Brighton SEO Blog

Best of BrightonSEO September 2019

Five members of the Artemis team attended the September 2019 edition of BrightonSEO – one of the world’s largest SEO conferences. With around 4,000 people estimated to be in attendance, and more than 80 talks, there was plenty to see and learn. And while we didn’t get to see everything, we did enjoy some fantastic presentations. Here are some of the talks that we enjoyed the most.

Brighton SEO

Greg Gifford

Undoubtedly one of BrightonSEOs most renowned and popular guest speakers, Greg didn’t disappoint with his talk on entities and the future of SEO. With a slideshow brimming over with horror movie references, Greg talked about how brand building and traditional forms of marketing are set to become an important SEO issue – especially for local businesses. His recommendations were to focus on relationships and utilise Google My Business to its fullest extent.

Check out his SlideShare here, not only for the fantastic content but for a great list of films to watch!

Alex Jones

Keen to dispel comparisons with his namesakes including The One Show host, and the American conspiracy theorist, Alex provided a practical look at supporting content – pieces that complement the main asset in a campaign. Rather than putting all of your efforts into one piece, Alex recommends creating multiple pieces of content that support and reinforce the main asset you are working on.

Stacey MacNaught

Stacey’s talk took a fascinating look at alternative ways to generate links other than link building; especially focusing on websites with smaller budgets. One key factor involved understanding seasonal events and how to tie them into your campaigns. And rather than putting money into infographics, you should look for new and interesting ways to present data – flourish.studio offers some great examples of this.

Marie Page

Highlighting that Facebook is putting a much greater emphasis on groups, Marie provided some great practical information for businesses that might look to leverage groups to their advantage. Companies can be linked to groups – but they should not use these groups as an advertising space. Instead, think of them as an open community.

Tim Soulo

Tim Soulo’s talk focused on the importance of semantics, and very interestingly showed how a piece of content can get a lot more traffic if you carry out proper keyword research into the topic, and ensure the piece goes into detail. He recommended that rather than targeting one specific keyword with a high search volume, it can be more effective to create content that is picked up by a broad variety of key phrases.

Paige Hobart

A highly engaging speaker, Paige’s glossary of SERP features was insightful for anyone interested in organic traffic.

Dana DiTomaso

This talk was a real showstopper. Dana discussed using the CID as a custom dimension in Google Analytics, which allows you to attach sessions to requests and improve attribution without having a big CRM or reporting tool.  This help focus on what converts as well as actually sells; not just website ‘conversions’, but actually those that bring in revenue.

Brighton SEO

 

Brighton SEO

 

Brighton SEO

 

At Artemis we love to take the time to keep our SEO knowledge up-to-date, and given that BrightonSEO is only 10 minutes away from our base in the West Sussex countryside, we attend as often as we can. If you would like to learn more about what we can do for you, get in contact with the team at Artemis today.


META BLOG

How to optimise meta descriptions for clicks

Getting your site to rank well on Google for your top search terms takes a lot of time, talent, and effort – but just getting into a good position doesn’t mean that the hard work is done. You have managed to get a potential visitor’s attention by appearing in the right place; but they’ve got other options to click on in the SERPs. You need to ensure that your listing is as enticing as it can possibly be.

Your meta description is the last chance that you have to make a great impression on this (potential) customer, and convince them to click. A simple test conducted by SEMrush found that a longer meta description increased the click-through rate by 36 per cent. So, despite the fact that meta descriptions are not considered to be a ranking factor by Google, they can be seriously important for your website.

Keyboard

Here, we take a look at 11 great tips to help you optimise your meta descriptions to get more clicks.

1. Think about intent

You need to consider the intent of the customer when they are making their search query. If the query is transactional (such as “book Barbados holiday”) you need to inspire the customer to click, showing off that the product you offer is the best in the listings.

If the query is informational (such as “best time to visit Barbados”), you need to give users an idea of the topics that are being covered to confirm what you’ve written about is what they want. It’s also an opportunity to show what content you’ve got which your competitors don’t.

2. Ensure your key phrase is used

There is no SEO benefit to having a meta description optimised with the key phrase that your page is targeting. However, when someone searches for a phrase it will be in bold in the description, making it stand out, reinforcing your meta title text, and therefore more likely to encourage a click on your listing.

3. Use Search Console data

It is important to ensure that you are optimising your descriptions for the right key phrases. Take a look at your Search Console data and establish which keywords you are appearing for which you are not currently optimising for. It may be the case that you can incorporate related keywords into your description.

