Category Archives: Keywords

 

If you’ve been planning a re-design of your website, or if you are just starting out and are designing your very first business website, you’ll have a lot to think about. You want effective branding, strong key messaging, dynamic content and a website that lets you stands out from the crowd. You’ll probably be thinking about all the great features that you can include for your customers and prospects – but don’t forget that you also really need to focus on how you can optimise your website for the search engines.

Why is SEO so important for your website?

SEO is all about getting your website found online. You could have the most amazing website in the world but if it doesn’t rank well in the search engines it will be hard to find. This means that you could well miss out on attracting the potential clients that you need to help your business succeed and grow. Whilst SEO can be a complex process, there are certain tasks that you need to make sure are taken into account by your website designer when you begin your site build. There is also some preparation that you can do beforehand to ensure that your site is fully optimised with all the things that Google wants to see.

To help you make sure that all of your SEO requirements are covered, we’ve created a handy checklist which looks at the key SEO tasks you need to prioritise when creating or redesigning your website.

1. Ensure you have sufficient space for your content

Google wants to see valuable content on the homepage so make sure that you have sufficient space to get the content that you need in. We recommend that you should use 250 words as a minimum, but ideally leave space for more than this in case you need to add additional wording. Content really is key for SEO success, so make sure that all your other category pages have enough space too.  Before you start, think about what sort of content you will want to have on there and what your customers will want to be able to learn about your business and your services. You might also want to be able to create landing pages which won’t appear in the main navigation of the site. These can be vital for specific advertising campaigns or for when you want to focus on a particular keyword – so make sure that you have this ability built into your site.

2. Do your keyword research

Keywords are a powerful tool for optimising your website and will ensure that the customers who are looking for your product or service will be shown your website by the search engines. They are often what a search engine looks for to determine whether your site is the right fit for a customer’s search terms. Ideally keyword research should be done before you start developing your website, as it can be useful as a marketing tool too. It helps you identify the types of products or services your target demographic are interested in and the content that they are searching for.

3. Make your URLs SEO friendly

A URL is the address that takes you to a particular web page on the internet. URLs are important to the search engines because they can contain keywords that let Google learn more about what that specific page is about.  For example one of our URLs is http://wagada.co.uk/content-marketing/ so it is clear that this page contains information about our content marketing services. Being able to add the correct keywords into URLs is quite powerful, so when designing your site make sure that it allows you to choose the URL rather than automatically taking the URL from the page title. Another key tip for URLs is to use a dash not an underscore for splitting words. If you are able to do this it will benefit your site. Ideally you want your URLs to be as specific as possible so ensure that all blog articles and all products/services have their own unique URL too.

4. Ensure your site has fast loading pages

A key concern of the search engines is that your website should be useable and user friendly and a large element of this is how quickly it loads. A slow site can cause impatient customers to click away from your site and can be frustrating and off-putting. This can also increase your bounce-rate which can impact negatively on your search engine ranking.  Often slow-loading graphics can be an issue so we recommend using CSS where feasible.

5. Remember that images are important for SEO too

Did you know that images can help your SEO too? People often forget about the images on their website but it’s important to optimise them as well as your text. You should have the facility to add an ALT tag for every image – this will allow the search engines to understand what your images are and you can include your keywords in these descriptions.  Be careful because some content management systems remove the image folder in the robots file which means that search engines don’t index or search the image. Therefore it’s a good idea to remove this feature in order that you can still get found in image searches.

6. Get your tags right

Tags mean that Google ‘bots’ can more easily find out what your pages are about. Try to get an H1 tag on every page which should be editable. This should be the main title of the page where keywords can be added in.  You will also want to make all title tags and meta descriptions fully customisable so that they can be changed and keywords added where and when needed. The titles which appear in the navigation should be independent from the title tag and the main title on the page – this is because if necessary you can have a different title tag to H1 to navigation title if needed.

7. Create a proper 404 page

You’ll probably have been diverted to a 404 page at some point when you have searched online. These are error webpages that are shown to a user when the page they are trying to find doesn’t exist anymore. Companies often use a humorous message and take the opportunity to divert the user back to a page that may be of help to them. It’s important not to just direct users back to the homepage as this can be confusing and frustrating for them as they don’t understand that there has been an error.

8. Don’t change your domain

This is an important one! If you are re-designing your website do not change the domain or move from www to non www. You should also ensure that the non-www version of the site is forwarded to the www. Version, removing any /index.php version.

9. Install Google Analytics

When you have your fantastic new website up and running you’ll need to be able to get stats on how many hits you are getting, which pages people are viewing and what locations they are coming from. That’s why it’s important to install Google Analytics as this programme will be able to tell you these details. This will help you to understand how successful your website is and inform any changes or updates that you may want to make.

As you can see there’s lots of work behind the scenes to be done when creating a website. The front-end design is only half the story and the SEO behind it will be vital in helping your business get found online. At Wagada HQ we always like to tell our customers that ‘we speak human’ and although website creation can get quite technical, we’re always on hand to translate and explain your SEO requirements and to liaise with your designers to help you get the website that works for you!

