Tag Archives: seo

A Comprehensive Checklist for Your SEO Audit

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An SEO audit is important for any website seeking to increase traffic. Thorough website audits are helpful for planning future strategies relating to keywords and creating more effective content. If you are planning an SEO audit for your website, you need to follow our comprehensive checklist to ensure nothing is left out during the process.

What Should an SEO Audit Cover?

Attention should be given to five main areas in order to complete a successful SEO audit.

Technical Analysis

For your website to be listed, it needs to be able to be identified and indexed by search engines. When checking SEO, focus on the following:

  • Analysis of how duplicate content is being identified.
  • Sitemap validation using XML sitemaps which make available information for search engines such as last updates, page hierarchy and public pages to be crawled.
  • Assessment of site speed and studying the load time, which is critical.
  • Analysis of backlinks i.e. the links leading into your site. Links coming in from poor quality sites or unrelated sites where your niche is concerned can harm your SEO.

Review Page Design

This includes evaluating ease of use, CTAs, overall design, and inter-page connection for a seamless flow on the website. This component is important in an SEO audit because it makes search engines able to make sense of your content. It also increases your chances of getting found by visitors.

Usability Audit

This involves measuring how easy your users find it to make use of your site, and to navigate to the information they seek. Incorporate the following into your usability checks on your website:

Relevant internal linking –internal links on from one page to another on your site is a great idea for reducing bounce rate and maintain the interest of visitors. During an SEO audit, make sure your pages are not overly saturated with links, and that the links present are not optimized over the top, which is unadvisable in SEO practice.

Easy navigation – the goal is for visitors to be able to find what they are looking for. There is no right or wrong way to present a site structure as long as the important features and information are easy to locate.

Semantic mark-up – with semantic mark-up, search engines are better able to index your site more accurately, creating rich snippets which users make use of to locate information that interests them.

Analyse Site Content

SEO requires organised and well-written content. Industry or brand-specific content that is focused on providing value to site users attracts more users and higher rankings. During SEO audit, assessment of content should be based on consistency and value.

On-Page Audit

On-page SEO factors to consider include title tags, Meta descriptions, and headers and sub-headers. Ignoring these could make you miss out on the opportunities a comprehensive SEO audit offers.

 

Was There A Google Algorithm Update On Monday & Tuesday? Unsure.

Making useful information available and easily accessible is the main goal of Google and it dedicates itself to this cause by constantly seeking to improve the users’ search engine experience.

Google updates its algorithm from time to time with multiple updates happening within a day sometimes. The number of changes is between 500-600 updates per year. The updates are mostly minor and the results almost unnoticeable but there are some that cannot occur unnoticed because of the relative impact such updates have on the on page rankings in the search engine.

It is important to Google that black hat SEO practices by webmasters and search marketers are curbed.

Whenever there is an algorithm update, Google may announce and give hints here and there about the impact of such updates while other times, the updates are done without any form of admittance or detail on the implication of such update from Google.

What is most important is whether the updates have noticeable impact on SERP.

The main question now is that, was there an update on Monday or Tuesday, June 19th or 20th?

The drift is nobody is sure what happened. We all know Google can be pretty secretive about their updates but most of the automated tracking tools;(Mozcast, Accutracker, SERPMetriccs, Rank Ranger, SEM Rush) except for Algoroo revealed that the algorithm may have been tweaked on either of the two days. They showed massive spikes and activity but not many people seem to catch up to it.

Updates with impact cause a lot of chatter that may have resulted in a lot of satisfaction or dissatisfaction among the SEO community but the expected activity that is supposed to be the immediate result of such massive update is missing. No one is screaming foul or livid about penalties.

The SEO community always give an insight into the impact of huge updates.

Barry Schwartz gives an insight into what may have happened but even that isn’t conclusive.

Below is a screenshots of the Mozcast tracking tool showing huge changes in search engine results observed

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As earlier stated, these should stir conversations but nothing has been observed from the white and black hat SEO forums or Google Forums.

It is quite irregular not to have the regular noise that would have preceded or accompanied the kind of activity noticed on the automated tracking tools.