4. Consider emojis

Emojis in SERPs are very much a reality, and they can make a big difference to your click-through rate. There are a wide range of options if you’re trying to grab the attention of a user such as ticks, stars, eyes, and more. Of course, this will only be relevant to you if the audience you are targeting is likely to respond positively to the emojis you use.

Emojis

5. Check out the competition

It’s a great idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing with their meta descriptions. How are they constructing them, and what are they using them to say? Of course, it is important to note here that part of what you are looking for is opportunities – take notice of the things that your competitors aren’t doing, so that you can stand out in the listings.

6. Consider it an advert

Think of your meta description as an advert for your page – it needs to be a hook; a catchy line or two of copy to win over the market. The most effective meta descriptions are succinct, to the point, and remain within your brand style.

7. Leave out unnecessary information

Don’t put miscellaneous information in your meta description. Having a phone number in it may seem like a good idea, but at this point the user probably doesn’t know who you are or have enough information (yet) to get in touch directly. So, take a different approach and ease them in. Remember, you should have your GMB set up to include the phone number if people are searching directly for contact details.

8. Is it a locally targeted page?

If you are targeting a location then you need to make sure that you have the name of the area, town, or region in your description. It reaffirms to the user that you offer a local service.

9. Stick to the limit

It is always recommended that you don’t go above a limit of 155 characters – any characters beyond this point will be cut off and leave your meta description looking unfinished.

10. Write like a human

It can be tempting to cram as much information into the meta description as possible, but remember at all times that it is only going to be humans reading it. This means that you need to focus entirely on what humans like to read.

11. Include an action word or a question

It is best to make your meta descriptions dynamic, and you can do this by posing a question or suggesting an action. For example, adding in a CTA such as ‘book a free trial today’ helps a potential customer understand the path to converting.

As with any changes to your website, it is always best to test different variations of the changes (such as to your CTAs or wording choices) in order to find the solution that works best. You might be surprised at the things that work in your meta description – they may not be the first thing you think of.

At Artemis we specialise in all aspects of SEO, including the use of high quality meta descriptions. If you would like to learn more about what we could do for your business, please get in contact with our team today.


Google's Insider Tips to improve your UX

How to use Google’s insider tips to improve your UX

It wasn’t very long ago that the concepts of SEO and user experience (UX) were entirely unrelated disciplines. Today, however, they are intrinsically linked. Creating a fantastic UX is not only important for boosting conversions and increasing sales – it can also positively affect where your site ranks.

As Justin Aldridge, Technical Director at Artemis, says:

“It makes complete sense. Say the actual result for a search serves up a website in position four, it may actually be the most relevant result for the query, but the website isn’t necessarily the strongest, meaning that it doesn’t rank higher.”

This shows that Google is beginning to understand the difference between a powerful website and one that contains fantastic information. Aldridge clarifies:

“RankBrain can test and see the effects of serving up that website in a higher position. It can then see if users find it more useful than the results the main algorithm would normally serve up before it.”

Only around 55 per cent of companies are conducting UX testing on their website, and this can be a major issue because of how important good UX has become to all aspects of business. In fact, according to Google itself “RankBrain, the AI system introduced as part of Google Search in 2015, works by monitoring the semantics of user queries – and users’ behaviour when they’re presented with results”. This means that it is using every means at its disposal to understand how users want to interact with websites. It is important, then, to start investing more time and effort in UX.

SEO UX

Google’s UX playbooks

Google is so serious about the importance of UX that it made available a range of ‘playbooks’ that help companies to improve their sites. These playbooks cover different types of sites across various industries, including finance, ecommerce, travel, and more. Something that this shows is how different aspects of UX are more important on specific types of site.

It is relatively rare for Google to share very specific advice and guidance on what webmasters should do with their site, so this is definitely worth paying attention to.

So here we will take a look at some of the insights that Google has offered, and examine how they can be used on your site to improve your UX, broken down into important sections for your site:

Homepage and key landing pages

Google places a great importance on the CTAs on your most important landing pages. Google’s top advice here is that you should have descriptive CTAs – in other words, a CTA that explains what will happen when you click – and that your CTAs should be above the fold. Additionally, if phone calls are important to the business it is advised that phone numbers should be click-to-call.

There are also recommendations that automatic carousels and slides should be removed. There is some evidence to suggest that just 1 per cent of users will click on slider or carousel content.

Forms

In terms of optimising forms for a better UX, Google makes simple recommendations – literally. The advice here is to simplify the process as much as possible. Use autofill, reduce the number of fields and mark required fields clearly with an asterisk.

