What You Need to Know About Website UX and Why It’s Important to Your Small Business

Digital marketing jargon is unlikely to be your favourite topic of conversation, but UX is one term you should get a basic understanding of. This particularly applies if you are in the process of getting a new website developed.

The reasons for this are simple – and it takes zero jargon to explain them.

UX impacts on the performance of your website which means it also impacts on sales in your business, profitability, and return on investment.

As the above are topics are likely to be of much greater to interest to you, here are the basics of UX, including the things you should be talking to your website developer in Auckland about.

What is UX?

UX is an unnecessarily complex abbreviation for the term User Experience.

In other words, when a website developer or marketeer talks about UX, they are talking about User Experience.

What is User Experience, though?

Website User Experience covers a wide range of things. Here are some examples:

    Does the website load fast?
  • Does the user find the website visually attractive?
  • Does everything on the website work
  • Are there things on the page that distract, annoy, or frustrate the user?
  • Does the content on the page live up to the expectations of the user?
  • Is it easy for the user to find what they are looking for on your website?
  • Is your website straightforward to use? For example, is it easy for website users to contact you? If you have an e-commerce website, it is safe and easy for users to make a purchase?
  • Is there a natural flow to your website and/or clear cues to the user as to what they should do next?

How UX Ties in With Your Objectives

It’s easy to see how UX ties in with your objectives. For example, if your website takes an age to load, it is offering a poor user experience. As a result, a proportion of users will leave which translates to lost sales.

Functions on the website not working, content elements that are distracting, and websites that users don’t find appealing are also reasons that visitors may choose to leave without doing anything further. This means more lost sales as well as a direct impact on both profitability and return on investment.

What Can You Do About UX?

Your website’s User Experience is largely the responsibility of your website developer. For example, your website developer will create the navigation elements, including menus, that make it easy for users to find the information they are looking for.

Your role involves ensuring User Experience is high up on your developer’s priority list.

In other words, has your website developer thought about all the questions above and are they taking a User Experience-focused approach to building your site?

The other way you can help improve the User Experience of your website is to listen to the advice of your developer during the design process.

For example, a developer might put a content element in a specific location to improve the User Experience. Examples include the formation of the menu, the location of calls-to-action, and the location of your phone number.

So long as your website developer has UX knowledge and experience, you should listen to their advice.

Think About Your Own Internet Experience

Finally, consider your own internet experiences when thinking about UX. You will have encountered websites that you couldn’t wait to leave, or which caused you frustration. Make sure users don’t end up with the same opinion of your new site by focusing on UX.

The 7 Most Important Questions to Ask a Website Developer in Auckland

There is a range of different things you should consider when appointing a website developer in Auckland to create a new site for your business. This includes checking the developer’s portfolio to find out more about their experience and capabilities.

Speaking to the developer’s past clients, reading case studies to find out more about the results achieved, and reviewing the cost of the developer’s services are all important too.

To make sure you make the most informed decision possible, however, there are key questions you need to ask a website developer before work begins. To get you started, here are seven of the most important:

1. What is Your Website Development Process?

One of the key things you need to find out is the process the developer uses to create a new website.

The things you should try to discover include whether the process is well structured and what will be expected of you.

2. What Services Do You Provide?

There are some website developers in Auckland who provide a minimum level of service, i.e. the technical parts of creating a new website.

However, website development projects often require a range of other services including:

  • Conversion focused design
  • SEO
  • Graphic design
  • Content writing
  • Other digital marketing services including PPC advertising

Let’s take the first one on the list above as an example. There are some website developers who will only be interested in designing an attractive and technically functional website. Whether that website works for your business by generating conversions (leads and/or sales) is not high on their priority list.

The best website developers in Auckland, however, will understand how to make your website modern and attractive while also ensuring the design has all the features necessary to ensure you get conversions.

Examples include strong and highly visible calls to action, making your phone number easy to find, etc.

3. What SEO Services Do You Offer?

Some web developers will offer no SEO services at all. Others will ensure your new website has a good SEO structure to make it ready for an SEO campaign, while others will offer a full range of SEO services.

4. Will the Website be Unique?

Most of the websites developed in New Zealand use the content management system WordPress. As a result, the design of many websites comes from templates.

More advanced web developers either avoid templates or they heavily customise them. This ensures you get a website that is unique to your business.

5. What is Your Current Workload and What is the Estimated Timescale for Completing My Website

It doesn’t matter how big the company; developers can only handle a certain number of projects at any one time. Therefore, check the current workload and make sure the developer can complete your website within your expected timeframe.

6. What Happens with Maintenance and Will I Be Able to Update the Website Myself?

Check if you can add, change, or remove content – usually you can if the developer builds the website in WordPress.

Also, ask about the maintenance the developer provides as standard and any maintenance service upgrades that are available. After all, websites must always be maintained, not least to apply security updates.

7. What is Your Policy on Revisions and Edits?

The website design process typically involves a revision and approval process that you will be involved in. However, some web developers are very strict on the number of revisions they offer. It’s best you know this information upfront.

Choosing the Best Website Developer

The answers to these questions will help ensure you get the right company working on your new site and it will help ensure a smooth development process.

4 Tips When Choosing Images for Your New Website

Part of the website design process is choosing images to use on your new website. Your website developer in Auckland will be able to help you with this process, particularly in relation to purchasing stock images.

However, you will still need to be involved, especially with custom images. Below are four tips for choosing images for your new website but, before that, let’s look at the range of image styles you can use.

Types of Image You Can Use on Your Website

When most people think about images for their new website, they think of photos. However, photos are only one type of image you can use on your site. Other options include:

  • Illustrations
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Infographics
  • GIFs

Photos are arguably the easiest to get, but the other options on the list above can really make your website stand out from the competition. They can also help visitors properly understand your capabilities, services, or the products you sell.

You may have to get a designer to help you create the images above or it could be an additional service offered by your website designer. However, it will be worth the additional investment.

Let’s now get on with the tips.

1. Use Custom Images as Much as Possible

Finding, buying, and uploading a stock image to your website takes just minutes, plus the cost of stock images is relatively small. Despite this simplicity, however, custom images are far superior than stock images.

After all, stock images can appear on other websites, so they are not unique, plus the vast majority of stock images look like stock images.

You will make a better connection with your website visitors by using custom images wherever possible, i.e. your own photos as well as graphics and designs you have had created specifically for your business.

2. Relevancy Is Important

It is common for websites to use images just for decorative purposes. They are also often used to break up text. While the latter is important as it makes text on websites easier to read, it still isn’t using images to their maximum potential.

The best images are those that have direct relevancy to the problem a person is trying to solve by visiting your website. They should also match the text on the page.

Put another way, the best way to use images on your website is to use them in a way that helps visitors make a purchasing decision.

3. Your Images Must Be High-Quality
Internet users have very high expectations for the websites they visit. Furthermore, those expectations are increasing. As a result, the best website developers in Auckland constantly seek to improve the quality of websites they produce.

Put simply, low-quality, poorly framed, poorly lighted, and poorly designed images just don’t cut it anymore – if they ever did. Your website visitors expect more.

So, to protect the authority and reputation of your brand, and to attract the attention of your website visitors, make sure the images you use are high-quality.

4. Keep Your Images Consistent

Consistency is important in the images you choose for your website too. For graphics and illustrations, this means ensuring your brand is visible on each design. Photos, meanwhile, should have a consistent style and tone. This will make your website flow.

The Benefits of Images

Using the right images on your website will help ensure it delivers for your business by appealing to customers and generating conversions.

7 Straightforward Website Design Tips that Will Get Traffic to Your Site

SEO, PPC advertising, and other digital marketing strategies are the primary methods of getting traffic to your website. The goal of your website’s design, on the other hand, is to encourage visitors to convert. That said, there are website design tips that will help bring more traffic to your website.

Before getting started with the seven tips in our list, here is a bonus one – design your website for your audience, not for you. Your website must properly represent your business, of course, but you will get more people to visit it if your audience finds it appealing.

Let’s now get on with the seven website design tips that will get traffic to your website.

1. Optimise Your Content

There are three main aspects to this tip:

  • Make sure you have enough content as a lot of the analysis that Google does on your website is based on text. Therefore, you need enough text on each of your website’s pages to ensure Google knows what they are about.
  • Ensure each page has a main target keyword. You will need to delve into SEO for this point as you will need to know what keywords you should be targeting. It’s important you then use those keywords on the pages of your website.
  • Finally, make sure the text is easy to read. This means making it conversational and friendly while also using everyday language.

2. Ensure Your Content is Properly Structure

There is the right way to add content to a website and there are lots of wrong ways. The right way is to use header tags (in the right order), image alt tags, and, where appropriate, structured markup.

By doing this, you will help Google analyse and understand your site’s pages while also ensuring your website adheres to Google’s recommendations for optimised website design.

3. Make the Website Load Fast

Your website needs to load as fast as possible – it really is as simple as that. An experienced and skilled website developer in Auckland will know how to ensure your website is optimised for speed.

4. Add Social Sharing and Follow Icons

Social sharing and follow icons will increase traffic to your website from social media. They can also help with your social media strategy which, in turn, can benefit your SEO efforts, bringing even more traffic to your website. So, it’s better to have them than to not.

5. Optimise Your Website for All Devices

Your website should be responsive, so it displays properly on all devices. You should also take this a stage further, however, by making sure the website also looks and performs properly on all devices. Even though it is responsive, the responsive functionality might need tweaks to ensure it is as good as possible.

6. Secure Your Website

Getting an SSL certificate for your website will not only protect the data of your visitors, but it will also improve trust levels in your site when it appears in Google search.

7. Add Email List Sign-Up Forms

The final tip on our list is to add email list sign-up forms to your website. You should be continually building your email list to improve your email marketing strategy. After all, email marketing will bring traffic to your website.

Focus on Your Audience

None of the above seven points are complicated or expensive to implement. In addition, they will help make your website more appealing to visitors and they will bring more visitors to your site.

Page Titles: Why They’re Important and How to Write Them

Page titles are a part of your website that need special attention, particularly from an SEO perspective. They need to be formatted properly and written well to ensure you get maximum results. This is because page titles can help improve your rankings in Google and get more people to visit your website.

What is a Page Title?

A page title is a special type of tag on each page of your website. Web browsers, search engines, and social media networks use this tag to get the HTML title of the page.

The tag is <title>.

Importantly, page titles are not the same as the header on the page. Page titles and headers can match, but headers are a different type of tag known as a H1 tag. So, even though you have headers on the pages of your website, you still need to give special attention to page titles.

What Are Page Titles Used For?

Why is it important to write and format your page titles properly? Understanding where and what page titles are used for helps to answer this. There are four main things:

  • Search rankings – page titles are a ranking factor in Google. In other words, Google uses page titles to understand what your page is about and to give it a ranking in search. Page titles are by no means the only ranking factor (there are over 200, in fact), however they are among the most important.
  • Search engine results – Google usually uses page titles on its search results pages. It is the part of a search result that is blue. Therefore, page titles can help get people to click to your website.
  • In web browsers – web browsers also use page titles to label the tab which your website is displayed on.
  • On social media networks – when someone shares your page on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or another social media network, the social channel uses the page title in the post.

As you can see, page titles are used in lots of different ways, demonstrating their importance. How do you optimise page titles for SEO, however? Here are the main points you need to know.

Every Page on Your Website Should Have a Unique Title

The most important point is to ensure every page on your website has a unique page title. While it might take time to write unique page titles for every page, particularly if you have a large site, it’s essential you do so.

Page Titles Should be the Right Length

You won’t be penalised by Google if your page titles are too long, plus long page titles can work well when your website is shared on social media.

However, on a search results page, Google usually only displays 50-60 characters. This includes all letters, numbers, spaces, and symbols. Google cuts anything over this, replacing it with “…”.

So, if you want the full page title displayed on search results pages, keep it to 50-60 characters.

Include the Page’s Main Keyword

The main keyword of your page should be in the page title. Don’t overstuff the title with keywords, however. Using it once is enough.

Also, the closer you can get it to the start of the page title, the better.

Make the Page Title Clickable

Finally, you should write page titles for your customers. In other words, make them interesting, compelling, and clickable.

Things that can help with this include using a brand name in the page title (your brand or the brand of a product you are selling) and including your location if you are a local business.

The idea is to attract attention and get people to click.

6 SEO Benefits of Responsive Website Design

One of the most important things you should check when choosing a website design company in Auckland is whether or not they use responsive website design. Responsive website design ensures your website works properly on mobile devices. As so many people now access websites using phones and other mobile devices, having a responsive website is essential.

What about the SEO benefits of responsive website design? There are several, with each one demonstrating just how important it is to have a responsive website.

1. Your Site Will Appear in Mobile Searches

One of the biggest benefits of having a responsive website is that it has the chance of appearing in mobile searches. Your website will still appear in Google if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, but it will only appear for users on desktop devices.

In other words, Google uses mobile-friendly design as a ranking factor.

2. Google Only Needs to Crawl One Website

You have two main options when getting a mobile-friendly website:

  1. Responsive website
  2. Separate mobile website

With a separate mobile website, you design it for mobile devices, essentially giving you two websites to manage.

There are several downsides to this approach, including the fact content differences can occur. In other words, you might have content on the desktop version of your website but not on the mobile version.

With a responsive website, on the other hand, you only have one version of your website. This version then has code which makes the website automatically resize and adjust itself according to the user’s device.

As it’s just one version, all the content will be available to both desktop and mobile users (providing your website designer sets up the website properly).

3. You Won’t Run into Duplicate Content Issues

Another downside of having separate desktop and mobile versions of your website is the risk of duplicate content, i.e. the same text on both the desktop and mobile versions.

There are technical solutions for telling Google which one it should prioritise. However, over time, it is common for this to be forgotten about, leading to the duplicate risk.

As duplicate content is a big no-no for SEO, a responsive website is better as you don’t face this risk.

4. Visitors Will Stay on Your Website Longer

Two of the signals that Google uses to evaluate your website are bounce rate and time on page:

  1. Bounce rate – the percentage of users who visit your website but only look at one page before leaving
  2. Time on page – the average length of time that visitors spend on your website

 

In general, a high bounce rate and low time on page are both bad for SEO.

A responsive website will load quickly, all the functions and features will work, the navigation will be designed for mobile devices, and it will be attractive and readable.

As a result, it’s less likely that visitors will bounce. In addition, as they will be able to view the content without zooming (which you need to do when viewing a desktop version of a website on a mobile device), they will probably spend longer on your site.

5. Faster Load Times on Mobile Devices

Good responsive website design involves optimising the speed of the site, particularly on mobile devices. Speed is an important factor to Google and it’s important to users, so this will benefit your SEO too.

6. Increased Shares on Social Media

Finally, social shares are important to SEO for several reasons. In simple terms, the more you get the better it is for your rankings.

Most people use social media on mobile devices, however. So, to maximise the number of shares you get, you need a responsive website so mobile users can view it properly.

Higher Rankings and More Traffic

All the above results in higher rankings for your website and more visitors. This makes responsive website design essential.

Balancing Experience, Quality, and Cost When Choosing a Website Developer in Auckland

If you want to get a new website, you will need to choose a website developer in Auckland. Getting your decision right is important because, as you might expect, not all website developers are the same.

The key is to get the right balance between experience, quality, and cost. When you can get a website developer that delivers on all three, you have the most chance of success.

Don’t Base Your Decision Only on Cost

The starting point to achieve this goal is to ensure you don’t base your decision on the website developer that is the cheapest.

Of course, budgets are important, but cost shouldn’t be the only reason you choose a website developer. Quality and experience are equally as important, so you should get a good balance between the three.

By choosing the lowest cost option, you will probably get a developer with minimal experience.

You should avoid this as experience of website development is crucial. This is because there is much more to developing a website than simply understanding the technical parts of the process.

The website developer must also have a good relationship with you, and they must be able to communicate well. They must also understand your business, and they must understand marketing.

This knowledge comes from experience.

Getting the Specific Skills Your Website Needs

It’s also important you choose a website developer who has all the skills required to build a website that meets your objectives and delivers for your business.

If you have a website that gets a lot of traffic, for example, it’s essential you choose a website developer who has experience building websites capable of coping with lots of visitors. If you don’t, your website will first start to run slowly, then it will prevent some people from accessing it, then it will stop working altogether.

An experienced website developer will know how to mitigate these issues.

Ensuring Your Website Looks Great

Here is a secret that not many website developers and designers want you to know. The secret is about WordPress, the content management system (i.e. website development platform) that most websites in Auckland are built on.

The secret is that it is not difficult for someone comfortable with using technology to learn how to use WordPress to the point they can build a website.

Building a website that looks fantastic, fresh, and original is a completely different ball game, however. Ensuring the website is optimised for all devices, has built-in SEO features, and runs fast, takes the development process to yet another level. To get this, you need skills and experience.

Furthermore, there are some website developers marketing their services in Auckland who only use templates. You can easily spot them because they have portfolios that don’t look fresh or modern.

Only by getting the right balance between experience, quality, and cost will you get a website that looks fantastic and that properly represents your brand.

Investing Now Pays Big Returns Later

A badly designed cheap website will cost you nothing but frustration and additional money. A well-designed website built by an experienced and skilled developer for a competitive price, however, will deliver returns for your business for years.

10 Essential Elements for Your Website’s Homepage

Website homepages come in all types of design. For small businesses looking for professional website design in Auckland that delivers for their business, there are some essential elements that should be included on your homepage.

This is because your homepage must do multiple things. As a result, it is a unique page on your website. After all, other pages will have a specific focus:

  • Your product or services pages will talk about your products or services
  • Your about page will explain more about your business
  • Your contact page has your contact details

Your homepage, however, has to do some/all of these things and more.

It needs to introduce your business, demonstrate your capabilities, and show that others are happy with the products/services you offer, among other things.

9 Essential Elements for Website Homepages

1. Headings

You should have an attention-grabbing and informative main headline on your homepage. With the main headline, get to the point and use clear and simple language.

You should also have a sub-heading that contains more information. It should ideally focus on the pain points of your customers, not on your business.

2. Calls to Action

You should have a primary call to action high up on the homepage in a visible position.

Previous advice was to put this above the fold. However, this only applies to those people visiting your website on a computer as all your mobile visitors will still need to scroll before they get to the call to action.

As more and more people are now using mobile devices when searching for products or services, having calls to action above the fold is less important.

That said, the primary call to action on your homepage should still be in a prominent position and it should stand out.

You should then have secondary calls-to-action in addition to this.

3. Use Strong images, Including the Main Image

Don’t use simple or cheesy stock images on your homepage. Instead, use your own images or stock images that get attention and that showcase your brand.

4. Benefits of Your Business, Products, and/or Services

Don’t just tell people about your business. Focus on benefits to the customer instead.

5. Well-Written Text

There is a misconception that homepages should be practically free from text to make them look clean and modern. Text is important, however, both for user experience and for search engine optimisation.

Not only that, you can still add text that keeps the homepage clean-looking. Rather than making your homepage text-free, the text should be easy to read with straightforward language.

6. White Space

You don’t need to fill every part of your homepage as whitespace can actually improve its appearance and usability.

7. Social proof

Make sure you include testimonials from real customers talking about positive experiences they have had with your business.

8. Easy to Use Menu and Navigation

This is essential to make it easy for visitors to find the information they need.

9. Newsletter Signup Form

Not everyone who visits your website will become a customer. Therefore, you should try to get as much as possible from every visitor, rather than just letting them leave.

Often the best approach to achieve this is to ask visitors to sign up to your email list to receive your newsletter by adding a form on your homepage.

A better way, though, is to offer something free in return for the visitor signing up. A report or an eBook are good examples.

By including all these elements, you will enhance your homepage and improve your website’s overall ROI.

7 Essential Tips for Effective AdWords Copy

There are lots of elements of your Google AdWords campaign that are important. This includes the copy of your ad. You don’t have much text to work with, though, so how do you make sure you get the right message across while also encouraging potential customers to click on your ad?

Here are some tips:

1. Include Keywords, But Not Too Many

Including keywords in your ad will help improve your quality score which will lower the CPC (cost per click) of your campaign and, ultimately, the cost per conversion. One of the primary reasons for this is that keywords demonstrate to the person doing the Google search that you have an answer to their query.

Remember, however, keyword stuffing (where you include as many keywords in your ad as possible) will have the opposite effect, i.e. it will reduce the effectiveness of your campaign.

2. Be as Specific to the Target Keyword/s As Possible

Your ad copy should relate to the keyword as much as possible. For example, if a person is searching for “exterior painting services”, the copy of your ad should talk about exterior painting rather than painting rooms and other interior parts of a house.

3. Focus on the Perspective of Your Potential Customer

One of the biggest problems with AdWords copy is writing about your business, what you can do, how good your products or services are, the discounts you offer, etc.

People looking at your ads, however, are more interested in their own problems. These are the things you should be talking about in your ad.

Let’s use a painting company as an example again with a user searching for a painter with experience of renovation projects. Instead of the painting company including generic text in their ad talking about their painting expertise, they should start with something like “Need a Painter with Renovation Project Experience?”. This is an example of ad copy that is focused on the customer.

4. Test Multiple Versions

Even experts who manage budgets of millions and write several AdWords ads per day test the copy they write. You should too.

With AdWords, you can run split tests where you have two ads running at the same time to see which one is best.

5. Use Ad Extensions Where Possible

Ad extensions increase the visibility of your ads as well as making it easier for people to find what they are looking for. They can also make it easier for people to contact you.

The ad extensions you should include in your ads are:

  • Sitelinks
  • Callouts
  • Structured Snippets

6. Include a Call to Action

It’s important you include a call to action in your AdWords copy to encourage the user to click. The call to action should be as direct and positive as possible.

7. Use the Word “You”

Finally, make sure you use the word “you” in your ad copy. This will help you talk about your potential customer, what is important to them, how you can help, and how they will benefit from choosing you rather than one of your competitors.

Crafting Effective AdWords Copy

While it takes experience and practice to get right, the above are all essential elements you need in your AdWords ad copy to get the most from your campaigns.

Business Website Design in Auckland Part 1 – The Absolute Basics

If you’re getting website design in Auckland for the first time, the process can seem alien. You know how to run your business and you know how to please your customers, but talk of responsive design, UX, dedicated hosting, CMS, caching, meta descriptions, etc, etc, is like another language.

So, for Part 1 of this business website design in Auckland series, we’ve gone back to basics to give you the essential information you need when getting started with your first website.

Identify Your Goal

Start by thinking about why you need a website. In most businesses, the main objective is to get customers. Building your brand, selling products online, and providing a service to your customers are some of the other goals you might have for getting a website.

Get a Local Website Designer

You have a number of options available to build a website. This includes building it yourself using online tools that require no programming knowledge. This is a time-consuming process, however. In addition, building a website without code involves compromise, so your site will never look as good as one that is custom-developed.

That leaves going to a developer. You could choose to off-shore the design as this can often appear to be the cheaper option. It’s almost always more expensive in the end, though, plus the process is difficult.

The best option by some distance is to choose a local website designer in Auckland, i.e. a company that understands your needs and customers, and who you can work with in person.

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is your website address. So, our domain name at Kiwi Website Design is kiwiwebsitedesign.co.nz.

To get a domain name, you’ll need to register it with a domain name registrar, but your website designer will help you do that.

You will also need to choose the name. Most businesses use their business name, providing it’s available. Again, your website developer will be able to advise on your options.

What is Hosting?

Once your website is developed, it lives on a host. This is essentially a company that operates servers connected to the internet which your website gets loaded onto.

This is another thing your website developer can help you get set up.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a platform used to build websites.

In other words, website developers don’t build websites from scratch as many of the early tasks and stages of the process would be very repetitive. This is because the underlying infrastructure of most websites is the same.

WordPress is the solution. It’s also the most commonly used platform in the world.

So, your developer will use WordPress to build your website and you will then use WordPress when you want to update it.

There are alternatives to WordPress, of course, but for most SMEs in Auckland, WordPress is the best option.

Up Next

In Part 2 of our series on business website design in Auckland, we’ll look at the website design essentials needed to ensure your new website delivers for your business. This includes the importance of mobile, the pages your website will need, optimising for Google, and more.

What Are Internal Links, How They Help SEO, and How to Optimise Them

Internal links are links you add to the content of your website to link one of your pages to another. They are a great way to keep visitors on your website as well as to help them find what they are looking for. Internal links are important to SEO as well.

Why Internal Links are Important to SEO?

Internal links help Google understand how content relates to other content. They also help Google find content on your website.

Link value, or link equity, is another important factor to consider.

Google attributes a value to backlinks you have on a website page. The page that gets the backlink isn’t the only one that gets that value, though. This is because Google passes on link value to all the other links on that page, i.e. the internal links.

So, adding internal links to your website’s pages maximises the benefits of each backlink you get.

Internal Links in Menus and Other Navigational Tools

Links in your main menu, secondary menu, and other navigational elements are important to a good internal linking strategy. As a result, ensuring your menus are optimised is important.

You need to go further than this, however, by adding links to the content of your pages. There are lots of ways you can do this, including adding related posts and popular posts sections.

Linking within text on the page is essential too. Let’s look at how to do that effectively as it requires a bit of planning to get right.

Identify Your Most Important Content

The first step is to identify the best content on your website. This is usually content that is core to your business, products, or services. It is your cornerstone content.

Put simply, you need to link to this content as much as possible

Contextual Links

So, taking the above point, should you create lots of blog posts and add a link on each of them to your cornerstone pages?

Yes, but that’s only part of it. You also need to internally link between non-cornerstone content. These links will provide context to Google and your visitors by connecting content on similar topics together.

It also helps to add internal links from cornerstone content to other pages on your site, particularly those that link to the cornerstone content

An Example

Here is an example of how the above might work.

Homepage

Blog

  • Blog post 1
  • Blog post 2
  • Blog post 3
  • Blog post 4
  • Blog post 5
  • Blog post 6

A good internal linking strategy will look like this:

  • The homepage should have a link to the cornerstone content
  • All the blogs should link to the cornerstone content
  • The cornerstone content should also link to each of the blogs
  • Blog posts 1, 3, and 6 are all on similar topics in this example. Therefore, they should all link to each other.
  • Blog posts 2, 4, and 5 are all on similar topics, so they should all link to each other.

Don’t Over-Optimise Anchor Text

One final thought in relation to this topic concerns anchor text. Anchor text is the text that contains the link on your website’s page. It’s important as it’s potentially damaging to over-optimise anchor text.

Back to the example to explain this, let’s say the topic for the cornerstone content is “Home Renovations Contractor”. You will over-optimise the anchor text when linking to this page if you always use the phrase “home renovations contractor”. The better approach is to vary the anchor text as much as possible.

Implementing an Internal Linking Strategy

If you don’t already add internal links to your content, you will need to spend time or resources adding them. Once you get in the swing of it, though, adding internal links to your content will start to happen naturally.

What Is a Sitemap and Why Is It Important in Website Development?

There are lots of different elements that need to come together during the website development process. This includes everything from the design of the template to the content on the pages to the functionality of the CMS – Content Management System. One of the first and most important things you will need, however, is a sitemap.

A sitemap sets the course for the rest of the development. It can be changed at almost any stage throughout the process, but getting it right from the start will ensure you get a user-friendly website that will deliver on your objectives.

What Is a Sitemap?

A sitemap is a bit like an organisational chart. Instead of showing you the hierarchy of individuals in a company, however, a sitemap outlines the hierarchy of pages on a website. It also shows how each of those pages is connected.

So, at the top, you will have your homepage and other top-level pages, with all the pages linking from them at the level below. This continues for as many sub-levels as your website has.

Your website will likely have two different versions of a sitemap:

  • A manually created list the pages you want on your website, structuring them in a way that is similar to a tree diagram or organisational chart.
  • A dynamic, electronically created sitemap produced at the end of the website development process that gets submitted to Google.

As the latter is dynamic, it automatically updates whenever you add a new page to your website. This helps Google find all your pages as well as helping it understand how they connect together.

This blog is about the first type of sitemap, though – the one you manually create at the start of the website development process.

Why Are Sitemaps Important in Website Development?

Wherever you choose to get website development in Auckland, you should make sure the creation of a sitemap is included in the process.

Without a sitemap, the developer has no choice but to create pages in an ad hoc fashion, with no clear direction on which pages should be included and how they should connect. This results in a haphazard website that is often confusing for visitors to use.

The benefits of creating a sitemap include:

  • Helps you think about the overall structure of your website and the pages it will have
  • Ensures you don’t forget key pages
  • Makes it easier to identify and make changes to complex navigational structures that can be too difficult to use
  • Gives you an understanding of the content that will be required to complete the website development process
  • Helps you create an optimised visitor flow, i.e. the path you want users to take when they visit your website
  • Ensures there are no isolated pages

The process of creating a sitemap doesn’t take long, although the more time you can devote to it the better it will be.

How do you make sure your sitemap is as good as possible?

The most important tip is to make sure you focus on your website’s visitors:

  • How will they find and get to your website?
  • What do they want to find or learn once they are on your website?
  • What are the important things that should be as easy as possible for visitors to find, i.e. the things that should be in the main menu?
  • What should be in the sub-menus?
  • What are the things that are of secondary importance and can be in the footer menu?

By focusing on the above, you will create a sitemap that puts the user first.

Responsive Website Design in 2019 – What You Need to Know

Responsive websites have been around for some time now, so they are a common feature of website design in Auckland. Any good website designer creating a new website for you in 2019 will make your site responsive.

Not all responsive websites are the same, however. At the bottom end of the scale, you have websites that are technically responsive, but which don’t deliver a good user experience. At the top end of the scale, on the other hand, are optimised responsive websites.

Website design has moved on considerably since responsive websites were first introduced, so it’s no longer good enough to just have a responsive site. Instead, yours needs to be optimised.

What is Responsive Website Design?

Let’s first do a quick recap on responsive website design. A website that has a responsive design will respond to the user’s size of screen. So, when a user views your website on a desktop computer with a large screen, they will see the full-size desktop view of your website.

When users view your website on tablets or mobile devices, however, the screen dynamically resizes to fit on the smaller screen.

