Top Tips to Make Sure your Website is Search Engine Friendly

 SEO Basics.png

Source: Pixabay

SEO is surprisingly not all about keywords, there are other factors which need taking into consideration. Let’s take a look at 5 ways to make sure your website is search friendly

Introduction

You could be mistaken for thinking SEO is just about keywords but you’d be wrong, there are lots of other factors which need consideration. You see search engines don’t see web pages like us, an all singing and dancing site built with Flash may look amazing to you and me, but here’s the thing; there is unlikely to be enough information for the search engine bots to index and this could have a negative impact in local search results.

The best websites needs to be designed for both humans and search engines and here are some tips to ensure your business website is search friendly.

1) Content

Most of your content should be in HTML text  that’s because search engines read text much easier than images, JavaScript or Flash, which is largely ignored. Of course, nobody wants a website which is just words, even if they are written by a professional like myself.  They are unlikely to capture the user’s attention on their own and anyone involved in digital marketing will tell you that images, videos etc are vital for a great website. Here are 5 ways to ensure your website’s visual content can be recognised by search engines.

  1. Always include text on pages that contain Java or Flash plug-ins.
  2. Add navigation or crawlable links to your search boxes
  3. Upload transcripts or closed captions to video content which will make them searchable
  4. Assign “alt attributes” to all your images,  while the search engine bots cannot recognise an image they can recognise a text description.
  5. Use HTML5 instead of Flash

Another essential feature of your  web content is; it needs to be unique. Google loves original material their ultimate aim is to provide the user with the best online experience possible, which means giving them variety, choice and relevant information. Duplicate content doesn’t do this, it will not improve your ranking and you may even end up being penalised.

(For 100% original content writing contact ukcontentwriter1@gmail.com) 

Duplicate content does not necessarily mean plagiarism, You may have lots of it within your website without even knowing as it can be caused by several things including;

  • Tracking parameters
  • Session IDs
  • Scrapers
  • Printer friendly pages
  • Www and non-www websites
  • Comment pagination

Now this may all sound complicated for the average business owner, however, one way you can check if you have duplicate content is to use  Google Webmaster Tools. Don’t worry if you do, there are ways of removing it just have a chat with your web designer

2) Title Tags

Title tags are considered one of the most important elements of SEO and getting them right is vital in making your website search friendly. The aim is to create a title that does 2 things; captures the user’s attention while making the search engine sit up and take notice too.

Title tags should be under 60 characters inlength so the user can view it in its entirety meaning they understand what the content is about, They should contain your main keyword, usually at the beginning and where possible a benefit, which could be just giving the user information

Having a meaningful title tag for every page of your website will make it much more search friendly

3) Sitemaps

blank sitemap

Source:Pixabay

A Sitemap is a fantastic way to have all your website’s pages indexed by the search engines. It is an XML file that lists all the URLs your website has, with additional metadata about every one. All websites and even blogs should have a sitemap because it informs the search engines of any changes to your pages and enables the crawlers to follow links to all your pages. This means you need to rely less on external links bringing them to your site.

Implementing a sitemap is simple and involves 3 steps

  1. First, you need to generate the sitemap, some sitemap generators include

2. Secondly you need to upload it to your website

3. Finally tell Google about it, by adding the site to your Google Sitemaps account. This useful guide tells you how.

Rich Snippets

When you conduct an online search, you are often presented with reviews, locations, ratings and pictures for a particular site, which is acheived by using rich snippets. Rich snippets are structured data mark ups that web designers include in the HTML that help search engines understand the information contained on the page.

example of rich snippets

Source:Flickr (image credit Martin Hepp)

 

Transfer this to practically any business, a nice image, good reviews, and detailed information, electricians, for example, could mark up; free estimates, customer ratings,  location, 24 hour call outs,  all things that would make someone more likely to click onto their website.

Using Schema markup to implement rich snippets will help Google deliver a better experience for users and studies have found that sites using Schema markup rank around 4 positions better than those without.

Despite a relatively low number of businesses using this great tool, Google presents schema-derived markups in approximately  36% of results. If the search engines can read your page clearly, this will be passed on to the user, resulting in your page ranking higher. A Win Win situation!

