Category Archives: SEO

As the world of online marketing has grown and social media has expanded, you may have noticed the term ‘digital marketing agency’ cropping up on a regular basis. And, if you run a small business, you might have wondered exactly how a digital agency could support your company and help it to achieve your marketing aims.

At WagadaHQ, we are Hertfordshire’s Digital Marketing People. We pride ourselves on being one of the fastest growing digital agencies in Hertfordshire and our expertise in this field has been recognised by a number of high profile awards including the Mum and Working Awards, the Best Business Women Awards and the St Albans Chamber of Commerce Community Business Awards. However we know that many small business owners are not always clear on what digital marketing agencies do and the benefits they can bring to a business. So we’ve put together this helpful guide to explain exactly what digital marketing agencies can offer and why they can be a vital support for your business strategy.

Search Engine Optimisation

Optimising your website for the search engines should be a priority for all online businesses but if you don’t feel confident understanding the technical talk involved and don’t have the time to read up on the ever-changing industry of SEO, it can feel quite stressful. At Wagada the first thing we tell our customers is that we speak human. A good digital agency will help guide you through the wonderful world of Googlebots and site maps.

Search engine optimisation moves at a very fast pace and Google’s algorithms are constantly changing. This means that you need to be on top of the changes to keep your website ranking well. So it’s vital that you work with someone who is experienced and confident in website optimisation and who understands how it all works. The great thing about a digital agency is that they can provide different levels of SEO support as and when you need it – from help with your initial SEO strategy, to SEO training to managing your SEO on an ongoing basis.

AdWord Campaigns

AdWords is another aspect of digital marketing that can often be tough to master if you run a small business. AdWords is a great way to get your website showing in Google’s listings quickly and they are also ideal for short-term advertising campaigns. However, when you are paying for every click it’s vital that you get your campaign right! AdWords can be time consuming and confusing if you’re not sure what you’re doing and that’s where a digital agency is perfectly placed to step in and support. At Wagada we have dedicated, experienced and highly-trained Google AdWords managers who are fully certified by Google. This means that working with a digital agency like Wagada will enable you to run cost-effective campaigns that really get your website seen by your target audiences, and will provide you with the best returns for your advertising budget.

Social Media Strategy and Management

Many people enjoy using social media in their personal life but when it comes to using it for their business needs it’s often a whole different ballgame. Setting up a business page, creating and curating your page content and using Facebook or Twitter advertising can take up a lot of time. Often our clients find that they just don’t have the time to get the most out of their social media. A digital marketing agency can therefore be invaluable in giving you your time back and managing your social media channels for you. Whether it’s the day-to-day running of your account, creating a content calendar that meets your business needs, or putting together a social media advertising campaign, a digital agency can provide a high level of support for your business. And, if you like social media but just want to make it as effective as possible, a digital agency can provide training to both you and your team.

Copywriting and Content Marketing

Our clients often tell us that when it comes to their marketing material and online copy, they know exactly what they want to say – they just don’t know how to say it! That’s where great copywriting skills come in handy. Whether it’s for email newsletters, web copy or your company blog, a digital agency will have a team of experienced and trained writers to support your communication strategy. They will understand how to write effectively for your customer base and will be able to get your message across in an engaging and compelling way. Digital agencies understand the particular challenges of writing for online customers and are skilled at supporting your SEO strategy by fitting your chosen keywords and long tail keyword phrases into your text in a subtle and natural way.

A digital agency will also look at your website content as a whole to make sure that once customers have clicked on your website, they want to stay there. They will look at how well your content works for your potential customers and can help you understand how to use your content effectively to support your overall marketing strategy.

You can see that a digital agency can provide small businesses with vital marketing support and advice – whether you just need help with a short term campaign or you want to outsource all of your business marketing on an ongoing basis. Running a small business is often a lonely job and it can make a difference to know that there’s a wealth of advice and support available which is just a phone call away. Many of our clients even tell us that their digital agency becomes an integral part of their ‘team’. So if you feel that a digital agency could help your small business, why not get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to talk in further detail about our services and how we can support you.

If you are setting up a website in order to sell your products online, then you’ll probably have spent quite a bit of time researching the pros and cons of the different ecommerce platforms available to power your business. Whilst there are many factors that you need to take into account when choosing your platform, it is vital to consider how it can support your search engine optimisation strategy.

Unfortunately, some ecommerce platforms may limit your ability to control the way that you optimise your website and this could lead to a fall in rankings and ultimately a drop in sales. It can also be frustrating as a business owner if you are not able to take advantage of the latest SEO updates and strategies because your online shop does not support them.

Luckily there are some great ecommerce platforms out there which can help to meet all of your business needs. WagadaHQ have identified four key SEO features which your ecommerce platform needs to have to enable you to optimise your site fully. If you ensure that these are supported then you will be able to provide both a great retail environment for your online customers and you can also help your website to move up the search engine rankings.