Why Responsive Website Design is Important for Users

For users, responsive website design is essential. This is because there is no need to pinch-to-zoom to see the content on the page.

In addition, responsive website design eliminates the need for sideways scrolling, keeping all scrolling vertical.

Why Responsive Website Design is Important for SEO

Google has been promoting responsive website design for years now, plus its been gradually moving its strategy to a mobile-first policy.

For example, Google prioritises websites that are responsive on search results pages where the searcher is using a mobile device. In addition, Google now uses mobile-first indexing. In simple terms, this means it checks for a mobile version of your website before checking for a desktop version.

Google’s focus on mobile means you could lose rankings and, ultimately, traffic if you don’t deliver a good user experience to mobile users.

Key Factors to Consider

You might be thinking you already have a responsive website, so what’s the big concern. As mentioned above, having an optimised responsive website is crucial in 2019. This means going beyond ensuring the content displays on the screen properly. You also need to look at a range of other factors, the most important of which include:

  • Site structure – is the structure of your website confusing for mobile users with multiple layers of navigation and sub-menu options?
  • Menu design – is the menu on your website when viewed on a mobile device easy to use?
  • Content – is the content on your pages easy to read on a mobile device? The text font and size are important in this regard, but the structure and layout of the text is important too. For example, do your pages have large paragraphs or chunks of text? This can be off-putting to users on mobile devices.
  • Functionality – do all the functions on your website work, or are some of the features only available to desktop users?
  • Links and buttons – people visiting your website on a phone or tablet will navigate it using their fingers. This is quite a bit different to using a mouse and a mouse pointer on the screen. Are your links and buttons easy to tap using a finger which is much less precise?
  • Speed – there is a greater chance that mobile users will access your website on a slower internet connection, so mobile page load speeds are incredibly important. Does your website load fast enough?

If you have concerns with any of the points above, you should prioritise getting them sorted.

9 Website Design Tips for Companies in the Building Trade

If you run a business in the building trade, your potential customers will use the internet when looking for the services you offer. This applies whether you are a building contractor, plumbing company, electrician, painting contractor, landscape designer, or any other company involved in the building trade.

This means you need a website, but to really stand out from the competition and catch the eye of potential customers, you need a website with the following nine elements. They are all important to include on building trade-related websites, so keep them in mind whenever you’re looking for website design in Auckland.

1. Go for a Modern, Clean Look

Customers looking for your services do not expect a cutting-edge website and futuristic design. Instead, all they want to know is whether or not you’re capable of completing the work, the experience you have in the industry, and why they should choose you. They also want to know if they can trust you.

The following points will help you give this information to potential customers, but it all starts with having a modern website with a clean and crisp appearance. Leave the bells-and-whistles to the media companies and tech start-ups.

2. Add a Separate Page for Each Main Service

There are two main reasons for adding a separate page for each main service you offer:

  • Let’s you fully explain your experience, skills, and capabilities
  • Gives Google more information about what your business does which can help the ranking of your website in Google search

So, if you’re a painting company, for example, you could have separate pages for interior and exterior painting.

3. Make Sure All Your Main Services Appear on Your Homepage

Even though you have services pages, make sure you include all your main services somewhere on your homepage. This will ensure you don’t lose anyone who quickly scans your homepage to check if you offer what they need.

4. Include Your Contact Details on Every Page

As a company in the building trade, you need customers to contact you. Only then can you arrange to quote for the project. Therefore, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. This means putting your contact details, ideally your phone number, on every page of your website.

5. Use Calls to Action on Every Page

You also need to explicitly tell people what you want them to do. As you want them to call you, ask them to do so with calls to action… on every page.

6. Use Attractive, Professional Images

There are two main types of image you can use on your website:

  • Bespoke images created and owned by your business
  • Generic stock images

Most websites for companies in the building trade have a combination of both.

In terms of the bespoke images you create, make sure they are as professional and attractive as possible. This means considering things like background, lighting, the appearance of people in the photos, and more.

7. Add Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials alone won’t help you win new contracts from your website, but they do help build trust.

8. Add a Gallery Page

Again, a gallery page is unlikely to seal the deal on a new contract or project, but it does help potential customers get a better understanding of your capabilities. It also demonstrates that you are proud of the work you complete for customers.

9. Add Badges and Logos of Professional Organisations and Affiliations

Finally, add badges and logos of professional organisations and any relevant affiliations you have. Often, these appear in the footer of your website so they are always visible, although you may choose to include them on the homepage only.

Bonus Tip

Here’s one bonus tip to finish off – when looking for website design in Auckland and deciding on a company to build your new website, choose one with experience of creating websites for companies like yours.

Great Website Design –the Key Component of Online Success

Whether you sell products online or not, you can find new customers for your business using online marketing. There are lots of marketing channels you can use to reach and convert those customers. Central to your success in achieving this objective, however, is your website, so it needs to be as good as possible. What is great website design in Auckland, though?

Focus on the Goal

There are lots of technical, structural, and design elements that make up a website. The most important thing to remember, however, is that every decision taken when designing your website must be focused on making your online marketing efforts a success.

This applies to the colours you choose, the content you include, the design of the navigation, etc. Everything must have the right focus.

This might sound like a straightforward approach, but when looking for website design Auckland, you’ll encounter a lot of designers whose objectives won’t be in line with yours.

So, here’s the first tip – make sure you get a website designer who understands how to develop websites that generate leads and/or sales.

Here are some pointers to help you determine if a website designer has your online success in mind.

Usability and Navigation

This is a huge topic, but the main points to consider are:

  • Is the website super easy to use? For example, there shouldn’t be any requirement for pointers or tips as everything should be self-explanatory.
  • Does the structure of the content and the design of the navigation make it quick and easy for users to find what they are looking for? Ideally, they should be able to find what they need in one or two clicks.
  • Does the website work on mobile devices and is it as easy to use on mobile as it is on desktop? For example, are the buttons as easy to tap on with a finger as they are to click on with a mouse?
  • Are key sections of your website smooth and fully functional? Contact forms and checkout processes are two of the most important as these are the sections that will help you generate sales.

Appealing to Your Audience

As well as having good navigation and an easy to use website, your website should also be appealing to your audience. It should be modern too, so it looks fresh and up-to-date.

Content and Calls to Action

The content on your website – the text, images, and video – should be focused on your customers. Specifically, it should answer questions that a user will have when they visit your website.

Here are some examples of the questions that visitors might have:

  • “Does this company understand what I need/the problem I have, and do they have a solution?”
  • “Does this company have experience delivering similar solutions, i.e. will they be able to deliver on their promises?”
  • “Do I trust this company?Do they have a good reputation in the industry?”

The content on your website should answer these questions as well as others that visitors to your website might have.

Additionally, you must have well-worded and, in the case of buttons, well-designed calls-to-action. This is where you directly ask the visitor to do something. Examples include:

  • Phone you
  • Complete a contact form
  • Send you an email
  • Add a product to a shopping cart
  • Buy a product

In summary, when looking for a company that offers website development services to develop your new online presence, make sure their focus isn’t on delivering a technically brilliant or heavily design-oriented website. Instead, their focus should be on things like the above to help make your business an online success.

Website Design Principles That Increase Conversion Rates

Having an attractive and modern website design is not enough to increase your online conversion rates. You also need website design that adopts tried and tested principles.

Below are some of the things a website designer will consider when their focus is on increasing your conversions.

Present the Value Proposition Well

Your business must first have a value proposition that will be appealing to customers. If it doesn’t, conversion-focused website design will make no difference.

For businesses that have a good value proposition, the website must present this succinctly and in a way that appeals to visitors.

Distraction-Free Pages

Pages should be free from distractions and you should present as few choices as possible to visitors. This is because the more choice that people have, the less likely they are to make a decision.

Crucially, white space on a website is okay. Simply filling up sections with content for the sake of removing white space is likely to reduce conversions.

Easy to Use

Your website should be intuitive to the point a visitor should be able to use it without having to think about how or what they should do. This applies to mobile users as much as desktop users.

In addition, your website should conform to common internet design principles. Examples include putting your logo either in the top left corner or top middle part of the website. Login/logout buttons are most commonly found in the top right, and menus are most commonly found horizontally close to the top of the page. These are just some examples of design principles that will make your website easy to use.

Appeals to the Audience

It’s also important your website appeals to your audience. After all, what works for one type of audience may not work for another. This applies to various design elements and aspects including colours, images used, tone of voice, fonts, and more.

Information Is Easy to Find

Visitors to your website should be able to find what they are looking for easily. This primarily means having clear and easy to follow navigation and menus. A good search function can also help, particularly if you sell multiple products on your website.

The Most Important Content Is the Most Visible

The most important content of a page should be close to the top of the page. The most important section of this part of the page is the first two-thirds reading left to right.

Content that should be in this section include (depending on what you offer):

  • Key selling points
  • Benefits to the customer
  • Value proposition (low-cost, excellent service, high-quality etc)
  • Price
  • Options (size, colour, etc)
  • Call to action
  • Conversion button

The above information can be expanded further down the page. In fact, it’s probably a good idea from an SEO perspective to have plenty of content on the page. The most important things need to be at the top, though.

Number of Clicks Kept to a Minimum

When a visitor is converting (making a purchase, filling in a form, etc), they should be able to do this with as few clicks as possible. The more clicks you have, and the more complicated the process, the more likely they are to leave before completing it.

Think About the Visitor

With all the above, the focus should always be on the visitor to your website. If you want to increase conversions, they are all that matters.

How Adding a Blog to Your Website Will Help You Get Sales

Adding a blog to your website may seem like a daunting task. Even when you get through the technical part of creating a blog section, how are you going to write content to keep it regularly updated?

Add this to the fact that many people find it hard to identify a tangible return on investment from adding a blog to their website. As a result, they don’t.

Even when people do, they don’t know where to look to see how the blog is benefiting their business. The blog section then becomes neglected.

The reality, however, is that adding a blog to your website and keeping it regularly updated will get you sales. Therefore, you will get a return on investment from having a blog on your website.

The Blogging Strategy

Blogs give Google more content to evaluate when looking at your website. The result is that Google will add your website (via the blog page) to the search results pages of more keywords. In addition, many of those keywords will be longtail keywords where people are looking for very specific information. These keywords usually have little competition, so it is easy to rank in a high position.

For keywords that are more competitive, there are things you can do to help you move up the rankings:

  1. Wait – older content typically ranks higher in Google than brand new content. So, wait it out a bit.
  2. Keep it up-to-date – you must keep the content up-to-date, however. This ensures Google knows the blog is not only well-aged but is also fresh. For example, let’s say you write a blog with the title Top 10 tips for Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring. The longer it stays published the better, so long as you go back to it regularly to update it with new information and to remove anything that has become obsolete.
  3. Promote the blog – the next thing you need is links. There are lots of strategies you can use to achieve this, some of which can be quite expensive and/or time-consuming. There are some simple things you can do, however. This includes sharing the blogs you publish on social media as well as in your email marketing campaigns (if you don’t use social media or email marketing, you should consider starting).

How the Above Blogging Strategy Gets You Sales

When you do all the above, your website will:

  • Appear in Google for a greater number of keywords
  • Appear in a higher position for those keywords

Three main things will result from this:

  1. More people will see your brand on Google
  2. More people will visit your website
  3. Your reputation in the industry will be enhanced

This, in turn, will lead to customers thinking of you when they are making a buying decision. After all, they will already have had an interaction with your brand. They could do this immediately after doing the Google search and reading your blog, or it can happen hours, days, weeks, or months later.

It’s a simple equation – more of the right type of person visiting your website will increase your sales.

So, speak to Kiwi Website Design today about getting a blog added to your website or full SEO Services.

Best Email Marketing Tips to Increase Engagement and Subscribers

Many businesses in New Zealand use email marketing to find new sales and leads. You can do the same, but you first need to take steps to build your list of email subscribers. You then need to increase levels of engagement with the emails you send.

Let’s start with how to increase subscribers.

Tips to Increase Subscribers

  • Offer visitors something they will value – one of the best ways to get people to sign up to your email marketing list is to offer them something they will value in return for their email address. An eBook is a good example, particularly if it is on a highly relevant topic. Reports, white papers, and other types of exclusive content will also work.
  • Give subscribers exclusive offers or discounts – you can also give subscribers to your email marketing list a special discount, or you can give them access to exclusive offers.
  • Make the signup process simple – to maximise the numbers of people who sign up to your email marketing list, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Ideally, you should ask for very little information as the more fields you ask visitors to complete, the less likely they are to sign up.
  • Add an option to signup on your contact forms – you should also include a tick box on the content forms on your website.
  • Ask people to sign up – finally, make sure you ask people to signup with a clear call to action.

Also read: Top Reasons Your Website Is Not Ranking

Tips to Increase Engagement

Increasing engagement on your email campaigns means getting subscribers to open the emails you send and then to click on the links.

  • Personalise your newsletter campaigns – you should personalise the emails you send as much as possible. This can include, for example, using the recipient’s name in the subject of the email as well as addressing the person by name in the body of the email.
  • Segment your email marketing campaigns – it is also helpful to segment your subscriber list, so you can send content that has greater relevance. You can segment by location, for example, or by interests.
  • Ensure your emails have fantastic content – subscribers won’t open the emails you send if they are not interested in the content. Therefore, the content of your emails must get their attention.
  • Get the frequency right – sending emails too often will turn people off and will result in them not engaging with your newsletter campaigns. Some will even unsubscribe. On the other hand, you can also send emails too infrequently. Getting the right balance is, therefore, essential.
  • Write catchy subject lines – the first step of getting subscribers to engage with your email marketing campaigns is to get them interested in the email. This mostly comes down to the subject lines you write. They should be compelling, personalised where possible, and interesting.
  • Send a welcome email – the email you are likely to get the most engagement with is the welcome email. It is usually an automated email that your email marketing system sends immediately after a person signs up. This is when the subscriber is most engaged with your brand, so make sure you customise the welcome email and add content that will help turn the subscriber into a customer.

Here is one final bonus tip that will help with both building your subscriber list and increasing engagement – test, measure, and optimise.

5 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase the Dwell Time on Your Website

Bounce rate is a metric you should be familiar with as it is important to SEO. It is also important to the success of your website as a high bounce rate is often an indicator there is something not right. This isn’t always the case as there are some situations where a high bounce rate is understandable. Most of the time, however, you should take steps to reduce bounce rate as much as possible.

What is Bounce Rate?

Understanding bounce rate is essential before you attempt to implement solutions to reduce it.

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website but then leave after looking at just one page. On most of the pages on your website, this is not a good thing. After all, someone who visits your website and leaves after looking at one page is unlikely to have been interested in what you offer.

Google takes a view that is similar to this too. Specifically, a visitor “bouncing” off a page is an indicator to Google that the person didn’t find what they were looking for. The faster the user bounces, the greater the likelihood this is the case.

How to Decrease Bounce Rate

Speed Optimisation

Users don’t wait around for slow loading pages. In fact, if the page takes longer than a couple of seconds to load, you risk losing the visitor because it is not fast enough.

If this is the case with your website, you should take steps to make it faster. Don’t forget the mobile versions of your pages too, as they should also load fast.

Internal Linking

One of the reasons that people bounce from your pages might be because you don’t give them enough options to stay. Internal linking where you add links to your content on other pages is one solution to this.

It is an essential solution, in fact, if your content includes elements that require more detailed explanation. If you don’t provide an internal link to that explanation, the user will leave your website to find it.

Also read: Backlinks Explained – Everything a Small Business Owner with a Website Needs to Know

Engaging Content

Having content on the page the interests and engages visitors is important too.

If the page is mostly text, you also need to make sure it is readable as large blogs of text and long sentences will put off visitors. This applies even when the content itself is fantastic – if it looks daunting to read, visitors will never know how good it is as they will “bounce” to find an alternative that looks less like a chore.

Adding Media

Following on from the last point, a great way to make your content more engaging is to add media. This includes videos, animations, images, infographics, and more. This gives visitors an alternative to reading text, plus it is often easier to explain a concept, service, or product in a short video than in words.

Target the Right Keywords

As mentioned above, people will bounce from your page if they don’t think it answers their query. This can happen if your content is not good enough, but it can also happen by accident, i.e. your pages appearing on search results for keywords not related to your industry, products, or services.

The solution is to refine your keyword strategy to ensure you target the right ones.

By going through each of the steps above, you will see your bounce rate start to fall.

8 Benefits of Having WordPress-Based Websites for Your Business

You have several options available to you when getting a new website. One of those options is to get a WordPress-based website. In fact, in most situations, this is the best option. Here are eight reasons why.

1. Robust, Free Infrastructure

WordPress is the most widely used website platform in the world. In fact, more than 50 percent of all websites in the world are a WP website.

One of the reasons businesses, website owners, and developers use WordPress is because it is robust. It has a well-tested infrastructure and all the tools required to create any type of website. Plus, it’s free.

2. Strong Developer Community

The above point is made possible because WordPress has a strong developer community who help to secure it, identify bugs, and generally support the platform.

In addition, this strong community means it is easy to find help whenever it is required.

3. Regular Updates and Patches

WordPress patches and updates are released on a regular basis. These can be to get rid of bugs, to enhance the functionality, or to make the platform more secure. This protects your website and keeps it working in the ever-changing world of the internet, website browser updates, new phone models, and more.

4. Extensive Plugin Library

You can find a plugin for just about any tool or feature you want to add to WordPress. Many of these are free, but even premium plugins are usually inexpensive. In other words, you can add functionality to your WordPress-based website without the need to write the code from scratch.

5. Faster Development Time Compared to Building from Scratch

As the platform provides the basic infrastructure of your website, and plugins are available for all common functions, development time is kept to a minimum on WordPress-based websites.

One other option you have available is to get the website built from scratch, but this takes much longer. WordPress gives your developer a head start. This means they can focus on WordPress home page design with a customised WordPress theme to ensure your website looks great.

6. With a WordPress-Based Website, It Is Easy to Add and Change Content

Another of the big advantages of WordPress is the fact it is super simple to add and change content. The user interface and text editor mean you can add attractive and highly professional pages and blog posts without needing to learn a single line of code.

7. WordPress-Based Websites Are Easier to Update When You Want a Fresh Design

The look and feel of a WordPress-based website comes from its theme. All the features (via plugins and other code), as well as the content of your website, are separate from the theme. This makes it much easier to change the design of your website.

8. More Flexible and Powerful than Website Builders

Finally, WordPress is a much better option than other common website builders on the market. Examples include Wix and Weebly. They do make it easy to get a website online, but the options you have for customisation and features are very limited.

WordPress-based websites offer a range of benefits over free website builders. This includes:

  • They are much more flexible and powerful
  • They look better
  • They are faster
  • They are more reliable
  • And more

Choosing WordPress

So, whatever business you are in, whatever type of website you want to build, and whatever your budget, WordPress is the best option.

Things to keep in Mind While Hiring an SEO Company

Google search presents significant opportunities for your business as it can bring leads and customers to your website. Maximising the results you get from this free traffic source, however, requires SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. That means hiring an SEO company to provide you with SEO management services.

Here’s what you should think about when hiring an SEO company.

SEO Company Rankings

The first thing you should do is check the SEO company’s rankings in Google. To do this, simply do a few searches for SEO services, varying the keyword you use. If the SEO company doesn’t appear on page one of the search results page, ideally close to the top of the page, you should be concerned.

After all, if they can’t SEO their own company, how are they going to manage with yours.

SEO Company Experience

You should also look at the SEO company’s experience. SEO is a constantly evolving topic, so the more experience the company has, the better. The best situation is where the agency has experience in your industry.

Promises

Promises are another important thing to consider as they are so prevalent in the SEO industry. All too often, SEO “experts” will promise to get you to page one or to the top spot of Google. This is dishonest and potentially dangerous for two main reasons:

  • No SEO company or expert can dictate anything to Google, so there is no way of making these types of promises honestly.
  • While it is possible to use dodgy SEO tactics to give a website a boost, that boost will be temporary. Plus, you will probably end up in a worse position than you started once the effects of the temporary boost wear off.

So, if you want SEO services that will deliver for your business over the medium and long-term, avoid any SEO company that makes over the top promises.

Local Search Knowledge and Experience

If you are a local business, local SEO is probably going to be just as important, if not more important, than regular SEO. So, check whether the company has local search knowledge and experience.

Techniques that Will Be Used

SEO agencies can use a vast range of techniques on your website. As mentioned above, however, some are dodgy, and they can get your website penalised by Google. So, ask the SEO company what techniques they plan to use to make sure they are all above board.

Communication

Finally, find out the level of communication you will get from the SEO company. This should include regular reports on the actions and practical steps they have taken to SEO your website, as well as reports showing the results achieved.

Choosing a Search Engine Optimisation Company

The SEO company you choose should be in it for the long-run with your business. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to sign a long-term contract, but knowing the company is committed to the long-term success of your business will help you make the right decision. Any company that has this commitment will meet the criteria in the points above.

Backlinks Explained – Everything a Small Business Owner with a Website Needs to Know

If you have heard the term backlinks before, it is probably in relation to SEO. In fact, most SEO professionals believe that backlinks are one of the most important factors to consider when trying to improve the ranking of your website on Google.

What are backlinks, though, and how do you get them?

What Are Backlinks?

The term backlink is used to refer to a situation where a third-party website links to another website. We just did it in the previous sentence. The phrase “term backlink” is linked to the backlink entry on Wikipedia. Therefore, we just gave Wikipedia a backlink.

Another term you might hear in relation to backlinks is anchor text. This is the word or phrase that makes up the link. In the above example, the anchor text was the phrase “term backlink”.

How Does Google Use Backlinks?

The Google search platform is based on a computer algorithm. Of course, that algorithm is big, very advanced, incredibly complex, and, as far as computer programmes go, intelligent.

It is still just a computer programme, though.

So, how can the Google algorithm determine the ranking of two web pages on the same topic? In real life, there are usually hundreds or thousands of web pages on any particular topic that Google has to rank, but for the purposes of this explanation, we’ll limit the example to two.

Google uses what’s called ranking factors to determine which of the two pages is better than the other. As it is a computer algorithm, these ranking factors are objective, i.e. page A has ranking factor 1 which is good, but lacks ranking factor 2, which is bad.

Okay, that is a bit over-simplistic, but you get the idea.

The fact that ranking factors are objective is important, however. After all, if a person was making the same decision, they would use subjective and objective reasoning.

One way that Google gets around this shortcoming (that it can’t use subjective reasoning) is to tap into the subjective reasoning of humans. It does this using backlinks.

So, backlinks are a ranking factor that helps Google decide which of the two pages in this example is better than the other.

For example, page A might have more backlinks than page B. From Google’s point of view, this means more people have used their objective and subjective reasoning in favour of page A than B, therefore it should rank higher.

Other factors come into consideration too, of course – around 200 of them. Backlinks are one of the most important.

Not All Backlinks Are the Same

Before going any further, it is important to also understand that not all backlinks are the same. Here are the main examples:

  • Website authority – a backlink from a website that has high authority on the internet will be worth more than a backlink from lower authority websites. Therefore, getting links from trusted websites that get high levels of traffic and that regularly appear on Google search results pages will help to improve your ranking in Google.
  • Links from the same source – getting a backlink from a website is good, but the more links you get from the same website, the less powerful or helpful they become. Google’s thinking behind this is that lots of backlinks from the same source don’t hold as much weight as backlinks from multiple sources. Also, lots of backlinks from the same source could be an indication that a website is trying to game the system.
  • Related content – it is also better to get a backlink from content that has some relevance to the content of your own website. For example, let’s say you own a jewellery store and your wife owns a construction company. Getting your wife to put a backlink on her construction company website to your jewellery store website is unlikely to very helpful to your SEO efforts. It is much better, in this situation, to get backlinks from jewellery blogs and other websites in the jewellery industry.
  • Do Follow / No Follow – when a third-party website gives you a backlink, it can either be a Do Follow backlink (which has a dofollow tag) or a No Follow backlink (which has a nofollow tag). The dofollow and nofollow tags tell Google whether or not the website wants Google to follow the link to see the content on your web page. Therefore, Do Follow links are the much better option.

Backlink Warnings

The above section highlights some of the dangers when trying to increase the number of backlinks to your website to improve your ranking in Google. After all, on the surface, there is a simple solution – Google likes backlinks so get as many of them as possible from wherever you can.

Lots of people have come before you with that thought, though, with many of them using dishonest practices to obtain backlinks. Over the years, Google has responded to this by implementing updates to its algorithm which help it separate good and honest backlinks from those that are trying to trick the algorithm.

So, here are a few things you should avoid when getting backlinks to your website:

  • The anchor text warning – it is good when third-party websites use keywords when they give you a backlink. If this happens too often, however, it can look like over-optimisation which can get you hit with a penalty. Therefore, there must be variety in the anchor text of your backlinks.
  • The getting lots of links, including paying for them, warning – this usually doesn’t work and even when it does, the positive effects don’t last. The much more effective strategy is to get good backlinks from high-quality websites on a consistent basis.
  • The source of backlinks warning – there are steps you can take to encourage websites to give you backlinks, but they should come in naturally. The example above of a jewellery website getting a backlink from a construction company is a good example of a forced or unnatural backlink strategy.

If you can’t do these things, what can you do to get backlinks to your website? There are lots of strategies and methods you can use that are all above board. However, they all centre around one essential and indispensable point… a point which is our number one tip for getting backlinks.

Number 1 Tip for Getting Backlinks

Create content that is valuable to your readers and that they love reading.

People will give you backlinks without you even asking them if you create fantastic content on your website. This could be infographics, blogs, articles, reports, white papers, discussion documents, help guides, or anything else that will be helpful, informative, or entertaining for your audience.

The more of this type of content you create, the more good-quality and useful backlinks you will get.

Top 9 Mistakes When Choosing a Web Developer

You have a vision, you have a plan to make that vision into a reality, and you’re ready to invest in your very own custom-built website by getting a web developer in Auckland. This is a huge step for your growing business, one that is absolutely necessary for you to compete in today’s digital marketplace.

But you’ve heard horror stories about others who hired web developers only to get a site that crashes, bugs out, or that never stands a chance of ranking on Google.

How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? How can you guarantee you’re going to get a high-quality website that will give you a good ROI?

We’re here to help. We’ve gathered a list of the top nine mistakes to watch out for when looking for a web developer in Auckland. By being aware of these pitfalls and knowing how to avoid them, you’ll be well on your way to your perfect website.

1. Paying Upfront

If your prospective developer asks you to pay for the entire project upfront, watch out. Once they’ve got your money, there’s no telling what they’ll do next – whether they’ll skimp out on the quality, take forever and a day to finish, or even completely blow you off.

A reputable developer will take a deposit at the beginning, usually between 25 percent and 50 percent. They will then make payments on a pre-agreed schedule for the remainder of the project.

2. Not Getting Referrals

Sure, that developer might have plenty of anonymous testimonials on their website, but the only way you can truly confirm the quality of their work is by getting in touch with their past clients. If the developer refuses to give you their contact info, then you’re probably better off with someone else.

It is even better if you already know any of the companies the website developer lists on their portfolio page. Get in touch with them to get their opinion on the experience.

3. Not Ensuring Mobile and Tablet Capability

Some web developers in Auckland will focus their efforts on creating a website that works for desktop computers. Sometimes, this is all they will build, ignoring mobile and tablet users completely. This is a no-go if you want to be successful on today’s internet.

To reach as many visitors and potential customers as possible, you need to make sure your visitors can access your site on all their devices. Therefore, check to make sure your developer gives enough attention to the mobile version of your website. In many situations, focusing on mobile first is the best approach.

4. No Background in SEO

Your developer doesn’t need to be an SEO wizard. That said, if you want the chance of ranking as high as possible, potentially reaching the front page of Google, then your developer should at least have a working knowledge.

After all, search engines are one of the main ways you’re going to generate traffic to your website. So, don’t shell out before you can guarantee your developer is up to snuff when it comes to SEO.

Of course, the ideal situation is to get a website developer who also offers SEO services. This is an indication they truly understand what is involved in making a website rank highly.

5. Going for the First Option

Hiring a web developer in Auckland is a big deal. Would you buy the first car or house that you came across? The same principle applies here: you need to get quotes from at least three web developers in Auckland before you decide to hire one.

This will allow you to compare their services, their expertise, their turnaround times, and their prices.

It can be hard to know what to expect before you start, so approach a variety of developers with your project. Let them know exactly what you are looking for and get as many details as you can from them, so you can make an informed decision.

6. Not Using a Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system, or CMS, will allow you to easily make changes to the website with a straightforward user interface. This means you’ll be able to keep your site up to date without having to hire another web developer.

Therefore, make sure the web developer you choose plans to build your website using a CMS.

The most popular and powerful CMS in use today is WordPress. It has an interface that is easy to use for the average person. This means you don’t have to be a tech person to run your website on a day-to-day basis.

7. Paying Too Little or Too Much

The adage “you get what you pay for” definitely applies when hiring a web developer. If you go for the cheapest available option, you can’t expect your site to work the way you want, especially if it attracts high volumes of traffic.

Think of it like buying a watch. Sure, you don’t need a Rolex to have a reliable wristwatch, but if you buy the cheapest piece of junk around then it’s going to break in no time.

The same is true for a web developer. Good web developers in Auckland charge a fair price for the level of skill, knowledge, and expertise that will go into developing your new website. It doesn’t need to cost the earth, but to get the best results, avoid cheap alternatives as they will always cost you in the long run.

8. Not Guaranteeing Volume

One big issue we hear about time and time again is a new website crashing because of traffic volumes. The client will then call their developer, who quickly starts to blame the hosting company. They do this because it can be difficult and time-consuming for the average business owner to prove the problem is actually with the developer.

Therefore, this point follows on from the previous one – you need to get a website developer who knows what they’re doing. Good website developers in Auckland will ensure your website is capable of handling whatever traffic you need, they will discuss this with you in advance, and they won’t shirk their responsibilities.

9. Finding a Deal that’s Too Good to be True

This is especially true if you’re hiring a developer over the internet, although it is always an essential point to remember. Therefore, go with your gut and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Also, watch out for scammers and always make sure you choose a reputable developer.

By keeping these tips in mind, you will have a much greater chance of getting the right web developer in Auckland.