It is somewhat uncertain the kind of impact this update has and if it is an update or a change in Google’s user interface. it is certainly not related to the Google Owl as believed by some.

Did you notice the change? How has it affected you?

Bing Relaxes Policy Restricting Use of Trademarks as Keywords

8-Blog-Bing

On March 27, 2017, Bing’s update to their policy on using trademarks as keywords went live. This means advertisers and marketers are now free to use trademarks in their ads, with a number of restrictions of course. The new changes applied to 10 countries. These countries are Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, France, Italy, UK, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.

In Bing’s official announcement made by their Program Manager of Search Demand Policy, Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, the company made it clear that they would continue to disallow the use of trademarks in ad copy. They mentioned that fair use of a trademark in ad copy will continue to be allowed specifically for:

  • Informational websites such as product reviews.
  • Resellers of an authentic good or service.
  • Ordinary dictionary use of a term.
  • Comparative advertising, but onlywhen supported by independent research.

One of the factors the company seems to have considered before making the change is it will make it easier for advertisers to transfer their campaigns between the major search engines without having to optimise as much. The benefits are not restricted to the advertisers as the company expects that consumers will have a better experience. According to the official announcement, Bing had found that consumers often search for trademarked terms expecting to receive broader results.

Bing has always been stern with piracy, phishing, scams, scareware, misleading content, and other unethical practices. For instance, in 2016, their ad quality review reported that 130 million ads were rejected with 175,000 advertisers blocked. This is nowhere near Google’s 1.7 billion bad ads blocked in the same year but the company does its part. Bing’s decision to update their policy restricting the use of trademarks in keywords could place them on a level playing field with Google’s AdWords. However, Google is certainly way ahead of them, having allowed trademarks in keywords since 2014.

On the advantages of Bing’s update, Paul Smith of Search Creative points out that:

  • Advertisers will be able to optimise search engine results to their advantage by leveraging on trademarks that do not belong to them.
  • Enforcement of trademarks will become more consistent globally.
  • Advertisers will be able to transfer campaigns between search engines without having to tweak optimisation as much.
  • Consumers will benefit as they would begin to get a wider range of results, presenting them with more choices and improving the overall search experience.

Smith insists that while more advertising campaigns may be annoying, making searches broader can only yield better results. He advises that brand owners be aware of the development and consider focusing their efforts on retaining a strong online presence, especially through multiple search engines.

Best merge your PPC and SEO worlds and achieve cross-channel success

PPC SEO Cross Channel

Should we pay per click or should we just focus on search engine optimisation for our website? That is one of the questions business owners and campaign mangers ask themselves when they are looking to increase the traffic to their sites, as well as increase the conversion rate.

The answer to that question is that PPC and SEO both help you to get to a specific destination- just that they use different routes. It is not far-fetched to see that if the forces of the two combined, you would get to that destination quicker and in better shape. They complement each other.

Integrate SEO and PPC

When you combine your SEO strategies with your pay per click campaigns, you are able to share your search marketing goals between both options. They are different channels that when crossed, will bring you much success.SEO and PPC

There is no other way to say it. Ensure that you are integrating both channels and maximising the unique advantages they hold for your search marketing.

Things to note

  1. You will need to conduct keyword research to use both channels maximally. For either channel to be successful, keywords are the basis. In addition, keyword data generated from one channel must be shared with the other so as to make targeting better and more accurate.
  1. Share actionable data: Organic data from your SEO strategies is as important as the data you will get from your pay per click campaign. The data from both sources should be examined and used, to determine your actions going forward.
  1. With a combination of both, you are able to target the right people at the very right time in the right place and with the right organic content. That is too important to overlook. It is what you get when your pay to click campaign messages are right next to the organic listings of your website that you have achieved with your SEO strategies.
  1. If you are using the two channels, do not use them in a silo manner. Let both channels have shared goals that will guide their actions. They should not have separate goals.
  1. Budget: The issue of budget is always one of the top reasons why people are not excited about combining SEO and PPC. While the budget issue is indeed a legitimate concern, you can always custom create a combined SEO and PPC strategy that can suit your budget.

