SEO is not just another acronym

It’s important to understand the importance of SEO (search engine optimisation) from the outset when building a new website. Search engine optimization is essentially the lifeline of your online business. Be familiar with SEO best practices before you or your web designer starts your new project.

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Improving the Online Marketing presence of a website is usually a very challenging task. This is because the Online Marketers & SEO Professionals have to optimise the website in order to achieve better rankings on Search Engines, they must improve the user experience, they have to use all the available channels to promote the Online business and above all they have to find ways to increase conversion rates & boost the sales.

The following articles will help give you a clear understanding of SEO and how it can help your ecommerce site:

Something many merchants also wish they knew is that Google frequently change their rules. Make sure you’re always up to date on best practices by signing up for Google’s Webmaster Tools.

Related Article: Search Engine Marketing: How Search Engines Work

Search Engine Marketing: How Search Engines Work

Have you ever wondered how exactly search engine marketing works or how search engine optimization can help your business? Search engine marketing relies on the basic principles of search engine optimization. Search engine optimization makes it possible for a search engine’s spider to find your web page and add it to the search engine results page whenever someone does a search for a word or phrase that shows up on your website.

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Search engine marketing uses search engine optimized content to make your website easier for the spiders to find and for people who are searching the web to find. A search engine uses thousands of little bots called spiders to index the millions of web pages that are on the Internet. These spiders start at the most well known websites and work backwards following links and searching for common words and phrases. Every page that the spiders come across with those particular words on them is indexed and saved. Those pages are the ones that show up in the search engine results page when someone uses Google or another search engine to look for websites on a particular topic. The place where each site shows up in the search engine results page ranking is based on the content of the site, how many times particular words and phrases appear on the site and the relevance of the site to those search times. That is why search engine marketing depends so heavily on search engine optimization.

If you want your website to show up higher on the search engine results page then you use to use search engine marketing and search engine optimization techniques in order to get the spiders to notice your site and put your site higher on the search engine results page. People who are using a search engine to look for websites will rarely click to the second search engine results page. It’s crucial that your site be on the first page of the search engine results page or people will probably not find your site. Using search engine marketing and search engine optimization is the best way to do that.

The number one rule to remember when you are planning out search engine marketing strategies or trying to figure out how use search engine optimization effectively on your website is that your website should have 100% original content. The spiders will place your site higher on the search engine results page if the content that is on your site is original. When websites duplicate copy the spiders pick up on the repeated phrases and language and will sometimes not index a site at all if the spider determines that the content is too similar to the content on another site.

Search engine optimization and search engine marketing is more than just taking one word or phrase and repeating it a certain number of times. The content on the site has to be fresh and engaging and also contain the keywords or key phrases that will bring traffic to the website

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What comes first – marketing or design?

There are very often blurred lines between understanding the difference between ‘Marketing’ and ‘Design’ and how they work together.

Marketers and designers possess very different skills, and often have a very different sense of humour. However, when working together these disciplines provide one of the most effective collaborations of two professions to create business growth.

We all work in competitive industries where marketing and design thinking is expected to be well defined, well understood and well appreciated on the whole. But more and more frequently I come across clients who have asked a design agency to help them with their marketing and vice versa.

Design is not just good marketing and good marketing is not just design.

Read the full article by Sharon Stevens-Cash on www.essentialconsultancy.co.uk

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Things to think about before asking for a quote for a new website

When your company decides it’s time to create, redesign or enhance a website, you need to think about exactly what you want your website to do. This will determine the costs involved.

The most effective way to begin this process is to create a brief.

The more detailed the brief, the more accurate the quote you’ll receive. Here are a few questions we are likely to ask to get you started:

We will need to know a bit about your company. Write down a list that includes:

  • Business name and a short paragraph about the company.
  • The products or services you offer or would like to offer.
  • The size of the company.
  • Which countries are you operating in and/or targeting?
  • How long have you been established?

If you currently have a website, this information would be helpful too:

  • Current website address (if applicable).
  • What levels of traffic is the current website receiving?
  • What do you like about the website?
  • What don’t you like?
  • How do you update the website?