  1. Ensure that you can include an integrated blog on your website

We love blogging. Not only is it a great way to share information and communicate with your customers, but it’s also vital for your SEO too. Blogs are the best way to ensure that your content stays fresh and relevant and they are the perfect place to include up-to-date keywords and long tail keyword phrases. They also help your site to get linked to, can be shared on social media and show Google that you can add real value to your customers’ lives.

Ideally, your CMS would offer the option to set up an integrated blog section. However, this can be tricky in some ecommerce platforms. Installing a WordPress blog into the directory of your site is an option but it means you may need to continually switch between WordPress and your online store, which is far from ideal. For example, VisualSoft allows you to access a WordPress blog via the dashboard, but it does just open this in a new tab.

Luckily there are platforms available, including Shopify, which actually include a blog in its ecommerce platform. This is well worth considering if you are keen to blog and to take advantage of the SEO improvements that regular blogging can offer.

That being said, if your ecommerce platform and blog CMS differ, you must ensure that they are available on the same domain (i.e. example.com and example.com/blog).

  1. Keep control of your metadata

If you want to increase your chances of ranking for your chosen keywords and phrases, you need to have the ability to include optimised page titles, meta descriptions and URLs for each page.

If you have generic page titles it can damage your page ranking and can also lead to issues with duplicate content. If you decide on an ecommerce platform that doesn’t let you control this data, there is a risk that you will be left with generic titles for all of your pages. The result of this is that you are unable to take full advantage of any keyword strategies you may have.

As with many ecommerce websites, you will often find that URLs are ugly, non-optimised and non-optimisable (they may become excessively long, feature upper and lowercase lettering or include punctuation). If you’re building an ecommerce website, try to take control of your URL structure initially.

We definitely recommend that you choose a platform which lets you retain the ability to individually choose each page title, meta description and URL. There are a number of platforms which let you do this including Magento, so make this feature a priority when deciding on your platform for your online store.

  1. Manage your automatic redirects and canonical URLs

Some online stores will use multiple domain names. However, when you do this there is a risk that customers may follow links which could take them to the wrong place or simply become broken over time. Of course, this can affect your search engine ranking as it means usability is poor and customers could get frustrated and ultimately decide not to buy from your website. The way round this is to set up canonical URLs or 301 redirects but this can be time-consuming.

If you think this could be an issue for your site, then it can be a good idea to choose a platform which automatically redirects your users and the search engines to your primary domain. Platforms such as SquareSpace can do this for you and save you time and effort whilst improving the online shopping experience for your customers.

If you have multiple domains or URLs, you may also want to consider a platform that enables you to implement canonicals. These let you hold content in a number of different places online whilst making sure that Google is aware that it should only take note of the one page/URL you want to rank. This is also important if you want to use a number of URLs for products within the same category.

If this is important to your business then WooCommerce is a platform which has support for canonical URLs built into it – and even better there is a basic version of it available for free!

  1. Ensure you can edit your Robots.txt files

This sounds quite technical but what it actually means is that you have the ability to tell Google’s ‘bots’ that there are certain pages that they should ignore when they are crawling your website to index it for their search engines.

When you run an online store, there will often be pages that you don’t want to be searchable online or that you don’t want Google to index. For example, you might have a special offers page which is only available to customers on your mailing list. Alternatively, your blog could be creating hundreds of author archive URLs such as example.com/2017/09. Such pages won’t rank, so you would want to block them in your robots.txt file in order to improve your website’s crawl budget and/or any indexing issues.

On big ecommerce websites, faceted navigation can also create major issues in relation to crawl and indexation. Every permutation of refine/sort creates another page (of near-identical content) which can quickly lead to hundreds of thousands of pages. If this is the case, Google’s crawl budget ends up being spread too thin. The best solution for faceted navigation URLs is to block these in your robots.txt file (you’ll also want to noindex, nofollow and canonicalize these pages – so again, ensure that your ecommerce platform enables this).

BigCommerce is a platform which allows you to directly access robot.txt files and so is definitely one to consider.

We think it is definitely worth taking the time to consider your SEO needs when choosing your ecommerce platform. You should make sure that you choose one which will offer you the best option for a great consumer experience and will help your site rank well in the search engines. We know that there is a lot of choice out there, so if you are feeling slightly confused by it all, get in touch with Wagada. We are SEO experts and can help you find the ecommerce platform that works best for you, your SEO and your business.

 

Getting a great review is brilliant for your business. Nowadays, more and more people are looking for word of mouth recommendations for businesses, and potential customers will often spend a great deal of time researching reviews online before they make a purchasing decision.

Of course, as a small business owner, it’s heart-warming to get fantastic reviews and they can also help your search engine ranking too. At Wagada HQ we recommend that our clients ask their happy customers to give them a good review on Google My Business, as this is a powerful way to show the search engines how relevant and valuable your business is.

However, sometimes your business could be unlucky enough to receive some fake negative reviews online. This can be extremely worrying and frustrating for small business owners, especially if they have worked hard to get positive recommendations. But the good news is that that there is a solution to fake reviews and you can get them taken down.  So we thought we’d take a look at how you can tell if you have a fake review and how you can go about removing it from Google My Business.

