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SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the backbone of all online advertising, getting this right is vital to maximising your ROI and the effectiveness of your other digital advertising efforts.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation in Tag: SERPS)

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the backbone of all online advertising, getting this right is vital to maximising your ROI and the effectiveness of your other digital advertising efforts.

Audit My Website are leading providers of SEO Audits in Tag: SERPS, UK. We work with clients nationwide offering vital website checks that will ensure your SEO is optimal and that no barriers prevent your website enjoying the best rankings and visibility possible. So what is needed for good SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Audit

Why Is SEO Important for Businesses?

So you’re writing some fantastic, high quality content and you’re regularly posting it to your social media channels. Yet despite everything, you still don’t see your website at the top of Google. What could you possibly be doing wrong?

The most likely reason is that you haven’t fully optimised your content for search engines. Yes the content itself may be great, but if other bloggers are writing mediocre content that is fully optimised, they will always have a slight edge and better chance of ranking near the top.

So here are the top reasons why your business needs to get on board with search engine optimisation (SEO) and how your other marketing efforts can benefit.

MAXIMISE ROI

SEO is a form of inbound marketing. It’s preferable above other types of offline advertising because it continues to offer rewards for the effort you put into SEO content writing long after the blog post is published. It can also work out more cost-effective than other forms of online marketing such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing and email marketing. But perhaps best of all, you want to be enjoying the best visibility possible for the content you have spent so much time writing.

PPC and social media may boost your revenue and showcase your brand image, it’s SEO that remains the backbone of your online presence, constantly working hard behind the scenes and marrying seamlessly into your other digital marketing efforts.

SEO is also favourable because it’s largely invisible and sympathetic to searchers needs: if you have optimised your site and blog post well, hopefully it will rank for the types of questions a searcher might be entering to find an answer to their question. You become a type of answerbank, and in this regard both your aims and those of Google’s become the same. Separate studies have also shown people are more willing to trust the quality of accuracy of organic search results over paid (or sponsored) Google AdWords.

SEO does the hard part for you by getting potential customers through the door, it’s then your job to convince them that you’re the best business to fulfil their needs.

IMPROVE YOUR CREDIBILITY

In the SEO world, it’s no secret that Google rules. This search engine holds credibility and the trust in the search results it delivers. It’s a natural assumption that those businesses at the top of the SERPs are the most relevant and trustworthy for the searchers phrase, while those at the bottom are probably less so.

But what helps Google trust your website? As well as considering the keywords you want to rank for, you have to consider things like backlinks, links to other websites, traffic volumes, easy and user friendly web page navigation, ensuring none of your websites pages contain errors, and more recently, attention to how fast your web pages load, SSL certificates and more.

Keep on top of all these factors and you’ll be in good stead to beat the competition by showing you’re a credible company with a trustworthy website.

INCREASE TRAFFIC

An unoptimised site will find it more difficult for customers to find you – compared with the same site when fully optimised. And it will prove particularly difficult to attract those who didn’t already know they needed your products and services.

This is why Keyword Research is a vital step to ensuring your blog post can attract the type of traffic looking for the content you are providing. It gives you a straw poll of the types of searches people do when attempting to answer the sort of questions you may be writing about. Like many forms of advertising, it’s both based on intuition and educated guesswork. While you may feel you know all types phrases people might search for, there will always be that one person out there who would say: “That’s funny, I would have searched for … instead.” And they are not wrong, hence why keyword research is necessary. Both to analyse the levels of search volume on the phrases you know about, and to highlighting any alternative keyword opportunities you may not even have considered when writing the post in the first place!

To put this into another context,if you had a high-street store selling discounted mountaineering equipment you’re much more likely to be successful by opening it in the Lake District where there is a constant footfall of your target customers, rather than opening it on London’s Bond Street next to a Prada and simply assuming people will come inside.

ANALYSE, TWEAK AND REPEAT (it never stops!)

SEO is a long term commitment and in order to see true success from it you need to continue monitoring and tweaking your approach as you would with any other marketing strategy.

Google Analytics is an invaluable SEO tool allowing historic and realtime analysis of traffic to your site. It gives you all the detail you need to identify sales funnels, your visitors behaviour including how they found you and in some cases what they searched for. It is also not limited to organic searches, but will also give you a detailed analysis of any active PPC campaigns you may also have.

So don’t lose out on customers simply because you don’t fully understand search engine optimisation, or assume it takes more time and money than you have to spare to get it off the ground. Some things are intuitive and, as the site owner, you may be best placed to understand your searchers habits and needs.