Think about what you need from your new site:

  • What are the aims of the website (For example, to increase brand awareness, serve as an online brochure/product catalogue, sell your products/ecommerce, generate enquiries, create awareness for a new product launch or event)
  • Who is the website aimed at? Businesses, shoppers/general public, children, tourists/visitors?
  • How will you promote the website?
  • What information do you want on the site: (Home page, about us, product catalogue, services, contact details, shopping cart?).
  • How many products or services will you offer?
  • List 5 sites you like and also 5 sites you don’t like.
  • List 5 competitor’s websites.
  • Do you want to be able to update the website in-house?
  • Do you use social media to promote your business? What’s your twitter name? Facebook page?
  • Do you have existing professional photography that can be used?
  • Do you require a mobile website as well as a desktop site?
  • What are your timescales?

Writing a brief needn’t be complicated; it will save time at the start of the project and will make it much easier for you to receive an accurate quote from us. However, if you need advice before you start to write your brief, please get in touch. We’re always happy to help!

Google Street View Hyperlapse Video

A hyperlapse is a collection of photographs that have been pieced together in a video. It differs slightly from a time-lapse because each exposure is generally taken from a different vantage point, and the resulting video simulates movement by the viewer, rather than by the subject.

A new tool takes all the hard work out of making a hyperlapse, with users being able to input a start and end point on Google Maps. Then, the tool automatically crunches together a hyperlapse based on Google Street View imagery of the route.

Here are a few tips if you want to create your own hyperlapse video:

  • Straight roads work better than curvy roads
  • Find something interesting in the distance to maintain continuity
  • The optimal distance seems to be between 1/2 and 3 miles depending on the road
  • The Hyperlapse is saved in the URL, you can bookmark it or copy and paste it to share.

Here’s one we produced earlier…

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Why You Shouldn’t Abandon Email Marketing for Social Media

Social Media or Email Marketing – what works better for online marketing? Should they be used together or are they purely mutually exclusive? The question to these answers is not as simple as it may seem. More and more email marketers are joining the social media bandwagon to cope with digital marketing revolution. I believe that to be a successful online marketer, you need to use the best of both worlds – email marketing as well as social media.

Why Email Marketing Rules?

I believe that Email Marketing provides massive untapped potential to reach out to prospect customers in a more private and intimate way than most social networks. However, there’s a thin line between effective email marketing and spam marketing.

Email is the ‘tried-and-tested’ technique of online marketing and it will be difficult for any social network (be it Facebook or twitter) to completely eliminate Email Marketing.

Read full article on smedio.com here

Successful Websites Make Sure Navigation is Intuitive

When it comes to building and managing a successful website there are a number of factors involved in defining that success. Things like the topic of your website, level of engagement, value provided, etc. are some of those elements of a website that you need to focus on if you want to own a successful website.

Another extremely important element of your website that you need to make sure is perfect is your website navigation. Intuitive navigation is an absolutely critical website element that you need to nail if you want to have a successful website.

Intuitive navigation means that your website is designed in such a way that website traffic flows from web page to web page. Traffic simply knows where to go to find anything that they are looking for, and quite frankly, they know where to go if they cannot find what they are looking for. There are a number of tactics that website developers and website designers can employ to ensure website traffic can intuitively navigate their websites. In this article we are going to define intuitive navigation, explain some of the tactics that you can employ to ensure navigation is intuitive on your website, discuss internal linking, explain how to use Google Analytics to track how visitors are navigating your website, and go through the benefits of perfecting your website navigation.

Read full article on instantshift.com here

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Google Folds

If there is an issue more likely than the fold, to cause web designers to draw battle lines and pick sides, we’re yet to hear of it.

The fold is a concept derived from print design, specifically broadsheet newspaper design. Newspapers have a literal fold in the page; above the fold is the masthead, a couple of major headlines and probably an eye catching image; below the fold are minor stories, infographics and a byline or two.

Naturally there is no literal fold in a screen (at least not one that still works) and many web designers feel that the fold does not exist in web design. However that view usually stems from a misunderstanding of what the fold is; in web design, content is deemed to be above the fold if it is visible prior to any user interaction. In other words, if you have to scroll to see it, it’s beneath the fold.

