SEO Guides

Guides to best practice SEO

SEO Knowledge Bank & Guides

search engine optimisationSome helpful guides to begin and continue your journey to page 1 rankings in Google and other major search engines via organic visibility.

What Are hreflang Tags And Does Your Business Need Them For SEO?

Online marketing enables businesses to open their virtual shop doors to the world. Our advice to business owners that can feasibly attract international clientele is: don’t forget to include hreflang tags. If you need to brush up on why hreflang tags are important, you can do that right here, right now. The hreflang tag has a direct correlation to websites that publish content in various different languages. It is also used as a ranking metric when faced with multiple URLs which are the same content by search engines which we will come on to later. First we’re going to tackle why you need hreflang tags. Why are hreflang tags required? hreflang tags are the solution to potential technical SEO problems for online businesses that publish content in different languages. The first problem the tag solves is ranking pages in relevant search engines. For example, let’s say you publish two similar pieces of content on your website, one in English and the other in Spanish. If the search query of an end-user in Spain matches your content, the webpage that contains the Spanish version will show up in their search results rather than the English version. But only if you use hreflang tags to inform search engines there is a duplicate page in another language. It should be noted as this point that the hreflang tag only flags up languages, not countries. Therefore, a hreflang tag on a page containing Spanish content will show up in search engines on all Spanish speaking countries. How does hrelang benefit SEO? The hreflang tag benefits SEO in two ways: the first one demonstrated above...

What Ranking Factors Should You Concentrate On?

Earlier this year, Google revealed its three most important ranking factors are content, links and RankBrain. We have a few more to add to these, and don’t think the need for publishing quality content needs further explanation. And if you do publish shareable content you may naturally receive inbound links (but you’ll likely need to promote this via social media and outreach in order for people to find it if you don’t already have an engaged audience). But there are also other important metrics you should watch closely to improve your SEO and ultimately your visibility in search engine rankings.  In fact, there are supposedly over 200 ranking factors that Google takes into consideration when it comes to ordering pages in search.  By the way, PageRank is only one of them, so don’t be fooled that it is the be-all and end-all. Information architecture The information architecture (IA) of a website is how your navigational pathways are organised and how content flows within that structure. The purpose of planning IA is to make your website as easy to use as possible. When visitors to a website cannot find what they are looking for quickly, they get frustrating and will leave. One of the greatest causes in lost traffic is because brands are not providing customers with a good user-experience. Information architecture is not only used by humans either. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. By using a strong, organised website structure with clear ways to find pages in categories and subcategories or by site section themes, you send a clear signal...

Google Add User Explorer to Google Analytics

f you use Google Analytics – and you should be – you may have noticed a new feature has appeared in the Audience menu: User Explorer.
The Big G has announced it is slowly rolling out the new metric, and the companies promotions team has been lauding the feature, describing it as “exciting” “stunning” and “long-awaited”.

5 Google Analytic Metrics To Look at in 2016

The importance of Google analytics should not be underestimated. The data you can pull from this free tool is SEO gold when it comes to tweaking your digital marketing engine. As search technology becomes more sophisticated, specific data analytics become evidently more useful and/or important. Here are five you should be taking a good look at this year. User behaviour Given search engines are fixated with improving user-experience, logic would suggest how visitors use your site is arguably the most important metric search engines use to assess the merits of your website. One of the key stats is how long readers stay on a page and how many average page views you receive per visit. If visitors are hanging around to absorb page content and exploring other areas of your site, you can be assured your content is engaging and your SERPS will improve. Also check bounce rate. If it is high, look into which pages visitors arrive to your site and which they are leaving from.  That said, don’t assume that a high bounce rate is a bad thing, particularly if your page meets needs (for example, it could be an article which you want visitors to read if you are a publisher, with few other actions required – perhaps consider measuring this in combination with dwell time to see if people are sticking around on those pages or whether they are pogo-sticking straight out of the page again).  A high bounce rate could mean that you have actually met their needs in the first place, so it’s not wise to simply look at one metric in isolation....

Is Google Replacing Organic Results With Paid Ads?

