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.

Get in Touch

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.

Get in Touch

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.

Get in Touch

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.

seo tips 2019

For any business that relies heavily on web content and online activity, the importance of SEO cannot be overstated.

Poor SEO can make even the most engaging content underperform and, in some cases, seem virtually invisible to the outside world.

Think of it as painting the world’s most beautiful picture…on the underside of a chair. Regardless of how brilliant it may be, what good is it if no-one can see it?

On the other hand, top-notch SEO tactics can see your website soar, clocking up more traffic than the M25 in rush hour – so its well worth keeping abreast of the trends.

Luckily, here at Designer Websites, we have a few handy hints and tips to ensure your content doesn’t get lost in the shuffle this year, allowing your site to get the love and attention it deserves.

 

Google Algorithm for SEO

When it comes to SEO performance, much of your site’s success hinges on the Google algorithm – Google’s way of determining how to rank web pages. If your content plays nicely with the GA, the higher in the rankings you will be; if it doesn’t – sayonara.

To make matters even more complicated, the guys and gals at Google HQ love to keep us on our toes by throwing the odd SEO curve ball our way. In fact, for SEO strategists, it's fair to say that Google has thrown more spanners in the works than an angry mechanic on the verge of a meltdown.

Over the course of a year, it’s not unusual for G-Team to make over 500 changes to the Google algorithm, proving that their algorithm is a dancer and a damn hard one to keep up with on the digital dance floor.

Typically, 2019 is no different. That’s where we come in…

  

seo tips 2019

 

What is the Best SEO Strategy for 2019?

With so many changes to the algorithm throughout the year, creating content that abides by the wants and needs of Google can be like trying to appease a hysterically crying baby.

Does it need its content changed; does it want to be fed with more delicious keywords; or shall I just throw the laptop in the car, take it for a drive around the block and hope it goes to sleep?

Before you completely lose your mind to an SEO migraine, take a handful of these healthy hints to help you shake off the stress and stay ahead of the curve.

 

1. Back to basics

There are a number of tech-savvy ways you can optimise your website to perform at a high level, from adding breadcrumbs and prioritising pages in your site navigation to implementing tracking and making your site mobile friendly.

However, when it comes incorporating SEO friendly content to your site – such as blog posts, web copy and product descriptions – there are a few simple tactics that can have a profound effect on performance, without the need for an IT degree.

Before you tackle the nitty gritty, make sure the following basics have become second nature.

 

Keywords and phrases

Keywords and phrases are naturally the starting point for most SEO strategists. Once you’ve uncovered the best performing keywords for your subject, be sure to incorporate these organically into your copy, including your titles, headings and alt text when relevant.

Interlink with anchor texts

It’s also a good idea to interlink web pages within your site using anchor texts. Links are a crucial factor when it comes to page rankings; internal links to other pages on your site can help spread link equity and prolong site view times.

Optimising images

Compressing and optimising images within your pages can also increase your site speed. Slow loading times can have a negative effect on conversions and, by proxy, a negative effect on SEO. The quicker the site speed, the more likely you are to retain your visitor.

 

2. Fit for re-purpose

If your back catalogue of content runs deeper than the Coronation Street archive, you could be sitting on a goldmine of useful blogs and copy. After all, why let all that history go to waste – especially if the content is still relevant.

Recycling content can be a great way to make the most of what you already have. Updating pre-existing copy to include new keywords and updated information can instantly make it relevant again, enhancing the performance as a result.

Alternatively, you could repackage your text in the form of a video – which brings us nicely to our next top tip…

 

3. Video killed the SEO star

For content providers, video is the ultimate ace up the sleeve for SEO in 2019 and beyond. If you’re not already a dab hand with a digital camera or a wizard with Adobe Premiere Pro, now is the time to knuckle down and sharpen those skills.

According to veteran tech kings, Cisco, online video is set to grow exponentially in the coming years, with projections indicating that video will account for over 80% of all consumer IP traffic by 2022. In light of that info, neglecting video wouldn’t just be bringing a knife to a gunfight, it’s veritable content suicide.

Bulletproof your content by integrating video across your site, while you can also bolster existing videos by updating the titles and descriptions to ensure they remain SEO relevant. Meanwhile, optimising audio/video quality can enhance the user experience, further endearing your site to the gods of SEO.

 

4. SERPs up, man!

Whether you’re penning something completely new or attempting to breathe life into old content, Google itself can be a great resource for keywords and phrases.

If you’re looking to rank for a particular term, Google it and check out the search engine results page in the “People also ask” box for insight on things to include in your content.

Similarly, keep an eye on the “Searches related to…” results at the bottom of the page. Both are great ways to cherry pick a few golden terms for H1s and H2s.

Think of it as a being sat next to the smart kid during a particularly tough test; all the answers are there for the taking, it’s up to you if you take a look and use them.

 

5. Go evergreen with authority

According to Worldometers, well over 4 million blogs were posted via WordPress.com on the day this very blog was written. Multiply that by 365 and that’s a whole lotta content to compete with in 2019.

Needless to say, online content is quickly become an extremely crowded arena, suffering from the effects of over-saturation.

The dramatic rise in content competition has naturally hindered performance, while changes to social media have also seen sharing figures drop dramatically in recent years. However, you can avoid these pitfalls by actively taking your content in a different direction.

Evergreen content is essentially content that maintains its relevance over time, immune from becoming dated (a fact ironically stated in a blog titled “SEO Tips for 2019”). Keep your content from becoming yesterday’s news and tomorrow’s garbage by creating authoritative content that lasts.

Quality evergreen content based on research and reference has been proven to gain backlinks, building traction over time and ranking higher as result. Originality backed by linked references could well be your ticket to the big time.

 

So, there you have it – five simple ways to ensure your SEO content in 2019 is A-OK, not DOA.

For more information on how to become an SEO VIP, click here or hit the button below to get in touch.

