28Oct/20

Advantages of SEO You Might Not Be Aware Of

Ditto Digital Founder & MD, Michelle Symonds, appears as a guest on the Enterprise Doctor Business Podcast.

Listen to the podcast on Youtube or read the transcript below…



Mark Harris

Hello, and welcome to the next episode of the Enterprise Doctor business show. My name is Mark Harris. I am the Enterprise Doctor and I do mentoring and coaching for small businesses. And with me today is Michelle Symonds of Ditto Digital. How are you, Michelle?

Michelle Symonds

I’m very good, Mark. Thanks. Glad to be here. It’s been a long time we’ve been thinking about doing this; actually, I think before the lockdown. We probably said we’d do it and then it just never happens. I’m glad to say that’s because I’ve been busy during the lockdown – I’ve been fortunate to be busy during the lockdown. But here we are…

Mark

There’s plenty of people who would have liked to have been busy during the lowdown. And I think one of the things we might talk about is why that is. But what I did want to pick up on was the company name of Ditto Digital, the word Digital correctly gets the message across that you’re involved in digital marketing. Ditto is sort of interesting. Why Ditto?

Michelle

I’m afraid it’s nothing very clever or exciting. Of course, I wanted “digital” in the name. And I like the alliteration. But really, I was looking for an available limited company name and an available domain name that had “digital” in them. Although we’ve been in business for over 10 years the name was something else before so this was only about four years ago, when we changed the name. Of course, there aren’t that many domain names left or limited company names with digital in it and Ditto Digital was one of them. So it was as simple as that really. But I do quite like that alliteration.

Mark

Yeah, not only of the D for Ditto and digital, but the T’s in there as well. The sound is all very nice. And I like names that do what they say on the tin that say on the tin what the company does, I should put it that way round. I also like names that make people say so what’s that then? And I think that Ditto does that it opens up that conversation to digital marketing. We all know what that is, sort of. We will have our own beliefs perhaps that we know what that is. From your perspective, what is digital marketing and from the perspective of Ditto Digital? Do you cover all angles? Or do you have some specialisms under the umbrella of digital marketing?

Michelle

We very much are a specialist digital marketing agency. I have thought in the past that we could offer a wider range of services. And my background and experience would enable me to do that. If you don’t know already. I’m a scientist by background. I spent many years developing software and web applications for the oil industry and investment banking. So I could offer web design and development services, but decided very, very much to specialise and focus on search engine optimisation, SEO. It’s very much a logical process. I’ve got the analytical skills to really give some expertise in SEO, which I don’t think a lot of marketing companies do – perhaps people who have come from a marketing background don’t have those analytical skills and can’t provide perhaps the in-depth, complex level of SEO that we do.

Mark

Yeah, I think it’s fair to say that not only is digital marketing a big subject, but SEO is a big subject in itself, people can come at it from a variety of different angles. So you’re coming at SEO from an analytical angle? What do you actually mean by that? Is that a number crunching thing? Because I think, you know, SEO is a very clever tool. And it is about marketing your business. But the mechanics of SEO, is I think about number crunching and being, if you’ll forgive me, scientific.

Michelle

Yeah, well, I absolutely agree with that. I’m not sure about the number crunching. But there is so much data available to businesses. And it’s one thing for an SEO company to report on that data, report on key performance indicators and so on. But if you can look at that data, really analytically in depth, it often reveals opportunities that the business might not have considered. So there might be opportunities to target a different country, for example. And I think you have to be able to really analyse that data in depth – it isn’t enough to report on numbers of visitors or rankings, or how long your visitors stayed on the page.

Mark

Yeah. And that really leads us to the title of this episode, which at the time of recording, I haven’t quite got it straight in my head, because I hate ending a sentence with a preposition because I’m just that kind of guy. But it’s something along the lines of advantages of SEO that you might not be aware of. What you’ve just said, leads into that. So what are those things? What is it that apart from just you had 28 people on your page, and they were there for an average of 17 seconds? What are the advantages of using an SEO strategy and implementing and making it happen? What are the outcomes that I can get from that, and especially the ones as you’ve said, that I might not already have thought of?

Michelle

Well, there’s several main advantages, actually, for small and medium sized companies. It’s that exposure to a much broader audience, its exposure to a national audience or an international audience, if that suits your business. It’s very difficult to do in a traditional bricks and mortar world, if you’ve got one office in one town, to reach people across the country, let alone internationally. But online is what SEO is all about. Of course, there’s local SEO, which I probably don’t want to talk about. It’s not really something we do for our clients. But mostly it’s about broadening the potential customer base. It’s about businesses, finding customers who don’t know about their name, it’s about businesses finding customers who aren’t part of some extended network. There’s no reason why the best company for the product or service someone’s after isn’t 100, 200, 1,000 miles away from where they live or where they’re based. And that really is the key to SEO.

And more than that, it allows those small and medium sized companies to compete with really big brands. And when I say compete, I mean competes in organic search. And by competing in organic search, what I mean is ranking higher or very close to a major competitor. And I’ve got several examples of clients I work with where I can be so confident about the fact that this logical way of looking at SEO, and this this analytical process works, because I have clients who are small or medium sized companies, and they compete – often outrank – household names. And yet they’re not well known brand names themselves. To me, that’s what SEO is all about. It’s not about a local restaurant, attracting people from the town centre or close surroundings. It’s about really expanding your reach and really being able to compete with those big brands who almost certainly have got a much much bigger digital marketing budget.

Mark

I get that and I think that there’s probably two differentiating lines I would draw about the benefits of having SEO, depending on the nature of the business. That was a really convoluted sentence. Let me tell you what I mean. There’s a split between services and products. Yeah, I in my business, I sell my time. I can sell an hour of my time to somebody in Marlow in Buckinghamshire, or in Edinburgh or in Colorado, subject to a suitable time difference that we can both be on a Zoom call. It makes no difference at all. So the global marketing angle is valid there. If we look at products for me one of the restrictions is about the shipability of those products.

So I did some work with a company that sells furniture, tables, sideboards, that kind of product, they had an inquiry from Germany. And it turned out that the cost of shipping the oak table to Germany was more than the cost of the table. It brings into question their philosophy of global – what’s the point of marketing to somebody who practicality can’t buy from you.

However, what I completely accept is that’s really quite a small sector, because everybody selling services can market globally, and a lot of products are smaller than an oak table. They can also be marketed globally. So how do you – how do I – go about doing that? Are there for example, I want to cover first of all, are there really easy wins that I can do myself, that’re non technical, that’re just about wording on the website, or whatever it may be, to help me move my global reach forward. And then the follow up question is, if I, instead of doing those things, in my amateur way, came to an expert like you, I’m not going to ask you to tell me all your secrets, primarily because I won’t even understand them. But, you know, what will you do advanced as opposed to my basic homemade SEO?

Michelle

One of the, sort of, I guess, myths of SEO that I wanted to dispel was, it’s absolutely not just about the content on your website, or even technical aspects of your website. Yes, they’re really, really important. But there is much more to it. And I’ll come on to that as part of the second part of your question. But as far as what you could do, yes, of course, you could set some good foundations up by producing good content, regularly getting that new content on your website, that’s in the very simplest sense.

But it’s very, very difficult to avoid anything technical. When it comes to digital marketing, you really have to get stuck in with some technical stuff, or have a web developer who could do that for you. And that’s because, yes, Google and other search engines want to see great fresh, unique content regularly posted or published on your site., but they also want to see certain technical aspects correct, which are really important for good organic rankings. And then wider aspects, like the speed of your website, like mobile usability, there is no getting away Mark, I’m afraid, from having to do some technical stuff. But if you’re not going to do that, the best advice is produce great content, load it on your website as often as you can. But that really is only a very small part of the picture.

Mark

Okay, so the content bit I can take care of, because I’m relatively good at words, or at least I think so anyway. There are plenty of people who aren’t but then they’ll use a copywriter or somebody else to help them create words or create the words for them. If I come to someone like you to do that clever stuff for me, because I’m not clever. And I’m first put my hand up and say I’m not – I am in some ways, but not in this way, that’s for sure. The kind of things that you said, makes me think I’m talking about a one off payment, you’re going to make my website clever in the way that Google and whoever else likes it to be clever. And the pages will load faster with things you just said. But once you’ve done that, then you’ve done that.

Whereas a lot of people, I’m trying to avoid the word cowboys. But hey, a lot of cowboys who email me incessantly from their Gmail address, and they haven’t got a website, and they’re telling me that they’re going to increase my SEO, they talk about monthly fees for doing things. So I’ll be talking about a one off, let’s make your website slick from that perspective and then see you around, but are there ongoing things that should be done?

Michelle

In a way you set the foundations, you create these solid foundations right at the start by sorting out all the technical issues, making sure there’s a system for getting content, making sure it’s fast and good on a mobile. However, it isn’t a one off process. And that will bring me on in a second to that the second part of your previous question about more advanced approaches. It will never just be a one off, but it’s more about periodic reviews. So I would establish that really solid website and It doesn’t have to be a new website, mostly it’s just relatively minor changes that are very important to do, and a lot of people haven’t done. But because competitors change what they do, because the Google – or any other search engine – algorithm changes over time, expectations of users change over time, especially when it comes to speed and usability. Then those on site, technical things need to be reviewed periodically, every three or six months. So it’s not just a one off for those reasons. However, when you get the dubious companies trying to sell you a monthly service, there is actually a very good reason for them trying to sell you a monthly SEO service. And that comes on to really the off site work. And that’s another common misconception, I think, especially if you’re dealing with local SEO, that you just fix some things on your website, and you’re done and away you go. But that really is, again, a minor part.

You need to continually try and build, you might have heard that term, you know, “build the authority” of your website over time. And what that comes down to is building backlinks almost entirely. It’s all about building backlinks to your website. So another website, links to your website. And that starts to build your authority. But it’s not as simple as that. It’s not just getting a link from anywhere. And some people think backlinks are a bit of a dirty word in the SEO world, but they’re absolutely one of the major ranking factors.

And you need to look at getting links from other sites that have a good reputation, other sites that are relevant to your business. So, you know, for you Mark with Enterprise Doctor If you could get a link from the Guardian newspaper business page, that would be your ideal link with maximum authority.

Links from the BBC, or even links from the IoD or the FSB, they’re relevant to you as a small business, they’re relevant to your business and what you offer as a service.