3 Reasons Why WordPress Is Such a Popular Platform for Building Websites

A simple Google search for the best website platforms will return names like Shopify, WIX, Weebly, WordPress, and more. However, if you’re looking for a list ordered by popularity, WordPress will always come on top.

As it turns out, 23 percent of the top 10,000 websites in the world use WordPress. In addition, more and more businesses consider it every day as the go-to platform for their needs.

So, how did a blogging platform become the number one choice for business websites in New Zealand and elsewhere in the world? Let’s have a look at why WordPress is so popular.

1. It’s Free and Constantly Updated

Despite being one of the most popular CMS (Content Management Systems) out there, the WordPress platform is free to download. In addition, all WordPress users get full access to feature and security updates.

Furthermore, WordPress is open-source. This means developers from all over the world can work on improving the platform, plus there is a strong community supporting the entire project. This gives users access to plenty of information, tools, tutorials, and other valuable elements that you can’t find for free (or at all) with other platforms.

There are also tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available to enhance the functionality of your website, as well as themes to customise the appearance.

What does this all mean to you? After all, most of the above is more relevant to your website developer than you.

The above is important, however, as it means your website developer doesn’t have to code the website from scratch. Instead, they use WordPress as the basis for the code, plus they can also customise plugins and themes. This reduces development times and costs.

In addition, the strength of the WordPress CMS and community means it is a robust platform to build your website on.

2. The Platform is Highly Flexible

Back in 2003, when WordPress was first released, it was a blogging platform. However, the CMS evolved in the last 15 years and, nowadays, is a fully-grown online system that allows users to create any type of website they want.

For instance, WordPress can be used for business brochure websites, portfolio sites, e-commerce websites, membership websites, business presentation pages, galleries, blogs, personal sites, and a lot more.

One of the secrets to its success is the clean, easy to use, and simple interface that can then be transformed using themes and plugins.

3: You Are in Control

There’s nothing more frustrating than working with a framework that doesn’t allow full freedom. This is one of the reasons why the WordPress platform is more popular than website builders such as WIX, Squarespace, or Weebly.

Plus, while a lot of website builders claim to be free, most are not. For example, many offer a built-in eCommerce system while not allowing in-depth customisation or expansion unless you buy expensive plugins (and sometimes not at all). Also, many have fixed hosting, which may not be the best option for your needs.

There’s also the problem of code editing with website builders as you don’t have access to all the files.

Speaking of code, website builders don’t all use the standard combination of HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, and/or PHP. Some platforms use unique languages instead, that can only be understood by someone specialised in working with the platform. This is yet another example of website builders being difficult to customise.

You have none of these problems with WordPress, however.

In Conclusion

Overall, WordPress is a platform that gives you and your website developer in Auckland the freedom to create any type of site. It will also give you the foundation you need to get your website launched and improve your online reach.

The Benefits of Owning a Website Built Using WordPress

There are lots of reasons why website developers in Auckland like using WordPress. There are also benefits to you of getting a website built on the WordPress platform. In terms of the latter, those benefits include shorter development times and lower costs.

What happens when the website developer finishes and gives the site to you? Are there any benefits to owning a website built using the WordPress platform? Or will it present you with challenges?

The answer is most definitely the former – there are benefits to owning a WordPress website. Here are the four main ones.

1. Anyone Can Use It

According to a 2017 W3Tech survey, WordPress holds 59 percent of the market share and is used by 31.9 percent of all websites. This makes it the most popular CMS on the market.

The main reason for this popularity is its ease of use.

Of course, it takes a high level of technical expertise to properly develop and design a good WordPress website. Once your developer hands the website over to you, however, the platform is easy to use.

In fact, you don’t have to be tech savvy at all to understand the user-friendly interface, plus there are lots of manuals and tutorials (written and video) if you need pointers.

2. Low Maintenance Costs

When compared to other open-source platforms such as Joomla or Drupal, customisation and maintenance costs are significantly lower on WordPress websites. Also, WordPress is a reliable platform and there are plenty of developers continuously working to solve any issues that may show up in testing.

Even more important, there are lots of WordPress developers in Auckland and elsewhere, which reduces the costs of customisation. In other words, you don’t have to go back to the developer who originally built your website if you want to give it a new look or add new functionality. Instead, you simply need a website developer in Auckland who understands WordPress, which most do.

3. It’s Easy to Create Content

Whether you need to create blog articles for SEO, presentation pages for your sales team, landing pages for your AdWords campaigns, or galleries for your portfolio page, WordPress has everything laid out.

The tools available for content creation are among the most powerful and elegant on the market right now and they provide help for both beginner and advanced users.

For instance, as the admin of a WordPress website, you can setup multiple users as contributors or editors. Also, posts can be scheduled in advance, which allows you to work on a long-term content strategy.

Finally, the formatting and media tools available in WordPress make creating a post as easy as writing a Word document, i.e. no coding skills are necessary!

4. Built-in SEO

Another feature that makes WordPress so popular is the built-in SEO. The CMS automatically generates title tags, for example, which are useful in the race for a better place on search results pages.

In addition, WordPress also offers access to a wide range of tools and plugins (free and paid) that take SEO several steps further. Plugins and tools like Yoast SEO, Schema, or Broken Link Checker are great for optimising your website and helping you stay ahead of the competition.

Summary

As you can see, WordPress is not just a website development tool. It is also a powerful platform that makes owning and updating a website easy, plus it helps make your digital marketing efforts a success.

Choosing an SEO Agency Auckland

You are probably reading this because you want to get more traffic to your website from Google and need help to achieve this goal. This means hiring an SEO agency Auckland. The problem is, there are so many companies and consultants out there – how do you make the right choice?

Here are some tips and ideas to ensure you get the right SEO agency Auckland as well as maximum return on investment.

When It Comes to SEO, Experience Counts

As we develop and implement strategies for companies on a daily basis, we know for a fact you learn something new about SEO every day. This could be something small, but it all builds to a broader scope of knowledge that enables you to offer a service that achieves the best possible results.

Therefore, experience in the SEO industry counts.

When looking at SEO agencies in Auckland, make sure they have direct experience delivering SEO projects, ideally for companies similar to yours.

It is important to remember when considering experience that knowledge of SEO and experience of actually implementing SEO strategies are two completely different things. When you start looking for an SEO agency to work with, you will encounter many so-called and self-appointed experts. Just because they can talk the talk, however, doesn’t mean they can deliver in the real world.

There simply is no substitution for practical SEO experience.

Certifications and Qualifications Indicate Skill Levels

Certifications and qualifications are not an essential requirement, but they can indicate commitment as well as demonstrating the SEO agency’s skills.

There are lots of certifications and qualifications you can get in SEO, with some more prestigious and weighty than others. At Kiwi Website Design, we have chosen to focus on Google certifications, becoming a Google Partner. After all, Google is the most used search engine in New Zealand.

References and Testimonials Are Important

References and testimonials can also help you decide which SEO agency to choose. When reading references or testimonials, look for specific information, including details of results achieved. This is much more useful in your decision-making process than generic information.

Also, if you know any of the individuals or companies who have given the SEO agency a reference, pick up the phone and call them. Asking them directly about their experience will make you even more informed.

A Clear Strategy and Plan are Essential

Any reputable and worthwhile SEO agency will also give you a clear outline of the strategy they will implement as well as a plan for doing so. Before going any further, if an agency promises they will get you to number one spot on Google, you should be very concerned. Such promises cannot be kept so are simply hot air.

What should be in the strategy and plan, then? The SEO agency should first tell you exactly what they are going to do. Therefore, you should not put up with vague statements. Also, don’t let them drift into jargon and technical language as it really isn’t necessary.

It is also important you get an understanding of the SEO agency’s keyword strategy in relation to their overall plan, i.e. how will they identify keywords and how will they optimise your website for those keywords?

Crucially, make sure the agency focuses on keywords that will deliver results for your business. This means keywords that have buying intent. So, if you are a painter, for example, an SEO agency could include the keyword “painter” in its plans. However, better keywords to target are “painter in Auckland” or “painting services” or “painting services in Auckland” as these all indicate a stronger buying intent than “painter”.

Avoid Strategies Google Considers as Spam

Make sure you confirm with the SEO agency they will only use what is known in the SEO industry as “white hat” techniques. White hat techniques are the opposite of black hat SEO techniques.

Black hat SEO involves using techniques designed to get around or trick Google’s search algorithm. Google refers to this as spam. If caught, using these techniques result in severe penalties that can include getting dumped out of Google’s search results completely. Also, just to make the previous sentence clearer, “if caught” doesn’t sufficiently describe the risk as most websites using black hat SEO techniques do get caught.

Why would an SEO agency ever consider black hat SEO given the risks? This is a good question and the answer is that black hat SEO can deliver fast results. However, over the medium and long-term, any initial results will be completely wiped out with the website often ending up in a worse position.

Therefore, you should only use an SEO agency that uses white hat techniques exclusively. You should also remember that SEO does not deliver immediate results. Instead, you should aim for consistent improvements over the longer term.

Focus on Return on Investment Rather than Cost

The final tip for choosing an SEO agency Auckland is to focus on return on investment rather than cost. Of course, you will have to choose a quote and proposal that is within your budget. However, there is no point going for a cheap option if it doesn’t deliver results.

Remember as well: SEO takes time to deliver real gains for your business. Therefore, make sure the contract you agree is for a long enough period of time to achieve results. How long will that take?

The answer to this depends on a range of factors. For most businesses, however, you will start seeing initial results after three months with more tangible indications of success after around six months.

Making a Choice for the Long-Term

The final thing you should be aware of when choosing an SEO agency Auckland relates to the fact that SEO is an ongoing process. It is also a process that requires consistency. In an ideal situation, therefore, you will choose an SEO agency who will work with your business over the long term.

As a result of this, make sure you like and trust the people you are dealing with. They should have a commitment to delivering for your business and a willingness to work with you for as long as it takes. This will make the process of SEO easier as well as delivering better results and a better return on investment.

The Importance of Page Titles and Meta Descriptions in Website Design

A crucial part of all good website design is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). More specifically, a good website designer will put the right SEO foundation in place, so you can improve or maintain your website’s position on Google search results pages.

Two important components of SEO in website design which are often overlooked, however, are page titles and meta descriptions. When a website designer doesn’t place enough emphasis on them, you end up with auto-generated versions that will not deliver for your business.

This is despite the fact that page titles and meta descriptions play a huge role in the success of your website in Google search, not least because page titles are one of the search giant’s key ranking factors.

When getting a new website designed, here’s what you need to know about page titles and meta descriptions.

The Role of Page Titles and Meta Descriptions in SEO

In technical terms, page titles are an HTML element – or tag – which lets Google and other search engines know the title of a webpage. If you’re writing a blog entry, it is the title of the blog. If you are writing copy for your sales page, it is the title of your sales page.

It is important to remember, however, that when we discuss page titles, we are not talking about headings. Headings use header tags (H1, H2, etc) and they are completely different things.

Page titles go in the middle of <title></title> HTML tags. While that is technical, it is important as Google uses page titles to help it understand the content of the page. If you don’t use the correct HTML tag, it can’t do this.

You can see page titles on every search results page – they are the clickable headline for each search result. Therefore, page titles are important for SEO and user experience. As a result, page titles should be a concise and accurate reflection of the content on the page.

Meta descriptions, on the other hand, are short descriptions which summarise the content of your page for the benefit of search engines and the end-user. While meta descriptions are nowhere near as important as they used to be for SEO purposes, they still help.

Specifically, they help encourage Google search users to click on your website rather than one of your competitors. This is because the main function of a meta description is to display a short piece of information underneath the title in search engine results.

In summary:

  • Page titles help Google understand what your web page is about
  • Google uses this information to help it decide where to rank your website on its search results pages
  • Google also displays the page title on its search results pages
  • It displays the page’s meta description too
  • Both help convince users to click on your link

Writing Page Titles That Are Clickable

As page titles are so important both in terms of SEO and your click-through rate, knowing how to write them properly is crucial. In fact, taking the time to write an effective page title is a simple, high-impact task which can give your SEO a major boost.

Here are five simple tips to help you write killer page titles:

1. Keep Your Page Titles Concise – But Not Too Concise

Google simply cuts page titles that are too long, so users won’t see the full wording on a search results page. On the flip side, nobody is going to click on something which is half-complete.

The general rule is to keep page titles between 40 and 70 characters.

For a more technical explanation, the exact limit for a page title is based on a 600-pixel box. This is the width Google allocates to the page title. So, if your page title has lots of wide letters such as “W” or “O”, you are going to have less pixel space to play with. If, however, your page title features letters like “I” or lowercase letters such as “t” and “p”, you will fit more in.

2. Use Keywords Wisely but Don’t Spam

If you stuff your page title full of keywords, Google will penalise you and you will not rank very well. After all, page titles that are a list of keywords or keyword variations do nothing to improve user experience. Quite the opposite, in fact, which is why Google takes it so seriously.

Don’t try to outsmart Google, either, as its algorithm is now very good at spotting spammy page titles.

That said, your page title should include the main keyword of the page. In fact, this is critically important to SEO. Ideally, place the keyword at the start of the page title. While on the topic, it is also helpful to include the page’s keyword in your meta description.

3. Avoid Other Spam Triggers

Avoid anything else in your page title which could be considered as spam. A good example is the unnecessary use of capital letters – avoid this and instead use normal sentence or title capitalisation.

Another example is the use of special characters such as $ or ! or *. You should avoid using these too.

4. Write with Your Target Market in Mind

If you don’t focus on your target market through your title, what’s the point? After all, these are the people you are trying to make click on it.

So, write your titles in a way in a way that will attract clicks from people who are likely to have an interest in your product, service, or what you have to say.

Remember, your page titles are a potential visitor’s very first interaction with you when they find your website through a search engine result. This highlights the importance of writing page titles that present your brand in the best light possible.

5. Avoid Writing Page Titles that Could Be Considered as Clickbait

Clickbait is a term that often refers to page titles. Specifically, page titles that sensationalise or misrepresent the actual content on the page in order to get people to visit.

For some, it is a tempting approach, particularly if you are in a competitive market. However, the best advice when doing anything in relation to SEO is to never lose focus on users.

It is not hard to see that clickbait page titles do not add anything of value to users. In most cases, in fact, they cause frustration and annoyance.

Your page title can be confident, but you should never drift into sensationalism and you should always ensure the content behind the title delivers on expectations.

The SEO Payoff

Page titles and meta descriptions, particularly the former, are too often ignored by website designers. One of the reasons for this is that modern website design platforms will automatically fill in the gap to ensure your web page works.

However, this approach results in page titles that are not optimised so won’t help your SEO. By manually writing and optimising, you will get a competitive edge.

Getting the Best from Your Relationship with an SEO Agency

Developing a successful and fruitful agency-client relationship is a two-way effort which takes time. Therefore, it is important to work cohesively together and to share the same vision.

The relationship between your company and an SEO agency in Auckland is a business relationship, so, like all business relationships, it can get complicated. After all, you are paying for a service and your company’s earning potential is on the line. With this, there are many pitfalls which can cause trouble for both parties. This particularly applies when you use an SEO agency that doesn’t have a proven track record of success.

There are a few key ways that the client-agency relationship can come under pressure, and there are many ways to get out of this rut when it happens. These issues are more common where companies do not understand SEO. After all, you hire an SEO agency to get access to their expert services.

When trying to get the best out of your agency-client relationship, try to look at yourself from the agency’s perspective; what would you be looking for in a client if you were them?

When you do this, you will get the best results for your website and your business.

Communication is Key

At the start of your client-agency relationship, you should draw up a communications plan or structure. This should include:

  • The reports and other information you expect to receive as well as when you will receive them
  • Who is your day-to-day contact and how do you get in touch with them
  • Who is managing your account and how do you get in touch with them
  • How often will meetings take place and how will they happen, i.e. in person, by telephone, by conference call, by Skype, etc

By having a communication plan or agreement in place, your expectations are set which helps avoid issues in the future.

Managing Expectations

One issue that can occur when working with an SEO agency in Auckland is diverging expectations. In other words, what you think the SEO agency will do for your website and the reality.

Often this divergence occurs because there are so many dodgy SEO providers who promise the sun, moon, and stars to Kiwi businesses, often for $100 or less. Put simply, if it was that easy, everyone would do it.

So, don’t expect a guaranteed top spot on Google, particularly if it means dislodging one of the Internet’s giants in order to achieve it (taking on Amazon, for example). Similarly, be very cautious of any company offering you this result.

So, what is a realistic expectation? Here are some performance indicators you should use:

  • Your website should achieve better rankings over a consistent period of time than it did before
  • Traffic to your website should increase
  • Conversions should increase too

Five Simple Ways to Get the Most from Your Client-Agency Relationship

Building relationships is never easy. However, there are a few key considerations which you should keep in mind when trying to build a professional relationship with an SEO agency. You probably won’t be surprised to learn it’s a lot different to building a casual one!

1. Stay in Touch

Adding on to the communication point above, it is important to stay in regular contact with your SEO agency. Yes, you’re busy – that’s understandable – but if an SEO agency doesn’t get input from you for weeks or even months on end, and you are not properly reviewing your SEO reports, it’s hard for them to move forward.

Therefore, it is important to respond to all communications from your SEO agency and properly review any reports they send you. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of slowing down progress or missing opportunities.

Don’t Overdo It, Though

A good SEO agency in Auckland will always keep you updated, so it shouldn’t be necessary for you to keep dropping in on them for more information or updates. In fact, it can be detrimental to progress.

You hired them to do a job and you should let them get on with it. This will allow them to spend more time on your project and less time on the phone or responding to emails.

Most SEO agencies send monthly reports which have all the information you need about your SEO campaign.

Open Up About Your Business

Your SEO agency needs to understand your business in as much detail as possible. This means you need to open up about it in as much detail as you can. The more information you divulge, the better placed they will be to help you achieve the best possible results.

Reputable SEO agencies are open about their strategies and what they are doing to improve your site’s rankings, meaning you are always in-the-know. That said, your SEO agency should be in-the-know too.

Treat Your Agency Like It Is a Part Your Team

If you treat your SEO agency like it is a member of your team, you should see better results.

Examples of this include involving the SEO agency in the day-to-day decision-making process of anything that has an impact on your website or overall digital marketing strategy.

Report Back to the Agency

Do you feel you’re not getting value for money? Are you finding it difficult to determine whether you are really seeing results? Sometimes, it can be difficult to figure out if you are making progress, even when there is progress. So, never be afraid to ask the question.

Remember, though, that marketing does not happen overnight. Instead, it is a long-term process that can take many months before you will see substantial results. The payback is those results will also last for the long-term.

Although you do need to be patient and let your SEO agency do what they are good at, it is also important that they know when you are dissatisfied or confused so they can change up their strategies or clear things up for you.

Getting Results

Hiring an SEO agency is a huge step for any business, especially new start-ups. It is, therefore, important you work hard to develop a fruitful professional relationship which has the potential to deliver the results you want.

This relationship is not a one-way street, however, as it requires input from both parties. Any good SEO agency in Auckland will know this.

Everything You Need to Know About Mobile SEO

Smartphones are not just for younger generations anymore. In fact, one of the fastest growing demographics for smartphone and general smart device usage is the 55 – 64 age bracket. In other words, smartphones have taken a serious grip on our society and, for many of us, they are the first things we check when we wake up in the morning, we carry them around with us always, and we use them more and more for day-to-day tasks.

Consequently, smartphones have changed the way we engage with not just each other, but the internet itself. One area where smartphones have had the largest impact is SEO as mobile SEO helps businesses and brands reach potential customers. Therefore, it is not something which can be ignored.

Why is Mobile SEO Important?

Mobile traffic towers over desktop-based traffic. Each day, more people become reliant on smartphones to perform even the most basic of tasks. They are all-encompassing pieces of technology which house our lives. To take advantage of this and reach the people using them, you need to have a mobile SEO strategy.

Google studies have shown that smartphone users have more buying intent than their desktop counterparts – these people are there and waiting, ready to buy, and it is your job to ensure your website is one of the first results they see when performing a Google search.

Many webmasters assume there is no difference between desktop and mobile SEO, however. This is wrong. Yes, desktop SEO tactics do work for mobile SEO in some ways. However, desktop SEO and mobile SEO are not wholly interchangeable, so it is best practice to have two separate SEO strategies.

Google is Beginning to Prioritise Mobile

This year, Google will switch to a mobile-first index, making the importance of mobile SEO clear beyond doubt.

What does this mean? Previously, Google stored the desktop version of your website in its index. Now, however, it will use the mobile version instead. This doesn’t mean it will ignore the desktop version of your site. Instead, it now gives greater priority to the mobile version.

Even if your website is not geared towards a smartphone audience you still need to optimise it for mobile. The most efficient approach is to make your website responsive. If you don’t have a responsive website yet, you should make this your number one digital marketing priority. As a website development and SEO company in Auckland, we can help you do this.

What Does Google See As “Mobile”?

Many people consider smartphones and tablets as mobile devices. However, Google categorises tablets as devices in their own right and does not include them under the “mobile” umbrella.

This means Google only considers smartphones to be mobile devices. This isn’t a hugely important point though, because the idea with SEO is to optimise your website for all devices, not just smartphones – i.e. by making your website responsive.

Mobile SEO – Five Essential Tips

Your website needs to be optimised for mobile so that, regardless of the user’s device, everyone has a positive experience. Mobile SEO mostly relates to your website’s design, structure, and other technical aspects. Here are our five essential mobile SEO tips:

1. Focus on Speed

Google expects websites to load in half a second or less. In addition, research shows that a loading time which exceeds more than two seconds is enough to put off most consumers. Ensuring that your site loads quickly is crucial to ranking highly on both desktop and mobile search results pages. Simple speed optimisations include:

  • Correctly sizing your images
  • Removing unnecessary code
  • Utilising browser caching to store site resource files
  • Reducing the number of redirects on your site

2. Have a Responsive Design

Responsive designs are the way forward for mobile SEO and SEO in general. If you use WordPress or other content management systems, most modern themes come responsive as standard. Also, it is possible optimise existing website designs and themes by adding a few lines of code.

To get the most stable, functional, and visually attractive website, however, you should get a bespoke responsive theme.

The best responsive designs eliminate all flash elements and pop-ups plus they have a design that makes it easy to browse using a finger, reducing the possibility of accidental tapping of elements.

3. Optimise for the Local Area

This applies mostly to businesses that have a localised presence such as a physical premises or offices. If you do operate a physical location, it is important you optimise your website for local searches.

There are two ways to do this: a) include your city/town/region in your site’s content, in page titles, and in page meta descriptions, particularly the homepage; and, b) sign up for Google My Business, a free tool that lets you add important details about your business to Google such as opening hours and contact information.

4. Check for Blocked CSS, JavaScript, and Images

CSS, JavaScript, and images can enhance your website but there used to be a time when mobile devices could not properly support them. As a result, many web developers blocked them for mobile devices. Developers may also have blocked these elements because of mobile data concerns.

Today, however, these elements are crucial for helping Google determine whether you have a responsive site. Therefore, it is worth checking that your website isn’t blocking them, especially if your website has been around for some time.

5. Optimise Page Content

Remember, with mobile devices, you have much less screen space to work with. Also, the layout is different than a desktop as most people browse websites on mobile devices while holding them in a portrait position. In other words, they look at your website vertically rather than horizontally.

This means you should think about the layout of the content on your pages. Long paragraphs of text are a simple example as they could fill up all or most of a mobile screen. This is off-putting for visitors.

So, when writing content and structuring the layout of your website, always think mobile.

Mobile SEO Shouldn’t Be Scary

Many webmasters have been up in arms about Google’s mobile first index. However, mobile devices are the future and it makes sense that you optimise your website for them. Doing so will only deliver benefits, particularly over the long-term.

So, how do you know if you have a mobile optimised website? Here are some questions to ask:

  • Does your website load quickly on mobile when on a mobile network, i.e. not on a Wi-Fi connection?
  • Does your website look good on your phone and on any other phone or tablet you can check it on?
  • Does all the content on your website display on mobile?
  • Do all the features and functions of your website work on mobile?

If you are unsure about any of the above, you should get the help of an SEO agency in Auckland.

8 Common SEO Myths

As e-commerce expands, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is increasingly important for small business owners. If you want to ensure you can compete with your online competitors, it’s important you optimise your website for search engines. If you have little experience in digital marketing or website building, however, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information online. As a leading SEO agency in Auckland, we see this all the time.

After all, there seems to be a million SEO experts on the internet and they often present conflicting information. False information about SEO can damage your website and your brand, so it’s important you approach the process with confidence. That means avoiding the myths that continually pop up on many SEO blogs and sites.

In this article, we’ll take a quick look at the top eight SEO myths to help you navigate away from any basic mistakes.

Myth 1: Keyword Saturation Helps SEO

This is one of the oldest myths in the book. Website owners looking to boost their search engine results often load their content with keywords. While this might seem like a sure-fire way to improve your returns, Google and other search engines can easily spot this technique.

In fact, Google has been using technology to spot keyword saturation for more than ten years. There’s another problem too: not only will keyword saturation damage SEO, it also makes your website appear less legitimate to customers.

So, make sure you spread keywords throughout your content, don’t repeat them too often, and ensure they appear naturally.

Myth 2: Purchased Engagement Improves Rankings

One way to improve your SEO is to increase engagement with your website. In other words, when other websites and blogs link to your site, your credibility improves in the eyes of Google. However, this has created an entire industry dedicated to creating page engagement for clients looking to enhance their stats.

While this can sometimes work in the short-term, using manufactured engagement usually damages your page ranking. Search engines are now better at recognising fake or ‘spammy’ interactions, plus social media sites also work hard to spot fake engagement, penalising companies who engage in the practice.

So, the irony is, real engagement with your company is likely to fall if you use fake engagement.

Myth 3: Site Security is Irrelevant

Several high-profile hacks have made the news in recent times – many large companies have fallen victim to professional hackers looking to exploit personal data and information. If you own a small business, you might not think cybersecurity is applicable to you. Google, however, takes security on the internet very seriously.

While it isn’t one of Google’s core ranking factors at the moment, there’s no doubt security will play a larger role in determining search results in the future.

In addition, some web browsers also notify users when a site is not properly secured. This increases the chance that visitors will abandon your site without any interaction. So, there’s never been a better time to invest in site security.

Myth 4: Loading Your Homepage with Content is Beneficial

There is a lot of conflicting information online about how much content your homepage should include. Many people view their homepage as a segue to other parts of their site. This often results in a small amount of content on the homepage.

However, recent trends indicate homepages should also include optimised keywords and content. In fact, it’s thought most homepages should contain around 2,000 words of high-quality content with related keywords.

This word count also acts as a threshold, however, as loading your homepage with more content than this is unlikely to significantly enhance your SEO.

Even when you have a lot of content on your homepage, you should still link to other areas of your site as internal linking is important to SEO too.

Myth 5: Mobile Optimisation Doesn’t Matter

When SEO first became a thing, all e-commerce took place on traditional computers and laptops. This meant web designers solely focused on building traditional web pages. This has changed as responsiveness is now a key factor in SEO. Responsive websites “respond” to a user’s device, so they display and work properly, including loading quickly.

If you don’t optimise your site for mobile browsing, you will fall behind your competitors. This is because mobile optimisation is now a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm when users search on mobile devices.

Plus, mobile browsing is now more prevalent than traditional browsing. So, optimising for mobile not only improves the ranking of your website’s pages, it also improves user experience.

Myth 6: Content is the Only Thing That Matters

If you’ve read about SEO recently, you probably noticed a commonly used phrase: content is king. While it is true that creating authentic and useful content is one of the best ways to improve consumer engagement, keywords are equally as important. If you create great content that doesn’t include the keywords users search for, they may not be able to find your site.

The key is to use relevant keywords to produce insightful and thoughtful content. You should approach this process comprehensively, optimising each page of your website with keywords.

Myth 7: Investing in Google Ads Will Improve SEO

There are a lot of short-cut myths out there with some business owners looking for an easy route to improve SEO. One of the most common shortcut myths is the idea that purchasing Google Ads will improve your SEO, i.e. if you pay Google, it will reward you with better organic rankings.

While this method might sound plausible in a cut-throat business world, it doesn’t actually work. You can’t use Google Ads as a bribing technique to improve your page ranking.

Google Ads will improve user engagement and increase traffic to your website by targeting visitors that are likely to benefit from your site or product. If you want to improve your ranking in organic search, however, you need to implement an SEO strategy.

Myth 8: Link Building is in the Past

The fact that this myth still does the rounds is quite baffling as link building remains a major Google ranking factor. As mentioned above, though, you shouldn’t try to cheat the process by purchasing backlinks. You’ll achieve the best results if you naturally earn links from authoritative websites. You can do this by creating great content and engaging key individuals and websites in your industry.

Verdict

If you’ve fallen for one of the myths mentioned in this article, you’re not alone as there are plenty of small business owners in the same position. After all, search engine optimisation is a constantly evolving area, not least because Google and other search engines update their algorithms and technology on a regular basis.

Therefore, it’s important you stay aware of the common misconceptions in the industry. If you want to avoid wasting time and money, only use SEO techniques that improve your page rank. While SEO might sound difficult and confusing, avoiding traps is crucial to moving forward successfully.

An Introduction to Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a collection of resources and tools designed to help webmasters, website owners, and SEO professionals monitor the performance of a website in the Google search index.

As a free service which enables anybody to learn important information about their website and anybody who visits it, it is an invaluable tool which can be used to help improve overall performance and optimisation.

Why All Website Owners Need Google Search Console

By tracking metrics and delivering information regarding exactly who is visiting your website, from where, how they are finding it, and which devices are being used, website owners can act on this information to make optimisations and changes to increase conversions.

In addition to this, you can use Google Search Console to fix errors, create a robots.txt file for search engine indexation, and submit a sitemap.

When new errors appear in Google Search Console, you will get an email straight away. This lets you fix the error immediately before it becomes a problem that will have a negative impact on your website.

Creating an Account and Adding a Website

Google Search Console uses a regular Google account so, if you already have one of these, you don’t even need to register one! If you don’t have an account, you can make one in a matter of minutes.