When Google announced they were removing the right menu bar of paid ads, it raised a few eyebrows amongst marketers. The official reason was so the search engine could add an extra paid ad at the top of the screen. Given most clickthroughs come from the first three paid ads above the fold, there is justification for the change. But removing the entire right-side menu means fewer paid ads appear on page one of Google. There is clearly more to this story. Removing the clutter of paid ads from the right-hand side of search results does create a better-user experience. The results page is now much cleaner and less busy to look at – especially on mobile handsets. But by removing the number of Adwords from the first page of Google means there is less primary ad space for businesses paying for a PPC campaign to occupy. Could reduced visibility have a negative impact on PPC campaigns or Google’s ad revenue? It is unlikely the search engine giant is likely to allow either of those scenarios to happen. That can only mean the Big G has a contingency plan. How will Paid Ads impact searches? Research shows that the top three paid ads above the fold receive the most clicks – 41.4%. Google has now added a fourth paid ad box to fill this space which typically takes all the space above the fold. It will be interesting to see how results pan out in the coming months, but there is a real threat that pushing organic results down the page will result in less traffic for websites that...

How To Approach Influencers and Earn Backlinks

Before we explain how to earn backlinks from influencers, we must stress that this SEO tactic will only work if you are publishing high-quality content people are engaging with. If not, make that your priority. Influencers are like gold dust to an online business. Once you get an influential web celebrity or industry authority in your corner you can expect to increase your online profile, increase traffic and acquire new customers. The first task is to identify influencers in your industry. This is important. There is no point making friends with people just because they have a large following. There has to be relevancy otherwise you will not connect with the right audience. The best way to find influencers is through search engines and on social media. Get to know them and understand how they think before you approach. Follow their social feeds and read their blogs. It is important to understand what type of character the influencer is, what they most love to talk about, what sense of humour they have. This type of character profiling will pay dividends later on when you come to building a rapport. Take an active interest Now you have learned a little about the influencers you would like to target, you can confidently make comments on their blog posts and social media feeds. Like their posts, share their content. Never approach influencers outright asking for help. You have to take a genuine interest in their work.  It’s even better, of course, if you do have a genuine interest in their work.  They will gradually notice you and may even respond – even...

Focus On Content, But Don’t Lose Sight Of Technical SEO

There is a focus on content in the digital marketing sphere. And not without good reason. Content attracts readers, drives traffic, raises your online profile and improves search engine rankings. But there is little point in creating quality content if the technical elements of your website are not in place to host it. Technical SEO is the foundation from which you build a successful online business. Digital marketing is a complex web of interconnected strategies. Furthermore, the components have a knock-on affect which either supports or hinders the entire campaign. Such is the case with technical SEO. The fundamental workings of a digital business are in the background of your website, and if they are not functioning correctly, your entire online marketing efforts collapse in on itself. The importance of technical structure The technical structure of your website impacts on usability, crawlability and performance. If any of these three components is flawed, it does not matter how much content you produce, you will not improve your visibility in search rankings. Usability User-experience (UX) is vitally important to retaining visitors and increasing conversions. If customers cannot easily navigate your website and find the information and products they are looking for they will leave and check out the competition instead. The information architecture is one of the first components of a website to address. You need to define a clear purchasing path and make it easy for customers to get from where they are to where they want to be in the least amount of clicks. Crawlability The technical structure of your online store or website has to be accessible and...

What Can We Expect From The Impending Penguin Algorithm Update?

Google are planning another Penguin update. The good news for webmasters is that this update offers benefits rather than penalties.

A Tweet by Google’s trend Analyst, Gary Illyes back in October 2015, suggested the algorithm update would be launched by the end of the year. The company has since postponed the release, keen to ensure that it is ‘just right’ before full release into the wild.

Google Core Quality Update in January

It appears Google is continuing to roll-out its “core quality updates.” We noticed some movement in correlation to core keywords and a number of tools were reporting flux following the week ending Sunday 10th January and other SEO’s reported changes as well.

The digital marketing industry has been/is expecting a new Penguin update, and some commentators reported the update went live over the weekend, which is understandable given then long awaited and expected Penguin.

Predictive Search And RankBrain – Two Major Signals That Will Change The SEO Landscape

When Google announced it has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system as part of its Hummingbird algorithm, online marketers were put on red alert.
Codenamed RankBrain, the latest instalment of Google’s search algorithm and uses machine learning technology to give the capacity to become more intuitive.
In short, Google’s search engine will get intuitively smarter the more information it learns. The machine learning algorithm will become a major player in the way searchers interact with web pages.