There are some technical aspects of those links, I don’t want to really touch too much on the technical stuff but there’s two sorts of links. So sometimes you might have that link from the Guardian or The Times but Google doesn’t count it. It’s a flag that may or may not be on there. And if they don’t count it (and it’s to do with the link being followed or not followed in SEO jargon). So we would check (if we were running an SEO campaign for a client) first of all, we would be producing content. So we talked earlier on about you producing content well we actually do have two copywriters, and so we produce the content, then we’ll be trying to persuade a newspaper maybe to publish that bit of content or a business website to get the backlink. But then we’d be monitoring that backlink to make sure 1: it’s one of those ones that’s counted by Google, and also to check what sort of words are used in that hyperlink.

So we’ve all seen it on webpages, you know, it’s probably blue text underlined or, or some other colour that stands out from the text surrounding it. And we’re interested in what the words in that link are. We’re interested in how that compares to the surrounding text, how it compares to all the other links you might have. So that’s where the monthly – and I could go on a lot longer, I’ll try not to – where the monthly part of the campaign comes in. Because that is an almost never ending process – it’s a bit like advertising monthly in a magazine. If you only do it once, you might get a bit of benefit. But if you do it every month, advertising tin hat magazine, then the benefit will build up. And that’s really what the off site and backlinking process is all about.

Mark

And I have an interesting observation to make on a lot of what you just said, which is, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I mean, not in an uncomplimentary way. And I do clearly have some idea what you’re talking about, I have no idea how to make that happen. For me, there are three ways to do anything, you can do it badly, you can learn how to do it well, or you can pay someone else to do it. And hopefully, that somebody else is an expert. And with the subject of SEO, from what you’re saying, the average business person out there, which includes me, and maybe I’m better than average. But hey, who’s counting? The average business person out there can do some of the simplest stuff. They can try and persuade their mate at the guardian to write a little story with a link back to their website or they can join the Federation of Small Businesses and on the members page there is a backlink to their website.

So there are some things that they can do to make that happen. The content, yeah, as you said, it’s part of it, and therefore needs attention so they can make sure they’ve got the right words. It’s the generating the right outcomes from it. But when you get to some of those technical things that you’re talking about, really, and I’m not saying that in a questioning why I’m saying it in an in an admiring way, I’ve got a choice, I can do it badly or I can learn how to do it well, or I can pay an expert to do it. And doing it badly is really, really easy. Because you don’t actually have to do anything. If you do nothing that is bad. So that’s really easy to achieve. But does it help me achieve my business objectives? And I would say, depending on your business, and depending on whether the website is designed to secure business, or whether it’s a glossy brochure, or you know, but for a lot of people, that’s not a good way to do it, you can go away and learn how to be an expert and how to do it yourself and do it well, yourself.

And I would question with something like this, whether that’s a good use of your time, not because it’s not a valuable skill set to have precisely the opposite. It’s a hugely valuable skill set to have. But you’ve already got that skill set, why do I need to do it? You know, I’ve got an accountant, I don’t need to know the ins and outs of what he does. I just need to be happy that he knows what he’s doing. And he’s looking after my best interests and all that good stuff. So how easy is it for you given everything that I just said, How easy is it for you to get customers? Do people get that? Do they understand that? Number one, they need to do this? And number two, they’re the wrong person, you’re the right person?

Michelle

Well, of course, the clients that we’ve already got, of course, do understand that, but perhaps, perhaps not everyone does. And I think your analogy of an accountant is really good. And in fact, I was going to use something similar myself. Yes, we can all, you know, I have in the past and certainly could do all my own accounts. But do I want to? Am I interested in doing that? Is my time better spent doing what I’m good at? And I think loads of businesses, you know, perhaps in fact, they should view SEO and digital marketing as a service a bit like an accountant. Do they want to do it? Are they better off spending their time focusing on their real business?

I’d just like to pick up on what you said about some companies, their website is just a glossy brochure, I would question why anyone in this online world we live in today would just have a glossy brochure type website. Why is it not being used to get you business?

Mark

Let me tell you the answer to that question. And then I’m really happy for you to come back at me and tell me why that answer is not valid. If you feel that way. The reason that there’s a lot of reasons, firstly, it’s really easy. It’s like creating a PDF. It just gives information about your business. And it’s out there if anybody reads it. The question, of course, that you’re gonna say here, but who’s gonna read it? And the answer is, if we take my website as an example, it’s the people that I point towards the website, who are going to read it. So the lead generation, the outreach, the marketing, is in itself, driving people towards the website, which is then a glossy brochure that they can read. 2-3 years ago, I might have put a glossy brochure in an envelope and sent it to them, but not as junk mail because I know what happens with junk mail – it goes in the bin.

I have a conversation with people and they say, tell me more about that. And I say, let me send you my glossy brochure. Well, now I say, let me point you to the right page on my website that explains all about that. I do see some validity in that. However, where I see that that is not the best use of that cyberspace, is it as a tool is not the marketing; is not finding people; hooking them in? It’s marketing to people who I personally have already hooked in.

Michelle

Exactly and it comes back to the advantages we spoke about earlier in that SEO is about finding those people who don’t already know you. It’s a missed opportunity if you’re not trying to reach those people if you’re an ambitious business that wants to grow. Why are you just relying on referrals or people you already know for business? Why aren’t you going out and seeking those opportunities with people who don’t already know you? And that is fundamentally the, you know, the major advantage of digital marketing and SEO. It will find you that much wider customer or client base. And so that’s why I question – if you indeed are an ambitious business and you do want to grow – you’re just missing a trick if you’re not using your website to draw in visitors – to draw in those unknown unknowns.

Mark

One of the challenges that you face is when you’re engaging with a new client, and you’re saying to them, so what are you trying to achieve? From my experience as Enterprise Doctor, a lot of people struggle to answer that question. And they’re trying to earn a crust. But there has to be a deeper answer than that. Do you also find a lot of businesses, particularly the smaller ones struggle to find the answer to that question, which I would guess then makes it difficult for you to help them.

What I often say to people is I can help you get there. But I need to know where there is where you’re trying to get. And sometimes, part of the work that I do with people is helping them work that out going through that process of actually, what is he trying to achieve, and then we can work out how they get there. So for you, you can help them achieve their objectives using SEO, but only if they have objectives.

Michelle

That’s true to a certain extent, Mark, but also there’s some sort of overlap. And I appreciate what you’re saying with this sort of advice and support you give gets people to the point where they know what their objectives are. But part of SEO that we haven’t touched on, because I don’t want to go into too much technical detail is the research that we do upfront. So we can look at, I can, I do look at similar businesses, and look at what they’re doing online, what sort of audience they’re targeting, whether they’re being successful, how much it’s likely costing them. So I can guide potential clients and say, well, look, I can predict that this is what you could do if you take this approach and target the sort of customers with this sort of service or this sort of product. Because all of that information is available. And Google is, as you know, and I’ve mentioned before, Google is a huge, you know, resource of untapped information. The research that we do at the start of any SEO campaign can guide and determine more solidly what those objectives could be, if that suits the business.

Mark

I think that a lot of people are really sceptical about SEO, and the cowboys I mentioned earlier, are complicit in creating that scepticism. But I do think that they’re okay, let me rephrase that I have a clear understanding that there is an ethical and beneficial side to SEO, I don’t just think I know it for sure. And I do think that it’s something that more businesses should pay more attention to. Do you think that that’s one of your bigger challenges is, is actually getting people to take SEO seriously?

Michelle

Two parts that really, I have a number of clients now and I’ve had others in the past where they’ve suffered because of dubious SEO efforts on the part of a dubious SEO company. And therefore, I’ve been able to demonstrate what we do differently. So in a way, I’ve benefited from some of this dubious work that’s gone on, because I can correct it, I can point it out for starters. And you’d be surprised how many big companies outsource their SEO and don’t really know what’s going on either – companies themselves or big marketing companies. So in one way that, you know, those dubious practices can be a benefit, because I can show what I can do differently. I can identify them, and at least show them what’s been done wrong. Yeah. What was the other part of the question?

Mark

No idea – one of us should have been listening!

It’s about the challenge that you have in getting people to take it seriously.

Michelle

Yes, of course. Yes. So there’s the highlighting what’s been done badly. But I also have a number of case studies of clients I’ve been working with for many years, and even just a few months, and they’re happy for me to show their data to other potential clients. And I can show things like one of my clients, when I started working with them, they had 800 visitors to their website a month, they now get 30,000 visitors to the website. They will quite happily say and have said in testimonials that that’s down to the SEO I’ve done for them. That’s an example. That’s a B2B company.

Similarly, a B2C company, I can show examples of a company who compete with a really well known household name. And you won’t have heard of my client, but you will have definitely heard the household name. And I can show that in the search listings. This is my client, look where they are compared to this household name. That’s in B2B and B2C industries. But a newer client even in the last nine months, I’ve managed to drive their traffic up by 320 odd percent. In nine months on a fairly modest budget, and without some serious work elsewhere, I’m not sure you could achieve that without SEO.

You could probably achieve it with Google Ads if you had a limitless budget. But if you haven’t, then that’s a very expensive way to go about attracting those visitors.

The other thing about SEO that’s worth saying, Mark, as well is that it’s not just about any old traffic, it’s about proper targeted traffic, people with a high buying intent. They’re the people that SEO attracts. Because all the underlying research that goes into it, the constant reviewing every month, reviewing what’s happening with visitors, how you’re attracting them, and how engaged they are, you can really hone that so those visitors with a high buying intent are very likely to become customers. And if they don’t, if those visitors don’t convert, well, then, although it’s not technically part of SEO, we also do a lot of conversion rate optimisation work. And so if we’re getting the visitors in, and we see that they’re not converting to customers, or clients, we can work on the website to make sure that they do convert.

Mark

Yeah, and I do think it is a numbers game, the more people on the website, the more people get interested, the more people make an inquiry, the more people place an order. But they have to be the right people, as you say. Yeah, there are people who’re trying to sell me likes for my Facebook group. Well, what’s the point of that – they’re all fake profiles who aren’t going to buy anything from me. So getting the oodles and oodles of the wrong people to the website is pointless. But as you say, if it’s targeted SEO or if it’s SEO, that helps the right people to come to the website, then there has to be a significant plus in the top of the sales funnel. And then it’s down to the processes and procedures within the business to turn those inquiries and that interest into profit generating revenue.

