A Beginners Guide on Keyword Research


Google is constantly keeping us on our toes with all their algorithm updates, but one thing that has stayed pretty consistent for marketers looking to optimise their websites for the search engines is keyword research.

Well, the need to do keyword research has stayed the same. How you actually do it hasn’t.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is when online users use keywords to find and research search terms that users enter into search engines. The knowledge about these specific search terms can help inform content strategy, and marketing strategy.

Below is a keyword research process you can follow to help you come up with a list of words you should be targeting.

This way, you will be able to establish a strong keyword strategy that helps you get found for the search terms you actually care about.

How do you research for keywords to suit you’re SEO strategy?

Step 1: Start by making a list of important and relevant topics based on what you know about your business.

Think about the topics you want to rank for. You can come up with about 5-10 topic keywords that you think are important for your business, and then you will use these topics to come up with some more targeted keywords later.

If you blog regularly then these are the keywords you blog about most often, or they could be the topics that come up the most in you sale conversations. Basically put yourself in the shoes of your buyer, what type of topics would your buyer or target audience search for to get your business found? If you were a company like us, for example keywords such as “graphic design” or “logo design” – you also might have general topics like “web design” or “SEO.

Step 2: Fill in those topics with keywords.

Now that you have a few topics you want to focus on, the next step is to identify some keywords that fall into those topics. These are keywords you think are important to rank for in the search engine results pages because your target audience is probably looking for those same terms.

For example, if we took that last topic for an graphic design agency – “graphic design” – I would brainstorm some keyword phrases that I think my customers would type in related to that topic. They might include:

  • graphic design adelaide (location helps)
  • logo design adelaide
  • looking for graphic design
  • need branding for my new business
  • web designers in adelaide
  • email marketing
  • SEO experts

And so on and so on. The point of this exercise isn’t to come up with your final list of phrases – you just want to end up with a brain dump of phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic.

Although more keywords are getting encrypted by Google each and every day, another intelligent way to come up with keywords is to find out which keywords your website is currently getting found for. To find this out you will need a website analytic like Google Analytics. Look into your website’s traffic sources, and search through you organic search traffic topics to identify the keywords user are using to arrive at your site.

Step 3: Research related search terms.

If you’re finding it difficult to think of more keywords people might be searching for about a specific topic, go to Google.com and take a look at their related search terms that appear when you type in a keyword. When you type in your words and scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, you will notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can trigger ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration.


Step 4: Check for a combination of long-tail keywords and head terms.

Head terms are keywords phrases that are usually shorter and much more generic, they are typically just one to three words in length. Long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases usually containing four or more words.

It’s important to check that you have a combination of long-tail terms and head terms because it’ll provide you with a keyword strategy that is well planned with long-term goals and short-term wins. This is because head terms are generally searched more frequently, making them often more competitive and harder to rank for than long-tail ones. Let’s take the following for example. Which of the following terms do you think would be more difficult to rank for?

  1. I need to find a graphic designer in Adelaide
  2. graphic design Adelaide

If you answered number 2, you’re right. But while head terms generally boost the most search volumes, the traffic you’ll get from the term “I need to find a graphic designer in Adelaide” is usually more enticing.

But Why?

Because if a user is looking for something that specific then they are probably a much more qualified searcher for your services than someone looking for something just generic. And because long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, it’s easier to tell what people who search for those keywords are really looking for. Someone searching for the head term “graphic design Adelaide,” on the other hand, could be searching it for a whole lot of other unrelated products or services than just your business.

Check your keyword lists to ensure you have a good mix of long-tail keywords and head terms.  You definitely want some long-tail keywords, but you should also try to look at more difficult head terms over the long haul.

Step 5: How are your competitors ranking for the same keywords.

Just because a keyword is important to your competitor, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s important to yours. But, understanding what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for is a good way to help you give your list of keywords another look.

If your competitor is ranking for similar keywords that are on your list, it definitely makes sense to work on improving your ranking for the same words. However, don’t ignore the words your competitors don’t seem to use much or don’t have. This could be a great way for you to own those important terms.

The ultimate goal is to end up with a list of keywords that provide some wins, but also help you make progress toward a bigger and more challenging SEO goal.