It is also recommended that if you have a dropdown on your form with more than four options, you should instead opt for buttons. Another option is to use steppers, sliders or open field input rather than having dropdowns with a large number of options.

Menu and site navigation

You should show a consolidated menu at all times, and this menu shouldn’t take up more than one fifth of the screen. This consolidated menu should include a hamburger dropdown as well as a store locator button (if your physical location is important). Additionally, for the menu itself, all of the options should be visible on one page, and main product categories should be ordered by traffic volume, while subcategories should be organised alphabetically.

SEO UX

Site search

The site search feature can sometimes be overlooked by webmasters and SEOs, but Google’s UX playbooks reaffirm its importance. It is suggested that including a search feature is essential and that it should be easily visible on the homepage.

It is also considered important that your search feature should include auto-suggestions and spelling corrections, as these can easily return failed results.

Conversions

The Google playbooks also make a number of suggestions for the conversions stage of the customer journey. Interestingly, one of the most important is that sites should not redirect customers to the checkout when they have clicked ‘add to basket’, as this can actually put potential customers off buying.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that customers are able to checkout as guests. This is because more than a third of customers will exit checkout if they find out that they need to create an account in order to buy.

Always A/B test your changes

Finally, it should be noted that when you are coming to make changes to your website in order to improve UX you should ensure that you always A/B test everything you do. This means having two versions of your site and deploying them over a fixed period of time, and then measuring the difference between the two. This can help you to understand whether your changes are having the desired effect.

 

If you would like to learn more about how great web design can improve UX please get in touch with the team at Artemis today. We’re specialists in SEO and UX, and would love to help you get more from your website.


How to choose an SEO agency

How to choose an SEO agency

Sussex Business Times recently published at article written by Artemis Business Development Manager Matt Rosine providing advice on choosing an SEO agency. Here we present the article in full:

 

In an industry where jargon and meaningless statistics are too often used to mask a lack of any discernible work, we feel our clients deserve a measure of success that is based on ROI, not numbers.

So, it is with this in mind I wanted to put together some useful questions for any business to ask when searching for a new SEO/Digital Marketing agency. By getting clear answers to these questions you will be in a far better position to make an informed choice rather than being overwhelmed by a sales pitch and impressive numbers often pulled out of the air.

Like many business owners and employees these days, you are probably sick to the back teeth with being offered SEO services via junk email or poor quality sales calls. It is a sad fact of the digital age that unscrupulous people feel they can make a quick buck from what is often a confusing and unknown world.

However, in among this confusion there are some very good, hard working, and highly skilled SEO agencies offering businesses a real means to reach out to customers and dramatically improve both traffic and enquires.

If you are looking to move into this type of internet marketing, there are a few simple questions you can ask that will easily weed out the “churn and burn” scammers from the top-notch search marketers.

SEO Agency

 

How do you report the work you do?

This is a fundamental factor for any business looking to spend money with an SEO agency. If you pay for a service, you should be able to see what that service entails and what work has been completed each month.

It is all too common for an agency to simply say they have done the work but insist sharing any details would compromise them. This is, frankly, an unacceptable response often used to cover up the fact no work has been done at all. Would you really be happy to work with anyone who cannot account, in detail, for the time you pay them for?

“A good agency should show you historic results and case studies and give clear evidence of success without making promises they are sure not to keep”

How do you report results?

Another huge factor in making sure you’re getting value for money is how the results of the campaign are reported to you. Gone are the days of just searching for yourself and seeing if you ranked higher than yesterday. Google recognises your searches and will invariably show your site above others because you are on it all the time. You need an accurate measurement of ranking gains to justify your spend. A good agency should have dedicated software that will clearly show each term’s movement over time. This should be accessible to you at all times and not just a screenshot sent once a month.

Artemis directors sitting around a table talking

 

Do you promise results?

This is a very counter-intuitive thing to consider, but not when you are aware of the environment in which it sits. Google is constantly changing how it works to make sure users get the most suitable and useful results. This means it is impossible to predict what factors it may include in the future when selecting results. The job of an SEO agency is to pre-empt, protect and ensure client sites profit from these changes in order to grow their rankings. When you consider this, it’s also important to remember any kind of guaranteed results is at best hopeful and at worst simply made up.

