The Most Searched Things on Google in 2020.

The Most Searched Things on Google in 2020

Google has published its top trending searches of 2020 and it will come as no surprise that of the most searched things on Google in 2020 Coronavirus dominated search this year.

Coronavirus topped both global and national searches and was the most common term in news queries.

However, in a video fronting the report Google stated that 2020 was the year in search where more people than ever start with why?

The weirdest one has to be the top why search of 2020:

“Why were chainsaws invented?”

But then we had the more sobering

“Why was George Floyd arrested?”

Accordingly, the Black Lives Matter movement saw a five-fold increase in interest over 2019.

We even had that question on all our minds at the beginning of the first lock-down:

“Why are people buying toilet paper?”

We also asked “who?”, which is interesting because those three innocuous little letters in that question are also the acronym for the World Health Organisation. Skipping the combined WHO searches with Coronavirus and COVID-19, the real who questions came to light.

“Who won the election 2020?”

“Who invented blow up dolls?”

OK, we all know who won the US election in 2020, apart from Donald Trump [Has anyone told him yet? Ed], but that second big query is another rather bizarre term.

Global terms aside, what did we look for in the UK?

Our where questions were:

“Where did the coronavirus come from?”

This most pertinent of questions is now dominated by paid ads from the WHO but also now the NHS, offering more information on the new COVID-19 vaccine.

The top featured snippet in Google today is from a trustworthy source, much-needed in a year of fake news, as the UK government presents facts on the origins of the pandemic.

On a more homely note, the nation also asked:

“Where does vanilla flavouring come from?”

Presumably that stems from the home baking phenomena as we all baked so many cakes and discovered how easy it was to whip up a tasty banana bread recipe. Oh, and sourdough loaves too, the most searched for in the world.

After the  Coronavirus, the UK was just as interested in the “US election” but slightly more so than the passing of celebrity “Caroline Flack”.

Over here we asked “how to make a face mask”, “how to make hand sanitiser”, “how to make bread” and “how to cut your own hair?”

As for who we were most interested in, “Philip Schofield” came out on top with that crazy US pair “Carole Baskin” and “Joe Exotic” in the UK’s top 5.  Renowned businessman and engineer “Elon Musk” was of great interest to us as well.

Best Digital Marketing Agency

Our clients are always relying on us to generate business leads for them whilst the rest of the country asked Google about “Amazon jump leads”.

However, getting back on topic, digital marketing was paired with searches for “digital marketing agency near me” and “best digital marketing agency”. A particularly interesting term was “digital marketing apprenticeships” and “digital marketing salary” searches.

The UK also looked for “professional SEO services”, “small business seo services” and the most searched county specific term was SEO Hampshire.

As for the Pay Per Click abbreviation, “PPC campaign management” and “PPC management services” were top 5 UK searches.

Delivery, DIY and Fitness

Outside our profession again, delivery, DIY and fitness were top topics across the nation.

How very British that we looked most for “afternoon tea delivery” followed closely by delivery of wine, compost, milk and fruit & veg.

In the field of Do It Yourself, furloughed workers and stay-at-home professionals were still looking for “DIY shops” but a lot of “DIY garden ideas” especially “DIY decking”.

In fitness, you’ll not be shocked that of all the things, it was Joe Wicks and his workouts for children that caught the attention of most of us. We also searched Google for skipping, workout benches and exercise bikes. Good on us.

Financial Services and Information Technology

With Clever Marketing being known for developing online business in the financial services, fintech and IT sectors, digital searches were highly on brand. Mazda and Audi were key financial services searches.

In the IT sector, a top-trending search was “how to learn coding”, an encouraging move, especially when Python was the most searched for programming language. We totally love that as Python is an awesome tool in our SEO toolkit.

Back to Google’s worldwide analysis, their key standouts for the year in search 2020 were “support small business”. Hardest hit by COVID-19, we rallied around and increased our support tenfold when compared to last year.