Contact Us!

 

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.

Get a Quote >

Chatbots

The demand for customer service via instant messenger has recently reached new heights; since the revelation that messaging apps are more popular than social networking sites, companies have been scrambling to find a way to use instant message to their marketing advantage.

The result? Businesses are investing in more forms of live chat – from those manned by humans, to 24/7 automated chatbots.

What are chatbots?  

Chatbots are a piece of automated computer software; they are programmed to mimic human conversation through a chat interface.

 As Artificial Intelligence (AI) develops, more advanced forms of chatbots are being released.  AI chatbots can utilise machine learning to convincingly replicate human conversation, and consequently improve the user experience.

For the most part, though, businesses are still using simpler chatbot software for customer service and marketing. In these instances, chatbots work on a rule-based system – they look out for trigger keywords and provide what is deemed to be the most relevant response. For example, if a user mentions a particular product and the word ‘stock’ the chatbot might reply with a stock update for the specified product.

Why the popularity?

In our world of convenience, user patience grows continually thin. We already know that mobile speed is an absolute must-have for successful websites and is even used as a ranking factor by Google.

Thus, it naturally follows that consumers don’t want to waste their time on hold when making a phone call or waiting for a response via email. Instant messaging provides a space where customers can submit a query and instantly receive a response. This service has business and marketing benefits too – quicker response time means the chance of your prospect going elsewhere before converting is greatly reduced.

The pros and cons: human live chat v chatbots

As with anything, there are pros and cons to both chatbots and live chat systems manned by human assistants. Here we weigh up the different considerations for both options:

24/7

 One of the most obvious benefits of chatbots is their availability. No matter what time of day or night, a chatbot can be active and open for queries – this is a pretty appealing prospect when the digital realm demands that information be readily available at all times.

Complications

Chatbots may be able to accept customer enquiries 24 hours a day, but one thing they can’t do is handle niche or difficult questions. The nature of a chatbots programming means that if a user asks a question which doesn’t correspond to a specific query or keyword, it won’t be able to help.

 A live chat assistant can be far more responsive to customer’s needs, meaning a more tailored customer service experience for the user.

The cost

Creating a chatbot is significantly cheaper than employing a team of live chat assistants. While having a single live chat operator may be effective for very small companies, in most instances one person isn’t capable of handling multiple enquiries at once – the upshot of this is delayed response time, which defeats the purpose of live chat in the first place.

 A chatbot can respond instantly to a large pool of enquiries at any given time, meaning no customer is left frustrated.

Human touch

Speaking of frustrations, chatbots aren’t without their own enraging issues. As touched upon before, chatbots can only respond to queries they’ve been specifically programmed to understand. They can even be tripped up by spelling errors and typos.

Comparatively, a human assistant would not struggle with a more complex query or typo. Having a real person responding over live chat means they can also provide the additional service of salesperson, adding to the marketing benefits of live chat.

A chatbot can –  in a limited function –  recommend products based on what they think a user is searching for, but it’ll never be as persuasive or convincing as a personal recommendation from an actual person.

To conclude…

When it really comes down to it, on a one-on-one basis a chatbot could never beat the customer service provided by an actual human being. However, on a larger scale, the waters become more muddied. What works best for your company will depend on your particular business and the size of your customer base.

 Many organisations take the middle ground, using chatbots in the first instance, with a small team of human chat assistants ready to take over when things get more complex.  

With the current speed of AI advancements, we’re certain that most of these chatbot flaws will soon be a thing of the past – but for now, best not to hand everything over to the bots just yet.

Quick SEO Tips

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a pretty complex subject. Gone are the days when all you had to do was pick a keyword and stuff it into your page copy as many times as possible - if you want to conquer the Google results in 2018, there are all sorts of different factors you need to think about. And of course, since the algorithms are always changing, you'll need to keep your eyes open and stay abreast of all the latest updates if you don't want to be left behind.

Still, perhaps you're not looking to become an all-powerful SEO guru. Maybe you're just looking for a few quick tips that will help you boost your traffic without paying for ads. If that's the case, we hope that these 10 tips (brought to you by the Designer Websites SEO team) will serve you well:

1. Check your site's health on Google Search Console.

Google Search Console (google.com/webmasters/tools/home) is an indispensable tool that all website owners should use. Once you've added and verified your website, check out our beginner's guide to make sure you know what to look out for.

Oh, and while you're logged in...

2. Submit your sitemap to Google.

Go to the Crawl section in Google Search Console and select Sitemaps. This is where you can submit your website's XML sitemap file to Google - this makes it easier for the big G to index your content, and the Sitemaps tool will also inform you of any problems that are affecting pages you submit.

3. Take a good look at your title tags.

There are many different factors that decide whether a web page makes it into the top 10 Google results, but the page's title tag may be the most important of all. A page's title tag should ideally be no more than 60 characters in length, and it should be a clear, concise, and keyword-rich description of what that page is for.

Use Moz's title tag preview tool to see what your title tag will look like on Google (this is a good way to identify whether your title tag is too long).

4. Make sure your meta descriptions are snappy and engaging.

Unlike the title tag (see above), your page's meta description probably won't have a huge impact on rankings. However, it can make the difference between a Google user clicking on your result and scrolling straight past it.

You know the short paragraph of text that appears under most Google results? Very often, that blurb is pulled directly from the page's meta description.

So be sure to make all of your meta descriptions concise, engaging and punchy. Sell your product/service and explain why people should choose you over your competitors...but try to do it in as few words as possible! (Google recently extended the maximum length for meta descriptions, but we still recommend keeping them short and snappy where possible.)

5. Check for keyword cannibalisation.

Keyword cannibalisation occurs when a website has two (or more) pages competing against each other for a specific keyphrase. It should be avoided, since Google may not be able to discern which page you actually want to rank for the keyphrase in question.

