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Give Your Website A Spring Clean Today!

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I’ve noticed a few things about the change in weather this week. 

Firstly, it seems to make everyone a little bit happier when the sun comes out – all over Facebook and Twitter at the weekend were pictures of people out in the sunshine, kids eating ice creams – yes it was only a little bit of sunshine and a few degrees warmer but it made a big difference.

However I then realised that this change in attitude has a bit of a knock-on effect. Green Lawn - The Bright Click

The sun shining in through my living room window highlighted the dust settling on my blind – honestly I have no idea of the last time I dusted it! Also, the grass in the garden suddenly looked much too long, so I went to grab the lawnmower from the shed but there was loads of other stuff in the way where I hadn’t had to use it for a few months.

Then when I started mowing the lawn, I found loads of little toys under the long grass that I had to keep moving for fear of breaking the lawnmower by running one of them over. So it took twice as long as it should have.

Now it’s not really practical to mow your lawn throughout the winter as the weather doesn’t always permit you to, but it got me thinking that if I had mowed the lawn just once on a dry day in November, and again on a dry day in February, it would not have taken me so long this time.

If I had dusted the blind before the sunlight so embarrassingly illuminated it for me, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to clean (it took FOREVER!).

And then it occurred to me that the same really does apply to the maintenance that you carry out on your website – when was the last time you gave your website a spring clean? 

But more importantly, what do you do weekly to keep your website ticking over as it should? 

Because making these changes daily or weekly not only saves you time and hassle in the long run, it also keeps Google happy and lets the search engines know that your site is relevant, topical and dynamic.

Broken Link Example - The Bright Click

A Broken Link – Google Doesn’t Like These

Here is a brief list of the sort of thing you should be doing daily / weekly on your site:

  • Check for broken links – we’ve all done it – linked from one page to another (which Google loves) and then later on deleted one of the pages, forgetting that it was linked somewhere else (Google’s not so keen on this). Think of the user experience – you don’t want people landing on your site and within a couple of minutes getting the dreaded 404 page – nip this in the bud nice and early by using Google Webmaster Tools to highlight any broken links for you to fix. There’s also a handy WordPress plugin that does this too. 
  • Make sure your meta descriptions are up to date and relevant – that snippet of descriptive  information that you see on Google searches stems from your website’s meta description – there’s not a huge amount of SEO value to these but you’ve got 140 characters to accurately describe your website to the person who’s searching so try and make it worth reading! Email me today for an awesome ninja trick that you can use on your meta descriptions – you won’t believe how simple and effective it is…
  • Check that your images are all alt-tagged – you know that little yellow box that appears above images when you hover the mouse over it? Google takes notice of this and loves it when they are correct – make sure you get a keyword or two in there too…
  • Write a blog and then tell everyone about it. This takes a bit more effort and I’ll go into more detail on this in a future post but blogging is the best way to tell Google how important your website is AND it gives you great content to post on Social Media too…

So – a few things to be getting on with and if you spread these out throughout the year then you won’t have to do them all at once – keeping your website visitors and Google happy at the same time!

I’m off to clean out the barbecue… 🙁

Need advice on keeping your website up to date, dynamic and Google-friendly? Drop us a line or call us on 08433 832 732

Written by Matt Davis

What Google Wants Right Now – In A Nutshell

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Google LogoGoogle is constantly adapting and after the algorithm changes of 2012 it can become more and more complex and difficult for smaller websites and businesses to get noticed, especially when there are much larger companies and more established websites in competition. So how do you get ahead and make sure you still appear near the top in Google web searches? Well, 1st up on the list be, of course, do exactly what Google tells you to:

1/ DO WHAT GOOGLE TELLS YOU TO DO!

Don’t be silly. You cannot ‘outsmart’ Google. It’s waaay too powerful and important to your business. Do what it tells you to do, don’t do anything that you might think maybe it doesn’t want you to do, and everything else should be plain sailing. If you think you might need it, there are plenty of reputable internet marketing agencies out there that can help with optimization techniques.

2/ NO COPYING!

Whether you’re copying text from another website or have a range of websites with selling similar products, it’s all the same to Google. It’ll identify the repeat patterns and the sites will not be listed. Customers want choice and Google knows this. So it’s trying to prevent one company dominating a particular search by having lots of websites advertising the same product. Keep it original, keep it fresh.

4/ DON’T BUY DODGY BACKLINKS!

Google used to keep an eye on how many other websites had a link to yours and make an assumption that the more links you had, the more popular your business. Makes sense, right? Well, no actually. Because this could obviously be exploited as a good business opportunity by sharp entrepreneurs looking to sell lots of backlinks to companies in a bid to up their perceived popularity. And it was. A lot. Which was why when Google cracked down on this kind of behaviour lots of business shot down the rankings virtually overnight.  Don’t fall for it, don’t buy them. Organic (ie legitimate) backlinking does carry some weight still but is certainly no-where near the way forward as it might have been a couple of years ago.

5/ MAKE YOUR CUSTOMER YOUR FOCUS

A lot of businesses will reason that because Google are all powerful, it should be their primary concern with regards to marketing, forgetting all at once the key player in your business. The customer. Google after all, is constantly tinkering with its product to meet the demands of its customers, so this is what you should be doing. Create great, original, fresh new content regularly. Update your website with new ideas, new blogs, share interesting information and people will naturally be drawn to it. Get them reading, sharing and commenting on your content, and search engine traffic will increase as a result.

