We are delighted to be supporting our partner charity, Kangaroos, at the Cuckfield Church Christmas Tree Festival at the parish church of Holy Trinity. This year, the festival is partnering with Kangaroos to raise much needed funds for this amazing charity, so we of course wanted to be involved.
Every year local businesses sponsor trees at the festival and half of the funds raised go to the chosen charity. Businesses are invited to decorate a tree in the church either to a Christmas theme or to represent their organisation.
The first festival was held in 2003 and due to its tremendous success, it has become an annual event the local community look forward to every year.
Artemis have sponsored a tree at this year’s festival for the first time in support of Kangaroos. We decided on our theme ‘SEO stardom’ and to represent the ethical side of our business we voted to handmake all of our Christmas decorations (not a plastic decoration in sight!). Well done to the Artemis crafters! You did a great job!
A bunch of the Artemis team have been busy over the last few weeks getting together (at the pub) to make a zillion stars (well not a zillion, but it felt like it!) and today we headed down to the church to decorate our tree, ready for the festival which runs over this coming weekend (Friday 7th December – 9th December).
We were blown away by the wonderful displays and we think we did an amazing job with our tree too.
Please go and support Kangaroos this weekend. There is a rich music programme running all weekend with choirs, instrumental performances and singers. See the programme of events here. We can’t recommend this event highly enough.
Pop in and see our tree. Some of the Artemis team will be there on Saturday afternoon helping out on the Kangaroos stall. Do come and say hello if you can make it. It’s the perfect event to get you in the Christmas spirit.
We’ve been really proud of our efforts to support Kangaroos over the course of 2018, raising nearly £6.5K. Kangaroos run fun and social activities in a supported setting for children and young adults with learning disabilities and we know how much this charity means to the young people and families who use their services.
We are looking forward to working with Kangaroos in 2019, which will be their 25th anniversary year and hope to smash our fundraising target of £6K again next year.
This week’s blog is provided by guest writer Vlad Koval from Ahrefs.
Mobile search has been revolutionising the SEO world for several years now. Google recently rolled out their mobile-first index along with AMP (accelerated mobile pages) which led to a certain confusion among website owners and SEOs, as it was unclear how much it will affect the rankings and what needs to be done.
And seeing that the ratio of smartphone searches to desktop ones increases each year, a mobile-friendly site should be at the top of your priorities list. But what exactly does it take to create a mobile version of a site that not only complies with the recommendations by Google but also brings a huge amount of organic traffic?
In this article, we take a look at five key things to consider when you optimise your website for mobile search.
First things first, responsiveness is something most of the website owners fail at. And it can be very challenging since you need to check if everything is intact on so many screens and resolutions. And it is still common to see a broken slider, unusable navigation, overlapping sections, and countless other issues. It makes the whole user experience an absolute disaster. Which means that your website will suffer a big loss in credibility in the eyes of your potential customers.
Not only does it scare people off, it can have a negative impact on your rankings since Google indexes and accesses your mobile version and, as many SEOs believe, also behaviour aspects such as dwell time. And even though Google might rank pages with responsiveness issues, chances are it will gain more significance as a ranking factor in the future.
So, don’t hesitate, grab your smartphone and check your site right now. Although, the more efficient way would be to use specialised tools, like Device toolbar in Chrome:
As you can see, you can choose between the most common mobile devices and test how your site appears on them. The tool is highly accurate and can be recommended. Note that Apple devices can render your site differently; make sure to compare Android and IOS views (and maybe Microsoft for that matter).
The same goes for browsers. Cross-browser compatibility has been a thing for a long time and is still one of the first things to check when optimising for mobile search. At the same time, it probably wouldn’t make much sense to optimise your site for every single browser. Focus on the most popular ones: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
Another important aspect that you shouldn’t ignore landscape mode which is also used when browsing the Internet. Click the toggle button in Device toolbar to check that view:
Mobile versions tend to have less information on the screen which is understandable. But sometimes it comes at the expense of the amount of content a page could have compared to desktop.
Google have explicitly said that both versions need to be equivalent and that includes images, videos, etc. It might be related to Google’s mobile-first index. According to that, the mobile version is prioritised for indexing by Google.
Screen sizes are constantly changing. And you, as a site owner or an SEO, want to be sure that your site works equally well on each of them. And this is what viewport is for. Each of your pages must include a meta viewport tag which gives instructions to browsers on how to control the page’s dimensions and scaling.
If you are a curious, you might’ve seen one of those in source code:
If it’s not set for some reason, the mobile browser will return the desktop version of your site. And this is unarguably bad user experience. You can find out more about it at w3schools.