Our team of SEO experts can conduct a complete SEO audit of your website and identify what tweaks can offer a world of difference to your rankings and site traffic. If you are interested in ramping up traffic, increasing your sales leads and enjoying the full benefit of the content you’ve carefully written, you should get in touch with us today!

What Does an SEO Audit Typically Include?

One of the biggest issues business people will often raise about their website, is not being able to see their website in the search rankings (SERPS). Perhaps understandably, many will want to find effective ways of appear at the top of the first search page in order to maximise visibility. What they often overlook, is why their website is not performing as it should. Website owners need to perform an analysis on why their site is not ranking high in search and not converting more visitors to leads and leads to customers. In others words, their site needs a check up. The successful approach to this, is to have a fully comprehensive website audit.  This should be done before you embark on any site changes as much of the feedback will guide both the user interface (UI) and also content and SEO changes that may be needed to ensure the best rankings possible for these search terms.

There are four aspects of auditing a website which include content and SEO health, code security and page load speed are among the most important. An SEO audit will give you an idea of how your website functions for the crawlers and search engines, how it appears in the search results (SERPS) and how you’re focusing your SEO efforts. Are you concentrating on impressing search engines or your visitors? Are you executing some SEO strategies poorly? For instance, are you using the right keywords or are you using them correcting or incorrectly, such as stuffing them into places where they don’t make sense.

There are over 20 areas of concern when you perform a technical assessment on your website. While there is not enough space to go through all of them here, let’s list some of the more important ones.

· Error messages – Is your site error message free or do visitors get error notices, such as 404 notices. Do they contain any temporary or permanent redirects, such as 301 or 302 notices.

· URL issues – Are they too long or contain characters that do not belong. Keyword stuffing your URL will hurt, not help when it comes to SEO. A good rule of thumb is to ask the question “Can I tell what this page is about by reading the URL”. If the answer is yes, you’re in good shape. URL’s should not contain dynamic characters (#,<,>,&,%,$, etc.). if you do use them, keep in mind that each character has a specific use and you must be sure you are using them correctly. The symbol # is ignored by search engines.

· Links – Links are the most important facet of SEO and are an article by themselves. For now, external links should be relevant to your site and authoritative by nature.

· Meta tags (Title, Description and Keywords) – Meta titles are the blue line you click on a search results page (i.e. Google Search) to be redirected to a site. They should contain the keyword, be 50 to 70 characters in length and be unique to the page. Each page should have its own title. The Description is similar. Make them unique to the page, do not stuff keywords. They should contain contact information. A geo qualifier is important, i.e. Milford CT. Use more than 140 characters but less than 156. Meta keywords are ignored by most search engines so go ahead and ignore them as well. Be sure to limit them to 8 words and less than 100 characters if you decide to use them.

· Other places to look at in a technical SEO analysis include: h1, h2 tags, alt tags, images, anchor text, robots, file size, page depth level, internal links, site maps, bot crawling, and follow, no follow.

Ensuring the technical aspects of your site are correct and up to date is important, but site content must be examined too. The first question to ask is “Is the content on this page high quality?” Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and ask “Did my questions get answered? Was it easy to find what I was looking for? Was the information valuable? Was the material well written?” Answering no to any of these questions should motivate you to make improvements.

From an SEO perspective, the keyword for each page should appear in the top headline (h1 tag). This alerts the search engines to what this page is about. Every page should have its own keyword. Put the keyword at the top of the first paragraph and then use it only when it makes sense to do so. If you have images, and you should, put the keyword in the alt tag as well as a word or two that describes the picture.

Once more visitors are seeing your site, are you maximised to get leads? For instance, how easy is it to navigate the site? Are your main value propositions appropriately displayed to get the most attention? Is your site free of distractions? For instance, you should never have a link that takes the visitor away from your site. If you do have outgoing links, make sure they open up in a new window. Are your Calls-To-Action clear and easy to follow?

Websites audits can be challenging, and we would not recommend that website owners attempt this themselves, we recommend employing a team that specialise in this service such as Audit My Website in Website Audit.

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Panda and Google – panda proof quality content

Quality content has long been a major focus of Google and good SEO practices. Google’s Panda algorithm (named after Google engineer Naveet Panda)  is a search filter originally introduced in 2011 designed specifically to combat spam in the form of poor quality content. Google claims the impact would impact 11.8% of is search results in the U.S. which at that time, had a far higher impact on results than most of it’s other algorithm changes to date.

