Sorry to sound bossy, but if the content hasn’t been updated on your website for a while, make sure you do it now!
The reason for my urgency is the latest update from Google. This mini amendment to the search engine’s algorithm is rooting out out-of date or spammy content. This means that if you haven’t updated the content on your website for a long time, you may see your keyword rankings drop, or even disappear altogether.
Before you panic at this news, it’s important to remember that Google (usually) makes updates that benefit the user – i.e your customers. No customer wants to read outdated content on your site, so why should Google rate your site if your copy is old?
The most successful websites add fresh content regularly, so you should therefore get into the habit of updating your content often. The easiest way to do this is to start a blog and write posts regularly. This doesn’t have to be a huge job – just a couple of paragraphs weekly would be a good place to start. You can talk about anything you like – industry opinions, company news, new orders, business trips etc – just make sure it’s relevant and well written.
As part of your content overhaul you should also re-write the text on your homepage and about page (plus any other pages that have text present). I have lost count of the number of websites I have seen that display the names of long-gone members of staff, old addresses; or information about an event that happened years ago! Make sure you amend these details as soon as they happen to keep your website fresh and relevant for your customers – and Google will be happy too.
Last month, I shared my thoughts about paying for search engine results with you. We established that the answer to the question ‘Is everyone paying for search engine rankings?’ was yes, yes and thrice YES.
So how on earth is Google currently using its great algorithmic capability to work out search engine results?
I am not going to list every factor for three reasons:
1) I want to concentrate on a big factor here, rather than fill 135 pages and bore you readers rigid!
2) I probably would run out of breath (and brain power!!) to list them all.
3) I don’t every single factor of the algorithm and it’s weighting – nobody does, not even the team at Google!
One thing is for sure, I don’t always agree with the way that the Google algorithm works when it comes to one particular element – links. Google’s official guidelines mention that links should not be bought, or sourced from spammy sites.
However, in practice the opposite often applies…
- The website with the greatest number of links is ranked highest – IMO this is WRONG
- The links do not have to be from a relevant site – IMO this is EVEN MORE WRONG!
This shows that links can be bought easily and utilized to help rankings, despite Google saying that they should not be bought. So does Google have any real way of finding out? – I DON’T THINK SO
Short answer? – YES!!
Whether through Adwords/PPC or organic? – YES!!
Whether ‘off-site or on-Site’? – YES!!
Whether through blogs or satellite sites? – YES!!
Instances of your website reaching the dizzy heights of page one rankings in Google naturally are becoming rarer and rarer. If you don’t pay, you don’t get – this has to be the realistic mantra for achieving great rankings.
Over coming weeks, I will explain the reasons behind this. You may even be shocked by some of the revelations revealed in these articles about the lengths some people will go to get the rankings they want.
Come back to the blog to learn some very harsh realizations of the real world of Google rankings, on which we have all begun to rely.
According to Experian Hitwise the busiest day for online retailers in 2010 wasn’t in the run up to Christmas – it was Boxing Day.
Online Retailers in the UK saw traffic levels rise 12% higher than pre-Christmas Traffic Peaks. The second busiest day was the day after – the 27th December. It seems that a lot of turkey-stuffed shoppers are beating the queues and shopping in online sales, rather than hitting the high street.
If you haven’t already thought about how to attract visitors to your website over the festive season, then it’s not too late for a pay-per-click campaign. Trying Google Adwords could be one the best ways to turn some of this festive traffic into conversions for your website. We still have some Google Adwords vouchers available if you want to give it a try, so call us today!
Here are some simple ways to increase you ROI via conversion rate optimisation.
1. Be Relevant
Your ad text or meta description should always be relevant so the user will know what to expect when they arrive on your website. There is no point making wild claims that are not reflected on the site as this will just lead to poor bounce rates. Make sure that you use the keyword in your H1 title as this will help with both users and search engines. Perhaps one of the most vital points to consider in term of relevancy for the user is to use an accurate image. All to often I see generic images used on eCommerce sites, this will do nothing to improve sales. Always use your keywords in crawlable areas of the page as well utilising keywords in the domain if you can.
