Website Optimization

Why our websites need to be mobile

I do not have a crystal ball but but over the years I am getting more aware of what is going to be happening with the internet. The growth of mobile devices is nothing new and we are seeing a rapid increase of people using their mobile to access the internet.

Now the tablet market has exploded along with additional competing products from Google, Apple and Microsoft this ensures that the trend will continue. Some analysts have predicted that we hare just over a year away before we see mobile platforms become the most popular way to access the internet.

That alone should be a incentive for webdesigners to create a mobile version of their sites. Google Retail Team member Tiffany Lin has added additional incentives backed by powerful statistics:

  • 60% of time spent on mobile devices is spent on the web.
  • 68% of users prefer a mobile optimized website for browsing through products.
  • 58% of users expect that accessing a site on a mobile  will provide a quicker loading versio.
  • 40% of users will move on to a competing site if they don’t like the mobile site you offer.
  • Mobile web adoption is 700% faster than desktop web adoption.

So a lesson to us all when building websites today is think mobile! not just in terms of devloping an App or “a work around” so you site is viewable on some mobiles but building and testing websites on different mobile devices.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - do you need it?

image of woman searchingIf your website is competing against everyone else in your market and it is important to get higher rankings on search results, you are going to need to optimize your website. If you get more than enough work from word of mouth but you want your potential customers to see your portfolio, then you don’t need to be No 1 in Google, and you don’t need to waste your money having your site optimized.

An ecommerce site will almost always benefit from properly managed search engine optimization.

Some companies (not ones I would recommend!) will promise you the world “We can get you to number 1 on Google!” Can they really promise this? What exactly are they promising you? Let’s say you have a property sales website. If you type into Google “houses for sale” there are over 37million results. What company can get you to number one for “houses for sale”, and thus beat the current top ranking websites. They will instead look at a rare keywords and get you to number 1 for that. Try typing in “houses for sale with granny annex” there are only 37000 results for this, so yes, an SEO company probably can get you to number 1 on Google for this. But as only 1 person a day actually searches for this - do you really want to be number 1, with 1 person searching per day? - let alone pay good money to achieve it. This might be an extreme example, but the theory is the same.

The moral is - take care when looking for a company to search engine optimize your site.

Robots are sent out from the search engines that trawl websites for relevant content. An SEO company will make sure your website is organised in the way Google and other search engines will best see it.

SEO will make sure your website is :
a. Rich with content, and not just images.
b. Keyword rich. (You are never going to do well for a term that just doesn’t even appear in your website)
c. Keyword correct. ie has achievable keywords

After it has done these things a SEO company should keep monitoring your website. SEO is not a one off process. To be properly done, SEO has to be repeated checked and monitored

SEO must not be confused with SEM (Search engine marketing)

This includes Pay Per Click advertising. Basically this means you DO get to the top of page 1 on Google for the keyword of your choice - at a price! SEM is often a good alternative way to promote your site. Google Adwords has many advantages. As they say themselves “When people search on Google using one of your keywords, your ad may appear next to the search results. Now you’re advertising to an audience that’s already interested in you.” Of course it does depend on your budget! There are no minumum amounts you can spend on Google adwords, but just like the old adage - you get what you pay for!

If you are interested in SEO and want to talk to somebody who will tell you in real terms what is achievable and expected from your website then please contact us and see how we may be able to help you.

Search engine optimization tips

More pages of useful content

Make more web pages of useful content on your website.

PageRank is a patented trademark of link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page and used by Google. This assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of web pages.  Hyperlinks do not create PageRank.  The only thing that creates and holds PageRank is a web page.

There is a maximum amount of PageRank available to share amongst the pages in Google’s search index. Your job is to achieve the maximum PageRank for your website that you possibly can. PageRank works similar to the National Lottery in that the more quality web pages you have, the higher your PageRank and the more chances you have of increasing your PageRank. Just the same way that the more lottery tickets you buy the more chance you have of winning. Although winning with Google is easier than the lottery as it is a mathmatical calculation based on your contents and hyperlinks not random numbers!