When you are done tweaking your website to make it look fabulous on mobile devices, it’s time to move on to its usability. This part is less straightforward and usually requires more time to fix. How do you determine if your website is handy on smartphones? There are a huge number of factors that come into play.
Start with the basics, like font; its colour, size, boldness, and font family. Some things work for desktop, but turn out to be a bad choice on mobile. Ask someone to check your page with a fresh set of eyes and ask them if they experience any difficulties and where.
Don’t use more than six words on one line for mobile view. Otherwise, the text gets smaller and smaller making it harder to read. The more effort it takes to check your site, the less time your visitors will spend there. Here’s a great video on top 10 on-page SEO plays which includes tips for enhancing user experience.
Another thing to consider is your buttons. People tend to forget that mouse pointer is much thinner and smaller than a human’s finger. This is why buttons need to be spacious enough for us to be able to click on them. Here’s an example:
If you use any animations, like gifs or video, make sure they are playable but not set to autoplay. Best practice is to let the user decide to play the video or not.
We have been talking so far about things that can improve your website, but there are some that are a big no-no. Some examples include huge newsletters or pop-up windows that cover the whole screen. They are also known as interstitials and can be a reason for penalising. There are three types of pop-ups that are deemed unacceptable by Google:
A pop-up appears immediately after a user navigates to a page through search results and covers the screen
A standalone pop-up that user has to dismiss before viewing that actual content
A layout where the pop-up window is placed at the top, and the rest of the page is in-lined below it
But there are some ways that you can use pop-ups:
Cookies or age verification banners, basically, legal obligation types
Login dialogs where the content is not publicly accessible e.g. the content put behind a paywall
Banners that don’t occupy much space and can be easily dismissed
Instead of bluntly shoving your message into visitor’s faces, try to find a more sophisticated way of delivering it. As a workaround, you can use in-text hyperlinks, CTA buttons, etc. Something less intrusive and more user-focused.
AMP, or accelerated mobile pages, is an open-source library aimed at loading mobile pages in a matter of milliseconds. You might not know that this is not actually Google’s initiative, but a project sponsored by them. There has been a lot of talk around whether this will boost sites’ rankings or not. And the main question is: do you need to create new, AMP-based versions of your pages?
Let’s start with some facts. Google officially stated that they index a non-AMP version of the page first. Which means this is not a compulsory change that everyone needs to implement. At the same time, it’s unlikely they support an idea that wouldn’t make any difference in how Google works.
And AMPs do load pretty much instantly. This icon in the search results indicates that the page is powered by AMP:
However, you do need to sacrifice something to get that awesome page speed:
Style sheets – first of all, AMP is a simplified version of your page which can make it look generic. Prepare to see plain text and images instead of the fancy styles you deliberately picked.
Cache – one of the things that contributes to your pages loading faster is that Google uses a cached version of your content. It is delivered via CDN which makes tracking a lot harder than it used to be. And caching is a core part of the AMP system, so you can’t disable it.
Backlinks – if someone finds your piece of content awesome and wants to link to it, the link will go to google.com. Because Google is the one that serves the content. As a result, you lose a potential backlink. Drawback? Definitely.
AMP is still a great step towards standardised mobile optimisation, it’s just that it’s not perfect and has some flaws to consider. But nevertheless, you can experiment with some of your content anyways to see if it works for you.#
4. Page Speed
Obviously, page speed is related to AMP and usability. But it’s such a huge topic that it deserves its own section. Especially, if you have a regular mobile page. Page speed, bounce rate, and dwell time together have an enormous impact on your rankings. And here’s what you can do to make your pages load faster:
Hosting – no matter how hard you optimised your page the hosting will always be in the way of great speed results. Unless it’s top-notch and works at its highest capacity. You don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive one; it’s more a question of what kind of CMS (or any other solution) you use. For example, Magento 2 websites are very resource-consuming and require a powerful hosting plan.
Minified CSS and JS files – a simple but effective trick. Get rid of spaces between the lines of CSS and JS code so that the browser can load the files faster.
Optimised images – images are the ones that usually take the longest to load resulting in additional seconds no one wants to wait. You can simply compress them to reduce the size.
Use a caching system – again, this depends on the platform you chose for your site. WordPress users can try WP Super Cache plugin. Magento and Prestashop have their own built-in cache functionality. Find the best option for you and get the most of it.
Redirects – too many redirects can cause a significant delay in opening your page. Try to get rid of them or reduce their number where possible.