The NHS captured our hearts and minds as the amazing National Health Service workers  worked so incredible hard to deal with the pandemic. Our overstretched healthcare sector inevitably generated the top term “volunteer for the NHS”.

Homeschooling was big on the agenda this year, with some of us having to work from home as well as tending to our children’s educational needs. Distance learning and home tutoring were top topics but “how to be a teacher” was a huge term.

2021 Search Terms

And so, as we approach the year end, it’s interesting that “meditation” was a big hit, as we all try to find a little inner peace. But how that big question so many were asking…

“When will we get back to normal?”

That’s such a pertinent question because, what is normal and do we really want to get back there? The world has changed, and more people are doing business from home as the hybrid model of working changes our future.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO & Digital AgencySo there you go, the most searched things on Google in 2020. What search terms does your business need to stand our for next year?

For SEO, PPC and paid social call our digital agency on 01276 534 680 for a friendly, professional insight into how we can help you succeed in 2021.

SEO word count is not a ranking factor says Google's Jon Mueller.

SEO Word Count is Not a Ranking Factor

There has always been talk about the pace of change in the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Sometimes you notice the SEO change, sometimes you don’t.

Some changes in the SEO landscape seem minuscule and incremental, at other times they can feel seismic.

However, the latest revelation by John Mueller, the Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, is an interesting talking point.

In a February 8th Twitter post, Google’s JohnMu said:

The salient point here is this:

“Having the same word-count as a top-ranking article isn’t going to make your pages rank first…”

And, you know what? John is right. Just because a top-ranking article has 1,158 words doesn’t mean that you can beat it with the same word count. There are SO many other factors that search engines consider when ranking pages.

Now, we must admit, we’re advocates of the “long form” article, what you would call an evangelists. Colleagues and friends often say “Great writing, but nobody’s going to read that!”. Agreed. Yet also being realists you’ll often hear our SEO experts speak about context, in all manner of applications.

A clear point in case is this:

It is a long-held belief in SEO circles that the “minimum word count” for an article is around 300 words. There have been studies that indicate the top 10 articles for any keyword in the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are over 1.000 words.

The hugely popular WordPress plugin “Yoast SEO” reinforces the minimum word count and gives additional “brownie points” when you go beyond the minimum recommended threshold.

Where Does Word Count in SEO Come From?

Many years ago, Google was far more “easy to game”. Every opportunity to rank a webpage was exploited, using every black hat technique from “doorway pages” to “keyword stuffing”.

In 2008 Google realised it was being gamed and the quality of its search results were suffering. This was at a time when it launched Google AdWords (Now just called Google Ads), the platform to allow you to “be number on in Google” at a price. [I remember when some clicks were as little as 2p – Ed]

The issue was that if the organic search results were full of poor quality pages, then it’s not good to have to pay to “leapfrog” the results.

Google’s then CEO, Eric Schmidt, famously called the Internet a “cesspool” due to the sheer number of poor quality websites and soon after, the Penguin and Panda updates were released in answer to these concerns.

Google Penguin addressed the the linking issue. Massive amounts of rapidly-built, poor-quality links were recognised and ignored.

The Google Panda update addressed the thin content problem. The content farms of the day would churn out low-quality web pages that were short on content. The sheer volume of pages would increase the keyword counts and poor value sites could rank at the top of the SERPs. By “sorting the wheat from the chaff”, Google would allow the best sites to rise in the rankings.

Since those days, SEO professionals have tried to address the issue by encouraging website owners to create quality content. The word count focus was all part of this agenda and I for one have been a willing participant.

So is Word Count Still Relevant?

Well, as of the time of writing, Yoast SEO still counts 300 words on the path to “green light” your content. That may change at some point.

Our advice in our many years of content creation and marketing is this;

  1. Does the word count in the page you have created serve the user well?
  2. In context, is that the right amount of copy for the function of that web page?
  3. Think about the purpose of each individual web page and see if it passes “The Goldilocks Test”. Is the content too much, is there not enough or is your word count just right?