In conclusion, you can win at your search marketing by being open minded and flexible in your use of search engine optimisation techniques and pay per click campaigns. Combine forces.

Google Says Penguin 4.0 Rollout Now Complete

Google Penguin 4.0 Update

A tweet from Gary Illyes confirmed that Penguin 4.0 from Google is completely rolled out. The algorithm is the latest one in the pool of 200 unique signals the company uses to determine the quality of a page.

While each algorithm performs a specific task, Penguin mostly looks at the link source of a web page and determines whether the source is high in quality or not.

Recall that Penguin Update was first started on September 23, 2016, and we got Illyes explain how exactly the algorithm would work.

Gary Illyes on Penguin Update

  • Penguin gets real-time update. Most of the other algorithm worked in real-time; that means they were updated immediately they received information from a webmaster. Penguin didn’t work in this fashion – it was refreshed periodically. However, an update would see Penguin work in real-time, which means that webmasters, whose sites are affected by Penguin after the update, would see changes made to their ranking much faster when they relink their pages to quality material.
  • Penguin becomes more granular. Illyes also revealed that Penguin would become more granular, meaning that the algorithm would only devalue spammy pages and not the whole site.

Now with Penguin 4.0 finally on the table, webmasters, whose sites were penalised during the roll out of previous versions, should start seeing changes to their rankings, supposing they had taken steps to get their links cleaned up.

What Getting Cleaned up Means

Here are a few things website owners should do to clean up their spammy link sources or stay out of trouble from Penguin Update altogether.

  • Avoid linking to poor blog network.A link to a guest blog that contains poor quality content will be penalised by Penguin. A guest blog is content written for a blog site with the intention of getting backlinks to the writer. Writing a top quality post is ok, but when Penguin discovers that a guest blog is linked to a poor blog network, it devalues that link.
  • Do not manipulate directories. If a web user wanted to get authoritative information on a brand, he usually visited a directory.However, overtime, many listings within online directories became paid-for inclusions, with the sole purpose of driving traffic to their sites, which lacked relevance and value. Google frowns at this tactic, and wants SEOs to avoid it.
  • Avoid excessive link exchanges. It was a natural concept for websites to exchange links for the purpose of driving traffic back and forth, but once the links became obviously out of proportion, Google clamped down on it. One type of excessive link building involves stuffing a page with anchor text links. Bottom line is creating content that adds value, and your site would definitely be scaled high on Google SERP.
  • Control comment spam. Getting a lot of comments on a great article does not necessarily increase the article’s page’s ranking because some comments are spewed out with backlinks to irrelevant or downright unworthy content. Getting a spam checker to block unwanted comments will definitely prevent quality web pages from being attacked by Penguin.

Google Penguin 4.0 Update

There are other link building schemes website owners must avoid to escape Penguin Update penalties, but should your page be penalised, remember that Penguin 4.0 works in real-time. All it will take is a proper link source cleaning, and you should see your page up again.

It Pays To Utilise Both SEO and SEM for Your Ecommerce Site

Ecommerce Shopping

E-commerce Shopping Site

When it comes to making sure your online marketing investments are paying dividends, you need to be sure customers have your online presence in front of them as frequently as possible. However, with the increase in the complexity of Google’s search algorithms, and the variety of online marketing options available to businesses, it really does pay to be in the know.

With both SEO and SEM being so similar, it’s crucial to understand the differences in functionality, cost and effectiveness. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is focused primarily on improving search results organically, with a big focus on tweaking and optimising websites to increase visibility, whereas SEM is more based around pay per click and paid searches.

Why Use SEO?

In terms of sheer returns, and an increase in revenue, SEO is definitely slower and less immediate than SEM. However, a key part of SEO involves making your website both more customer and search engine friendly, and through this organic method raises the ranking and visibility on search engines. Making your website more user-friendly is always a great thing for your business, with a definite link between sales and conversions, and sites being accessible and intuitive. SEO can be a great long term investment, but don’t expect to see massive results from day one.

