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.

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 your website designer in Auckland today about getting a blog added to your website.

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.

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.

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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.

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

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:

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

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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

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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.