How do you know that your word count is just right?

Look at the page and it’s function.

Is it a homepage? In that case you need to very quickly wow your visitor. You need to say who you are and what you do. Additionally, say how you will add value and then capture the interest with a strong, clear Call to Action (CTA) or signpost your visitor to further information before satisfying them again and capturing that lead.

Is it a contact page? Clearly and quickly show the options – a form for the lazy, an email for the writers, a phone number for the time-challenged. Do you have a physical location and a map to direct real world visitors to your door?

What if your page is a report or a news article? Then you need to convey as much accurate and useful information as you can. Convey the facts, illustrate the points, use tables, charts, images and link as appropriate.

Whatever purpose you are creating content for, always see if it passes the “so what” test. Put yourself in the shoes of a person who will manually evaluate the page and ask yourself if it demonstrates expertise, authority and trust. These are your E-A-T criteria that Google will judge content against.

Then there are the social shares, the links, the conversations about your piece in the wider world. This isn’t word count, these are the ranking signals. Does your target audience read masses of words e.g they are scientists or technically-minded, are they just looking for quick snippets of information?

These are the reasons why you should evaluate word count on a piece-by-piece basis.

300 words or 1,158 words? Your stats will show you if readers are clicking away part way through a page. Bounce rates will give you an indication. Look at user flow, where the go and for how long. Heat maps are useful to show where users click, where they scroll.

When content doesn’t work, change it. Beef it up or cull it down. How about clearly having options so that readers can access long-form content if what they see isn’t enough?

Ultimately just write for your audience and the correct word count will follow. (See also our article Content is King.)

Clever Marketing - PPC & SEO. Hampshire Digital Agency.Hampshire SEO agency Clever Marketing are here to answer your questions and, if you need help, do your work for you.

Data analysis, consultation, copy writing, content marketing, we do it all. To secure our talents, call 01276 534 680 or complete our easy contact form and we’ll be happy to help you get the right word count that captures your users’ attention.

Featured Snippet? Get to the Second Page of the SERPs

Featured Snippet? Get to the Second Page of the SERPs

Fresh in today, Google has announced that if your site earns the hallowed “featured snippet” place at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) then your site will no longer be listed on the first page of Google organic results.

Danny Sullivan, Google’s official “Search Liaison” guy and eventual replacement for the popular and oft-quoted Matt Cutts, has today announced on behalf of the search giant that, if your website earns that important “featured snippet” place at the top of the SERPs, then your website’s additional organic listing will now appear on the second page of the results.

Here’s Danny Sullivan’s tweet from earlier today:

The reasoning from Google is that having a “featured snippet” then moving your organic result to the second page will “declutter” results. We suppose that having two results could be confusing to some users.

There are two sides to this update:

  1. If you have both a featured snippet AND a top organic result, then this can reduce your click through rates.
  2. If you have only a high-ranking organic result, either in position 11 on the second page of the SERPs or on the first page, then the chances of getting a click have improved. Marginally.

What this means is that if you were previously “winning” then your odds have slightly reduced. If you weren’t “winning” before, then you have a better chance of ranking and getting clicks. Just.

Anatomy of a Search Listing

A regular Google organic result is quite familiar to most people. Here’s the raw Google snippet:

This is the familiar result, consisting of the (new) site logo/icon, main URL, the content of the <title> tag, the description (with any keywords from the search emphasised in bold), and then a row of “site links” – links directly to the pages that Google deems to be relevant supplementary URLs to the main search (We used to be able to control these site links through Webmaster Tools but, alas, no more).

If you’re “lucky” enough to have earned a “featured snippet” then your regular result will be superseded by a listing that Google deems to be more appropriate result for the type of search.