Why Use SEM?

SEM is quicker and more effective than SEO, but this comes at the price of being much costlier. In order to consistently raise your sites ranking on Google, you’d need considerable, steady investment. In terms of conversions, PPC is slightly more effective, due to paid search results being 1.5 times more likely to turn in click-throughs from the search engine.

Through SEM, you have closer control of your sites visibility, admittedly at a cost, which can prove useful when it comes to timing advertising campaign pushes and the like. It also negates the necessary website optimisations crucial to SEO, making it a little easier and quicker.

Utilise Both

SEO SEM for Ecommerce

SEO SEM for Ecommerce

The fact is, you don’t want to neglect any potentially beneficial marketing options, and you want your marketing budget to cover a variety of methods that best serve your needs. When combined SEO and SEM can operate more effectively, as well as be cheaper than just throwing everything into SEM. Organic search results are statistically a lot more likely to be clicked on than paid search results, however SEM offers greater control of your brand visibility, and gives you more options.

Local SEO Tips: How to increase your Rankings locally

Local SEO Tips

For all businesses search engine rankings are vital for good exposure on the Internet. But as search engines continue to push results for locally specific websites it is becoming increasingly important for websites to optimise their local SEO techniques. Here are a few local SEO tips you can use to enhance your website’s visibility in local search engine results.

Local SEO Tips

1. Google Local verification

Make sure you have your business listed on Google Local and that your website is verified. Add photos of your business, products or services and ensure you fill in all the contacts details plus a 300-word description of your business. Google favours business pages that are detailed and specific.

2. Google+ Page

We have already discussed the usefulness of having a Google+ account to link to your webpages and blog posts for good SEO. But having a specific Google+ page for your business is an ideal way to interact with customers. It will also establish your business as an authority on your industry within your local area. Maintain regular updates and connect with other groups/pages in your local area.

3. Start a niche blog

It is incredibly useful to include a blog on your website. Use this opportunity to talk about your local area or mention the town, city or regions you cover in individual blog posts. Make sure you update your blog on a regular basis to improve your search engine rankings.

4. List location on website

It might sounds obvious, but many businesses don’t specify their location or the areas they cover. Make it explicitly clear on your website and try to repeat the location on at least 3 different pages and include it in your website header or footer.

5. Encourage ratings and reviews

If you take pride in your business and the service you provide, encourage your customers to rate and review you on some of the review websites out there. For example, all restaurants should have a profile on Tripadvisor, Google Local, Yelp or Qype. There are plenty of directories covering niche industries, so get your business listed on a few of these and encourage reviews to help boost the visibility of your business in local search engine results.

These are just five simple local SEO tips that can help your website rank well in search engine results. Remember to keep your output regular, make sure it’s specific and encourage positive feedback.

FirstClick Digital is a London based digital marketing agency with a wealth of search marketing experience backed up with the technology and valuable knowledge needed to deliver a healthy ROI for any campaign. Feel free to give us a call on 0207 289 3218 or fill out the contact form and see how we can help your business grow!

Mobile SEO: What you need to know

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As web usage via smartphones increases the importance of mobile SEO is more relevant than ever. Websites need to be fully optimised for mobile viewing to enable a great viewing experience for the user and to help rankings with Google and other search engines. With around 40% of the UK adult population using a smartphone it is vital for businesses to take their mobile SEO seriously.

Last month Google announced that their rankings would be taking more account of how sites deal with mobile access. It is their aim that websites will improve how users are able to have the best mobile user experience possible. This includes faster loading times and easier navigation. Any sites with smartphone issues will not rank as well.

Tips for Mobile SEO

Separate mobile urls 

Traditionally this has been the most common method for delivery mobile-optimised websites. A mobile site is on a different sub-domain, usually with prefix – m. So all mobile content is viewed on separate URLs.

Responsive design

Basically the website serves the same content on both desktop and mobile device but the page detects when it is being viewed via a mobile device and adjusts the screen size and layout accordingly, hence being responsive. For example, when viewed via a mobile device the page may display fewer images, less text or more simplified navigation.