Remove Hidden Text

In the past, “Black Hat” tactics were commonly used by  webmasters who used hidden text to stuff keywords onto pages

However, Google put a stop to this, programming its algorithms to penalise websites that had hidden text. Great, you may think, cracking down on sneaky “Black Hat” tactics is good, right?

Well, yes, but unfortunately some websites could inadvertently have some hidden text for example if you use a free web host provider which includes adverts on your site or you have text informing people using a certain browser that they won’t be able to access some features of the site, because this can’t be seen on the other browsers it is classed as hidden text, maybe you have some text  in a similar colour as the background,  use third party scripts, or have a drop-down menu for navigation any of these may be perceived as hidden text.

If Google detects any hidden text it will have a massive impact on your website and it may even be removed but the good news is you can check for hidden text by holding down the “a” and “control” key on your keyboard

Conclusion

These are just the basics, once you’ve nailed this you can concentrate on the more familiar aspects of SEO such as short and long-tail keywords, fast loading times, local map listings and social media. Search engine optimisation can be a lengthy process but done correctly will increase traffic to your website, bring in more leads and help you rank higher in the SERPs, which will result in more business.

Our web content in Newcastle includes SEO as standard 

Advertisements

BLOGGING TIPS 101

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Kaila O’ Neill Founder & Owner of: Makeup by Kaila Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Beauty and Lifestyle Writer Here are five amazing ways to increase blog trafficking, engage your readers, and enjoy blogging even more! Social Media! Join every social media available! Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Bloglovin, Facebook, Pinterest, everything! Connect with […]

via 5 Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed! (2 min read) — The Millionaire’s Digest

Grow Your Blog By Connecting With Others On Social Media — DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN

Connecting via social media is a great way to grow you blog. Many don’t utilize social media and in my opinion that is a mistake. Take a few minutes and research the effectiveness of social media! Social media benefits your blog in several ways: Adds legitimacy to your page in the eyes of search […]

via Grow Your Blog By Connecting With Others On Social Media — DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN

HOW TO WRITE FOR THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY

aircraft-1362586_1920.jpgOne of the largest and most competitive, the travel industry requires an abundance of  quality content to satisfy the huge number of online platforms and magazines, which can be lucrative for the freelancer.

I love to travel. City breaks, beach holidays, adventurous tours, I love them all and I’m lucky to have travelled all over the world. Give me a packed suitcase, a box of Imodium, my passport and I’m Harriet the happy hamster.

People who actually travel the world all expenses paid are scarce, however, so how can freelance writers take advantage of this massive opportunity?

The first myth I need to dispel is the fact that you have to be a carbon copy of Alan Wicker to be a great travel writer. Yes, it helps if you’re familiar with the basics – airports, packing, weather etc – and obviously, if you’re writing a guidebook or airline review, a knowledge of the place or flight provider is preferable, but there are lots of opportunities out there that don’t require in-depth awareness. What they do require, though, is thorough research.

There are multiple thousands of hotels around the world. Most have websites, and/or a short description on online travel agency sites. This particular content deals with facts. You don’t need to have spent last year’s summer getaway at said residence, you just have to write how many rooms it has, how beautiful the gardens are, restaurant choices, how far it is from the airport/local attractions. Basically, a product description.

How to articles and listicles are another way to cash in on this marketplace.

  • Ten ways to occupy your children if your flight is delayed
  • Ten animals you are likely to see in India
  • Five essential beach bag items
  • Hangover cures! How to survive Ibiza nightlife

All these examples can be written without in-depth travel nous. It could be a flight to anywhere, you can find information about India on the internet, a beach is a beach and hangovers, well, they’re rife all over the world. Most of the travel comparison sites have blogs requiring SEO-rich content with travel tips and articles that don’t require the writer to have been around the world in eighty days.

Another trick is applying an experience you’ve had from one destination to another. A horse and carriage ride in Paris is exactly the same as a horse and carriage ride in Krakow (albeit a lot more expensive). Yes, the sights are different, but the feelings and emotions are the same. You understand the concept and can tailor the facts to your particular experience. Riding a camel in Tunisia is much the same as riding a camel in Morocco or Egypt. The scenery changes, but there are enough reviews out there that you can improvise.