You must quickly and simply portray your business proposition to your customer, frame the product or service in your opening text, ensure you prioritise your key features and benefits, consider the best way to get your point across – text, image, Video? Next try to see it from your customers point of view, see if you can handle any objections or concerns they may have about purchasing from you. One final point to consider is not to overwhelm the the user, do not be tempted to bombard them with too much information – an alternative may be to include downloadable demo, white papers or fact sheets. Always use a call to action.
The more trust your site can instill in the user the more sales it will make. This statement is so true for on-line shops. This can be done by the site itself as well as in the promotion of your company brand and the product/service brand. Your main enemies here are scepticism brought about by lack of information, not including reputable 3rd party ratings/awards and badges, and not have an SSL or payment system from a good provider. Try to use trust inspiring text, for example point it out if you have secure check out system, include testimonials in either text or video format. In terms of the web design you need to have a clean and tidy looking site, it should look professional and not rushed or cheap.
4. Understand User Intent
Try to find out what your typical customer responds to, try varied approaches and stick with the one that works best. You could try a softer call to actions or a harder approach, you may wish to experiment with different web designs and ways of presenting data, perhaps you will convert better if you can engage with the customer in a phone call? The key with all the things you try to is to ensure that you have a tested it in a fair way and to measure your success. Once you have a good amount of data you can choose the best way to proceed in terms of your customers intent.
5. Remove Distractions
Remember that the more obstacles you put between the moment a user enters your site and the point of sale the more likley it is that the sale will not complete. Your sales process should be simple, linear and as easy as possible. Common issues are including global navigation on your PPC landing pages, not using technology’s like JQuery to stop users from leaving the sales funnel by utilising tabbed pages of JS overlays to keep users on the page, off topic text and distracting images, asking for too much information from the user just to make the sale.
To find out more about conversion rate optimisation, get in touch with us here at eSterling.
This week Google have launched a new feature on Google+, called Google+ Pages. This allows businesses to set up Google+ accounts as a way for them to interact with their customers through Google’s social network.
Up to now Google+ has been purely a people-to-people social network, but this is the internet giant’s first attempt at using the network to connect people to businesses.
The pages are similar to company pages on Facebook and will work in similar way. Customers can already +1 your page providing you have a +1 button on your web site, but now they can also add you to their “Circles”. This means they will be kept up to date with whatever you put on your Google+ pages.
If you want to get your business on Google+ or wish to discuss any aspects of using social networks to connect with potential and existing customers give us a call and speak to one of our social media experts.
November is upon us and that can only mean one thing – it’s practically Christmas! Consumers are sure to start their Christmas shopping in the next few weeks and many people will be turning to online stores to beat the queues.
A recent study by e-commerce data quality experts at Postcode Anywhere polled a thousand UK consumers. The results show that while 25% of consumers plan to buy more Christmas presents online this year than last, only 5% will reduce their online spend.
Postcode Anywhere’s sales and marketing director Phil Rothwell said, “With 5% set to reduce spend and 25% to spend more, all things being equal, retailers could well be looking at a rise of around 20% in online sales this Christmas, a similar increase to last year. This is a fairly significant finding, but possibly not a surprising one given the circumstances.”
If you own an e-commerce website you should be thinking about how you can maximise seasonal sales. An easy way to do this is to start an Adwords campaign, which allows you to advertise on Google quickly and simply. You can choose your own monthly budget and even control when your ad appears.
If you already have an Adwords campaign, you should think about increasing your budget from now until January to maximise Christmas sales. Don’t forget that many consumers will be looking for great deals in January as well!
Here at eSterling we can provide you with assistance with Adwords, so if you would like to find out more please get in touch.
I’ve been asking this question to our SEO team for a while now. Why is it that Google ‘likes’ links? And how can this be fair?