For more information on keyword cannibalisation and how it can scupper your SEO efforts, read our blog on the subject here.

6. Claim your Google My Business listing.

Google My Business listings are crucial for local businesses with bricks-and-mortar locations that are open to the public, but even if your business is online-only, you should still think about claiming your listing. Go to google.co.uk/business and enter your company details so that Google can show more information about your business - don't worry, you can keep your address hidden if you don't want people turning up on your doorstep.

7. Link to high-authority websites.

Some people will tell you that you should never link out to other websites, but the evidence seems to suggest that outgoing links can have a positive effect on your rankings when done carefully. Just make sure that you're linking to authoritative sites that are relevant to the topic you're focusing on.

8. Share your knowledge in blog posts.

If your company's website doesn't have a blog, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to share your expertise and get your brand seen by a wider audience. Google loves in-depth, well-written articles from people who know what they're talking about, and nobody knows your business better than you do, so what are you waiting for? Get writing!

To make sure you're writing blog posts that will actually drive traffic to your website, we recommend using tools like Google Keyword Planner and AnswerThePublic.com to find out what people search for when they're looking for information on your specialist subject.

9. Add alt tags to your images.

Google's bots are very clever when it comes to understanding and indexing text-based content, but they're not so good with images. In order to help them index your images properly (and potentially show them as results on Google Images), you should make sure that every image on your website has an alt tag that gives an accurate description of what the image depicts.

Not only will this help you to capture traffic from image searches, it may also boost the perceived relevance of your pages if the alt tag is relevant to the keywords you're targeting. For example, if you're trying to rank for the term 'how to fix a dripping tap', your page may rank better if it features some pictures of taps, pipes, plumbers, and other related things/concepts.

10. Above all, focus on search intent and user experience.

Search engine optimisation shouldn't be an attempt to game the system or 'trick' Google into ranking your website. Ultimately, your goal should be the same as Google's goal: to give each user the best possible answer to their query.

So, when targeting a specific search term, make sure your page meets the needs expressed by that term and gives people the perfect online experience. This can mean any number of different things, such as:

  • Making key information stand out more
  • Improving your website design
  • Reducing your prices
  • Giving more details about your products
  • Being more transparent about who you are and what you do with the information you collect from users

These are just a few examples. Put yourself in the shoes of an average website user and go through your website from their point of view - is there anything that could be improved, or any parts of the buying journey that are needlessly complicated or fiddly?

For more help with this, read our blog about search intent.

Do you need someone to take a proper look at your website's SEO? Get in touch with the Designer Websites team today - we're great at boosting organic traffic and creating smooth user journeys!

Why Won't My Website Show Up on Google?

It's frustrating when your website can't break onto the first page of Google results for that high-volume keyword you've been trying to target, but it's even more frustrating when your website isn't showing up on Google at all.

Why does this happen?

In order for a page to appear as a Google result, it has to be included in Google's index.

When Google notices a new website for the first time, its bots 'crawl' the site and report back so that the site's pages can be added to the index. However, Google don't index all pages indiscriminately – even they don't have the luxury of unlimited server space.

For this reason, if a page doesn't meet certain requirements, Google won't bother to index it. Their algorithm might even decide that none of your pages add any value to the Internet, in which case your whole website may be excluded from the index. And if you're not in the index, you can't show up in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Check to see if you're indexed

If you think Google isn't showing your website in the search results – even for terms that you really ought to be ranking for – the first thing to do is find out whether or not you're even indexed.

Here's how to do that:

1. Open Google Chrome (or go to google.com).

2. Type your website's URL into the search bar, preceded by 'site:'. For instance:

Google site: search

3. Hit search. Google should now show you a list of your web pages - if none of them are indexed, you'll see a message like this:

No Results Found

If you use Google Search Console to manage your website, you can instead log in and take a look at the Index Status report. This tells you how many of your pages Google currently has indexed, if any.

If none of your pages are indexed...

Here are some of the most common reasons for Google to exclude an entire website from the index:

  • Google hasn't noticed your website yet. If your website only recently went live, it may just be that Google's bots need a little longer to get around to crawling it. You can hurry them along by adding your site in Google Search Console and submitting your sitemap file in the Sitemaps report (or using the Fetch as Google tool – be sure to click 'Submit to index').

  • Google's bots can't access your pages. If your web developer has mistakenly a) blocked your website in the robots.txt file, or b) placed a 'noindex' tag on pages that are supposed to be indexed, this will prevent Google from accessing and indexing your content. If neither of these apply, there are several other reasons why Google may be unable to view your site – perhaps your site was down when Google attempted to crawl it, or maybe your pages take too long to load or cannot be viewed without logging in.

  • Google has penalised your website by de-indexing it. Sometimes, Google will exclude websites from the index as a punishment for breaching the search engine's guidelines. If you have been engaging in unnatural link building practices, filling your site with low-quality or duplicated content, or otherwise doing something you shouldn't have been, your absence from the Google SERPs may be a direct result of your bad behaviour.

If your pages are indexed...

So you've checked, and your website is indexed – you're just not ranking for the keywords you care about. Here are some possible explanations for that:

  • All of your pages are indexed...except the one that matters. Just because most of your site is indexed doesn't necessarily mean that the bots haven't missed something. It may be that a crucial page has been excluded, probably because its content is too similar to that of another page on your site. Google won't waste server space indexing two pages that are near-identical, so make sure your key landing pages aren't being edged out by other, lower-priority pages.

  • Your content needs to be improved. It may be that you're not ranking for that high-volume keyword because Google doesn't think your content meets the needs that the query expresses. Look at the sites that do rank for your chosen keyword, then compare them to your site – what do they do that yours doesn't? Do they provide a better answer to the searcher's question? Does their user interface provide a better, smoother journey? Do they offer a better product range, or more information on the products they sell? Ask yourself these questions and make sure your pages are as good as they can be.