A great and free tool to use to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for is SEMrush, it allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter.

Step 6: Use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner to edit down your list.

So you have the right bag of  keywords, it’s time to narrow down your lists with some more data. You have a lot of free tools at your disposal, but let me share our favourites.

We use Google AdWords Keyword Planner (you will need to set up an AdWords account for this though, but this does mean you have to create an ad) and Google Trends.

Use Google Keyword Planner to avoid any terms on your list that have way too little, or way too much, and don’t help you maintain a good mix like we talked about earlier. But before you do delete anything, just check out their trend history and projections using Google Trends. You can see whether some low-volume terms might actually be something you should consider.

Or perhaps you are just searching for a list of terms that is way too massive, and you have to narrow it down. Google Trends can help you determine which terms are trending upward, which are worth more of your focus.

Once all these steps have been done you are finished, and on your way to having a better SEO plan. Good luck!

Google Sends Warnings for HTTP Sites

If you’re website is using HTTP at the start of the domain name you may get a warning notice from Google, they already have begun sending out warning notices to owners that their website will be flagged as a “non secure” in Google Chrome starting in October 2017.  Their first step in the plan is to display a “Not secure” label in the address bar.

So what does this mean for you?  If your website uses a form which includes things such as a comment form, Google can show the website as not being secure if you use the Google Chrome browser.  Google will also show this warning for ALL your pages when viewed in the Incognito mode.  If your website has no forms but is the sort of site that your users might prefer to visit via Incognito, then that website will be shown as not secure.

The is all set to take place in the beginning of October 2017, with the version 63 of Google Chrome, so you still have a month or so  to implement HTTPS for your site.

Some websites will receive these notices even if they are using HTTPS,  and this is because some owners use both the HTTP and HTTPS versions of the site verified in Google Search Console.  Even if the HTTP version is correctly re-directing to the HTTPS, Google still will send a warning notice.

This is what the notice looks like:


Google Chrome’s long-term plan to mark sites with HTTP as insecure, also with the free Let’s Encrypt initiative is helping close the gap on the web’s remaining unencrypted sites.

Updating Your Website Without Sacrificing Your SEO

We all need to keep up to date with web trends these days, and usually that means every three to five years you should consider redesigning your website. But often a client does not think what impact this will have on their SEO (if it’s optimised well to begin with).

Why should you consider SEO in a redesign?

In short, because you have a lot to lose. Let’s say your website’s ranking really well. Rankings are strong, organic traffic is flowing and revenue is growing. Do you really want to undo all that hard and expensive work?

However, by thinking strategically, you can take the opportunity to improve a site’s performance after a redesign.


This diagram shows a steady increase in traffic followed (from the red circle) even during the re-indexing phase. If you do a redesign correclty, you won’t lose any traffic or rankings; in fact, you’ll gain them.

Below is some tips that can help you understand the test site being built and your current site from an SEO point of view. This is ciritcal when changing your website around.

Tip 1 – Think about your SEO

First thing is to think about SEO. Very often clients don’t stop to consider the impact SEO has changing their website. They chuck away valuable content from historical pages or completely change every single URL without redirecting the old ones.

This happens because they misunderstand how Google reads a website and how URLs hold credibility. It’s no fault of their own, it happens.

Tip 2 – Crawling the existing site

You should know what your site’s structure looks like, you will fail if you don’t. Grabbing it’s meta data and URLs is critical to identifying exactly what is changing and why.

How do I do that?

Your SEO crawl will give you a road map of what your site is currently set out. The best way to do this is to use a tool like Screaming Frog. Once you have the current site’s meta data and structure, you will know how to match with the new site.

Tip 3 – Auditing the old site

Free tools like Woorank will do, but we advise you to get your hands dirty so to speak, and manually do it yourself. There’s nothing like getting into the nitty gritty of your site to find any problems.

Why audit the site?

You need to know what search engines like and don’t like about your site. This helps you recognise any problems, but also enables you to see which areas must be retained.

What am I looking for?

