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.

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.

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.

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 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.

A Short Introduction to Links and their Importance to SEO

Links can appear almost anywhere. They are the things that connect website pages together and help you get from one website or piece of content to another. So, you will have links on your website that connect to other internal pages, as well as links to external, third-party websites.

The main focus of this article, however, is third-party websites linking to yours. What is the importance of this to SEO and how much emphasis should you place on getting other websites to give you a link?

Links perform two main functions in Google and other search engines – they help Google understand the relevance of your website as well as its popularity and trustworthiness.

What Is Your Web Page About?

Let’s look at the first function above – relevance. Google uses a computer programme to analyse all the websites and web pages on the internet. This is known as the Google algorithm. As its job is to provide answers to people conducting searches, it is not enough for Google to know what web pages exist. It is not enough for Google to know what is on those pages either.

Instead, when Google’s bot crawls your website and all the other sites in the world, it needs to understand what the page is about. For example, it must be able to tell the difference between a web page that talks about eagles (the bird), the Eagles (the band), or even the Eagles (the American Football team).

Google uses lots of factors to help it achieve this, but one of the most important is links. So, a website about eagles is likely to have links to and from other websites about eagles, birds, and related topics. The same applies to the Eagles the band and the Eagles the American Football team.

It’s a Popularity Vote

While understanding relevance is critical, the most important function of links is to help Google understand the popularity of a web page. So, a link acts like a vote for a website. This means, in very simplistic terms, the more votes (links) you have, the better.

The theory Google works from is that people link to the content they think best matches the message or information they want to present.

Google doesn’t just look at the number of links a website has, however, as the source of links is also important. Google uses the source of a link to determine the authority of a website. Again, it does this by using the knowledge and actions of real people. Specifically, it assumes (probably correctly) that people prefer to link to websites they trust.

Taking this a stage further, links from websites that Google believes are trustworthy are much more valuable to your website’s SEO than links from low-quality, spammy websites.

More on Popularity

There is more than one type of popularity, however. After all, if Google’s analysis of links focused exclusively on the volume of links a website has, websites like Wikipedia would appear at the top of just about every search results page.

Instead, there are three main types of popularity in Google:

  • Global – this applies to the big sites on the internet. Wikipedia is one of them but there are many others including the big e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay.
  • Local – links can also show you are popular locally. For example, a plumber that operates in Auckland would struggle to get the same amount of links as a major US brand that has multiple operations in multiple cities. Google knows, however, that a Kiwi homeowner is not interested in plumbers in New Jersey whenever they are dealing with a burst pipe in their Auckland home. So, it doesn’t matter how many links the US company has. Instead, Google assesses local popularity to decide which local plumber’s websites to include on its search results pages.
  • Niche – sometimes niche popularity is important too. This applies to non-local businesses as well as blogs and other websites that have a wider audience than the local area. Links help Google understand how popular a website is within its niche.

What is Anchor Text and Why is it Important?

Most links you see on web pages are words or phrases highlighted in blue which you can click on. Those words or phrases are anchor text and they are much more user-friendly than a URL.

Best practices for anchor text are to use words and phrases that relate to the page being linked to and that fit naturally on the page. You should avoid generic phrases like “click here”.

Obviously, you can control the anchor text on your own website, but you have limited control when other websites link to you. Where it is possible to make a suggestion on anchor text, however, follow the best practices above.

The Value of Trusted Websites

Google has to deal with huge volumes of low-quality, spammy, and often fraudulent content on the internet when it is delivering search results to its users. It does this by measuring trust . In other words, there are a collection of websites on the internet that Google trusts.

This could be popular and authoritative websites like those mentioned earlier. It can also be websites from particular types of domain. Government websites and university websites are two good examples. The same also applies to some non-profit organisations.

Links Don’t Age Well

The power of a link to your website will not last forever. In fact, its value decreases over time. Therefore, it is important you continue to generate new links. Ways you can achieve this is by updating previously published content, re-purposing content in another format, and publishing regular new content.

What About Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Channels?

One of the easiest ways to get a link to your website is via social media. After all, you control what is posted to your Facebook business page or Twitter account. Do these links help with SEO?

Google and other search engines treat links on social media differently to standard links found on other websites. That said, most SEO experts believe links on social media are one of the factors Google uses when determining its rankings. It is not possible to know how much importance it places on these links, but they are worth getting, not least because they may directly generate traffic from the social media channel.