Page load times

It is vital that understanding and optimising for mobile performance is a priority. Using the Google Developers Page Speed Insights tool will help to analyse your website’s mobile performance. Search engines rank favourably on faster page load times.

Fix irrelevant redirects

If using separate mobile urls be careful not to redirect pages to irrelevant mobile optimised pages. For example, if not all pages on your site are optimised for mobile and you redirect all mobile users to the homepage it can harm your bounce rate along with the user experience. If there is no mobile version of that page then redirect to the corresponding the web version instead.

Avoid using flash

If your website requires Adobe Flash then users on iphones or Androids won’t be able to view the content so do avoid if possible. If sharing videos, try embedding in non-flash supported formats, offer links to video hosting sites such as youtube or vimeo, or provide a transcript of the video.

As Google is now taking a stance on mobile SEO saying that it will demote sites that are not mobile-friendly or misconfigured, it is vital that websites are fully optimised for mobile usage. The key issues are page load time, error pages and irrelevant redirects. Google is hoping to return the most relevant mobile search results and is pushing for web developers to get up to speed on mobile-optimisation.

FirstClick Digital is a London based digital marketing agency with a wealth of search marketing experience backed up with the technology and valuable knowledge needed to deliver a healthy ROI for any campaign. Feel free to give us a call on 0207 289 3218 or fill out the contact form and see how we can help your business grow!

 

 

12 SEO Tips for 2013/2014

SEO tips

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO can seem a bit daunting but with these simple to implement SEO tips you can vastly improve how search engines rank your website. In just 12 steps this SEO tips will have your website working up the search engine results in no time.

12 SEO Tips

1. Both off-site and on-site SEO are equally important

Your SEO strategy needs to aim for diversity which includes both SEO within your website (such as using relevant keywords, indexing and effective design) and SEO outside of your website (such as authentic link-building, social network marketing and submitting articles to directories).

2. Check out the competition

Ensure you know what your competition are ranking well for on keywords as well as understanding who your competitors are for your chosen keywords. Analyse what they are doing well and make sure you do better.

3. Play the long game

SEO built up slowly over time generates better results. This includes encourage an activity community around your website with authentic backlinks and social media shares.

4. Keep up with algorithm changes

Make sure you are aware of any changes to the algorithm used by Google, BIng or Yahoo. You don’t want to be caught out any penalties from the big search engines.

5. Use Google Webmaster tools

Google Webmaster tools are an excellent free resource that help you track the health of your website including any broken links, site load time, keywords used to find your site and more.

6. Link your website to a Google+ profile

Set up a Google+ page for your business and share your website pages, blog posts and news. Google ranks favourably to content shared on its own social network.

7. Use social media to direct traffic to your site and promote your work 

Make good use of you various social media streams to share relevant content from your site and encourage others to share and visit your site.

8. Create good quality content

Search engines recognise websites that continue stay relevant and updated on a regular basis. Good quality content will encourage visitors to spend longer on your site, this lowers your bounce rate which search engines rank favourably.

9. Add a blog to your site

A great way to keep you website updated on a regular basis is to add a blog to your site. Add consistent good quality posts to your site will encourage visitors to return and will enhance the range of keywords your site is ranked for.

10. Name your images correctly

Ensure all of you images on your website are have descriptive names and alt tags. This help with image searches and rankings.

11. Make use of meta description and meta keywords

Make use of tags, categories, meta description and meta keywords. This is especially helpful on your regular blog posts as it will help them rank quickly.

12. Link to relevant useful good quality websites

Share the link love by linking to useful and relevant websites. A good place for this is either on a resources page or in your blog posts. It helps search engines see you site as an authority on a subject with genuine content.

These simple SEO tips will certainly get you on your way to improving your website rankings on search engines.

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FirstClick Digital is a London based digital marketing agency with a wealth of search marketing experience backed up with the technology and valuable knowledge needed to deliver a healthy ROI for any campaign. Feel free to give us a call on 0207 289 3218 or fill out the contact form and see how we can help your business grow!