  • You need to boost your website's ranking signals. If all of your pages are indexed and your content is utterly perfect...and you're still not showing up in the SERPs...it may simply be that your website doesn't carry as much weight as other sites do. Google's algorithm takes dozens of different factors into account when deciding which websites should rank the highest, but links are among the most important ranking factors of all. If your competitors have links from lots of high-authority websites (e.g. trusted news outlets, authoritative academic resources, popular content platforms like Buzzfeed), then you'll probably need to get some similarly high-powered links – AND make sure that your content is better than everyone else's – in order to outrank them.

If you need help getting your website ranked, please get in touch with the website optimisation experts at Designer Websites. Contact us now to discuss your requirements.

Have you ever been scrolling through a website and suddenly your view is blocked by a huge advert? Even worse, have you ever been forced to watch at least 10 seconds of said advert before it’ll show you the website you wanted to visit?

If you have found yourself irritated by these intrusive adverts, you’ll be pleased to know that Google Chrome recently launched a built-in ad blocker feature. However, by Google’s own admission, this is more of a ‘filter’ rather than a complete blocker, as adverts that comply with the Better Ads Standards will be able to continue advertising.

If you do advertise your business on the web, this may strike a little fear into your heart. However, this ad blocker is designed to only stop the most annoying adverts which aim to distract users from the website with hard to click exit buttons and other un-user-friendly experiences.

Website operators were given a few months prior to the Chrome ad blocker launch to comply with the new rules and have been given 30 days after the release to conform. If they do not, Google will block both publishers and websites which display annoying adverts from all advertising.

So, what type adverts does the Chrome Ad Blocker stop?

Google is working by the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads which has identified through testing the ‘ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability’.

On desktop, these include:

  • Pop-up Ads – these adverts pop up as you scroll down a webpage and block user’s view of the content. 
  • Auto-playing Video Adverts with Sound – this type of advert starts playing with sound without any sort of interaction. 
  • Prestitial Ads with a Countdown - appearing before the page has fully loaded, these adverts force a user to wait a set amount of time before they can close the advert. 
  • Large Sticky Ads – these adverts stick to the bottom of a webpage, taking up 30% or more of the screen.

On a mobile, the blocked adverts include:

  • Pop-up Ads – these adverts are the same as the desktop version and block part or the entire screen.
  • Prestitial Ads – showing before the content has fully loaded, these adverts stop users reaching the content they’re looking for right away.
  • Adverts with a Density Higher than 30% - if an advert is larger than 30%, it will be blocked by the ad blocker.
  • Flashing Animated Ads – this type of advert animates or flashes in an attempt to distract users from the content on the page.
  • Auto-playing Video Ads with Sound – same as the desktop version, any advert that auto-plays sound without a user’s interaction will be blocked.
  • Postitial Ads with Countdown – this intrusive format forces a user to wait a number of seconds before they can see the content on the page.
  • Full Screen Scroll over Ads – this advert type hovers on top of the pages main content and hides it from view. They often take up more than 30% of the page and force a user to scroll past it.
  • Large Sticky Ads – this advert also blocks the user's view of the page's content and takes up more than 30% of the pages real estate.

You can read more about each of these advert types in the Coalition for Better Ads Standards.

Why was the Chrome Ad Blocker introduced?

So, you may be wondering how blocking adverts could benefit a company who received an eye-watering £95.4 billion US dollars in advertising revenue last year.

Vice President of Google Chrome, Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, said in his recent blog that Google has ‘seen more and more people express their discontent with annoying ads by installing ad blockers, but blocking all ads can hurt sites or advertisers who aren’t doing anything disruptive.’

In simple terms, Google does not want users downloading third-party software to block the adverts. They believe providing a better user experience is more important than losing money from these intrusive ad formats.

However, as one of the tech superpowers of the world, it’s highly unlikely Google introduced the Chrome ad blocker without their best interest at heart.
As hundreds of thousands of people have installed ad blockers over the years which block all adverts, not just the irritating ones, Google’s introduction of their own ad blocker could actually benefit advertisers.

If users feel less inclined to install an ad blocker because Chrome is already sifting away the most irritating ones, more people will see the advertisers who actually fulfil the advertising standards. The companies who rely on ads to make money may also benefit from this update, as their revenue will not be annihilated by the growth of third-party ad blockers which block all of their adverts.

If Google has control over which adverts are blocked online, both advertisers and Google may stand to benefit from this change.

Adblock, the most popular third-party advert blocking tool, actively blocks all adverts on the web. However, Adblock still allows ‘whitelisted’ adverts, which publishers have to pay to use. Unsurprisingly, Google is one of those publishers who choose to pay a fee which allows their adverts to surpass the block. This fee could be part of the reason Google introduced this update, alongside their ambition to make the web more user-friendly.

Furthermore, the whitelisted format Adblock uses could potentially be part of Google’s long-term plan with this update. If a website or publisher is blocked from advertising entirely due to one bad advert, would there be a type of ‘whitelist’ feature introduced to allow them to advertise again? Only time will tell if Google plans to introduce a feature like this.

Will the Chrome Ad Blocker affect me? 

If your website does not advertise or display adverts in the aforementioned formats, you will be unaffected by this update. Websites which only use the acceptable standards of advertising may even find they benefit from this update as their adverts are more likely to be seen.

However, if you use the Display Network for prospecting or remarketing purposes, you may find some of your adverts could be blocked due to where they are placed. For example, if your adverts usually display on a website which Google decides shows too many annoying adverts via Adsense, your ads may be blocked on this website.

Alternatively, if you let publishers advertise on your website, you may want to check they comply with the Better Ads Standards. Google has introduced a way you can check on the new and updated search console, called the ‘Ad Experience Report’.

You can access your Ad Experience Report here to find out if your website displays any adverts users deem annoying. If your website does not pass this test, you have 30 days to sort out any non-compliant advertising and you can request a re-review.

