weave your secondary page into the copy and link appropriately. It’s also a good idea to link to your most authoritative pages; this is a great way to build link equity in your new page while further bolstering the existing page you’re linking to.

 

Only serving Google

It’s easy to lose sight that Google isn’t the only search engine online. There’s no denying that it’s certainly the biggest, but it’s definitely not the only game in town.

Bing and Yahoo are common alternatives; however, if you think outside the box, it could play into your favour massively.

How to avoid

Did you know that YouTube is the internet’s second biggest search engine? Video content is on the rise and only likely to grow in the coming years, according to industry forecast reports from Cisco.

Building your brand on YouTube can be a great way to kill two birds with one stone: getting ahead of the competition in a growing medium, while also capitalising on a commonly overlooked search engine.

 

For more SEO pointers, why not head over to our SEO Tips blog for some insider insight? Alternatively, for additional information, drop us a line using the button below.

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When it comes to implementing keywords into your site copy, blog content and social media, knowing where to start can be a headache in itself - particularly if you don’t have a good keyword research tool to help get the wheels in motion.

Sadly, many of the best keyword research tools are paid, subscription-based services – which is all well and good for big companies that can afford it, not so great for Aunt Lily and her humble, home-made cupcake business.

Luckily, help is at hand. More specifically, help is directly in your hands!

 serp seo

What is SERP?

Okay, first things first, let’s go back to basics – what does SERP stand for?

SERP is an acronym for “Search Engine Results Page”. This is where the web results of your search term will be displayed in list form, ranked by their relevance to what you’re looking for. This is also typically accompanied by additional paid ads that also relate to the terms you searched.

A high-ranking, keyword-rich site page, blog or post will, in theory, climb the SERP rankings and sit high on the list. Meanwhile, unoptimised text will find itself relegated to darkest depths of the bottom pages – where no man wants to be.

Think of your site as a magazine on a newsstand. Great SERP SEO will see your site taking pride of place, proudly displayed front and centre for all to see. Meanwhile, poor SEO would be akin to stuffing it at the very back of the top shelf, hidden behind a couple of dusty, old blue mags.

 

Using SERP to optimise content

To keep your content from dancing in the dark like an uncoordinated extra in a high school musical, it’s important to keep your SEO skills sharp. This will help shine a spotlight on your content and bump it up to the main stage of the top results pages.

How do we do that? We’re glad you asked! Some of the most relevant keywords and phrases are available literally at your fingertips – you just need to know where to look.

 

SERP-rising results

The art of manipulating SERPs is a great way to make Google do the all the leg work when it comes to SEO research. Better still, the process itself is virtually effortless.

Finding great keywords that are relevant to your subject matter can be as easy as hitting the “enter” key. Simply run a Google search for a term relative to your needs and watch nature take its course.

This process can instantly return a myriad of keywords and phrases that have already passed the Google green-light, leaving them ripe for the picking.

Say, for example, you run a dog food business. Typing “cheap dog food” into Google will immediately spit out a bowlful of meaty SEO results dripping in keyword Marylebone jelly.

Follow these three easy SEO tips to keep your content standing tall as top dog.

 

"People also ask"

The “People also ask” box is typically found towards the top of the results page when you enter your search requirements.

So, using the example of your fictional dog food business, a search for “cheap dog food” would return relative search questions along the lines of “What is a good dog food?”, “What is the best cheap dog food?” and “How much does a dog cost a month?”.

These terms can make for excellent headings in your blog and logical H2s that won’t seem forced. The queries are relevant, the subject matters are ideal and the answers can be seamlessly weaved into your content in a manner that also naturally promotes your product.

For example, if you were to include “What is a good dog food?” as a H2 in your blog, you could easily relate the accompanying content back to your products in smooth transition by saying:

“A good dog food should include a variety of key canine nutrients. Mut Mix 2000 includes all the vitamins and minerals your furry friend needs for a healthy, balanced diet.”

This way your copy remains relevant, you’ve plugged your product nicely and still included the keyword phrase in a high-profile position as a H2. Hot dog!

 

"Searches related to"

Much like the previous section, another great area of inspiration is the “Searches related to” list. This can be found at the bottom of the SERP, comprising of eight similar searches related to your topic of choice. This is essentially a mini list of searches that Google believes the user may find helpful, should they wish to expand on their search.

The results can range from alternate searches to more detailed queries into the same term; for example, that “cheap dog food” search could return “cheap dog food online” or “dry dog food” in the “Searches related to” section. As Google has already identified these terms as relevant to your search, they logically warrant inclusion in your copy.

Meanwhile, the octet of “Searches related to” results can also provide businesses with valuable market research of what your customers are actively looking for in relation to a product. Related searches – such as “cheap dog food 15kg” and “cheap dog food in bulk” – give an insightful glimpse into what your target audience wants, as well as their buying habits, so it’s worth keeping that in mind if you don’t already provide such products.

 

"People also search for"

This next batch of insider info is a little trickier to come by as it doesn’t immediately appear in your search results; however, it’s still fairly straight-forward to access.

Simply type in your search term and click on one of the relevant results. Once through to your site of choice, navigate back to the SERP to trigger the “People also search for” box. This should now appear below the aforementioned site listing in the SERP.

This box typically includes six highly relevant results that mirror your search and, by proxy, mirrors the behaviour of your customer/target audience. This is very similar to the “Searches related to” list yet still a useful and insightful tool nonetheless.

If patience isn’t your strong suit and bulk lists are what you’re after, there a number of programmes, plug-ins and extensions readily-available online that enable you to simply extract the list of “People also search for” phrases in one go (such as this). These allow you to effectively harvest these lists for SEO purposes without the need to meticulously scour Google.

 

So, there you have it: three easy ways to optimise your content at the click of a mouse without parting with a penny. For more SEO tips, check out our Simple SEO Tips for 2019 or drop us a line using the button below.

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