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Three Steps to help get your new website noticed.

After months of planning, preparation and development, your website “baby” is now taking its first faltering steps into the vastness of the World Wide Web. Like any proud parent wants of their children, you want the best for your website – you want it to go out and achieve to the best of its potential.

Get your new site noticedBut it can’t – not on its own. Not without help.

A successful website takes a whole load of effort, strategy and guidance to attain the lofty goals that you have set for it. It takes patience and time to hook into that target audience that is searching for your business. A newly launched website is just one single entity – floating in the vastness of the internet. A void that is likely filled with many similar websites, just like yours, all craving the attention of the same critical audience.

How are they going to find yours?

With the baby steps below, you can set your newly-launched business website on the right path and make it visible to the audience that is searching for what you have to offer.

Step 1 – Get Your Site listed with Google

This one is a must because Google won’t list your site automatically at launch. You (or your web developer) need to bring the new website to Google’s attention using one of the two following methods:

  1. Manually add the URL of the new site by visiting the Google Search Console https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en and submitting it via the “official” channels.
  2. A more cunning way to gain Google’s attention is to display a link to the website on another site that has already been indexed (visited) by the Googlebot. When the Bot next sweeps by for a visit, it will pick up the new link and, voila, you’ll be added to the index.

Be aware that listing on Google can take anywhere from 24 hours to four weeks but you can speed up the process with a little more exposure…

Step 2 – Engage in “Off Page” SEO

Off-page SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to methods that you can use to promote your site outside the pages of your website. Two of the most popular methods are Link Building and Social Media Marketing.

Linking Building involves getting other websites to link to your site (these are known as inbound links). So long as these sites are of a high quality and their content is relevant to your site, Google smiles upon this method and its search algorithm may give your site a boost in the rankings.

Note that linking from any old site is not recommended and can have the opposite effect on the rankings – you can even get blacklisted if Google really doesn’t like what you have done.

Social Media Marketing is exactly as it sounds. Using the various social platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc), promote and share the content of your site with your audience of followers. Each post/link to your site that is shared by this audience is seen favourably in the eyes of the GoogleBot.

Step 3 – On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the use of various tactics within the content of your website’s pages. This can include using key words that your audience may use as part of the text, ensuring that all images have an ALT tag attached and using internal/external links to establish connections with other content that the search engines may already know about.

If you are using WordPress as the framework for your site, install either the “Yoast SEO” or All-in-One SEO plugins and they will work through wizards to help set up your on-page SEO.

Conclusion

These three steps are only the first steps along path to gaining real traction with your website. Once the GoogleBot has found and ranked your small business website, you will need to monitor which tactics are working best for you. In addition, you must keep your content fresh and update to date and constantly monitor your website analytics. Know where your traffic is coming from, what pages they like to visit and what they use to find your website in the first place.

If you need assistance getting your site a little more Google-friendly, please get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design. We’ll take a look at your currently “set-up” and help you implement the changes needed to get the most out of your site.

Cure your writer’s block with our simple website content template

Writing content for your website can be a harrowing task. While you would love to tell your site visitors everything about your business and what you can do for them, you need to strike a balance between the right amount of information and the danger of information overload.

Writing Website ContentOn top of this, where do you start with writing content. To help my customers through this difficult stage, I have created a simple template for creating content that is concise and easy to read.

Follow the steps below using the supplied template for each page on your website:

Step 1. Before you begin writing your content, answer these questions:

  • What is the purpose of this page? Why is it important?
  • Who is your target audience for this page?
  • What are the three main points that you want to convey on this page?
  • What keywords will your potential site visitors use with Google to find this page?

Step 2: Page Title:

Create a title that is clear, concise and catchy. It also should include some or all of the keywords identified above.

Step 3: First Paragraph:

In the first two sentences, clearly describe what you want the site visitor to gain from visiting this page – this is the one thing you want them to “take away” with them.

In the remaining sentences of the paragraph, summarize the points (identified above) that you will describe on the remainder to the page. You should also include a Call to Action (CTA) in this text to capture those visitors with short attention spans and who may not be bothered to read on.

Step 4: Second, Third and Fourth Paragraphs

  • Summarize each of the main points in turn, using keywords or phrases if possible.
  • Use bullet points to highlight features or additional sub-benefits.
  • Include links within the content to either your own pages or external websites (Google loves inbound and outbound links).
  • If possible, include further information if the content allows.

Step 5: Call to Action

Finish the page with a bold, obvious “Call to Action” that clearly explains what you want the site visitor to do next.