Michelle

But as I said, we do work with businesses to get those conversions, because often, it’s just the experience on the website. And if it hasn’t got clear calls to action, in the right places, people might be interested, but they don’t know what to do next. And that’s another part of the data that we can see. Where do people go on the website? Do they find a call to action? Can they take it or is it hidden away. So we will work with companies and usually their web developers to do that. And we’ll test different pages. So there are tools, again, free Google tools that will allow you to test two different versions of a web page, different sorts of calls to action, different colours and see what works best. I guess, because of my scientific background, my background in software development, I’m a big fan of test something, look at the results, refine it, test it again, look at the results, refine it, until you’ve got the right visitors coming in. And they’re converting at a high rate.

Mark

I think I’ve known you for probably three years. So I guess something like maybe?

I’m confident this is the first in depth conversation we’ve had that has allowed you to demonstrate your expertise. And it’s not that I didn’t think you were expert before. So I didn’t have any evidence to go on. And as a scientist, you’ll completely appreciate that. Now I have evidence to go on. And you’re really good. So thank you for sharing some more of your expertise. Clearly not all of it. I found it really interesting. It’s given me a different slant in my head about SEO. And I’m gonna be honest, my website is broadly a glossy brochure. But actually, you’ve made me really question why that is, and why am I not using it more to potentially attract people in and with the world in which we now live?

If you go back a year, I would say maybe 1% of my consultations with clients were over Zoom, and all the rest were face to face. Right now that’s slightly different. And what it means is that I am actually much more accepting of it, and so are other people. So the potential for me to have a client in Edinburgh or New York or Sydney is actually – I can do that. But I’m absolutely not marketing to them. I’m not gonna meet them at a networking event and point them at my website. So it means I need SEO to do that. And maybe there’s other businesses out there right now listening to this thinking. Yeah, maybe I should be thinking more about that. So I want to thank you for being here. I want to thank you for educating me that you actually are experts. And like I said, I didn’t doubt it before but now I know for a fact and I want to thank you for the sparks you set off in my head and hopefully, in the heads of some of the listeners, too. I hope this has been an OK experience for you.

Michelle

Yes, yes. It has been – should have done it before, shouldn’t we?

Mark

Well, you know, I did ask. Hey, you’re a busy lady. And perhaps that says a lot about the quality of your own SEO in generating lots of business for you. So there you go. You’ve been listening to Michelle Symonds of Ditto Digital. In the podcast notes, you’ll find a link to her LinkedIn profile and her website. Should I be putting anything else in the notes there?

Michelle

No, that’s fine. That’s fine.

Mark

The best way to get in touch with me? Well, you know what, I’ve got a website. And I will put a link to that and to my LinkedIn profile also in the podcast notes. So if you want to talk to me about the mentoring and coaching and the help that I give small businesses, we can do that. If you want to talk to me about the podcast, we can do that. If you want to talk to me about almost anything. I like talking so feel free to get in touch. But for now, this is Mark Harris of Enterprise Doctor signing off…

30Apr/20

SEO FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions – Search Engine Optimisation

We hope you find these SEO FAQs useful.

Please get in touch if you wish us to add a question to this list of SEO FAQs.

SEO FAQs

What is on-site SEO?

On-site or on-page SEO is that part of the overall optimisation of a website that occurs on the actual website (as opposed to external factors such as backlinks and social media). It can only be done once the initial keyword research and analysis process has been completed as it relies on keyword data to be effective.

It involves making changes to individual pages on a website to achieve higher rankings in Google or any other search engine people might be using.

On page SEO involves changes to elements such as:

Text content visible on the page, including the actual words but also the formatting with headings, sub-heading, bullet points etc

The “readability” of the text content on the page. Are sentences, paragraphs and sections all short enough to be visually appealing and easily readable?

Parts of a web page that are not visible on the page but show up in the search listings. These are the page title and the page description (also known as the meta description).

Images on the page: their size (small is better for speed), filename, and alternative text that is used by search engines (but also by accessibility software for visually-impaired people)

The URL of the page, which shouldn’t be too long and should be descriptive about the page content

Internal links – a well-optimised website should encourage a flow around different pages of the site using relevant internal links.

Most of these changes involve improving the content to be more relevant to the search terms that the page is targeting. It includes using factors like synonyms and semantically related words but also mathematical checks such as TF-IDF (term-frequency/inverse document -frequency) that determine what words typically appear with keywords even if not semantically related or synonymous.

Pro tip:
On WordPress sites install the free Yoast or RankMath plugin which can help you quickly optimise the basics of your web pages. Just remember that high rankings will require more than simply basic optimisation.

What is off-site SEO?

Off-site of off-page SEO is another part of the process that improves where a website ranks on the organic search listings.

It primarily involves link building but also includes using techniques such as social media marketing and brand mentions to a lesser extent.

·        Link-building
·        Content Marketing
·        Social Media
·        Brand Mentions
·        Video Promotion
·        Press Releases

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of finding and using the right keywords within your content (either in blog posts, sales pages or landing pages) to attract more visitors from search engines like Google.

People usually type in a search phrase into Google (or Bing etc.) to find what they are looking for whether that is a product, information or maybe they are just at the browsing stage.

This is where keyword research & analysis plays a vital role to ensure a business or organisation can be found for the products, services or information they provide. With the right keywords potential customers will find your website but with the wrong target keywords your services/products may never be found. Or not found by enough people. That is a critical point – there is no point ranking for keywords that are not commonly used so keyword research will identify which keywords to target based on the average number of searches/month.

Want to get started finding the right keywords? Watch our short 60 second video here. to increase your search traffic and website sales?
 
Pro tip: 
Use the free Keyword Planner tool from Google to help with keyword research

What is competitor analysis?

Competitor analysis is essentially an audit of what level of SEO is being performed by a website’s competitors in the top search ranking positions. So it involves first identifying top ranking pages for a website’s target search terms. Then analysing competitor content on those high-ranking pages in order to emulate and exceed what the competitors are doing well.

It also includes a full analysis of competitors’ backlinks in order to exceed what they are doing by crafting a better backlink profile.

Competitor Analysis is often done in conjunction with Gap Analysis.

What is gap analysis?

A Gap Analysis aims to identify valuable search terms (keywords) that you are not targeting and, consequently, relevant content that you are not producing so you can plug these “gaps” in your SEO strategy. In general terms a gap analysis will help define your goals and how you can achieve them.

What is link building?

Link building is the most important factor in off-site SEO. Without backlinks a website will never rank well. Some backlinks will be created naturally (especially when promoting a company on social media or YouTube) but a large proportion will be created as part of an SEO campaign.

Link-building is process of attracting backlinks from other websites to your website. To be effective the websites linking to your website should be relevant to your business and/or be reputable websites themselves. This is because the quality of the backlinks is all-important.  

Link building is crucial for every website that wants to improve their organic search rankings for their target keywords. Just like all aspects of SEO link-building can only be done effectively once the keyword research phase has been completed.

There are several link building strategies that are effective, such as:

·        Content Marketing
·        Guest posting
·        Infographics
·        Citations
·        Editorial links
·        Broken link building
·        2nd tier linking

Google considers backlinks as “votes” and gives higher rankings for the sites with more backlinks. That’s why it’s essential for you to focus on attracting as many quality and relevant backlinks as possible to your sites to generate more traffic and sales.

What is technical SEO?

Technical SEO deals with the data related to optimising a website and, importantly, the analysis of that data in order to improve optimisation.

As with SEO in general it involves on-site and off-site aspects.
The key difference with technical SEO is in the data analysis
 
Many SEO professionals build links: log them and monitor them, check for “nofollow” tags and ensure that there is a relevant variety of anchor text. Technical SEO professional go several steps further and also include the following analyses:

·        Linking Domain quality (authority & traffic)
·        Linking Domain IP addresses
·        Age of linking domains
·        Indexing of linking pages
·        External links on linking pages
·        Categorisation of anchor text groups
·        Link velocity
 
Technical SEO also has an on-site side that mostly deals with how a website is constructed. So it involves checking a website to ensure there are no technical errors (like broken links), that site speed is good for PCs/laptops and also, crucially, for mobile devices. To check and resolve and such issues requires a Technical SEO Audit.

What are backlinks?


A backlink is a regular link from any website to your website. It literally links back to your website and so is a “vote” of the authority and reputation of your website.

The important thing to remember about backlinks is whether they add any SEO value – many don’t. For instance, they should not have the “nofollow” tag and the website and page they come from should have:

·        High domain authority
·        Good web traffic
·        Content relevant to your business
·        Few external links on the same page

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap is simply a list of all the pages on your website. Within the file is the option to tell search engines like Google not to check certain pages. For example if your site has certain pages only used by the webmaster you may not want those appearing in the search engine results pages (SERPS).

Search engines like Google use the sitemap to navigate through your website and index you pages. Whilst it could still find your pages without a sitemap use of the sitemap save Google time and, therefore, it can spend more time indexing your pages rather than looking for them.

What are internal lnks?

Internal links are links on your own website that link to other pages on your own website. They are important for these reasons:

They engage website visitors and encourage them to stay on your website for longer so improving visitor metrics, which are a ranking factor.

They indicate to search engines like Google which are the most important pages on your website – i.e. those with most internal links to them.

What is the difference between dofollow and nofollow links?

“Dofollow” links tell search engines to view the page being linked to and include it in their index/list of web pages. Whereas “nofollow” links tell search engines not to view the page being linked to. Search engines like Google still take note of “nofollow” links but they don’t add any SEO value 

It is important to identify which backlinks to a website are dofollow or nofollow as the proprtions of each are important. Too many of either type can negatively affect the search engine rankings and traffic to a website. In general, it is best to have the majority of links as dofollow for maximum SEO value i.e. between 60-90%. But as with all SEO tactics it is important to check top-ranking competitors for a comparison.

Nofollow links most often come from social media and well-known media outlets such as national newspapers and news sites such as the BBC. These links don’t have any SEO value but they can still drive traffic to your website.

What is a Google algorithm?

An algorithm is a sophisticated set of rules and calculations in a computer program that checks the 200+ ranking factors for a website and uses that data to decide where the website should rank in the search listings for a particular search term/keyword.

SEO professionals aim to satisfy as many of the 200+ checks as possible for a website. However, it is worth bearing in mind that many, many other websites are all trying to achieve a high ranking and there is only one top spot. That means a website not only has to satisfy the ranking factors but do so better than any of their competitors.

To compound the issue Google never publish exactly what the ranking factors are, although analysing which websites rank best for certain searches helps SEO experts to make good educated guesses as to what they are.

Google regularly update their algorithm to improve the search experience and do not publicise the updates (as they did in the past).
 