A good agency should show you historic results and case studies and give clear evidence of success without making promises they are sure not to keep. A skilled agency will be confident enough to tell you they will get results as fast as they can, but they cannot 100% predict what Google will do nor how much your competitors might suddenly spend on SEO.

person holding a gold balloon with 'SEO Stardom' written in text

 

There are many more factors involved in choosing a good SEO agency, but these three questions should give you some idea of the type of people you are dealing with. You should also try and speak to some of their existing clients, and make sure they have a non-compete agreement in your area so you don’t end up fighting your main rival and both paying the same company. Also ask if they outsource work or do it all in house.

Outsourcing is fine but ideally it should only make up a very small part of the work on offer, otherwise you are just paying a middle-man for work with quality you cannot control.

All of the team here at Artemis hope you’ve found this blog useful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally if you have any questions, or if we can help in any way: matt.rosine@artemis.marketing.

How to choose an SEO Agency

Original Source: www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk (issuu)


Cyber security

How your cybersecurity affects your SEO

Did you know that your business’ website security directly affects your SEO? Google sees many of the effects of a hack or breach as a negative ranking factor. This means that cybersecurity is not only important for the safety of your business data and assets, it can also affect your traffic from Google and other search engines.

In this blog we take a look at how the damage and disruption to your site caused by a cyberattack can cause you to slip in the rankings. If you have seen your positions drop as a result for a cyberattack please contact us today for information on the SEO services we can provide to get your business back into a strong position.

Hacked site warning

You have probably seen a Google listing with a warning message that reads ‘This site may be hacked’ similar to the image below:

Cyber security

This is never good news for a website, as it means that Google has noticed that the site is showing signs of having been compromised by cybercriminals. It’s worth pointing about that this will see a very negative effect on your traffic, as the message could put visitors off clicking on your page.

In terms of your SEO too, this is a real cause for concern beyond the challenges of dealing with the potential hack itself. Firstly, we know that the behaviour of users affects search rankings – if your site is hacked and not being clicked, this indicates to Google that you are being ranked incorrectly and are a less useful result.

This means that sites that Google believes have been hacked will very quickly see a drop off in their rankings. The damage to your SEO is greater the longer the message is attached to your site. You can have the warning removed from your site by contacting Google via Search Console to request they review your site. However, it is important that you do something about the hack first.

Content changes on hacked sites

You might assume that the only reason that a cybercriminal would look to compromise your site would be to steal data. However, this is not the case at all – cybercrime has a large range of goals and objectives.

According to a recent study from GoDaddy, 73.9 per cent of cyber-attacks against websites are SEO-based. Sites are hacked and the content is changed with various tactics being used such as adding outbound links to a website, creating new covert web pages, or even configuring the site to show something entirely different to Google.

There are also examples of terrorist organisations and other nefarious groups hacking websites in order to spread propaganda. Other common site modifications include using compromised sites to send spam emails or mine cryptocurrency.

No matter how a site is modified, it can cause seriously reputational damage in the eyes of Google. This can lead to you losing hard earning ranking positions, or even be penalised if links to dangerous sites, or irrelevant content are discovered by crawlers.

The importance of a secure connection

It was back in 2017 that Google Chrome began labelling HTTP websites as ‘Not secure’ – and while at the time sites were not being punished in any other way by this label it was a signifier to the SEO community that having a secure site was something that was going to become very important. The message referred to sites that were using HTTP rather than HTTPS; those not using password encryption, and are therefore less secure.

Cyber security

Initially the ‘Not secure’ label was a problem for SEO only due to the fact that it could put off potential visitors from staying on your site. But Google has since confirmed that the message is now a ranking factor, so it can be losing you traffic in multiple ways if you do not make the switch over to HTTPS.

Bad reviews of your site

Reviews are becoming increasingly important as a ranking factor on Google – the search engine has its own Reviews section and customers and visitors are invited to leave comments about the site. If a site builds up a number of negative ratings, it can start to see the site fall in the rankings. If your website is hacked in any visible way – such as with content changes or warning messages as mentioned above, visitors may start leaving negative reviews.

These reviews hang around and can have a huge impact on your site and your business. This is another reason why it is critical to invest in cyber security for the sake of your SEO.

It should be noted that Google will remove negative reviews against your site in certain circumstances when the reviewer has contravened the guidelines. For example, if someone has used illegal or racist language, or if they have created a number of similar reviews against similar businesses to yours.

Downtime is bad for your SEO

If you suffer any kind of cyber attack or data breach it is almost inevitable that your site will require a period of downtime. It is necessary to take your site down as you seek to understand the extent of the incident, address any damage, and establish how the attack occurred. This is a very important period of your business as you will need to take the time to clean your site – but it can also leave you in a position where you are offline for a significant period of time.