On having implemented the optimisation tips, you might be wondering how well you did. You can test it with the Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. The tool gives a speed grade for both mobile and desktop views along with some tips and hints on how to fix them.
Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool that helps you find on-site SEO issues of your site, has page speed report based on all the pages crawled within the project:
Run a crawl of your website, get a list of the pages with slow loading speed and fix them using actionable hints.
5. Schema Structured Data
Schema Structured Data is a universal semantic vocabulary used by Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo! It allows the search engines to read the data on your site on another level and return it in a more meaningful way the on results page. This screenshot shows how much information you get just by looking at these product cards:
In this example there is an image, model series, ratings, and category. You might also see price, availability, product description and much more. Basically, you explicitly tell the search engines what types of information you have. But how does this benefit you? There are two main ways:
Higher rankings – as you know, the goal of search engines is to serve the most relevant search results to a user’s query. If you help them make sense of your data, they can easier evaluate the relevance of your page and, theoretically, rank you higher
More traffic – you get the advantage of showing more information at the very first stage of searching. Which means that you will more likely attract users to your site. It’s been known for a while now that features snippets get a lot of traffic
If you check the full tree of elements of schema.org, you will see that there are countless possibilities. It’s quite easy to get overwhelmed by them. You need to focus on things that really matter in your business and highlight them with the mark-up.
Mobile search is an important trend in SEO and its future. If you don’t want to fall behind, you need to make sure you address every aspect of it properly. Start with the technical part and check your site’s responsiveness on mobile both manually and using specialised tools, like Device Toolbar in Chrome.
Then, test how handy your site is. You might discover some issues with fonts, pop-ups that you want to work on. AMP is a cutting-edge solution to slow mobile speed. You should at least consider it but keep in mind that it’s not perfect yet. Additionally, it’s worth going through the list of possible factors that can cause issues with loading speed. Like hosting, minified files, cache, etc.
Finally, schema structured data is a great way to enhance the look of your search results and generate more traffic. This is not something you can ignore if you take your business seriously.
At Artemis, we are specialists in optimising for mobile search and if you are interested in learning more please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.
I joined Artemis as Finance Supervisor in September 2017 – it was my first time working in an SEO company, and there were a few things I found quite different from my experience in other finance roles. If you are thinking of taking your skills in finance into digital marketing here are five things you can expect from a role with an SEO company.
1. No Paper
Gone are the days where every sales and purchase invoice are printed on paper. There may still be companies using reams and reams but when you work for a digital marketing and SEO company, there is no paper anywhere! Of course, this means you need to make sure that your IT department is top notch as they will need to ensure your files are secure.
2. Cloud Accounting Software
There are lots of accounting software around but cloud-based technology is the only way for a progressive SEO company. All your financial reports, bank reconciliations, receivable and payable lists are safely stored in the cloud. This also means you can work from home or even login on your phone with some apps!
3. No more manual
How many sales invoices can you raise in a day? It’s irrelevant now, with automatically generated recurring invoices every month the need for high volume data entry is less important now. Most SEO companies invoice based on ongoing monthly work so there is less chance of error if you are billing the same every month – just make sure you get it right at the start!
Every self-respecting finance professional should know how to use spreadsheets. This is especially true working for an SEO company which constantly requires data analysis. Make sure you know your pivot tables!
5. Fun Atmosphere
Finance has a reputation for being boring, mundane and repetitive. But this is not the case at all when you work in an SEO company. From banter with the account managers to team building days and Netflix in the kitchen at lunch, it can make for a really fun and exciting work atmosphere.
Of course, SEO businesses require skills from many other industries. If you’re interested in working for Artemis, check out our careers page for current vacancies.
As marketers, we can spend all day writing about our fantastic products and services; how it works, what the benefits are and answering FAQs. But customers are increasingly savvy – they understand that any company can create great marketing copy, and where can they find content that they can really trust; customer generated content, of course.
“More than eight-in-10 global respondents (83%) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. But trust isn’t confined only to those in our inner circle. In fact, two-thirds (66%) say they trust consumer opinions posted online—the third-most-trusted format.” – Nielsen
Word-of-mouth marketing should be at the forefront your online strategy. Embrace user-generated content with effective strategies including testimonials, case studies, social media feeds, enabling comments and social sharing.
A classic; written testimonials. There are plenty of tools available to help you collect and manage reviews. Choose from third-party suppliers or review plugins to generate review ratings, testimonial sliders, rating badges and more.
Ask your customer directly, share with them how delighted you’d be to receive their feedback.