It aims to reward websites for certain positive factors such as:

·        Good mobile speed
·        Good mobile user experience (UX)
 
And penalise websites for shady tactics such as:

·        Duplicate content
·        “Thin” content i.e. content with no real value
·        keyword stuffing
·        Low quality or irrelevant links
·        Content full of adverts, especially intrusive popups

How can a website appear higher up in the organic search listings?

The simple answer to that question is to make your website better than the competition and to have a backlink profile better than the competition. That all takes time and effort so SEO is not a quick solution but a long-term strategy to build an authoritative website full of quality content.

The proven techniques to doing this include:

·        Keyword research
·        On-page optimisation
·        Good mobile speed and user experience
·        Gain as many good quality links as possible from a range of relevant websites
·        Produce great content on a regular basis
·        Promote your content to encourage social shares and comments
 
 

What is domain authority (DA)?

Domain authority (DA) is a well-known SEO metric from Moz, a company that produces SEO software tools. It is one metric by which to assess the reputation of your own website, competitor websites and sites linking to your website. It is a value between 1 and 100.

To produce a DA value, Moz analyses the quantity and quality of a website’s backlinks along with an estimate of the traffic to the website. To improve DA the techniques are essentially the same as the standard SEO techniques.

What is trust flow (TF)?

Trust Flow is a metric from Majestic SEO, a company that produces SEO software tools. It is one metric by which to assess the reputation of your own website, competitor websites and sites linking to your website. It is a value between 1 and 100.

To produce a TF value, Majestic SEO analyses the quantity and quality of a website’s backlinks along with an estimate of the traffic to the website. To improve TF the techniques are essentially the same as the standard SEO techniques.
 

Is website speed important for SEO?

Yes, website speed and loading time is an acknowledged ranking factor for every website. It is one of the most important ranking factors in Google search because it affects the user experience, particularly on mobile devices.

Pro tip: 
Use Google’s own free tool Page Speed Insights to check your website speed on both desktop and mobile devices. The tool also makes recommendations specific to a website for improving speed.

What are the Google ranking factors?

There are more than 200 ranking factors that Google takes into account in order to decide where a particular web page should appear in the organic search listings.

Here are just a few of them:

·        Age of website
·        Errors on website
·        Content quality
·        Frequency of changes/additions to website
·        User engagement metrics
·        Backlink quality
·        Anchor text used for backlinks
·        Frequency of gaining new backlinks
·        Website speed
·        Mobile user experience

Is social media important for SEO?

Social media may not be a direct ranking factor in Google’s algorithm but it does indirectly affect SEO. That’s because it can drive visitors to a website (either directly or via brand building) and encourage them to comment on content such as blog posts. Visits and visitor engagement are ranking factors so by influencing them social media is an important factor in organic search success.
 
However, effort on social media needs to be highly focused in order to have an impact on a website’s rankings. That means not simply generally spending time on social media but to have a targeted campaign such as promoting a particular piece of content on your website.

How can I monitor keyword positions on Google?

Monitoring keyword positions for a website on search engines like Google is an essential part of an SEO campaign, in order to understand the affect various optimisation activities are having. This can’t easily be done manually so it’s best to use a keyword tracking tool such as Rank Tracker, SEMrush, Ahrefs or Majestic SEO to easily track all keywords.


Pro tip: 
Use Google Search Console to regularly identify keywords currently bringing visitors to your website. Make sure all of those are included in your keyword rank tracking. This is a useful way to identify new keywords that are driving traffic to a website. For instance to a new, popular blog post. Or to identify long-tail keywords.

What are long tail keywords?

Long tail keywords are actually phrases with 4 or more words that people are using in searches. For many websites a combination of all their successful long-tail keywords can drive more traffic than their SEO target keywords.

Google Search Console can be used to identify long-tail keywords that are already driving traffic to a website.

An example of a long-tail keyword might be: “how to drive more visitors to my website?” or “how can I get more visitors to my website?”

How to identify website issues affecting optimisation?

There are many SEO audit tools available that can identify issues with a website that are negatively affecting optimisation.  These can include broken links, mixing http and https within a website, having duplicate page titles, missing page description or missing images.

Try this Free SEO Audit to quickly identify the most important issues or for a fuller analysis and recommendations for improvements try a more detailed SEO Health Check.

What is voice search?

Voice search is an increasingly important type of search for some industries. It uses speech recognition technology via tools such as Alexa to find answers to common queries. In order to have your website found via a voice search try and include commonly used phrases in your text content. Think about how people talk rather than what they might type into a search engine.

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave the web page they first arrive at on a website without visiting any other pages on the website. It is an indication that the visitor hasn’t found what they were looking for on your page or that the page was loading too slowly so they didn’t wait to look at it. Obviously, this is a sign of poor user engagement so you should be monitoring the bounce rate on your important pages.

For any page with a high bounce rate (80% or more) aim to lower the bounce rate by improving the page to make it more appealing, faster to load and to add prominent calls-to-action including internal linking from within the text.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free tool that every website owner should be using. It shows in-depth data about all visits to your website and visitor demographics. It allows you to monitor SEO metrics such as click-through rate and bounce rate. It allows you to see variations in traffic numbers by day, week, month, compare visits in different periods to check increases or decreases over time. It shows where referrals come from, how many visits via social channels, organic search and numbers of visitors who type your URL directly into a browser.
 
All these data and much more are available and are vital to track and inform an SEO strategy.

What is a featured snippet?

A featured snippet is some additional information that Google chooses to show in the search listings that provide information they believe searchers are seeking. All without having to click on a website. They can be answers to common questions, information about a celebrity, price comparisons for products etc.
 
Featured snippets are important because they have a higher click-through rate than regular listings in organic search. There is no guarantee Google will show a featured snippet for any particular web page but you can increase the chances that they will. Here’s how…

Make sure your content is well-formatted. Use bullet points and tables wherever it make sense to do so.

And add structured data to key web pages – these are bits of code that tell search engines more about your page. Structured data or schema markup can be added manually by a web developer or for those with WordPress sites try the Yoast or RankMath plugins.

What are LSI keywords?

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are words which are similar or related semantically to the main keyword that you are targeting. So they are not synonyms – although synonyms should also be included in good-quality content.

In the example of a main keyword being “spa week-end” some LSI keywords might be “hot tub”, “health break”, “skin treatments”

It is important to use LSI keywords because they provide a better user experience for people reading your content but, importantly, they are a strong signal to Google that your content is highly relevant to a particular search.

That means LSI keywords can improve organic rankings and so increase visitor numbers to a website.

What is TF-IDF?

TF-IDF stands for Term-Frequency/Inverse Document Frequency and is a mathematical calculation that determines which words commonly appear with other words in any given document. Using this calculation to improve web content provides a strong signal to Google that your content is good-quality.
 
It’s an additional technique similar to LSI keywords but it actually checks which words the top-rankings pages are using and shows the related words that are missing from your content and those words that are over-used. All in comparison to top-ranking sites so you can leverage what the best of the best are doing.

There are various tools that will do this automatically for you like Ryte or Website Auditor.
17Apr/20
on-page SEO - search engine optimization consultants

What is on-page SEO? An essential guide for business success

On-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) in simple terms, is everything we can do on our website to affect SEO. Every page is unique and has its own necessary optimization. The concept both refers to individual webpages, and the whole site.   

Comparatively off-page SEO are actions taken outside of your website to influence SEO. It’s important to know the difference.

Table Of Contents

Why Is On-Page SEO Important?

On-page SEO is important because it helps search engines recognize what your content is about.  Google wants to find out how relevant content is to keywords. It wants to understand websites in the context of what people are searching for. On-page SEO is about telling Google what it’s crawling, indexing and ranking. It’s telling them what it should look like on SERPs.

On-page SEO Elements (The Fundamentals)

To understand how any concept works, you need to know the fundamentals.  On-page SEO is not complex—there are specific ranking elements that affect on-page SEO. Once you understand these elements, you can easily optimize any webpage.

There are 3 main on-page SEO elements:

  1. Content
  2. HTML
  3. Website Architecture 

Content Elements

Content on-page SEO ranking elements are the elements of your website’s copy and content. Here we are focusing on the quality of page content. 

Content quality has 2 main implications we must consider.

  1. How it affects user experience—did they like it, were they informed/educated/entertained
  2. How user experience is communicated to Google—time on page/dwell time, bounce rate, backlinks

The focus is user experience.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of analyzing words/phrases that people are searching for. These words/phrases are called keywords.

Keyword Research will let you know:

  • What keywords people are searching for
  • How often/frequently they are searching for keywords
  • How they are searching for those keywords

The right keywords will allow you to rank well on SERPs—putting you in prime position to reap in organic traffic.

Search Intent

Search Intent, or user intent, is the primary goal an individual has when they type search queries into search engines.

Search Intent: What they are looking for

Search Query: What they type into Google

The search queries people type into Google don’t always line up with what they’re looking for.

Common types of Search Intent include:

  • Informational – Information on something
  • Commercial – Buying something
  • Navigational – Directions to somewhere

Search Intent is important for SEO because it is a ranking factor. It is the primary, idealistic goal for all search engines, especially Google.

Google’s algorithm is intelligent—it closely watches user activity on different search queries. It notices which ranked webpages are being clicked on—they are rewarded.

Text Content

With the right keywords and search intent in place, you can now begin to write the content.

Writing content for the internet is not complicated. It is simply a matter of writing a specific style. You want to write scannable content.

“Scannable content is short, sweet and to the point. Sentences and paragraphs are brief. Bold text and bullet points highlight key points.”Forbes

Scannable content maximizes readability—it is written at a level everyone can understand. You don’t get points for writing like an academic.

Here are some keys to follow.

  • Incorporate keywords in a natural fashion, no stuffing
  • Keyword in 1st 100 words
  • Keep sentence length under 20 words
  • Keep paragraphs 3-4 lines max
  • Use subheadings to breakup/structure post
  • Keyword in at least one subheading (H2/H3)
  • Use bullet points/lists to breakdown specific points of information

Media Content

Great content is not complete without some media content.

Media content are the visual assets of webpages—the images, GIFs, videos. It is important to include media content because it simply makes your content better. Blog posts with images get 94% more traffic than those without.

Images are also processed 60,000x faster than text. The age-old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is actually true.

Litter your content with media content to improve readability, and further breakup the monotony of walls of text.

Some types of media content you can use include:

  • Images
  • Video
  • GIFs
  • Infographics
  • Interactive Content

HTML Elements

  • Page Titles
  • Meta Description
  • Image Alt-Text
  • Image Title
  • Image Filename
  • Geotagging
  • Structured Data
  • Keyword Density

HTML Markup relates to the elements that make up your web source code. HTML is a basic coding language that is used to make websites and webpages.