Downtime for a period of minutes won’t affect your ranking, but when your site is offline for hours or even days at a time you will start to see significant rules in your ranking positions.

Cyber security

What does your business need to do?

It should go without saying that cybersecurity needs to be a priority for your business, both as a function of keeping your data and assets safe, but also to protect your Google rankings. Every business and organisation needs to take appropriate cyber security advice and implement relevant defence measures to minimise the risk of a successful attack.

At Artemis, we are an SEO agency that understands the importance of powerful cyber security measures. We understand the need for a holistic approach to SEO and digital marketing – we would love to talk to you about the services we provide so contact our friendly team today.


Schema markup for SEO

A beginner’s guide to schema markup for SEO

What is schema?

Schema is a type of structured data that allows search engines to better understand a website, page, or elements on a page. Schema markup is code that can be added to a website to define specific types of information and data. The schema allows search engines to understand and display specific pieces of information in the SERPs, known as rich snippets. These rich snippets are visual and can increase click-through rates as they make your web page stand out from others.

Schema

Different types of schema

There are hundreds of different types of schema. Which you use will depend on your type of business, what information you have on your website and what you want to promote within the SERPs. Some of the most common types of schema markup include:

  • Organization
  • LocalBusiness
  • Review and AggregateRating
  • Person
  • Q&A / FAQ
  • Products
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Events

What schema should I use?

The type of schema markup you use will be determined by a few factors.

Firstly, your business type. What kind of business you are? If you are a local business mostly serving a geographic area, you should start by using the LocalBusiness schema as this tells Google you operate locally. Whereas if you are an online ecommerce store, you would be more likely to use Organization schema to highlight key contact information.

Secondly, what kind of information do you have on your website? Do you have Q&A or FAQs? Do you have products? Do you have reviews from Google or use a third-party review website like Trustpilot? Do you run courses or events? This information can all be marked up with schema.

How do I generate schema and add it to my website?

Once you’ve decided what information you want to mark up, how do you go about getting the schema code? And how do you add it to your website?

To generate the Schema code, you can go to the Schema.org website and find the type you are looking for. This can be a bit overwhelming, so an easier way to create the code is to use one of the ‘schema markup generator tools’ that are available online – these create the schema for you. There is also a Google markup tool you can use to help create schema based on page items. You can also take a look at one of our previous blog posts by my colleague Sara to see examples of what the schema code actually looks like.

Schema is available in different formats; JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa. At Artemis we use JSON-LD for all of our clients.

Once you have the code ready, you can test that it works in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. Run the schema through the code snippet and it will highlight any errors or warnings. Once any errors or warnings have been fixed, you are ready to add the schema to your website. We would recommend testing the schema again once it is live.

You can also monitor schema in Google Search Console, and there have recently been some new reports launched that allow you to keep an eye on the following; FAQ, how-to, events, products, logo, recipes schema and more.

Examples of rich snippets in Google

Here’s a few examples of websites using schema effectively, producing rich snippets in the SERPs:

1. John Lewis using Product and Review schema to highlight price, availability and product rating:

John Lewis Schema

 

2. Into The Blue using FAQ and AggregateRating schema:

Into the Blue Schema

 

3. Songkick using event schema for upcoming concerts:

Songkick schema

 

4. BBC Good Food using recipe schema:

BBC Good Food Schema

 

Schema can be a bit fiddly at times, but the more you use it, the easier it gets. If you have any questions about schema or would like some help with adding schema to your website, we’d love to hear from you.


Brighton SEO

Five key takeaways from BrightonSEO 2019

A number of the Artemis team attended BrightonSEO on April 12th 2019 and came away with a number of fascinating insights into the trends surrounding the industry. Here, Account Director, Tom Hart, provides his five key takeaways from the conference.

Brighton SEO

1. You can’t ‘do’ SEO without using developers

Unless you are an incredibly technical SEO, you cannot work successfully on a website without the help of a developer. And not just any developer, it has to be a developer who understands what you need and can implement it without causing any issues to the site.

Polly Pospelova’s talk on trying to hit a 100% Lighthouse report score really drove this home.  The recommendations that come out of a Lighthouse report are not ones that your average SEO will be able to handle.  So, having a developer on hand to make those changes isn’t just a nice to have it is necessary in order to be proficient at SEO in 2019.

2. Leads can come from anywhere

Gregg Gifford who always delivers high energy, relevant and insightful talks, was again on point. Those of you who have seen him speak before will know he isn’t somebody you want to miss.