Make it simple, provide customers with a direct link and ensure the process is as straight-forward as possible; the less a customer has to do, the better.
If you have physical premises, setup in-shop tablets to collect reviews then and there, ideal for service providers.
Create ‘case studies’ by working with your customers to share how your business helped them. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase your work and how your products or services have impacted the lives of your customers.
Consider the title of this section, ‘case studies’ isn’t necessarily the most enticing tile. Consider ‘recent projects’, ‘customer stories’ and ‘clients we’ve helped’.
Introduce your ‘case study’ with a testimonial from your customer, whether it’s captured on video or written in a quote, this creates an engaging introduction for your potential customers.
Briefly outline the challenge or problem, relating the story to other users.
Provide a summary of results, driven by facts, statistic, graphs or photographs. Use colourful, custom images. A picture is worth a thousand words; even stats can have visual appeal.
You’ve probably spent months, even years building great social profiles by engaging with customers daily. Don’t miss the chance to showcase this social proof on your site using social feeds. You may even increase your social follower count at the same time – it’s a win-win.
Add social feeds to your site, pulling through social engagement. All those likes and comments you’ve received demonstrate just how popular your brand is.
Start a #hashtag campaign on Instagram and add the feed into your website. Push bright and vibrant user-generated content to your website.
Written a great blog post recently? Allow your customers to express thanks and contribute thoughts by enabling comments.
Allow for nested comments, letting customers interact with each other and allowing you to reply directly.
Communicate with customers, keep an eye out for any questions they have or show your gratitude for their engagement by replying.
Whether it’s a product, service or post give your user the option to share the page on social media or email it to a friend. Pages with high levels of social sharing help to capture users’ interest by portraying positive engagement for other users.
Add social sharing buttons to your posts and products.
Demonstrate social proof by choosing social sharing buttons that display the number of shares received.
It’s all about the conversion
Combine user-generated content with clear and bold requests to users. Improve your conversion rate by capturing users who have engaged with your content.
Add calls-to-action to your case studies
Tell users to share your page.
Take the next step after checking out a ‘Recent Project’
Keep track of your feeds, ensuring content displayed on your website hits the mark, but don’t be afraid of a challenging review or comment. Embrace the opportunity to show customers that you care by replying and resolving.
Enjoyed this topic? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts about customer-supplied content.
In Part One of our series on artificial intelligence (AI) and search engines, we looked at how AI is changing the way the users search and how search engines function. Welcome to Part Two, where we will be taking a closer look at the ways in which the SEO industry will have to react to AI and what it will mean for your website rankings on Google.
For as long as there have been search engines used by millions of people, there have been advantages for those websites and businesses that have been able to influence the rankings in their favour. As early search engines used relatively crude methods for determining results, it was historically relatively easy to optimise a site. However, over the years, algorithms have expanded and become more complex. AI is just the latest factor in this constantly evolving process. And to understand how AI is changing SEO, we need to first understand how SEO has evolved over time.
How SEO has evolved – a brief history
Today, SEO is big business: companies are willing to spend significant portions of their marketing budget to attempt to rank above their competitors in Google’s search results. The earliest recognisable search engines emerged in 1994 and the algorithms they used in order to rank the websites were fairly basic. Factors such as how many times a website used a specific word, whether that word was in the URL and the meta data, were crucial in determining where websites would be placed. This meant that a website owner simply had to ‘stuff’ their pages and their URLs with keywords to rank well – early SEO was simple.
The first major advancement in the intelligence of search came when they began to factor backlinks into their algorithms. When Google launched in 1998 it was revolutionary in the way it ranked pages because it looked at the internet as a whole, not just the content on the one website. It was able to see which websites were linking to others, and it recognised these links as an important factor in determining the importance and relevance of a site – akin to the way that a university essay cites sources. However, initially the algorithm worked on a relatively basic premise – the more links that a website had pointing towards it, the more valuable and powerful was deemed to be.
This led to a situation in which if websites wanted to perform well in Google’s search results they could continue to utilise keywords, but also boost their site further by building a huge number of links, regardless where these links came from. For a period of time this was standard practice. However, when Google realised that many businesses were using these sorts of underhand tactics to receive an artificially-inflated ranking, they deciding to do something about it. This saw the launch of two large scale updates to Google’s algorithm: Panda, promoting the value of high quality content, and Penguin, punishing sites with large numbers of links coming from poor quality sites.
This is where SEO became a far more complicated and delicate process, and website owners and SEO specialists had to think very carefully about everything they did to a website to ensure it wouldn’t fall foul of the new rules.