Step 6: Checklist

After your content is written, read through it against this checklist:

  • How long are each of the paragraphs? (maximum four sentences)
  • Are they concise and relevant to your target audience?
  • Is the style of content conversational, addressing the site visitor as “you”?
  • Is the content interesting and engaging? (hint: get someone else to read it)
  • Is there a clear Call to Action?
     

Once your content is written, find someone to proofread through it for you. Sometimes we can get a little too attached to our work and we are unable to see its minor flaws. A reliable proof-reader will spot those details that need correction or more information about them. They will also be able to tell whether the content is too wordy or just right.

Click here for our free Content Template.

Still not able to put your writer’s cap on? Tropical Coast Web Design has nearly 20 years’ experience in creating websites including page content. We can take simple dot points and turn them into legible, clear information for your site visitors.

Get in touch today for more information.

 

Five Tips to get you IN with Google

Getting on GoogleIt should come as no surprise that the most common question I field as a web designer is “How can improve my site’s placement on Google?” It’s universally known that Google is the main driver of traffic on the internet. The word “Google” has even been added to the Oxford Dictionary.

So what steps can you do as the website owner or manager to try and snag that front page of Google search results? Here’s five tips that will help you on the way:

Tip #1 – Use your Web Designer to get quick placement!

If your site was professionally designed, your developer should have added your site to their portfolio. Check that it has been added with a full URL link and a few key words in a description. As their site would be already in the Google index, your new web address will be “picked up” the next time the Google Bot sweeps by for its regular site check. Once the address has been indexed, you will start to see your site in the search results in a couple of weeks.

Alternatively you can use Google Webmaster Tools and manually add your site to the Google listing. Be though warned that this method does take longer than the one above – sometimes up to five weeks.

Tip #2: Use Keywords throughout your Content

While writing content for a particular page of your site, be sure to include a “smattering” of the page’s keywords throughout. For example, on the front page of a site containing fashion, you would include the keywords that your customers would type into Google to find you – words like “fashion, style, prada, guuchi, etc.). Use these words in the regular flow of your text content.

Don’t add them one after the other and most importantly, don’t overload the page with keywords. This is known as keyword stuffing and you can be penalised by Google for this tactic.

Tip #3: Utilise your Page Titles

Another great place to put your keywords is in the actual title for your site pages. Known as H1 titles, these are generally the first text titles you see on a web page and Google holds these in very high regard when calculating page ranking for search placement.

Note: To avoid being penalised, never use more than one on each page.

Tip #4: Share links with your Industry partners

Although not as popular with Google as it used to be, link sharing, also known as back linking, is the usage of links between various (separate) sites on the internet to promote search ranking. Put simply, your site links to another site and they link back to you. Depending on the popularity of the sites involved, you can boost your placement in the search results.

To do this, you must link from high quality sites – sites that Google likes within your industry. It doesn’t work to link from unrelated sites as this is detected by the search algorithm that the search engines use.

On this note, never subscribe to those spam emails / links you may receive asking for you to buy links. Just like buying lollies for others didn’t get you real friends at school, buying links won’t make you “friends” with Google.

Tip #5: Keep your site fresh with new content

Finally, Google loves sites that update regularly with fresh content. This can come in many forms – a blog, videos, new galleries, fresh products on an online store or, at a more extreme level, a site re-design. Unbeknownst to most website owners, the search giant does keep an eye on the age of your information and media and frowns upon content that is long in the tooth.”

Time to get that blog off the backburner and into action?

After applying the tips above to your website, you can watch for improvements in your site’s listing in two ways. You can watch the gradual climb through the Google search listings or, log onto your site’s statistics in your Control Panel (ask your website designer for access). Through the Control Panel, you can observe the usage of keywords, which search engines are sending you traffic and the overall site visits that your site is receiving.

If you need help with any of the above or just want more, keep reading the upcoming blogs from Rusty Mango Design. OR – skip the waiting and get in touch with us today.

Disaster! My site has disappeared from Google!

Disaster StrikesIt’s every website owner’s worst nightmare – sitting down at the computer one day, typing your business name into Google and – BAM – the site’s not there in the search results! Frantically, you scan through page after page to no avail, it has completely disappeared. What has happened?

Although this sounds like a worst-case scenario, unfortunately it does happen (very) occasionally. And as 63% of site traffic is driven through the Google portal, it can have a devastating effect on the businesses involved. Especially if those businesses are reliant on web traffic for survival.