Along with being a great speaker he really knows his stuff and there are invariably going to be takeaways from his talks that you didn’t necessarily realise before. He showed how 40% of the questions in the Q&A area on one of his clients GMB pages were actually leads. With such a high percentage of leads coming from this avenue it is vital to make sure these are being tracked and dealt with.

3. The takeover of voice search

Is voice search actually taking over?  There seemed to be very little mention of voice search in the talks I was present in. This might be slightly surprising given the figures that are banded around when people want to argue about voice search.

Maybe it wasn’t mentioned because people are still not sure how to optimise for it. Maybe the traffic you get from voice search has little value in terms of conversions. Or maybe it just isn’t growing at the rate we are led to believe. In John Mueller’s keynote session he was indicating that a lot of voice searches are still very simplistic or even commands to your device, ‘what is the time’, ‘play Spotify’ or ‘what is the weather forecast’.  It seems we may still be some way from a full-blown voice search generation.

Talk at BrightonSEO

4. Where were the mentions of mobile?

While with voice search I can understand why it wasn’t really mentioned, but are people really still ignoring mobile? A lot of slides that I saw just gave examples of websites on desktop screens even now when we so clearly live in a mobile-first world.

Anybody not taking mobile search seriously isn’t taking SEO seriously.  It doesn’t matter if you still get the majority of your traffic through desktop it is the mobile version of your website that you need to concentrate on.

5. John Mueller is a black belt in giving nothing away

Last year’s keynote session with John Mueller was a procession of inane questions that he could quite easily bat away without revealing anything. Somebody even asked is Google male or female. You have somebody who works in the inner sanctums of Google, is that really the best question to ask him!?

This year was far better and the questions that were put to him far more insightful and probing. There were numerous silences where you could see John didn’t immediately know how to answer. And while he maybe expected the questions, Hannah Smith did a great job of not letting him off the hook too easily. He did however, with great skill and poise, manage to say a lot, but reveal very little.

 

Brighton SEO

 

 

Brighton SEO

 

Brighton SEO

 

Brighton SEO

UX on Mobile

Why does UX matter so much on mobile?

In today’s blog, Artemis SEO Manager Kerry Jones examines website user experience (UX) and takes a closer look at why it matters so much on mobile.

Your website may be responsive, but is it truly mobile-friendly?

With Google’s switch over to mobile first indexing, user experience on mobile devices has become one of the most important factors to consider when optimising a website.

“The limited screen size on mobiles has required a complete rethink as to how content is displayed on websites. Google is adapting its search results based on how mobile pages are set up. As Google’s understanding of how users interact with mobile pages improves, an increased focus on mobile usability is absolutely fundamental for search success going forward. With the Chrome browser, Google has usability data across all pages of a website. Mobile usability is a key factor in 2019.” Justin Aldridge, Technical Director at Artemis

Mobile vs. desktop

With an increasing number of searches performed on mobile vs desktop over recent years, now is definitely the time to take action on mobile to improve it as much as possible.

You might be thinking “how does this apply to me when 80% of my traffic comes from desktop?” Well Google will still index the mobile version of your website first, meaning that desktop rankings are deciphered from mobile and if your website doesn’t provide a good mobile user experience, then your desktop rankings are likely to suffer.

HTC phone

 

How does Google know if a website provides a poor user experience?

Google has access to website usage and engagement statistics, including the average time users spend on page/site, page interactions and bounce rates. If these statistics aren’t as good as your competitors, then Google may favour those better performing websites.

Things to consider on mobile:

  • Does the website load quickly in Wi-Fi as well as 3G and 4G?
  • Is the header condensed for mobile? Or does it take up the whole device landing screen forcing users to scroll down to see content/images?
  • Is the menu visible on all pages? Are all key pages accessible from it?
  • Is content readable or too small?
  • Are contact and sign up forms optimised for mobile?
  • Is the search functionality visible and does it use typing suggestions?
  • Does the website make sure of read more tabs where necessary to prevent endless paragraphs of text?

There are various ways you can review your mobile usability:

  1. Firstly, perform some tasks on your mobile that you would expect your customers to do, for example, adding a product to cart and going through the checkout process, or filling out a contact form to see if there are any obvious issues.
  2. Check for any mobile usability issues reported in Google Search Console. This section will point out instances whereby clickable elements are too close together, where the content has fallen off the screen, plus much more. You can also run the website through the Google Mobile-Friendly
  3. Run a Google Lighthouse report on the website. This will provide speed improvement recommendations as well as accessibility, best practice and SEO considerations.
  4. Set up Hotjar heatmaps to monitor mobile user behaviour and see what people are clicking on and how far they are scrolling down the page. Record users to find any common pitfalls or annoyances. Take a look at our blog post on how to turn visitors into customers on Hotjar here.
  5. Review Google Analytics for high exit pages on mobile devices, then go and check these on mobile to find out why users are leaving the site.