Of course, we can’t plan for a single fold; the number of devices, particularly since the exponential rise of the mobile web, is too great to establish a fixed horizontal line on a page. But a similar issue exists in print design, a newspaper editor cannot know where the paper boy will fold the paper, or whether he’ll fold it in half or in thirds; a print designer doesn’t know exactly where the edge of his design ends, printers always ask for a bleed of 2–5mm.

As long as we’re aware of the fact that there is a theoretical concept known as ‘the fold’, we don’t need to be precise, do we?

Well actually, we might, because Google has wholeheartedly embraced the concept of the fold.

Google have actually been talking about favoring primary content above the fold since 2011 and the ‘above the fold’ preference was added to Google’s page rank algorithm in January 2012.

However, it was not until last week that head of webspam for Google, Matt Cutts, announced on his twitter account that an update for ‘above the fold’ ranking had been pushed out that would affect approximately 0.7% of English language queries.

0.7% is greater than the impact of every single Penguin release, to date, combined.

Whilst commentators generally agree that recovering from an above the fold issue will be easier than a clash with Penguin — as Google will re-poll your site and update rankings more regularly than Penguin is updated — there is precious little advice on exactly how you go about recovering.

The original January announcement from Google stated “This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree, but affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree or that make it hard to find the actual original content on the page”.

Note the word ‘excessive’. What, is excessive? Excessive is fuzzy logic — a relative term. How can a mathematical formula like Google’s page rank algorithm determine what is excessive within any individual design?

Perhaps we should follow Google’s own example: a quick search for the term ‘ppc advertising’ returns 18 results ‘above the fold’ on my screen, 11 of which are pay-per-click adverts.

Of course Google could argue that the advertising it places above the fold are highly targeted ads that are relevant to the user. But then, can’t we all say the same?

As with all things SEO, we’re going to have to hold our collective breath and wait and see. Unless Google choose to quantify exactly how Googlebot positions the fold, we may be left wondering whether that huge jQuery image slider was such a good design decision after all.

Read full article on webdesignerdepot.com here

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5 Simple Steps to Optimize Your Photos for Search Engines

Images are a great opportunity to improve your on-page search engine optimisation.

Optimizing Images for SEO

Here are some easy ways to use the images you place on your web site for SEO (search engine optimiszation) purposes:

1. Use the Right Name

Just because your camera automatically names an image “DC00459.jpg” doesn’t mean this is the best name. The search engines have no idea what to do with that! Optimise your photo filenames by rename the file to something distinguishable like “Nikon-D90-Camera.jpg” before uploading it to your website.

Make the image name descriptive with a few of your keywords, but don’t go overboard with a 10-word title.

2. Alt Text: Always Use the Alternative

In addition to being helpful from a usability standpoint, search engines use the alt attribute field to help determine the content of the image. If the alt field is empty, search engines don’t always know the best way to interpret the image.

Most Content Management Systems easily allow you to add and edit content when adding images. If, not speak to your web designer.

3. Title Attribute Tells All

The title is what shows up when your cursor hovers over the image. Fill in the information for the title just as you would the alt attribute.

4. Keep Your Keywords Close

It seems obvious that you’d want to use your keywords in your text, but some people forget, thinking it’s enough to mention them in the title and/or the attributes above. If your blog post is about how to take landscape photos with a Nikon camera, then you should mention that phrase several times in the text of your page, and illustrate the page with a photo of a Nikon camers. The file name of the photo, as well as the alt and title attributes, should all support that keyword phrase.

SEO is mostly common sense. Think about what people would type into Google to lead them to your pages. Then use that phrase wherever you can — without overdoing it.

5. Compress Your Images

Compressing your images to the smallest possible size will decrease your page load time. Search engines (especially Google) emphasise a lot on how fast a page will load. Don’t compress them too much though – it’s a compromise between file size and download speed.

Responsive & Adaptive Web Design. What does it all mean?

If you work in or with the web and make some effort to remain buzzword compliant, you may have heard the term “responsive web design.” Perhaps you’ve also heard of “adaptive web design” and “progressive enhancement”? If you’re like me, you may have found yourself wondering what exactly these words mean, what the differences are, and why everyone seems so giddy to use them in a sentence.

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