A more advanced algorithm
The fallout from Penguin and Panda was enormous, and it indicated that Google was going to be continually refining its algorithm to attempt to make it impossible to manipulate or artificially enhance a website’s position. The next major update, which was known as Hummingbird, focussed on a shift towards natural language.
While webmasters and site owners had become used to using text and content to serve a purpose (to drive sites up the rankings), Hummingbird placed a greater preference for sites that used ‘natural’ language. This meant that websites that were filled with useful and interesting content ranked higher than those that simply contained a good density of relevant keywords.
There is no doubt, then, that Google’s algorithm was evolving and becoming more advanced with each change. But at this point they all had in common that there were ideas that were programmed into the algorithm by humans. However, this changed with the deployment of RankBrain.
The rise of RankBrain
Google began using RankBrain as a factor it is search results in 2015. It is an AI system that is considered to be the third most important ranking factor, behind content and links. RankBrain uses AI to analyse words and phrases that it has never seen before – it can then make a guess at the meaning of the phrase based on similar phrases. This means that it is extremely effective at showing relevant results even if it does not necessarily understand the query.
As search has become more conversational and in the form of long-tail, complicated questions, this AI is designed to help the algorithm translate the questions into something it can understand and provide search results for. Data from previous search queries is fed into RankBrain and it is uses this data to learn how connections are made between topics. It is also able to spot patterns between searches that might appear unconnected.
This is one of the first examples of AI being used to improve search results, but this begs a question: how should website owners optimise their sites for an algorithm that is learning by itself?
This is good news for SEO!
It might seem as if the addition of AI to Google’s algorithm spells trouble for those in SEO – after all, as AI learns more about websites and what kind of content a user is searching for when they use a particular search query, it becomes much harder to manipulate or influence the system in any way. However, on closer inspection, this is actually excellent news for SEO – or, more specifically, those businesses using ‘white hat’ SEO techniques.
Reputable SEO agencies and experienced professionals already know the steps that they need to take to ensure not only that their site will rank well in search results, but also won’t fall foul of penalties under the algorithm: focus on creating the best possible content and achieving links that the website deserves.
However, it has always been frustrating for white hat SEOs when they can see competitors utilising black hat techniques and getting results without being punished. Not only will AI reward reputable and genuine SEO, it will make it easier for search engines to spot poor practice. AI is definitely bad news for those agencies and companies using underhand methods to artificially inflate their rankings.
What this means for content creation and link building
Let’s take a look at what Google itself describes as the two most important ranking factors in its algorithm: content and links. These will be affected by the rise of AI.
For example, Google’s is AI becoming better at recognising the difference between genuine high quality content and simply average, non-duplicated text. This means that those websites that create the best possible content that is genuinely useful and interesting to their audience will see the rewards. This effectively means that the best advice is to carry on with the same plan that Google has been recommending for a long time: create amazing content that answers the questions of your audience and provides value to the reader.
In terms of links, things have moved on dramatically from the early days when a link from any site would do. And yet, links remain a vital aspect of determining the quality of a website. This means that websites that focus on gaining strong, earned links from powerful and relevant sites will continue to see a benefit.
Additionally, as we have seen with RankBrain, Google is getting better at understanding search intent – what the user is trying to achieve with their search term. This comes from the AI being able to more clearly understand what a user means when they type in a query or use voice search. From an SEO perspective, you can take advantage of this by tracking how visitors use your site and drawing conclusions from the behaviour of those who convert.
How to prepare your site for AI
So, what should you do in order to prepare your website for the increasing use of AI in Google’s algorithms? The truth is that AI itself will not make any changes to the way that the algorithm operates – nor will it change Google’s priorities. The use of AI is to make it easier for Google to meet its main goal: providing the best possible search results for its users.
This means that to prepare for AI you simply need to follow the same advice that Google has been suggesting for a long time. Firstly, create the best possible content that is going to be genuinely useful and informative for the user; never has the phrase ‘content is king’ been more relevant.
Remember additionally that AI is constantly getting better at understanding natural, conversational language. This means that when you create your content you must always do it with a human reader in mind. Gone are the days that you could trick the search engine with content that was ‘optimised’ – if Google spots content that looks forced or unnatural, it will be able to tell the difference.
You also need to ensure that you are earning your links. With the help of AI, Google is getting better at noticing patterns and trends. So if you are still engaging in the practice of buying links this is something that Google will notice, more so than ever before.