Google’s Playbooks for retail or lead gen websites are great resources to refer to whilst reviewing the UX of a website.

If you’re interested in ensuring your website has a UX that is optimised for mobile, Artemis offers a mobile first audit.


Bounce rate - SEO

What is your bounce rate and why is it important for SEO?

If you’re a small or medium-sized business owner you may not have come across the term ‘bounce rate’ or you may have noticed it on your Google Analytics web stats. The reason why bounce rate has always featured so prominently on top line web stats is because it’s a key indication on how engaging your web pages are to visitors. And this has an impact on SEO.

Bounce rate explained

The bounce rate of your website – or a particular page – is the percentage of users who leave the web page they landed on without any kind of interaction with it. No clicks; they simply arrive, decide it’s not what they wanted to see and leave, looking for a more suitable resource.

For this reason, bounce rate is a measure of the quality of a user’s visit and a high bounce rate indicates that the pages people are landing on – your ‘landing pages’ – aren’t relevant to them.

A website’s bounce rate is displayed as a percentage: the total number of sessions viewing the site and leaving without any interaction is divided by the total number of page views for a given time period. In simple terms, a high bounce rate is bad and a low bounce rate is good!

In Google Analytics, you will see an overall bounce rate for your website displayed in your top line stats and a report that shows which pages have the highest individual bounce rates.

What is bounce rate

Bounce rate vs. exit rate

Bounce rate is different from exit rate because it measures people who leave without visiting any other pages on your website. An exit rate for a page refers to visitors who leave your site from a particular page, after coming to that page from somewhere else on your site.

A common example of a bounce is someone who lands on your home page from the search results and hits the back button on their browser pretty much straight away. If they clicked on your products page then left the site, the visit would show as an exit from the product page and not a bounce because they’ve visited two pages on your site.

What counts as a bounce?

You may be surprised what counts as a bounce. We’ve already mentioned clicking the back button but there are a number of things a user can do which will also count. If they close the window or tab, that counts. Typing a new URL in the address bar does too. So, does clicking on a link to another website from within your page. They are all ways of leaving your website without interaction.

How it impacts SEO

Google uses a complex set of metrics when ranking web pages but its own user data is pretty critical.  Both bounce and exit rate are strong indicators of a web page’s quality and ‘stickiness’ – and Google’s primary aim is to serve up the best quality and most relevant pages in its search engine results pages (SERPS). If your pages have a high bounce rate, it means they’re not relevant to the search terms users typed – and will be less likely to rank well. Conversely, if the bounce rate is low, it means users are spending time on your page, finding content to engage in and exploring your site further.

What is bounce rate

What is a good bounce rate?

Every industry is different so we can’t give a blanket answer to this. Instead you should compare your web metrics with other sites in your industry.  Shopping websites tend to have lower bounce rates as people are more inclined to browse products, whereas a specific geographical landing page for a service industry which contains all the information users need on that page will have a significantly higher rate. This also applies if your website is a simple one-page site. As a guide:

  • Retail sites should aim for 20-40%
  • Service industry sites (e.g. Financial services) should aim for 10-30%
  • Content sites should aim for 40-60%
  • Landing pages should aim for 70-90%

What can I do to improve my website?

As a first step to improving your website bounce rate you should identify which pages on your website users land on most frequently. You can do this in Google Analytics. These are the pages you should focus on to do the following things:

  • Ensure the content on the page is relevant and engaging – you may consider rewriting it, breaking it up, adding images or video and links to other relevant content. Ensure there is enough detail for users if they want it. If you’re worried about having too much visible content on the page, you can use ‘read more’ links.
  • Ensure the design of the page is engaging – clear layout, easy to read font, clear journey through the page and jumps off to relevant content. Perhaps get someone who’s never seen the page to take a test drive through it.
  • Ensure any links to external sites open in a new window by using the target=”_blank” attribute in your links.
  • Link to a glossary that explains industry terms or a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
  • Ensure the page loads quickly. We recommend aiming for a 5 second page load time. To measure this, use a tool like GT Metrix or Google’s own Page Speed Checker (NB this will check your mobile page speed as Google now looks at mobile ahead of desktop).
  • Get rid of any pop-up ads – they annoy users.
  • If your page has adverts, consider where they’re placed. Too many, too prominently on the page are a turn off.
  • Check that your site navigation is clear and the user journey through the website is planned out.
  • Include plenty of internal links to other, useful pages on your website – e.g. similar products and services, customer reviews, relevant blog or news posts and contact page
  • Include clear calls to action (CTAs) as buttons or banners to prompt users to click on them.