Before you can begin using Google Search Console, however, you will need to add your website and verify it before moving forward. The verification process demonstrates to Google you are the true owner of a website and are authorised to access the detailed information Google Search Console provides.

Adding a website is a very simple process. When you are logged in, there will be a red box (you can’t miss it) which says Add Property. Simply type your URL in this box, press the button and go through the verification process.

There are a few different ways you can verify your website with Google Search Console. To do this, navigate to Manage Property and choose one of the following options:

  • Add a pre-made HTML meta tag to your website’s homepage inside the <head> tag;
  • Upload a HTML file to your website’s root directory;
  • Sign in to the provider of your domain name; or
  • Use your Google Analytics/AdSense account.

A good website design or SEO company in Auckland can help you with this process if you are not technically minded.

Google Search Console Features

The new version of Google Search Console was released earlier this year and it now comes with a ton of new and useful features. It is worth mentioning that, at present, some of the features between the old and new Google Search Console are still migrating. As such, you will sometimes need to switch between versions to use all the older features.

The Performance Tab

This is the main part of Google Search Console and is what makes it such a valuable tool. Inside the performance tab, you can see which pages and keywords your website ranks for in Google.

As you begin to check the performance tab more frequently, you will start to see which keywords and pages need attention or should be optimised.

Inside the performance tab, there is a list of queries, pages, countries, and devices. You can sort these sections by metrics such as the number of clicks or impressions, among others.

  • Number of clicks – this metric tells you how often end-users click on a link on a search results page to visit your website. This alone can tell you a lot about the optimisation of your page’s title and meta description. If few people are clicking, you may need to make the page title and meta description more appealing.
  • Impressions – this tells you how often your website appears on search results pages for specific keywords. You can use filters to move between different keywords to see how often your site appears.
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) – CTR shows you the percentage of people who see your website on search results pages and then click through to visit. If you have a low click-through rate, you should consider rewriting your page’s meta description to make it more engaging or try other methods to improve your ranking.
  • Average position – this metric tells you the average ranking you achieve for a selected keyword. Although different people get different search results depending on a variety of factors, this is still a useful indicator you can use to further optimise your individual pages and their content.

Index Coverage

This tab tells you how many of your pages appeared in Google’s index since its last update. It also tells you how many pages are not indexed as well as the errors, warnings, or shortfalls that are causing some of your pages not to rank.

You should check the Index Coverage regularly to see warnings and errors as they appear and to take steps to rectify them. Although Google does send notifications when it finds an error (e.g. when a page is set to no-index), it is always best to catch these problems straight away, so you can swiftly resolve them.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

It is important you optimise your website for mobile use both to deliver a better user experience and for SEO purposes. The AMP section in Google Search Console can help you check whether pages are mobile-friendly and, if not, what errors there are.

You will find all errors displayed in an easy-to-read chart which you can then use to locate and resolve the errors. When you click on one of the errors, you’ll get a comprehensive message that provides all the details required to diagnose and fix it.

Missing Features in Google Search Console

Google has not integrated all features into the new Google Search Console yet, either because it is still migrating the feature or because Google has found a better way to present the data.

At the time of writing, the migration is ongoing. You can, however, access missing features by using the older but still available version of Google Search Console.

The features that are currently missing from the newer version include:

  • Search appearance
  • Google Index
  • Search traffic
  • Crawl-related data
  • Security issues

Although this is a minor inconvenience, you can still access these features by switching between versions. Google Search Console’s newer version brings with it a whole new infrastructure and the potential for improved features, and we think this is a fair compromise. Over time, these features will either be migrated as they were or replaced with something new – only time will tell.

Relevance, Authority, and Trust – the Three Essentials of SEO

If you would like to use the power of Search Engine Optimisation to your advantage, you need to understand the importance of relevance, authority, and trust. These three aspects of SEO are essential and without one or all of them, your SEO work is unlikely to be as fruitful as you’d hoped.

The good news is you don’t have to be a digital marketing wizard to understand the three essentials of SEO. So, let’s take a closer look at the importance of relevance, authority, and trust.

Relevance

Relevance is an essential component of SEO. Specifically, the relevance of links to your website from other sources is essential.

For example, let’s imagine you sell kitchens and want your website to appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for keywords relevant to your industry. If all the backlinks to your website are from gardening-related websites, however, you will find it difficult to rank well for your targeted keywords.

Instead, let’s say you have a backlink from a well-known national kitchen magazine. As this link is relevant to your business, it is more likely it will help move your website up the rankings for your targeted keywords.

Now let’s imagine that a high-quality and very popular music-related website creates a link to your site. While Google will like the fact it is a high-quality and popular website, it is unlikely to treat the link as a relevant link. So, the link may help improve your website marginally, but it is unlikely to be a significant help.

In other words, the more relevant links coming into your website, the better your website’s ranking is likely to be.

Authority

When we use a search engine, we connect with sources to get answers to our questions and queries. These questions and queries can relate to anything from local restaurants to the products our competitors sell. Google doesn’t just want us to connect with any source, however. Instead, it wants us to connect with authoritative sources.

Search engines use algorithms to achieve this. These algorithms hunt for and retrieve the content of web pages. Google then matches web pages with search queries. In plain English, this means the search engine looks for the most relevant and authoritative sources it can find before displaying them to you – and your customers.

When you input a keyword to Google, there could be thousands if not millions of web pages that are relevant. Therefore, it assesses website authority on a massive scale.

Google uses many different signals to evaluate a web page’s authority, among other things. These signals, known as ranking signals, fall into two main categories: content and links. When it comes to authority, links are all important.

Google treats links as a vote of confidence in your website. After all, it does not use human analysis of the pages on your website to evaluate how good they are. Instead, it needs methods for doing this algorithmically, i.e. automatically and without the need for human intervention.

It does this with links. Specifically, it does this by looking at the quality and quantity of your links:

  • Quality – whether the source linking to your website is authoritative. The more authoritative, the better. In other words, if a website that Google knows about and trusts links to your website, Google treats this as an indication that your website is likely to be authoritative too.
  • Quantity – this is a simple equation: websites with a higher number of authoritative links usually rank higher than their competitors.

One other factor Google looks at in relation to links and authority is time, i.e. recent links from authoritative sources are more valuable than older links.

This is a good time to introduce to other concepts in relation to authority: Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA).

  • PA – a metric that helps predict how well pages will rank for relevant search queries. Normally, the higher the page authority, the better the ranking.
  • DA – a metric that uses the size, age, and popularity of domains to determine its ranking. As such, every page on your domain will have the same ranking.

Trust

Google’s official position is that it doesn’t use a “trust” metric as a ranking signal. This could be because Yahoo owns a patent on a metric called TrustRank.

We do, however, know that Google does not like things such as:

  • Link farms
  • Spam
  • Buying and selling links
  • Website pages that deceive visitors
  • Website pages that contain viruses or other malicious software
  • Websites and web pages that contain thin content

How is this relevant to your website if you are not engaged in any of the above? This comes back to the topic of links again.

In other words, do you have links to your website from sites involved in any of the above? If you do, those links might damage your ranking in search results pages for your targeted keywords.

To understand this, think of it from the perspective of Google and other search engines. For them, trustworthy websites link to trustworthy websites while the opposite is true for untrustworthy websites.

You can’t control who links to you, though, right? Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as that. Google spends a lot of time and money combating spam, i.e. low-quality, fraudulent, and malicious content on the internet. However, it also regards tactics that try to trick its search algorithm as spam.

This means previous efforts to search engine optimise your website will have to be reversed by taking steps to deal with low-quality, untrustworthy backlinks.

Even if you don’t have this problem, it is good to understand the importance of trust to SEO.

Where Do You Go from Here?

The common thread through each of the three essential elements of SEO was links. In other words, you need links to your website that are:

  • Relevant to the content on your website
  • From authoritative sources
  • From trustworthy sources

How do you achieve this, though? Well, that is the challenge of SEO – a challenge a good SEO agency in Auckland will be able to deal with. However, here is a short summary of what you need to do:

  • Ensure the products or services you offer are as good as possible
  • Make the content on your website top quality
  • Engage in brand building and PR exercises both online and offline
  • Build and engage with your audience on social media
  • Network and build relationships with other companies and individuals connected to your industry

All the above will generate backlinks to your website that have relevance, authority, and trust. It takes time and effort, plus the process is ongoing, but you will get the reward of higher search engine rankings for your targeted keywords over the long-term.

The Impact of Website Performance and Usability to SEO

Did you know that ranking well in Google doesn’t only depend on good quality content? In fact, your website’s usability, as well as its performance, also have an impact, so can improve or damage search rankings. Therefore, by improving your website’s usability, as well as its performance, you can get better results from your website.

Google has always placed significant emphasis on performance and usability. It even offers a free site speed test tool that you can use to check the performance of your website. This tool even tells you what you should fix.

In addition, Google publishes guidance and advice on some elements of website usability.

Let’s now look further at the impact of website performance and usability to SEO

Understanding Usability

Usability is a measure of the user-friendliness of your website. For example, it looks at how easy it is for users to navigate your website, find what they need, and do what they want to do, without getting lost or confused.

The following questions can help you determine the usability of your website:

  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Are there elements that you can improve?
  • Are there many distractions on the website (like ads or popups)?
  • Is the contact information clearly visible?
  • Does the design include all necessary features?

Site usability also takes into account the efficiency of your site’s design. You can judge this by analysing the time it takes users to perform tasks once they are familiar with the layout.

Finally, website usability is also about making your website available on all device. This means ensuring you have a responsive design that works well on mobile phones.

Understanding Website Performance

Google measures website performance by the speed it takes web pages to download and display in users’ browsers. Therefore, an outdated website design, regardless of whether it has incredible content, will probably suffer on search result pages with a low ranking.

Google told us this directly back in 2010 and it has issued updates regularly since then. Specifically, it says it uses site speed as a factor when determining the rank of websites. Why is Google so fixated on performance?

A webpage that takes too long to load can lead to a bad user experience which, in turn, increases the bounce rate. Google doesn’t like high bounce rates because they essentially mean failure, i.e. Google failed to send the user to a website that could help with their query.

As a consequence, your ranking in Google – and the goals you have for your website – suffer.

In fact, statistics show that 47 percent of users expect a page to load in just two seconds. In addition, as delay as short as one-second can lead to a reduction in conversions by as much as seven percent. So, an e-commerce site making roughly $1,000 a day could lose as much as $250,000 a year in revenue because their website has a one-second delay.

How Usability and Website Performance Impact Your Business

Usability and website performance have both a direct and an indirect impact on SEO. As well as impacting SEO, however, both also have an impact on your business. After all, website performance and usability play a part in improving recommendations, increasing traffic, and achieving conversions.

For instance, if navigating through your website is difficult, then engaging with visitors will be difficult too. These low engagement rates often lead to visitors leaving your website and being hesitant to return in the future.

Likewise, if users don’t quickly spot what they are looking for, there is a high chance they will just stay on your page for only a few seconds before heading back to the search results page in the hope of finding another website that will be more helpful. This is a potential lost customer.

What Can You Do to Improve Website Performance and Usability?

It is important to remember that Google uses a lot of tools, factors, and strategies to determine performance and usability. It even uses its web browser Chrome to monitor how people interact with websites.

So, what should you do to optimise the performance and usability of your website?

Primarily, good usability involves not only removing roadblocks but also minimising the total steps a user must take to get to the end goal. Since usability involves making a task hassle-free and intuitive, you need to come up with a user interface that is very simple to learn as well as being appealing and rewarding to visitors.

You should also speed up the loading time of your website so that fewer users abandon your pages out of frustration. There are a lot of things you can do to improve loading times like leveraging browser caching, using a content delivery network, minimising redirects, optimising images, etc.

To find out exactly what is slowing up your website, you should check it with the speed test tool above before fixing any problems it highlights. Make sure you check the speed of your website on mobile devices too, as there may be additional issues you should look at.

In addition to the above, you can also use the following tips to improve both website performance and usability:

  • Use a heat-map tool that lets you record click behaviour on your website. This will help you understand how visitors use your website, so you can make improvements.
  • Try to avoid publishing a lot of irrelevant content. Your pages and posts need to be clear, concise, and easy to understand.
  • Place key information in places where the eye is naturally drawn. Statistics show that 80 percent of users look at information placed above the page fold while 69 percent of users spend their time looking at the left side of the page. Content above the fold is content that is visible without the user having to scroll. Therefore, put your most important information at the top left-hand side of the pages on your website.
  • If your website is not mobile-friendly, it is time for you to optimise it for those who visit your website using their tablets or smartphones. Remember, optimising your website for mobile doesn’t just mean making it look good on mobile devices. You must also check all the content and functions to ensure they work properly on mobile too.
  • Pick out visually appealing colours instead of those that are quite distracting. Make sure you research colour psychology before you finalise a colour scheme.

Website performance and usability are issues that you simply cannot ignore as even small problems can have a significant impact. On the flip side, by optimising performance and usability, your ranking in Google and your business overall are likely to improve.

What Is Search Engine Friendly Website Design?

Search engine friendly website design means designing your website according to Google’s guidelines. This helps Google understand what your website is about, it ensures Google can find all the pages, and it helps improve your ranking on search results pages.

A good website developer and/or SEO agency in Auckland will look after all the elements below on your behalf. However, it is good to have an overview of the topic, so you can ensure you get a fully optimised search engine friendly website.

Here’s how you make your website search engine friendly.

Make Sure Google Can Easily Index Your Most Important Content

Website developers can add content to your pages in lots of different ways. This includes using HTML, the standard tagging system for most websites on the internet. It can also include other code such as Java or Flash as well as other types of content including images, video, and audio.

Search engines understand and use HTML more than any other type of content, however. Therefore, the most important content on your pages should be in HTML.

This means, for example, transcribing audio and video content into text. You should also use image alt tags for the images you include on your website. Image alt tags let you describe the image, so Google understands what it is.

Image alt tags look like this:

<img src=”YourImage.jpg” alt=”Description of the image”>

The Importance of Keywords

Keywords are crucial to SEO, so they are crucial to building a search engine friendly website too. Therefore, you should ensure you include the main keywords you want to target on the main pages of your website.

You should include keywords in the following locations:

  • Page titles
  • Page URLs
  • In H1 headers
  • In the first paragraph of a page, ideally the first sentence
  • A couple of times in the text on the page
  • In the image alt text of at least one image on the page
  • In the page’s meta description

You should also include variations of the keyword too. For example, if your keyword is “how to train your dog”, a variation of that could be “learning to train your dog”.

When structuring your website, there are two important things to avoid in relation to keywords:

  1. Don’t keyword stuff – this means adding keywords to the page multiple times in the hope it convinces Google your page really, really, really, really, is the best. This simply doesn’t work and can actually lower your ranking in search. Keywords should appear naturally and strategically on your website pages.
  2. Don’t cannibalise keywords – this means using a single keyword as the target keyword on multiple pages of your website. For example, having three pages on your website targeting the keyword “how to train your dog”. Doing this simply spreads the value of your content across three pages, rather than directing that value to one page.

Optimising Page Titles

Google uses page titles as a ranking factor, plus they appear in a number of important places. This includes on search results pages:

seo

Web browsers also use page titles on tabs:

image

Follow these tips to optimise page titles for SEO:

  • Ensure your page titles are 70 characters or less. If you make them longer, Google will snip them on its search results pages.
  • Write readable and meaningful page titles that are useful to users. Remember, one of the objectives of page titles is to encourage users to click.
  • Make sure you include the main target keyword in the page title, ideally at the start.
  • Include your company/website name at the end of the page title.

Optimising URLs

Many websites use page titles to create the URL for the page. Therefore, following the SEO guidelines for page titles will ensure you optimise URLs too.

There is one additional point to consider, however. Research shows short URLs are more likely to rank higher than long URLs. For your most important keywords, therefore, you should look at shortening the URL.

So, for example, you could shorten this URL:

YourWebsite.com/blog/how-to-train-a-dog

To this:

YourWebsite.com/how-to-train-a-dog

Optimising Content

Optimising the content on your website will also make it more search engine friendly. Here are the main tips:

  • Make sure the content is well-written with no spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  • Write and present the content so it is easy to read. This means using short sentences, short paragraphs, bullet-point lists, sub-headings, and everyday language.
  • Include keywords in the content following the tips above.
  • Ensure the content is unique.
  • Make the content useful and engaging for readers.

Ensure There is a Link to Every Page You Want Google To See

Google follows all the links on your website to discover all its pages. This includes your menus, for example. There are often occasions when there are pages you want Google to index, but which Google doesn’t know about because it can’t find a link.

Here are some examples of when this situation might occur:

  • Pages that only display after a user completes a form. Google doesn’t complete forms when crawling your website, so will not find these pages.
  • Links in JavaScript, Flash, or Java.
  • Links blocked by your robots.txt file or Meta Robots tag. These two tools perform the same function – they let you tell Google’s crawler which pages on your website you want them to ignore. It is easy to make a mistake when doing this, however, accidentally restricting Google’s access to pages you want it to find.
  • Pages only accessible using a search tool. As with forms, Google’s crawler does not use search boxes on your website.
  • Pages that are linked by a link-stuffed page. Google’s crawler only follows a limited number of links on a page. Therefore, if the only link to a page on your website is from another page that is stuffed with links, Google might not find it.

Duplicate Versions of Content

Google does not like duplicate content, i.e. content that appears in multiple locations on the internet. This can be on different websites, but it also doesn’t like duplicate content on a single website either.

The problem is there are many legitimate reasons for having duplicate content on your website. For example, having a print-friendly version of a page.

There is a solution to this, though – the canonical tag, which you should add to all duplicate pages. The purpose of this tag is to tell Google there is a master copy of the page.

The canonical tag looks like this:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”URL”/> where URL is the website address of the master page.

Meta Description

The importance of meta descriptions to SEO is disputed. That said, Google does use meta descriptions on its search results pages:

image

So, even if Google doesn’t use meta descriptions as a ranking factor, they are important as they encourage users to click the link to your website.

Here’s how you can optimise meta descriptions:

  • Make sure they are no longer than 120 characters. Google clips meta descriptions that are longer than this.
  • Create unique meta descriptions for each page on your website
  • Ensure your meta descriptions are readable and meaningful
  • Include the main keyword of the page in the meta description, ideally at the start

Laying the Foundations

Creating a website that is search engine friendly is the starting point for any effective SEO strategy. Once you have the above in place, you can move onto more advanced SEO techniques, but it is important to have the right foundation in place first.

The Importance of High-Quality Content to SEO

There is a huge amount of content on the internet – Google’s index contains billions of pages. Not all content is equal, however, as some can be current or dated, up-to-date or out-of-date, high-quality or low-quality, engaging or uninteresting. From an SEO perspective, there is clear evidence that high-quality content is important to your website’s rankings.

Why is this? Google has a tough job when you think about it. On every topic, niche, and keyword, hundreds if not thousands of web pages exist on the internet. How does Google determine which of those pages to display on page one of a search results page?

Relevance is important. After all, pages that are closely linked to the topic, niche, or keyword are the ones most likely to give Google’s users the information they need.

Even filtering by relevance, however, still leaves a large number of pages to rank. This is where quality becomes important. It is logical, after all. Imagine Google has two website pages on exactly the same topic. How should it order those two pages? Placing the higher quality page first is the logical answer.

High-Quality Content and SEO

Of course, there are many factors that Google looks at when ranking website pages. The quality of the content on the page is an over-arching term that covers several of those factors.

For example, we all know backlinks are important to SEO in Auckland. When content is high-quality, it is more likely to get backlinks. Keywords are important to SEO too, as is including variations of the main keyword on a page. This is much more likely to happen on a high-quality website page than one that is low-quality.

Google itself gives us good indications of the importance it places on quality. It stresses repeatedly, for example, that you should create content for users and not search engines. It also says your website should be “unique, valuable, or engaging”.

There is research to back this up too. Backlinko is one of the web’s leading authorities on SEO. It conducted research that included one million search results pages. In relation to content, it found that in-depth and long-form content generally gets higher rankings.

What Is High-Quality Content?

Your aim should be to make the content on your website pages better than your competition’s. You can even take this a stage further by striving to make the content you create the best there is on the internet.

How do you do that? Here are seven tips:

  1. Only publish original content
  2. Ensure the content is well-written or produced
  3. Make the content useful to visitors
  4. Ensure you support the content with references
  5. Include plenty of detail
  6. Make the content interesting and engaging
  7. Make it long but not repetitive

Let’s go a bit deeper into each of these seven tips.

Only Publish Original Content

You probably already know duplicate content (copying content from another page or website) is a big no-no in SEO, even if you own the content. In other words, all the content on your website must be unique.

Publishing original content goes further than this, however. After all, a good writer can rewrite an article from the internet to make it unique. It is not original, however, as it will still contain the same points and ideas as the source article. It may even have the same structure.

Publishing original content involves developing and presenting your own ideas. This applies to all types of content including written content as well as images, infographics, videos, and more. A good SEO agency in Auckland will help you achieve this.

Ensure the Content is Well-Written or Produced

According to Google, you should avoid publishing content that has spelling or grammatical errors and that is “awkward or poorly written”.

Google is getting much better at identifying content that is poorly written too. There used to be a time several years ago when you would click on a search result in Google to a page that contained text on the topic you were interested in, but where all the words and sentences were jumbled so made no sense. This doesn’t happen anymore as Google can now distinguish between well-written and poorly-written text.

Make the Content Useful to Visitors

We’ve already talked above about making your website better than your competitors’ websites. Achieving this usually involves ensuring the content on your website is genuinely useful to visitors.

Google recognises this is several ways. For example, visitors are more likely to bounce from a web page they don’t find useful. Bouncing means visiting a website and leaving in a short period of time (sometimes within just a few seconds) without visiting any other pages on the site.

In addition to the SEO benefits of useful content, making the content on your website useful will increase levels of engagement and will help improve your website’s conversion rate.

Ensure You Support the Content with References

Adding outbound links improves the quality of the content on your website, particularly if the outbound links are to authoritative sources.

There are several reasons for this, including the fact that outbound links help Google understand what your page is about. Outbound links are also helpful to users as they give enhanced context and detail on the topic.

Research indicates that authoritative outbound links help with SEO too.

Include Plenty of Detail

The Backlinko research mentioned above found that in-depth content on a topic often performs better in Google than lighter content. So, you should go into as much detail as possible when publishing content on your website.

Of course, you must ensure the content remains relevant and doesn’t drift or go off on tangents. The more information you give on the topic, however, the more likely it is to rank well on Google.

Make the Content Interesting and Engaging

It is possible to have content that follows all the tips above but that is boring and unengaging. Google will identify this by the reaction of users to your content. Bounce rate is something talked about above. Other indicators are shares on social media, how long the user stays on the page, whether they complete a form or make a purchase, etc.

Of course, this is another tip that not only helps with SEO, but also with improving your website overall, especially its conversion rate.

Make it Long but Not Repetitive

Another of the Backlinko findings mentioned above was that long-form content generally performs better than short posts or articles. How long should your content be, though?

This depends on the topic as it is important you don’t make the content long for the sake of being long. When you do this, your risk repeating information just to increase the word count.

On the flip side, don’t restrict the length of articles, i.e. they should be as long as they need to be to cover the topic in-depth and in as interesting a way as possible.

The Value of High-Quality Content

SEO is not just about producing high-quality content, of course. For example, a large website with an international footprint that produces high-quality content following the tips above will still probably rank better than a smaller website, even if the smaller website produces content that is better. This is because other factors like domain authority and website backlinks matter too.

That said, high-quality content is a crucial part of SEO, as well as being crucial to the success of your website overall.

Top Reasons Your Website Is Not Ranking

Website owners across Auckland dream of their website appearing on the coveted first page of Google, where 40,000 search queries are conducted every second.

It’s likely you have the same wish.

As a result, you probably invested a significant amount in your website to make it look great. You may have even engaged the services of an SEO agency Auckland.

Despite these efforts, you may still be asking: “why isn’t my website ranking?”.

It’s frustrating when your website appears lower than your competitors on search results pages as you know you are losing potential customers. After all, websites that appear on the first page get almost all the traffic, with the greatest proportion of traffic going to those at the top.

Below you will find the top five reasons that prevent a website from ranking well in Google search. Identifying where your problems are and then resolving them will mean you can leave your frustrations behind.

Reason 1: Fierce Competition

Over 3.5 billion Google searches are made each day with website owners working hard to get to the front page of search results that are relevant to them. With so many websites using every trick available to compete for the attention of readers, it is often difficult to achieve a solid rank.

While true, the above paragraph is a broad generalisation. In fact, the level of difficulty you face ranking on Google depends on the niche you operate in. For example, it is probably far easier for a blogger writing about miniature figurines to rank well than it is for a blogger writing about rugby or movies.

This is because the more popular the subject, the more content there will be available. If you are a blogger writing on a popular subject or a local business operating with a lot of competitors, it will naturally be more difficult for you to rank highly.

If you’re going up against fierce competition, you will need to operate with a rigorous SEO Auckland strategy to find success.

Reason 2: Poor Long-Tail Keyword Strategy

The most popular and most general search terms usually return results from the largest and most well-established websites.

For example, an iPhone owner doing a search for “iPhone screen” will probably see search results from Apple’s website as well as the websites of major national and online retailers.

However, a user with a cracked iPhone screen searching for “iPhone screen repair in Mount Albert” will see results from local businesses offering iPhone screen repair. In other words, these businesses should target their SEO efforts at keywords like “iPhone screen repair in Mount Albert” rather than more general terms.

This example demonstrates how websites should focus on developing a strong long-tail keyword strategy. This means optimising for keywords with a low SEO difficulty. With this strategy, your website will see a boost in traffic that comes from searches that are more specific.

Reason 3: On-Page Optimisation

Search engines rely on crawlers to categorise and rank pages. Those crawlers look at important meta information and the structure of pages to determine what the page is about and confirm it is of an appropriate level of quality.

There are essential steps that every website owner must take when it comes to on-page optimisation.

Luckily, there is a lot of advice and guidance available. With over five million installations, Yoast SEO is the world’s most popular WordPress SEO plugin and can help website owners make sure they’re ticking all the on-page optimisation boxes, including (but not limited to):

  • Keywords used correctly in titles, descriptions, and URLs
  • Pages are the optimal length and structured efficiently
  • Alt tags are used properly
  • Sentences are the right length
  • Text uses an active rather than a passive voice

Thinking properly about on-page optimisation is an important step to improving your ranking and boosting your traffic.

Reason 4: Black Hat Practices

Google and other search engines use complex algorithms that constantly evolve.

SEO professionals try to keep up with these changes, regularly monitoring which techniques achieve results and which ones are outdated. You can find a register of all the announced algorithm changes on moz.com, where you can see the regularity of updates.

Working according to accepted SEO best practice, taking note of algorithm changes, and following Google’s rules, is often referred to as White Hat SEO.

In an effort to get traffic, however, some website owners (or others working on their behalf) turn to Black Hat SEO. Black Hat SEO involves using techniques that break Google’s rules to get to the top of search results pages as fast as possible.

Google and other search engines are increasingly effective at fighting back against these techniques. That said, there are still some who persist in using Black Hat techniques.

The stakes are high: domains caught using Black Hat techniques can see their ranking diminished or they can even be blacklisted entirely.

If you haven’t actively engaged in these techniques your website should be fine. If you have used them in the past, or someone else has used them on your website, this could be another reason it is not ranking.

Reason 5: Poor Technical Optimisation

The content found on your website isn’t the only ranking factor as the structure and technical performance of your website is becoming more important.

In November 2016, mobile traffic officially overtook desktop traffic for the first time. It is still becoming more and more common for audiences to turn to mobile devices, and those users expect a speedy and smooth experience, regardless of the device they choose.

In response to this, Google announced in January 2018 that the loading speed of mobile websites would factor into the ordering of search results. Mobile-first indexing has arrived too, which means Google uses the mobile version of websites to index and rank pages.

Therefore, ensuring your website loads fast on mobile has never been more important. So, poor technical optimisation could be the reason your website is not ranking.

In fact, you can use Google’s Test My Site tool to get an idea of how your website performs on mobile.

This tool reveals how many seconds your website takes to load and how this impacts the percentage of visitors you stand to lose.

Bring It All Together

Any of these factors could be the reason your website is not ranking, if not a combination of multiple ones.

Conducting an accurate and thorough audit of your website according to the points above should help when it comes to ensuring your website ranks as highly as possible on Google.

What is Keyword Research for SEO and How Do You Do It?

Keyword research is a powerful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tool for making your website content stand out from the competition. Keyword research is also used in PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. Due to this dual purpose, keywords play an important role in driving both organic and paid traffic.

This article focuses on keyword research for SEO. Selecting and targeting the right keywords ensures your SEO efforts are focused on the right search phrases, i.e. phrases related to your products or services, phrases with buying intent, and phrases that you have the resources to realistically take on existing competition.

Why is Keyword Research So Important?

Keyword research is fundamental for ensuring you understand the phrases (keywords) searchers use to find your products and services so you can:

  • Ensure existing content includes those keywords
  • Create new content using the keywords
  • Help Google connect your website with the keywords people actually use

The process usually involves using a keyword research tool to find relevant keywords. You then strategically place these keywords on website pages as well as in blogs, articles, videos, infographics, and other pieces of content on your website. This will help you rank higher on search engine results pages.

The key to the whole process is identifying and prioritising the right keywords. This ensures you avoid, for example, targeting a keyword that has a significant amount of competition. So, there is an element of art to keyword research that includes smart decision-making about a number of factors, such as keyword search volume, buying intent, strength of competition, and keyword popularity.

How Do You Do Keyword Research?

Finding focused keywords requires the use of keyword research tools. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of keyword research tools out there, including free and paid options.

One of the most popular is Google’s Keyword Planner. It is free and uses data directly from Google search, making it an excellent place to start. Other popular keyword research tools include SemRush, Moz, or Buzzsumo.

Other options a good SEO agency in Auckland will use when doing keyword research include Google Suggest and Google Trends. Keyword research should be part of any SEO Auckland strategy.