Finally, it is more importantly than ever to stay up-to-date with what search engines are looking for from sites. As Google and others increasingly utilise AI it will make them more capable than ever to enforce their algorithms. So it is vital to stay ahead of the game. Working with experienced SEO professionals is crucial, as the development of AI in search is fast and it can be easy to get left behind without expert advice.
We hope you have enjoyed our series on artificial intelligence and search engines. This is still very much an emerging field and an exciting part of the future of SEO. Please check back to the Artemis blog regularly as we will be updating our content which further specific developments in AI and search engines, as well as providing insight into all areas of SEO best practice.
And if your business could benefit from our SEO expertise please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today.
We’re delighted to announce our sponsorship of local football team, Hurstpierpoint FC. The Artemis offices are based on the outskirts of the beautiful Sussex village of Hurstpierpoint so it made perfect sense for us to support the local team.
Hurstpierpoint FC have been the village team since 1886. They currently play in the Gray Hooper Holt LLP Mid Sussex Football League Division 1. Home games are played at Fairfield Recreation Ground in Hurstpierpoint and the club trains weekly at the Burgess Hill Academy.
The club played in the Mid Sussex League for the majority of its early years, but became a founder member of The Sussex County Football League (SCFL) Division Three. Their best season so far was reaching second in SCFL Division Three in 2010/11. With us as sponsors we hope they’ll make it to the top this season!
Pre-season training is underway and the team is looking forward to the start of the 18/19 season. Manager, Dudley Christensen and assistant manager, Stuart Ritchie are feeling optimistic. Pre-season started with a 2-1 win and a 5-3 loss against a strong Southwater FC side. Despite the loss of one game, Hurstpierpoint put in two solid performances.
Our brilliant designer, Aaron Thomas is working on the graphics for the new football shirts. We can’t wait to see the big reveal and see the team in action. We promise to share more news with you soon!
There are many ways that you can optimise your website to improve its position in search rankings. But for some businesses, the real challenge is turning visitors to the site into customers. To do so it is important to find the areas on your site that could potentially be used more effectively and generate more conversions from the traffic you are currently receiving.
Hotjar is an increasingly popular tool that can be used to help websites generate more enquiries or leads. It does this by collecting user data and feedback which enables you to fully understand where the web and mobile traffic is focussed on your site, and how you can benefit from it.
Whether your website is used for ecommerce or for referrals, you need to know which pages or actions can create the most leads. Hotjar uses tools like heatmaps and recordings to help you better understand and manage your website. But optimising a website for an increase in traffic or conversions can be tricky. Here are our quick top tips on how to use Hotjar effectively to increase conversion rates and turn your visitors into customers.
How heatmaps work
Hotjar’s heatmap feature essentially monitors a user’s movements and engagement across a website or on specific pages. Heatmaps are capable of showing users’ behaviour on a page and are useful for understanding where your visitors are clicking and how far they are willing to scroll down a page for more information.
It is important to then highlight where your users are often clicking to and how you can then essentially turn that into a lead or improve in other areas of the page. This can work really well for a ‘Contact’ page you’re looking to improve, whether it is by looking into how your form is shown or guiding you to whether your buttons and other elements are creating a potential barrier for users.
In the image above you will see an example of how users behave on the Artemis homepage. Interestingly, the majority of clicks received on the homepage can be found on the ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ tab. This can also show the areas that your visitors aren’t clicking onto that much or not at all, it gives you insight into what you need to focus on more or on how you can improve elements such as call-to-action buttons, forms or general content.
However, heatmaps are capable of more. The image above shows the movements of your visitors across the page and what users are more drawn to. It can also highlight the ratio of most mouse movements compared to the clicks from the previous image, which again, can indicate on how to gain leads from certain elements such as buttons, forms and opt-ins.
Record targeted pages
One of Hotjar’s most powerful features is recordings. The recording feature can enable you to see how visitors are interacting with your website. It does this by collecting and storing visitor session data and actively records a user’s movements.
It’s not as scary as it sounds… Each event is tracked as a different session and allows you to play it back and watch how visitors are behaving on your website and which pages they are going to. Through analysing the data you have collected to see how users are interacting with the site, you can essentially build or change the site around them.
It is important to understand how a user navigates around a website, you can see your visitors’ journeys and how they digest content along the way, especially for an ecommerce site when the focus is on the products you are trying to sell.
How does recording pages help me?
Recordings can help you answer a large number of questions on the user experience and usability of your site, such as:
What barriers exist on my website? And how can I fix them?
What is driving people to convert on my page?