The search giant has a number of types of top snippets, including the results from its own “knowledge graph” plus a whole host of supporting featured snippet types including:

  • Rich answers (or instant answers) such as “what is my ip?”
  • “People also ask”, showing related questions
  • The “local pack”
  • Map listings
  • Shopping
  • Job listings
  • Flight information
  • Hotel/B&B listings

Google often “rolls out” these updates but this one was a worldwide update:

So, worldwide results from Farnborough or San Francisco, Camberley or Kathmandu, your Google listings may have changed, for better or for worse. It’s a good time to take a look at your SEO strategy and decide if you need a boost from other rich results. Maybe you need to work on your local SEO or spend some valuable web development time on your technical SEO.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO AgencyDo you need help with your SEO? Hampshire digital agency Clever Marketing still have some capacity to take on your SEO project.

Whether you need organic search results or a shot in the arm from some Pay Per Click (PPC), packages, bespoke and tailored to your exact requirements, are still available.

Call us on 01276 534 680 or complete our easy contact form.

6: Keep Doing SEO

8 Steps to Increase Traffic to Your Website: Part Six

Keep doing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) because, you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again…

SEO is dead.

Long live SEO.

The Reports of my Death are Greatly Exaggerated.

As Mark Twain so eloquently put it, just because people have said “SEO is dead” it doesn’t mean that it’s true.

We heard this term many years ago and we are hearing it again. And for many reasons too.

1. AI Can Do SEO

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been touted as the “next big thing” including threats that it will “take our jobs away”.

Well, bots and AI might well be answering initial customer enquiries, as they have for many years now. You call your insurance company, you are met with an automated service. Eventually, after hopefully not going round in circles, you end up talking to a real human being in a UK call centre who answers your query in an efficient and friendly manner.

In the web business AI has also been touted as being able to “do your PPC” for you. Well, we’ve tested that out and we still don’t believe Google’s PPC bots can do a better job of managing an AdWords account than a real human does.

The same goes for SEO. How can a bot log in to your website, scan all your text & code and then, most importantly, make the right changes in the right places that make sense, read well and get you results? They can’t.

A person with 20 years experience of designing and building websites, writing eloquent text, editing it and marketing it through every digital channel can do a much better job than a bot. And that’s just one member of our talented digital team here at Clever Marketing.

2. Google Steals Using Featured Snippets

Years ago you used to ask Google “convert litres to gallons” and you’d get a list of the top ten websites that provided you with that answer.

Now Google will just present that answer themselves. Try it. Look up “convert litres to gallons”.

That is Google’s own engine delivering the result. You don’t need to go to anyone’s website for that result, not like you used to. This is all part of their “knowledge graph” and what amounts to “zero click searches” where a result will have appeared in the search but there was no click through to a website and no organic traffic (Because Google took the answer and displayed it for itself).

It’s the same for “what is SEO?: Big G pulls it’s own dictionary reference.

(Google did use it’s own definition but, 10 months after we published this post, that ad changed for a Wikipedia article)

If Google aren’t displaying a result from their own fold then they’re stealing yours. Ask it “what are featured snippets?” and the result is pulled from Sistrix’ website. But at least the search giant gives the credit for the source and a link too.

So just because Google pulls results into featured snippets doesn’t mean that SEO is dead. Far from it. In fact optimising your website for search is more important than ever.

3. SEO is Evolving

All that has happened is that search has evolved, especially with the world’s biggest search engine.

Of course it can be frustrating when Google crawls the web, picks the best answer for a question and displays the full solution in their own results.

Ultimately this serves the client, the user, the searcher and, if they’re not satisfied with the answer, they can at least keep searching or click a link that Google has been kind enough to provide.

But within this threat lies that golden opportunity. Keep doing SEO.

Because if you do all the hard work and your site gets chosen to be the featured snippet then that is kudos in itself. You didn’t get to the “number one slot” you went above that – you ranked in the “position zero”.

And besides, if other website owners believe that “SEO is dead”, then what exactly are they going to do? Give up SEO? Great, that’s an advantage you can leverage. Use PPC instead? That’s fine. Keep doing your PPC and do your SEO. You can then set about to get your site in the coveted Cost Per Click (CPC) slots and ranked high in the organic Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs) too.