Of course, finding keywords is the easy part. Any of the tools above will generate hundreds of keywords for any business, product, or service. Creating a priority list of keywords to target is where many SEO strategies either succeed or fail.

Finding the Most Beneficial Keywords

The following tips will help you find keywords to target. When doing this, always make sure you focus on the right objective. For most SMEs in Auckland (as well as large companies), this will be to increase sales, enquiries, or leads generated through your website. In other words, getting the right traffic is much better than getting lots of the wrong traffic. Choosing the right keywords is crucial to achieving this objective.

Producing worthwhile keywords starts with knowing your customer and understanding keyword intent.

Tip 1 – Brainstorm

The keyword research process usually starts with brainstorming ideas. This involves using your knowledge of your business to make educated guesses about the keywords you think your customers use when conducting a Google search.

To help with this, think of your ideal customer. What are their motivations for doing the search, what problem do they need solved, what information are they trying to find out – the answers to these questions will help you come up with an initial list of keywords.

Tip 2 – Find Other Keywords

Once you have keywords you believe people use to find the products or services you offer, the next stage is to put them through a keyword research tool. The main things you want to discover when doing this include:

  • How often the keyword is used
  • The level of competition for that keyword
  • Alternative keywords that are closely related

Three things will happen during this process. Firstly, your list of potential keywords will become larger. Secondly, you will have more information on each keyword. Finally, you can use the information you have to start prioritising, identifying the main keywords you want to target. This will narrow down your list.

Tip 3 – The Beauty of Long-Tail Keywords

Remember when going through the above process to seek out long-tail keywords. These are keywords that usually have three or more words and often have low search volumes. However, good long-tail keywords have strong buying intent.

To explain this, take a look at the following keyword examples which might interest an online sunglasses retailer:

  • “Sunglasses” – this keyword will have high search volumes, but it will also have a lot of competition. It has low buying intent too, instead indicating the start of a search for a new pair of sunglasses.
  • “Ray-Ban sunglasses” – this will have a lower search volume than “sunglasses”, but it will still have high competition. While people using this keyword are probably getting close to making a buying decision, they are still likely to be in the research phase.
  • “Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses” – search volumes will be lower for this again, but people using this search term now have buying intent and are very close to making a decision.
  • “Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses in Auckland” – search volumes for this keyword will be low – very low compared to the keyword “sunglasses”. However, competition for this keyword will be significantly lower too. In addition, this keyword indicates clear buying intent.

By targeting the right long-tail keywords, you can get visitors to your website who are close to buying, making an enquiry, etc. Therefore, make sure you factor in long-tail keywords when doing your research.

Tip 4 – Work in progress.

Keyword research is never done. Evaluating keywords must continually go on if you want to keep up with current search trends and identify new opportunities. You also need to engage in ongoing keyword research to ensure you stay ahead of your competition and keep your website relevant to visitors and customers.

Ranking highly on search results pages is not an easy job. It is essential, however, if you want to get website traffic and potential customers from Google search. Whether you do SEO in-house, or you use an expert SEO agency, it is important you implement the right strategy. High-quality and effective keyword research is an indispensable part of this process.

How Google and Other Search Engines Work

For most businesses, hiring a results-focused SEO agency in Auckland is the best approach to improve a website’s ranking in Google. There are things you can do, however, to ensure you get the best results from your SEO investment. This includes knowing how Google works.

With this knowledge, you will have a better understanding of what the SEO agency is doing for your business as well as what you are getting for your money.

So, let’s get right into it. Google and other search engines do three main things:

  1. Crawl the internet to find websites and web pages
  2. Build an index of the pages it finds
  3. Present its users with these pages in a list of ranked results

Each one of the above is important to SEO.

Crawling the Internet

Google uses a crawler to find websites and web pages on the internet. This crawler is sometimes called a spider or bot. After all, Google can’t return meaningful search results to its users if it doesn’t know about the web pages that exist on the internet.

There are two main ways Google and other search engines find web pages. The first is via Google Search Console. Google Search Console is a free tool that you can use to check the status of your website in the eyes of Google.

You can add a sitemap to Google Search Console too. A sitemap outlines the structure of your website and how all the pages are linked together. If your website is new, adding your website to Google Search Console and uploading a sitemap will notify Google your website exists. It will then schedule it for a crawl.

The second way Google and other search engines find websites and web pages is via links. Google’s web crawler follows these links to find new content and get an understanding of how everything on the internet connects together, i.e. how web pages within a website connect together as well as how websites connect with each other.

Google’s crawler visits the websites and web pages it knows about on a regular basis. This could be every few minutes if you operate a news website that publishes huge volumes of content, or every few days/weeks if your website rarely changes.

Building an Index of Pages

Google’s crawler doesn’t just follow links on website pages. It also scans, deciphers, and analyses the content of the pages it visits. This includes the code as well as the text on the page, the images, videos, and more.

Google then stores this information in huge databases. This task is monumental and requires datacentres all over the world that contain information on billions – if not trillions – of web pages. This makes Google’s ability to complete a user search in less than a second so impressive.

Of course, there is no point having massive databases of website pages unless you do something with them. This brings us to the third main function of Google.

Presenting Users with a Ranked List of Results

This third main function of how Google works is often the most misunderstood. For example, one mistake people regularly make is thinking of it as a directory, i.e. it has websites and web pages in various categories and it presents these lists to users when they do a search. This is a much too simplistic description of Google and other search engines, however.

A more accurate way of describing search engines is to call them answer-providing machines. So, when a user types in a query, Google’s main priority is providing the best possible answer to that query.

So, Google can, for example, understand the difference between someone searching for apple the fruit and Apple the tech company. It is also why Google is good at identifying search intent. In other words, it can often tell the difference between a search that is general and one that is from a person who is close to making a purchase.

In addition to presenting potential answers to its users, Google also attempts to rank those answers in order of best to worst, i.e. it shows the web page that it thinks has the best answer to a particular search query in the number one position of its search results page.

For some searches, however, Google goes a step further than this. As well as giving users links to website pages it thinks have the best answers, it also attempts to give the answer directly on the search results page. This only applies to a small number of searches, but it means users get the answer they need without having to click any further.

To see this in action, do a search requesting the meaning of a word or the current time in a location somewhere in the world. You will find a direct answer to the query at the top of the search results page which means you don’t have to click on anything.

image

image

For Google, these are successful results, i.e. in both the examples above, it answers the searcher’s query. Without doing anything further, the searcher knows the time in Rome in the first example and gets a definition of the word “fugacious” in another.

For most searches, however, Google presents the user with a list of ranked web pages.

This is the part of how Google works that causes the most confusion – how does Google determine the ranking of pages for the billions of searches it processes every day?

It does this by first looking at relevance and then looking at popularity. This is where Google’s search algorithm comes in. It is essentially a computer programme which assesses the pages of your website to determine how relevant they are to the user’s search as well as how popular they are compared to all the other relevant pages it has in its index.

The only people who completely understand how the Google search algorithm works are the top engineers in the company. What we do know is that Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine a website page’s relevance and popularity.

What’s the Point of SEO if Google’s Search Algorithm is Secret?

While the inner workings of Google’s search algorithm are secret, the company does give us enough information to understand what it looks for. So, we can’t be sure we know every ranking factor that Google uses, and we don’t know the exact level of priority it places on each one, but we do have a good enough understanding of how it works to improve the ranking of a website page in Google.

You can even find this information yourself by researching on the internet. As with most things, however, it is usually best to use an expert SEO agency in Auckland.

That said, knowing how Google works will help you select the right SEO agency for your business, and it will ensure you get the best possible return on investment for SEO work done.

If Your SEO Agency in Auckland Only Targets Popular Search Terms, It’s Wasting Your Money

When people think about SEO, they often think quantity. This usually means targeting the most popular search terms (keywords) and getting as much traffic to your website as possible. However, a high-quality and results-focused SEO agency in Auckland will not take this approach.

This is because one of the main reasons SEO strategies fail is because they target the most popular search terms. In most cases, this approach doesn’t deliver a return on investment.

Why People Target Popular Keywords

Popular keywords get hundreds or even thousands of searches a day. However, these search terms usually have two things in common:

  • They are very general
  • They are highly competitive

Despite this, many people still want to target these keywords because they are attracted to high volumes of searches. As a result, the most popular search terms often end up in SEO strategies.

There is a better way, though – target keywords that have much fewer daily searches. These are known as long tail keywords.

The Beauty of Long Tail Keywords – Return on Investment

Adopting an SEO strategy that targets keywords that are less popular may seem counterintuitive at first. After all, you probably want to get as many visitors to your website as possible.

Consider this question, though: do you want lots of visitors to your website or do you want to get more sales? For most businesses, the second option is the obvious answer.

Keywords that have fewer daily searches are usually the best way to achieve a boost in sales. One of the reasons for this is they are more specific, i.e. they are used by people when they are closer to a buying decision.

In addition, there is usually less competition when you target long tail keywords. Less competition means it is easier to rank higher on Google search results pages.

Also, long tail keywords usually achieve higher conversion rates, particularly when the keyword indicates buying intent.

Let’s summarise this:

  • Long tail keywords are less competitive – this makes it easier to achieve a high rank in Google
  • Conversion rates are better with long tail keywords – according to some research, long tail keywords have conversion rates that are 2.5 times higher than shorter keywords

A Practical Example

To understand the benefit of long tail keywords, think about the buying journey for your products. Let’s say, for example, you sell bicycles. A woman thinking of buying a new bike might start her research by using the keyword “bikes” in a Google search.

From an SEO perspective, “bikes” is a popular search term so will have a lot of daily searches. However, it will also be very competitive with major retailers and international bike brands appearing on the search results page, making it hard to rank in a high position.

In addition, even if you do manage to get a high ranking in Google for “bikes”, a click from this woman is unlikely to result in a sale as she doesn’t know what she wants yet.

From this initial search, the woman decides she wants to by an urban/commuter/all-rounder bike from one of the leading brands. So, she starts doing Google searches to help her find a bike that appeals to her:

  • “women’s urban bikes”
  • “women’s bike brands”
  • “women’s commuter bikes”
  • “women’s all-rounder bikes”

These search terms are long tail so will have less competition than the keyword “bikes”. They will also have fewer daily searches, but the keywords are more specific, i.e. the woman is getting closer to making a buying decision.

She is not there yet, though. While doing these searches, however, she discovers the bike brand Liv and decides she wants to buy the Liv Rove 2. So, she goes back to Google with a new set of searches:

  • “Liv Rove 2 stockists”
  • “Liv Rove 2 in Auckland”
  • “Liv Rove 2 price”
  • “Liv Rove 2 offers”
  • “buy Liv Rove 2 in Auckland”

These search terms have more words than the list above, so they are likely to have even fewer daily searches. However, they are also very specific and indicate a strong buying intent, i.e. the woman is ready now to make a purchase.

So, in this example of a woman buying a bike, it is better to rank well for the last set of keywords than the main keyword in this industry, “bikes”. After all, the websites that rank highly for the last set of keywords are likely to get the sale.

The second batch of keywords is important too, though. This is because you can start building up brand awareness with the woman, as well as demonstrating your knowledge of the industry. For example, you could have a page on your website with the subject Women’s Commuter Bikes which gives details of the different styles, features, and brands of this type of bike.

Then, when the woman does the more specific search, she will already be familiar with your brand when she sees your website on a search results page.

Most Google Searches Are Long Tail

Here is a fact you might not be aware of – 70 percent of searches on Google involve long tail keywords. That’s right, high-volume keywords like “bikes” make up only 30 percent of all searches on Google.

Other research shows that over 96 percent of searches are for keywords that get less 50 searches per month.

What does this mean? While your competitors chase the highly competitive short keywords, you should concentrate on the huge volumes of people who are searching for long tail keywords in your industry every day.

What You Should Do Now

If you look after SEO in-house in your business, you should incorporate long tail keywords into your strategy. If you use an SEO agency in Auckland (or are in the process of selecting one), you should make sure it includes long tail keywords in the strategy it implements for your business.

What should that strategy look like? There are four important steps:

  1. Identify the keywords you will target – the first step is to research long tail keywords that people do use and that have buying intent. These are the ones you should be interested in.
  2. Research the keywords – the next step involves checking the pages that currently rank for your target keywords. Your objective is to make your page better than those that are already ranking.
  3. Create the best content on the internet – you then need to create a page focused on each long tail keyword. You must optimise it for the keyword, but it should also be better than any other page currently ranking on page one of Google.
  4. Promote your page – finally, promote your newly created page on social media, your blog, via email marketing, and by any other method you can use. You want the page to be read by as many people as possible in the hope they will link to it.

The most important thing is to stop wasting money focusing too heavily on one or two-word keywords just because they get a high search volume. By focusing on conversions instead, your SEO agency in Auckland will get better results.

A Short Introduction to Links and their Importance to SEO

Links can appear almost anywhere. They are the things that connect website pages together and help you get from one website or piece of content to another. So, you will have links on your website that connect to other internal pages, as well as links to external, third-party websites.

The main focus of this article, however, is third-party websites linking to yours. What is the importance of this to SEO and how much emphasis should you place on getting other websites to give you a link?

Links perform two main functions in Google and other search engines – they help Google understand the relevance of your website as well as its popularity and trustworthiness.

What Is Your Web Page About?

Let’s look at the first function above – relevance. Google uses a computer programme to analyse all the websites and web pages on the internet. This is known as the Google algorithm. As its job is to provide answers to people conducting searches, it is not enough for Google to know what web pages exist. It is not enough for Google to know what is on those pages either.

Instead, when Google’s bot crawls your website and all the other sites in the world, it needs to understand what the page is about. For example, it must be able to tell the difference between a web page that talks about eagles (the bird), the Eagles (the band), or even the Eagles (the American Football team).

Google uses lots of factors to help it achieve this, but one of the most important is links. So, a website about eagles is likely to have links to and from other websites about eagles, birds, and related topics. The same applies to the Eagles the band and the Eagles the American Football team.

It’s a Popularity Vote

While understanding relevance is critical, the most important function of links is to help Google understand the popularity of a web page. So, a link acts like a vote for a website. This means, in very simplistic terms, the more votes (links) you have, the better.

The theory Google works from is that people link to the content they think best matches the message or information they want to present.

Google doesn’t just look at the number of links a website has, however, as the source of links is also important. Google uses the source of a link to determine the authority of a website. Again, it does this by using the knowledge and actions of real people. Specifically, it assumes (probably correctly) that people prefer to link to websites they trust.

Taking this a stage further, links from websites that Google believes are trustworthy are much more valuable to your website’s SEO than links from low-quality, spammy websites.

More on Popularity

There is more than one type of popularity, however. After all, if Google’s analysis of links focused exclusively on the volume of links a website has, websites like Wikipedia would appear at the top of just about every search results page.

Instead, there are three main types of popularity in Google:

  • Global – this applies to the big sites on the internet. Wikipedia is one of them but there are many others including the big e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay.
  • Local – links can also show you are popular locally. For example, a plumber that operates in Auckland would struggle to get the same amount of links as a major US brand that has multiple operations in multiple cities. Google knows, however, that a Kiwi homeowner is not interested in plumbers in New Jersey whenever they are dealing with a burst pipe in their Auckland home. So, it doesn’t matter how many links the US company has. Instead, Google assesses local popularity to decide which local plumber’s websites to include on its search results pages.
  • Niche – sometimes niche popularity is important too. This applies to non-local businesses as well as blogs and other websites that have a wider audience than the local area. Links help Google understand how popular a website is within its niche.

What is Anchor Text and Why is it Important?

Most links you see on web pages are words or phrases highlighted in blue which you can click on. Those words or phrases are anchor text and they are much more user-friendly than a URL.

Best practices for anchor text are to use words and phrases that relate to the page being linked to and that fit naturally on the page. You should avoid generic phrases like “click here”.

Obviously, you can control the anchor text on your own website, but you have limited control when other websites link to you. Where it is possible to make a suggestion on anchor text, however, follow the best practices above.

The Value of Trusted Websites

Google has to deal with huge volumes of low-quality, spammy, and often fraudulent content on the internet when it is delivering search results to its users. It does this by measuring trust . In other words, there are a collection of websites on the internet that Google trusts.

This could be popular and authoritative websites like those mentioned earlier. It can also be websites from particular types of domain. Government websites and university websites are two good examples. The same also applies to some non-profit organisations.

Links Don’t Age Well

The power of a link to your website will not last forever. In fact, its value decreases over time. Therefore, it is important you continue to generate new links. Ways you can achieve this is by updating previously published content, re-purposing content in another format, and publishing regular new content.

What About Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Channels?

One of the easiest ways to get a link to your website is via social media. After all, you control what is posted to your Facebook business page or Twitter account. Do these links help with SEO?

Google and other search engines treat links on social media differently to standard links found on other websites. That said, most SEO experts believe links on social media are one of the factors Google uses when determining its rankings. It is not possible to know how much importance it places on these links, but they are worth getting, not least because they may directly generate traffic from the social media channel.

Blackhat Link Building and Why You Should Avoid It

As soon as website owners and dubious digital marketing operations realised links were important to Google, they started to fake them. Examples of this include setting up link farms, link neighbourhoods, or offering to buy or sell links. In other words, any tactic that involves getting a link unnaturally.

This type of link building is one of the main features of blackhat SEO, so is something you should avoid completely. Google and other search engines are getting much better at identifying such practices and they are ruthless with websites that get caught.

While you might see improved rankings and increased traffic to your website for a short period of time as a result of blackhat SEO and link building, the best you can hope for over the medium and long-term is a drop in your rankings. Even worse, you could be dumped to the very end of Google’s search results (i.e. hundreds of pages deep) or you could be kicked off completely.

Trying to cheat the system simply isn’t worth it.

The only way to get links that will give you consistent and safe results is to create great content on a regular basis that earns you natural links. Of course, there are strategies you can use to hustle this process along – an SEO agency in Auckland can help you implement such a strategy. Doing it the right way, however, is the only way.

Top 7 Onsite SEO Factors to Optimise

There are lots of things you can do to optimise your website for Google. In fact, you could work on your website full-time for the next month and probably not get through the full list. Therefore, the best approach is to focus on the most important onsite SEO factors to optimise. Here are our top seven.

1. Optimise for Mobile

The starting point is to make sure you have a fully responsive and optimised site on mobile. For several years now, Google has been shifting its focus towards mobile as it sees its users increasingly turn to mobile devices. One of the latest developments is mobile-first indexing.

These changes in the way Google works means having a mobile website is now essential, plus it must be fully optimised. The best advice is to concentrate on getting the mobile version of your website right as a priority.

2. Optimise Headlines

The headlines on your pages are crucial to onsite SEO. Here are some things you should check:

  • The main headlines of your pages should be in h1 tags
  • Use h2 tags for subheadings in the page
  • Add keywords to headlines and use those keywords as close to the start of headlines as possible
  • Ensure your headlines are the right length

Following on from the last point in the list above, what is the right length and why is it important? When Google displays your website on a search results page, it uses the H1 tag. It only gives this tag a limited number of characters, however – about 70.

If you don’t keep your headline to within 70 characters, Google will cut it, replacing the end with ellipses (…). This can impact click-through rate as users cannot see the full headline.

3. Optimise Content

The next thing you should look at is the content on the pages of your website. Here are the main things you should focus on:

  • You should include the main keyword for the page in the first paragraph, ideally in the first sentence.
  • You should also make sure there is sufficient content on the page, although how much will depend on the topic of the page and its function.
  • Make the content easy to read too. You can do this by using short sentences, short paragraphs, frequent subheadings, bullet point lists, numbered lists, and everyday language.

4. Add Internal Links

Internal links to other pages on your website help users find the information they need. This can also help build your brand as the user will get a better understanding of your knowledge and skills.

Internal links help Google better understand the content on your website too.

5. Add Outbound Links

It might sound counterintuitive to include links on your website that send people away, but outbound links do help with SEO. They make your content more credible both from a user’s perspective and from Google’s. They also help Google get a better understanding of what your content is about

6. Optimise Images

Optimising images is another essential element you should focus on. Firstly, make sure your images are high-quality, unique, and relevant. You should also make sure you use an appropriate filename. This can be the headline of the page, or it can be a filename that describes when the image is about.

You should also add alt text to your images as alt text helps Google understand them.

7. Optimise the Speed of Your Website

The final tip is to optimise the speed of your website. Google has been obsessed with speed from day one. Just look at the top of any search results page – it tells you how many pages it checked in its index as well as how long it took it to do that check.

According to Google, the speed of the mobile version of your site is particularly important.

Start by checking the speed of your site using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. It will give you tips on areas that require improvement.

By focusing on these seven areas, you will improve the onsite SEO of your website.

Top Tips for Effective Product Description Writing

How important are product descriptions? After all, some products appear to sell just fine even though the description is poor. This doesn’t mean product description writing are not important, though.

Here are some reasons why you should optimise your product descriptions:

  •         Helps the customer understand what the product does
  •         Explains the benefits of the product to the customer
  •         Helps the customer imagine using, wearing, or consuming the product
  •         Helps with SEO as a product description gives Google more content to analyse

Top Tips for Good Product Descriptions Writing

  •         Make each product description unique – this can be a challenge if you have a lot of products. It is important to make them unique, however, both to help potential customers when they are viewing your website and for Google. Remember, even though some of your products may be very similar, using the same description on each one could be classed as duplicate content on Google. Duplicate content is one of the things Google does not like.
  •         Don’t get fixated on word count or length – there is no fixed length that your product description should be. In fact, there is no recommended length either as it simply depends on the product. This is because some products will require long descriptions, particularly if you have to describe what the product does. Others, however, will only need a brief sentence or two. An example is a pair of jeans, i.e. there is no need to describe what a pair of jeans does.
  •         Explain the product as clearly and concisely as possible – this means avoiding repetitive sentences and statements. It also means sticking to the point
  •         Explain the benefits – most buying decisions are made on the basis of benefits. Therefore, your product descriptions should not simply be a list of the technical specifications of the product. Instead, you should explain how the customer will benefit from owning the product.
  •         Include all information on the product – the last thing you want is for a customer to go to another website to find something out about the product because you didn’t give them that information on your website. If a customer does that, they might never come back to you to complete the purchase. Therefore, if the information is relevant to the customer, you should include it.
  •         Write for your customers – this might sound like an obvious thing to do, but many product descriptions on the internet are not aimed at customers. Instead, they give the seller’s perception of the product with very little regard to what the customer thinks. To write good product descriptions for your customers, you must first understand who your main customers are. You should then tailor each product description to that audience.
  •         Make the description easy to read – this includes writing in a way that is informal and conversational. In addition, you should structure the text in a way that is easy to read. For example, you might think some customers will want to read a detailed description of the product and/or its technical specifications. Don’t push this content on customers who are not interested, however. A way of avoiding this is to put the additional content behind a link or tab, only leaving a brief description in the main section.
  •         Use bullet points – following on from the last point, lists of benefits or key features will improve your product descriptions.
  •         Think about SEO – where it makes sense, include keywords in your product descriptions to help improve the page’s ranking in Google.
  •         Always use images – in product descriptions, images are almost always more important than the text that accompanies them. A good approach for adding images to products is to follow Amazon’s guidelines for sellers. After all, when it comes to selling online, Amazon knows what it is doing.

In general, product descriptions should be quick to read, they should keep the viewer on the page (rather than going elsewhere to get additional information), and they should encourage the viewer to make a purchase. The above tips will help you achieve this so you can sell more.

product description writing (Focus) 1K – 10K Medium Use minimum 4 times, in Para and headings
product description template (Sec.) 1K – 10K Low Use minimum 3 times, in Paragraphs
ecommerce product description(Sec.) 10 – 100 Medium Use minimum 2 times, in Paragraphs
ecommerce seo (LSI) 1K – 10K Low Use minimum 1 times, in Paragraphs
production optimization (LSI) 100 – 1K Low Use minimum 1 times, in Paragraphs

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 3 – The Build Process

This is the final instalment of our three-part series explaining the website development process. In previous blogs, we explained what you need to do to plan for a new website, as well as how to find, select, and engage a website developer.

In this blog, we’ll look at the build process.

Of course, much of this part of the process will be looked after by your website developer. It is important, however, that you understand key elements of the process, as well as the elements you will need to be involved in.

The Key Stages of a Website Build

  • Discovery – this involves a meeting with you to decide on the scope and specification documents. This includes outlining the specific functionality you want the website to have so the developer can ensure it meets your expectations.
  • Content strategy and sitemap creation – you will be involved in approving both, although your website developer will create them.
  • Wireframes presentation – you will be expected to provide feedback on the wireframes and proposed website design.
  • Revised designs – you will need to give your approval before the website developer can move to the next stage.
  • Frontend development – this will typically involve creating a bespoke template that will deliver the look, feel, and functionality of your new website.
  • Content creation – this happens in tandem with frontend development and involves writing the website’s content as well as creating other assets like images and video.
  • CMS setup and third-party integrations – this involves coding the administration elements and backend of the website.
  • Upload content – with the CMS in place, it will be possible to upload the content.
  • Test – the developer will then test everything on the website before recommending it is ready to launch.
  • Launch – this involves moving the website from the development platform to your server, live on the internet.

Key Roles at You Website Developer

Depending on the size of website developer, you may speak to several different people as part of the development process. This includes:

  • Project manager – who has overall responsibility for the delivery of the project
  • Content manager – this could be the project manager and it usually involves an element of SEO
  • Copywriter – the person responsible for writing the content on your website
  • Website designer – this person is involved in creating the website’s visual appearance
  • Website developer – this involves using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and your CMS to create the website’s functionality.

Other Things You Need to Know

  • Sitemaps – sitemaps outline the navigational structure of your website. In other words, the sitemap determines how visitors to your website will find information. The importance of getting this part of the process right cannot be understated.
  • WordPress – WordPress is undoubtedly the biggest and most widely used CMS in the world. It also offers significant advantages. If your website developer proposes not using WordPress, make sure you understand and agree with the reasons why.
  • Content – content includes images and video as well as text. Text should always be written from the perspective of your website visitors, not from your company’s perspective. You should also consider video if it is within your budget, and images should be relevant and unique.
  • SEO – your website developer should build in SEO features to your website from the start.
  • Responsive website design – your developer will probably use a responsive website design. This will ensure your website looks right regardless of the size of screen. When you are reviewing the website, make sure you think about how it looks on mobile as well as a computer. This is because the developer might include design features aimed at mobile users.

Finally, you will need to have a post-launch plan for things like maintenance, website backup, and visitor acquisition. This will ensure you maximise return on investment from the website development.

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 2 – Getting Started with a Developer

This three-part blog series explains the various stages of a website development process so that you:

  • Know what the stages are
  • Understand what you can do to help it be a success
  • Know what you can expect from your developer

This is part 2 of the series. In this blog, we’ll look at getting quotes from developers, selecting a developer, and then getting the project started.

Of course, the exact process you will experience will depend on the type of website you are developing as well as the developer’s internal processes. This blog will, however, outline the key points and stages as well as highlighting things you should consider.

Think Carefully About the Proposals Process Before Seeking Quotes from Developers

You will probably need to get quotes from website developers, so you can select one to build your new website. Before beginning this process, however, think carefully about what you are asking the developers to do.

Asking them to plan the website out, give you an idea of the structure, and/or create a specification document, could be viewed as asking for free work.

If you can’t provide this information to developers so they can prepare a proposal, and the developer can’t cost the job without the information, you should consider investing in a needs analysis process. This involves putting together information the developer will require so they properly understand what you want to achieve.

If the website you are planning is relatively standard and you have a rough idea of the pages, content, and functionality you want, you may be able to obtain quotes without getting a needs analysis.

Select a Developer

You should now be at the point of choosing and appointing a website developer. Here are some things you should find out and understand:

  • The proposed timeframe and schedule
  • The developer’s skills, including the skills of the individuals who will be working on your project
  • What is the developer’s track record? Have you read their testimonials and case studies?
  • How much will the project cost?
  • Is everything included in that cost?
  • What are the arrangements for post-sales support and website maintenance?
  • What platform does the developer plan to use to build the website?
  • Does the developer build bespoke websites or use template designs?
  • Do you get a good feeling about the developer? Do you think you can work with the team, and are you happy they are committed to making your website a success?

First Things the Developer Will Need

Once you appoint a developer, it’s worthwhile considering the following points. Your developer is likely to ask them, probably in your first meeting. Your answers will help the developer better understand your business.

The things your developer will want to know includes:

  • The company mission statement
  • How you want your business to be perceived
  • What do visitors to your website want to achieve?
  • What is the most important message on the website?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Who is your competition?
  • Why do customers choose you instead of the competition?
  • Websites you like and why
  • Websites you don’t like and why
  • How you will measure success

The Next Stages

In the third and final part of this blog series, we’ll look at the steps involved in the build process – what you can expect, what the developer will do, and how you might be involved.

Achieving Website Development Success – Part 1 – Initial Planning

Many people become frustrated with website development projects. For others, the process might be smooth, but the result doesn’t live up to expectations. These situations occur when you fail to properly plan for a new website design project.

Now, before going on, you might be thinking it is up to the website designer to plan the project for you. Of course, they need a plan too, but there are also things you need to do, think about, and/or be aware of. By doing these things, you will end up with a better and more successful website.

Three Important Things to Remember Before You Start

  1. Your website is about users, not you – try not to design the website for you or from the perspective of your business. Instead, make it about the users by focusing on why they will want to visit your website and what they want to achieve by doing so.
  2. The website you get at the end of the development process is not static. In fact, you should never consider your website as being finished. A good website should be a dynamic tool that changes and adapts according to the needs of your business.
  3. The value of your website should not be underestimated. After all, it is one of the first experiences people will have with your company.

Understand that Website Development is a Marketing Function

Website development is often mistaken as being a technical task, but it’s not. Instead, website development is a marketing function. After all, your website is a marketing tool, so the process of getting a new website developed should be led by your marketing team.

Decide on the Website’s Main Objectives

What do you want your business to achieve by getting a new website? This could be any one or a combination of the following common objectives:

  • Enhance the profile of your brand
  • Make sales directly on the website (if it’s an eCommerce website)
  • Generate leads
  • Get potential customers to phone or email your business
  • Encourage people to visit your physical location
  • Register
  • Click on ads

Being clear about the objectives of your website is essential before you can move on.