Here’s a video from Google to help you use the Ad Experience Report.

With the introduction of the Chrome ad blocker, it’s more important than ever to ensure your advertising is done right. Our experienced PPC team specialises in this subject and will ensure your adverts comply with the standards. Find out more about how our PPC team can help you here. 

Voice Search: Has It Changed SEO?

Do you have a voice assistant in your home? If you do, you’re not alone. It is estimated that around 8.2 million people own an Amazon Echo device and Google Home is not too far behind, selling more than one Google Home device every second since October 2017.

Furthermore, a study found that 40% of adults now use voice search at least once per day. Voice search has managed to find its way into every aspect of our lives, from finding out the age of a film star to sourcing the cheapest flights. With a reach this large, it is inevitable that the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) would edit and improve its techniques in order to stay on top of the changes voice search has brought.

Voice search and the skills of voice assistants are constantly changing as the teams behind them aim to improve their usability. Recently, debate surrounding advertising on voice assistants has started to heat up, so we thought we would take a look back at how voice search has affected SEO, and where we think it might go in the future.

More...

SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites

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

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

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

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

Research and use unique keywords per page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ensure every page has a unique title tag/meta description

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

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

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

SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites | Designer Websites

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

Utilise an integrated blog to its full extent

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

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

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

Here’s an example:

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

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

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

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

 

Search Intent

Since it was launched all the way back in 1997, Google Search has grown increasingly sophisticated and intelligent. Where once it simply looked at your search term and gave you a list of web pages containing that term, the search engine's algorithm can now understand and interpret queries on an almost-human level.

This acute understanding of search intent is visible in the highly-tailored results that Google now delivers whenever a search is performed. Here's just one example:

  • The search term 'swimming pool' usually indicates an intent to go swimming, and so Google responds to this query with a list of local pools and leisure centres.

  • However, if you type 'swimming cap' into Google, the results page is dominated by shopping results. This is because the algorithm has deduced from your search term that you're looking to buy something.

  • Now type in 'swimming rules' and notice how most of the results are information-based. There's a featured snippet, along with a 'People also ask' section that answers a variety of swimming-related questions. All of this indicates that Google interpreted your query as an attempt to learn about swimming.

Three very similar searches, three very different sets of results.

Swimming search results

This example demonstrates just how much Google (and its competitors - you'll get similar results if you try the same experiment on Bing or Yahoo) can now read into our search queries. Superficially, the phrases 'swimming pool' and 'swimming cap' are very much alike, but modern search engine algorithms have a very strong grasp of what different words mean and - more importantly - what we mean when we use those words.

How was this achieved?

Google and the other search engines didn't get this clever overnight. Their current level of sophistication is the result of years of testing and fine-tuning and gradual improvement.

In Google's case, a technology called RankBrain is largely to thank for the algorithm's advanced understanding of search intent. RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that learns as people search; when you google a phrase that RankBrain hasn't seen before, it makes an educated guess based on the meanings and common usages of the words you entered, then serves up results accordingly.

Here's what this process might look like in action:

  • You want to go and see the new family movie Penelope and the Magic Pencil at the cinema.

  • You go to google.co.uk and type in 'penelope magic pencil screenings'.

  • Google's algorithm doesn't immediately understand what you mean, but RankBrain knows that the word 'screenings' is semantically related to movies and cinemas.

  • Armed with this insight, Google now looks for cinema-related results that contain the words 'penelope', 'magic' and/or 'pencil'.

  • The best results are served to you via the Google results page. If Google can see your current location, the results are probably sourced from cinemas in your local area.

(In reality, of course, Google's all-knowing algorithm would already be aware of the Magic Pencil film and would thus have a far better clue as to what you were after. This is just a hypothetical example that shows how RankBrain can infer meaning from what looks at first glance like a string of random, unrelated words.)

So what does this mean for my website?

As Google has become more and more sophisticated, website owners who rely on organic Google traffic have had to become more and more sophisticated in their tactics. Ranking on the first page of Google results is no longer as simple as picking a popular keyphrase and using that phrase a certain number of times within your page copy; even if your page has a tonne of great links from high-authority websites, this won't necessarily guarantee you a high organic ranking in the current search climate. Google now prioritise search intent above all else, which means that webmasters and SEOs must do the same.

In order to get the very best results, search intent should be kept in mind throughout the entire website optimisation process, starting with keyword selection. Let's say you're setting up a new online sports equipment store - you're trying to decide what kind of searches you want to show up for, so the first thing you do is visit Keyword Planner and type in 'sporting goods' to see what gets the most searches.

When you order the resulting list of keywords by number of searches, it looks something like this:

  • sprinter (12,100 searches per month)
  • sporting (9,900 searches per month)
  • sports clothing (8,100 searches per month)

Lots and lots of people enter the words 'sprinter' and 'sporting' into Google every month, but trying to capture that traffic with a sporting goods website would be virtually pointless because the vast majority of those people won't be looking to buy sports equipment. Instead of picking the most popular term you can find that's vaguely related to sports, it's far better to pick a term that reflects the intent of your target audience.

Here's another example. According to Keyword Planner, 1.5 million people google the word 'tennis' every month, whereas the term 'buy tennis shoes' only gets a few thousand searches in an entire year. However, the 'buy tennis shoes' people are a far better match, intent-wise, for your ecommerce website than the people who simply type in 'tennis' - they could be looking for player rankings, or match reports, or information on the sport itself, whereas you wouldn't type in 'buy tennis shoes' if you weren't at least thinking of buying some tennis shoes.

If you're not sure whether the keywords you've chosen are a good fit for your website, google them! The results that pop up should give you a pretty good idea of what people mean when they use each term. For instance, most of the results for 'best football boots' are informative articles and lists, suggesting that Google sees this as a learn term rather than a buy term.

Best Football Boots

This keyword might be worth targeting with an informative, well-written blog post, but your shop page probably isn't a good fit.