How Apps Are Replacing Site-Based Rankings In Search Engines?

Technology has a short shelf-life. We know this. But is there a plausible alternative to SEO than site-based rankings?

Apparently so!

Apps have been rattling around for a few years now, and they are starting to make a noise.

With the onset of deep indexing in apps, it could be quite possible that by the end of 2016, search could take on an entirely new concept. It certainly gives online marketers something to think about!

Why It Is Important To Optimise Your Homepage

The Homepage is typically the most visited page of any website – therefore it needs to make a good first impression.
Search engines use a broad framework of search objectives to deliver websites that best fit the end-users description, so the better optimised your site, the more chance you have of being found.
But regardless of how visitors arrive at your site, they will take a look at your website to learn more about your business, content, products and offers. And to find out this information, they will navigate to your homepage.

How Does Google Rank Website?

The title question is the shadow on the back of every web owners mind. The truth is, nobody knows exactly how search engines factor in metrics, and Google is keeping shtum about their methods of calculating PageRank (or its equivalent since PageRank hasn’t updated for a long time, and is not likely to do so again).

However, through a series of tests, research, experience and understanding Google Guidelines, SEO service providers can work out some of the key ingredients web owners need to boost PageRank.

Is Back-Linking Black Hat And Is It Dead?

Link building has gotten a bad name for itself over the last couple of years. Actually unruly SEO practices by black-hat digital marketers have earned link building a bad name. As a result Google launched Penguin and the algorithm does not take any prisoners. Consequently, online business owners are put off by the idea of inbound links. It’s hardly surprising. Google is very clear about the rules: “Do not buy, sell, exchange or ask for links that may violate our link building webmaster guidelines!” Big G’s declaration strikes terror in digital marketers. Some SEO agencies even go as far as saying link building is dead. That doesn’t come as a surprise either. You probably don’t believe that link building is not dead. It’s not dead really… You just have to be more creative, and if you stick to Google’s webmaster guidelines (like every good white hat agency has done from day one), you have nothing to worry about. Not only that but you can reap the rewards – especially now most of your rivals have been put off inbound marketing. And we are not alone in recognising there are still merits in building links; some of the most prevalent SEO thought leaders agree that online business owners should not be too quick to dismiss the idea of link building. The difference between the old rules of link building and the evolution of earning links means you have to be publishing excellent content and promoting it through the right channels. Why you should Look To Gain links Inserting links on your own site and directing them to third party sites gives...

Need To Improve Your Organic Search: Here’s How

If you have a website and hope to attract online customers to your online store, you need to be visible in search engines. Organic search is essential for the survival of online businesses so how can you improve your ranking? To improve your standings in organic search results you need visibility. Below, we will look at the three vital ingredients you need to improve your visibility in organic search results. Local search Although the appeal of the worldwide web gives you the potential to sell to an international audience, the vast majority of online businesses essentially rely on local trade. Therefore local SEO is vital. Optimising your site for local SEO will mean you appear in search results when the end-user names a location in their search terms. Furthermore, a search engine study reveals that 50% of users with local intent will call or visit your store within 24 hours. Publish content The main driver behind improving organic search is content. If you want search engines to recognise you as a trustworthy and authoritative source to whom they can direct users, you have to publish content which proves you are an expert in your field who has authority and can be trusted. Maintaining a blog is vital. Every time you publish a piece of content, search engine crawlers visit and score your site. Disseminating content on social media networks will also attract traffic and help improve your ranking – providing the content is good enough of course. Paid Search Okay, paid search is not organic search, but it can lead to better rankings which ultimately improves your visibility in...