What is a fake review?

A fake review is usually a negative review posted by spammers, competitors or just people with malicious intent. The first clue is that they will usually give you a very low rating compared to other customers and obviously this will make them stand out from your other reviews. They may also include content which is clearly inaccurate about your business or that doesn’t seem to make sense.

They might even talk about a service that you don’t actually offer or make false claims against you. It can be very unpleasant to see these fake reviews on your Google My Business page and obviously you do not want future customers to be put off by reading them. Therefore you will need to get them removed. This should be a fairly simple process and Google My Business will be on hand to help if you do have any issues.

A guide to Google review policies

The first thing you will need to do is to reference the fake review content against the Google review policies. In summary Google state that they expect reviews to be ‘honest representations of the customer experience’ and review writers are warned that if they do not fulfil the policy requirements then their comments may be removed.

There are a number of issues that violate Google policies. These include spamming with links to other websites, including email addresses or phone numbers and going ‘off topic’ and talking about someone else’s experiences rather than your own. Reviews need to be honest and unbiased so any content from people who have been paid to write a review or negative reviews from competitors will breach guidelines too. Obviously any offensive content or reviews which include personal attacks on others will also be removed.

If you have a fake review it will usually meet one of the above criteria which means that you can then follow the process to flag and fix these reviews.

How to flag a fake review for removal

There is a fairly straightforward way to flag a review for removal. Once you have done this the information will be sent to the Google My Business team who will assess your review and then hopefully remove the listing for you.

Firstly check that the review violates Google criteria. If a review is factually accurate, you will not be able to flag it and Google won’t get involved in any customer disputes, as it is very hard for them to prove who is in the right!

You then need to navigate to Google Maps and search for your business there using either the business name or the address. Then when the search results come up select your business.

Once you have selected your business then in the panel on the left, scroll down to the review summary section. Under the average rating click on the ‘number of reviews’ button. Then scroll down to the review that is fake and click the flag icon. A form will then appear in the window in which you can fill in the details required by Google. After that all you need to do is simply click submit.

It is worth noting that once you have completed the form you will need to be patient. As you can imagine, the Google team are pretty busy and it can take several days for them to assess the fake review so don’t worry if you don’t hear back from them or see the review removed instantly.

If after a few days the review has not been removed, or if Google don’t wish to remove the review, you can always get in contact with a Google My Business specialist. They will be able to talk you through the process and deal with any issues you may have. To request a call, simply go to their help page.

Coping with fake reviews

We know that fake reviews can be stressful and upsetting but, reassuringly, they are rare and to try and crack down on them, Google makes use of automated spam detection measures which are designed to remove any reviews that have a high likelihood of being spam.

Most fake reviews do look quite obviously fake and often potential clients will see through them quickly – particularly if the majority of your reviews are really positive. So don’t let a fake review get you down. Keep calm and follow the above process and you should be able to get them removed from your page. And, if you have trouble understanding the process or are concerned about the effects of a fake negative review on your SEO, then get in touch with us at Wagada HQ. We’ll be happy to offer you our help and advice.

 

If you have your website up and running, the chances are that you already have a blog included on it. Blogs are brilliant for keeping your content up to date and relevant, creating valuable information that users want to read and share, and for incorporating the keywords and long tail keyword phrases that can really improve the way that Google ranks your website.

But, if you are an avid reader of other blogs, you may have noticed that sometimes they will have a ‘guest blog’ featured on their site and you might have wondered what a guest blog is and why people write them. In this article, Wagada HQ will take a look at what guest blogging is, why it can help your website and how you can approach other sites and encourage them to accept a guest blog from your business.

So what is a guest blog?

A guest blog is created when you or your company are given an opportunity to write a blog post which will be hosted on another company’s website.  Guest blogs will often be published on sites which have a shared area of interest or operate within the same industry sector. For example a hairdresser could contribute a guest blog to a personal stylist’s website or a childcare company might have an opportunity to write a blog on a parenting blogger’s site.

Now if you find it hard to come up with or write content for your own site, you may be wondering what the benefits would be of writing for another site – after all if you have a great blog idea don’t you want to keep it for your own blog? The answer is, not necessarily. There are actually a range of reasons why writing guest blogs for other sites can be really beneficial to your business and can help you to see your website moving up those all-important search engine rankings.

What benefits can guest blogging bring me?

One of the most vital things that guest blogging can do for your website is to help improve the way that Google views your website’s authority. When you provide a guest blog, the host site will usually let you include a link back to your own website. If you have the opportunity to blog for a site that already has a good page ranking and good page authority, then the search engines will notice this ‘link juice’ running to your site, and will assume that your site is also trustworthy and relevant. Of course this increase in authority can really help your search engine optimisation and the more high quality sites that you can get to link to your website the better.

