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SEO Trends to Watch in 2018

SEO Trends to Watch in 2018

SEO Trends to Watch in 2018
As we reach the fourth quarter of 2017, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead and what to expect from SEO in 2018. There are number of search industry trends that we’ve seen the very beginnings of this year and last, which will come into greater prominence in 2018. The online SEO journal Search Engine Watch has just published a great post on this. Here is a summary of the posting.

Voice Search and Digital Assistants
Voice search technology presents a big opportunity for changing the way we communicate and process information. The rise of digital assistants has presented a growing market that can change the way search queries are performed. According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries. This changes the search market and we’re expecting to see an even bigger shift towards voice search in 2018. When it comes to setting up an SEO strategy, the rise of voice search brings out the need to focus on more long-tail search keywords and a natural language that matches the user’s conversational tone.

Link Building
Link building is not expected to disappear in 2018, but it will be more important than ever to create a strategy that seeks out quality links. There’s no need to aim for new links if they don’t add value and help you build an authority in your target niche.

User Experience
User experience for SEO will become even more important in 2018. Google has made it clear that the focus is on the user and this should make more sites deliver a smooth UX for their visitors. A good user experience increases the chances of people engaging with the pages that they visit. This helps search engines discover which pages are more useful for people, favouring them over others.

Featured Snippets and Quick Answers
The popularity of featured snippets has increased the competition among companies trying to appear in “position 0” in the SERP. Gaining a featured snippet in search requires catering to a specific combination of factors, which has opened up SEO beyond the traditional race to the top of Google.

Mobile First index
2018 is more than likely to be the year that brands realize the potential of putting mobile first, rather than catering to mobile as an afterthought. This is particularly true if Google decides to make 2018 the year it finally deploys its mobile-first index. Mobile optimisation for local users, along with the rise of voice search, can provide an excellent way to create a successful SEO strategy in 2018 by facilitating the search experience through personalised and relevant answers.

Visual Search
An SEO strategy in 2018 needs to consider the way we consume visual content and how search engines now go beyond text to explore the changing habits of search. Rich visuals now become more engaging and the use of neuroscience and innovation bring out an interesting and competitive market. As the competition increases, more companies seem to acknowledge the potential of a successful visual search, while brands need to focus even more on optimizing their visual content for SEO purposes.

AI & Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already changing the way that search results are ranked. Machine learning can also facilitate the way searches take place, helping users find contextualized results. This will lead to a more personalized experience, while the rise of voice search and digital assistants can offer the ideal ground to develop artificial intelligence and reward successful SEO strategies that keep up with the trends.

Improving SEO in 2018
As it seems, 2018 will be an interesting year for SEO. Traditional SEO techniques are still effective, but a number of trends are in the works that could significantly alter the practice of optimising for search. What is useful to understand while we proceed towards is 2018 is that SEO is already changing, and the ranking in the first organic spot is not the ultimate goal anymore. As search engines evolve, there are multiple opportunities to increase your search traffic without necessarily focusing on organic SERPs.

The rise of featured snippets, PPC, voice search and local SEO can often yield better results than an organic ranking. That’s why it’s useful to keep up with the latest trends and discover how your brand can maintain a successful SEO strategy for the year ahead by blending established and growing trends.

Quick Guide to Webpage Optimisation

Quick Guide to Webpage Optimisation

A Quick Guide to Webpage Optimisation
SEO includes many steps, processes and a lot of hard work for any project to succeed. One of the most important steps is that on page optimisation. What does this consist of?

Here is a summary of the various steps that should be considered when optimsing your web pages:

Page Titles – Make sure that your site’s page titles say something other than just your company name or “welcome.” Ideally, they need to lead off with your targeted phrase for that page and then follow with your company name.

Text-Based Navigation – Search engines cannot read images. If your site’s navigation system is done with images (lots are), you will need a text-based navigation system that the search engines can follow to ensure that all the important service and product-related sub-pages of your site are indexed by the search engines.

Prominence of Targeted Keyword Phrases – It is not enough to have your keyword phrase(s) somewhere on the web page, the placement and prominence given to them also affects your search engine placement. For example, leading off the site’s first paragraph with your keyword phrase gives it more weight than burying it half way down the page in the middle of a paragraph. Also, using larger font sizes and bolding the text can emphasize its importance and positively affect the page’s ranking for that phrase.

