CCIASA AGM Gala Dinner

The Caravan & Camping Industries Association of South Australia Inc., (CCIA. of SA) is a broad based Trade organisation which was incorporated in 1976. It’s membership is made up of retailers, manufacturers, hirers, service providers, repairers and suppliers and as such is predominately aligned with businesses in or closely related to the outdoor leisure Industry.

Every year the Association holds their Annual General Meeting Gala Dinner all around Adelaide’s most prestigious hotels and function centres, incorporating a different theme for each event that we design. The previous years have been Survivor, Circus, Oscar Award themed, so this year’s task was to do something different – Casino Royale! We are a huge fan of the Bond movies so we were super excited to be asked to design a Monte Carlo Casino Royale theme.

The design used elements of sophistication illustrating dice and cards with a elegant and classical looking font. This was then applied to invites, menus, table numbers and presentational slides on the night.

Another reason why we are so fortunate to work with the Association and the guys from is because we get to go to each Gala Dinner every year, who doesn’t like getting dressed up in a suit or a expensive frock and have a night out with flowing champagne, wine and beer accompanied by a three course meal. We always feel very proud and privileged to be invited to the dinner.
The dinner was held at the InterContinental Adelaide on Saturday 20th September, and the guests couldn’t get enough as they played the roulette, poker and blackjack tables, winning and losing thousands of fun dollars which was presented by Ace Nights.

21 SEO Tips from 21 SEO Experts at BrightonSEO

BrightonSEO usually ends with a ‘Lightning Talks’ session but this year Kelvin switched up the format and introduced a ‘Greatest Tips Session’.

The idea: every speaker from the day shares their top actionable SEO tip that attendees can start using when back in the office on Monday morning. We particularly liked the idea because it meant a chance to catch tips from speakers which we’d missed on the day.

We came away with 21 fantastic tips which we couldn’t help but share with those who couldn’t make it on Friday.

You can watch the full video, skim through the quick tips, or read the full transcript with our thoughts below.


If you are interested in developing your SEO skills then take a look at our Beginners SEO and Advanced SEO Strategy courses. Both courses are developed to quickly improve your practical skills and increase your search knowledge.

21 Quick SEO Tips

  1. Compile Multiple Data Sources To Create New Data Sets For Content – Aaron Friedman
  2. Combine Two Old Ideas To Create One New Idea – Shelli Walsh
  3. Study Consumer Purchase Funnels & Think Beyond Your Own Domain – Matt Roberts
  4. Open XML Sitemaps in Excel – Gerry White
  5. Don’t Create Content for the Sake of It, Add Context – John Hutson
  6. Quickly Improve Visibility by Optimising Pages That Rank for High Traffic Keywords – Lukasz Zelezny
  7. Play With Your Follow Up Outreach Emails & Only Send One – Gisele Navarro
  8. Use Facebook Custom Audiences To Create A Very Warm Retargeting Channel – Stephen Croome
  9. Try Swapping Jobs to Better Understand Co-Worker & Client Frustrations – Laura Crimmons
  10. Use Analytics To Understand What Customers Have Tried & Failed To Do On Your Site – Emma Haslam
  11. Test Content Ideas Using Online Usability Testing Services – Kirsty Hulse
  12. Make Sure Pages Are Being Crawled By Search Engines Before Spending Time Optimising Them – Annabelle Bouard
  13. There Is No Such Thing As A Free Link – Ian Miller
  14. Add Site Categories As Sites In Webmaster Tools To Work At A Granular Level – Dawn Anderson
  15. Post-Pigeon You Can Rank Locally With A Very Small Number Of Links & Citations – Matthew Brown
  16. Make Sure Your Name, Address & Phone Number Are Consistent Across All Listing Sites – David Whatley
  17. Use Tracking Tools To Monitor Changes To Google Guidelines & Competitor Sites – Aleyda Solis
  18. Make Sure You Know What Search Engines Are Building & Researching – Jan Willem-Bobbink
  19. Don’t Reuse Data For Infographics, Hire A Survey Company – Dipesh Pattni
  20. Fix URL Parameters In Google Analytics For More Accurate Reporting- Andy Miller
  21. Think Beyond The Top 10 – Gary Moyle

Keep reading to find out more about each tip.