Here are some tips to check. Using Screaming Frog, I advise checking the following:

  • Duplicate page titles
  • Missing H1 tags
  • Duplicate H1 tags
  • Multiple H1 tags
  • Missing meta descriptions
  • Missing page titles
  • Duplicate meta descriptions
  • Canonical tags
  • Canonicalisation
  • Broken internal/external links
  • Image alt text

You should also be checking for:

  • Robots.txt
  • Site speed and performance using Google’s PageSpeed Tools
  • Duplicate content (do exact match search “insert content” or use Copyscape)
  • Pages indexed by Google (do a site: command in Google)
  • Site speed and performance (here’s a tool to check)
  • URL structure
  • XML sitemaps
  • Pages indexed by Google

Tip 4 – Noindex you’re test site

If you’re working on your test site, you do not want Google to index it. If you have added new content, it will get indexed. So when the new site is ready to launch, the new content will have no value because it has been duplicated because of the index while you were working on it.

A site can be noindexed in two ways by your web developer.

If you have WordPress you can simply check the box that says: “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” under the Settings tab.


This adds the following code in the <head> of every page:

You have a second option which is to block the site in the Robots.txt file. This is a little tricky however; which is why most CMS have a box-ticking option which is easier.

If your CMS doesn’t allow for this, you can put the following in your Robots.txt file:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Tip 5 – Crawling the test site

You need to understand how your test site will be structured. Using a site crawler crawl the test site again to see how it looks in comparison to your current site.

What do to:

  1. Open the first crawl of your current site and make a copy. Click “Save+As” and name the file for example “Current Site Crawl for Editing”. This will be your editable copy.
  2. Then crawl the test site. Export the test site crawl and save this one as “Test Site Crawl”. Make a copy and name it “Test Site Crawl for Editing”— this is the one we’re going to use.
  3. Take the new created old site crawl (Current Site Crawl for Editing) and do a find and replace on all the URLs in a program like Excel. Then replace your domain name: “domain.com” with your test server’s domain: “test.domain.com”.
  4. Select all the URLs and copy them into a txt file. Save this one as the “Testing Crawl for Screaming Frog”. You should have the following files:
    • Current Site Crawl(xls)
    • Current Site Crawl for Editing (xls)
    • Test Site Crawl(xls)
    • Test Site Crawl for Editing(xls)
    • Testing Crawl for Screaming Frog (txt)
  5. Using  Screaming Frog, find the Mode in the menu bar and select List. The system will change, and you’ll be able to upload a .txt file.
  6. Locate your txt file (Testing Crawl for Screaming Frog) of all the URLs you just changed and load that into Screaming Frog. Then hit Start.
  7. If followed correctly, you will end up with all the URLs being crawled. If it didn’t, you have to go back and make sure you didn’t miss anything. You will need to allow the crawler to crawl blocked/noindexed URLs. Click Configuration and Spider. Then you’ll find a tick box that says Ignore robots.txt. You may need to tick this. On the same part in the tab called Advanced, you’ll see Respect Noindex; you may need to un-tick this, too. Have a look below at the example.


Now download all the HTML files and save it as an Excel file. Name it “Final Crawled Test Site”. This can be the test crawl you’ll check later. But also, hold onto the very first crawl we did of the test site (Test Site Crawl).

You’ll have the following docs:

  • Current Site Crawl(xls)
  • Current Site Crawl for Editing (xls)
  • Test Site Crawl(xls)
  • Test Site Crawl for Editing(xls)
  • Testing Crawl for Screaming Frog (txt)
  • Final Crawled Test Site (xls)

Now you have the data in Excel format, and you can see what works on the test site. This allows you to understand what’s missing from the test site that is on the current site.

Tip 6 – 404 time

If your’e pages have a 404 error, it means that the page doesn’t exist anymore. So we’ll need to do one of two things:

  1. Create this URL on the test server.
  2. Redirect the old URL to the test server’s new URL.

Here’s an example of a 404:



What do to with a URL that isn’t on your current site?

Like with any page on your website, it has to be optimised correctly.

When you redirect pages to a new site you will lose around 10%-30% of your link equity. But you’re giving search engines the best opportunity to bring over your old site’s strong reputation.


Tip 7 – Checking all the additional checks

Rank check

A rank check measures how you’re site performs for a host of keywords in the search engines. You can use this data as a comparison for the new site. If things change, you can react and identify the problems when you check the results.