Site Map – Developing a site map that includes a well-organized list of links to all the important pages of your site and includes a text link to the site map on your home page is the ideal way to make sure that all the site’s pages are indexed by the search engines when they visit the subject site. Google’s Webmaster Tools is ideal for this purpose.

ALT and META data – These are tags not seen by the site’s users; they are embedded in the site’s code. ALT tags refer to the text that describes an image — words that you see pop up as you mouse over some images. In optimizing your company’s name, an ALT tag placed behind the image of your company’s logo is ideal. Meta tags are lines of code included in the uppermost section of your site’s code. They communicate the page’s subject matter and relevancy to the search engines. Further, the short description of your site included in some search results is pulled from the meta description tag of the home page and should, therefore, be used to the site’s advantage.

Clean up the Code – Navigation rollover scripts, other JavaScript-based code, and all CSS scripts should be taken out of the code of each page and put into external files to which each page of the site is referenced. Doing this has several advantages, but one of the most compelling is that your site’s keywords and content all move up, up, up in the code, communicating their importance to the search engines and boosting your site’s relevancy ratings. In other words, this can boost your search engine rankings by improving the code to text ratio of the page. This is a simple and relatively inexpensive thing to do, depending on the total number of pages in your site.

Making your Website more Trust Worthy

Making your Website more Trust Worthy

Making your Website more Trust Worthy
As we have been shouting for some time now to clients, Trust is an important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm! Reputable websites that can be trusted get better rankings than websites of dubious origin. Google does not want to show low quality websites in the search results. For that reason, it is important that you can convince Google that your business is for real and that your website can be trusted.

trustworthy-website

1. A Good Domain Name
Try to get a domain name to match your business. Old domains with a spam free history usually get better rankings than brand new domains. If you can buy such a domain name, your business might benefit from it if the domain was used for similar businesses before. Use the official top level domain of your country. Also, order your domain with a renewal period of two or more years to show search engines that the domain is supporting a long term project or business.

2. A Trustworthy Website
As most of us know, a trustworthy website will include easy to find contact information. Dubious websites do not have any contact info at all or they hide it. Make your contact information easy to find. List your full address on your website. This is often a sure way to identify a spammy website. The more information about your company can be found on your website, the more likely it is that it will be considered a real business. Your website should also include a privacy policy, terms and conditions (if applicable) and both should be easy to find.

3. Trustworthy links
This is one of those cases where less can mean more. Links from reputable websites are by far the best way to show search engines that your website can be trusted. Google will trust your site if it has links from other reputable websites. Low quality links will damage your rankings, links from high quality sites will have a positive influence on the Google rankings of your site.

A few good links are much better than hundreds of spammy links!

If Google trusts your website then it will be much easier to get high rankings. Of course, your website still needs optimized web page content and good links.

Internet Security – Getting the Basics Right

Internet Security – Getting the Basics Right

Internet Security – Getting the Basics Right
Taking some simple actions and practising safe behaviours will reduce the risk of online threats to your business.

Download software updates
Download software and app updates as soon as they appear. They contain vital security upgrades that keep your devices and business information safe.
Visit www.cyberstreetwise.com/software-updates for further advice on updates.

Use strong passwords
Use strong passwords made up of at least three random words. Using lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols will make your passwords even stronger.
Visit www.cyberstreetwise.com/passwords for further advice on passwords.

Delete suspicious emails
Delete suspicious emails as they may contain fraudulent requests for information or links to viruses.
Visit www.cyberstreetwise.com/common-scams for further advice on suspicious emails.

Use anti-virus software
Your computers, tablets and smartphones can easily become infected by small pieces of software known as viruses or malware. Install internet security software like anti-virus on all your devices to help prevent infection.

Visit www.cyberstreetwise.com/security-software for further advice on security software.

Train your staff (& family members)
Make your staff aware of cyber security threats and how to deal with them. The Government offers free online training courses tailored for you and your staff which take around 60 minutes to complete.
Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/sme to find out more and take the course.