1. Compile Multiple Data Sources To Create New Data Sets For Content

– Aaron FriedmanDigital Highrise & Curiyo

“One thing I’ve been doing a lot which is pretty successful is compiling data from many sources into one source. For example if I’m doing a review on the best movies and I want to do the best sports movies, I would find ten sources that have the sports movies. I would take some kind of average of all of them and create a nice data set on that and turn that into some sort of infographic or turn that into some kind of slideshow or something that I can share, referencing those people and getting some nice links from it and getting some nice content that’s actually based on someone else’s data so creating data from data.”

A great tip for anyone struggling with content ideas. It pays to publish unique content and this is a way to get your hands on a unique data source to set your content apart fromt he rest.

Aaron Friedman BrightonSEO September 2014

Aaron Friedman at BrightonSEO

2. Combine Two Old Ideas To Create One New Idea

– Shelli WalshShellShock UK

“There are no new ideas so actually combining two old ideas together to make a new idea is where it’s at. One really great way to do this is by using an ideas wall and this can really help in your campaigns. Take all your reference material, print it out, arrange it on a big wall and then you want to think like a detective show like Homeland. Colour up all the different groups and then use pins and string to link the different pieces of research together and that’s when you can start to bring random ideas together to create a new idea. It’s really great for content.”

Another tip for content ideas – instead of combining data sources, combine different ideas to create a new idea. Make connections between ideas for a fresh perspective on a subject.

3. Study Consumer Purchase Funnels & Think Beyond Your Own Domain

– Matt Roberts, LinkDex

“My first tip is for any sales guys in here. I had a call with LinkedIn last week and their sales guy wanted me to buy one of their mega premium accounts and I didn’t realise that you can buy, for a few bucks more than your normal LinkedIn account, an account that triggers alerts to any market or job title that changes people. So if you’re looking to track down new guys if you change job or you want to pitch to new guys then LinkedIn have this mega sales account which is not that expensive but is pretty good. Tip for SEOs comes from my talk; study your consumer purchase funnels and learn to optimise for more than your own domain. Think much bigger than that. Finally for any C-level Execs; spend big on organic because actually it’s a channel that is not big just because the people in this room think it’s big it’s because your consumers are on it.”

Matt decided to give three quick, useful tips. Sticking with the SEO tip I think this is something that is only going to become more important. There are often opportunities to partner with sites that rank around and even above you to increase your visibility. It’s off-site SEO but not as we know it!

4. Open XML Sitemaps in Excel

– Gerry WhiteSiteVisibility

“You can open up XML sitemaps in Excel. Literally just paste in the URL and then you can sort it and group it and pivot table it and do all that manipulation (and you can colour in!).”

A quick tip from Gerry for those who like to get stuck in with Excel.

5. Don’t Create Content for the Sake of It, Add Context

– John HutsonDigitasLBI

“Don’t just create content for the sake of it. Everyone is trying to do that at the moment for SEO. As we heard this morning, add context. Don’t be afraid to actually commentate on the sector or industry that you work in so that you’re actually becoming a voice within the sector and your consumers will see you as more of a neutral viewpoint. Although of course you’re still selling products within that particular industry, if you talk about that as a whole and offer your opinion and put everything into context for them then they’ll see you as more of a neutral brand.”

Another content focused tip. It’s more important than ever to make sure that your content stands head and shoulders above the competition. Becoming a well known voice in your industry is a great way to become an authoritative brand.