However, exactly what poor quality content is being targeted here? In a press release around this time, Google explained:

we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content. We’ll continue to explore ways to reduce spam, including new ways for users to give more explicit feedback about spammy and low-quality sites.

As “pure webspam” has decreased over time, attention has shifted instead to “content farms,” which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. In 2010, we launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites. Nonetheless, we hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content. We take pride in Google search and strive to make each and every search perfect. The fact is that we’re not perfect, and combined with users’ skyrocketing expectations of Google, these imperfections get magnified in perception. However, we can and should do better.

The key terms here being “sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content.” and “content farms which are sites with shallow or low-quality content”. This all set the SEO community in a bit of a spin: the scale and scope of this update seemed huge. On one end of the spectrum, Google are understandably targeting spammy content farms. But all websites lie along this continuum somewhere. Whether you realise this or not, most websites will have some kind of duplicate content, whether this is news websites quoting politicians and officials, or a descriptive block of text within a technical specification document that is common between different models of that product. Often duplicated content can be quite difficult to avoid, while keeping your information accurate.

In our guide today, we will attempt to detail the top things you need to check and how you can ensure your content is Panda proof for the future.

Identify and fix ‘thin’ content pages

What we mean here really, is: ‘pages that don’t have enough information to stand in their own right, while also including something that will negatively impact SEO’. There are many ways users create pages like these (often by accident) so let’s first look at the characteristics of pages like these, these could be:

  • Pages with little or not text, but lots of links i.e. if you use WordPress and use categories and tags, each one you create also creates a new pages which will usually by mywebsite.com/tag/tagname and mywebsite.com/category/category-name
  • Pages with no unique text (i.e. all the text on the page can be found either elsewhere on this same website, or elsewhere on the web). This can happen on listing pages (if the same titles and descriptions may be used elsewhere, such as blog or news lists).
  • A detail page that doesn’t have enough information to justify a whole page i.e. if you run an ecommerce web shop and have a single sentence description for a product, used when listing that product. When a user clicks on the product itself, they would hope for a more detailed description, including the same sentence again on this page

By the same token, it’s possible to create (for example) a blog post of only 100 words which would be considered too thin in most cases.

Check for duplicated content

Ideally, all your pages should have entirely unique content and in most cases there are really no excuses for plagiarising others copy (even if it is one of your suppliers offering a description of one of their products or services).  There are some good tools out there to ensure the copy on your website is unique such as Copyscape.

However, there may be some scenarios where you have to use content that can also be found elsewhere on the web. In these cases, be sure to include enough of your own content to make it work.  If you are quoting someone (and would like to use a specific paragraph verbatim), be sure to add your own analysis and breakdown of what it all means around it – plenty of ‘unique’ content surrounding it.  If the descriptions of products are very similar, can you add anything further – your own personal recommendations or experiences (in which scenario one variant of the product is better than another for instance?)

Ensure spelling and grammar are optimal

Google uses grammar, spelling and punctuation as some of the more important indicators of the quality of content. Ensuring that copy is well-written, makes sense and flows with the appropriate punctuation will help Google see it as high quality.

Be sure to avoid long lists of all kinds where possible. Google will penalise keyword lists, or long comma (or bullet point) separated lists and will always favour copy that flows well while still including those keywords you wanted to get yourself listed for!

Check content keyword density and optimisation

Following on from the above point, you should also be checking that you have mentioned all the important keywords you want to be visible for. It is worth spending some time reviewing copy with a view to tweaking it and allowing the inclusion of more keywords, where doing this doesn’t significantly negatively impact the readability and grammar (above).

Check for user spam and poor quality content

This can be trickier still to manage! If you have a blog, forum or any kind of system that includes some open comments, be sure to check they don’t get abused! Spambots will often look for comment sections where they might include some of their own spam, with links back to whichever paymaster sent them! Generally, if you aren’t interested in discussing openly with people, we recommend turning comments off just due to the level of problems this can create with user generated spam and the amount of time or effort that is needed to properly manage this. There are some great services such as Akismet that specialise in providing spam guards specifically to block this.

As with all things SEO, moderation is the key! If in doubt, simply ask yourself if this type of page is “helpful to at least one type of person”. If so, then it’s likely to be fine. If however, you find a page in your site with a long list of keywords but no information, this is the time to take action!

In reality, most pages will likely lie somewhere within this spectrum and in all cases, the quality of the content can be improved.