A great guest blog can also really improve the number of hits that you get to your website. If you write a guest blog for a website that has a high volume of readers and you are able to entertain and engage them, then they will often click through to have a look at your business site too. Of course there is also the added benefit to the increased click-throughs of potentially increased sales. If you pick the sites you guest blog on carefully, then your product or service should be of interest to their readers and so it is a great way to widen your customer base.

Social sharing is becoming an increasingly important ranking factor for Google and guest blogs are a fantastic way to increase your website shares and engagement on channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Often when a company accepts a guest blog from your business, they will also be happy to share the content on their social media. If they have high levels of followers, this will really get your name seen and may help you increase your own likes and followers too.

That sounds great – how can I get a guest blog on another website?

Firstly it’s important to choose the websites you are targeting to host a guest blog very carefully. As we’ve already mentioned, the website’s authority is really important and you can use online tools such as Open Site Explorer to make sure you fully understand whether the site has a good ranking with Google. You really don’t want to hold a guest blog on a website which is perceived as spammy or low quality as that could actually end up with the search engines penalising your website.

You also need to make sure that the websites you are choosing are relevant to your industry. Google places a high level of importance on businesses using their website to add value to customers and so your blog will need to offer something useful to their readers. For example, a wedding cake maker could write a blog about the latest cake trends and this would work brilliantly as a guest post for a wedding dress shop. Equally it would be totally unsuitable as a post on a local MOT centre’s website!

Once you have chosen the sites you would like to offer a guest blog to, then really take the time to get to know their site to ensure that you can offer them a personalised guest post. Read their own blogs and think of a topic that would appeal to their readers. Don’t simply offer all the sites the same post, but ensure that each guest blog proposition is unique and will add value to what they can offer their customers.

It’s often hard simply emailing a website out of the blue. So aim to build up a relationship with them first via social media. Chat to them on industry Twitter hours, engage with them and share their posts and content so that they grow to know and trust you. Talk to them about what you do so that they understand the benefits that a guest post from your business could bring them.

Also keep an eye out on social media for websites actively asking for guest posts, either on a regular basis to help increase their content or as a one off if they are particularly busy at that point in time. If you are offered this opportunity then take it! You can also make use of your networking contacts with other local businesses to chat to them and see if they would be interested in a guest post from you – you could even come up with a reciprocal arrangement where you swap guest blogs with each other.

As you can see, guest blogging has a whole host of benefits for your website. From boosting your search engine rankings, to increasing your social media followers, and ultimately bringing more custom to your door, it’s an essential part of your SEO strategy. However, it is important to make the right choice of websites to offer guest blogs to and to ensure that the content you offer is going to inspire and engage them. Wagada HQ can help your business with both writing compelling guest blog content and researching and contacting the ideal websites to work with your brand. So if you are interested in guest blogging, but need a little help or advice come and chat to us – we speak human!

 

If you run a small business then you will probably be aware that you face some very specific challenges when it comes to getting your website ranking well in the search engines.

Firstly, you will be competing with larger brands who already have a big share of the market and who have marketing budgets far higher than your own. And, if you are a local business, you’ll also be targeting a much smaller base of potential customers, so you may have to work harder to attract traffic to your website. After all, people will only travel so far, even for a great hairdresser or a fabulous restaurant.

At Wagada HQ we love working with small businesses and we have a wealth of experience in helping them to wake up their website.  The good news is that there are lots of positive ways that small businesses can boost their SEO and get their products and services seen and talked about in the local area. So, let’s take a look at the ways that you can help to boost your site’s ranking in the search engines.

  1. Find out where your business fits in

The first thing you need to consider is where your business fits in and what your particular niche is. What is your unique selling point and what potential customers are you looking to attract? Obviously there is a lot of competition out there so it’s important that you can offer your customers something that your competitors can’t. It could be that you are the only restaurant in the area that cooks a certain type of food or perhaps you are the only hairdresser to have won a national award. You may even have a loyalty scheme that offers discounts or special deals, that no-one else offers. Whatever it is, you need to be able to shout about it online and show people why you are different (and better!) than the rest. Once you know where you fit, you can incorporate this into your SEO strategy. This could mean writing great content that potential customers will want to read, or targeting specific keywords that could be used in searches related to the product or services that you can offer.

  1. Think about your keywords

As a small business, it can really pay off to spend time researching the keywords and long tail keyword phrases that potential customers may be using to search for the products/services you provide. So do some research – speak to your customers either in person or via your social media channels and find out how they found you. What did they search for in Google? Once you know the keywords and phrases that they are using, you can start to incorporate them into your website content. It is also very important to think about the specific local areas that you may be looking to target and ensure that the names of those towns and cities are also included within your keyword strategy.

  1. Make the most of your budget

Whilst you might not have a multi-million-pound marketing budget (wouldn’t that be nice!), you can still get the most out of what you do have. Think about what you are able to do yourself and what elements of your marketing you enjoy and think about what you could outsource. Sometimes trying to do everything yourself can actually be a false economy, as a high-quality SEO agency could get done in one hour what it might take you five hours to achieve. Create a budget planner and look at how your budget can work best for you.