By contrast, the results for 'cheap football boots' are all online stores where you can buy football boots, indicating that this term is a better match for your store's footwear department.

Cheap Football Boots

Creating intent-optimised pages

So you've chosen a good set of keywords that are highly relevant to your website and what it has to offer. The next challenge is actually ranking for those keywords (i.e. appearing among the top results when somebody types one of those keywords into Google). To do this, you'll need to create content that meets the needs of your target audience.

What that doesn't mean is writing a thousand words about your chosen topic. As we explained earlier, it's not enough to just repeat your keywords over and over again and hope that Google will take the hint. You need to properly assess the intent behind each term you're targeting, then craft a high-quality web page that satisfies that intent.

We've already seen several examples of what that looks like in practice. You want to be the #1 result for 'best football boots'? You need to research the latest products and write a thorough article that lists the best boots and explains what makes them so great. More interested in showing up for 'cheap football boots'? In that case, you need to make sure you've got a secure, smooth-functioning ecommerce website that makes it easy for people to buy boots online, and at genuinely low prices.

Again, if you're not sure what kind of content you need to create for the keyphrase you're targeting, head to Google and see what already ranks on page 1. This will tell you what Google considers a good, relevant result for that query.

Do I still have to worry about writing keyword-rich copy?

This debate has been raging for quite a while now. Back in the day, targeting a particular keyphrase meant including that phrase in your website copy as many times as you possibly could. Known as keyword stuffing, this practice is best avoided in 2017 because the Google algorithm now penalises websites that do it.

With that in mind, it's best to take a more cautious approach these days: use your keyphrase frequently, but NOT to the point of sounding 'unnatural'. The litmus test is to read your content aloud - as long as it sounds like something a human might actually say, you're probably safe. Here's an example...

  • OK: Looking for cheap football boots? You've come to the right place! Here's at Charlie's, we've got a huge range of brand-name football boots at bargain prices. Our boots may be cheap, but they're certainly not lacking in quality - check out all these 5-star reviews from our previous customers!

  • NOT OK: Welcome to Charlie's cheap football boots store, the best place to buy cheap football boots online! We have a huge range of cheap football boots to choose from - order your cheap football boots now, or read our reviews to see what other customers think of our cheap football boots!

Nowadays, most SEO authorities agree that keyword density is nowhere near as important as tailoring your content to search intent. In other words, identify the need that you're trying to meet, then write copy that's suited to that need. Somebody who wants to buy a toaster is going to be more interested in your prices, your website layout, and the security of your online checkout system than in how many times you've written the word 'toaster'.

However, while this principle - 'make web pages for users, not search engines' - sounds reasonable enough in theory, it's a bit muddier than that in practice. While search engines are incredibly intelligent, they're still nowhere near as intuitive as actual human beings, and Google do still rely on keyword matching to some extent. Remember our Penelope and the Magic Pencil example from earlier? Your cinema won't show up for a term like that unless you've got the name of the film somewhere on your page, just as your sports store probably won't rank for 'cheap football boots' unless you've used the word 'football' in your copy at least once or twice.

Put your keywords in the right places.

The main difference between SEO in 2007 and SEO in 2017 is that, when it comes to keyword insertion, quantity doesn't really matter. Don't worry about keyword density or anything like that - instead, focus on making sure that your keywords are present in the places that count.

In rough order of importance, these are:

  • Page title tag. This should be a succinct summary (approx. 40-60 characters) of what your page is about. You definitely need to include your primary keyword here if you're going to have a shot at ranking.

  • URL. We're not suggesting that your domain name ought to be www.yourkeyword.com (in fact, Google have penalised unnaturally keyword-rich domain names in the past), but it's a good idea to look to your keyword list when choosing URLs for your internal pages. This isn't essential, and you definitely shouldn't create spammy-looking URLs just for the sake of getting your keywords in, but it makes it easier for search engines if your football boots page is actually called /football-boots rather than /store/category/footwear/46.

  • H1 heading. As long as it makes sense from the user's point of view, you should try to include your main keyphrase in your page's main (h1) heading. Some people will tell you that your h1 and your title tag have to be different from one another, but Google won't mind if they're identical; indeed, this might make more sense from a user perspective, since the heading on the page will match the heading of the Google result they clicked on.

  • Alt tags. Every image on your website should have an alt tag (a piece of HTML that tells search engine bots - who can't see pictures like we can - what an image depicts). If the images on your page are relevant to that page's content, it should be relatively easy to include your keyphrase in at least one alt tag. Consider using synonyms and variations of your keyphrase so that you're not using the same tag for every image - for example, if you've already got an image tagged 'football boots', you could use 'soccer boots' or 'nike football boots' for the other images on that page.

  • Meta description. The meta description (usually) serves as the little snippet of text underneath your link in the Google results page. This should be around 150 characters in length, and while it doesn't seem to have much of an impact on ranking, it's worth including your primary keyword(s) here too if it's reasonable to do so. However, the main aim of your meta description is to give readers a reason to click through to your website - so make sure it's enticing!

As far as the actual body text of your page is concerned, you shouldn't really have to think about whether or not to include your keywords: it's difficult to write even a few sentences about football boots without using the term 'football boots'. Bear in mind also that RankBrain assesses meaning and relevance based on the semantic relationships between different words and phrases, so a page that mentions 'football boots' over and over again probably won't rank as well as a page that uses lots of different football- and boot-related terms (goal, pitch, striker, tackle, kick, grip, studs, and so forth).

Summing up

Here's a basic plan to follow when trying to optimise a website for search intent:

  • Identify keywords that are relevant to your website and express clear intent to do/buy/learn whatever it is you're offering.

  • Use Google to see what sort of content currently ranks for those keywords. In-depth articles? Online shops? Local business listings?

  • Create content that meets the needs expressed by the keywords you're targeting.