For further simple tips on how to protect your business, visit www.cyberstreetwise.com

Russian Agents Breached Kaspersky Software

Russian Agents Breached Kaspersky Software

Russian Agents Breached Kaspersky Software
Israeli spies looked on as Russian hackers breached Kaspersky cyber-security software two years ago, US media report. The Russians were allegedly attempting to gather data on US intelligence programs, according to the New York Times and Washington Post. Israeli agents made the discovery after breaching the software themselves.

Kaspersky has said it was neither involved in nor aware of the situation and denies collusion with authorities.

Last month, the US government decided to stop using the Russian firm’s software on its computers.

The Israelis are said to have notified the US, which led to the ban on Kaspersky programs.

The New York Times said that the situation had been described by “multiple people who have been briefed on the matter”. Classified documents are reported to have been stolen from the home computer of a US National Security Agency (NSA) employee who installed Kaspersky’s antivirus software.

The NSA, the White House and the Israeli embassy in Washington have not commented on the matter.

The New York Times said that the Russian embassy had not responded to a request for comment.

Kaspersky has published a statement saying that it was not involved in and does not have knowledge of the situation. “As the integrity of our products is fundamental to our business, Kaspersky Lab patches any vulnerabilities it identifies or that are reported to the company,” the statement said. “Kaspersky Lab reiterates its willingness to work alongside US authorities to address any concerns they may have about its products as well as its systems, and respectfully requests any relevant, verifiable information that would enable the company to begin an investigation at the earliest opportunity.”

The firm added that it has never helped, nor would help, governments in matters of cyber-espionage.

Approaches from Unethical SEO Companies

Approaches from Unethical SEO Companies

Approaches from Unethical SEO Companies
Recently a few of our clients have contacted us to report some approaches made to them by ‘SEO Companies’ in the UK, who reportedly claimed to represent – directly – Google and Yahoo. During the conversations the clients were left in little doubt that the SEO companies involved represented Google or Yahoo and had preferential influence re the potential results.

This isn’t the first time these cowboys have tried this approach and it won’t be the last!

The clients who contacted me to report these approaches told me they were being offered a direct working relationship with Google UK or Yahoo UK. Not an SEO company offering their services to promote the clients website to Google and Yahoo.

Many businesses, when approached by aggressive sales people with monthly targets to achieve, will believe almost anything they are told. In the case of the ‘Google’ approach we were contacted about, the company used a domain that also implied they were part of Google’s UK company.

These SEO firms also claimed guaranteed rankings, as well as their ‘special relationship’ with Google. This is simply untrue. In many cases, where these ‘guarantees’ are made, they are for obscure phrases which have little competition and offer no benefit to the business.

Let’s be clear, no one can guarantee results in the search engines.

While professional and ethical (white hat SEO) SEO companies can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEO’s continue to give the industry a bad name through their overly aggressive sales pitch, untruths and often ‘black-hat’ marketing techniques in their attempts to manipulate search engine results in questionable ways.

Remember, practices that violate search engine guidelines may result in losing popularity or even getting banned from their index.

If a company is comfortable telling you untruths to get your business, then it also follows that they would not be averse to using black hat SEO techniques in their everyday practices. Be careful which SEO company you appoint to look after you online business!

Promoting Your Business through Internet Marketing & SEO

Promoting Your Business through Internet Marketing & SEO

Promoting Your Business through Internet Marketing and SEO

Business owners, have you Googled yourself lately? If not, do it now. Go on, type in the name of your business and see what comes up. If the name of your business is Joe’s Garage, then your search will likely bring up Joe’s car repairs (Sunderland), Joe’s Auto Body Care (Chester le Street), Joe’s Automotive Ltd (Newcastle), Joe’s Car Repairs (North East) and perhaps also a smattering of like-named businesses in the UK. Which business is yours, and how do you get people in your area to come to your shop and not to some other Joe who does auto repairs?

Well, you don’t need to come up with a more unique name for your business, but you do need to learn how to use search engine optimisation, or SEO, to make your company stand out and for promoting your business to the vehicle owners who are most likely to come to you for repairs. Following are three ways in which SEO can draw interested clients to your website and, ultimately, your shop.