  1. Understand the local ranking factors that work for you

If you are a local business then to boost your SEO, you really need to understand and utilise the local ranking factors that Google uses. If you want to rank locally then the first thing you need to do is get your company on Google My Business. This is easy to set up and it actually uses distance as a ranking factor – giving more prominence to companies based close to where the user is located. This means that it is very important that your address shows correctly on your website and in your Google My Business account.

You can also get reviews on Google My Business and these can really help to boost your rankings. Remember to always ask your customers to leave you a review. The better ratings you have from your reviews, the more likely people are to click on your website!

You should also think about ‘near me’ searches. This is where customers use search terms such as ‘restaurants near me’, ‘florists close by’. So, if you can optimise your site for these type of searches you will reap the rewards, as these search terms are valued highly by Google.

  1. Network online and share your expertise

Networking on social media can help to boost your sales and get your business seen too. One of the reasons why social media is so great is that it works well even if you have a really small budget and if you get it right there’s no reason why your blogs posts can get shared and go viral just as much as those of companies with bigger budgets. Engage with key online influencers such as bloggers who write about your industry and with other local companies whose services and products complement your business.

Remember to add value to others and share your expertise. Create some great content on your website and start sharing! This could be written blog posts, cool images or video content. And don’t forget to engage with others on social media, as this is more likely to mean they will like and share your content in return.

SEO isn’t just for the big players in your market. Small businesses can also boost their website ranking by formulating an SEO strategy that plays to their strengths. It’s great news too, that you can optimise your website on a small budget. If you’re a small business who wants your website to work for you, why not get in touch with us at Wagada HQ. We can offer advice on SEO, website content, social media and digital marketing and we’ll help you to wake up your website and grow your business!

 

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!

 

They say that the best things come to those who wait – and this is certainly the case when you are attempting to help your website move up to a prime position in the search engine rankings. SEO is an ever-changing industry, but one thing we know for certain is that it’s not always a quick or easy task to get your website the ranking it deserves.  

The fact is, there are only 10 slots on page one of Google, and this means that there’s a lot of competition out there for the top spot! We understand that sometimes it can be frustrating developing and executing a winning SEO strategy, as you want results and you want them now.  However, as we explain in this article, with SEO and digital marketing, it is often proven that slow and steady really does end up winning the race!

At Wagada we like to say that we speak human. We don’t bamboozle you with technical talk or confuse you with SEO speak. Instead we like to explain clearly how optimising your website really works. We’ve taken a look at the reasons why SEO isn’t always easy, in order to help you understand exactly why it’s worth taking the time and effort to get your website to the top.

We provide high quality link-building opportunities

Link-building can have a powerful effect on improving your ranking in the search engines. If you are a relatively new business, then you will benefit from getting links pointing to your site from more established sites with higher domain authority. Google will note that these sites with high authority trust your website and this will transfer some of their value to your pages (this is often known in SEO circles as ‘link juice’). Whilst many SEO agencies will tell you they can quickly get lots of links to your site, these are often from low quality, disreputable sites that may end up doing more damage than good to your site in the long run. This type of ‘black hat SEO’ really should be avoided.

But getting high quality links isn’t a quick or simple process. Obviously, popular blogs and websites are in high demand and get frequent link requests. We find that the best way to get links is to work on establishing a strong long-term relationship with key influencers. This could be done by following them on Facebook, engaging with them during Twitter Hours and sharing their blogs and articles on social media. We also want to show them that we can offer them great content to link to, that is relevant to their audience. Of course all this takes time, but at Wagada we always find that patience pays off and by doing this, we can achieve really great links for our clients that have a positive outcome on their rankings.

We take the time to comprehensively review your website

Google will rank your website based on a number of factors. At the moment usability, content and relevance are seen as forming the backbone of a successful site that has the potential to rank really well in the search engines. Therefore one of the first things we will do is undertake an in-depth review of your website to ensure that we fully understand what is working well and what changes you need to make.

We want to make sure that your site is user friendly for your customers, that the pathway is well signposted to your consumer, and that the content you have is useful and relevant to them. Although this may be time-consuming, it’s time well spent! Think of it as being like a gardener spending time getting the soil just right before planting the seeds. We’ll make sure your website is in tip top condition and will give Google exactly what it wants to see.

We understand the value of organic SEO

We understand that in the long term, organic SEO can reap great rewards for your website. SEO involves helping your website to attain a high ranking without using paid search. This can be achieved by superior content, high authority links, a usable and user-friendly website and engaging social media. Of course all of this will take time to build up, but in the long term it means that your business won’t be reliant on short term paid for campaigns. Therefore, it will save you money as well as helping you to see your website move up the page rankings.