HTML looks like this.

on-page-seo HTML

Before CMS platforms like WordPress and Squarespace made web design easy, it was left to coders.

Aside from the design of websites and webpages, HTML also tells search engines what it is. This is important because search engines like Google use that information to rank webpages in context of things people search for.

You can view the HTML of any page.

Simply right click on any webpage and click “View page source”.

(This is for Google Chrome browser)

HTML has 2 focus points you need to consider for on-page SEO

  1. Keyword Placement: page titles, headings, image alt-text/filename
  2. SERP Representation: meta description, geo-tagging, schema markup/SERP features

It does not need to get more complicated than this.

Page Titles (Title Tags)

The page title is the most important place to put a keyword. The page title tells people and search engines what that webpage is about.

This is what the page title looks like on SERPs.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DAy-1-Img-1-1-800x217.png

In the HTML source code the page title will look like this:

<title>Intelligent Internet Marketing & Technical SEO Consultancy</title>

This is also why the page title is referred to as title tags.

Meta Description

The meta description is your webpage SERP blurb, which you can also see above.

It does not directly affect on-page SEO. It is not a ranking factor. Putting a keyword here will not have direct search engine implications like it would elsewhere.

It does however affect click-through rates. 

The meta description acts to entice and persuade search engine users to visit.

A better meta description will have a higher click-through rate, sending more traffic to your webpage. More traffic will earn you more backlinks, a higher domain authority, among a host of things.

So it can impact SEO indirectly—which is why it’s important to consider.

Image Optimization

Images have their own HTML optimization for on-page seo. We may see the image, but search engines see the HTML code. The image might always look the same to us, but depending on the HTML it can be very different to search engines.

You can view the HTML source code for any image. Right click on the image and select “Inspect”.

on-page seo - backlinko img

Source: backlinko

The HTML code should come up. It is highlighted in blue.

on-page seo - html example

There are 3 things we must consider for image on-page SEO.

  1. Image Alt-Text
  2. Image Title
  3. Image Filename

Image Alt-Text

The image alt-text can also be known as the alt attribute, or alt description. It is used to tell search engines what an image is about. It also helps those who can’t view images or have low bandwidth internet connections.

The alt-text is essentially a long-tail keyword for images. 

This is important because people can find your website through images. When people do an image search, they often click through to the website the image came from.

A good alt-text can also make an image appear for a larger net of search queries/terms.

This creates even more pathways to your website.

Image Title

The image title attribute is used to provide additional information. It does not impact on-page SEO, therefore it is not as important as alt-text or filename.

It is the little pop-up that can appear when you put your cursor on an image.

Image Filename

The image filename is the unique name given to images. It is used by search engines to help rank and index images. Just like alt-text it is important because image searches are a pathway to your website.

Geotagging (For Local Related Queries)

Geotagging is when you attribute a geographical location to a specific webpage and/or its content. This content can include images and videos for example.

When you geotag an image or video, you are giving search engines very specific information. It will allow you to appear on SERPs for search queries with a location.

“Vets in Central London” for example.

When you geotag webpages and content, you are giving search engines more and more information. The more information you give them, the better.

It is an effective SEO strategy for local related search queries.

Structured Data

Structured Data are HTML tags you can add that make crawling, indexing and ranking easier. It improves the way search engines read your webpages, resulting in better SERP representation.

Utilizing structured data can help content of your webpage show up as SERP features.

SERP Features

SERP features are special results you see on search engine results pages.  Here is an example.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is on-page-seo-img8-1-800x408.png

The incentive of SERP features are that people can get answers to questions without clicking through. It is priority positioning with unique, additional information.

Although structured data is not considered a ranking factor, SERP features generally have higher click-through rates. Much like a good meta description, this can indirectly affect SEO. 

There are many types of SERP features (with Google creating more almost daily), but we will cover a few of the main ones:

Rich Snippets

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is on-page-seo-img9-1.png

Paid Results

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is on-page-seo-img10.png

Universal Results

Knowledge Graph

on-page seo - knowledge graph results

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the frequency, or how often keywords are used on a single webpage. This isn’t just how many times a keyword is used, but how often it is used. 

Keyword density = number. of times keyword used ÷ total number of words

Keyword density used to be extremely important for on-page SEO. Because of that, low quality keyword stuffed content was considered ideal.

That is no longer the case.

Google evolved their algorithm in 2013, to punish black hat (illegal) keyword stuffing. They want high quality content, not cheap tricks to game the system.

“Keyword density, in general, is something I wouldn’t focus on. Search engines have kind of moved on from there.” (2014)

John Meuller, Senior Google Webmaster Trends Analyst

As such, keyword density is no longer as important—but it still needs consideration.

Website Architecture Elements

  • Site Speed
  • Responsive Design
  • URL Structure
  • Internal Links
  • External (Outbound) Links
  • Duplicate Content

Website architecture is less about optimizing a specific page and more about optimizing the website as a whole.

Better structuring your website architecture allows search engines like Google to crawl and index easier.

This is usually done by your technical SEO team, and we have a dedicated resource about this, but it is worth mentioning here briefly, as any on page SEO guide would not be complete without at least covering the basics.

Site Speed

How fast a page loads is very important. Google analyzes user experience to better rank your site and content.

What does it say about your site when visitors leave before the page even loads?

There are many negative consequences to a slow site speed. The most obvious is bounce rate.

Tests have shown bounce rate increases as page loading time increases.

Google has also done their own tests. Increasing page load time increased bounce rate dramatically.

Page speed is also a Google ranking factor for mobile searches, which makes up majority of searches nowadays. It’s best to maximize site speed to get the best user experience possible.

Responsive Design

A responsive design is a website design that adapts to the screen dimensions of the device used.

on-page seo - mobile responsive design

In a world where mobile accounts for 58% of website traffic, responsive design is essential to maximize user experience. 

The main benefit of a responsive design has always been about user experience.

That hasn’t changed.

In recent times however, search engines have evolved to reward websites with responsive designs. This is mostly to do with the ever increasing focus on mobile usage.

The infamous 2015 “Mobilegeddon” Google update prioritized webpages with optimal mobile design, giving them priority positioning on mobile SERPs.

The focus on mobile has only gotten more dramatic since then.

Google’s index now prioritizes mobile—websites with features like a responsive design, will be rewarded.

Responsive design is commonplace, a necessity going into the future. It is essential to improve your on-page SEO efforts.

URL Structure

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is also known as the website address. It is located in the top left corner of internet browsers.ImageUpload an image file, pick one from your media library, or add one with a URL.UploadMedia LibraryInsert from URL

There are 4 main parts to a URL.

  1. Protocol: Either HTTP or HTTPs
  2. Domain Name: The unique purchased domain name
  3. Subdirectories: Category/group of pages
  4. Specific Page Name: The specific individual page

Some websites (like us) don’t show the “protocol” HTTP/HTTPs section of the web address URL. It is purely a marketing/aesthetic decision, even though it still is technically there.

How you structure your URLs is important because it can impact SEO.

URLs are actually small ranking factors for search engines. Brian Dean of Backlinko reported URLs featuring a keyword increased click-through rate by 45%.

A good URL structure can also increase user experience, indirectly influencing SEO. Microsoft discovered that “descriptive” URLs had 25% higher click-through rates.

The URL is something you should not forget to address.

Internal Links

Internal linking is the process of hyperlinking from one page to another, on the same website. 

It helps create a better link architecture for Googlebot to crawl and index. This better spreads link equity across a website, providing substantial SEO benefits.

In fact, Internal links have been shown to increase organic traffic by 40%.

External links are hyperlinks that go to another website/domain. 

There are 2 types of external links.

  1. Ones you receive (inbound/backlinks)
  2. Ones you make (outbound links)

Backlinks are considered one of the top 3 Google ranking factors. This is not terribly shocking. Anyone with even a novice understanding of SEO knows this.

What’s more unknown, is the value of outbound links.

Outbound links are not specifically a ranking factor. It can however indirectly influence SEO by improving user experience.

“Linking to other websites is a great way to provide value to your users. Often times, links help users to find out more, to check out your sources and to better understand how your content is relevant to the questions that they have.” (2019) John Meuller, Senior Google Webmaster Trends Analyst

Duplicate Content (Avoid it)

Duplicate content is content that is a copy, or similar to other content on the web. This can be either on different sites or the same one.

Here’s Google’s definition of duplicate content.

“Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”

Duplicate content can negatively impact on-page SEO.

Google does not want to index duplicate content. They prioritize indexing original, unique informative content. This is what they want to appear on SERPs.

It is essential that you avoid creating duplicate content.

Final Thoughts

On-page SEO is everything you can do on your website to improve your search engine efforts.

In this post we covered the basics.

Everything you can do on-site, to improve your search engine efforts. It is all right here.

On-Page SEO by Devin Schumacher first appeared on SERP Co.

26Mar/20
anchor text percentages - data analysis

Anchor Text Percentages: Expert Analysis – Is It Worth It?

One of my favourite aspects of technical SEO is analysing and trying to create the perfect backlink profile – a real labour of love. Especially since it’s practically impossible to craft the perfect backlink profile because some of it is outside my control – like those darn natural links. So is it worth analysing elements of the link profile like anchor text percentages?

So I’ve had a bit of an on-off relationship with anchor text analysis over the past couple of years and am beginning to wonder if I’m just wasting my time worrying about the anchor text at all.

I know many would argue that I am – and that they should predominantly be branded terms anyway, but that just isn’t what I have seen from my own experience with client websites and test websites over the years. The words in the anchor text do matter.

My obsession started when I began analysing the various anchor text percentages of top-ranking websites and comparing them with my clients. And also comparing different clients’ link profiles to determine why similar campaigns had such different results in different industries.

 

 

anchor text percentages

Anchor What?

The anchor text of backlinks might seem mundane yet it’s important to any business that wants new customers from organic search – and why would any business not want that? Organic search generates leads from customers who don’t already know your brand and haven’t been, or can’t be, reached by other more traditional forms of marketing.

SEO contributes to building a sustainable digital asset in the form of a well-optimised website (i.e. one that brings in business), content on that website (often, but not necessarily a blog) and the all-important backlinks which are an indicator of the quality of a site and its content.

Now I’ve heard people argue that you don’t need to “build” backlinks to succeed in organic search but other solutions (like content marketing, content promotion and building a brand) invariably result in backlinks being created – it’s simply backlink building by another name or another approach.