Get to Know your competition.

Research your competition. To start off see how many web pages they have in the search indexes by using “site:theirdomain.com” search for this on both Google and Yahoo. Yes I did say Yahoo. The reason for this is because Google’s page count numbers are lower than Yahoo. Also see if your competitor has a sitemap. theirdomain.com/sitemap.xml these 3 methods will give you a good indication of. The total number of web pages on your competitors site. Above this is the target number of web pages for you to aim for.
Do not just put web pages up for the sake of it as this will have a negative impact. Your are looking for well written, good quality content that is useful with a good linking structure.

Improve the links between your web pages.

This may sound crazy but actually makes good sense.
1. Ensure that all your least important web pages always link to our most important pages.
2. Ensure that all your most important web pages never link to our least important pages.

You need every page on your site to link in terms of usability. Thankfully there is a method of simply adding rel=”nofollow” to the a href tags stops you losing PageRank to those pages. So to summarise all your least important pages you want to use rel=”nofollow” on these links and a standard a href tags on your most important web pages.

For example:

<a href=”http://www.microedge.co.uk”>Website Designer</a> - loses PageRank.
<a href rel=”nofollow”=”http://www.google.co.uk”>Search Google</a> - keeps PageRank.

This example shows that pointing to Google without you  losing PageRank and pointing to your home page whilst giving some PageRank. So you know I am a website designer this link points to the home page.

Microedge also specialise in Search Engine Optimization UK again it is worth noting that Google displays different results in google.co.uk were the results are targeted for the United Kindom (UK) market when compared to google.com where the results are more biased to the larger USA audience.

Get on websites for free.

As the internet has grown along with the introduction of web 2.0 there is a  whole manner of ways of getting on websites of various kinds from simply adding links and comments, right up to building your very own website.

Building your own website

First off you can now build and entire website of our own, although this is on somebody else’s domain,, it is a great way of getting started and building our own webpages. Here are three of my favourites.

image of the Wordpress logo

Wordpress
I highly recommend Wordpress, this is an ideal way to express yourself and start a blog. If you go to http://wordpress.com/ and create an account you can get started in minutes publishing content to the internet. If you decide to turn the blog professional you can export your content in to a fully customized Wordpress blog on your own server, or your own domain.

Google
If you have a Google Account, you can write and publish documents to the internet for private or public view using Google Docs at http://docs.google.com/ Also with Google you can either join a group or even set up your own group, have a look at http://groups.google.com/

Ning
Now if you want to create your own social network, Ning at http://www.ning.com/ is a great place to start. You choose a public or private network, invite people to join and customize the design of the site.

Finally if you want to look at how to get on websites have a look at sWeebly this site you can create a free website and blog, It has an easy drag and drop interface. Plus you can choose from different themes.

There are limitations on using any of the above services for building a website, for example your domain name. However if you require a customized website built for you please contact us.

Adding your articles to websites

There is are several article directories that allow you to write your own content and submit it. For example Ezine Articles and Submit your article are some of the most popular. These websites tend to be used by larger websites looking to gain what is called incoming links.

Adding links to a website

This used to be called link exchange or link ring, which is an out of date practice that was popular during the 1990’s. This was basically a methiod where websites shared links to other websites. For example, your website on Fly Fishing may link to other fishing related websites. Most companies if they are going to show links to external sites prefer to use Google Adwords as this gains money for the website owner and displays relevant links based on the website’s content.

Adding comments to websites

Finally, adding comments. This has become popuar for article based websites (like this one) where the site allows anybody to post a comment about the article. Some websites have monitored comments where the comment is checked by a moderator first.

How do I become number one on search engines?

It is amazing just how often I get asked this question. For many website owners they believe that if only they can be number one on a search engine for their particular product then somehow their business will become an instant success. They also get angry because their competition is rated higher than them. As a search engine optimization specialist I can empathize with their concern.