Blackhat Link Building and Why You Should Avoid It

As soon as website owners and dubious digital marketing operations realised links were important to Google, they started to fake them. Examples of this include setting up link farms, link neighbourhoods, or offering to buy or sell links. In other words, any tactic that involves getting a link unnaturally.

This type of link building is one of the main features of blackhat SEO, so is something you should avoid completely. Google and other search engines are getting much better at identifying such practices and they are ruthless with websites that get caught.

While you might see improved rankings and increased traffic to your website for a short period of time as a result of blackhat SEO and link building, the best you can hope for over the medium and long-term is a drop in your rankings. Even worse, you could be dumped to the very end of Google’s search results (i.e. hundreds of pages deep) or you could be kicked off completely.

Trying to cheat the system simply isn’t worth it.

The only way to get links that will give you consistent and safe results is to create great content on a regular basis that earns you natural links. Of course, there are strategies you can use to hustle this process along – an SEO agency in Auckland can help you implement such a strategy. Doing it the right way, however, is the only way.

Top 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.

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7 Website Design Tips That Will Increase Sales

Do you want your website to generate more sales for your business? Are you in the process of getting your website redesigned and want to make it the best it can possibly be? At Kiwi Website Design, we have extensive experience building websites that increase websites sales.

Here are our seven design tips you should ensure are included on your site.

1. The Value Proposition

There is very little a website design can deliver if the value proposition you offer to customers is not compelling enough for them to make a purchase. Therefore, the first step to increasing sales on your website is to decide what the value proposition is. The next step is to properly communicate it to your website’s visitors.

The value proposition specifics will depend on your business. You can base it on price, quality of service, quality of product, innovativeness of product, or something else.

Whatever it is, the important thing is the website visitor understands it and is attracted to it.

2. Include Compelling CTAs

A CTA is a call-to-action. It is one of the most important elements you will have on the pages of your website.

The first step is to make sure your website has CTAs, as not all do. The next step is to look at the position, design, and wording of the CTA. Here are some questions you should ask:

  • Would a change of colour make the CTA button standout on the page more?
  • Could the text be more interesting or positive?
  • Is the CTA in a prominent enough position?

3. Add Videos to Your Website

Videos on websites increase sales. In fact, for some businesses, videos can increase sales by over 140 percent. You should, therefore, consider adding videos to your website.

This could be product videos demonstrating the benefits of the product or showing it being used. If your business offers services, you can use videos to explain the service and how it is different from your competitors.

4. Make Sure the Design Appeals to the Audience

This tip is about matching the style, colour, and tone of the website to your target audience. For example, bright and flashy colours with relaxed text will probably not work very well on a website for a company offering professional services to other businesses.

This one can be difficult as many business owners select colours and make design decisions based on their own preferences and likes. This is understandable as you must live with the website and you should be proud of it. That said, never lose sight of your customers and what they like.

5. Ensure Your Website is Easy to Use

The navigation and structure of your website should be simple and intuitive. Therefore, don’t place unnecessary restrictions on visitors in relation to navigation and avoid situations where the visitor lands on a dead-end page.

Instead, try to create a logical flow for the user.

6. You Need a Secure and Simple Checkout

If visitors can buy directly from your website, your shopping cart and checkout are crucial elements. Get them wrong, and you will lose sales.

To get the checkout process right, make it as easy to complete and use as possible. In addition, ensure it is secure using SSL encryption.

7. Add Trust Elements

Trust elements include testimonials and case studies that show the user you are capable of delivering on your promises. They also include badges and logos to show you have the necessary qualifications and/or skills. You can also use badges to show how you have made the website and checkout process secure.

Implementing the above tips will require resources and, usually, help from a professional website developer. The increase in sales you will get as a result, however, will make it worth the effort.

How I Helped One Kiwi Locksmith Company Grow its Business and Increase its Turnover From $40,000 a Year to $500,000 a Year in One Year

Generating enough leads with Google AdWords seems like an uphill battle when keyword bid costs increase daily. For the majority of business owners, it is hard to imagine spending $1 per click, $2 per click, or more. What I have personally experienced is that, 10 years ago, these businesses would happily spend more than $1,000 for half-page ads in local newspapers and the Yellow Pages. By advertising in these publications, there was no way of measuring conversions or seeing what was working and what wasn’t working. However, with digital marketing today, we can see exact user behaviour and what keywords generate more leads and more business. We can even re-target people who visit your website but do not place an enquiry.