We build long term online influencer relationships

As social media continues to grow in influence and popularity, we are seeing how it can impact on your website’s search engine rankings. However, great social media involves a lot more work than simply setting up a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Engaging with your followers and potential customers is also key to building rapport and getting your voice heard. Social media is also an effective way of encouraging industry influencers to like and share your website content. When it’s done well, this means an increase in visits to your site and a boost to your online followers which will all give Google a great impression of your business. But social media is a pretty crowded market place. So getting your pages noticed and building relationships with others will take time and won’t happen overnight. We know that gaining the trust of customers and getting bloggers and online influencers to help promote your product or service is a really valuable SEO tool, and one that we think is well worth the work and the wait involved.

We know that good SEO is like baking a cake!

We have some pretty fabulous bakers in our team (you might have seen some of our fantastic cupcakes on our social media!) and that’s why we love the analogy of SEO being similar to baking a cake. You can use all the right ingredients but you won’t know what it tastes like until it comes out of the oven. You’ll also be constantly testing and refining your recipe to get the perfect combination. And that’s exactly what we do with your website. We’re always reviewing and testing it. We’ll trial strategies to see what works best and check that the results.

We’re confident that with time and effort we can get the SEO results that our clients want.  It’s important to understand that there is no one magic bullet that will see you rise to the top of the rankings – and beware of any SEO agencies that tell you there is. Getting your website to a good position in the rankings takes a range of dedicated strategies that value long term gains over quick wins, and who better to help you achieve this than the expert team at Wagada HQ.

 

If you run a small business, one thing that you know for certain is that you will always need to keep a close eye on what your competitors are up to. As an SME, you are likely to face competition from other SMEs as well as the bigger brands in your industry.

Of course, when you are selling in the digital marketplace, you might also find that your business rivals are not just in your local area but are on a global scale too. This is not necessarily a bad thing though. It helps to keep you on your toes and can encourage you to keep growing and developing as a business. Therefore it makes sense to know what your competitors are doing when it comes to their digital marketing and SEO and to capitalise on these learnings to support your own marketing proposition.

What is a competitor analysis?

A competitor analysis takes a detailed look at what your rivals are doing with the aim of using these key learnings to inform your business decisions and your understanding of the marketplace. It’s essential to look not only at what your competitors are doing well but also at what they are not doing or doing badly. In digital marketing, your competitor analysis should incorporate key elements such as their general website usability, traffic, their social media content and engagement.  However you should also focus on a more in-depth analysis such as the specific keywords and phrases that they are targeting.

Other things to look out for could be the events they’re attending, the content they’re producing, any PR activity, any paid online advertising campaigns they have invested in. in terms of identifying whether a competitor has invested time and resources into SEO, we would advise you to look at the title tags as a starting point. That is usually quite revealing as to whether SEO has been done and what keywords that are targeting. We would then advise you to look at what pages are indexed. Also take a look at what backlinks the client has – so use Link Research tools to see what their link profile looks like. These will all reveal great insights into your competitors’ marketing and SEO activity, or lack of!

Why should your business do a competitor analysis?

There are only a finite number of customers wanting to buy your product or service, and you want to be the ‘go-to’ brand. Therefore it’s vital to know what your competitors are up to and how successful they are online. Running a competitor analysis allows you to get ahead of the game and also to understand where your business needs to make improvements. Digital marketing is fast-paced and competitors will regularly be reviewing their online processes and activities, so it’s a good idea to schedule in competitor reviews across the year. This will ensure that you are always up to date with the market landscape and can execute effective and impactful marketing plans and campaigns.

Key areas of competitor analysis

Whilst it’s a good idea to have some clear objectives in mind when you begin your competitor analysis, you should also be open-minded as to what you might find! It makes sense to do your analysis under some key headlines of areas that are of importance to your digital marketing. We’ve listed these below, along with some of the online tools that you can use to help your research.

Like for Like Comparisons

One of the clearest ways to see how you compare to rival businesses is to make a direct comparison between the various strands of their online marketing strategy and your own. A great tool to help you with this is SimilarWeb. Their handy analysis lets you compare multiple areas of your business strategy against those of your competitors. What’s more, there is a free version of the tool which allows small businesses to begin their analysis without any heavy financial investment. Here are some of the comparisons that will help you to get the most out of a competitor analysis:

Website traffic

You can take a look at volumes of traffic to your competitor’s websites and where the traffic has come from. You can also see if it has gone up, down or remained the same during the last 6 months.

Traffic sources and referring sites

Of course, once you know how much traffic a competitor is getting, you want to know where it comes from. Are your competitors getting traffic from a paid affiliate scheme or perhaps from a well thought out social media campaign? If a competitor has high traffic coming from a channel that you are struggling with, take a closer look at what they are doing to achieve this.

Paid and organic keywords

You can get separate reports for each of these and it’s a great way to get new keyword inspiration, and also to get an idea of which keywords are working so well for your competitors that they are happy to pay for them.

Social media

Social media is becoming increasingly important for both the search engines and as a way for businesses to market themselves. Take a look at which social networks are driving the most traffic to your competitors.  It’s then a good idea to follow and like your competitors online so that you can regularly review what they are posting and sharing and who is engaging with them. If you use tools such as Moz, you could use FollowerWonk to analyse your competitors’ social media authority too.