If this does happen to you, before you even consider anything else in this article, make sure you go to google.com and try the site: prefix with your site name (for example site:rustymangodesign.com.au). This will allow you to determine whether your site is still on the Google Search index or if it has been removed altogether.

Causes

There are a myriad of reasons that a site can disappear from Google, ranging from very simple errors and problems right through to black-banning by the search giant for dubious SEO practices. Some of these reasons include:

  • Lack of SEO love from the site owner. They’ve created a site and done nothing else with it. No promotion, no linking and very little or no new content.
  • Article Spinning. This practice involves using regurgitated content from other websites and Google absolutely hates this – it only loves fresh, new content. Article spinning often involves automatic generators that simply change small sections of text so that the content does not look directly plagiarised from its source.
  • Link building cheats. This generally involves third-party businesses that “guarantee” rankings by creating links through a large network of internet sites called “Link Wheels” or a “Link Pyramids.”
  • Keyword Stuffing. A website is filled with content and the same keywords are repeated throughout that content over and over again. It reads terribly, makes your content look cheap and Google doesn’t like it. It nearly always raises a red flag and Google loves to take action against those flags.

Solutions

Luckily, unless you’ve been really naughty, all it takes is some time and effort to fix this “little” problem. Sit down at your computer and start “cranking” out some decent original content that is not stuffed to the gills with keywords. Write a blog like this one (topics are easier to come by than you think), announce new store arrivals or simply upgrade your imagery – don’t forget to tag those images!

Look at the results that are coming in on the first page of Google Search for your desired keywords. Normally, Yellow Pages and Local Search directories are up there in the #1 and #2 positions. If you are listed with them, contact each and make sure that your website address is on their listings too.

Contact your suppliers and customers that have web pages and set up reciprocal links – I’ll link to you and you link to me. Make sure that you are in similar industries as Google looks favourable on this.

Finally, after all is said and done, your site could simply go missing due to a change in the complex algorithm that controls our search results. Google is a private company and wants to remain at the top of its game, making money for its shareholders. To do this, they keep “fine-tuning” the way that search results are ranked and ordered. Your site may simply not “stack” up against the new algorithm, yet. In this case, keep working on that fresh content and the remainder should take care of itself.

#BeSmart when using #Hashtags

How to use a HashtagTwitter, the 140 word social media platform, has been with us since 2006 and one could excused for thinking that the #hashtag has been with us just as long. However the first tweets that featured a #hashtag actually appeared a year later when user Chris Messina decided to create a method of grouping like-minded tweets into the same clusters.

Nowadays, the #hashtag is an integral part of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and even Facebook. It can be used as a powerful tool for online marketing and any business owner who wants to drive their social media marketing on to success need to master their usage.

Choosing the right #hashtag to engage with your target audience needs some thought and practice. They are very similar to the keywords that are used in conjunction with search engines to find a website, if the wrong words are chosen then the results won’t point towards your business and you risk losing potential clients.

Thankfully, it is not too hard to select #hashtags that will work for you. Here’s some simple items to consider when using #hashtags on your Social Media marketing:

  • Ensure that the #hashtag is relevant to the topic. Don’t be obtuse.
  • Take a look around the web and use #hashtags that are already in circulation. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own but commonly used tags have already got a “readership”.
  • When creating unique #hashtags, use words that will directly link back to your business. For example, if I were tagging marketing memes, I could start a “trend” with #rustysmarketingmemes. Watch that you don’t be too broad, as tags can be hijacked, leading to detrimental effects for your business.

The perfect mix for #hashtags in any single Social Media commentary is between one and two. Any more and research has shown there is a 17% drop in engagement. That said, #hashtags in your tweets, posts and pins increase the chances of your message being passed along to others.

At the end of the day, as with any Social Media, there is an inherent risk involved. Don’t share anything in your posts (along with those hashtags) that may have a negative effect on your business or personal life. Think before you post/tweet.

As already stated, the #hashtag is a powerful tool and can be made to work for your business. Smart companies like Black Milk Clothing have built themselves successfully through smart Social Media marketing and there is no reason other businesses can’t follow in their footsteps. Integrate a Social Media plan featuring the use of clever #hashtags with your regular business website and help your online traffic grow.

 

How to make your website #1 for your clients in 2015

How to make your website #1 for your clients in 2015The New Year has been ushered with a flash of fireworks and cheers of excitement. People around the world will be opening their bleary eyes with the hazy promises of New Year’s resolutions swimming in their heads. Most of these will be along the lines of losing weight, getting fit or maybe saving more money; all personally focused ideals.