What Do You Want the Website to Do?

You should also decide on the functionality you want the website to have. You don’t have to make a final list at this stage as the website developer you choose can help you with this part of the process. If there are things you want, however, list them out.

Remember as well, you might not be able to get all the functionality on your wish list. After all, you probably have a set budget that you must stay within, which may restrict the features you can have.

Two Additional Points to Consider at this Stage

  • Brand – many small businesses don’t have a brand when they decide to get a new website. If this applies in your situation, you will need to get a brand either as part of the website development process (if the developer has designers with branding and logo creation skills) or separate to it. You should factor this into your budget.
  • Domain name – if you don’t already have one, you will also need a domain name.

The Next Stages

In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at the process of selecting and beginning work with a developer.

The Importance of Having Objectives for Your Website’s Pages

Our website should be an extension of the sales and marketing efforts of your business. In other words, if your website is not helping you attract and retain customers, there is something wrong. The best way to make your website effective at generating sales is to have clearly defined objectives on each page.

An objective is an action you want the visitor to take as a result of visiting the page or your website in general. Examples include:

  • Call your business
  • Visit your business
  • Send a query
  • Become a lead
  • Download something
  • Make a purchase
  • Register with your website
  • Sign up to your email list

All the examples above either generate an immediate sale or give you the opportunity of making the sale at a later date.

You Can Have More than One Objective Per Page

You don’t need to pick just one of the above for the pages on your website. In fact, it is better to offer multiple options relevant to the particular page, as well as multiple options per page.

For example, a visitor might research the products or services you offer but are not ready to buy immediately. In this situation, you might encourage them to sign up to your email list. In other words, this page will have two objectives depending on the visitor’s intentions.

The Importance of Defining a Page’s Objectives

Your website developer will be responsible for implementing the objectives on the pages, i.e. the developer will add the forms, call-to-action elements, shopping carts, maps, and more that will deliver on the page’s objective.

In addition, a good website developer will help create the right user flow, so the visitor gets presented with objective one and then objective two if objective one is not immediately applicable.

Defining the page’s objectives, however, is crucial to this process. Here are some examples using the objectives in the list above:

  • Call your business – include your phone number in a highly visible location on every page as well as including it as a call-to-action with the text on each page.
  • Visit your business – ensure there is a prominent and easy to use map on the contact page of your website and possibly also the home page.
  • Send a query – include a form that enables visitors to send a query. You should also ensure the form is in a highly visible location on each page.
  • Become a lead – include a positive and persuasive message as well as a prominent form encouraging the visitor to send you their details for your sales team to get back to them.
  • Download something – you have multiple options with this objective depending on the download. They include offering the download within the page, in a timed popup, or in a popup that appears when the visitor goes to leave your website.
  • Make a purchase – include large and highly visible Add to Cart buttons and ensure the checkout process is as easy and secure as possible.
  • Register with your website – make the registration option visible on all pages, give a compelling reason for registration, and make the registration process easy to complete.
  • Sign up to your email list – strategies for this objective include adding welcome mats, in-content calls-to-action, popups, and more.

Whatever industry you are in, and whatever type of website you have, every page should have a clear objective. By doing this, you are more likely to make it clear to the visitor what you want them to do next. This will improve the results you get from your website.

How to Minimise Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

If you sell products directly on your website, you will have a shopping cart abandonment rate. Unfortunately, shopping cart abandonment is a fact of e-commerce websites. This doesn’t mean you have to accept your current level of abandonment.

In fact, there is quite a lot you can do to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates. They are all cost-effective, and they will all help you increase sales.

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is when a visitor to your website adds items to a shopping cart but then does not fully complete the purchase. They could abandon the purchase immediately after they put the items in the cart or they could abandon it at any stage up to the point of giving final confirmation.

There are many reasons for visitors abandoning shopping carts. They include not feeling the website is secure, being surprised by an additional price, or becoming frustrated with a complicated checkout process.

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

  • Add SSL encryption to your website. More and more people are now familiar with what this shopping cart abandonment rate, plus their website browser often tells them whether or not the website they are visiting is secure.
  • Make the checkout process on your website as simple as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to go through the process yourself using both a computer and a mobile device. You should also get someone you trust from outside your business to go through the process and give you honest feedback.
  • Ensure the pages on your website load fast. Even though the visitor is in the checkout process and is in the frame of mind to make a purchase, they will quickly go somewhere else if your pages take too long to load.
  • Include delivery and other added costs upfront. This is one of the most important tips as forcing customers to get into the checkout process before you give them a delivery price results in a bad user experience. It also increases your shopping cart abandonment rate.
  • Offer guarantees, such as money back guarantees, to make the purchase feel less risky to the customer.
  • Don’t force people making a purchase on your website to register an account. You might like them to register an account for various reasons, but this additional layer in the checkout process often leads to a higher shopping cart abandonment rate. Therefore, give visitors the option of checking out as a guest.
  • Add a call to action to your shopping cart to remind and encourage visitors to complete the checkout process.
  • Add multiple ways to pay to stop visitors from abandoning the shopping cart because they can’t pay using the method you require.
  • Adding a progress indicator is a simple but effective method of showing the visitor how much more they have to do to complete the checkout process. This clarity will keep them engaged for longer.
  • Add trust logos such as Verified by Visa, Norton Secured, MasterCard SecureCode, etc.
  • Analyse how visitors progress through your checkout process, paying particular attention to stages where they drop out. You can get this information from Google Analytics and it can help you identify areas for improvement.
  • This final tip accepts the fact that even when you do all the above, you will still have visitors who abandon their shopping carts. These may not be completely lost, however, if you use remarketing advertising campaigns to win them back.

Recommended:

7 Website Design Tips That Will Increase Sales

Do you want your website to generate more sales for your business? Are you in the process of getting your website redesigned and want to make it the best it can possibly be? At Kiwi Website Design, we have extensive experience building websites that increase websites sales.

Here are our seven design tips you should ensure are included on your site.

1. The Value Proposition

There is very little a website design can deliver if the value proposition you offer to customers is not compelling enough for them to make a purchase. Therefore, the first step to increasing sales on your website is to decide what the value proposition is. The next step is to properly communicate it to your website’s visitors.

The value proposition specifics will depend on your business. You can base it on price, quality of service, quality of product, innovativeness of product, or something else.

Whatever it is, the important thing is the website visitor understands it and is attracted to it.

2. Include Compelling CTAs

A CTA is a call-to-action. It is one of the most important elements you will have on the pages of your website.

The first step is to make sure your website has CTAs, as not all do. The next step is to look at the position, design, and wording of the CTA. Here are some questions you should ask:

  • Would a change of colour make the CTA button standout on the page more?
  • Could the text be more interesting or positive?
  • Is the CTA in a prominent enough position?

3. Add Videos to Your Website

Videos on websites increase sales. In fact, for some businesses, videos can increase sales by over 140 percent. You should, therefore, consider adding videos to your website.

This could be product videos demonstrating the benefits of the product or showing it being used. If your business offers services, you can use videos to explain the service and how it is different from your competitors.

4. Make Sure the Design Appeals to the Audience

This tip is about matching the style, colour, and tone of the website to your target audience. For example, bright and flashy colours with relaxed text will probably not work very well on a website for a company offering professional services to other businesses.

This one can be difficult as many business owners select colours and make design decisions based on their own preferences and likes. This is understandable as you must live with the website and you should be proud of it. That said, never lose sight of your customers and what they like.

5. Ensure Your Website is Easy to Use

The navigation and structure of your website should be simple and intuitive. Therefore, don’t place unnecessary restrictions on visitors in relation to navigation and avoid situations where the visitor lands on a dead-end page.

Instead, try to create a logical flow for the user.

6. You Need a Secure and Simple Checkout

If visitors can buy directly from your website, your shopping cart and checkout are crucial elements. Get them wrong, and you will lose sales.

To get the checkout process right, make it as easy to complete and use as possible. In addition, ensure it is secure using SSL encryption.

7. Add Trust Elements

Trust elements include testimonials and case studies that show the user you are capable of delivering on your promises. They also include badges and logos to show you have the necessary qualifications and/or skills. You can also use badges to show how you have made the website and checkout process secure.

Implementing the above tips will require resources and, usually, help from a professional website developer. The increase in sales you will get as a result, however, will make it worth the effort.

5 Reasons Your Google AdWords Campaigns Are Not Delivering a Return on Investment

Are your AdWords campaigns failing to get clicks? Do your campaigns get clicks but those clicks don’t result in any sales? Are you paying too much for clicks or do you have to set your bid too high to ensure you appear in one of the top positions? Are you not getting a good enough return on investment from your AdWords spend?

We understand the frustration of each of these scenarios. After all, the pay-per-click model of AdWords appears so promising on the surface, i.e. you only pay when your ad successfully achieves a click. Of course, the reality is not as simple as that.

Here are five reasons why your Google AdWords campaigns are not delivering a good enough return on investment to make them worthwhile.

1. Your Keyword Strategy is Wrong

Getting the keyword strategy right in your AdWords campaign is crucial. This means selecting keywords that have buying intent. You must also analyse the competition to decide whether it is worthwhile targeting a specific keyword. For example, the competition might be too high making it difficult to get a return.

In addition, you must also include negative keywords. Negative keywords ensure Google sends the right traffic to your website by not showing your ad on search results pages that are not relevant.

2. Your Ad Text Is Not Compelling

Writing the text of a Google AdWords ad is a crucial part of setting up your campaign. There are a lot of things you need to think about, however. Firstly, you must ensure you follow Google’s AdWords’ policies. There are also character restrictions you must follow.

Google Adwords

In addition, your ad text must achieve three crucial objectives:

  • It must demonstrate to the user that you potentially have the answer to their query
  • It must win the user’s trust
  • It must have a compelling enough message to make the user click on your ad instead of one of the other options on the page

If your ad text doesn’t do all three of these things, you won’t get the results you should.

3. You Don’t Have an Effective Landing Page

Of course, getting a click on your ad is only part of the process of making an AdWords campaign successful. You also must convert that click into a sale. That is the job of your landing page.

The first mistake people often make is using the homepage of their website as the landing page. In fact, in most situations, existing website pages do not typically make effective landing pages.

The best approach is to design a specific landing page for the AdWords campaign, focusing on the user, answering all their questions, and giving them a reason to purchase right away.

4. You Don’t Analyse, Test, and Optimise

Even the most experienced AdWords professionals will analyse the performance of the campaigns they run, making adjustments to improve results. It is also important to run tests, including split tests, to optimise every aspect of the campaign. If you are not doing this, your return on investment will not be as good as it could be.

5. You Don’t Use an AdWords Expert

In theory, anyone can set up a Google AdWords account and launch an advertising campaign. This is because Google makes the process of doing so as easy to follow as possible.

However, optimising a campaign, making it profitable, and maximising return on investment requires specialist expertise. You can get this if you spend time gaining the experience and achieving certified Google Partner status. If you can’t do this, however, you should consider getting AdWords experts to run your campaigns.

Even when you factor their costs in, you will get a better return on investment than running a campaign that is not optimised.

Why Trying to Rank Number 1 in Google is a Waste of Time, and What You Should Do Instead

Ranking number one in Google for targeted keywords has always been tough, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. In fact, it is so difficult now it is simply not worth the time, effort, and money. You won’t get a return on investment, particularly if the keyword has a lot of competition.

This is an unusual concept for many people to understand, whether you are a digital marketing expert or not. After all, appearing at the top of Google has been the goal of businesses online for more than a decade.

We are focused on ROI, though – getting a tangible return for the money, time, and effort you spend on digital marketing activities. On that basis, chasing the number one spot in Google is not worth it.

First, let’s look at why and then we can look at what you should do instead.

Content Overload

Firstly, you need to post lots of content. In simple terms, websites in the same industry or niche as you that post more content will usually get a higher position in Google.

What does lots of content translate to, though? According to HubSpot, it is 11 or more blog posts per month. That’s more than two per week which is more than most small and medium-sized businesses can achieve.

Remember also they must be high-quality blog posts. Throwing up a couple of hundred words promoting something about your business or rehashing something that has appeared somewhere else is not going to cut it.

You need longer, unique, informative, and useful blog posts three or more times a week. As already mentioned, that is a bar that is too high for most businesses. Can you really afford to spend so much time writing content when you have customers to service and other aspects of your business to run?

Link Crazy

Another key element to ranking number one in Google is backlinks. You need thousands of them to rank for most of the important keywords. Not only that, the backlinks must come from high-authority websites and there must be multiple domains.

Unless you’re willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on building this backlink profile for your target keywords, you are unlikely to get enough to get you to number one.

Established Competition

In addition to the above two points, you are probably competing with an established competitor. They will already have content that Google knows people like and it will have backlinks. For many keywords, that head start is too much to come back from.

Advanced Tools

Click-Through-Rates are Underwhelming

Even if you manage to deal with the content, link, and established competition issues, the results you get from ranking number one in Google might not give you a good enough return on investment.

After all, just 66% of search queries get a click, and most experts believe that number continues to fall.

Why is this happening? There are two main reasons:

  • Cluttered search result pages – on a search results page, people often have to wade through PPC ads, Google Shopping results, social results, news results, video results, and more. All too often, the organic search results, including the number one position, get lost in the mix.
  • Google often gives the answer – for many keywords, Google tries to give the answer to the user’s query right on the search results page, negating the need for the user to click through to your website.

Google algorithm

Moving Target

Finally, Google constantly changes the way its algorithm works.

So, let’s assume you find a way to deal with the above issues, you get to number one, and you’re getting traffic. Google then changes the algorithm in a way that drops you out of the number one position. In this situation, the fortunes in time and money you have spent getting to number one are for nothing.

In other words, it doesn’t make sense:

  • Investing when the odds are so stacked against you
  • Achieving number one spot when you might not get the results you hoped for
  • Investing so much in a third-party platform that you have zero control over

 

What You Should Do Instead

You should focus on results, not traffic.

Getting to number one in Google is about maximising traffic. Focusing on results is about maximising profit which makes much more business sense.

There are lots of ways you can do this including:

  • Google ads
  • Lead generation or conversion ads on Facebook
  • Creating lead magnets – downloads you offer in return for a website visitor’s email address

 

You should also focus on how your web pages look on search results pages instead of their position.

This means optimising the page title of each page as well as the meta description – the two-line summary you see under the headline of each listing on Google’s search results pages. Both of these should encourage the user to click on your website instead of one of the other options.

Focusing on results IS worth your money and time, and will deliver a much better ROI than trying to get to Google’s number one spots.

How Much Does Website Design Cost?

How Much Does Website Design Cost?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear there is no simple answer to the question how much does website design cost. It’s a bit like asking how much does a car cost. After all, you could probably get a car for a couple of hundred dollars if you wanted to. It will get you from A to B but it won’t look very good and it will probably break down a lot. Equally, you could buy a car that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but for most people that is complete overkill.

The same applies when considering website design costs, i.e. it depends on what you want and how you get your website designed. At the bottom end of the scale, you can get a website that will cost you almost nothing if you build it yourself. If you want a professionally designed website, however, you can expect the cost to be in the thousands of dollars’ range.

As most SMEs in New Zealand will need a professionally designed website, this article focuses on professional, custom website design costs.

Website Design Auckland: Cost

The average cost of website design in Auckland is $1,000 – $10,000+ for a custom website built by a professional website design company.

The things that will affect the cost include the functionality you need and the services you want from the website designer. The website designer’s skills and experience also impact the price you pay.

As with most things in life, not all designers work to the same standards, with high-quality workmanship demanding a premium.

What Your Money Gets You

There are five main elements of website design, all of which influence the cost. This is what you can expect from your website design agency for its fee:

  1. Server setup – the configuration of your website’s server, implementing a CDN, installing an SSL certificate, setting up email on the domain, installing a CMS, and more.
  2. Website design including UX – this part of the process involves designing the layout of the website. This usually means customising an existing template or creating a fully customised option. UX is important too. This involves looking at the navigation, user flow, and ease of use to ensure the user experience is as good as possible.
  3. Adding functionality and custom code – this is where your website designer works on the website’s engine adding the functionality you need. This can be anything from web forms to shopping carts and checkouts to integrations with your existing systems.
  4. Content creation – your website needs text and images. Your website designer will coordinate this part of the process and may also provide copywriting and graphic design services.
  5. Ongoing maintenance – a website is never fully finished as it requires ongoing maintenance and updating. This will be included in the price you pay for the website for a fixed period of time. You will need a maintenance contract once this time expires.

The Cost of Your Website

As mentioned above, you can get a website online for next to nothing if you want to. Why, then, should you invest several thousand dollars in a website design? Firstly, nothing is really free. There are costs involved even if you build the website yourself, plus you will need to spend time learning how to do it – as your time is money, there is a cost associated with this too.

The main reason for getting a professionally designed website at the above design costs, however, is results. Your website will look better and it will function better when it is professionally designed. This will help ensure your website achieves its objectives.

10 Essential SEO Tips for Your Website

If you just build a website and do nothing in relation to SEO, it is unlikely many people will visit it. Here are 10 essential SEO tips that will increase your visibility in Google. This, in turn, will bring more traffic to your site.

1. Move your website to WordPress

There are lots of tools and platforms you can use to build a website. For most, however, the best option is WordPress. It is the most popular platform, it has powerful functionality, and it’s easy to use. Plus, it has great SEO plugins you can install – more of that later.

2. Optimise for mobile

When going through the process of getting a website designed, most people think about the desktop version first. This is not the way Google looks at your site, though. In addition, a significant proportion of your visitors will use mobile devices to browse and use your site. You should, therefore, concentrate on optimising for mobile first both in terms of appearance and functionality.

3. Fix errors

Google hates errors on websites so you should find them and fix them. One of the best tools you can use to do this is Google Webmaster Tools. It shows you what Google sees when it looks at your site, including the errors.

SEO

4. Do an SEO audit

The next stage is to run your website through an SEO audit service. There are many services available for this including Neil Patel’s SEO analyser and SEMrush, plus you can do a search on Google for alternatives. Most offer a free initial analysis that will give you enough information to work on. This includes information on your site’s keywords, backlinks, page load speed, and more.

5. Optimise your content

This step includes:

  • Installing Yoast on your website. It is an SEO plugin with features like checking the keyword density on a page, showing you how the page looks in Google, analysing the quality of writing on the page, and more. There is a premium version, but the free version has enough features to get you started.
  • Ensure the writing on your website is high-quality and error free. It is usually a good idea to use a professional proof reader, copywriter, or editor to do this for you.
  • Ensure the visuals on your website are fantastic. This includes adding infographics and making images personal to your business rather than using stock images.

SEO Tips

6. Create and submit a sitemap

The Yoast WordPress plugin will create this. You should then submit it to Google Webmaster Tools and to Bing. The sitemap helps search engines understand the content on your website.

7. Start blogging

A blog will bring more traffic to your website, plus it helps with SEO. For example, a blog will bring more long-tail search traffic to your site. It also helps with the following tips.

8. Submit content to RSS feeds

Google doesn’t take RSS feed submission into account but this tip can still help with SEO. By submitting your content to RSS feeds, more people will see it which will generate traffic as well as backlinks and follows on social media. Google does take these things into account.

9. Get Backlinks by guest blogging

Guest blogging on popular websites in your industry will bring additional traffic to your website. It also helps to increase your profile and reputation. Plus, guest blogging will generate additional backlinks to help with SEO.

10. Add a related posts section

Google looks at a number of factors in relation to your website. Generally speaking, it regards it as good when people who visit your website look at more than one page. Plus, the more time they spend on your site the better. Adding a related posts section helps keep people on your website for longer.

There is quite a bit in the above 10 tips and you might need help implementing them. They are all, however, important for SEO.

Google Mobile First Index and What It Means for Your Website

Google is working on what it calls the Google mobile first index. As with any significant change in Google’s search algorithm, it could impact your business by affecting the rank of your website in search results. To help you prepare, here’s what you need to know.

Before the Smartphone Age

To understand what is happening you need an overview of how Google works. It scans all the websites and pages it can find on the internet and puts those pages into its index. Its search algorithm then matches a user’s search to web pages in the index. This is how Google produces its search results pages.

Google used to only look at the desktop version of a website. This was back before smartphones when everyone used Google’s search tool with a computer or laptop. Over recent years, however, more and more people started to use their phones when searching for something in Google. In fact, we have now gone past the tipping point – more people search on Google using a mobile device than a computer.

Mobile Indexing

This change in user behaviour is driving Google’s shift in focus. In 2016, it started prioritising mobile-friendly websites when its users searched on a mobile device. The search engine is now taking this a step further with the mobile-first index.

What is the Mobile-First Index?

Currently, Google’s main index contains the desktop version of websites. In other words, it looks at the structure, content, links, and other criteria of the desktop version and uses that to determine search rankings.

The mobile-first index will change this focus from desktop to mobile to reflect the majority of its users. This means Google will crawl and index the mobile version of your site and will use that index to determine your position in search, even when the user searches with a desktop computer.

Google Indexing

In other words, Google is working on switching its primary index of the world’s web pages to contain mobile versions of those pages instead of desktop versions.

What Will Be the Impact of the Mobile-First Index and What Should You Do?

There is a strong possibility that your search rankings could be damaged when the mobile-first index is introduced if the mobile version of your website is not fully optimised. Here are some things you need to consider:

  • Responsive design – Google has recommended you use responsive design for many years. These are websites that dynamically adjust to fit the user’s screen. It means you can have one website, with that site automatically changing in size as required. This is the minimum you need to ensure you are not impacted by the mobile-first index.
  • Optimised for mobile – often, a technically responsive design is not enough. This is because there is a wide range of screen sizes that users can have. Optimising your website means carefully structuring the content for each grouping of sizes, focusing heavily on usability and not just appearance.
  • Content – the beauty of responsive sites is you have content on one website which displays regardless of the screen size. There are some responsive website designs where the content displayed changes as the screen gets smaller, i.e. websites that show less content to mobile users than desktop users. If this applies to your website, you will need to take action.
  • Optimise the content – you should also look at the structure of the content on your pages as this should be optimised for mobile too. This means having a clean and uncluttered design with text that is super easy to read. You may also need to adjust your images so they look better on mobile devices. After all, your laptop or desktop computer’s screen has a landscape orientation while your phone is typically used in a portrait orientation. Images on your phone will, therefore, look different than on your computer.
  • Speed – speed has always been important to Google. Focus on making sure the mobile version of your site loads as fast as possible.
  • Interstitials – these are popups that you might have on the mobile version of your website asking visitors to sign up to your newsletter or offering them a discount. If you have interstitials, you might need to review your strategy as Google doesn’t like them.

The best advice is to take steps now to ensure your website is ready for the mobile-first index.

How You Can Get on the First Page of Google

How You Can Get First Page of Google

You have probably heard many people talk about how important it is to get on the first page of Google. After all, most research says the first page of Google gets 70-75 percent of the available clicks. What does getting on the first page of Google mean, though?

It means a lot of things, in fact. The easiest part is getting onto the first page of Google, ideally position one, for the name of your business. This is not enough in the real world of business as your name only catches those people who already know about you. What about all those people searching for keywords related to your industry?

There is a difficult truth to grasp when you consider this question. That truth is that in almost all industries, you won’t be able to get onto page one of Google for your industry’s main keywords. Why? Without getting too technical, it is because of the way Google works. It looks at the authority of a domain and how many links it has as well as about 200 other things. If your domain authority is lower than your competitors and you have fewer links, you won’t be able to beat them.

At least, you won’t be able to compete head-to-head with the big competitors using traditional methods. There are ways to get to page one of Google, however, if you are creative. In fact, there are four ways.

Getting to Page One of Google

The first thing is to forget about targeting the popular, high-traffic keywords – this is the traditional method described above. Leave the big competitors to fight over those keywords themselves.

While they are doing that, there are easier and much less costly strategies you can deploy.

Target Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are typically more than two or three words. For example, one of the main keywords for a property management company might be:

“Houses for rent”

Examples of long-tail keywords, however, would be:

“Houses for rent in Mount Eden” or “houses for rent in Mount Eden under $600 per week”

Long-tail keywords like the examples above are easier to rank for. They also generate lower levels of traffic but that traffic will add up when you target a lot of them. In addition, long-tail keywords usually also have better conversion rates as they are used by people closer to a buying decision.

Start Blogging

Blogging is a good way of targeting long-tail keywords and attracting traffic from social media and links from other websites. To be successful, however, you need to do the following:

Blogs

  • Publish more posts than your competitors
  • Publish better quality posts
  • Ensure your posts are keyword focused

 

Use Google AdWords

Most search results pages worth targeting contain ads. Crucially, these ads dominate the top of those search results pages with up to four ads on display before the first organic search result. Therefore, if you want to get page one, use Google AdWords.

Get Featured on Other Websites

In many industries, it is also often possible to get featured on other websites that do appear on page one. One example is a review website. You will need to spend time reaching out to the authors of reviews on those websites, but getting into their reviews is an indirect way of getting onto page one. Another good example is in the property management industry, i.e. listing your properties on the main property portals.

By taking a more strategic and targeted approach to SEO, you can get onto page one of Google, whoever you are.

Launching a Website Without a Brand or Money

Successfully Launching a Website Without a Brand or Money to Promote It

So, you’ve got a great idea for a website or business, but have no money to promote it. You can make it a success, so long as you adopt the right strategy. Here’s how to successfully launch a website without a brand or money to promote it.

What You Shouldn’t Worry About

There are two things you shouldn’t worry about and the first is SEO. Of course, you should make your website SEO friendly and you should follow good SEO practice, but SEO should not be a priority in your marketing strategy. The reality is you simply won’t be able to beat the main websites in Google searches for your products or services. In fact, you probably wouldn’t be able to beat them even if you had a big budget. So, do the basics, but at the start don’t worry about SEO.

Secondly, don’t worry about advertising either. Sure, if you’ve got the money to allocate to a campaign and the time to learn how to make it work, advertising is a great way to generate new leads and sales for your business. If you don’t have money or time to allocate, forget about advertising.

Launching a new website

How to Launch a Website with No Money or Brand

Right, let’s get onto what you should do. There are three broad strategies you should adopt:

  • Get referrals
  • Become an industry expert
  • Meet real people

Let’s look at each in more detail.

Get Referrals

Getting referrals is a tactic that businesses have used for decades – long before the introduction of the internet. In fact, most successful salespeople have a referral strategy. With a bit of thought, you can implement a referral strategy for your website that won’t cost you anything.

Here are two techniques you can use to achieve this:

  • List your products on marketplaces or listing websites – this normally only applies if you sell products rather than services, but it’s an excellent way to get instant visibility when you’re unknown. The most well-known marketplace is Amazon and eBay is one of the most popular listing sites. The downsides include the marketplace taking a cut from your sales and the fact the transaction takes place on its website, not yours. That said, you’ll get sales you might not otherwise get plus you’ll increase the exposure of your brand, including in Google.
  • Offer an incentive – this can take many forms, but it usually involves offering existing customers an incentive to refer your brand to their friends and family. This incentive could, for example, be in the form of a discount.

Become an Industry Expert

The next zero-cost strategy you can use is to enhance your reputation as an expert in your industry. You can do this by having an active presence on social media, participating in discussion groups, and offering help on questions and answers websites. These will all help, but the best approach is through guest blogging.

The process involves finding relevant blogs and industry websites that publish guest posts. You then need to reach out to them to become a contributor, usually offering an idea for a post. Once published, you’ll get referral traffic to your website plus you’ll raise your profile online.

Meet Real People

The final step involves getting away from the computer as you can get more traffic to your website and grow it faster by meeting more people. This includes attending industry events, local business events, networking events, and more. The connections you make today can turn into sales in the future.

Making a new website successful involves thinking outside the box and using strategies that have a track record of success. The above will get you off to a good start.

Uncovering the Lies So-Called SEO Experts Tell

Lies So-Called SEO Experts Tell You

So, you’ve received an email or seen an ad from someone calling themselves an SEO expert telling you how much they can help your business. Maybe you are searching for SEO services and see similar claims on websites. How can you tell which claims are real and what are downright lies? Below are the main lies that so-called SEO experts use to get your business.

Lie 1: “I’ll get you to the first page of Google” or “I’ll get you to number one in Google”

Google and only Google knows where it will rank websites. There isn’t any SEO professional in the world, expert or otherwise, who can predict with accuracy what they will achieve. This particularly applies to long-term results and competitive industries.

Lie 2: “I can rank any industry and any product”

Nope, this isn’t true either. The world of Google search for some industries is incredibly competitive. If you are in one of those industries you will be up against competitors with huge SEO and marketing budgets. Their size, reputation, and industry authority alone is likely to be more appealing to Google than your website, and there is little any SEO expert can do about that.

Lie 3: “SEO is the only digital marketing strategy you need”

Again, not true. Even before SEO, honest and successful marketing strategists would advise the use of multiple marketing channels to get the best results. This applies in the digital world as much as the offline world. Also, Google is a business. It wants you to spend money on advertising – SEO is not the only show in town.

Lie 4: “SEO is complex”

Usually so-called SEO experts say this because they don’t want to explain what they are really doing with your money. This is normally because they are not doing very much and/or what they are doing is unethical. Of course, SEO is not easy, but anyone willing to spend a couple of hours reading the basics will have sufficient knowledge to understand an SEO strategy. If the person you’re speaking to won’t give you details because it’s “too complex”, go somewhere else.

Lie 5: “I understand Google’s algorithm”

Unless they work in Google, this isn’t true. Even SEO’s foremost authorities openly say they do not know exactly how the algorithm works. When a one-man-band operating from a small office in Auckland says he does, you can safely assume it’s not true.

Lie 6: “Getting lots of links is all you need to rank”

Links are good, but only good quality ones. Link building should be a natural process that happens consistently over time. Link spamming to get you “lots of links” will only result in a Google penalty.

SEO expert

Lie 7: “Some duplicate content is okay”

Google representatives have said repeatedly that the algorithm doesn’t like duplicate content. It is never okay.