This is what to look out for:

If a keyword jumps from page 1 to page 10, you could have a problem. Look out for any big or unusual movements by checking the following:

  • Did the URL change?
  • Did you change any of the meta data?
  • Has the page lost all of it’s content?
  • Is there a redirect in place?
  • Does it have a noindex tag in place?


Don’t delete anything you don’t need to. You might think your old blog posts are old and useless, but they are all adding to the credibility of your site. Without these, you’ll lose a chunk of SEO value.

Google Analytics code

Make sure you place your Google analytics code back in the <head> section of you’re site. It’s really important to check the e-commerce tracking and goals if you currently have those in place.

Unblocking the site

It’s time to check the new site to see if it’s allowing search engines to index it. Just do the reverse of blocking the site to what you did before . Whichever method you used to block it, just do the reverse. If you don’t do this it will create big problems.

In summary checklist

Here is a checklist to use that will help you run through it again.

tickThink about your SEO from the start of the website

tickCrawl the current site

tickAudit your existing site

tickStop the test site from being indexed

tickCrawl the test site

tickFind and replace URLs

tickCheck 404s on test site

tickOptimise all new pages

Optimising your images

Optimising your images is the new way to boost your SEO because now Google are focusing on websites that load fast, and optimising your images is a sure way to make that happen.

Have you ever wondered the following….

  • Why is it that when I do a Google image search, my photos never show up?
  • Should I add “Alt Tags” to my images?
  • And what’s the difference between a JPEG, GIF and PNG?

1. Name Your Images Descriptively and in easy to read english

It’s easy to trail through hundreds of your product shots and keep the default file name the same as your camera provides. But before you continuing doing that, let’s discuss why that’s not a good idea.

When it comes to SEO, it’s really important to use acceptable keywords to help your webpage rank on Google. Creating a descriptive, keyword rich file name is absolutely necessary for image optimisation. Search engines not only crawl texts on webpages, but they also look for keywords within your image file names.

Let’s use this image as an example:


You could just use the name that your camera gives to the image such as DCMIMAGE12.jpg. But, it would be much better to name the file: 2012-Ford-Mustang-LX-Red.jpg instead.

Consider how your customers search for a product in Google. What naming patterns do you think they write when they search? In the example, car shoppers may search using the following terms:

  • 2012 Red Ford Mustang LX
  • Ford Mustang LX Red 2012
  • Red Ford Mustang LX 2012

A great habit to learn is to look at your website analytics, and monitor what phrasing patterns your customers use to searches. Then determine the most common naming patterns used, and apply those names to your images.

If you do not want to that descriptive, be sure to use good keywords when naming your images.

It’s worth you reading this Questions & Answers from seomoz.org to really understand how import naming files for the images on your website are. It can increase your on-page SEO, and help your website and images rank highly.

2. Optimise Your Alt Tags

Alt tags are a text alternative to an image when a browser cannot properly render them. Even if the image is rendered, when you hover over it with your mouse, you can see the alt tag text created for that image.

The alt attribute also adds SEO values. Adding an appropriate alt tag to images on your website can help your website get better ranking, it does this by associating keywords with images. Using alt tags is the best way for any e-commerce product to show up in Google images.

Let’s take a look at the source code of an alt tag:


The number one priority when it comes to image optimisation is to carefully fill out each alt tag for every product image on your website.

Here are some rules when it comes to alt tags:

  • Describe your images in English, just like you do for image file names. Clear and co-incise.
  • If you sell products that have a model number or serial number, make sure you use them.
  • Do not put too many unecessary words your alt tags (for example: alt=”ford mustang muscle car buy now best price”).
  • Don’t use alt tags for decorative images. Search engines may penalise you for over-optimisation.

Always do a check on your website from time to time. View the source of each pages and check to see if your alt tags are filled out.

3. Image Dimensions and Product Angles

One big trend these days is to show different angles of your product. If we go back to the Ford Mustang, you wouldn’t want to show just one shot of the car – especially if you want to sell it. It would be in your best interest to show a few shots of the interior, the rear, close ups of the wheel rims, etc.