Keyword Research
Your target audience is searching online with specific keywords and key phrases that are relevant to your business, whatever that may be. You need to know what those keywords and key phrases are, and Internet marketing companies have the ability to research that information for their clients. Tap into that resource.

SEO Rankings
The major search engines rank websites, in part, according to how prominently certain keywords figure in the website’s content. More specific keyword searches will set your business apart from the competition and result in higher rankings, which translates to greater visibility for your website and, ultimately, more sales.

Social Media
Yet another opportunity for enhancing your online presence is through social media. If you already have a website, then you should also have a Facebook page and Twitter feed. Even businesses with stale websites are able to keep in touch with current and prospective clients by posting and Tweeting on a regular basis and interacting with their target audience. If you know which keywords your clients are using to find businesses like yours, then it pays to make use of them in your posts and elsewhere. Best of all, your Facebook page, Tumblr account and whatever else you’re using to stay in touch with clients get their own separate rankings in search results. In other words, one can keep you front and centre even when the other does not.

As impressive or even overwhelming as they may seem, these considerations are simply scratching the surface when it comes to Internet marketing and SEO. Direct Submit Internet Marketing Services can do all this and much more to increase traffic to your website and generate interest in your company. Direct Submit works with businesses of all sizes to develop effective SEO marketing campaigns that deliver lasting results. Let Direct Submit show you just how profitable your company can be.

For more information or to speak with one of our Internet marketing consultants, call us today on 0845 272 2350 or visit www.directsubmit.co.uk

Effective Search Engine Optimisation

Effective Search Engine Optimisation

Effective Search Engine Optimisation

If you are a new business and you want to make sure that you website is a success it may be a good idea to consider using the services of a professional internet marketing service such as Direct Submit to help you.  Making sure that your website gets seen by potential customers or investors that will be interested in the goods or services that your business provides is a potential hurdle that every business faces regardless of their size or length of time within their industry, however with the correct skills and knowledge any website can really improve its chances of considerably raising its online profile.

By employing techniques such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Direct Submit can help you to reach the top pages of results produced by search engines such as Google, so people who are looking for the products or services that you provide are likely to find your page quickly and easily.  This is a particularly effective method and popular of internet marketing because not only does it send more traffic to your website, the traffic that is generated is much more likely to be well targeted to your business and doesn’t require the use of any expensive and time consuming advertising campaigns.

As SEO can be a time consuming process that requires a lot of research, maintenance and adjustments to your website to be truly worthwhile so using the service of internet marketing company can be a really sensible investment.  Any new business takes up a lot of time and requires a lot of work so why not let a professional with all the required knowledge and expert skills required to do a to quality job do it for you so you can pay your attention to other, more immediate aspects of your business.  At Direct Submit they offer all service with very flexible terms giving you the option to simply hire them to set the initial process up or to continue to benefit from their support by taking advantage of the excellent maintenance and performance review services that are on offer as well.

At Direct Submit they are happy to offer help, advice and services to any businesses that are just starting out, no matter how large or small, with the skills and expertise to help any website become a success they will be able to offer you an effective internet marketing strategy that is completely tailored to your businesses individual needs by taking in to account other details such as location, customer target group, special offers, awards or achievements and many other factors.  With a friendly, efficient and flexible approach to all their customers you will be definitely be pleased with the results that Direct Submit can create for you.

So if you want your new business to be seen online and have the best possible start why not talk to one of the friendly and fully trained team at Direct Submit to find out how they could help your company’s website boost its online profile?  No matter what products or services you sell you can be certain that they will be able to offer your service and excellent service that generates real results, check out their great past customer testimonials to see how many people have been left satisfied with the service they provide.

Established over a decade ago and operating from the North East of the UK, Direct Submit have become one of the leading SEO and Internet Marketing providers in the North East and the UK. Our client retention rate is exceptional, currently over 80%, which shows our commitment to working with the client to make a project a success.

To speak to one of our Internet Marketing Consultants for advice on making your Web Marketing project a success, call us now on 0845 272 2350 or email visit the Direct Submit website. We look forward to your call.