6 Local SEO Tips

Successful online business owners recognise local SEO is essential. Although the www. promises an international audience, the majority of businesses rely on local customers to survive. Local SEO involves optimising your site so that it will show in search results where the end-user has signalled geographical intent. Furthermore, having an online presence is proven to attract local customers to your physical store. But online business owners are still getting local SEO wrong, so what can you do to increase your visibility in local search results? Onsite optimisation Your first point of focus should be your website. Your contact page should include all your contact details including postcode and ideally a Google map. This identifies to users exactly where you are located so they can easily find your physical store. You should also be optimising product pages with your location, your town or city, and even your neighbourhood. You do not need to be too creative. Imagine what search terms prospects will use to find your products and make sure those keywords are including in your page content. Online directories Local directories go a long way to increasing the visibility of your business and you should include yourself in all the vital directories that cover your industry together with general directories such as Yelp. Google+ Although Google+ may not have mastered the social network touch, it does feature in search results and gives you more visibility to local users than any other social media network. By updating your My Business profile in Google+ and posting content on the network, you will perform better in local search and organic search results...

Are You Including Seasonality In Your SEO Projections?

Whether your business attracts customers online or offline, there is often a seasonal drop. Because of this marketers have to manage their advertising budget so spend is not wasted during low season. Businesses that are new to online marketing may not be fully aware of seasonal drops. Obviously, if you have performance data from previous years, you may be able to determine if this is something your business suffers – but then again, the lull may have been down to other factors. Perhaps you were not visible enough in search engines for a while and only sporadically attracted customers through social media. You will need to look at what SEO and social strategies you were running at the time. It is likely that some tactics worked better than others. So now you are analysing stats and scratching your head. Rather than count traffic numbers, determine the month on month increase in traffic. If your company typically uses quarterly reports, break these down to months as this is easier to determine the amount of marginal growth for the same period each year. Key points to remember about traffic You then need to determine whether an increase was due to a targeted marketing campaign that attracted traffic. Did this have any effect on season, or was it purposely designed for a specific time of year when your industry is mostly in demand? When working offline, most businesses do not need analysis reports to know when they are about to hit a high season. But do you know whether you are suffering the same fall of traffic in low season. Traffic will...

5 SEO Verticals To Improve Page Rank

There are many tactics you can employ to improve your SEO, both on-page and off-page. Today we are going to look at our favourite five verticals with which we have the most success. Your SEO strategy of course, should not be limited to these five tactics alone, but they do form the core of your SEO success, thus you cannot improve you page rank (or it’s equivalent since Google has not updated the page rank status of sites in a long time, nor intends to do so), without them. Strong site structure Site structure IS the foundation of your SEO. Google stress the need for good user experience therefore information architecture is vital. Visitors should be able to easily navigate to the part of your site THEY want to go and not where you want to take them. The structure of your site therefore requires categories and menus that are functional, clearly signposted and well-organised. Without a site structure, visitors will struggle to find information they want quickly and will leave frustrated. Crawl optimisation A good site structure also makes it easier for search engine bots to crawl your site and index pages. Crawlers cannot automatically determine everything on any one page, and if your pages are not optimised they will not be indexed properly therefore will not appear in search engines results. Mobile optimization Mobile marketing is the fastest growing industry ever and is set to keep on growing and growing. And growing. In short, you cannot afford to ignore mobile optimisation – especially since Google took the decision to penalise websites that are not optimised for mobile...

What You Need To Know About Google’s Knowledge-Based Trust Scores

Earlier this year, the New Scientist published an article announcing Googles plans to launch a “Trust Algorithm.” The Knowledge-based Trust score will report on how accurate information on the web is in an attempt to weed out false information. The proposed algorithm will become an attribute towards Google ranking measurements to determine how high a website features in search results. So how will it work, and is there anything for online business owners to worry about? Google has a “Knowledge base” which is an accumulation of facts that are proven, or most commonly known. The search engine giant intends to use the information stored in their fact bank and cross reference it with information on websites. According to the magazine, Google intends to “rank websites based on facts, rather than links.” It appears therefore that building inbound links will become a thing of the past. Whether the search engine will count existing links has not been mentioned. What we do know is that the Knowledge-Based Trust algorithm will work like this: Extract information from all websites across the web Estimate correctness (no explanation what constitutes correctness, but presumably, the most common “fact”) Identify incorrect information on webpages Websites given a trustworthiness signal There is no penalty for a lack of facts Google has not yet stated when they expect the trust algorithm will be incorporated into existing technology, because there are several issues that need resolving. How will the trust algorithm determine “facts”? The algorithm works by using factors referred to as Knowledge Triples; subject, predicate and object. The subject is a person, place or item, the predicate is...
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