A Final Word About SEO

SEO will never die. You will always need to optimise your web content.

Every time you publish a web page you will need to ensure your title tag is correct and that the meta description accurately and enticingly sets you apart from the surrounding results.

Does your document have correct structure? Is there just one h1 tag supplemented by hierarchical h2s and h3s etc?

Have you written enough about your subject matter? When I hear the words “That’s too long, nobody reads that” I always say that the anecdote needs to be backed up by the data.

We saw a recent horror story where a designer said this very same thing and had a website owner poised to jettison 60 pages of authoritative content. It was only when our digital agency stepped in and raised an objection that the website’s rankings would plummet and so would the traffic that 16,000 page views and 20% of their organic traffic was saved.

Besides, an experienced SEO team had spent two years optimising that website and a design team were going to bin all that hard work (and many thousands of pounds worth of financial investment).

So, where would that website have gone with a slick design and no content? Down the pan most probably and no amount of SEO work would have saved the meagre thin content left behind.

Get Us to Do Your SEO for You

So keep doing SEO. It still works. And if you don’t have the time then call us and ask us to do it for you. We always get positive results and we generate leads from your traffic too.

Keep doing SEO - Hampshire SEO company Clever MarketingWe’re one of the best SEO agencies in Hampshire so your business will benefit massively from tapping into our wealth of expertise (Our Digital Marketing Manager has been doing SEO since 1998)

So call Hampshire SEO company Clever Marketing on 01276 534 680 or fill in the really easy contact form and we will be more than happy to pass on our expertise.

How do I Rank Higher on Google?

How Do I Rank Higher on Google?

That’s a good question, and you’ve definitely come to the right place to find the answer. As Farnborough’s premier digital marketing agency, our Digital Marketing Manager alone has nearly 20 years’ worth of experience in the field of Search Engine Optimisation, so let’s hear from him…

Read more

Build it and they will come - doesn't work if you don't SEO your website

What, Your Web Designer didn’t SEO your Website?

“What, Your Web Designer didn’t SEO your Website?” might sound like a flippant remark, but it’s quite common for us to say it. The situation usually goes something like this…

We’ll be talking with business owners about how things are going…

CMUK: “How’s your website doing?”
Client: “Very good, thank you, everyone loves how it looks.”

CMUK: “Are you getting much traffic?”
Client: “Oh, it’s halved since the new design went live last year!”

CMUK: “Is it generating leads?”
Client: “No, it never did and it’s not now! Please help!”

The answer to all these questions usually leads us to look at the website in question and within just a couple of minutes there are the usual tell-tale signs that the website looks good and has a lot of great features and functions, but underneath the bonnet…

…the designers did NOTHING to SEO your website!

We’ll save these tell-tale signs for another blog post but first, let’s look at the whys and wherefores.

Why Didn’t They SEO Your Website?

Sometimes, a great website design is just that – a great website design. It looks good. It has the wow factor and everyone who sees it loves it. But that’s not enough. How many people are actually seeing it?

Did all the “oohs” and “ahs” come from people in your business? Did everyone who was involved in signing it off love it? Then that’s great. But if those are the only people who see your website then what’s the point?

Now the first reason you’ve got a website without any SEO functionality is that the web designers did just that – design. Web design is a sophisticated mix of art and science and specialists are very good at building good-looking websites.

But it takes the input of digital marketing specialists before, and at the time of, build to make sure that your site is created properly. If there is no SEO/SEM, no content management nor social media involvement with the design then it falls flat on its face.

Maybe the designers do not have the resource. Maybe they don’t have the skills. Well, that’s an issue because, in our opinion, every website absolutely MUST have SEO baked in from the very start.

What if they do but the client doesn’t have the budget for SEO and decided to go for the cheaper option, cutting out the SEO features and functions?