Food and drink are another great way to write about travel, while not actually leaving your own country. Culinary delights from all over the world are now easily obtained in this country and, with some complimentary online research, it’s relatively easy to delve into the surrounding cultural, historical details of particular items. Of course, I know local delicacies taste better when in situ, and I’m not saying you can write about Thai street food without living the experience, but you could, however, write about:

  1. The History of the Saffron Trail
  2. The Persian Pistachio
  3. Ten Italian Fish Recipes

Finally, all travel writing is not about exotic locations. That old adage, ‘write about what you know’ can stand you in good stead here. The first travel article I had published was about my hometown and this is a brilliant place to start for the novice travel writer. What are the points of interest in your town/city, the best restaurants, museums etc? Is there an event that takes place there, and how often? Does the location have a nearby theme park, beach, or a country walk? The UK tourism industry is vast and requires quality content by freelance writers.

So, instead of packing your suitcase to make a living writing about the travel industry, pack your pen, laptop and imagination. Perhaps you can’t write an account of a trip down the Amazon, but writing about the top fish and chip shops in Scarborough can earn you just as much cash.

UK Content Writer offers a full range of travel writing services:

Hotel Descriptions

Country Guides

City Guides

Popular Attractions

Things to Do

How to Articles

Marketing Content

Web Content

Destination Guides

www.ukcontentwriter.co.uk

HOW TO WRITE FOR THE PET INDUSTRY

pets-group-photo

Us Brits are barking mad about our furry friends, with over 24% of us owning a dog closely followed by 17% being ‘owned by a feline’. Therefore, it’s no surprise the market for freelance writing in the pet industry is huge. New products are being launched every day and pet lovers are constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of their beloved furbabies.

The bonus, for a freelancer and pet owner like myself, is that it’s enjoyable writing about something you love and usually doesn’t involve too much research. Here are some tips if you’d like to write for one of the largest and most profitable markets out there:

Firstly, unless you have a dog like Marley or a moggy who’s changed your life similar to Street Cat Bob, nobody wants to hear about the antics of your pets in great detail, especially if – as a lot of people tend to do on Social Media – you give them language skills and weird accents. Dogs having a ‘wuffly barkday’ and cats being ‘purrfectly groomed’ are a big no-no! If you really feel the need to  turn your pet into a celebrity, stick to YouTube or Instagram. By all means, write about your experiences with a health problem, training tip or new product, but from your point of view, not Fido’s.

There are always new and innovative products for pets, so check out the upcoming trends. For example, this year has seen an increase in organic, and handmade treats and breed-specific diet foods. The popularity of teacup breeds has seen an increase in the sale of dog clothes and trendy designer bags for transport. All these products need descriptions, reviews, web content and blogs to make them successful in a competitive market.

Training is something every responsible dog owner should do. You don’t have to be Cesar Milan to write about it. Write about your own experiences or interview a local rescue centre employee to get their tips. There is a world of information on the net – try writing from a different angle. Consider different environments, seasonal aspects or situations that require special training:

  • ‘Training tips that could save your dog’s life in the city’;
  • ‘Dog Etiquette at the beach’; and
  • ‘How to train a Gun Dog’

There are also options here to write about the various methods of horse training for different sports – polo, dressage etc.

Healthcare is one of the most popular searches about pets, and, as mentioned, you don’t have to be an expert to produce work on a vast range of topics on every pet imaginable. From how to check a horse’s hooves, to why snakes shed their skin. Breed, or species-specific health issues, are always popular. Once again, try to approach things from a different angle in order to make your articles or blog posts stand out from the crowd.

Most owners have a profound interest in providing the best basic care for their pets, whether it’s how to clip your cockatoo’s claws without getting injured, how to build a playground for guinea pigs or how your pony benefits from a massage. Articles of this kind are unique – the writer explains what has worked for them. These are the tips that everyone is looking for to enhance the pet owner experience.