Is search engine placement really worth all the effort?
Whether clients are right to put so much emphasis on search engine placement depends on the business. Although we do a lot of work on search engine optimisation we do not always recommend it to all our clients.

Reasons when search engine placement is NOT important.

Time to see results.
A big problem for my clients with search engine placement is that it takes too long to become placed. With so many sites competing for position, Google always returns the most relevant search results and this is based on several factors such as domain name, age of the domain name, incoming links, quality of the website etc, etc. As a result it can easily be months before you begin to see the results of all your hard work.
So if you are looking to run a short term campaign, this route is almost certain to be entirely ineffective and a pay per click or Google Adwords campaign would be more effective.

An unpredictable outcome.
Another problem we see with search engines is that results are often mixed. You can spend hours refining keywords and optimising pages but at the end of the day you do not know exactly where you will appear in the listing. The Google algorithm is constantly updated and changed. You need to be pro active in promoting your website in several different ways for example blogs and social networking websites.

If you build it they will come…
Gone are the days when you built a website and it could suddenly have 1000’s of visitors per day. I remember building a website in 1997 for ‘hand made wedding stationary’ and within a few weeks we saw emails and orders flooding in! This was because the website had shot to number 1 on Alta Vista and Lycos
for the search term ‘wedding stationary’. The simple reason it became number one was because the word ‘wedding stationary’ was used many times throughout the site.

Search engines thankfully have became smarter, especially since Google formed in 1998 and revolutionised search. The upshot was the hand made wedding stationary company could not cope with the sudden demand and need to stop taking orders, which is not good for any business.

Other methods of generating visitors

There also many other viable methods of generating visitors direct to your site that are looking to purchase from you. This is especially true if you know your target audience you can place magazine adverts or leaflets that attract people to your website to purchase your products.


Reasons when search engine placement is IMPORTANT.

Commercial Business
All commercial websites want to be number one for their brand name and if possible their products. In theory most companies are number one for their brand name for example Nike, Sony and Apple. The question then arises to companies selling Nike products. For example Nike clothing or Apple phones,
these are products that many websites sell and to be number one on Google would return a high volume of potential purchases.

Know your market

If you want to be number one on Google, what do you want to be number one for? If you perform a search Google will tell you how many other web pages are competing with that particular search query. It pays for itself to carry out market analysis as often the key phrases or keywords you think your customers would use are not correct. You may think being number one for ‘Widgets’ is has the most traffic, however being number one for ‘red widgets’ brings in more traffic and more relevant traffic.

We can help by providing a search engine optimization service to produce a report based on your business so that you can see exactly what keywords your website should be aiming for and which keywords to avoid.

Get your website built correctly
A high percentage of websites are actually technically incorrect and behind all the pretty images is a mess of code. Google can not read or see images but it can read code and see if a website has the code structured correctly. A good example is looking at your website in Google’s cache, also to see your website without any CSS, this is what controls the style and layout of your webpage structure.

Ensure usability
Usability is basically the study of a person using your website. You would be surprised at how people use your website. For example some users do not know they need to scroll down the web page, some users may not know where to buy or how to buy a product on your website. The key to your website success is to make
it as easy as possible for your customers. If you are selling a product you basically want the customer to be able to do this as quickly and easily as possible.

Finally the Google algorithm!
Google’s trademarked PageRank is so called after it’s founder Larry Page and not the actual webpage. The formula or algorithm is constantly changed and tweaked on a regular basis to ensure that Google always returns the most relevant results to it’s users.

In summary:

  • If you are in business then search engines are important
  • If you are selling any product or service then search engines are important
  • Search engine optimixation is not the only way of generating relevant traffic to your site
  • If you an individual and traffic to your website is not key to your success then search engines are not important to you.

Search Engine Optimization UK based services are available from Microedge. Please contact us for an informal chat on 0151 324 1056 to see how we can help your business become an online success.