From my perspective content marketing comes under the umbrella of SEO anyway. So, still, that anchor text has an impact.

One way or another good quality backlinks are a vital part of a well-optimised website so it stands to reason that the anchor text – the clickable text part of the link – will be important too. But important in what way? And what exactly are anchor text percentages?

Anchor Text Percentages

Broadly speaking anchor text percentages are the proportion of backlinks that have anchor texts that fall into a certain standard category, such as:

Category Example
Exact keyword match  “spa day”
Partial keyword match  “spa near London”
URL  https://www.lovelyspa.com or lovelyspa.com
Brand  Lovely Spa
General phrases  click here, visit our website, find out more

You get the general idea…

Now we all know that “over-optimising” for a particular keyword is a bad idea but you also need to reinforce to search engines the importance of certain content on a website.

So if Lovely Spa specialises in, say, romantic spa days for couples then you would expect to see some backlink anchor text with that phrase and various combinations of that phrase. If 0.1% of all anchor texts contain that phrase but 20% contain “spa near London” then the profile is not emphasising the important searches.

So anchor text percentages are important…

Real examples

As part of my ongoing research and analysis of anchor text percentages within real-life backlink profiles I am recording them in the following form:

Note these data are based on dofollow links ONLY

Client / Competitor % Branded % Website Name % Full URL % Random % Exact Match Keyword1 % Exact Match Keyword2 % Exact Match Keyword3 % Exact Match Keyword4 Partial Match Keyword Total # Links
Client A 10% 2% 25% 12% 17% 6% 10%   18% 8,540
Client B 1% 1% 0% 10% 61%       26% 745
Client C 2% 6% 0% 30% 59%       2% 1,528
Client D 40% 8% 5% 14% 6% 12% 2% 2% 12% 3,314
CompetitorD 26% 2% 23% 16% 4% 19% 0% 0% 9% 1,939
Client E 21% 7% 2% 22% 9% 3% 11% 13% 12% 2,773
CompetitorE 4% 12% 3% 51% 0% 0% 5% 5% 21% 10,402

Can you guess which of the clients have been consistently at #1 in the Google organic search results for competitive keywords for 2, 3 years? (hey I’ve almost lost count it’s been so long)

And which client has been consistently in the top half of Page 1 for a similar length of time?

The Big But

If you look at my data above you will see that Client A, Client D and Client E have broadly similar percentages in each of the anchor text categories. So you might expect them to be similarly successful in organic search results.

Well that’s the big but… Anchor text percentages are only one part of a much bigger story.

In fact, Client A has been consistently at #1 in the Google search listings

Yet Clients D and E – whilst their businesses are doing well, with visitor numbers, leads and customers all rising, still have certain search terms that are proving hard nuts to crack.

And Client A and Client C, which show very different results in the table of anchor text percentages above, are similarly successful in achieving top rankings.

Why the differences?

There are several reasons why different websites with seemingly different types of backlink profiles are achieving equal SEO success:

  • Competitors are doing things differently
  • Quality of linking domains
  • Ratio of links to linking domains

But more on that next time…

In the meantime I will continue to monitor anchor text in backlinks as part of my wider ongoing technical SEO analysis of client and competitor sites.

21Jan/20
SEO Strategy

Why You Need an Effective SEO Strategy

 
Do you have an SEO strategy in place?
If so, answer this question: has it helped you increase rankings, web visits and sales?
If not, here is the question you need to ask yourself: how can I implement a successful SEO strategy?
  SEO will never be a short-term solution but it will lead to more traffic and increased sales when properly implemented.   Developing an effective SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy delivers serious and sustained growth without putting your business at the mercy of social media or the ability to keep paying for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. By matching search terms to specific user intent potential customers find what they are looking for when they click. These organic search visitors produce lower bounce rates and higher dwell time meaning they are more likely to become customers. That’s simply better-quality traffic than from other sources.   SEO also has the huge advantage of building a valuable resource that will keep on giving year after year, for instance:  
  • Producing great, evergreen content that will continue to drive visitors to a website long after it was created.
 
  • Building a well-balanced profile of backlinks from authoritative and/or relevant websites that will continue to positively impact organic search rankings long into the future.
 
  • Creating an effective website optimised for conversions that will continually transform visitors into customers.
   
These are just some of the reasons every business needs an effective SEO strategy.
  Of course, even in the SEO world businesses don’t have as much control as they might like. Rules change and competitor activity can knock well-planned strategies off track, but providing you have been following the rules and working within Google’s guidelines then any effect from algorithm changes or competitor activity will be minimal and any negative effects easily corrected. Look at the organic search data below to see what a focused SEO strategy can achieve – more than doubling web visits in a year:   increase in organic visits

The Alternatives

For a sustainable way to grow a business where you can control costs and develop your website as a valuable asset then SEO should be one of your top digital marketing priorities. But there are, clearly, other approaches to digital marketing and it’s always good to have a diversified approach so let’s look briefly at some of those alternatives.  

Pay-Per-Click Ads

PPC Ads can be very useful for new businesses building their brand and customer base, or for promoting new products, because they generate instant web traffic. But they are expensive and there’s a lack of control – rules change, costs rise; and, more importantly, if you stop paying for your PPC ads there will be no more love from this particular channel – web traffic will simply fall off a cliff.  

Social Media

Social media, again, is excellent for raising brand awareness and for increasing individual or company credibility. It can also drive huge increases in traffic but the impact of that web traffic on sales or leads is unpredictable because user engagement via social media for many businesses is low.  

LinkedIn

When it comes to LinkedIn, there are some niche areas which can benefit from individual activity, especially for small B2B companies, but it won’t deliver the wider reach of Google Ads or an SEO campaign. And where LinkedIn content appears in organic search listings it is always for queries with very low searches volumes so delivers very few visitors.   For an assessment of how well your current SEO campaign is performing get in touch to find out more about our Technical SEO Audit service.  

Get In Touch Today...

Call us on 01494 530233

Email us at hello@dittodigital.co.uk

20Jan/20
Technical SEO Audit

Technical Problems With Your Website? Quick Pro SEO Tip

Most technical problems on websites are easy to fix once you are aware they exist, but if you don’t know they exist they could be holding back your digital marketing efforts.

So how can you discover whether your website has any technical problems?

Pretty simple – get a free Free SEO Audit done and follow up on the recommendations – no excuses.

An audit should include an assessment of the speed of a website on mobile devices, which is now more important than ever. Great content, products or services may never be found simply because a web page is too slow.

Resolving mobile speed issues is not quite as easy as other technical problems with a website and will require help from a developer but Google will suggest site-specific and page-specific  improvements in their free tool PageSpeed Insights. With it’s simple traffic light system it’s just up to you to ensure the changes are implemented.

What are you waiting for?

 

15Jan/20
Improve click through rate CTR

Improve Click Through Rate and Boost Website Traffic

In the world of online marketing we need to focus on a whole range of areas to get those better rankings, visitors and leads we need. That means sometimes elements that are quick and easy to change. and which can have a significant impact, can be neglected amongst all those other things to do. Click through rate (CTR) is one of those often neglected factors. After all there are only so many hours in the day…

But I’ve recently been working on improving the click-through rate (CTR) of various websites and have seen some truly remarkable uplift in website traffic. You’ve probably seen CTR on your monthly internet marketing reports but have you focused on improving it?

Sure we might put a lot of effort into the title and description of a new site or when the site is revamped but what about on a regular basis trying to tweak the text that is displayed in the search listings?

The Google search landscape has changed significantly over the past couple of years and continues to change – are you keeping pace? What are your competitors up to?

Not nearly enough companies make the effort to regularly review and test variations of the title and description as displayed in the search listings. Yet typical CTR’s can be low in some industries and there is always room for improvements.

Even if your website is well-optimised, rankings are good and website traffic doing well you could be missing a trick by failing to improve click through rate.

Anyone involved in advertising (online or offline) will tell you that emotions trigger a purchase and it’s just the same in the digital world – shall I click on that website or not? What makes you select a particular website over another? Something in the wording of the title or description triggers an emotion and you select the site that “speaks” to you personally.

I, for one, don’t automatically select the number one spot if a listing further down sounds more relevant, exciting, cheaper or whatever it is that I am looking to appeal to me.

SEO Bucks - Improving Bounce RateSo try tweaking your title and description to really grab visitors’ attention rather than just state the facts about what you offer. Then make sure you monitor your CTR after the change for every web page to check out the results. Give it a try for 7 days to see if you have increased your click through rate.

Improving click through rate is a potentially easy fix that could positively affect your website traffic.

I’d be interested to hear you results…

19Dec/19
Improve Bounce Rate

How To Check and Improve Bounce Rate

No matter how successful your internet marketing and organic SEO campaign there is always room for improvement – room to increase rankings, attract more visitors and make more sales. But success doesn’t depend solely on good search listing rankings and good website traffic. There are plenty of other improvements to be made which can boost your business’s profitability even further even with the rankings and traffic you already have – such as looking at how to improve bounce rate

Take a website I have been working with recently – they have successfully grown their brand and established their business at the top of their very competitive industry in just a few short years. They rank very highly in the organic search listings and have visitor numbers they could have only dreamt of a few years ago with visitor numbers up by over 400 percent in the past 2 years.

Yet….

Business could be even better…

Why?

Because some of their high traffic web pages have significantly higher (i.e. worse) bounce rate than some of their other popular other pages. That means there is potential to boost sales and leads from their existing traffic by simply engaging visitors better on those pages with a high bounce rate.

There are several factors that affect bounce rate so let’s take a look at what they are:

Improve Bounce Rate with Better Page Content

We all know that fresh, unique content is important for signalling that a website is reputable, has authority and deserves the attention of the search engines and real visitors – but you should also ask yourself the following questions about your page content:

  • Is the content what visitors expected based on the title and description in the search listings?
  • Is it detailed, informative and well laid-out content?
  • Does it use images and other graphics to break up large portions of text?
  • Is it easy to view on a small mobile device?
  • Have you used accordions and tabs for a better mobile user experience?

 

Improve Bounce Rate with Calls To Action

Are there enough calls-to-action (CTAs) prominently visible on the page, especially near the top – for those people with a short attention span – and near the bottom – for those who want to know more. If visitors are not encouraged to click through to another page on your website then the bounce rate will always be poor.

Use a mixture of clearly visible in-text links to related pages on your website and graphical CTAs too in the form of small images with overlaid text, which can be clicked to visit anther page. These graphical CTAs can also help create a visually more appealing layout.