Competitor link building

Links from good quality sites can form a valuable part of your SEO strategy. Getting a backlink from a high authority site can confer a higher authority on to your own website. It can be very useful to see where competitors are getting links from and to do this, you can simply use an advanced search option in Google search. To do this you need to type “link:” and then the domain name of the competitor you are researching. It can be extremely interesting to see the types of sites that your competitors are getting links from and can help you to plan your link building strategy going forward.

Keywords

As a small business, it can often be hard to find the right keywords for your business and of course popular keyword phrases can change and evolve over time. A useful tool for providing an in-depth understanding of your competitor’s keywords, including their organic keywords, is SEMrush. Although you do have to pay for this tool to get a more detailed overview, there are still some free reporting options. It’s helpful for you to understand which organic keywords are driving traffic to your competitors and you can then consider how you can make the most of these keywords on your website.

Keeping up to date

It’s important to keep up to date with any changes that your competitors are making to their digital marketing and you can use Google Alerts to help you with this. As well as setting them up for your own brand and keywords, you can also set them up for your main competitors to help you understand where they are getting links and mentions from online.

As you can see there is a wealth of online information out there to help you understand how your competitors are running their digital marketing. This information can be a vital way to make sure that your business can benefit from their online strategies – helping you to capitalise on your strengths and make the most of their weaker areas. Utilise the tools available to ensure that you have a detailed knowledge of how your business compares to that of your rivals. Analysis of their links, social media, traffic and their paid-for ads and organic keywords will enable you to keep one step ahead of your competition and to increase traffic and sales for your company.

 

As a business, you’re probably already aware of the importance of optimising your website for the search engines. Allowing search engines such as Google to find your site and to understand how you can help their users is a key factor in increasing your numbers of online customers. However, it’s really important not to let your SEO strategy become stale. The digital marketing landscape is one that is ever-changing, so even if your current strategy is working well for you, it’s essential not to rest on your laurels. So why not take the time to look at the changes the last year has brought and create a robust strategy for 2017.

Putting an SEO strategy in place for the coming year means that you can stay on top of your website and will be able to plan comprehensively for what you want to achieve. You can also be confident that your SEO will fit in with your wider business goals. We’ve put together a handy guide covering a range of points that you need to consider when you are planning your stellar SEO strategy for 2017!

  1. Understand Your Business Goals

Before you start working on your SEO strategy, you need to plan and understand what your goals are for your business overall.  When you know where your business is heading then you can start to map this onto your SEO targets. It could be that you want to reduce advertising budgets, in which case you may want to look at how content SEO could drive more organic search – rather than paid for search or online advertising. You might also want to reach out to social influencers to get your site seen and talked about on social media without having to pay for advertising.

Alternatively, you might wish to encourage customer loyalty, by getting customers to visit your website on a more regular basis in 2017 or connecting and engaging with them across social media. You might want these customers to stay on your site for longer when they do visit. In this case you could use your SEO strategy to look at creating more engaging content, setting up a regular blog section on your website or posting ‘how to’ video guides.

It’s important to ensure that your SEO works for your business in its entirety and can support and underpin your company goals for the next year.

Of course once you have your goals in place, you then need to assign ownership and project management to ensure that they are implemented correctly and within the timescales required.

  1. Review The SEO Landscape

Google is always striving to improve the way it understands its’ customers and to learn how to give its users what they want as efficiently as possible. That means that the strategy which saw your ranking increase last year might not be the same one that will boost your rankings this year. Technology also changes rapidly and as it progresses, people may start to search in a different way. Here are some of the key changes that we think will have an impact on SEO strategies this year:

  • An increase in voice search

We already saw how Google reacted to the increase in people searching for products via their mobiles. They released an update which meant that websites needed to become smartphone-friendly in order to achieve good rankings. We’re now seeing an increase in the popularity of voice search and whilst this is not yet massive, it’s definitely something to think about and prepare for.

  • Google instant answers

Google now aims to answer many user queries itself which can draw traffic away from your website. Think about how this might affect your keywords and look at how you can turn this into an opportunity.

  • Simple keywords becoming less important

Keywords on their own are becoming less important and the trend is turning towards long-tail keyword phrases and user intent. Businesses now need to understand that even small variations in keywords can change what the user intends to search for, and you need to learn how this affects your keywords and therefore your strategy.

  • User experience and the customer journey

Speed and efficiency of websites have always been important to the search engines, but Google also views pop ups and overlays negatively. Sites that provide a much better user experience tend to do better in the rankings. There’s also an increasing trend for multi visit buyer journeys. This means that you can’t just consider a single pathway from click through to purchase, but instead you need to consider how you can optimise your site for these multiple visits.

  1. Understand Your Keywords And Review Your Content

Make sure that you understand what your keywords and your long-tail keyword phrases are and plan your content to ensure that these keywords keep delivering for your business. Review these on a regular basis to look at how you are ranking for them and build a rolling plan to make sure that they fit in with your content.