6. Quickly Improve Visibility by Optimising Pages That Rank for High Traffic Keywords

– Lukasz

“If you are starting to work in a company that already has a history of ranking organically, you can do something very easy to very quickly deliver an uplift. Go into Searchmetrics and go into SEMrush. Export the recent stats where your website or client website is ranking. You combine these links into one file and then do a deduplication of URLs and you will end up in a situation that on one side you have 200, 300, 500 or 1,000 keywords; every keyword pointing to a unique URL. If you are able to optimise all 1,000 URLs in the week, regarding to the keywords you have, then very quickly you will see visibility going massively up. That’s the way you can prove to your new employer that you are a good SEO.”

This tip is the short version of the talk that Lukasz gave at April’s BrightonSEO. It’s ideal if you’re taking on a new client or starting at a new company and want to quickly make a good impression.

7. Play With Your Follow Up Outreach Emails & Only Send One

– Gisele NavarroNeoMam Studios

“My tip is about outreach. I own three blogs so I get pitched all the time and I see this massive mistake with follow ups. Follow ups are great; we get really good results from the follow up stage sometimes even better than from the first round of outreach. The trend I see when I get pitched is that people will either send you a forward email saying ‘did you get the chance to see my email?’ and they will do that about 30 times. Or they will send a completely new email (30 times as well) and it will be like sales pitch after sales pitch of one piece of content. So my tip is very simple; play with your follow up emails. You already have the no so you can try new things. It’s good to forward an email, change the subject line, try something new. Acknowledge that you have contacted the person but just do it once, don’t follow up more than once. Just to give you an example of what we do; in my presentation today I talked about an infographic that is called Gay Marriage World Map. When we sent the first round of outreach, subject line is very simple; ‘Gay Marriage World Map (Infographic)’. When we did the follow up we changed that and we said ‘Learn in Which Countries They Will Kill you for Being Gay (Infographic)’. The open rate went 17% so just play with your follow ups because you have nothing to lose really.”

I gave up replying to bad outreach attempts a long time ago because I found that it didn’t have any impact on follow ups; marketers will just keep trying. I love the idea that, if done well, follow up emails can have a better success rate than initial outreach attempts.

8. Use Facebook Custom Audiences To Create A Very Warm Retargeting Channel

– Stephen

“My tip is on combining two channels to create a remarketing channel for yourself that is highly targeted on Facebook. If your company’s been around for a couple of years, take all the emails of people who have bought from you that haven’t bought from you in the last year. So everybody from a year backwards that hasn’t been a repeat customer and load those up into Facebook as a custom audience. What Facebook will do in the background is they will look for people who have signed up to Facebook with the same email. So if you upload about 100,000 emails it will be around 20-25,000 people who also signed up to Facebook and they will be people who (because you have loaded them up from your sales data) will have bought from you before. You can then market to this very warm custom audience. The second thing you can do is then create a lookalike audience for that. Facebook will look at the people you upload, their segmentation, and then they will extrapolate that. They will grow your audience for you. So if you give Facebook a little bit of information about who has bought from you, not only will you be able to remarket directly to them but Facebook will give you a whole big audience just like them to remarket to.”

Facebook Custom Audiences is one of my favourite discoveries this year. As well as allowing you to retarget very specific customer segments, the ‘lookalike audience’ feature will give you an audience that is just like your existing customers.

Stephen Croome BrightonSEO September 2014

Stephen Croome at BrightonSEO

9. Try Swapping Jobs to Better Understand Co-Worker & Client Frustrations

– Laura CrimmonsBranded3

“My top tip is to get out of your own job and try doing the jobs of the other people you work closely with. We’ve done this occasionally within Branded3 and with our clients. For example a few weeks ago one of our account managers was on holiday, I took over doing his out of office and doing his job. We’ve done the same with different things and it really helps you understand the frustrations that other people go through and how they work so that you can work more closely together. It also works in the same way if you’re an agency; go into your client’s office and do your client’s job for a bit. It helps you to understand the frustrations they have with agencies and helps you work better.”

What a fantastic team building idea. Step into your co-workers’ shoes and find out what keeps them up at night.