Lie 8: “Everything is about keywords”

Like links, keywords are important, but they are not everything. Keyword stuffing, focussing only on keywords, and using keywords in an unnatural way will not get you anywhere – and may also get you a penalty.

Lie 9: “Quantity is better than quality”

Quality links and quality content is always beat than quantity. Remember, one of Google’s main pieces of advice when thinking about SEO is that you should focus on user experience. That means quality wins every time.

Getting the Right SEO Help

Getting someone to do SEO for your website is not always easy. The first step, however, is to avoid anyone who tells any of the above lies.

Here is How to Generate Leads from Your Website

It doesn’t matter how good your website looks or how much traffic it attracts if you don’t get any leads. The fact is, leads won’t come in on their own. You need to take steps and include features on your website that encourage people to give you their information.

Once you start successfully collecting leads you can begin optimising to ensure you get as many as possible. You can also work on your conversion rate to turn more of those leads into sales and profits. It all starts with getting leads, though.

The Lead Magnet

If you don’t give your visitors a compelling reason to give you their contact information, they won’t. One of the best methods of getting leads on a website is by using lead magnets.

Lead magnets are something that you offer the visitor in exchange for their contact information, which is usually their email address. Examples of lead magnets include:

  • eBook
  • Report
  • Resource, such as “100 best…” or “50 tips to…”
  • Free trial if your product or service is suitable
  • Video such as a video tutorial
  • Discount
  • Free analysis or assessment such as “free analysis of your business Facebook page…”

To make lead magnets work, they must be targeted at your customers and they must be genuinely valuable. In other words, they must be worth the exchange of contact information.

Lead magnets are beneficial for several reasons:

  • They generate leads
  • The leads they generate are from people at all stages in the buying cycle
  • They help to build your reputation as an expert in your industry
  • They allow you to start a conversation with the potential customer

Essential Website Elements for Getting Leads

There are lots of things your website should have that will help you get more leads. The two most important are:

  • Well placed buttons – you should have “Free Quote” or “Free Consultation” buttons in prominent positions on each page of your website. In addition, the button should be big and should have a design that gets attention.
  • Exit overlay – an exit overlay displays a popover when the user’s browser detects they are about to leave your website. It gives you one last chance to offer the visitor something in return for their contact information. This can be your main lead magnet or something additional that will get their attention.

Additional Tips to Get Leads from Your Website

The above tips are the most important elements to increase the number of leads you get from your website, but there are other steps you can take. This includes:

  • Live chat – adding a live chat feature to your website lets visitors quickly and easily ask you questions or find information. It is unobtrusive and the user is in control, so it doesn’t put visitors off, plus it’s effective at getting leads.
  • Social proof – adding testimonials to your website increases confidence and trust levels. This will encourage visitors to give you their contact details as it shows you have a proven track record.
  • Add trust signals – other trust signals you can add include details of awards you’ve won or certifications you have.
  • Call to action – it is also important to include calls to action on your website. If you don’t ask your users to give you their contact details or request a quote, they won’t.
  • Blog – blogging improves your reputation and level of authority which can also generate leads.

The final tip is to work with a website developer that understands lead generation, keeping in mind that not all do. At Kiwi Website Design, we specialise in lead generating websites and have a long track record of success. To find out more, contact us today.

Why Your Google AdWords Ads Aren’t Making You Money Plus Steps to Take to Improve Them

Running a Google AdWords campaign can be a frustrating process. After all, you can see loads of ads when you do a search for your targeted keywords, so somebody must be making money. Also, if you read about digital marketing you will know that many businesses achieve significant returns on investment from AdWords. Why, then, are your campaigns not making you money?

In the list below you will find some of the main causes of AdWords failure. The most important thing to remember, however, is that AdWords is not as simple as it looks.

AdWords Knowledge is Power

Of course, it is correct to say that almost anyone can set up an AdWords campaign, and you can complete the process quickly. The process, however, is misleading.

The real key to success is not completing the form on the AdWords’ interface to launch your campaign. Instead, real AdWords success comes from digging much deeper into the process and understanding how Google works. When you do this, you can get better positions for your ads, higher click through rates, and improved conversions. You can also lower your costs.

That sounds great, doesn’t it? It often means getting help from a company with a proven track record of AdWords success. Working with an AdWords professional is also often the fastest way to improve ROI.

Eight Common Reasons Why AdWords Campaigns Fail

  1. Failing to optimize – many people, including some who provide AdWords management services, operate a “set and forget” approach to AdWords campaigns. In other words, they don’t regularly check the performance of keywords, bids, audiences, and more to make improvements. Optimization is absolutely essential to the success of an AdWords campaign, however.
  2. Using too many broad keywords – broad keywords often result in irrelevant clicks. This brings traffic to your website but it is not traffic that will ever convert. That is bad enough on its own but those irrelevant clicks can also damage the performance of your overall campaign. This is because while the user that clicks is irrelevant to you, your website can also be irrelevant to them. That means they have a bad user experience which Google does not like. Reducing the number of broad keywords or making the keywords phrase match or exact match are the solutions.
  3. Not using negative keywords – another method of reducing the number of irrelevant clicks you get on your ads is to use negative keywords. Negative keywords are an option when setting up an AdWords campaign, though, so many people don’t use them. If you don’t, this could be one of the reasons your ads don’t make money.
  4. Not focusing on click through rate (CTR) – all AdWords metrics are important, but CTR is one of the most crucial to a successful campaign. Of course, a higher CTR means more traffic to your website but it is also important for the position of your ads. Remember, Google is a business so it wants users to click on its ads to make it money. Therefore, it puts the ads it thinks will get the most clicks in the best positions on search results pages. If you have a good CTR rate, you will increase the chances that this will be you.
  5. Not including unique selling points in ad text – the text you use in your ads must give users a reason to click on them rather than one of the other ads they can see. This means you need a unique selling point. This could be discount or price related, but it can also be about quality of service, more customer benefits, or another reason that makes your ad stand out and makes the user want to find out more.
  6. Not using keywords in the ad text – keywords help you target the right audience to get relevant traffic, but they can also help users understand what your ad is about and how you can potentially help them. You should, therefore, include keywords in your ad text.
  7. Not split testing – one of the most important split tests to perform in AdWords campaigns is the ads themselves. You should have multiple versions running to see which performs better. This should be a constant process too, as just because one ad performs better than another doesn’t mean you can’t come up with something that performs even better again. You should always tweak, change, and try new ideas, testing different variations of your ads against others.
  8. You have a website that doesn’t convert – getting a click on your ads is only part of the process of making money from an AdWords campaign. This is because you must also convert that click into a customer. This means having a website that converts. If yours doesn’t, you will have to make changes which typically means getting help from a reputable website design company.

While these are the most common, there are other reasons why AdWords campaigns fail. This demonstrates how complex the process can be. It is possible to find success, however, by getting the help you need and/or taking steps to optimize and improve your campaigns.

12 Ways to Boost Your Website Conversion Rate

Getting traffic is only one part of making your website successful, and it is not even the most important. Maximising your conversion rate is where you should focus most of your efforts. Here are 12 ways you can boost your website conversion rate.

1. Create Urgency

Your objective is to get visitors to your website to convert now. If they leave to think about it, they won’t come back. Creating urgency is a great way to encourage visitors to take immediate action. There are several ways of doing this including mentioning stock numbers or making the offer time limited. You can even add a countdown timer to your pages to make the urgency more real.

2. Optimise Forms

The forms on your website should be quick and easy to complete. This particularly applies to email opt-in forms – the more fields you ask visitors to complete, the less likely they will be to give you their email address.

3. Optimise the Checkout Process

Make sure your checkout process is intuitive and fast to prevent customers from starting it but not finishing it. It also helps to make your checkout look secure.

4. Add an Exit Popup

Exit popups are an excellent way of making a final pitch to your visitors before they leave your website. Depending on the conversion you want to achieve, they can significantly increase your conversion rate. The offer you make should be compelling plus you should follow the above points – make it time limited and optimise any forms you use.

5. Take Away Risk

Another effective way of increasing conversion rates is to remove doubt or worry from the minds of your visitors. You can do this by offering a guarantee – a 100 percent money back guarantee will be the most effective. Another tactic is to offer a free trial.

6. Add Testimonials

Nobody wants to be the first to try something so it is important you show customers your experience and standards of service through testimonials. Testimonials should be relatable to the customer and should not only be genuine but should also look genuine too.

7. Focus Above the Fold

The area of your website above the fold is the part of the screen that you can see without scrolling. This is where you should put your conversion elements including offers, buttons, and forms.

8. Keep Designs Simple and Distraction-Free

Simple designs often get the most conversions. There are a number of reasons for this including the fact that flashy designs do not help visitors make a buying decision. You should also remove all unnecessary distractions.

9. Personalise

Your conversion rate will improve the more personal you can make your content. You can do this through the copy on your website, plus you can use tools that geotarget your visitors. Geotargeting involves dynamically showing personalised content to your visitors based on their location. You should also personalise your emails as much as possible, particularly including the recipient’s name.

10. Use Dedicated Landing Pages

If you run PPC campaigns, you should use dedicated landing pages.

11. Remarketing

Remarketing helps you win back the people who visit your website but don’t convert. Assuming they plan to make a purchase from someone, remarketing helps increase the chances that it will be you.

12. Test and Measure

You firstly need to measure your website’s conversion rate then you should test all the strategies you use to see what works so you can make refinements.

Finally, treat conversion rate optimisation as an ongoing process that you continuously work to improve.

Increase Your Traffic by Getting Your Website Added to Google News

Google News generates billions of clicks to publisher websites every month. Just think: what if you could get just a few thousand of those clicks to your website?

It would be great, wouldn’t it, but what if you are not a publisher or a news organisation? The truth is this in itself does not exclude you from inclusion in Google News. Whatever type of website you have, you can get into this high-potential Google platform if you follow the right steps and think the right way.

It takes daily effort, but if you believe Google News traffic is potentially beneficial to your business, you can do it. Here’s how.

You Must Publish News

There are several things you should consider when planning how to get your website included in Google News. In fact, Google itself publishes a long article on how to maximise your chances. At the top of the list, however, is you must publish news.

What does that mean, though? Here are some general guidelines:

Cover recent events – news organisations publish stories covering recent events. Generally, this excludes opinion articles, advice articles (like this one), or information articles (like reporting on the weather). In addition, while evergreen content is great for general SEO, it won’t work on Google News.

Publish original stories – copying content published by others will not work on Google News. This doesn’t mean you can’t write a story about a topic covered elsewhere. Instead, you must find your own angle, add new information, or move the story along in some way.

Write objectively – good news reporting is balanced so you should keep your articles as objective as possible.

Write the story well – this includes straightforward standards like getting the spelling and grammar correct. You should also structure your article like a news article. This means giving the main details of the story in the first paragraph and generally structuring the article throughout by giving the most important information first. As you might expect, there are lots of other standards you should learn to help you write good news articles including using an active voice and writing in the present tense. A good starting point to learn these standards is the Associated Press style guide.

Publish regularly – news organisations publish stories regularly so you should too. This means aiming for at least two per day.

Other Factors to Consider

If you feel you can meet the above requirements, here are some other things you should consider before applying for inclusion in Google News. They will increase your chances of approval and also help to maximise your traffic once your links start appearing.

Be honest and transparent with your readers – firstly, don’t mislead your readers about who is behind your website. You should also publish online and offline contact details, i.e. email addresses as well as a physical address and phone number.

Build credibility as an author – publish on websites other than your own to build up your author profile.

Follow the technical guidelines – this includes making sure the URLs of your stories are unique and permanent. Your articles must also be in HTML, i.e. Google News doesn’t index PDF documents or JavaScript content.

Write good headlines – include keywords and make sure the headline is informative to readers.

Make your website mobile responsive – this will help improve the visibility of your stories in Google News searches on mobile devices.

Once you have all the above in place, and you have checked your content does not breach any of Google’s general guidelines, you can apply to have your website included in Google News.

How To Promote Your Blog for Free

According to an article in the New York Times titled Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest, approximately 95% of blogs fail due to a lack of readership.

Luckily, I have grown one of my blogs into 50,000+ monthly visitors. I have tried every method on the internet and am still exploring more. However, I want to let you know that it didn’t happen overnight and it took a lot of testing, failing, and starting all over again.

This article contains unique and practical ways to promote a blog and get traffic. I hope this guide will help you unleash the true potential of your blog.

Article Frequency

One of the best ways to get traffic is by publishing more articles. Research from HubSpot shows that a website that publishes 16+ articles a month will get more traffic than a website that publishes five articles a month.

Even the popular internet marketer and blogger Neil Patel has revealed that his traffic grew from 46,134 to 59,787 when he increased the article frequency on his site from one to two articles per week.

It is proven in research that publishing more articles will always result in more traffic. Therefore, increase your article frequency today and you will see a significant increase in traffic – guaranteed.

Longer Content

Research by serpIQ shows that Google ranks content that has 2,000 words better than content with fewer words.

This is another reason why Neil Patel’s articles get lots of traffic – he writes detailed articles. His average article ranges from 4,000 to 8,000 words.

Email List

Email is one of the top sources of traffic for most blogs. If you haven’t started building an email list, you should start now. Go to Mail Chimp and start building subscribers.

Guest Blog

Another proven method to grow traffic is by writing for other people’s blogs. For instance, you can choose a blog which is bigger than yours and write an article for it. The other blog will probably have a bio section as part of the guest post where you can include a link to your website. This can bring a lot of traffic.

Search Engines

Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo are the number one source of traffic for most established blogs. So, it is extremely important to follow good SEO practices on your website and optimise each article for a specific keyword.

Comment on Other Blogs

The right comment on a highly authoritative blog can send you lots of traffic. You should identify the top blogs in your niche and start interacting and commenting on them on a regular basis. This will get the blogger and members of his/her community to notice you and visit your blog, leading to more traffic to your website. You might even get a link or an invitation to guest blog out of your efforts.

Develop a Blogger Outreach Plan

Many bloggers fail to get traffic because they take a passive approach to blogging. If you simply publish your article, rest, and then wait for the traffic to come, nothing will happen.

For every article you publish, make sure you have a solid blogger outreach plan. To do this, compile a list of dozens of relevant bloggers that you can email your article to, asking them to share it or link to it. This article is a good place to learn how to do blogger outreach.

It is recommended you follow all these points to guarantee the success of your blog. Other methods can also contribute to more growth.

How to make an effective Facebook ad?

I assume you are already running a Facebook ad and want to take it to the next level. Facebook ads are very profitable and there are numerous ways to make them effective.

Everyone can run Facebook ads today as they are easy to setup. Just write a few words and upload an image and you are good to go. However, if you want to run a Facebook ad effectively then this simple approach won’t work for you.

In this article, I will show you how to create an effective Facebook ad.

  1. Ad Headline
    The Ad headline is the first thing that people will notice. It’s important you grab your audience’s attention from the first look at your ad.
    According to a recent study, 70% of people only read the headline of content shared with them on Facebook before sharing it themselves.
    Sometimes, headlines are so interesting that people share it before even reading the content. So, headlines can make a huge difference in the CTR and CPC of your Facebook Ads.
    To write attractive headlines, follow these three best practices:

    1. Be clear and to the point
    2. Use words such as “Get” and “Try”
    3. Clearly explain the benefits of your product or service

  2. Target Audience
    Targeting is the most important factor when creating a successful Facebook ad. You can make a highly attractive ad but it will not work unless it reaches the right audience. The secret to targeting is making the audience narrow. You should never use a broad audience unless you are a multinational company like Coca Cola or Toyota.
  3. Align Your Ad
    The content in your Facebook Ad should be aligned with the content of the link attached to it. In this way, people will get what you promise them on the ad. Secondly, you will get a high CTR which means you will pay less while reaching a larger audience. This also increases your conversion rate.
  4. Test One Ad at a Time
    It is recommended you run one ad at a time for testing. For example, take one ad, duplicate it, and then make changes such as giving it a new headline. When you run one ad at a time you can test which performs better.
  5. Experiment with Ad Placement
    Experiment with different ad placements instead of selecting all placements. Then, test your ad to see which placements work well. For instance, try the news feed then go for right column ads – you can even try an Instagram ad placement. Also, check mobile and desktop placements separately. This technique will allow you to control your budget and reach a more precise target audience.
    There are different ways to optimise your Facebook ads. You should experiment with different headlines, audiences, placements, and more to improve the results from your Facebook advertising.

10 Ways To Build Quality Backlinks

Link building has become one of the most important practices for better SEO performance. Backlinks are like votes of popularity for your website to search engines. The higher the quality of the links and the more of them you have, the greater ranking potential your web pages will have.

According to a recent survey by Moz, 37% of business owners spend $10,000 to $50,000 per month on link building. That’s how important it is.

Backlink quality is measured from the source the link comes from. One of the important factors is that your backlink is inserted with proper content. Otherwise, it will look like spam.

For example, a backlink to a tech blog would have great value if the link is inserted in an article that gives tech information. That would be a credible backlink with good contextual relevancy.

The other variable that determines the quality of a backlink is the authority of the link’s source. Google puts a measure of authority on all websites, ranging from 0-10. It is called PageRank, or PR for short. So, a website with a PR7 (high authority) offers greater link value – or link juice – than a PR1 (low authority) website.

Building quality backlinks for SEO involves a combination of utilising high authority link sources and sources that offer some degree of contextual relevancy. This is the foundation of SEO link building best practice. Read this blog post for good SEO practices to get you started.

Here are 10 techniques to create high-quality backlinks for search engine optimisation:

Blogging: Create and maintain a blog that is a separate domain from your money site (the web site receiving the links). Build the blog around a niche topic that relates to your money site and frequently publish content with backlinks integrated into the blog post’s copy.

Guest blogging: Guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to build backlinks on higher authority blogs. This takes some effort as you must find good blogs, contact the blog owners, and inquire about writing a blog post for their blog.

RSS feed: Have an RSS feed on your blog. Doing this is free and easy to set up. An RSS feed is advantageous as it allows people to syndicate your content to generate greater interest and increase the popularity of your blog. This can then result in others providing attribution links back to your pages.

Press releases: Write and distribute press releases regularly. The key here is to publish your press releases through distribution sites that allow you to add backlinks in the copy, as well as other sites that offer great coverage and authority.

Create case studies: Writing a case study about a client who has succeeded through your services will not only display credibility in your company but also generate interest from the client. Quality clients will often link back to your website out of respect for your solid PR stunt.

Link to other relevant blogs: Often, linking to other related blogs can generate link reciprocity. In other words, some blog owners are likely to return the favour. In some cases, you may want to make it known that you are linking to their blog as not all blog owners check their backlinks.

Create visual content: Consider diversifying from text to visual content such as images, infographics, charts, and cartoons. Not only will these techniques attract readers, but they will also earn and retain backlinks.

Social sharing widgets: Social sharing widgets on your web pages and blog posts – like Twitter’s “tweet this” or Facebook’s “like this” – can go a long way to propagating your content and generating link popularity.

Write reviews: When you give a positive review of a company or a piece of content (like a book), chances are the author or website owner will link back to your website.

Offer free tools: If you have skills in a particular service or niche, create and offer free tools and resources. This is one of the best ways to attract new business and quality backlinks.

We hope these ten link building techniques will get you on your way to generating quality links to start raising your rankings in search engines. If you find it difficult to do this, you may need to hire a backlink building service.

How to Rank Higher for a Keyword

Everyone wants their website to rank higher in Google’s search results. Although it is not easy to get to the top unless you are Wikipedia or the BBC, it is still possible. You can do it if you stay consistent and take it seriously.

In this article, we will look at eight steps to rank higher for a keyword in Google’s search engine.

Step 1: Basics
The most important thing is you need a strong website which follows SEO good practice and has external links. Secondly, it is useful to have an audience on social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, where you can share content.

Step 2: Keyword Research
You probably know what keywords you want to target but it is best to check the facts using keywords tools to see the search volume for the keyword as well as the competition before you finalise your keywords for targeting.

It is best to choose a keyword which is relevant to your business model and has an average search volume.

Step 3: Competition
After choosing a target keyword for your website, do a search on Google to see your competitor’s websites. Check the following:

  • The domains and URLs – how many domains and URLs have the exact keyword?
  • The titles – how do the title tags incorporate the keyword?
  • The type of content – do they have product pages, blog posts, videos, etc?
  • The authority of those sites – use third-party SEO analysers to check the domain age and source of backlinks.

In order to beat your competitors, you need to do better than them. Therefore, try to do more and better on your website.

Step 4: Long Tail Keywords
It is recommended you target long tail keywords as they are easier for searchers to find. Try to be more specific and keep one page for one specific keyword.

Step 5: Content
The next part of the plan is to make sure you have quality content on your website. Quality with quantity will do the job. Plan your keywords on each page including on blog posts, product pages, and videos.

Step 6: Optimise the Keyword on Every Page
Optimise your content while you create it. Use the targeted keyword in the page title, headline, body text, URL, meta description, meta keywords, and even in image titles and alt attributes.

Step 7: Promote
When your website is all set, it is time to promote it. Share your content on social media pages and use social buttons on your website to make it easy for readers to share.

You should also build links to your content – strong links makes it easy for Google to crawl.

Step 8: Analyse
Use free third-party SEO analysers to make sure your website follows all good SEO practices. Find out which points are missed and which sections need improvement. You should also check keyword rankings manually. Use analytics tools to see which keywords are performing well and which keywords need improvement.

This process is time-consuming and requires patience and constant improvement. There are no shortcuts but, whatever your business is, you can make this work for you.

How you can grow web traffic without SEO

If you don’t have much budget but are looking for new ways to drive traffic other than SEO, email marketing, social media, or guest posting, then this article is for you.

In this article, I will show you how to drive targeted traffic and reach thousands of people for free via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, twisted guest blogging, and by partnering with others.

Kindle Select 90-Day Traffic Plan
Do you know that self-published books now represent 31% of e-book sales in the Amazon Kindle Store? Before the emergence of the Amazon Kindle Store and other similar online bookstores, you needed thousands of dollars and the help of a large publishing house to get a book published. This is now changed as anyone can publish a book within a day. In addition, this technique can be used to drive traffic to your website or blog.

When you publish your Kindle book, you can enrol the book in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program. This makes your book exclusive to the Kindle Store for 90 days. Amazon also includes it in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library where thousands of targeted readers can borrow it for free. Furthermore, you can run a free promotion for a paid e-book for five days.

To drive traffic to your website through your Kindle book you can place a link directly inside the book. Another way of getting traffic is using free giveaways.

Twisted Guest Blogging
This is a unique approach that is very different from typical guest blogging – this is the reason it is given the title “twisted”.

According to Neil Patel, one blogger recorded a 203% increase in traffic growth in 2013 when his guest posts were featured on high-traffic and relevant blogs.

So, how did that blogger get thousands of people to read his guest post? Here are the three steps he followed for guest posting:

  • Research blogs with social influence
  • Checking the top-ranking websites
  • Pitch them one by one

The objective is to get featured by one of the blogs after it accepts your guest post.

Partner with Others
You can place a badge of a company on your website or blog, or share your content with other blogs, in exchange for them driving traffic back to your blog. This approach involves partnering with them. There are many popular blogs that are looking for quality content and if you provide it to them, they will have no issues linking back to your website.

In order to get this partnership, you must consistently reach out to potential websites and blogs. Most probably you will get one yes out of every 10 blogs you hit.

How I Helped One Kiwi Locksmith Company Grow its Business and Increase its Turnover From $40,000 a Year to $500,000 a Year in One Year

Generating enough leads with Google AdWords seems like an uphill battle when keyword bid costs increase daily. For the majority of business owners, it is hard to imagine spending $1 per click, $2 per click, or more. What I have personally experienced is that, 10 years ago, these businesses would happily spend more than $1,000 for half-page ads in local newspapers and the Yellow Pages. By advertising in these publications, there was no way of measuring conversions or seeing what was working and what wasn’t working. However, with digital marketing today, we can see exact user behaviour and what keywords generate more leads and more business. We can even re-target people who visit your website but do not place an enquiry.

Being a Certified Google Partner, I have seen many businesses grow substantially by advertising on Google. At the same time, I have seen even more businesses miss great opportunities because of unknown fears. Some of the most common fears which prevent people from making this big decision are:

  1. What if my competitors click on my ads and waste my money?
  2. What if I don’t get a return on my investment?
  3. What if Google AdWords is rocket science and I just lose my money?

It is simply not possible for your competitors to eat your whole budget by clicking on your ads. Google has already thought of this problem and it considers them as invalid clicks so they don’t count against your ad spend. Secondly, even though Google has made using AdWords simple enough that anyone can set up an AdWords account, to make campaigns effective and get a good return on investment, you must dig very deep into the system. It actually is a science. To rank your ad in the top spots, it is important to consider and work on all Google AdWords’ ranking factors.

Why Google is Google?

Why do you search on Google? Why not Yahoo? Or why not Bing or any other search engine? You use Google because it gives you the most accurate search results.

For example, you are a mobile locksmith company based in Manukau. You want people to see your ad when they search for a locksmith anywhere in the Auckland region. Now, if someone is sitting in Albany, Northshore and searches for a locksmith company, Google automatically shows locksmiths that are near to Albany. Does this mean that a Manuka-based mobile locksmith company can’t do jobs in Albany? They obviously would love to do jobs in Albany as well, but the main challenge is that people in Albany will not see their ads because Google thinks the ads are not relevant because they are based in Manukau. To understand this better, let’s dig a bit deeper into it.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

Google only makes money when people click on ads. When people do not click on ads, Google does not make any money. Now, if someone sitting in Albany looks for a locksmith company, Google’s job is to:

  1. Display the most accurate result because that’s what Google does
  2. Make sure that it displays ads which it thinks people will find interesting and will click on
  3. Not put ads it thinks are irrelevant in the top spots

In the above example, the process is as follows:

  1. The user is based in Albany
  2. He is looking for a locksmith company as he has immediate locksmith needs
  3. If Google displays the ad of a locksmith company based in Manukau, it is highly unlikely the user will click on it
  4. As a result, Google will only waste its real estate by displaying this ad
  5. So, Google would rather display ads which it thinks are more likely to get clicks from the user

How I helped one Kiwi locksmith company increase its turnover from $40,000 a year to $500,000 a year in one year

When a locksmith company came to me it had an old website and a poor AdWords campaign. It was generating $40,000 in revenue annually and was struggling to drive more leads.

The owners wanted to grow their business throughout Auckland and drive more leads that would convert into sales. As a result, the objective was not to just drive traffic but to focus on sales. In order to achieve this goal, I started with the following changes:

  1. I built a new website using the WordPress content management system, making the website responsive and easy to update.
  2. I designed 198 separate landing pages covering 198 suburbs of Auckland. These were for Google AdWords and were tailored to capture leads with easy to use call to action buttons. Each landing page was designed for a specific suburb of Auckland. For example:
  3. I customised a specific landing page for Manukau to its potential customers by writing relevant content.
  4. Each landing page was advertised for one suburb. I made sure it was only visible to that specific suburb by inserting negative keywords. In this way, the ad looked more fitting and appropriate. Hence, the ads got a high CTR for each landing page.
  5. I used creative taglines and text to make the ads stand out from all the other ads on the page.
  6. I manually bided for the ad to achieve the highest visibility with the minimum cost. This saved more than half of the advertising budget of the company.

After implementing everything above, I managed to get first place on Google’s search results pages. You can see in the below screenshots that the locksmith’s ads are at the top for all relevant keyword searches:

Website Ranking

After collecting enough data from Google AdWords, I crafted a potential customer list for remarketing. For people who are not familiar with the term remarketing, it is a campaign designed to target an audience who have already visited your website but may not have placed an enquiry. After implementing these strategies, we produced the following results in the first month:

  • 200% increase in total site traffic
  • 566% increase in enquiries

Today, this locksmith company has increased its turnover from $40,000 a year to $500,000 a year in a period of just 12 months – and it is still growing. The company is now planning to sell franchises in Hamilton and other cities in New Zealand.

What are the best ways to get high quality backlinks?

Backlinks are one of the most important things to consider when we talk about SEO. With the advent of Google, SEO began to gain traction with backlinks becoming a major element of the SEO process. So, without backlinks, you can’t rank higher in Google’s search results. In order to rank higher, you need to get quality links from authority sites.

As building backlinks is a very critical process to the success of SEO, this article will talk about different ways to get quality backlinks for your blog or website.

First and foremost, you need to install the SEO Quake Toolbar. This will help you identify the PR of the page where you will insert a comment with a link to your website. As manual blog commenting can take some time, it’s important to choose your targets wisely.

One of the best tools to get started with is SEO Quake. Simply go to http://www.seoquake.com/ and click the Install button to add it to your browser toolbar.

SEO Quake

Another tool I recommend is Drop My Link. Go to http://dropmylink.com/, enter your target keyword, and hit search.

Drop my link

Check to see which results have enough page-level PR to make posting a comment worth your while. This one looks promising.

Search Page

Now, scroll down to the bottom of the page and see if there’s still an active comment area. It is not recommended that you drop an anchor text link by putting your keyword in the Name field as this has two downsides. Firstly, it sets you up for a Penguin penalty and, secondly, it puts a target on your back as a spammer. Instead, use the name of your site or your own name. Now, glance over the article and add a thoughtful comment.

Post a comment

Remember, just because the blog auto-approves your comment doesn’t mean they won’t moderate them eventually. If you have a natural anchor text link along with an insightful comment, the comment will probably survive. Moreover, you can also use Drop My Link to find .gov blogs that allow comments. Simply repeat the process.

What is On site SEO?

On-site SEO involves optimising web pages to rank higher and gain more traffic in search engines. On-site SEO includes optimising the content and HTML source code of a webpage. Off-site SEO, on the other hand, involves optimising external links.

So, do you want your website SEO optimised to get more traffic from search engines?

If your answer is yes to the above question, you should consider optimising your website.

There are two factors to consider when it comes to optimising a website:

  • On-Site optimisation
  • Off-Site optimisation

Today I will focus only on the on-site element and will share basic information that impacts website optimisation.

The Domain Name
The domain name is an important part of on-site SEO. However, with Google’s EMD update, having an exact match domain name no longer matters a lot in SEO. Nonetheless, the domain name adds credibility and relevancy to your blog. It can help users decide if the blog is the right one to get the information they are searching for or not.