When you are planning and reviewing your content you also need to be aware that Google is now very keen on the idea of comprehensiveness. This means that your content needs to be genuinely useful to your customers. Longer, more in-depth content can add real value for search engine users, and by combining long-tail keyword phrases within high value comprehensive content, you will be giving the search engines what they really want to see!

  1. Keep On Track With Your Strategy And Review And Measure Your Successes

Of course a stellar SEO strategy needs to be flexible and you should make sure that you review the outputs of your strategy on a regular basis. If your business develops or changes, you may need to make changes to your strategy, and of course there’s always the possibility of a Google update that could throw a spanner in the works! You’ll also want to make sure that your SEO is delivering what you want it to, when you need it too. Schedule regular strategy reviews throughout the year and stay on top of the latest SEO news and data. This will ensure that changes can be planned for as much as possible and won’t come as a shock!

So, make sure that your SEO underpins all of your business goals and will help you achieve them. Stay responsive to the changes that occur in technology and the search engines, and of course make sure that you monitor and refine your strategy regularly. This will help you to implement a high-flying SEO strategy that will get you seen and talked about online – and bring more customers to your site.

Working in the search engine optimisation industry we know that great content can really add value to your website. Therefore it was really interesting to read that a recent SearchMetric report has shown that natural, relevant and high-quality content is a must have if you want to help improve your website’s ranking in the search engines. The key focus here is on high-quality content, which must be one of your main priorities if you really want to make an impact on how the search engines perceive your site.

What the search engines are looking for at the moment is not only lots of content, but also content that is truly relevant to your customer’s wants and needs. They want to see you offering something of real value to your readers. SEO experts have noted four main criteria that you should include in order for your content to meet all of the requirements of the search engines. So if you can keep these in mind when planning and writing your website, then you’ll know that you are providing the quality content that Google wants to see – and that your potential customers want to read!

In this blog we’re going to take a look at these five factors and talk a bit more about how you can use them to improve your website content.

  1. Make sure your content is covered in a rounded and comprehensive way

When you write your content, you need to make sure that you think holistically about the general topic as a whole – rather than simply focusing on just one keyword. It means that as well as writing about the key topic, you also need to look at related issues and sub-topics and include those as well. As the Google algorithms get more sophisticated, they are now able to work out words that relate to each other and are likely to be relevant to each other. This is known as co-occurrence analysis. So, if you were writing a blog about bridal hair styling, it would recognise that hairdryer and hair salon were complementary phrases. However, if you included the word restaurant in the same blog, the search engines would pick up that it was not relevant to that topic.

It’s all about context and so before you write your content, consider which subjects complement each other, and think about the other sub-topics that your readers may want to find out about, which could be a good fit within that article.

 

  1. Ensure that your content is the right length

It’s very tempting to think that because people are often time-poor these days, that this means that content which is short and snappy would be more popular. Statistics show that this is not the case, and in fact, sites which have longer content are more likely to rank higher in the search engines. It’s also really interesting to note that content which had between 3000-10000 words actually received more social shares too. The reason for this could be that the longer an article is, the more value it actually adds to your readers, as you can include far more in-depth information and a greater and more helpful level of detail.

 

  1. Include engaging images and videos

Research has shown that including engaging images or interactive videos in your content can really help your search engine rankings. Google can tell when you have enriched your text with images and it definitely correlates to a higher ranking for sites that take the time to do this. It has also been found that posts which included videos or pictures gained twice as many social shares as those without. When you add images to your text, make sure that they are optimised as well to make them easier for Google to find.

  1. Make sure your text is readable

We all know that consumers want websites which are easy-to-use, and a user-friendly website is valued highly by Google too. Part of making a site usable is ensuring that any text or content is easily readable. When high-ranking websites were reviewed, it was found that they all had content that was easy to read. When you have written your content you can review it using one of these readability tests. It’s also worthwhile re-reading any old content on your site to make sure it meets the readability requirements that the search engines require.

  1. Encourage social sharing

Although Google says that they don’t currently use social signals as part of their rankings, it has been noted that many articles which do have a high Google ranking also have a large number of social shares on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. We feel that encouraging customers to share your articles on social media still has an influence over your site optimisation as it means that more people visit your site, and it will help you to build and increase your brand profile.

As you can see the quality of the content on your website can have a huge impact on where your business sits in the search engine rankings, and there is a lot that you can do to review and improve your content to support your online proposition.

Firstly, think about your content holistically and consider the sub-topics that might add relevance or bring real value to your readers.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to make your content longer and in-depth.

Thirdly, add images or video clips that will bring your articles to life for your customers.

Fourthly, when you have finished writing your content, check it over for readability to make sure that it will be easy for people to read.

Finally, encourage online influencers to share your content on social media to get more clicks to your site and improve your brand profile.

By focusing on what your customers want to see on your site, you’ll also be giving the search engines what they want to see and helping your business to rank higher in the search engines.