10. Use Analytics To Understand What Customers Have Tried & Failed To Do On Your Site

– Emma Haslam4 Ps Marketing

“My tip is to use Analytics to marry up intentions via keywords that people have come in from search engines or your own on-site search tool to then what they’ve interacted with on your site and what products they’ve looked at or even added to basket and then abandoned. Because understanding what customers have gone onto your site to do and then not done can be just as important as what they’ve actually then transacted with.”

I can see this tip being useful for developing new content or even products for your site. If users are arriving at your site expecting to do something then they can’t then that is a gap that you probably want to fill.

11. Test Content Ideas Using Online Usability Testing Services

– Kirsty HulseFound

“Testing content; you can use really cheap usability services. There’s something called Feedback Army which is for designers traditionally but you can use it to quickly test concepts for your ideas. I think it’s like $7 and they’ll tell you if it’s good or not so in the world where content is becoming more important it’s really cheap and easy to test it. Just Google ‘usability testing’ or something and there’s loads of different services that do it really cheaply.”

If your content results are unpredictable then this is a good way to test before wasting time and resources. It’s a relatively low expense to make sure you’re not wasting time on bad ideas.

12. Make Sure Pages Are Being Crawled By Search Engines Before Spending Time Optimising Them

– Annabelle BouardBotify

“There are so many things you can do to optimise your website, so many aspects to SEO. My tip is to really think hard when you are getting your priorities so that what you do is really full of impact because if you try to do on-page optimisation on pages which search engines have no idea exist then you are wasting your time. So my tip is to make sure that the pages you are spending time optimising are crawled by search engines before doing so.”

An important reminder not to forget the basics. If a page is not being crawled by Google then any time spent optimising it is time wasted.

13. There Is No Such Thing As A Free Link

– Ian MillerCrafted

“This morning I talked about where Google may be going in the future but my tip is actually around still something that SEOs do which is build links. Fundamentally it’s not so much a tip but to understand that there is actually, in my mind, no such thing as a free link. Even though there’s been an awful lot of talk around the fact that with PR, with content, with infographics you can these free links, but actually it’s still a transaction. You are still spending time, effort, design resource, development resource. There’s still a cost to that. And actually if you add in outreach and all the other time you need to understand the cost of all the activities you’re doing versus the benefit that it’s giving because sometimes people can say ‘we did some outreach but we only got two links’ and if that was a designer for a day, a developer for a day, other bits of account management, outreach for two or three days then that’s an inefficient process. As SEOs we need to understand that it isn’t free and that we can make it a lot more efficient and a lot more effective by actually understanding what the true cost of what some of these ‘free’ links actually is.”

Ian’s talk was one of my favourites. His tip comes as a warning to those who see content & outreach links as ‘free’ when the cost can soon add up once you start considering time spent on acquisition. With this in mind, outreach that only gains a couple of links is an unsustainable practice.

Ian Miller BrightonSEO September 2014

Ian Miller at BrightonSEO

14. Add Site Categories As Sites In Webmaster Tools To Work At A Granular Level

– Dawn AndersonMove It Marketing

“My tip is to get a real view of the categories on your website, a search engine view. So I would say make the categories of your site as sites in webmaster tools so you can get a really, really narrow view of how Google is looking at one section in isolation. You can see the queries for that category, the associated keywords in content keywords and start to really work at that sort of granular level within a larger website.”

Based on the response from the audience I think this is a tip that a lot of people have never considered. I can see this being invaluable for large e-commerce sites that sell a diverse range of products. Make sure that Google understands the purpose of each category on your site.