Being a Certified Google Partner, I have seen many businesses grow substantially by advertising on Google. At the same time, I have seen even more businesses miss great opportunities because of unknown fears. Some of the most common fears which prevent people from making this big decision are:

  1. What if my competitors click on my ads and waste my money?
  2. What if I don’t get a return on my investment?
  3. What if Google AdWords is rocket science and I just lose my money?

It is simply not possible for your competitors to eat your whole budget by clicking on your ads. Google has already thought of this problem and it considers them as invalid clicks so they don’t count against your ad spend. Secondly, even though Google has made using AdWords simple enough that anyone can set up an AdWords account, to make campaigns effective and get a good return on investment, you must dig very deep into the system. It actually is a science. To rank your ad in the top spots, it is important to consider and work on all Google AdWords’ ranking factors.

Why Google is Google?

Why do you search on Google? Why not Yahoo? Or why not Bing or any other search engine? You use Google because it gives you the most accurate search results.

For example, you are a mobile locksmith company based in Manukau. You want people to see your ad when they search for a locksmith anywhere in the Auckland region. Now, if someone is sitting in Albany, Northshore and searches for a locksmith company, Google automatically shows locksmiths that are near to Albany. Does this mean that a Manuka-based mobile locksmith company can’t do jobs in Albany? They obviously would love to do jobs in Albany as well, but the main challenge is that people in Albany will not see their ads because Google thinks the ads are not relevant because they are based in Manukau. To understand this better, let’s dig a bit deeper into it.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

Google only makes money when people click on ads. When people do not click on ads, Google does not make any money. Now, if someone sitting in Albany looks for a locksmith company, Google’s job is to:

  1. Display the most accurate result because that’s what Google does
  2. Make sure that it displays ads which it thinks people will find interesting and will click on
  3. Not put ads it thinks are irrelevant in the top spots

In the above example, the process is as follows:

  1. The user is based in Albany
  2. He is looking for a locksmith company as he has immediate locksmith needs
  3. If Google displays the ad of a locksmith company based in Manukau, it is highly unlikely the user will click on it
  4. As a result, Google will only waste its real estate by displaying this ad
  5. So, Google would rather display ads which it thinks are more likely to get clicks from the user

How I helped one Kiwi locksmith company increase its turnover from $40,000 a year to $500,000 a year in one year

When a locksmith company came to me it had an old website and a poor AdWords campaign. It was generating $40,000 in revenue annually and was struggling to drive more leads.

The owners wanted to grow their business throughout Auckland and drive more leads that would convert into sales. As a result, the objective was not to just drive traffic but to focus on sales. In order to achieve this goal, I started with the following changes:

  1. I built a new website using the WordPress content management system, making the website responsive and easy to update.
  2. I designed 198 separate landing pages covering 198 suburbs of Auckland. These were for Google AdWords and were tailored to capture leads with easy to use call to action buttons. Each landing page was designed for a specific suburb of Auckland. For example:
  3. I customised a specific landing page for Manukau to its potential customers by writing relevant content.
  4. Each landing page was advertised for one suburb. I made sure it was only visible to that specific suburb by inserting negative keywords. In this way, the ad looked more fitting and appropriate. Hence, the ads got a high CTR for each landing page.
  5. I used creative taglines and text to make the ads stand out from all the other ads on the page.
  6. I manually bided for the ad to achieve the highest visibility with the minimum cost. This saved more than half of the advertising budget of the company.

After implementing everything above, I managed to get first place on Google’s search results pages. You can see in the below screenshots that the locksmith’s ads are at the top for all relevant keyword searches:

Website Ranking

After collecting enough data from Google AdWords, I crafted a potential customer list for remarketing. For people who are not familiar with the term remarketing, it is a campaign designed to target an audience who have already visited your website but may not have placed an enquiry. After implementing these strategies, we produced the following results in the first month:

  • 200% increase in total site traffic
  • 566% increase in enquiries

Today, this locksmith company has increased its turnover from $40,000 a year to $500,000 a year in a period of just 12 months – and it is still growing. The company is now planning to sell franchises in Hamilton and other cities in New Zealand.