  • Be sure to use your keywords in the right places (title tag, h1 heading, et cetera) while still focusing on helping the user and meeting their needs.

Of course, this is just the first step - links, reviews, blog posts, social shares, and lots of other things are often necessary to make it onto the first page. However, if you follow this plan, you'll have a strong chance of eventually achieving high rankings and capturing lots of high-quality traffic that actually converts.

If you need help driving organic traffic to your website, get in touch with Designer Websites - our SEO experts can help you to select the right keywords, create the right content, and reach the right people.

SEO vs SMO

So, you have a new website. It looks good, it’s quick and user-friendly. There’s just one small problem. No one can find it.

If this is the problem you’re currently facing, you may have found yourself scouring the internet to find a solution. If you have, you’ve most likely been thrown into the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This method of digital marketing works to put your website on the front page of Google for search terms that relate to your business.

If you’ve delved a little further, you may have also come across a term called Social Media Optimisation (SMO). SMO refers to optimising your social media platforms to bring more traffic to your website. SEO has been around since the introduction of search engines back in the 90’s. SMO, however, is a relatively new method of driving traffic to your website and only came about in 2006 when it was first mentioned in Rohbi Bhargava’s article 5 rules of social media optimisation.

Though their abbreviations differ by just one letter, SEO and SMO are vastly different. This article will explore the differences between SEO vs SMO.

What are SEO and SMO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation uses a variety of different methods to make your website rank highly on the search engine results pages (SERPs). These methods include: 

  • Keyword Planning

Keyword Planning is the process of choosing a specific keyword(s) to target on each page of the website. This is vital to SEO as a clear keyword strategy means pages will not compete with one another for the same search terms. Each page will have a specific purpose. 

  • Good Quality Optimised Copy

Each page on the website needs to have unique, optimised copy that focuses on specific keywords in order to rank highly on google. The copy needs to be well-written and easy to understand.

  • Meta Title & Description

Ensuring each of your web pages has a unique meta title (the title of the page which tells Google what the page is about) and a meta description (the snippet of text that appears below the title in the SERPs) is another important part of SEO.  

  • Link Building

Link building is a part of SEO which aims to gain links from other websites. Each link to your website from a reputable source is a good sign to Google, as these links are effectively ‘votes’ for your website. Combined, this alludes to the popularity of the website. The aim of link building is, therefore, to gain high-quality links in order to improve the ranking position of the website.  

  • User-Friendly Website

The user-friendliness of your website is relevant to SEO. If your website is unresponsive, slow and difficult to use – it’s not going to get a good ranking on google. 

Social Media Optimisation (SMO)

Social Media Optimisation is a digital marketing method which focuses on making your social media platforms engaging enough to bring traffic to the website. 

  • Create Shareable Content

Increasing social links through SMO involves developing content that people want to share and link to. Creating a blog on your website, for example, is ideal for this method of SMO as it is easy to link to. 

  • Make Sharing Content Easy 

This method of SMO involves adding share and social link buttons to your website and blog in order to encourage sharing, recommending or bookmarking. 

  • Providing Value to Users

This includes adding outbound links into your content even if it doesn’t help drive traffic to your website. This helps your website as you will gain a loyal follower base who will see you as a fountain of knowledge. Valuable content also helps with SEO as Google’s rank brain algorithm decides that useful resources should be at the top of the SERPs.  

  • Rewarding Loyal Followers

This type of Social Media Optimisation involves rewarding your loyal followers with the occasional ‘thank you’, follow back, or even competition prize. By letting them know you value their support, you will gain a loyal follower for life.  

Do SEO and SMO help one another? 

Whereas SEO mainly focuses on improving your websites ranking and the ability to drive visitors through the likes of Google - SMO focuses on driving traffic via social media platforms. Both SEO and SMO operate in different spheres, but they do impact one another.

The main priority of both SEO and SMO is to drive traffic to your website. It makes sense that they should work together to bring as much traffic in as possible.

Though no one truly knows precisely how much different factors affect the Google ranking position of a website, it has become clear that social signals do affect SEO rankings indirectly. In fact, in 2010 retweets on Twitter were even described as a ‘new form of link building’. More recently, another study was conducted which concluded that a larger presence on social media does gain a higher place on the SERPs.

In fact, to see SMO impacting SEO, just search the name of a popular brand on Google. It’s more than likely their Twitter account will be listed within the first 5 results.

Mcdonalds SMO

This is clear evidence that Social Media does have an impact on SERP’s.

Likewise, if you’re spending time and money on SMO, directing people to your website from social media, or trying to gain links from other businesses via social media, then it is important that you have a high-quality website with a good user experience.

Driving visitors to a website with a poor user experience will just result in a high bounce rate (single page visits). The user-friendliness of a website is part of SEO. Therefore, it is clear to see that SMO can also be impacted by SEO.

Why SEO and SMO Should Work Together

 SEO is a fundamental part of digitally marketing your business and SMO is gaining importance as social media becomes a larger part of everyday life. If you do one without the other, it is likely that your business will be left behind.

Google changes their ranking factors frequently, so it is important that your social media platforms are fully optimised. The value of social signals could change in the future, so SMO will ensure you’re prepared if their value increases. Furthermore, SMO is a good way to drive traffic and increase brand awareness.
However, you also need to ensure your website is fully optimised as this is where your conversions will happen. This is why SEO is essential and should be used in conjunction with SMO.

Depending on the business, the benefits from SMO can sometimes be seen quicker than the benefits of SEO. However, if you stop updating and optimising your social media platforms, the traffic can bottom out quickly.

SEO, on the other hand, is more long-term. If you achieve a high-ranking position for your website through SEO, it is less likely that you will lose mass amounts of traffic if you pause SEO efforts for a day or two.

Therefore, though they have different methods of driving traffic, every business marketing strategy should ensure SEO and SMO work together in harmony to drive as many unique visitors to your website as possible.