15. Post-Pigeon You Can Rank Locally With A Very Small Number Of Links & Citations

– Matthew BrownMoz

“So in my session today I talked a bit about Google Pigeon which is a localisation algorithm where if you search from one city you get a very different set of results if you search from another city or location or even neighbourhood. One day I had a friend named Michael Cottam who woke up and was ranking number one in many, many cities for ‘independent SEO consultant’ and he never targeted that with keywords, links, not with tags on his page and so in backtracking that this was up and around to Google Pigeon he figured out that he was in this directory listing as an independent SEO consultant on this local directory and that’s kind of what we’re seeing now with these localised results and that you’ll see here very soon with Google UK is you need a very small number of links and citations, chiefly citations and local, to rank really highly in these localised organic results. So, in some cases you don’t need to build a tonne of links or even a link. You just need to be listed in the right local directories to get into localised organic results, not just in map packs or local packs. If you’re doing local SEO that’s a big opportunity.”

Matthew gave the best talk of the day and his tip is something that UK SEOs need to pay attention to. So far the Pigeon update has only affected the US but it’s likely to come to the UK soon. Make sure you learn from what’s happened in the US and you should see an uplift in local search.

Matthew Brown BrightonSEO September 2014

Matthew Brown at BrightonSEO

16. Make Sure Your Name, Address & Phone Number Are Consistent Across All Listing Sites

– David Whatley, MiShop.Local

“My tip is in relationship to local search and specifically getting the name, address and phone number right. So I have a very simple message and it is get your NAP correct. If you’re finding that you’re getting a duplicate listing in Google, the chances are you have conflicting NAP information on different listing sites. My tip of the day is to actually go and search for conflicting data, search through Google and see in which directories those listings are appearing and then fix them. Don’t add new listings to listing sites until you fix the old ones if you’re an existing business. If you’re a new business it should be okay but make sure that your name, address and phone number are consistently listed across all useful, local listing sites.”

One way you can prepare for Pigeon is to follow David’s advice and make sure that you have consistent NAP information across the web. This is especially important if you’ve recently rebranded or changed address – it’s likely that there are a lot of old listings that may result in duplicate listings in Google.

17. Use Tracking Tools To Monitor Changes To Google Guidelines & Competitor Sites

– Aleyda SolisOrainti

“I would like to share an anecdote that happened to me just this week. In June Google updated their mobile recommendations when moving from configuration to another. For example, if you want to change the type of mobile website that you have, move from a parallel type of mobile to dynamic serving or to responsive web design, they included that you need to do a migration; but they included that the migration should be done with a 302 redirect. This raised a couple of eyebrows as you can imagine because we were used to doing this with 301 permanent redirects. A lot of people asked, we didn’t get any type of definitive answer, we didn’t know what had happened. Last week they updated the recommendations without saying anything to anyone and they just removed and replaced the 302 to 301 again; funny right? For these types of scenarios, it is very, very handy to keep a very close eye on Google recommendations, Google guidelines. Especially when they tweak a little thing like ‘ah, paid links are now approved, everyone start buying links’ (it’s a joke). We need to pay very close attention. So use tools like Versionista or OnWebChange; these are tools which have a free version and you can track not only the content changes on any page, any html or pdf, but also you can track if there’s any change to the code. For example, if your competitors start using structured markup and you have been pushing out for a long time to include structured markup and you didn’t have the approval from your boss now you have a case. You don’t wait to see the positive effect on the SERPs, you quickly know what your competitors are doing and you can keep a very close eye on them.”

This is a tip we’ve used for competitors but I’ve not thought to do it for webmaster guidelines! I can’t think of a better way to make sure you find out about changes before everyone else.

18. Make Sure You Know What Search Engines Are Building & Researching

– Jan

“Make sure as an online marketer you know what the search engines are building and researching. Monitor the patents, monitor the papers, and make sure you know what they are developing. I have a case in which I was aware of what Google was doing with microformats so what I did before Google accepted the yellow stars as rich snippets in search engine result pages was build in the markup data and make sure that once they launched it I was one of the first websites to have the yellow snippets. So be on top of what Google is researching because what they will publish is probably already implemented in one of the next algorithms.”

Almost a follow on from Aleyda’s tip and also a common theme of the day – it pays to know what Google is up to. Predict important developments and you can be the first to reap the benefits.