Are users ignoring my CTA buttons? Are they even seeing them?
It’s important to define the changes you need to make to a page, even if it means a small increase in clicks, especially to a targeted page such as a contact page. It means you can build or change the website around your visitors and make the user experience better, especially if there is a barrier blocking their way to another page. It is great to understand these challenges and how you can fix them.
And even better is the fact that you are not limiting: you can record both static and dynamic pages along with shopping carts and logged in areas.
Understanding how Hotjar forms work
When you have contact forms on your website, it is important to check whether you are actually receiving any conversions or interactions for what you have featured on a targeted page.
Hotjar Form Reports can provide you with an in-depth view of how each of your forms are collecting data and if they are converting traffic from them. Sessions are collected for each form and you will be able to analyse how long each user is spending on a field or whether they abandoned the contact form altogether. It is good to understand how they interact with it and if there are any challenges they are facing (e.g. a ‘Submit’ button not working correctly).
In the image above you can see the rate of sessions and drop off along with interactions for each field, making it easier to understand how to can improve a form or see what barriers your visitors could be facing.
Hotjar is becoming an increasingly popular tool that can help a website generate more enquiries and lead to more conversions. Artemis have many years of digital marketing experience and can provide expert help to enable your business to reach a wide yet targeted audience of new and existing customers. Contact us for a free Hotjar consultation.
Friends of the Earth have launched their #PlasticFreeFriday campaign, encouraging individuals and businesses to commit to one day every week where they do not use any form of single-use plastic.
At Artemis we thought that it was a fantastic idea, and as a part of our responsibility to the environment and sustainability, members of staff have volunteered to be a part of the campaign – eliminating single-use plastic on Fridays (as well as being mindful of plastic usage the rest of the week).
There is simply so much single-use plastic that inevitably ends up in landfills and then gets into the world’s oceans. Single-use plastic includes everyday items such as wrappers, sandwich packets, bottles, plastic straws, disposable coffee cup lids, food bags, plastic cutlery and much more.
Making small changes, such as going plastic-free one day per week can help change behaviour and raise awareness to the cause and the challenges.
Check out the Friends of the Earth campaign for some great tips about how to go single-use plastic free, either on Fridays or as often as you can!
Artemis takes our commitment to the environment seriously. We utilise recycling boxes, recently investing in a coffee-pod collector to make it possible for us to recycle more effectively. We also exclusively use eco-friendly cleaning products, use as little paper as possible and are always looking to implement greener policies in the office.
Over the course of our two-part blog series, we will take an in-depth look at the growth and progression of artificial intelligence in relation to search technology. In Part One we will examine how artificial intelligence is changing the way that people utilise search engines. In Part Two we take a look at what these changes mean for the SEO industry and the way your website ranks on Google.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword around SEO for some time now. For a number of years, SEO professionals have postulated that AI would have a huge role to play in the future of the industry. But this all looked a long way off in 2012, when Google was struggling to get its most advanced AI software to even recognise whether or not a cat was present in a video.
Over the past few years there have marked improvements in the technology to the point where we are seeing AI systems integrate seamlessly into people’s lives. AI assistants on mobile devices and computers have become commonplace – Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are just two examples attempting to show how clever they are. AI has slowly been colonising search engines too. And while it’s certainly no secret, the growing influence of AI on Google has taken some search professionals by surprise. But to understand just how AI is affecting the landscape of SEO, we must first establish the ways that AI is influencing and altering the ways that people use search engines every day.
Understanding artificial intelligence
AI may well be the future of search, and therefore being able to understand AI and interpret how it works is an important challenge for businesses and search engine professionals. Firstly, it is useful to understand what AI actually is and how it is applied to search engines.
When we talk about AI, we are referring to the attempts to make machines do the things that human minds can do. Machines are typically extremely efficient at being able to do the things that they are told to do, but cannot do things where they are asked to make decisions or utilise skills such as creativity or problem-solving, which we think of as intrinsically human.
Essentially it is asking machines to learn from their own experiences, rather than learning from things that they have been told by their programming. This has taken many forms, from computers that have learned to play chess better than Grandmasters to cars with the ability to drive themselves.
AI is used within search engines a number of ways. The most of obvious use is in the augmenting of algorithms used to rank websites in order to more effectively offer high quality search results. But AI is also used in a variety of situations that you might not realise when you browse on your phone or search on your laptop.
To understand these, we need to take a closer look at the different types of artificial intelligence that are used by Google, Microsoft, Apple and other technology giants who are leading the field.