Again, there really is no excuse. If you build a site that has not been SEO’d then it will probably fail.

The old line from the film “Field of Dreams” comes to mind here…

“Build it and they will come”

Well, in our experience that isn’t the case.

If you have a website built but nobody knows it’s there, then how is anybody going to find out about it?

OK, So What Now?

It’s never too late to apply SEO techniques to your business’ website, but you have been at a disadvantage having to do it so late in the game. You have probably missed an increase in traffic at the launch of your new site. When was that? Last month? Not so bad. Last year? Oh, that’s not good. A few years ago? OK, now that’s a problem.

But don’t worry.

SEO is best talked about and integrated during the website conceptualisation and build phase and, if you’re lucky, it can still be fully applied at this late stage.

However, be aware that some things cannot be undone or fixed immediately. For instance, you could be on the “wrong” Content Management System (CMS), have the “incorrect” theme or templates or be held back by the fact that the e-commerce plugin is not the most SEO-friendly or customisable one.

Also, your information architecture might be a bit of a mess, your content might be a bit “thin” and the supporting social media structures could be somewhat flimsy if not non-existent.

But again, don’t worry.

As a digital marketing agency and Hampshire SEO agency with a great many years of experience, we have a solution for you.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO & Digital AgencyPick up the phone and give us a call on 01276 534 680 and we’ll have a chat about your website.

We’re happy to give you our insights into what we can do now, in the medium term and for your long-term traffic strategy.

We’ll probably perform a website audit for you and an SEO audit so that you can see what’s wrong and what needs to be done.

Then you can look forward to the peace of mind that your site really is in ship shape and you’re getting the traffic you’ve worked hard to earn.

Top tips for driving traffic to your business blog

Top Tips for Driving Traffic to Your Business Blog

Blogs are an essential element of the digital marketing mix as each post drives traffic to your website. It’s relatively easy to set a blog up and build a following but it takes time to ensure it receives regular traffic.

Successful blogs deliver quality content on a regular basis, which means they’re crawled more often by Google with the opportunity to generate potential leads higher. We take a look at what you can do to maximise your visibility and drive more traffic to your blog. Read more

Top Ranking SEO Factors 2017

Top Ranking SEO Factors for 2017

Searchmetrics released its annual study of Google’s top search ranking factors recently. This is used as a comparative benchmark for webmasters, online marketers and SEOs to identify patterns and trends. The company’s historical database contains over 250 billion pieces of information such as keyword rankings, search terms, social links and backlinks with global, mobile and local data covering organic and paid search plus social media.

The full 63-page report can be downloaded here. We thought we’d take a look at the key takeouts from the report which measure the top 20 search results for 10,000 keywords:

Ranking factors are more personal

Much has changed over recent years with universal ranking factors certainly a thing of the past. These days each individual search query has its own ranking factors that are continually changing. Benchmarks like the Searchmetrics annual report, which provide key insights, can be used by search specialists to understand what impact Google’s evaluations will have on its clients’ rankings.

Content remains king as does user intent

We all know content is king with the main challenge for SEOs ensuring each post is relevant to users. Word count continues to be important with the top ranking sites exceeding an average of 1000 words. Continuing to write content specific to your readers and on a regular basis remains of prime importance. Search queries can vary enormously however so the more specific the content is, the more likely it is to be found and shared.

User intent is an essential part of the mix for SEOs. Regularly studying the SERPs for a brand’s basic keywords will help uncover what people are looking for. Likewise, customer data will keep SEOs up to speed with industry developments while focusing on user intent, rather than just keyword research, will help enhance search queries.

Technical factors continue to be important  

In addition to having relevant content, web pages need to provide a smooth user experience and being fully optimised. Ensure your website is mobile first as these sites will always rank higher in Google search than those that are not. Tips on how to make your website mobile friendly can be found here. You should also review how quickly your site loads and how large the files are as well as performing your on-page technical basics. Nearly half the pages in the top 20 of the Searchmetrics report were encrypted using HTTPS.