So how about a couple of New Year’s resolutions for your business website?

Maybe the site hasn’t performed up to your expectations in 2014. Perhaps you didn’t get the bottom line via your site that you hoped for. Or is it sitting dormant and not doing a thing for the customers that it is supposed to attract?

There’s no time like New Years to take a good look at your site and resolve to make it into a site that your clients really need. Here’s three tips to make it their #1 choice when searching for anything in your industry.

Tip #1: Create helpful and informative content

Take a look at your site content and make sure that your site offers more to its visitors than just items or services for sale. Statistics have shown that a site that provides helpful and informative content has a lower bounce rate (people who bounce in and out) and a higher conversion of visits to sales.

Your content could include a blog (just like this one), how-to videos (embedded from your YouTube account) or downloadable fact sheets. There are a multitude of ways that you can help your clients – choose something that is suitable to your industry.

Tip #2: Make it easy to find your site in Google

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is no longer the realm of the experts. Sure, they may be able to squeeze out those last couple of places but with easy-to-use plugins such as Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO, page optimisation can be done quickly and easily. In most cases, it can be done when the new content is being created.

Just by adding a simple description of the content and a few carefully chosen keywords to every page, you increase the chances of the content being found on Google. And by improving your chances of your information being found, you are making it easier for people to actually find it.

And that, ultimately, is the whole purpose of SEO.

Tip #3: Get your Social Media happening

Here I go again – harping on about Social Media. I still firmly believe that the secret to success behind most websites is an integrated Social Media approach. If you can make people like your business through your Facebook posts or Twitter tweets (or whatever your poison), then the chances of them visiting your site increase tenfold.

You can use Social Media to help your clients find what they want with the implementation of a carefully planned approach. Whilst building a new ecommerce store recently, I came across a number of ways to use a social presence to make any site an essential visit to prospective customers.

  • Integrate a Wish List system into your ecommerce store. Customers visit the site and create a wish list which they then post to their Facebook page for others to purchase for them. Very helpful for prospective mothers and brides-to-be (as a couple of examples).
  • Utilise a Social Media login for regular customers (i.e. people can use their username and password from Facebook, Google+, etc. to login). Saves the needs to invent a new login for every site a person visits – no-one likes to do this!
  • Integrate Instagram tags into with product pages so that whenever a customer displays your product on their Instagram account (using the tag), it automatically appears on that product’s page. Great for clothing sites – your clothes can be seen on everyday people just like you and me as opposed to the models that may be used on the site. Check out Black Milk Clothing for a great example of this.

If you can get those three strategies under your belt early on in 2015, you have put yourself in good stead for the remainder of the year. As any seasoned website owner or manager will know from experience, running and maintaining a successful website is not a “cake walk”, you must constantly monitor a multitude of site components to ensure that your site is working as you want it to. Running a website is hard work.

With a New Year’s Resolution using the above tips, your website is on its way to becoming the site that your clients really need.

Five Essential SEO items that you can’t neglect

Five Basic SEO EssentialsAs you may be aware, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is crucial to the success of your website. Even if you have the most effective, well-designed and comprehensive website in the business, it won’t amount to anything if it can’t be found on major search engines. The statistics below support that if your site isn’t on that all important first page of results, your website could be practically invisible to most internet users.  In monopoly terms, the first page of Google is Mayfair and Park Lane, anything else is Old Kent Road.

Statistics courtesy of Chitika – Online Advertising Network

  • #1 in a Google search gets 32% of all the clicks.
  • #2 in a Google search gets 17% of all the clicks.
  • #3 in a Google search gets 11% of all the clicks.
  • 92 out of every 100 people who search on the internet do not go past the first page of their Google search.

Small business proprietors often hand over the reins of their SEO to outside agencies to take care of, some of which are expensive and over-rated. What these business owners don’t realise is that there is a lot that can be done without any outside help at all. In this post, we will look the essential items that must be attended to for successful Search Engine Optimisation.

Note #1: For the tips below, it is assumed that you have access to your site with a Content Management System. If you don’t, then you are already behind the times. Upgrade that site today!

Note#2: For WordPress owners, make sure you have Yoast SEO or All-In-One SEO installed in your plug-in. For other CMS, do a Google search and find out the equivalent for your system. There are dozens of options.

#1 Page Content

As has been discussed in previous Rusty Mango blogs, you must fill your pages with useful, appropriate and high-quality content.  The whole purpose of your site is to provide a service to your clients and prospects. Don’t lose site of that goal! To boost your SEO, you need a number of inbound links (people linking to you) and this won’t happen without content that is helpful and valuable to your visitors.