If you implement the above points on your key pages, you will not only improve your bounce rate but also the SEO for that page – and in turn should see more users from organic search. But remember, nothing happens overnight so keep checking those web metrics every month!


Why Keywords are still the key to your website success in 2019

Why keywords are still the key to your website success in 2019

The purpose of this post is to give an overview of why keywords are still so important, for business owners or marketers without a detailed SEO knowledge.

I was inspired to write this post, as I regularly see new clients’ websites that are missing the most basic keywords, even those who have previously hired an SEO agency.

  • Many things are written about the keys to a website search engine success in 2019, for example this blog post lists over 200 factors that Google considers.
  • It is worth taking a step back to look at the function Google provides. If someone types in (or speaks) their query, like “plumber in Brighton”; Google’s algorithm looks at all the web pages in its index and serves what it considers to be the ‘best’ results.
  • While Google looks at over 200 factors, if you are a plumber in Brighton, you are certainly going to make your job of achieving top ranking much harder if you do not have ‘plumber’ or ‘brighton’ written on relevant web pages.

So, despite all of Google’s advances since it was founded in 1998, keywords are still the key to websites’ success, here are the six reasons why:

1. People still search using words

Despite technology advances, people still search using words, whether typing on mobile, desktop or using voice search. Words are therefore the basis of every search.

Keywords in blocks

2. Keywords relate to 11 of the 59 page factors that Google looks at for rankings

According to Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2018), keywords are directly related to 11 of the 59 on page factors that Google looks at when deciding where to rank your website in its natural listings. So, defining the right keywords in the correct places are still extremely important for your website’s rankings.

3. Google makes its money from keywords

In 2017, ads accounted for over 70% of Google total $111 Billion revenue, and 89% of this ad revenue came from ads in their search results.

The ads in their search results work on a keyword cost per click model. So, the advertiser will bid on a keyword they wish to rank for, and the more commercially viable that keyword the more they will bid. So, it is worth remembering that keywords drive Google’s income, so they are going nowhere!

4. Keywords help your website to clearly define what you are selling

The right keywords can help you to clearly and succinctly define your product or services, from the more general such as ‘plumber’ to the highly specific such as ‘Emergency boiler repairs in Brighton’.

So, for example if you where this firm of plumbers:

  • Home Page – this should include more general keywords such a ‘plumbers’ and maybe your locations
  • Services pages – you should have an ‘Emergency Boiler Repairs’ page and maybe your locations

For further details on how to structure your website, see: How to Create a Site Structure That Will Enhance SEO.

5. Keyword research helps you match your site to what searchers are looking for

Google provides data to the precise search queries people use. Tools like Keywords Everywhere make accessing this data quick and simple.

Knowing the number of searches for one keyword versus another can be extremely informative in how you write and structure your website.

Let’s say you are a firm of plumbers and you offer ‘boiler installations’ and ‘heat pump installations’ but Google tells you that there are no searches for ‘heat pump installations’ in your area, this tells you to focus more efforts on the ‘boiler installation’ content on your website. See actual results:

  • boiler installer brighton: 30 Google searches a month
  • heat pump installer brighton: 0 Google searches a month

For more information see:  How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide.

Man writing notes

6. Keyword research helps you target more commercially viable search terms

As Google makes money from selling Ads and knows the price people will bid for specific keywords. This gives you as a website owner extremely valuable information as to the commercial viability of a keyword.

Let’s say you were considering two pages on your plumbing website, one about your Emergency Plumbing Services, and one about Small Plumbing jobs. But the cost per click for the two search terms where as follows:

  • emergency plumbers brighton: £12.74 per click
  • small job plumber brighton: £2.03 per click

This indicates that ’emergency plumbers brighton’ is a much more commercially viable term, and that your site will generate higher value enquiries if you spend more time optimising writing content for ‘emergency plumber’ related keywords.

For further reading, see Google AdWords: The Beginner’s Guide.

 

If you have any comments please leave a comment below.

Or if you feel that your business website is lacking good keyword targeting, call us on 01444 645018 for a FREE initial chat, or for more information see our SEO page.