 

Promoting Cadwallader Blinds

Promoting Cadwallader Blinds

Promoting Cadwallader Blinds

Direct Submit are pleased to announce they are now promoting Cadwallader Blinds who make and install made to measure window blinds throughout Wales, including: Powys, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Shropshire, Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot & Cardiff. The business is built on meeting each of our customers individual needs to help you get your home the way you want it and all our blinds will be made to measure to ensure they fully compliment your home and look great.

Manufactured to a high standard, offering a wide range of blinds in many varied designs, shades and colours, they offer a personal no obligation free measuring service, and because they are a small family run business they believe we are able to offer a great client based service and very affordable prices to all our customers. All blinds can be customised to precisely match your existing windows.

With a wide range of available colours, textures and accessories to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect blinds for your home or office. To contact Cadwallader Blinds call 07517 112456 or visit their website and they will be happy to help.

Direct Submit will be working with the client to help promote the business on the Internet, helping raise the companies profile and potential for business online. If you would like to know more about the SEO services available from Direct Submit then call 0845 2722350 or visit the Direct Submit website today.

Researching Quality content

Researching Quality content

Researching Quality content for SEO

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘quality content’ bandied around a lot over the last couple of years, especially in the context of ‘Google loves quality content’. But what does this phrase really mean? How can a machine learning algorithm determine whether an article is ‘good’ or not. Well it will never judge for personal taste of course, but there are some technical things you can do to make sure your content is deemed worthy, not just to anonymous digital spider crawlers but also real human readers too.

1) The most important element when it comes to creating content that ranks highly, write for human readers, not search engines. Increasingly Google is moving away from giving keywords top priority when it comes to ranking signals and is instead giving preference to the user experience.

How do you achieve this?

2) Don’t overstuff your page with keywords and phrases, while shoe-horning in as many variations as possible. Instead write something a reader can genuinely engage with and enjoy or learn from. This is what will keep a visitor on your page, navigate further around your site and ultimately share your very well written content.

3) Grammar and spelling: an obvious one sure, but it’s vital to double-check spelling and grammar with a thorough spell-check AND proof-read from a fresh pair of eyes. Google will probably spot multiple glaring mistakes, but more importantly if you’re making multiple typos then visitors will trust your content less.

Readability

4) It’s worth checking your content against the Flesch reading ease test. This will give your content a score based on how well it can be understood by readers. Although this hasn’t been explicitly stated by Google as a ranking signal, Yoast uses the test in its WordPress SEO tool and it’s certainly something to consider when you’re trying to improve readability.

You probably want to be aiming for a readability score above 60%.

readability score

Yoast also offers a number of other recommendations to improve the readability of your text, these include:

5) Keep your sentences short. Make sure that no more than 25% of your sentences contain more than 20 words.

6) Keep your paragraphs short. Make sure each paragraph doesn’t exceed the recommended maximum of 150 words. It’s worth double-checking that any lengthy paragraphs are covering only one particular topic.

7) Use an active voice. Only 10% of your sentences should be written in a passive tense.

8) If using subheadings, make sure the number of words following each of the subheadings doesn’t exceed the recommended maximum of 300 words.

9) Try to make sure that roughly 50% of your sentences contain a transition word.

transition words

Formatting

10) White space: when writing for the internet, break up your paragraphs as often as possible. Lots of white space makes reading text on mobile phones a heck of a lot easier (more than half of most websites’ traffic comes from mobile), and clearly formatted articles are used as a Google ranking signal.

11) Opening paragraph: this shouldn’t be longer than one or two sentences. Make sure the thing you’re writing about is mentioned in the first sentence (i.e. your focus keyword or phrase). I like to bold the first paragraph to make it distinct.

12) Subheadings: use plenty of subheadings to break up the text. Follow a logical order of h2 and h3 tags.

h2 and h3 tags

13) Bullet points and numbered lists: these help break up the text and makes a page more readable. Remember: nobody ever skips bullet-points.

Length

14) It’s perhaps time to ditch the long-held notion that the minimum word count should be 300 words per post.

The latest research from Searchmetrics on ranking factors indicates that Google is moving further towards longer-form content that understands a visitor’s intention as a whole. Short posts naturally won’t be going into anything in great detail, so length is an obvious signal.

According to Searchmetrics, the average text length of the top 30 pages increased by 25% since 2014. Posts in the top 10 exceeded a word count of 1,285.