6/ CREATE A GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT

If you haven’t already, do this now. Then make sure that everything you produce has your name (and/or photo) and is linked to your Google+ account. Then, make sure that your Google+ account lists whatever it is within the contributor section of links. You are doing this because Google has recognized that social signals are a great indicator for search engine rankings. The more ‘shares’, ‘likes’, and ‘+1’s’ your content the higher up the rankings you are going to be. Plus if you regularly blog or post on a particular subject, and you get lots of comments, likes and +1’s, then you’re more likely to be ranked as an author in that particular field. You are using Google, you want Google to like you, so sign up to Google+ and show them you like them too. And make sure you engage on other Social Media platforms too – Google likes this. Social is BIG in 2013.

7/ KEYWORDS

Time was when a website, in order to be recognized in a search ranking, would insert ridiculous amounts of keywords relating to their business in order to fly up said rankings (or worse, from a customer perspective, be taken to their website when they actually wanted to be somewhere else). But Google, again, thinking of their customers, have tried to stop this. Customers don’t want to read reams of pointless keywords (in fact, they don’t, they just click the X and move on), so in order to change this up, Google will now recognize repeated keywords and penalize the offending website accordingly. Whatever you put up, read it back, aloud. Does it sound natural? Are you repeating keywords or phrases over and over again? Mix it up. Make it interesting. Using different words will not only make it far less boring for your customer to read (if they read it at all), but will also serve to increase your rankings in the other words.

An Introduction To Online Marketing – Part One

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Most businesses in 2012 understand that they should be marketing online – people are spending increasing amounts of time online, the growing number of smartphones on the market is making mobile search more abundant and more important, and Social Media use continues to rise across all platforms.

The problem for businesses is knowing where to start, and what type of online marketing will suit them best, and give them the best chance of success.

So on this basis we plan to publish a series of regular blog posts to help businesses understand the different types of online marketing, and their subsequent benefits, in as simple terms as possible.

We will always try not to use jargon, and where we need to, we’ll do our best to explain what the jargon means!

And if there’s anything you would like more info on at any time, then please email the team at the following addresses:

matt@thebrightclick.co.uk | dan@thebrightclick.co.uk | hollie@thebrightclick.co.uk

We hope you enjoy the articles!

Online Marketing – Search Engine Listings

There are two main types of marketing approaches for search engine listings. The first is known as ORGANIC; these search engine results are natural or ‘free’ listings.

The second is PAID; search engine results appearing as paid advertisements are generally referred to as ‘sponsored links’ and usually work on a ‘Pay Per Click’ (PPC) basis – ie the person who has placed the advert only pays on the occasion that the advert is clicked on by the user.

Search engines will typically rank the most relevant results at the top of the page. This is determined by the searcher’s query – the ‘keywords’ that they type in.  Depending on the search engine, the relevancy of the search is calculated in different ways – and these are changed regularly in order to continually deliver the most accurate results, and also to deter spammers or those intent on cheating their way to search engine success.

On Google, both organic and paid results will appear for the same query, however the results are separate from each other. You will see the ‘sponsored links’ as the top three results in the ‘yellow box’ at the top of Google’s search results, and also some more of these along the right-hand side of the page.

The main advantage of a PPC campaign is that the advertiser can perform well and have a strong online presence, even if their site doesn’t currently rank as well in the organic search results.

SEO

SEO is a term that you will see a lot in relation to Online Marketing – it stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is essentially the process of either creating new websites or altering existing sites in order for them to rank highly in a search engine’s organic listings, when users search on terms that are related to the site’s content.

There are two type of SEO that you will generally hear referred to – ‘On Page’ and ‘Off Page’.

‘On Page’ basically refers to getting your website as geared up as possible for Google to ‘like’ it. This means using the main keywords associated with your website regularly within the content, implementing images and labelling them correctly and accurately, using strong headings, and other factors (we will go into this in more detail in a future blog) that will all improve the ranking results of your website.

Overall, it is vital to generate engaging content and appropriate keywords in order to maximise the chances of Google ‘liking’ your site when it crawls it.

‘Off Page’ means the amount of other sites that link back to your site – and the quality of these sites.

Google has traditionally considered links to a website to be a factor of how relevant and ‘important’ that site is – if a site had lots of links to it then Google made an assumption that this added to the relevance of the site.

However over time this has led to businesses creating ‘fake’ backlinks to their site and subsequently giving them a false advantage on the search results – these results often were based more on backlinks than on content, which is of course not how it should be.

Search results were coming down to who had the most SEO ‘tricks’ rather than whether the content on the site was relevant. When you consider that the very point of Google and other search engines is to deliver the most relevant results to the searcher, then something had to change – and it has in Google’s last couple of major updates, which they codenamed ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’.

Although backlinks still play a part, they are no longer as prominent and ‘fake’ links are being stamped out by Google on daily basis, with sites utilising them being strongly penalised.

Content and relevance are now very much king in the SEO world – so having your site set up properly has never been so important.

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Google+ Brand Pages Are Now Available

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Google Plus | Matt Davis MediaGoogle+ Brand Pages are now available, allowing businesses and brands to join Google’s social network.

“So far Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people,” Google SVP of Social Vic Gundotra said in a blog post. “But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about—from local businesses to global brands—so today we’re rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide.”

The new Google+ brand pages look similar to Google+ Profiles, except for the little square icon that designates that it’s a Page rather than a Profile. Users can add brands such as Fox News, the Dallas Cowboys and Angry Birds to their circles, check out their information and browse their photos. When users add a brand to their circles, it increases that brand’s follower count.

Read more and see images at Mashable

Set-Up Your Google+ Page