The progression of artificial intelligence
There is a lot of talk of AI in modern settings, but when you attempt to understand how it is used within search engines you come up against the problem that the term ‘artificial intelligence’ is simply far too broad. AI can simultaneously refer to the earliest beginnings of the concept, the modern day technology that influences our lives right now, and the myriad possibilities for the future. It is important, then, to break down the phrase into more manageable concepts.
You might not realise that AI dates back to 1956 when computer scientists coined the phrase. In its infancy, AI pioneers dreamed primarily of machines that could mimic all aspects of human intellect – think of androids in science fiction films. Today, however, those at the forefront of the technology realise that the advantages of AI actually come from much narrower forms.
Rather than trying to produce AI that mimics the human experience, pioneers look for opportunities where AI can perform difficult or time-consuming tasks that we previously have relied on human minds for.
This is where we first encounter the phrase ‘machine learning’. Machine learning is a form of AI where a computer is programmed with algorithms to learn and improve at task by being shown a large amount of data. For example, if you could program a computer to understand what letters look like, it could then scan images for words. While impressive feats were accomplished with this form of machine learning, it would still encounter problems.
For example, if the first letter of a word was partially obscured, leaving the letters “E-L-L-O” a computer would not be able to recognise what most English-speaking humans would know instantly: the word is ‘hello’. It was for the same reason that Google was struggling to get its AI to recognise a cat in a video – it worked some of the time, but if the images were obscured, the AI simply was not advanced enough to recognise cats effectively.
It was relatively recently that the concept of ‘deep learning’ was introduced. This is a form of machine learning in which computers are exposed to a huge number of images and use something called neural networks, which examine different elements of the image to ascertain what it is. With the advent and advancement of modern computers, it is now possible for a computer to analyse millions of images and learn from its mistakes. Deep learning is currently the most effective form of AI.
This shows us, then, that what we truly need for successful AI is actually a very large amount of data that can be fed into a machine and allow it to learn. This is, in part, why Google is able (and will continue to be able) to use AI so effectively – the company simply has access to such a huge amount of extremely rich data to provide to its AI systems.
Revolutionising the way we search
So, what does the use of deep learning AI mean for the future of search? The truth is it already having an enormous impact in ways that you might not even have noticed. For example, if you have ever searched using Google Assistant (starting by saying the phrase ‘OK Google’ aloud) you may have watched your device interpreting the words you are saying. It is cleverly able to ignore hesitations and recognise natural speech patterns.
For a glimpse into just how advanced Google’s speech recognition has become, take a look at this video where Google Assistant takes a query from a user about making a women’s hair appointment and then actually makes a call to the salon in order to get the appointment booked, mimicking human speech and understanding the nuances of the conversation.
Interestingly, Google has even able to understand the difference between the ways that different generations interact with it. For example, Generation X learned to use search engines in a way that was functional, for example typing in a query like “cheap Spain holidays”. On the other hand, Millennials now interact with search engines with more natural questions like “where is cheap to go in Spain in June?”. This change has only come about because AI has grown to the point where Google is able to understand this kind of conversational language, and is able to provide relevant search results based on these sorts of queries.
There are also practical search applications for the deep learning image analysis discussed above. One innovation that Google is working on is image searching as a shopping tool. For example, if you are interested in buying a specific belt, Google can then use its image search for images of people wearing similar belts and establishing the kinds of jeans that are typically worn with the belt – it can then make recommendations to you for jeans that you can potentially buy alongside the belt.
Of course this is not to say that Google’s AI has reached its peak – nor that current AI technology is without its limitations. For example, it is likely now that the case that Google does not truly understand why its algorithm ranks websites in a particular way. This means that if a business feels that hard done by in Google’s search results, the company may no longer be able to provide a rational explanation for why a particular site ranks the way it does. Given the importance of Google to businesses across the UK, this might seem like a worrying prospect.
Additionally, it has been established that even with deep learning techniques, AI can be tricked or make mistakes. For example, Google’s image classification AI was tricked into believing a 3D printed turtle was a rifle.
There have even been concerns that AI is not able to think ethically in the way that humans are able to. For example, in late 2017 Facebook’s AI algorithm was discovered to have created anti-Semitic advert topics that users could target. This embarrassment forced Facebook to introduce human reviewers into something that had previously been a process that was completely automated by AI.
How will AI affect SEO?
Given the enormous variety of ways that AI is influencing search, it is clear that it will play a huge role in the SEO industry. In Part Two of this blog series on artificial intelligence and search engines we take an in-depth look into how AI is changing SEO.