When you undertake any keyword analysis for your website it can sometimes appear to be very daunting. You can be faced with a long list of keywords and search terms but might not always be sure of how to use to use them to best effect on your website. We have found that it can be really beneficial to split the keywords that you find into two groups for narrow and broad targeting. Narrow content strategies focusing on very specific terms which are searched for with a clear intent. In contrast, broad content strategies look at how you can employ more expansive search terms that may have a higher volume of searches.

How to analyse your keywords

When you have your keyword list you can assess each keyword to work out which category it falls into. Here are some of the key factors that you could look out for to help you narrow down where each keyword or phrase belongs.

Narrow Search Terms usually focus on a very specific search term. For example a women’s fashion store may have “blue mother of the bride outfits” on their list. This search shows that the user has a clear idea of the specific product or service that they want to purchase.  There tends to be much smaller search volumes for these terms as they are very particular and are not always easy to expand out into other phrases.

Broad Search Terms are far more fluid and there can be a number of reasons why a user may be putting in those terms when looking online. It could be that they are doing some research, looking to purchase or looking for further guidance.  These broad search terms can be easily adapted to other phrases and often have a very high search volume as they are more general. So our example of the fashion store could have “outfits for weddings” as one of their broad search terms.

How to utilise your narrow and broad keyword terms for search engine success

Once you have assessed your list of keywords and search terms you can then use this to your advantage when planning your website. For the broader terms you can make sure that they are used at a higher level in your site plan. As the terms themselves are fairly flexible you can look at the long tail keyword phrases that could work around them. You could also incorporate them into blog posts.

Then, for your narrow keyword terms, you can focus on using them to help customers find very specific products which they don’t want to spend ages searching online for. These narrow terms can be used to split larger pages into more product specific sections so with our example you may use ‘Wedding Outfits’ as your page title, then direct customers to “mother of the bride outfits” and finally allow them to drill down to their chosen product by colour.

What are the benefits of this dividing search terms in this way?

Using this type of targeting has many benefits both for your customers and for your website. Firstly it really helps you to understand the ways that your customers are trying to find your product or service online. This means that you can create your site map to capitalise on the search keywords, using the broader search terms to inform your heading and page titles, and then building on the narrow search terms for more specific product details.

Secondly it helps to provide the user experience that the customer really wants. So for customers who are researching general terms they will want to be given more wide ranging information and guidance to help inform their choice. Likewise customers looking for something very specific and with a clear intent will want to be taken to that product or service quickly and efficiently and including the narrow keyword terms in the right places will ensure that they can do this. We know that Google really values a great customer experience and so this will positively impact on your website’s place in the search rankings too!

Taking the time to analyse your keywords and to work out where to use them on your site really will pay dividends both in terms of happy customers and a great ranking with the search engines.

One thing that we love about the SEO industry is that it is constantly evolving. There are always new things to learn and different ways to help keep our customers on top of their optimisation – and at the top of Google too!

As we approach the end of 2015 it’s a good time to take a look back at the year so far to see what changes and initiatives have affected the SEO landscape, and also to take a look forward to 2016 to see what’s in store for your website next year. So here is our round-up of the key issues that may have had an impact on your website and what you should keep an eye on for next year.

Mobile algorithm changes

In April this year Google launched a new update that became known as “mobilegeddon” in the SEO community. This update meant a big change to the mobile search engines. As more and more people are using search on their smart phones Google felt that it was increasingly important for websites to be mobile friendly, and therefore they changed their rankings for mobile search to downgrade pages that didn’t work well on a smartphone. Although this update did lead to some panic, we feel that it was actually a very sensible move and it was good that businesses were encouraged to look at how mobile friendly their sites were. After all, if it is good for your customers it is good for your sales! It was also a relief for businesses that the algorithm was run in real time so pages would be re-assessed as soon as they were made mobile friendly.

Long tail keyword phrases

Although it’s a bit of a tongue-twister we have seen a focus on Long Tail Keyword Phrases become increasingly popular over the last year. These are basically the more conversational phrases that customers use when searching online. So this can focus on the longer and more specific questions that your customers could be searching for on Google. This move away from shorter keywords means that it’s easier to create more natural looking content for your readers. However it also means that businesses need to work closely with their customers to understand how they are searching for their product or service so that they can get the phrases they are using on their website right.

Focus on user experience

We need to become much more focused on the user experience of a website and how easy it is for customers to navigate through a site to find the information that they need. Businesses are being encouraged to do thorough user testing when they launch their website, both to make sure that it fulfils their customer’s needs and to help them understand how customers are searching for their product or service online. Google is now becoming very aware of how relevant and helpful sites are to their users so it’s a double bonus for websites that get it right. Not only do they have happy customers who are more likely to purchase their products, they will also see a rise in their search engine ranking too!

Looking ahead to 2016

So what does next year have in store for the SEO community? Well, we predict an even bigger focus on mobile search and site usability as an increasing number of people want to search and make purchases from their phones. With a number of high profile hacking incidents happening in 2015 we also think that search engines will be looking at website security and will be changing how that is prioritised. We’re sure there will also be some more algorithm updates from Google as they focus on user experience and the relevance of content, and we expect to see the importance of social media shares and likes increase too. Whatever happens we can assure you that the Wagada team always have their ear to the ground, so watch our site for regular updates on the latest SEO news!