#2 – Page URL

This is actually name of the page that is used in the address bar of the web browser. If at all possible, use a couple of keywords in the URL that globally describe the content of the page. Don’t use spaces or underscores as these can confuse the Google bots, instead use hyphens to separate words.

If you are a WordPress CMS user, check your permalinks in the Settings section of your dashboard for this item.

#3 – Title Tags

A title tag is the small snippet of information that gets displayed at the top of a web browser. For your site, use your SEO plug-in (see above) and ensure that each and every page (and post) that you create has a relevant title tag that includes keywords from the text on the page.

#4 – Image ALT Tags

In the “olden” days, ALT tags (the text that pops up when floating a cursor over an image) were used primarily to help visually impaired users of the web. These days, in additions to this important role they still play; ALT tags can be used to boost SEO by including keywords in them once again.

Are you starting to see a theme here? KEYWORDS are everything to SEO!!

#5 Keyword Overuse!

Despite what I have “pushed” throughout this post, Google will apply penalties if the keywords you use override your content. This is to prevent the brazen old practice of loading a page to the brim with visible and non-visible keywords. Nowadays, the content relevancy has been added into the Google page ranking algorithm and key-words must only make up between 5-7% of the overall page information.

Conclusion

Once you take care of the above, you’ll need to wait patiently for Google to re-index your site so that you can see the benefits of your efforts. If you don’t get the results that you want, look over the list again, check your site statistics and ensure that you are using the terminology of your potential clients. The question to ask is – What are they typing into Google to find you?

 

 

 

 

Five steps to help conquer the Google Beast

GoogleThere are literally hundreds of search engines on the internet. However, millions of users each day insist on using just one of them – Google – the “Big Kahuna” of web search with over one trillion indexed pages (according to their official blog).

There’s a fair chance that your site has been indexed already, somewhere in there. But are you getting noticed? Are you in the first few search returns when your potential customers come looking for you? Are you at least on page one of the search results?

You need to get your site recognised by Google, not just indexed. Read on for some helpful hints to give your site a boost in the rankings.

Step One – Be unique

Right from start of your business, ensure that you stand out from the crowd. Selecting a name for your business is difficult however avoid using a name that clashes with other businesses or popular phrases.  For example, a jeweller probably shouldn’t call himself “The Lord of the Rings” (copyright issues aside). Try typing that phrase into Google and see what happens. His site would never be found. Of course, searching isn’t just done by business name but you do need consider this factor as one method of search used by your clients.

Step Two – Use Keywords

When writing the copy for your site (the words that appear on screen), be sure to sprinkle some key words throughout the text. Keywords are the words that people type into a search engine. When looking for a restaurant in Innisfail, I might type “Eating Out in Innisfail”. Or if I am after a mechanic in Tully, I could type “Car Maintainence, Tully”. Sit down with friends / colleagues and brainstorm the type of searches your potential clients might make and add these into the copy for your site.

Step Three – Get Linked

Google loves your site more when it is well connected. The more sites that link to you, the more important your site becomes to Google. Ask your suppliers, friends and business partners for reciprocal links on their sites and you can provide them with a link on yours.

If a very important site links to you, you actually inherit some of that importance according to Google. Example – if you are a small motel, try to get links on the major travel websites. Not only will you gain exposure but your Google ranking will receive a boost as well.

Step Four – Don’t upset Google

Google can get cranky if you try to cheat the system. Even if you are using the above steps, you still need to be careful not to upset the “Gods of Search”.

Keywords need to be mixed with your content. Some sites have pages purely dedicated to keywords that have been hidden by making the font the same colour as the background – viola, invisible keywords. Not good according to Google.

In addition, add links to your site in a natural way. If Google notices a huge spike in the number of links to your site, once again, it can get cranky. You may not get blacklisted for these infringements, but do you really want to risk it?

Step Five – Get in the experts (SEO)

If the above steps have been done and you still languishing somewhere off the first page of search results, call in the Big Guns. Search Engine Optimisation has evolved into an entirely separate entity to web design. SEO experts know how to tweak every part of your site to gain ranking within Google. They also monitor your site over a period of time, checking search terms and changing content to ensure that you get a better result.

By taking note of the five steps here, your site is on its way to an improved ranking in search engines. Just remember that Google does change its search algorithm from time to time therefore you will need to check back and tweak your site continuously to ensure that you keep appearing  on page one.

Tropical Coast Web Design