Jan Willem-Bobbink

Jan Willem-Bobbink at BrightonSEO

19. Don’t Reuse Data For Infographics, Hire A Survey Company

– Dipesh PattniPHD Media

“Next time you create an infographic don’t try to use data that already exists. Hire a survey company that can get you over 2,000 respondents; if you get over 2,000 respondents your infographic becomes newspaper worthy. So you’re not just trying to put it out on social networks, what you’re trying to do is get it into newspapers as well and that integrates your PR with your SEO.”

The final content tip of the day. Instead of using other people’s data, commision your own! This is yet another tactic that will set your content apart from the competition and give you a better return on investment.

20. Fix URL Parameters In Google Analytics For More Accurate Reporting

– Andy MillerBlueGlass

“My tip is something that everybody in the industry needs to do on Monday morning if you haven’t already done it; and that’s go to Google Analytics, have a look at the content URLs that appear in the Behaviour area and fix them. What you’ll see is if you have dynamic parameters or bits appended to your URLs, they’ll appear individually. When you start to do behavioural analysis for the content and the SEO that you’re doing it becomes very difficult. Especially when you’re trying to look at business value and look at the revenue that certain landing pages are trying to bring in. So go into the settings, get rid of the parameters that aren’t necessary, look at filters to try and group content together and then go one step further and look at your content grouping. Take areas of the site, particularly areas that you’ve worked on as SEOs and segment those out as particular content groups. Then, when it comes to showing whether you’ve done a good job or not it becomes a lot easier. You can just take that content group with all the URLs and say ‘look, that’s brought in more money’.”

This is a common problem on our Google Analytics courses when companies have never removed parameters and so find it very hard to effectively report on individual pages. It’s a relatively easy fix that will make your life easier in future.

21. Think Beyond The Top 10

– Gary MoyleNetBooster UK

“Think beyond the top 10; our click curve study shows that people are scrolling below the fold more and more and actually onto pages two and three. So make sure you understand your own CTR for those users and think about how you can elevate traffic for existing rankings rather than just constantly chasing positions. So think about your page titles, your meta descriptions. I look at SERPs time and time again and I still see companies getting that wrong time and time again. That might mean focusing on your CMS providing to make sure you have more editorial control over page titles and meta descriptions, especially for those headline pages. Then if you are a retailer, for example, maybe you need to think about a rule based solution for deeper pages; multifaceted navigation, deeper sub-category pages and products. Think about a rule based interface to make those snippets really perform for you.”

The final tip of the day from Gary reminded us that not only is Google changing but the way users search is changing. He claimed that more people are scrolling below the fold and even visiting pages 1 and 2. That makes it vital to make sure that your result is as clickable as possible. As well as working on titles & descriptions I recommend taking advantage of any rich snippets as well (although Google are removing more and more every day!)

This article was taken from Silicon Beach Training

7 Things You Should Know About SEO

Search engine optimisation is something that is often spoken of, but it isn’t often that people truly understand it. If you know what you’re doing, SEO can change the way you do business. If you don’t, however, what you don’t know could sink you.

By now, most people realize that SEO is a very important part of business. An Internet presence is vital if you want to make it in today’s world, so search engine optimisation is something that just about everyone needs to know something about. If you run a business, it’s even more important that you understand how to optimize your website or blog.

Search engine optimisation isn’t just about adding keywords to your website content and blog posts; there’s quite a bit more to it, in fact. If you really want to be successful and reach the front page of the search rankings, there are a few things to keep in mind.


1. Research is Key

Most business owners are aware that they need to have keywords, but they don’t know just how to find the best ones. Since the entire SEO campaign depends on selecting the right keywords, this is a very important step and one that cannot be taken lightly. Don’t just guess at your keywords, take the time to research them thoroughly.

You can use the Google Keyword Tool to help find good keywords with plenty of searches. Simply type your keyword into the search box and let Google give you suggestions. You want something that will bring in plenty of searches each month. Try using several keywords with lower searches if you can’t find one with less competition. Then click to Google and search for the keyword phrase with quotation marks on either end to see just how many other websites are optimized for the exact same phrase. You want lots of searches and very few competitors.