User signals provide Google with feedback

Google has a wealth of data generated from its search results, browsers and analytics. As such it’s able to identify how satisfied a user is with their search results with an evaluation created in real time. Top ranking factors include click-through rates, time spent on a site and bounce rates. The average bounce rate for websites on the first page of Google is 46%, with the time on site for the top 10 sites being 3 minutes 10 seconds. Websites in positions 1 to 3 typically have an average CTR of 36%. When working on your keyword research and user intent, also consider local search as well as the topic.

Backlinks have less influence on rankings

Although a website with an established link structure should never be underestimated, links are less influential when it comes to search results. There has been a dramatic drop over the past 12 months with relevant content and user intent ranking above. It’s now possible for a site to have a higher Google ranking than a competitor even if it has fewer links. While this is topic dependent, typically it’s come about as mobile searches have rarely linked even if they’re shared or liked.

Backlinks do form part of Google’s algorithm but they’re certainly not the driving force they were previously. Penguin is now a factor in the algorithm too, which means less stability: websites can move up and down rankings quickly as a result of other’s efforts. While you should ensure you keep your backlink profile clean, it’s important to continue with your outreach activity too. Links pointing to your website with a high domain authority will ensure you are seen as an authority in your niche.

So to summarise, we can expect content and user intent to increase in importance with technical also a key driver in search results. Backlinks are on the decline and now just one of many contributing factors in a site’s visibility.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital AgencySEO changes regularly as Google constantly works to update its search algorithms, so you might want to keep up.

For further information, complete our contact form today or call our Digital Marketing Manager on 01276 534 680

technical seo issues

10 SEO Problems & How To Overcome Them: Part 2

In our first post tackling common SEO problems and how to overcome them, we covered:

  • duplicate content
  • title tags
  • meta descriptions
  • broken links and
  • image optimisation

These being just some of the technical issues faced on-page and off-page. In part 2, we take a look at another 5 SEO issues and what you can do to resolve them.

6. Missing alt attributes & broken images.

Alt attributes (commonly and mistakenly called ALT tags – ALT is an attribute of an IMG or image tag) help search engines like Google to understand what to display as an alternative if the image is missing for any reason. If the alt attributes associated with that image are missing and there’s no description, it can cause SEO problems. Image alt attributes should include your keywords to ensure they’re categorised in the right way. We covered broken links in our last post – broken images cause similar issues in that they can lead to a poor user experience. Both these issues can be overcome by ensuring your alt attributes accurately describe your images. That way they will be properly indexed in search results too.

7. Low text to HTML ratio.

Low text to HTML ratio means there’s much more back-end HTML code than there is text. Often it’s a sign of a poorly coded website (for example with above average JavaScript, Flash and inline styling), hidden copy or the site is slow loading.You can increase the speed of your site by removing code that’s not needed. Also, move inline scripts and styles to separate files and add relevant on page text where it’s required. Other aspects you might want to check include removing white spaces, using CSS for styling and formatting, resizing images (removing those you don’t need) and keeping the size of your page under 300kb.

You can increase the speed of your site by removing code that’s not needed. Also, move inline scripts and styles to separate files and add relevant on page text where it’s required.Other aspects you might want to check include removing white spaces, using CSS for styling and formatting, resizing images (removing those you don’t need) and keeping the size of your page under 300kb.

Other aspects you might want to check include removing white spaces, using CSS for styling and formatting, resizing images (removing those you don’t need) and keeping the size of your page under 300kb.

8. H1 tag and title issues.

A title tag is what appears in your search results with an H1 tag what visitors to your website see on a page. While multiple H1 tags can appear on a page, it’s important to get the hierarchy right to ensure your website is indexed in the right way. H1s should be consistent with title tags but not the same. Ideally, you should use one H1 tag per page with H2 tags breaking up the content.