Check that all of your CTAs are properly displayed on small mobile devices:

  • is the wording easy to read on a small screen?
  • are clickable elements (tap targets) large enough to actually tap with a finger?
  • are clickable elements (tap targets) too close together?

 

Test Changes

Once you have reviewed your content you will have a fairly good idea of why certain pages have a poorer bounce rate than others. And once you have improved the content you will be able to monitor bounce rate and see if it has improved. Depending on the visitor numbers you will need to monitor your changes for 2 – 4 weeks to ensure there have been enough visitors to make an informed judgement on whether the changes have improved bounce rate.

Remember Bounce Rate is the percentage of people who leave a page without viewing any other pages on your website  – so a high percentage is bad and a low percentage is good.

You can test the changes informally by simply monitoring bounce rate over time in Google Analytics or use Google Optimize to test variations of page changes – this tool is particularly useful for testing different wording on graphical CTAs and different positioning on the page, and even different colours.

 

A word of warning: In addition to looking at ways to improve Bounce Rate check the Dwell Time (i.e. the average time spent on the page) because some pages have a very high Dwell Time and High Bounce Rate which means visitors were engaged, read all of the page but didn’t want to read any more. This may suggest you need to break up the content into two or more pages to cover the whole topic.

 

14Dec/19
Low Conversion Rate Requires Conversion Rate Optimisation Large

Low Conversion Rate? What Causes Poorly Converting Websites?

We all know that businesses, whatever their size and industry, want more sales – that’s the whole reason for being in business after all. And one sure fire way to increase sales is to increase the traffic to your website – isn’t it? Well, that’s true most of the time but not always… A low conversion rate could be hampering your sales volumes.

For a significant number of businesses more visitors don’t lead to more sales

If your business website has plenty of visitors but sales haven’t grown have you ever questioned why?

Do you know why your digital marketing metrics are showing increased rankings and visitor numbers but your sales are static or unpredictable?

If not, you should… because if you have a low conversion rate you may need to think about conversion rate optimisation.

CONVERSION RATE OPTIMISATION: THE SOLUTION TO LOW CONVERSION RATES

Fortunately improving conversion rates is fairly straightforward whether it requires better targeted keywords/search terms or whether it requires a better user experience.

When it comes to improving the user experience it will almost certainly require some testing of alternative page layouts, different calls-to-action etc but targeting the right keywords and creating a better user experience will increase sales.

targeting the right keywords and creating a better user experience will increase sales

CRO BASICS– Know Your Data

Start with an analysis of your data on one or two pages that you expect to be converting visitors. What is the Bounce Rate like, how long do people spend on the page and which pages (if any) do they look at next?

You can find all of these data in your Google Analytics account.

Once you have a better understanding of these data that will help determine what improvements to the web page(s) are required.

CRO BASICS – User Engagement

Any web page with a high bounce rate of 80% or more has something fundamentally wrong. It either doesn’t offer the information the visitor was expecting, it’s too slow or has a poor design leading to a poor user experience.

Similarly if the average time spent on the page is just a few seconds this also suggests the page is not doing its job.

Use this checklist to see how your web pages perform:

User Experience

Most of us are so familiar with our own websites that we often need a fresh pair of eyes to point out flaws. Why not ask someone independent (not from the business) to make a critical assessment of the troublesome pages (or even the whole site) as a first-time visitor.

Is it easy to buy a product, register or get more information? Are phone numbers and emails prominently displayed?

Is all the information someone needs readily to hand – people don’t want to scroll to find it; they will quickly lose interest.

Also check the page is not overly complicated or essential information hard to find. Use accordions or tabs to tuck away long descriptions so important information is easier to see.

Title and Description

The title and description displayed on the search listings should provide a good indication of what the visitor will find on the page. If not, modify them to more clearly state what the page is about. When a page is accurately described in the search listings, visitors don’t leave your site because they find what they expect. Provided, of course, that it is well-designed and offers a good user experience.

Don’t under-estimated the importance of these 2 relatively small pieces of text. After all click-through rate (CTR) is just as important as conversion rate. A site that attracts only very few visitors won’t be in a great position to optimise for conversions. So makes changes, test, monitor, rinse and repeat.

businesswoman standing - tall image

Page Speed

Again Google offer a free tool to check this (Page Speed Insights) so use it to check speed for both desktop and mobile searches separately. Both need to be fast and given the green light in Google’s traffic light system. If pages don’t have the green light the tool will make suggestions on how to speed up the page – these will almost always require the help of your web developer to implement.

An SEO Health Check or Technical SEO Audit will also check page speed among other on-page factors that may be limiting the success of a website. According to statistics more than 50% of users worldwide access the internet via a mobile device so no business can afford to ignore page speed.

h

desktop page speed insights

CRO BASICS – Calls-to-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) is simply a piece of content intended to encourage a website visitor to take a specific action like buy a product or service, register for more information or call up a company. The content can be an image overlaid with a small amount of text, a simple image, a simple button or even just some words within other text that are a clickable link.

Typically they include words to make it clear what action the website owner wants visitors to take, for instance:

  • download our latest report
  • call us today for more information
  • buy now
  • click here to find out more

A CTA can be placed anywhere on a web page but is most effective near the top to ensure the maximum number of visitors see it. Positioning it on the left also helps as does having an image of a person on the right-hand-side looking at the call-to-action (who knew?).You can experiment with different wording, colours, imagery and location to determine which CTAs work best for your business.

Simple A/B testing or more complex digital experiments can reveal accurate data about the behaviour of visitors to your site. Or call us to find out how we can help with conversion rate optimisation (see what I did there).

Where are visitors looking

CRO BASICS – Test, Test, Test

There are 4 main elements on every web page that can influence a visitor’s experience so make sure you review, change and test all of them for maximum improvements in user engagement and conversions. They are:

  • Call-To-Action
  • Headings
  • Images
  • Text

Google have yet another free tool (Google Optimize) to help out with testing different versions of pages or different elements on the page so to assist in the CRO process.

NO CORRELATION BETWEEN DIGITAL MARKETING METRICS AND SALES?

Now that we’ve looked at how conversion rate optimisation can increase sales let’s have a look at the 2 main reasons why website traffic and sales don’t correlate:

1. Poor User Experience

The first main reason that visits are not converting to leads or sales is because of a poor user experience on the website as a whole or on individual key pages.

Look at these metrics below – a company has good visitor numbers that have been steadily growing over the past 2 years (in fact visitor numbers have grown 240% in that time). Sales on the other hand are unpredictable and follow no expected seasonal pattern, nor do they follow the trend of increasing visits.

CRO - Conversion Rate optimisation

Now look at the further metrics below – the top 2 pages have good bounce rate and visitors stay on the site and read several pages. Yet sales don’t correlate with this good user engagement.

CRO - Engagement Metrics

For this particular client, we investigated more closely the reason for this lack of correlation between visits and sales and it was clear that the well-engaged visitors, arriving at the website for the right search terms, had a good experience until they reached the page that should have had a clear call-to-action. On that page they were left hanging with no clear idea of how to make the next move and so left the website.

How did we fix the problem of poor user experience on a single key page?

We added clear calls-to-action so visitors could see immediately how to get in touch. We added a large CTA containing the phone number (clickable from mobiles for a direct connection) and a short, simple form for arranging a callback at a convenient time.

We tested different locations, sizes and colours of these 2 CTAs on the page until we were confident of the most effective design and layout.

This relatively quick and simple fix resulted in a 106% increase in phone calls.

2. Targeting The Wrong Search Terms

Another major reason that increasing visits might not be producing more sales in the expected volumes can be the result of targeting the wrong search terms.

We all know that good content plays an important part in building your brand, gaining a good online reputation and ultimately increasing sales. And part of a good content marketing strategy is to educate, inform and entertain – and not to be overly promotional about products and services every time a blog post, article, video or podcast is published.

But… if a content marketing strategy is not properly targeted the result can sometimes be a website and social media network that is a popular source of information with plenty of readers and good interaction – but that in itself won’t sell products or services. It can simply result in a low conversion rate.

In this situation a closer look at digital marketing metrics such as bounce rate will usually reveal that the majority of visitors are bypassing the selling pages with their enticing calls-to-action and heading straight for their regular fix of information and entertainment then leaving the site. Some sites can even have blog posts that far outstrip the main business pages in terms of visitor numbers – but those pages can have a poor conversion rate.

Look at the 3rd and 4th row of the table below to see the difference in bounce rate on popular blog posts compared with the 1st and second row where bounce rate is low and visitors have a high buying intent.

CRO - Engagement Metrics

The business, in cases like these, may simply be targeting the wrong keywords and need to review their keyword research and focus more on the search terms that are likely to bring customers – not information seekers.

10Nov/19
dofollow links

A Basic Guide to Nofollow & Dofollow Links

If you’ve read anything about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) then you will probably have come across the terms dofollow or nofollow. But what on earth do they mean? 

Nofollow Links

Links or hyperlinks all have HTML attributes intended to pass some information to search engines and web browsers. In the case of the nofollow attribute it is informing the search engine not to assign any value to the link nor add it to the list of indexed pages. What this means for SEO is that there is no value to the link to help increase a website’s organic search rankings, although web visitors can still click on the link and “follow” it to the new web page or website. This attribute (or tag as it is sometimes called) was implemented (way back in 2005) so that webmasters could reduce the value of external links on their website and prevent unscrupulous site owners from gaining any advantage by, for example, adding lots of comment spam to high authority websites. You may have noticed that links in comments from most, if not all, high authority websites will now have the nofollow attribute.   It’s pretty easy to identify a Nofollow link – it looks something like this:
<a href=”https://dittodigital.co.uk/seo” rel=” nofollow”>SEO Basics</a>
 

Dofollow Links

Dofollow links, on the other hand, indicate to search engines that they should “follow” them i.e. go to the linked web page, index it and add the page to the search engine’s index of all web pages on the internet. The side effect is that dofollow links add SEO value to the web page they link to – value that can have a positive impact on organic search rankings. People visiting the site can also (as with nofollow links) click on the link and move to the new web page or external website.   What is important to note is that dofollow links do not have an HTML attribute (or tag). So a link simply becomes dofollow if the rel=”nofollow” attribute is absent. What that means is that by default hyperlinks are dofollow – you don’t need to do anything in particular to ensure a link is dofollow.   This is what the above example would look like as a dofollow link:  
<a href=”https://dittodigital.co.uk/seo”>SEO Basics</a>
 

Other Factor Affecting Link Value

Remember other factors affect the value of a backlink such as:
  • The anchor text
  • The location of the link on a page (closer to the top imparts more value)
  • Relevancy of surrounding text.
28Oct/19
digital world

What Does It Mean To Be Working In The Digital World?