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of ‘links’, here’s some background information:
- Links (also known as backlinks) are from another site to your site
- Links can help your Google rankings because ‘they are a useful way of measuring a site’s value’
- The quantity and quality of links count towards your site’s rating
Google’s official guidelines state that links should be from trusted sources and should not be bought and sold illegitimately. This is part of Google’s commitment to make search results fair.
But in reality there is very little sanctioning to determine which links are legitimate and which aren’t. This means that successfully ranking sites often have links from what could only be described as ‘dodgy’ sources and are not penalised at all. Therefore many webmasters continue to buy their links from questionable sources simply because they are getting results.
As buying large quantities of links ultimately comes down to money, then companies with a higher budget can achieve better rankings. But isn’t this at the expense of search relevance?
So how can Google root out this practice? The trouble is that links are an SEO factor that is out of the webmaster’s control. In theory, you can’t help who links to your site and this means there is potential for interference from competitors should Google crack-down on ‘bad’ links.
This leaves Google with a conundrum. Either Google accepts that all links are a ‘vote of confidence’ from other users and gives them all a green light (no matter their legitimacy); or Google decides to ban all links (no matter the relevancy). Or perhaps, and in my opinion, the ‘right’ way would be to use a clever algorithm to root out those links that are irrelevant.
Unfortunately, SEO companies have very little control over Google’s decisions. We have to move with the times and do what Google says (and not necessarily as they do). But is the integrity of search being spoiled by this factor? I would certainly welcome your comments on links and how they should affect SEO rankings.
I’d forgive you if you didn’t believe this headline (I had to check April Fools Day hadn’t come early myself!), yet it’s true – the Hammer-pants-wearing entrepreneur has launched his very own search engine.
It’s called WireDoo and MC Hammer is hoping that it will revolutionise search in the same way that Google has. The concept of WireDoo isn’t bad – Mr Hammer calls the way it works a ‘deep search’ and hopes it will return results based on relational topics.
MC Hammer, real name Stanley Kirk Burrell, discussed this in more detail at the Web 2.0 Summit inSan Francisco. He explained that today’s search engines work by connecting keywords (search terms) to one topic (not an entirely accurate view I must add). However, MC Hammer believes that when you search for a home, you will want to see information about the surrounding community, schools and crime statistics etc. And this is exactly what WireDoo claims to achieve, hence the tagline is “Search once and see what’s related.”
The rapper didn’t reveal much more about the how the search engine will work in practice and we’ll have to wait a little longer to try it for ourselves as it is currently in pre-beta. You can however sign-up to get access to WireDoo as soon as it’s ready.
Taking on Google will no-doubt be a tough one for MC Hammer and if he wants to prove he’s ‘Too Legit to Quit’ he’ll have to be prepared for a rough ride. Toppling Google has so far proved difficult for big-hitters such as Yahoo and Bing and many other failed projects (who remembers HotBot, AltaVista and Infoseek?).
However, if MC Hammer’s project does take off, eSterling will be the first to let you know. You Can’t Touch This!
Google, in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau, have launched an excellent new site called ‘Good to know’. The site aims to provide tips and advice about online security and privacy issues to users of all levels to help them protect their personal information on the web. Check out the site for yourself here.
The site offers advice on a range of issues from choosing online passwords, password strength and signing out of web sites correctly to more advanced issues such as secure sites, SSLs and cookies.
As you would expect from Google the site is well designed and easy to use, all the information is written in a way that can be understood by all levels of user, almost all the advice given comes with a tutorial video to explain the issues further and there are many links to other sites that you may find useful. There is also a handy Jargon Buster section for those who don’t know their spam from their cookies.
This site is an invaluable resource for almost all internet users, but it is also very useful for anyone who owns a web site. Web site owners (particularly those with ecommerce sites) should take a look at the Good to Know site and assess if their own sites conform to the advice given by Google about safe sites. If your site does not conform to Google’s advice then you may lose credibility; but more importantly you may also lose potential customers who do not trust your site enough to make purchases on it.
If you feel your site does not conform to the advice given on Good to Know or you want to discuss any specific issues around the security of your web site, give us a call and we will be happy to advise you of ways you can increase the security of your site.