2. Less is More

At first glance, it might seem like the more often you use the keywords in your content, the better. However, thanks to scammers who used a technique called “keyword stuffing,” that’s not a good idea. You can actually end up penalized for using too many keywords in one piece of content.

The key here is to be natural. Don’t stuff the page full of specific words; instead let the information flow freely and insert the keyword phrases wherever they actually fit. This will result in much better content that search engines will love.

3. Label Your Photos

Photos really add a lot to a blog post, but they can’t help your SEO unless you make full use of titles and ALT tags. Using your keywords in these areas will give your page a nice boost. It doesn’t hurt to name your photo something SEO friendly either. Instead of labelling it PIC1566874.jpg, go with something like logo-design.jpg.

4. Skip the Flash and Java

Flash might make for a funky website, but it is useless when it comes to search engines. HTML is far cleaner and readable for search engines, so the worst thing you can do is have a Javascript or Flash intro page to your site. Google and the other search engine spiders won’t be able to register the site easily nor read the content embedded in the fancy Flash.

5. Add Regular Content

This is one area that is more important now than every before. Good content has always done well with the search engines, but since Google changed the rules in early 2011, it’s even more important. Regularly updated pages with quality content are treated very well by the search engines, so it makes sense that blogs, rather than fixed sites with static content, are doing very well these days.

While your content should contain keywords, keep in mind that the most important thing is to offer quality information. It should be written more for human eyes than for search engine spiders.

6. Try Deep Linking

Getting links from other websites is vital in boosting search engine rankings, but what many people don’t know is that deep linking is also very important. Deep linking means linking to other pages within the same website. For example, you might have a site on sound equipment and on your article about Sony stereos, you link to your page on choosing the right speakers.

This type of linking should be done on a regular basis and goes hand in hand with providing regular content. Whenever you write a blog post, check back to see if there’s anything relevant to link it to.

7. Too Many Backlinks is a Bad Thing

Chances are, if you’re online, you’ve heard of backlinking. This is the practice of getting links from other websites. When you use the right anchor text, this can be very helpful in boosting your search engine rankings. However, it is not something you want to overdo.

Getting regular links from various locations looks a lot more natural than one article directory linking fifty times to the same page. Try to spread your backlinks out, a handful here, a few there, and keep them trickling in at a steady rate to ensure the best results. If you have 10,000 links come in one day and then nothing for the next four months, the search engines will know something is up and will rank you accordingly.

SEO is a combination of common sense along with some careful tricks. As long as you are putting out excellent content on a regular basis with keywords naturally mixed in, you can expect to see an improvement in your rankings.

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9 steps to better web design

As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Developing a web design without a plan is like constructing a building without blueprints. Things end up in the wrong place, features are overlooked, and the situation is ripe for mis-communication between website developer and client. Planning your website ahead of time will give it clear direction as well as prevent missed deadlines and backtracking. If you are a web developer working with clients, then this guide will help both of you to plan properly. If you are a business owner or employee of an organisation, then this guide will help lay the ground work for your website.

  1. Set your purpose and goals. What is the purpose of your website? To rally support behind a cause? Is it to gain publicity for your business? To sell your inventory? It’s important to identify your website’s purpose, as well as your target audience. You should also define your goals. How many visitors do you expect per month? How many do you expect will sign up for your newsletter? How much in sales do you expect to make? Set measurable, specific goals for your website that are in line with your marketing goals. An analytics tool like Google Analytics will allow you to monitor your website’s performance over time.

  1. Create a budget. Whether you’re an established, mid-sized organisation or a fledgling start-up, you should always set a budget for your website. This will probably include funds for web design, programming, and hosting (though other expenses may apply). Research the market by shopping around and consulting with professionals. Don’t sell yourself short by comparing prices alone. What you save in money you may later pay for with a lack luster site and lots of headaches. It’s better to choose team members based on experience, insightfulness, references, and examples of work.

