We are now 6 weeks into 2016 and I am sure just like myself and the rest of the team here at All Things Web® you are firmly back into the swing of things. Fingers crossed you already have enquiries coming through the door.
At the end of 2015 Helen wrote a blog post on the Cornerstones of a Successful Marketing Strategy if you haven’t had a chance to read it check it out. If you have then hopefully you are already constructing your marketing strategy for 2016 using Helen’s expert advice.
What you will find this time of year is an array of blog posts summarising 2015 and the trends you should be looking out for in 2016. So I thought it would be a great idea to highlight some of the key marketing lessons that you should be looking out for this year including how All Things Web® will be sharing some of our expert advice with you for free.
Is there now no excuse to not move your website to HTTPS?
I’ve peridocally advised clients it would be a good idea to move their HTTP websites to HTTPS versions over the years, mostly for their peace of mind and that it would become a de-facto standard online.
That seems it might be the case in the near future.
Word has it that Google’s internet browser, Chrome, is in the running to mark websites ‘Insecure’ that do use HTTP. In my opinion this makes it a leading priority for your website. Chrome is a popular browser and this could affect people visiting your site if they see it marked “insecure”. You could see a downturn in online sales too.
For your peace of mind and for your website visitors security it is time to get serious about moving your site to HTTPS.
The process in theory is quite simple, particularly for smaller sites. The common pitfalls are placing your pages in the HTTPS folder but leaving images on the non https part of the site. This then causes notices in a users browser that your site is using insecure resources on a secure page, again a trust and conversion killer.
If you’re unsure of the requirements then give us a call on 01793 766040 or you can find out more here from Google.
Audit – SEO audit is a report that benchmarks your website in terms of its optimisation against current best practices and your competitors and helps devise a future strategy.
Alt Tag – a tag that is used to describe the content of an image to someone who uses a screen reader – it also helps optimise images to be found in Google Image search.
Anchor Text – this is the text used to link through to from one piece of online content to another. Using keywords in your anchor text used to be an effective way of pushing a keyphrase on a website. It is less effective now, especially if you over do it.
Optimising websites for better rankings is no longer just a case of shoehorning in your keywords into your page content and praying to the Google gods that it will work for you. Suffice to say if your copy isn’t optimised at all or really badly targeted and you add in a few phrases, then this will help but will it really propel you into higher overall positions enabling you to gain more traffic and leads? Not really.
So what to do?
Well Google has kindly released its general Quality guidelines (fully updated for 2015) for its Search Quality Rating Program. I have spent some time pulling out the key information you need to bear in mind if you want to improve your chances of ranking highly.
This may be something that would never occur to you and not surprisingly, as looking at the front end of your website you may think that everything looks in order. So what health problems might your website have and if it looks OK why should you care?
Possible Health problems
We have put together a list of some of the most important health problems that will affect a website’s performance from an SEO perspective and from a visitor experience point of view. There are many other factors which we have touched on in other blog posts but these are the critical few:
Any serious SEO worth his or her salt knows that keyword phrases are still an essential part of everyday SEO, even if some say that keywords for use in SEO are dying (and in my opinion this just isn’t true at this moment).
So stop listening to the naysayers of SEO, researching the phrases, and their intent from a user’s perspective, is still an important SEO task.
In the past when I was asked what the best tools for researching your keywords are, I’d reply your brain, Excel and a brainstorming session.
But in 2015 we’re pretty spoilt for choice with keyword research tools so I thought I’d give a brief list of some of my favourite tools. They’ll allow you to hunt down those all-so-useful phrases we should look to target in our website copy to help ensure searchers find our sites on search engines.
Please note I’d recommend you use these tools to help you use natural language when writing for web pages. Back in the good old days you might have got away with just repeating a keyword phrase across a page in a bid to get it to rank, but I would strongly recommend you now use these tools to look for keywords and their variations. Keyword spamming your pages is certainly not recommended these days!
As the internet evolves into the Semantic Web, it may have not escaped your notice that Schema Mark-up data is increasingly being used by search engines in their results pages to display what is known as “Rich Snippets”.
This is already significantly affecting search engine results and maximising opportunities to attract more users to your site. Marked up data is likely to exert an even stronger influence over results in the coming years ahead which can only benefit you even more.
Have you ever gone to a website only to become very frustrated because you can’t find what you are looking for? Or the functionality falls short of the mark?
Chances are yes you have. And usually you will exit that website pretty sharply to find an alternative source for the information or product you want. This is clearly not what you want your potential customers doing when they come to your website.
I’ve been writing, editing and optimising copy for client’s websites for 15 years now and I’m still surprised by how many people ask me “what’s the special sauce for reaching the right keyword density?”
If you search Google for “keyword density” you’ll find plenty of results on the magic formula – this tends to lead people to that if Google is presenting these kinds of results in the SERPS, with the Panda algorithm in effect, then it must still be working.
Back this up with certain websites still managing to rank for their targeted keyword phrases whilst their copy looks extremely repetitive, and like it has been rinsed through keyword spinning software then it’s difficult for some folk to let go of the keyword density concept.
Oddly Google has never applied for any patents to cover Keyword Density (KWD) in its algorithms so this is a strong signal that KWD is something that they do not believe should be used as a yardstick.
As you probably know Google is pushing webmasters to significantly improve their websites mobile experience, and now they are requesting that your online forms are made easier to fill out for someone on their mobile phone.
According to the firm it is apparent that many website owners have been marking up their site forms for auto-completion by way of Google’s “autocomplete” feature included in their Chrome browser.