A recent “Digital Conference” I attended seemed like it would be right up my street – after all Ditto Digital, as a digital marketing company, falls fairly and squarely into the digital environment. We spend time working on improving websites to raise their online presence; auditing websites and making technical improvements to ensure search engines recognise them as authoritative assets; we check out competitors and big-brand companies to analyse their techniques and look for areas they are neglecting to exploit or leverage.

Yet at the Digital Conference I realised that the term “digital” covers a much broader range of fields than I had anticipated. Companies building medical implants with 3-D printers rubbed shoulders with education companies and the big guns from Microsoft, Google and Bosch.

It became clear that digitalisation covers all business functions from finance, legal, audit and strategy to customer service, human resources and R&D right through to, of course, communications, marketing and IT. Indeed Gartner provide a detailed report for C-suite executives on how to harness the power of digital across all business functions.

 

So, fortunately, there were also plenty of companies at the conference from what I would consider the more typical digital companies: other digital marketing and SEO companies, cyber security, intellectual property, communications, IT solutions, web development and e-commerce experts.

 

But do we need a clearer term for the digital world at the technical coal-face – those working directly with websites, IT systems, cyber security?

digital marketing in a digital world

 

Some Expert Opinions

I asked Dave Tolson from the bespoke software and database developers Simply Digital for his thoughts on how he views his niche in the digital world, “After 20 years in business I am surprised that there are still people running their small businesses “on paper” and are bewildered by technological advances and unable to cope with the digital era. Many companies are struggling on with disparate applications, processes and products that simply don’t talk to each other. Making these businesses highly inefficient.

Simply Digital develop systems that integrate these disparate processes into one, allowing businesses to concentrate on making money instead of struggling with their systems.”

 

Andy Steer from Vividly Simple, who help owners and managers choose the right IT for their business works in a related digital niche. As he describes it: “Finding the right pieces for your IT jigsaw is difficult. Many small businesses start out with the technology the founders already have around them but as the business expands, and the team starts to grow, the limitations of those tools become apparent. When the jigsaw pieces you have aren’t fitting together, everyone gets frustrated and you spend too much time just trying to make things work. New data protection laws just add to the complexity, as does the increasing need to defend your business from cyber-attack.”

Much like the applications and processes Dave Tolson integrates, Vividly Simple helps small businesses to streamline their IT environment, to make the day to day things easier, keeping information safe and secure automatically.

Final Thoughts…

Personally, I think it would be useful to have terminology that distinguishes companies involved in broad digital issues (which could/should be almost every company) from those in the more specific niches directly involved with the technology and websites.

 

If anyone has any ideas about what this term could be – feel free to let me know…

15Aug/19
SEO and Content Marketing Video

How to write a blog with a purpose – a short video

This our short video on why and how you should always be writing your blog posts with a purpose.

In this video I talk about how to write a blog with a purpose and to grow your company’s online presence.

The most common mistakes I see people making is not including ways for readers to share your content.

We have other content on this topic, check out our podcast.

Thanks a lot for watching. For more info get in touch, hello@dittodigital.co.uk

13Aug/19
SEO and Content Marketing Video

Effective Content Marketing – A Basic Overview

Good content is essential for establishing a strong online presence, building your brand and growing your business. It is also the cornerstone of an effective link-building campaign – vital for good organic rankings in the search listings. Watch our short content marketing video to find out why and how marketing your unique content can be a fundamental part of your digital marketing campaign.

 

 

The content used for a digital marketing campaign is predominantly text but should also include images, videos, podcasts and graphics; because variety of media will help extend your online marketing efforts.

Once you have created your content the marketing part should begin.

This involves speaking to journalists within the national and local press to gain editorial coverage, as well as collaborating with a wide range of bloggers and influencers to secure publication of the content.

Of course you should also share your content on social media.

This content marketing video shows why content marketing is one of the essential steps that helps develop trust in your business, so that when customers are ready to buy, your business is their first choice. It is one of several marketing strategies that will boost your bottom line.

13Aug/19
podcast by ditto digital

Writing a Blog with a Purpose

A short 2 minute podcast on how to write a blog with purpose. Check out our other posts on how to write blogs.

In this podcast, we talk about how to write a blog with a purpose and to grow your company’s online presence.

Before you start writing any new blog, make sure to ask yourself “why am I doing this?”. Whether it be to directly attract customers to your business or for SEO purposes, you must always keep your goal in mind as this will not only improve the quality of your content, but also make you more productive.

05Aug/19
digital world

5 Places You Should be Sharing Your Content

Three million. That’s the approximate number of blog posts that are written every day. So, it goes without saying when sharing content that it’s hard, really hard, to get people to find and more importantly read your content.

Expert Tips on Sharing Content:

The mistake that a lot of people make when just starting out in content marketing is just posting your blog posts on your own website, when in reality there are hundreds of other places where lots more people will discover your content. Here are my top five:

Twitter:

There are three main ways in which you can use this platform to promote your content:

  • using a twitter brand account
  • using your personal twitter account
  • using twitter chat rooms

When using a brand account, you are not going to post your whole blog post. The best way to promote your brand is to add a link to your content in the sharing list. This not only promotes your content but also makes your company look much more professional.

The biggest mistake when using your personal twitter account is posting too many quotes and links to your content. This will easily overwhelm your audience to the point when they end up ignoring your posts. By all means, keep sharing your articles, but instead spread out these shares.

Furthermore, twitter chats are one of the most powerful ways you can spread the word about your brand. Adding the hashtag of a popular industry-specific chat when sharing some of your best pieces can be really beneficial in order to attract a more targeted demographic. However, as above, use it sparingly, as again it will overwhelm your audience and annoy people in the chat.

Reddit:

When using Reddit, it is, once again, vital to not spam users. In this case it is because users are very aware of companies trying to overwhelm or “spam” their subreddits, so only allow a few employees to post intermittently, maybe once or twice per month.

Additionally, articles shared should present new, interesting opinions on topics, and not just be pointless drivel nobody actually cares about. Ensuring this, as well as keeping the account active, will enable you to build up a good reputation on Reddit.

Email:

Although email is often overlooked it can, and, in most businesses that use it, does successfully promote your brand. Studies have proved that pushing content out to email subscribers is much more beneficial than solely using a variety of social media. The reason for this is that these subscribers will be loyal to your brand and are likely to do some promoting for you. This will be done by sharing your content on different social media for you.

Furthermore, the fact that sending out emails can be automated using different software means every time new content appears on your website subscribers will be notified. This not only removes a huge amount of work for you and your employees, but also actively promotes your brand.

Medium:

Medium is a very helpful tool for sharing content that is, for the most part, underutilised by corporations. It is a very helpful tool that allows you to do two things:

  • increase traffic to the original post
  • republish your post

The first of these, although not directly offered by Medium, is done by posting small parts of a blog post and then directing users to your site by tempting them with more high-quality content. This strategy should occasionally be mixed with posting full posts to keep your readers engaged and enjoying your content.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn can be a very useful tool as many users have already built a strong and loyal subscriber base. This is beneficial as users who are subscribed will automatically receive a notification when you publish new content.

Similarly, to Medium, LinkedIn allows a user to have links to posts on a website. This feature, along with the aforementioned fact that users are notified of new posts makes LinkedIn a very good platform for promoting your content.

In addition, content can always be shared in LinkedIn Groups related to your industry. However, like Twitter Chats, make sure to not over-use this tactic.

No matter which of the above you chose to use, people can tell if you don’t actually care about your potential customers. It is crucial to constantly engage with your readers and build relationships with your loyal followers, as this will give you a human side and people will then be willing to share your content and promote your brand.

01Aug/19
mobile page speed

Website Speed – Has Google Gone Too Far?

It’s just over a year since Google updated it’s algorithm to focus on website load speed as a major ranking factor. Since then it has become more and more important to optimise a website for speed to maintain or achieve good rankings in the organic search listings.

Of course, the speed of a website has long been a ranking factor but the difference over the past year is that it’s the speed on mobile devices that is now the measure that contributes to a site’s ranking position – when previously it was the speed on a desktop computer. And for almost every site the mobile speed is typically worse, even for mobile optimised sites.

How fast a website loads matters – don’t we all want answers and info as quickly as possible whatever we are searching for? So the principle of prioritising sites that load quickly is a sensible one.

The problem is that the balance of power seems to have shifted to mobile speed to the exclusion of almost all else.

Back in July 2018 in Google’s announcement of the algorithm update they said:

The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

Mmm – that’s not what I’m seeing at the moment.

Let’s take just one example:

A client website has a well-optimised, but not over-optimised, page on a particular key topic with good formatting and layout so it’s easy to read. And the WordPress plugin Yoast has given the green light to this target page (yes, I know Yoast is easy to fool but in this case the green light is genuine).

In total there are approx. 1,700 words of unique content on the page, it is linked to from other pages internally within the site and overall it should rank reasonably well in Google, but…

And, this is where I can’t quite believe Google’s assertion that great, relevant content will still trump a slow page…

…A random blog post about a different topic is appearing at position 11 in the organic search listings. That random blog post has little in the way of formatting, a single image and only 500 words of content. It has none of the well-designed, well-formatted layout of the target page.

So what’s going on? I’m glad you asked.

The key difference between the basic blog post and the well-optimised page is mobile speed. Both pages have similar speed on desktop – up in the high 90’s.

desktop page speed insights

 

But the basic blog post has a mobile page speed of 85…

page speed 85

 

While the target page only has a page speed of 58.

Low mobile page speed

 

We made some improvements to the target page (the one we wanted to rank) to improve the speed and happily this relevant page that has the information any visitor would be expecting has now superseded the standard, mostly irrelevant, blog post in the search listings.

 

The issue here is that to improve the speed we had to remove some nice design features. When surely the page content should have carried more weight than it did in the ranking algorithm? Has Google simply gone too far assigning the most weight to mobile page speed to the exclusion of all else on the page?

 

So if you have certain pages ranking in preference to the page you want to rank, then check mobile page speed for any significant difference. That could be the source of your problem too.

We use the free Google tool PageSpeed Insights which also makes suggestions for performance optimisation improvements.

 

As always, if you have any feedback please feel free to leave a comment below.

Or if you want to find out how we can help your website attract more customers get in touch at hello@dittodigital.co.uk or just call for  a chat on 01494 530233.