The Meta Description
Another important component of on-site SEO is the meta description. This is a short overview of what the blog is all about. The statement that you input here will be used by search engines to describe your blog. This will also be the short statement that will appear in search results pages.

The meta description can heavily influence the search user’s decision on whether to check out your site or not. This is also used by the search engine crawlers when ranking websites for certain keywords. Therefore, make sure that your target keyword term is present in the meta description.

Web Content
Web content is a key area that greatly matters in on-site optimisation. Quality and uniqueness of the post must be given due focus so each post must be unique. Ideally, it should not be published elsewhere so it is distinct to your site. Aside from that, it should contain highly valuable information and an eye-popping title that effectively grabs attention.

Internal Links
Another factor in on-site SEO is internal links as they must be properly placed. Each page should, ideally, have a link from another page or from the homepage. The internal link structure should also be flawless to ensure visitors can quickly and conveniently find the right pages relevant to their search.

Metatags
Metatags are HTML elements that provide information about a web page for search engines and website visitors. These elements must be placed as tags in thesection of an HTML document.

Anchor Text
The anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. The words contained in the anchor text can determine the ranking that the individual page will receive by search engines.

Rick Media Files
Another important component of on-site SEO is rich media files. These are the relevant photos and videos included your web pages. These files further add value to your posts, while the relevancy of the photos and videos can reinforce the search engine’s assessment of the webpage. These files should be properly inserted with alt-tags that are relevant to the main target keyword phrase.

Loading Speed and Bounce Rate

Loading speed and bounce rate have little SEO value but they can add up to give you better page ranking due to enhanced user experience. The loading speed of the webpage can affect bounce rate and it can also cause some visitors to leave if the page loads too slowly.

How You Can Improve your Website Ranking On Google Yourself

Google Ranking

Everyone wants their website to have a better Google search ranking to increase website traffic and enhance visibility. The Google search engine uses various algorithms to rank pages in its search results. Its algorithm is a secret so is not shared by Google, although there are many basic ways to improve your rank in search results. This involves using techniques known as Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO.

SEO takes time and there is no quick solution. If someone tells they will get you fast results then it’s probably a scam. The most important thing you need to make sure is that you have a website that people want to visit. Also, never use black hat techniques that can, at a later stage, be detected by Google as you will end up getting blacklisted.

The following tips can help you increase your website visibility and search ranking:

Tip 1: Keyword Phrases

Keywords

When someone is on a search engine to find your website, they will write a relevant word or phrase – this is called a keyword phrase. Your keyword phrases should appear in your content, ideally in the first paragraph. You should also use words in your articles that people are most likely to use when searching. For instance, what keyword phrase might people use to search for your website? Try this with your potential customers to find the best words for your content. In addition, it is highly recommended you use one key subject per page. Also, avoid irrelevant content completely.

Tip 2: Keyword Density
Keyword density refers to the number of keywords used in your content. It is recommended you use natural phrasing. Overusing the keyword to trick the search engine can also get you banned. Your first paragraph should be a strong opening to tell people what your page is about. This practice also helps search engines find your page.

Tip 3: Title of the Page
Giving a descriptive name to the title of your page is essential. The first thing you notice on a search results page is the page titles of the results, so your titles must be related to the topic and appropriate. Best practice is to include the page’s keyword phrase in the title.

Tip 4: Links
Links from other websites to your website determine the PageRank of your website. More links mean a higher PageRank. You can exchange links with other relevant websites or blogs. Furthermore, links to the content on your pages should include keyword phrases in the anchor text.

Tip 5: Social Networking
Promoting your website on social media sites can affect your rank in search as well as bringing more traffic to your website. So, make sure you publish engaging titles and images that link back to your website.

Tip 6: Mobile Friendly
According to The Verge, more than half of Google searches are now done through mobile. If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google will rank you lower in search results pages. Google also indicates onsearch results pages if a website is mobile friendly or not. Therefore, don’t forget to make it responsive.

How to Write Email Subject Lines That Will Increase Your Open Rate By 100%

Email marketing is widely used to reach a larger audience and to maintain returning customers. However, if only a few people open your emails, this strategy might not help you.

Have you have sent emails to your list but only a few of them get opened? If so,you are not alone.

According to Epsilon’s fourth quarter email analysis, the average open rate for emails is only 27.4%. The problem is that in order to get the attention of your customers, you need to write an effective email subject line. Doing this will increase your email open rate by 100%.

You should take the following factors into account to write email subject lines that people will want to open:

A Unique Selling Proposition:
To get the best results from email marketing, you need a unique selling proposition. Ask yourself what makes your product unique and what makes it better than other products on the market. Also, how can you present your product to the right people to get more clicks?

Personalized Emails:
You should always use the recipient’s name when sending emails. This includes using their first name or last name in the subject line instead of “Dear”. This will immediately grab the attention of your customers.

Ask Right Questions:
Always avoid simple yesor no questions in email subject lines as they won’t encourage people to open your email. On the other hand, using open-ended questions will make the recipient more engaged and eager to read further. Some examples of open-ended questions are:

  • “What type of website do you need?”
  • “Where should you invest in 2017?”
  • “Can you tell what problems you’re facing in your business?”

Get the Timing Right:
Another factor that increases open rates is writing a subject line and then sending it at the right time. For example, sending an email at 6:30pm on a Friday evening with the subject line: “Where to Go for Dinner Tonight”. The subject line and timing is just right for people thinking about dinner plans.

Do Tell What’s Inside:
It is best to include a subject line that explains what is inside the email. Examples include “Free E-Book” or “Free Trial”. This works better than a simple subject line because it makes it clear what the recipient will get in the email.

What Is Infographic And How To Double Your Website Traffic With Infographics

So, what is Infographic? According to Wikipedia, infographics are visual representations of information, data, or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. In other words, infographics are a way of presenting information that is uncomplicated and easy to read.

You may have seen infographics while surfing the net or on social media. They are simple, easy to understand, and interesting to read. Nowadays, infographics rule the internet. According to Unbounce, the demand for infographics has increased by 800% in the last two years.

Info Graphics

Recent research by WebMD stated that a human brain can register visual information 60,000 times faster than normal text. In addition, 65% of people are visual learners.

Infographics can certainly double your website traffic if you do them right. However, not all infographics go viral. There are some important factors you should take into account when creating infographics for marketing purposes.

The Method You Use
How you visually present the collected data in your infographic is a very important part of the process. You can use graphs or flow charts, for example, but make sure you consider how the audience will perceive the data.

Another important factor is the title you give your infographic. For instance, if the infographic is a how-to,you should title it accordingly.

Use Correct Statistical Data
Your content should be statistically correct or verified from a reliable source. You won’t convince your audience with information based on your personal opinions so don’t base your infographic on them.

Develop a Unique View
Use a unique approach for your infographic. For example, don’t follow the same format your competitors use. Instead, your infographics should have interesting graphics and characters that tell a unique story that is quick to read.

Pick the Right Topic
Choose interesting topics that people will love to read. It is not easy to grab the reader’s attention unless you have a trending topic to talk about. The best way to achieve this is to search for topics on Google Trends to find out what people are talking about.

Create Useful and Shareable Infographics
Creating useful infographics means providing readers with a deep insight into the topic that they can read and understand in short span of time.

According to Buzzsumo, content with images gets the most shares. In addition, infographics are among the most shared content on the internet as people share what they find useful.’

The Design of Your Infographics
Make sure you get your infographic professionally designed. After all, if you have good-quality content but don’t have an attractive design, your infographic will fail. This is often because people will be hesitant to share the infographic. So, it is best to get it designed by a professional graphic designer.

Generating an embed code
Use an embed code generator to make it easy for users to share and embed your infographic. When you do, your infographic will have a link back to your original social media page or website. This will bring you additional traffic.

Conclusion
Infographics definitely increase traffic. It is best to use them to optimize your website for conversions so you generate more leads and sales. You can attach promotional messages with your infographics as well, to market your business.

Social Media Marketing Made Simple

Social Media is one of the world’s fastest growing industries. If you are not taking advantage of social media platforms you might be leaving lots of money on the table. Social media marketing strategies can be complex, however,because of the increase in the number of social media platformsthat are available. Furthermore, growing a social media account requires time and hard work.

Let’s take a look at some of the largest social media platforms, each of which can be used to grow your business and increase sales:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Vine
  • Tumblr
  • Medium
  • Quora
  • Periscope

If you want to market your business or website through social media platforms, keep the following points in mind.

Find Your Audience
First and foremost, you must find your target customers. This requires proper research to discover where your customers are most active on social media. You must look if your target audience is made up of Facebook users rather than Twitter users, for example. This will save you energy and time.

Focus on quality, not quantity
The quality of the content you post on social media is very important. If your content is interesting,the user will share the post which will increase your reach. Therefore, it is important to have content your users will love to read and/or content that benefits them in some way. In addition, reposting a link from another website for the sake of keeping your page active will be of no use. Consequently, your content should be unique and compelling so that it gets clicks.

Appeal to Influencers
Influencers on social media play an important role. You should find influencers that appeal to your customer profile, who reflect your business philosophy, and who have a high-quality audience. Connect with these influencers and create a positive relationship with them. If your content and services come across as interesting or show you are an authority on the matter, they could introduce your business to a range of new customers using their social media presence. This kind of exposure is very valuable since you donot have access to this audience on your own.

Be Visible
Don’t post something and then just disappear for a few weeks. Social media audiences have too many choices available and if you’re not visible, you can be cut from their list very easily. Make sure you have a clear calendar set out with a social media plan to publish content and posts on set days and at set times to encourage interaction with your users.

Be Available
When users post queries and requests do not ignore them. Answer comments and messages as soon as possible with a solution or ask for their details so you can contact them immediately. Business pages where queries are ignored are a red flag for many customers who worry that they will be ignored should they make a purchase or order something. How you manage your social media accounts is a reflection on how you manage your business, even if your business runs smoothly and without issue – your users won’t see it that way. Many people turn to social media for reviews and to see how a company handles its customers, so put on a good show.

Be Consistent
Consistency is key

Keeping your posts and messages consistent on social media pages can help you increase engagement with your customers. Moreover, it will help you develop trust with potential customers. For instance, if a customer comes to your Facebook page and sees that you have not posted in a month, they could assume you are out of business or are not a reliable company. In other words, not posting regularly gives a negative impression of your business. Therefore, it is necessary to be consistent and keep your social media page active.

How To Reduce Cost Per Click?

You may be using AdWords already and,given the title of this article, are probably now looking to reduce the cost of your campaigns. When it comes to AdWords, it is easy to set up an account and put it in automatic mode, letting Google do the job for you. However, this may target the wrong audience and, eventually, your whole marketing budget will go in vain.

Automatic Bidding

So, What’s the Solution?
There is no easy solution for lowering cost per click. Even if you intend using AdWords in manual mode, there are so many things you should consider before jumping in to use it via a trial and error method.

That said, finding a lower cost per click (CPC) for the keywords of your AdWords campaigns is a very important step in becoming competitive. However, achieving a lower CPC depends on your industry, product, and location. Here are some tips that, if applied properly, could help you reduce cost per click.

Lower Bids
Lower your bids for keywords that receive a lot of impressions but don’t generate any sales or leads for your business

Increase Bids
Similarly, increase your bids for keywords that convert into sales or bring more customers to your website. This will increase the position of your ads so that, for example, if they were placed in position four they could potentially move to number one, assuming you run your ads on the search network.

One Campaign at a Time
It is better to start with one campaign and manually fill the bids. This can be time-consuming but it will deliver a better campaign result.

Use the Average CPC
The average CPC shows you the exact amount that you spend per click on a keyword. When you enter the bidding section, you must account for your bid manually.

It is important your bid is higher than the average CPC as your bid is the maximum you are prepared to spend on any given click. That said, it is important to set your bid at a level that’s close to the average CPC in your campaign so you can maintain your ad’s ranking or improve its position without spending additional money.

You should also remember you need to run your ads for several days, or even weeks, before deciding which bidding strategy you should adopt.

Use Search Networks Only
The reason behind using only the search network is the display networkgenerates more irrelevant clicks than relevant clicks so you will eventually waste your money.

Before deciding on whether you should go for the display network or not, you should ask yourself if you want to show your ads on irrelevant websites that do not attract your target audience.

So, rather than using display networks, it is better to increase your CPC so your ads send relevant traffic to your website.

You can also check the performance of both the search network and display network by pausing one ad to test the other one.

Include Long Tail Keywords

Long Tail Keyword
It is extremely important to focus on long-tail keywords as, in the beginning, you cannot afford to waste money on generic, headline keywords like “bus”, “engineer”, “car” etc. These are keywords the big brands go for. Big brands may not benefit from long tail keywords as they go for keywords with a bigger reach. However, if you are starting out you cannot compete with the budgets of big brands on headline keywords. Also, remember that long-tail keywords usually generate a high click through rate of relevant clicks which increase the likelihood that you will end up with sales.

Adjust Bids Based on Location, Day and Time
One of the most important factors in achieving good results from AdWords is toadjust your keyword bids based on location, day, and time.

You can implement this trick by monitoring your ad results and then changing the bids. For example, you can increase your bid on ads which are performing better and generating sales while, on the other hand, you can lower the bids for ads which have no sales on aparticular day or at a particular time.

Conclusion
Google AdWords has a huge target audience. You can get sales and even double your revenue in 24 hours if you do things right. That said, it is very difficult for an individual to master all the optimisation techniques when you have a limited amount of time and budget. If this applies to you, you should hire an AdWords consultant to fix everything for you. At Kiwi Website Design, we offer a Google AdWords marketing package so if you are planning to usethe platform, please don’t hesitate to call us or shoot us an email.

Are You Paying Too Much For Google AdWords?

Google Advertising

Every business pays a different cost per click on Google AdWords. You are probably paying much higher than everyone else and still not getting results

We will guide you step-by-step to show you how to reduce Google AdWords’ costs and increase the response rate.

Minimising AdWords costs requires a series of creative, trading, and technical skills.

Creative Skills
You need to be creative to write a compelling and innovative ad that searchers will love to click.

Trading Skills
Trading skills and managing bids are necessary to minimise your cost per click.

Technical Skills
Technical skills are required to effectively organise keywords, bids, ad groups, ad copy, and landing pages.

In offline advertising, specialists complete these tasks. For example, with print and TV adverts, a creative company will design your ad, a trader will find an ad placement and set the timings, and techies will look after production. However, in AdWords, you must do it all.

Most AdWords users develop one of the required skills. Consequently, they use their one strength but neglect the remaining weakness. As a result, they fail to use all the tools available to create high click-through rates and lower costs.

We look at some creative, trading, and technical tips below.

Before we do that, there are two key metrics you should be aware of to measure ad development. They are click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score.

Clickthrough rate (CTR)
CTR is a way of measuring the success of an ad campaign by calculating the number of clicks on a specific link.

Quality Score (QS)
Quality Score is based on the relevance of your ad to the search terms you are bidding on and to the relevance of your landing page.

AdWords ads that get high click through rates and have a high Quality Score have a lower cost per click (CPC) and they rank higher on search results pages. Let’s have a look at how you can run a Google AdWords campaign effectively by developing your creative, trading, and techie skills.

Creative Skills
The most important skill you need is the ability to write attractive ad content that matches the keywords you are bidding on.

Trading Skills
This is the skill through which you can maximise your bid success. It involves gaining control of your bids and lowering costs.

There are three types of match keywords you can use to control which searches trigger your ads to appear.

  • Broad match keywords have no punctuation – Keyword
  • Phrase match keywords use quotation marks – “Keyword”
  • Exact match keywords use enclosed square brackets – [keyword]

If your broad match is positive, your ads will be displayed on the maximum number of searches. When using board match, AdWords matches your ads with any search containing your keyword.

Techie Skills
The first thing you must do is organise the groups of keywords you are bidding on. You should also make sure your ads and landing pages match your keywords.

What is an Ad Group?
An ad group is a group of keywords you are bidding on which matches the content of your ad and the landing page.

The last thing you need to remember is to focus on the very specific subject otherwise your ad will not be fruitful.

Summary

To run an efficient AdWords campaign, you need to learn creative, trading, and techie skills. If you can’t manage this, you should hire an expert.

SEO Is So Much Easier Than You Think

What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It involves optimising your website to increase the number of visitors by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results pages of a search engine.

Why is it so important?
SEO is the number one priority when it comes to website publishing. After all, according to Search Engine Journal, 90% of online experiences start with search. If people can’t find your website they can’t read it, use it, or share it with others.

Over the years, SEO tactics have changed with modern strategies that focus on user experience. Before these modern strategies, there were keyword-based optimisation methods and other black-hat practices, although these are now obsolete.

That said, throughout its history, SEO has been a cost-efficient and valuable strategy for website owners.

Is it really difficult?
Website owners who are unfamiliar with the technical side of coding believe Google’s search algorithm is something extremely complex. As a matter of fact, it is complex, but that doesn’t mean you cannot understand it.

Despite the complexity of Google’s search algorithm, it is possible to achieve positive results with simple strategies. The main goal of Google is to provide the best online experience to its users which means giving them appropriate and relevant search results.

Anyone can learn
Google uses complicated techniques to calculate search rankings. In fact, even search experts don’t understand it fully because Google has never published its search algorithm. However, we do know that you must complete two requirements to rank high on a search engine:

  • Providing high-quality content
  • Demonstrating you are an authority

Thankfully, these search engine requirements can be achieved by basic strategies. Today, SEO strategies come in two flavours: onsite and offsite.

Onsite Content
Onsite content involves making sure your website pages, titles, tags, content, and overall structures are optimised for your target keywords.

Another important factor is to include strong headlines and compelling paragraphs on the main pages of your website including the homepage and product pages. On these pages, use words and phrases that explain your business.

In addition, you should implement a blogging strategy as this is a great way to boost your online presence. Write at least one or two blog posts per week about topics related to your business and make sure you engage with your audience.

Offsite/ Inbound Links
Offsite SEO is a little tougher than onsite SEO. Offsite SEO involves building authority. To understand the authority of your website, major search engines look at other websites that link back to yours.

If lots of websites link back to you then Google will think you have good content. This will rank you higher although this has also been the source of many black-hat SEO tactics in the past.

Social and local integrations
Building a social media presence is now considered compulsory in order to attract a bigger audience. So, you should create profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc and post regularly to engage with your audience. This will ultimately improve your online reputation.

Challenges of SEO
Basic SEO strategies are easy to adapt. However, you might encounter the following challenges:

Find your audience?
Challenges in finding the right audience occur when you don’t know what type of articles you should write on your blog or what keywords you should include. The best solution is to first describe your business. This will help you find out who your customers are.

Time is money!
SEO is very time-consuming and it is certainly not a one day job. It requires a lot of figurative sweat and blood to implement properly. In addition, you may have other responsibilities and tasks to do along with optimising your website. Remember, you can always hire an SEO company if you can’t manage it yourself.

While SEO is easier than you think, the time-consuming nature of the task means it is not always possible to do it by yourself unless you are able to dedicate time to it.

At Kiwi Website Design, we create websites and provide SEO services using the latest techniques to help increase the online presence of your business.

A Website Designed To Look Good Or Designed To Get Leads?

In today’s fast-paced world, every business or individual has a basic website. Sadly, most of these websites are poorly designed or not focused on lead generation. These types of website are not going to help your business or your reputation.

So, the first question that comes to mind is: should your website focus on design or leads?

My website looks great but I am not generating enough sales

Studies of user behaviour by ImpleMedia have found that first impressions are 94% design-related. So, website design is important but if it is not generating sales or revenue then the design is of no use. We usually hear from customers that they want a fresh look for their website. If that is the only requirement there are many cheap solutions available. However, if you want to invest in a website to boost your business, the website should focus on generating leads and converting sales. For example, avoiding website designs that are too complex as they often turn visitors away. In fact, this is one of the reasons some incredibly good-looking websites fail to deliver sales.

Your website should focus on leads, not design

Investing in a well-designed website that builds interest and converts leads is a great way to boost your business. Therefore, your website must be designed correctly so it attracts more leads for your business.

According to research by Peep Laja, the founder of ConversionXL, it takes about 50 milliseconds for visitors to determine whether they like your website and will stay, or don’t like it and will leave. So, the first impression of your website matters. From the first impression, your visitors should immediately know that what they are looking for is likely to be on your website. In order to do that, let’s take a look at the tactics you can use on your website to get leads:

Offers
Include offers like downloadable eBooks, guides, and checklists on your website. Videos are also a great way to engage customers.

Smart CTAs
Place Calls-To-Action (CTAs) in strategic locations throughout your website. For example, they can be installed as a sidebar ad where the customer can fill out their contact information. This is a great way to generate leads when you have people looking to find out more information about your products or services.

Smart Content
Smart content provides the buyer with relevant content based on their interests or the stage they are at in the buying cycle. Smart content best practice is to move your website to a content management system so you can update the content on a daily basis. Also, writing a blog at least twice a week can help attract more traffic.

Layout
The layout of your website is also critical to generating more leads. The right layout means the correct placement of content. This will help your visitors to concentrate on the areas that will help them the most. Some of the tips that you should keep in mind include:

  • Always keep your message simple and to the point.
  • Place CTAs strategically throughout your site.
  • Place CTAs on all pages.
  • Use social proof like client lists or testimonials.
  • Don’t forget to include graphics where appropriate. Otherwise, your website will bore your visitors.

Landing Pages
Landing pages are the last point of contact before a visitor fills out a form. They should use the same design as the rest of the pages with a few differences. Things you should keep in mind when designing landing pages include:

  • Keep the layout of the landing page simple
  • Don’t include the top navigation to reduce distractions
  • Use short forms to gather contact information
  • Make the form button text more creative than “Submit”. For example, use phrases like “Get Your eBook” or “Free Mock-up”
  • Keep content on the right but keep it short
  • Use appealing visuals

Who Owns The Website After Project Is Finished?

Here is a scenario: you meet a web design company, they give you a proposal, you pay them, they make a website to match your requirements, and they provide you with administrator access. Now the question is: who owns your website? You are thinking it’s you, however, it’s not that simple.

Let’s look at some of the components of a website to understand what you can and can’t own:

What You Don’t Own

image

Domain name:
You don’t actually own your domain name. You rent it which gives you exclusive rights to it, but you don’t completely own it. It is the same situation as your phone number. That said, your domain name is your property even if it’s registered by your website company. According to Wikipedia: “Domain name registration with a registrar does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use.”

Hosting:
The same situation applies to hosting as to your domain name. With website hosting, you usually rent a full server or share a space on a server. You do, however, have control to switch hosting if you would like to move your website to another location.

CMS:
A CMS is a web application that is used to manage the administration of content on your website. Examples include WordPress, Drupal, and Mighty-Site. You don’t own the CMS web platform, however, unless you write the source code.

What You Own

image

Design and Visuals:
The logo, colour, interfaces, typography, and images are typically owned by the creator unless they are created by a web design company and then licensed to you.

Content:
You can own all the text content on your website plus the photography, images, and videos. Stock photography, however, is licensed to your company. This allows you to use the photographs on your website, but you don’t own them.

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the building blocks of any website. The website creator should provide an agreement that transfers ownership of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to you on completion of the website. Unless you or your employees author the code, it is owned by the website creator and is licensed to you.

Conclusion
You never legally own the domain name, web server, CMS, web platform, database software, or the language used to build your website. Only if you author the website yourself or have a “work for hire” agreement will you own the website source code. Furthermore, if you author your own content, create the design, and create your own graphics, you will own the website’s visual design and content. Most importantly, when you hire a web design company, make sure they are transparent about their terms and conditions.

Top Tips for Successful Website Project

Are you ready for your first website but don’t know how to get started?

Having a professional and good-looking website is important for every new business. That said, starting a new website can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. Here are tips for building your first website.

Purpose of your website
Think about what your website is for. Why will people want to visit your site? What do you want them to do once they are on it? If these things are clear then everything else becomes much simpler.

Choose WordPress

image

Getting a new website involves choosing the right platform. You should invest in a CMS platform like WordPress as it is the most popular choice worldwide. Stats provided by VentureBeat show that approximately one-quarter of new websites globally are built on WordPress. That many people just can’t be wrong.

Your Homepage is important
According to HubSpot, it takes less than 15 seconds for people to decide whether to stay on your website or leave. So, your homepage design is the most important page of your website. Don’t bombard visitors with text and annoying information. Instead, keep your homepage simple and user-friendly.

High-Quality Content
The content on your website plays an important role in reaching your business goals. High-quality content helps retain visitors as well as giving you a higher ranking with search engines.

Blogging
Most people underestimate the power of a blog. However, it is a proven and powerful tool to increase income and generate business growth. According to a recent study, websites with blogs get 67 percent more leads than those that don’t. A blog can also enhance SEO when you use good keywords in articles that help Google match your site to user searches. In addition, a blog provides a platform to build a strong relationship and establish trust with your customers.

Feedback
Like every other business, feedback from your website is important. Feedback provides you with insights that you can use to improve your business, products, and overall customer experience.

Responsive design

image

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly which usually means having a responsive website design. According to The Verge, more than half of searches are now done through mobile. If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google will push your website back in the rankings.

Sticky Navigation
Navigation with good design and the right words can boost the likelihood of a return visit in the future. For example, when a visitor accesses your website to search for something, the first thing they will look for is the navigation. If your navigation is not clear, the visitor will leave. Therefore, effective navigation can make a visit to your website productive. On the other hand, ineffective navigation can be a disaster for your business.

Enquiry Forms
Enquiry forms are an integral part of most websites. They allow customers to reach you by completing a simple form if, for example, they want you to provide them with your services. Therefore, designing the right enquiry form is very important to encourage visitors to get in touch.

Lead Capture
Lead capture usually includes a form and an incentive. The customer gets the incentive in return for information like an email address. Common incentives include free eBooks or weekly newsletters. In fact, for some websites, getting visitors to complete a lead capture form is the main goal as completed forms become leads you can follow up to make a sale.

Choosing A Platform For Your Website Project

Picking a platform for your website is an important decision for the online presence of your business. With vendors providing countless options, it can be difficult to choose the right one. The important factors you need to consider are functionality, ease of use, and reasonable pricing.

Over a decade ago, there were only HTML-based websites that were built from scratch by writing code in a plain text editor. Technology has progressed a long way since then and now there are a wide variety of solutions available, including Content Management Systems (CMS).

Nowadays, the big web development shops in New Zealand offer custom CMS platforms with promises of glory and expensive price tags. Instead of listening to a sales person, we recommended that, in the first instance, you ask yourself what you are looking for and then decide.

We are going to compare some of the popular platforms to help give you an idea of what you should pick.

Content Management Systems

What is a content management system?
A CMS is an application that allows you to create and run your website. You will get an interface where you can create and update pages, posts, and other types of content including images, videos, and more. You can also organise the content however you want to.

In addition, you can change the design of the website through the admin panel. You perform these actions by clicking buttons or by drag and drop.

There are two types of CMS: open source CMS, and custom or proprietary CMS.

Open Source CMS
An open source CMS is a platform built using code that is readily available to anyone to use, copy, edit, or redistribute. Some of the most popular open source CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

Using an open source CMS is simple – you buy your own domain, set up website hosting, and install the open source CMS on your web server. You then choose a theme for your website, add plugins for advanced functionality, and create the content.

image

An open source CMS allows you great control of your website. In addition, you can create and update your website without any knowledge of coding languages. According to Yoast, the most popular open source CMS platform is WordPress. It is used on over 70 million websites around the world.

With WordPress, you can easily add pages, images, blog posts, and much more. Moreover, there are a vast number of plugins to help you easily add functionality to your website.

There are countless advantages of using the WordPress platform too. Firstly, you can create any type website – static websites, blogs, e-commerce websites, forums, membership sites, and more. Secondly, you get full ownership of your website so you can change your hosting company without losing the site. Last but not least, WordPress is fully customisable unlike custom CMS platforms and website builders.

If you are looking for a solution that is highly customised as well as being affordable without the hassle of monthly billing, you should consider this route as a proprietary CMS may not be dynamic enough for your needs.

Proprietary CMS

A propriety CMS, or custom CMS, is a platform built and maintained by a single company. This means the source code cannot be modified and you do not own the website. This type of platform is used by web companies who develop their own CMS for their clients. They typically charge a monthly fee and provide support.

Furthermore, these websites are not flexible or easily expandable. The addition of more features to your website, for example, will require manual programming by the CMS owner as you will not have access to the source code. The worst part is that you cannot migrate to any other vendor without losing your website.

As stated by GadgeTopia, we strongly discourage websites which are developed on custom CMS platforms as it is similar to renting a website rather than owning one. In addition, this option is usually expensive in long run.

image

Website Builders

Website builders allow you to create websites using a drag and drop interface. You simply choose a template and customise the content. A few examples of common website builders are Wix, Weebly, Shopify, and Squarespace.

One of the best things about website builders is that your website and hosting are provided with one simple package that usually includes a free domain name. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about coding, software maintenance, or other technical aspects of owning a website.

The worst part of website builders is that you only have limited templates to choose from. The customisation options are also limited.

Ecommerce Platforms

If you want to create an online store, an e-commerce platform will be the right choice for your business. Some of the popular e-commerce platforms are Shopify, BigCommerce, and PrestaShop. These platforms allow you to quickly setup an online store without any coding experience.

One of the perks with hosted e-commerce platforms like the examples above is that you don’t have to worry about website hosting or payment processing. In addition, you get 24/7 support and transaction security. However, these platforms are extremely expensive and you cannot fully customise your website.

HTML website

If you want to go for an old-school static website which requires design and code from scratch, then you should consider this option. Simple HTML websites are good for small businesses as they are fast and user-friendly.

Pick this option if you don’t have to change your content very often. If the website requires regular maintenance or frequent content changes, you will have difficulties.

In Conclusion

image

To conclude, all platforms have pros and cons but in our opinion, we prefer the open source CMS WordPress. The biggest advantage of using WordPress is that you own your website so can change your hosting company without losing the site. Also, your website is fully customisable and there is a user-friendly interface.