Do you need help with either SEO or SMO for your website? Get in touch with our SEO experts today to find out how we can help you.

Even though search engines are complex and technologically advanced systems, they are by no means perfect, and often, are not as effective as we'd all like them to be. For instance, search engines can sometimes struggle to interpret website data. To help search engines better understand the information on our webpage, we can 'mark-up' our webpages with something called 'schema markup', which makes page data easier for search engines to read and interpret.

Although schema markup has been around for a while, and is a very a powerful form of optimisation, very few sites actually use it and are missing out on potential benefits. In some cases, this is simply down to lack of knowledge, so with this article we hope to help our readers understand schema markup, and how to best use it.

What is Schema Markup?

Implementing Schema markup is the process of adding structured data elements to the code in your webpages. These structured elements make it easy for search engines to quickly, and easily read your web page, so that they can interpret your data and represent it in the correct way for appropriate searches. As a result of this structure, the search engines can very quickly pick out elements from your pages to show in the appropriate search result formats e.g. images, price lists, reviews, etc.

For example, let's assume you're writing an article about Philadelphia - the film that allowed Tom Hanks to pick up his first academy awards - you can mark it up using the 'movie' item type to inform the search engine that your page is about a film, and not the city, or the brand of cheese, and that way it will be picked up by the search engines and potentially displayed as part of their search results.

 

So, as you can see from the above snippet, Google have output a result that represents the film, gathering their images, links, dates, etc. from a variety of sources online. If you use schema markup correctly then they would potentially use your site as a source, and provide a link to it for the user to follow.

If your webpage isn't marked up in this way, it can still be read by the search engines of course, but essentially the easier and faster you make this for the likes of Google, the more likely your site will be shown in results like this. So, adding structured data allows you to provide clear context to your information.

Another example of the use of structured data can be seen below, and in this instance the searcher has entered a term that Google have interpreted as - this person wants to see a film reel type result of batman films by date. This type of result displays a chronological order of the Batman films based on the search term 'Batman Film Series'. 

There are in fact many different structures or layouts in the search engine results these days, and they all essentially come for schema markup from within appropriate websites. For example you've probably seen location-based results, image or product based results, event driven results, news feeds, etc.

Deciding what structured data to use can be difficult, and you may be worried that not every search engine will be able to understand your structured data markup - but there's no need to be concerned because this structured data has a standard which is controlled by Schema.org. In fact, if you want to learn more about schema you can visit their website, which is a great place to start when your planning your structured markup content.

Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex collaborated - yes, you read that correctly -  to develop a specific vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can implement directly into your HTML, to help you define the different elements of your content - like reviews, opening times, dates of events, or images. This vocabulary helps to standardise schema markup and is fundamentally an agreed-upon set of code markers, or tags, that inform all the major search engines exactly what to do with your data.  

How Does Schema Benefit SEO?

Schema markup helps to clearly define data elements in a page, often referred to as microdata, which in turn will make it easier for search engines to pull out the relevant parts of your webpage as and when they need it.

Search engines often refer to this microdata as Rich Data, Rich Cards or Rich Snippets, which essentially means that these bite size chunks allow them to produce richer results for their customer – the searcher. 

So, by making it easier and faster for the search engines to index and retrieve your data, you in turn increase your chances of them choosing to show your website in search engine results, increasing your visibility and potentially your revenue.

We all use search engines to find products we want, and we all want faster results that are easier to decipher without having to click through lots of pages. So, this is what the search engines recognise, and schema markup allows them to get that data to the screen quicker, and present it in a smart way.

Take the below result for example, we don’t have to click on the page to see the price, the review rating, or whether they have stock of the Java Peanuts, it’s done simply in the search engine result itself with the aid of schema markup.

 

Here is an example of a website using schema markup 

Now, schema by itself will not necessarily improve your rankings, but the more user friendly and search engine friendly you make your website, the more likely it is that you’ll appear high up in the search engine results. As discussed, schema markup will improve your visual offering and make it easier for the search engines to reach-in and pick out appropriate information; so really, it’s an obvious choice to include them. 

Not only that; as we're in the age of artificial intelligence, and as voice search becomes more and more popular, the need to make your web pages easier for search engines to read is becoming increasingly more important.

Despite all this, only a small factor of the web uses schema markup on their websites - with schema.org claiming that only over 10 million websites have implemented schema markup, which is around 1% of the total number of websites in the world wide web.

So, what's stopping SEO's and website owners from implementing schema into their websites?

Why Aren't People Using Schema Markup?

If you're new to schema, or you struggle to understand code, marking up your webpage can be difficult, which is why most SEO's are put off by use this SEO technique. Even tools such as Google's Structured Data Markup Helper, which was designed to help you implement schema independently, requires you to have a good understanding of schema in order for you to use it to mark up your webpage. 

Also, many SEO's struggle to understand schema markup vocabulary, and find that the information provided on the schema.org site hard to follow, and due to the lack of help and resources, many just give up trying to implement schema to their webpage, missing out on all the benefits.

Many people are also put off by using schema markup, because they feel it provides zero benefit in terms of traffic, with some SEO's even suggesting that they lose traffic from featured snippets because the web searcher can find what they're searching for without having to click through to their site. In most cases, this isn't going to be strictly true; of course if you're result shows data like a higher price, zero reviews or no stock, compared to the next result showing the opposite, then yes you just shot yourself in the foot, but to the end user this was useful information, right? So like anything its a case of strategizing how you present your markup in the results. 

Despite the misunderstandings of schema markup, it is a seriously beneficial and useful SEO technique, and is one that is relatively easy to utilise if you have the understanding, and coding ability to implement. Here at Designer Websites, we have a team of expert web developers and SEO specialists that can optimise your website using schema markup, among other techniques of course, so please get in touch if you'd like to discuss further. 

To request a quote or for more information on our website optimisation services, please click here.