Google adwords logoIf you have a small business then starting to use AdWords can seem like a daunting process. Whilst AdWords is a well-known way of driving business to your website, there is also a risk that you end up spending lots of money competing for keywords against large businesses, and your ad campaigns may not always be successful.

As well as the worry about spending more money than you get back in return, the technology behind AdWords can also be confusing. We find that people often struggle to understand how keywords and phrases work, which may put them off using AdWords.

However AdWords can actually be really beneficial for small businesses and it is a good short-term way of increasing traffic to your site and hopefully gaining you more customers. At Wagada we know that AdWords doesn’t have to be terrifying so here are some tip tips for how to make it work for you.

1. Get your targeting and keywords right

With AdWords it definitely pays to take the time to do your research on keywords before you launch a campaign. Google even has a keyword tool to help you with this. Find out which keywords your competitors are targeting as otherwise you may end up paying a higher price for these keywords. You also want to get your keywords right. Although it is tempting to go for as broad a base as possible with your keywords this ends up being less effective as you will not get the targeted hits that you want. Make sure you know your market and that the keywords you choose reflect this. So for example if you have a luxury florist shop don’t use keywords such as “discount flowers” or “deals on flowers”.

2. Experiment with different advertising copy to see which works best for you

You can split your keywords into groups and use different advertising copy for each group. This enables you to monitor how well each ad is doing and you can then keep the groups with the highest return. Keep experimenting to see what works well for the demographic you are targeting and use these learnings for your next campaign. You will gradually see your success increasing.

3. Create ad-specific landing pages

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their AdWords campaigns is just sending them to one landing page. Although it make take some time it is worth building several different landing pages that are tailored specifically to each targeted ad group. Once the pages are built, you can then deeplink them to the relevant advert. This makes your campaign a lot slicker and also means that you can take a look at which landing pages are leading to the most conversions.

4. Keep your budget realistic (but not too low!)

We know it can be all too easy to let your AdWords budget spiral out of control. There is a risk that you end up spending more and more to keep the clicks to your site coming. Start with a lower budget and when your campaign starts to become profitable you can then increase it at a rate you are comfortable with. Once you have trialled different keywords and copy you will be able to come up with more successful ads which will then lead to a greater conversion rate for your budget. However the flip side to this is that you don’t want to go too low on your CPC or there is the chance that your ads will not be seen until large paying advertisers’ budgets have gone.

If you take the time to really think about your keywords, ad copy and targeted landing pages AdWords can work wonders for a small online business. The key is to do your research first and make sure that your ads are constantly evolving to make your AdWords campaign as successful and as cost effective as possible.

Find out how Wagada can help you with your keyword research in order to better target your Adwords campaign.

 

If you are a keen Google watcher you will know that it is often running updates to its algorithm, which means that the tools they use to rank sites are constantly being refined. They are always looking for ways to use online data to make their search rankings really relevant to what searchers are looking for. One of the key updates last year was Hummingbird which has allowed Google to move beyond simply reading the text on your website page to making intelligent connections between a brand and the concepts that it embodies. In fact this new algorithm is said to impact more than 90% of searches online. So, how can you make sure that Google makes the right connections between your brand and the keywords that you want to be associated with it?

How Does Google Connect Brand To Keywords?

There are a number of ways that Google starts to make connections between brands and their related keywords. Firstly they will look at search terms and pick out any in which brands are also mentioned. For example instead of just searching for home furnishings someone might enter ‘home furnishings Cath Kidston’. In this way Google can see that consumers have made a natural connection between the brand and what it offers. So you can see how, in this example, the Cath Kidston brand would get linked to the keywords ‘home furnishings’.

Google will also look for links from high authority sites where people are writing about or discussing a certain concept and then linking to a brand from those discussions. So a popular food blogger might often write about ‘quick and easy recipes’ and then regularly link to the Delia Smith website therefore linking the two terms for Google. Then when someone entered the search terms ‘quick and easy recipes’ Google would show them the Delia Smith site.

How You Can Make Sure Your Brand Is Connected To the Right Keywords

Of course you want your brand to be associated with the right keywords and the words that you feel are most relevant to your brand presence. To get this right you really need to think about what your customers need from your site.

In terms of content you need to go beyond the simple keyword phrases and think holistically about the topic. Look for all the keyword phrases that a consumer might use rather than just the ones that have historically worked well for your site. Content really is key especially as this new algorithm sees many larger brands taking over in terms of the search engines, so it’s really important for a small business to have focused and dynamic content.

You might also want to consider having a number of different pages to meet the needs of a particular keyword. This new algorithm means that we need to be cleverer with the keyword selection on your website, and the hierarchy of keywords that Google perceives. We also need to research keywords more thoroughly – find out more about Wagada’s keyword research service.

Whilst these types of Google updates can be challenging they can also been seen as a great way to keep innovating and moving your website forward to keep it fresh and engaging for your target audience. The better Google matches the searcher’s need to your website, the more chance you have of that person converting.

Contact us for more information about our keyword research