People love to spend time with their animals. Writing about activities and pet-friendly holidays can be a great income booster. Once again, try to mix it up, don’t just concentrate on local agility classes or cat-friendly hotels. What about, ‘How to Teach your Dog to Surf’, ‘Dog Dancing Classes’, ‘Rabbit Racing’ or ‘Yoga with Cats‘? (I kid you not!)

You can also integrate writing about equipment into this one. For instance, ‘The Top Ten Dog Sledding Harnesses’ or ‘Five Essential Items of Dog Equipment to take on your Camping Trip’.

In contradiction to my earlier comment, about nobody wanting to read the day-to-day antics of Floppy the rabbit or Fifi, the neurotic poodle. This changes when an exceptional event occurs or the human/pet relationship is extra special. There are numerous heroic pets that have a story to tell, working as military or search and rescue dogs. There are even ‘Therapy pigs and ferrets‘. (Once again, I know, unbelievable … right?)

Pets have amazing senses and can often recognise illness early and prevent seizures, actually saving lives. These stories are the ones readers are interested in.

Whatever you choose, be it a breed profile or the story of a puppy adopted by a lion, the possibilities are endless. You can overlap the topics, write seasonal articles or interview experts. Not only will you find the writing enjoyable, but, because we all love our pets, you can be sure that someone out there wants to read it.

© Donna Hepburn 2016

 

 

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF WEB CONTENT

8287451_origGood job!

You have your pretty 5-10 page website you’ve spent good money on, which should, theoretically, bring in more customers and increase sales. Unfortunately, there are over 50 million websites out there, with a mere half a million boasting success, and success, in this context, is traffic. So, how do you prevent yours from following the millions of others to that great digital graveyard in the sky?

Few people will surf the internet looking for a specific company. Most search for information about a certain subject and, to make your website successful, it must provide that information, answering real questions relevant to your industry. If it doesn’t, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be found.

That is why Search Engine Optimisation and Keywords are vital to any well-written web content. Extensive market research should be carried out to establish your target audience so you can incorporate specific keywords. A professional copywriter has the ability to work with you to achieve a shared understanding of your customer base, writing content that will enable your site to soar up those infernal rankings.

The most common reason for website failure is badly written content. Spelling mistakes, misuse of punctuation and grammatical errors scream unprofessionalism, creating a bleak first impression of your company. Once a customer has clicked away from your site because of glaring errors, believe me, they will not return. Website designers are not professional writers. They can provide a site that looks good and has great links, but the content is not their number one priority. Here, at UKContentWriter, we work with individuals, taking the time to ensure all our work is edited and proofed.

‘That’s it then,’ I hear you say, ‘I have great SEO friendly, pertinent web content that doesn’t insult the English language.’

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. You will have to impress the ‘Spiders’. These are programs search engines put in place. Sneaky little critters that can actually detect when your site was last updated and, if not recently, you can sink down those rankings faster than a diver’s boot. Therefore, once you have perfected your landing page, you need to consider having regular updates.

Along with social media feeds, having or linking a blog to your site is the best way to do this. You will not only achieve better rankings with quality updated content, you will also get shares which will, in turn, drive more traffic to your website. Another added benefit of engaging your customers with newsworthy, relevant industry content, helpful tips, even staff profiles, is that you’ll build stronger relationships with them without too much self-promotion, enabling you to get more repeat business.

Here, at UKContentWriter, we understand this can be time-consuming and, after all, you have a business to run. Why not try one of our stress-free competitive packages to ensure your website is working for you?

Web Review – £25

We will review up to five pages or 2,500 words. Checking for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation, flow and lack of optimisation. You will receive a written review highlighting any potential problems.

Monthly Blog Package – £50 

We will create 4 x 500-word blog posts. You provide titles, or we can take the stress off and submit our own ideas.

In-Depth Monthly Blog Package – £100 

We will research and write 4 x 750-1000-word blog posts with external links, statistics, etc., making sure you keep ahead of your competition.

Writing Packages

1 x 500-word SEO friendly web page – £25 

Delivered in two days

5 x 500-word SEO friendly web pages – £120

Delivered in one week

10 x 500-word SEO friendly web pages – £225 

Delivered in 10 days

We also offer bespoke solutions. Feel free to contact us with any special requirements.

© Donna Hepburn 2016