  1. Assign roles. Assemble a team of people who will be working on your website. Your team may consist of:

  • Company stakeholders (owner, marketing manager, or whoever else represents a primary function of the business)

  • Content writer and/or editor

  • HTML/CSS professional

  • Web and graphic designer

Make sure everyone on your team knows their role and what is expected of them, and that they stay abreast of deadlines and new developments.

  1. Create a content strategy. Content is king! What kind of content will you be displaying on your website? Content is basically anything that gives your visitors information. It can include, but is not limited to:

  • Blogs

  • Documents

  • Videos

  • Photos / Pictures

  • Slideshows

  • Embedded social media feeds (such as your Facebook page or Twitter stream)

Your content strategy is the way that you plan to present your content over time. For instance, you may want to publish two blog posts a month, and put out a free quarterly report for your subscribers to download four times a year. Since content is such a vital aspect of a website, bring in help if you need it. Hire a copywriter who is experienced with writing for websites, and invest in some professional looking photos of your storefront and employees.

  1. Structure your website. Decide what pages you’ll be using and what features will be on each one. Most websites have an About and Contact page, but the pages you use should meet your business’ needs.

  1. Create a mock-up. A page mock-up, also know as a wireframe, is essentially the outline of your website. Usually created in Photoshops, you don’t have to put too much detail into your mock-up.  Use placeholder text to fill pages, and don’t worry about details. This is just to give everyone an idea of what the website will look like.

  1. Start designing. The importance of good web design can’t be stressed enough. Good website design includes both usability and aesthetics. An ugly website will drive away visitors, as will a website that’s difficult to navigate. Keep in mind some basic concepts of usability as you go:

    1. Make your navigation easy to understand and easy to find. Research shows that most users expect website navigation to be vertical and centered at the top of the page.

    2. Use an easy-to-read font for blocks of text. Choose a background color and text color that contrast well (Hint: No red text on a hot pink background).

    3. Make sure your site fits the screen. Use responsive design (or an equally effective approach) to make your website one that adapts to all screen sizes i.e. iPhone, iPads, etc.

    4. Keep your website light in image reproduction so that it loads quickly.

    5. Make your logo and tag line prominent on the page.

    6. Keep styles and colours consistent across the website.

    7. Make copy clear and concise, and put important information and features (e.g., your newsletter sign-up form) above the fold.

Make notes about what to include in the style sheet as you design, as you want to keep style and function separate. This is important, not only to comply with web standards, but to make it easier to change something in the future if you need to. You should also design with the future in mind. For instance, your website may only have a few blog posts now, but what about when you have two hundred?

  1. Test it out. Testing is important for getting out bugs out and catching details that you might have missed initially. Make sure your website shows up the way you want it to in all browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and mobile web browsers like Safari and Opera Mini. Test it on your cell phone, your tablet, and your colleague’s cell phones and tablets too. You want your site to have a consistent appearance no matter what screen it shows up on. Make sure all of the links work, that the images are properly sized, and that you’ve replaced all of the placeholders with actual content. See to it that all of the forms and other input fields are working.

  1. Maintain your site. Once your site is launched, the work isn’t over. A website is an ongoing entity that continuously represents your company, so maintenance is very important. Monitor your analytics software to see how your website is performing with the public. Keep an eye on metrics like your number of unique visitors, bounce rate, and which pages are most popular on your website. You might find that certain metrics are more useful to you than others, but that is information you’ll find out over time.

You should also have a plan for maintaining the website, such as who is responsible for posting new content or monitoring site security. And of course, get feedback from your users. Feedback is a valuable tool for improvement.

Planning a website ahead of time is just as important as planning anything else in business, yet this step often gets overlooked by those anxious to claim their piece of internet real estate. Taking the time to plan your website is a great investment, and it will better you chances of having a finished product that serves you well for as long as you need it.