9. Low word count.

When Google introduced its Panda updates way back in 2011, the idea was to reduce the amount of “thin content” in the search results. Around this time the notion that web pages should contain a minimum of 300 words came about and that thought still persists today with even the popular Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress still touting the “recommended minimum 300 words”.

While there is no set word count to rank with a search engine, the preference is long-form pages with the text including keywords and phrases. Google is known for ranking websites with more depth and longer content. Equally, visitors to your website want to see content that is relevant to the topic they searched for. Even if you’re sharing an image-led post or infographic, it will need some context behind it. Evergreen content is often popular with lists, tips and “how to” guides the most well-received.

So remember – Google likes high-quality content. In its own words:

“…sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

10. Too many on-page links.

While all websites will include on-page links, having too many links is unnatural and can dilute the value of a page. It’s important therefore that links are relevant and useful. This way you can ensure your website will rank well and have a natural link profile. If you remove the low-quality links from your website, you will provide a better user experience particularly for those accessing your website via a mobile and table. High-quality links will improve your SEO ranking.

There are so many ranking signals that Google considers for SEO, which are constantly changing and evolving. If you or your company needs help navigating the minefield is that search engine optimisation, feel free to get in touch and ask for a free SEO audit. Better still, you can let us evaluate your website speed & performance, security, mobile-friendliness and SEO in a complete website audit.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO AgencyIf you need further help and assistance, with your 10 SEO problems, get in touch with Hampshire SEO & PPC agency Clever Marketing on 01276 534 680.

Our Digital Marketing Manager alone has nearly 20 years of SEO, PPC and content marketing experience so he’ll be able to help you out in the first instance.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP Project) can boost your SEO

AMP: What it is & How it Can Affect Your SEO

Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP) is an open source project from Google, designed to make web page content load much faster on mobile devices. In essence, it’s a slimmed-down version of HTML – a way of building web pages for static content that render quickly.

Simplified coding is required, there are certain HTML tags you can’t use for example, and a streamlined version of CSS is essential. JavaScript is not permitted; instead, you’re required to use a JavaScript library. This manages resource loading to provide you with custom tags and quick rendering.

The purpose of Accelerated Mobile Pages is to reduce the technology that would normally be used to create web pages, resulting in instant readability. AMP also makes web pages available from its own servers. The best option is to have two versions of your content pages – the original website version and the Google AMP version. No-one wants that mobile search experience where a website is frustratingly slow or doesn’t load at all. AMP provides mobile users with an enriched experience. It’s also a great way to ensure visitors remain on your site for longer, therefore increasing your lead potential.

(See more on the official AMP Project pages)

How can Accelerated Mobile Pages affect your SEO?

We all know speed is of the essence when it comes to SEO. But does AMP have an impact on your SEO? Well yes, it does. It can improve your exposure and visibility, which can result in SEO perks, and you’re likely to see a spike in advertising click through rates. Here are a few of the ways AMP can have a positive effect on your SEO:

  • With Google’s top news carousel powered by AMP content, and listed at the top of the SERPs, benefits can include increased visibility, a higher click through rate and greater authority. All of which are essential to building trust and generating leads. You may also see a higher ad click-through rate as mobile visitors are more likely to click on your Accelerated Mobile Pages.
  • Over time websites that don’t implement AMP could rank lower in mobile search rankings than those that do. While it might not impact your mobile ranking directly, Google places a great deal of emphasis on mobile optimisation and the majority of visitors now access websites via a mobile device. Users are more likely to click on a page that has an AMP label too which can result in a higher click-through rate.
  • Advertising on AMP can greatly improve your performance. This is because they have more exposure on the carousel and therefore receive much higher views. Ads will also appear quicker due to the speed the content loads. Ads on AMP typically tend to look better and are more difficult to block as well.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital AgencyFor more information on Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, contact Surrey web agency Clever Marketing on 01276 534 680 or fill in our easy contact form.

If you need to check how mobile-friendly your website is, ask us about a website audit, we may be able to do this for free!