And the best way to exploit these photos is to fill out your alt tags. And the way you would do that is by creating unique alt tags for each shot:

  • 2012-Ford-Mustang-LX-Red-Leather-Interior-Trim.jpg -> using the alt tag of: alt = ” 2012 Ford Mustang LX Red Leather Interior Trim “
  • 2012-Ford-Mustang-LX-Red-Rear-View-Air-Spoiler.jpg -> using the alt tag of: alt = ” 2012 Ford Mustang LX Red Rear View Air Spoiler “

The goal here is to add descriptions to your alt tag so that searchers will land on your website.

Providing Larger Images – Be Careful

Sometimes you may want to provide bigger views of your photos, which is user experience enhancement – but be careful.

Don’t place large images on your website and shrink the dimensions via the source code. This will not improve your page load time because the larger file size.

Instead, make it a smaller image and provide the option to view a larger image in a pop-up or to be displayed on a separate webpage.

4. Reducing the File Sizes of Your Images

Most people wait about 3 seconds for a website to load on a desktop or a mobile device. As I mentioned Google now use page load time as a factor in their ranking algorithm.

If you have images that slowly “scroll” down the screen and take over 10 seconds to load, you run the risk of the customer leaving your website.

When a customer goes to your website, it can take a while depending on how large your files are. In particular with images, the larger the file the longer it takes a webpage to load. 

If you can decrease the file size of the images on your webpage it will increase pageload speed, you have a much better chance of less people who visit your site will leave.

One way you can reduce image file size is by using the “Save for Web” command in Adobe Photoshop. When using this you want to adjust the image to the lowest file size while keeping an eye out for image quality.


Don’t Have Photoshop? That’s OK

Not every one has Photoshop, so there are a number of online tools you can use. Adobe even has an online image editing application at photoshop.com. The online version doesn’t have all of the capabilities of the desktop version of Photoshop, but it covers all the basics of image editing and doesn’t cost too much.

Other online image editing tools we have suggested are:

  • Pixlr – is user-friendly, and also comes with a  free app for your phone.
  • PicMonkey – has been described as a “great photo editing tool”.
  • FotoFlexer– this allows you to work with layers!

GIMP is an open-source, free image editing software application that can be run on Mac or Windows. It does everything Photoshop can do, but can be a bit clunky.

How Big Should My Images Be?

Try to keep your image file size below 70kb. That can be difficult, especially for a larger image.

5. What Image File Type Do I Use for the Right Situation

There are three common types of files that we use to post images. These are JPEG, PNG and GIF.

Look at the 3 file types and how they affect the same image:



JPEG images are an old file type and has become the standard image of the Internet for years now. JPEG’s are able to be compressed considerably, which results in quality images with small file sizes. You can see in the image above, the JPEG format provides nice quality and low file size.


GIFs are smaller quality images than a JPEG and are used for more simple things such as icons. GIFs do also support animation. It’s great to use GIFs for the plain images on a website (because they are just a few colours), but for a complex image and photo, GIFs are not the best solution, especially as you enlarge them.




Then there’s a PNG, it’s becoming more popular as the alternative to a GIF. PNGs support many colours , and they don’t degrade over time with re-saves like a JPEG. Even though the PNG file type is starting to be used more, the file sizes can still be a little larger than what you would find normally with a  JPEG.

See how the PNG-24 image is over three times bigger file size than the PNG-8 version. This is why you need to be careful when using PNGs.

Here is a guide to remember when choosing the right file format:

  • For most e-commerce platforms – JPEGs will be your best bet. Its because they provide the best quality at the smallest file size.
  • Never use GIFs for large images. The file size will be very large and there is no way to reduce it. Use a GIF for thumbnails or one colour images (for example a logo).
  • PNGs can be a great alternative to both JPEGs and GIFs. If you can only get product photos in a PNG format, try using PNG-8 over PNG-24. PNGs excel at simple decorative images because of their extremely small file size.

6. Use Image Site Maps

If your website uses image pop-ups or other flash ways to improve the overall shopping experience – Google image site maps will help you get your images noticed by search engines.

Web crawlers can’t crawl images that are not called in the webpage source code, so in order to let them know about these, you must list their location in an image site map.



Google have many rules for image publishing to help your website rank better on the search engines that you can read here. You can also use the extension for images on Google Sitemaps to give Google more information about the images on your site, and doing this can assist Google in finding more images than what would be usually found through their search engine.

But using Sitemaps doesn’t guarantee that your images will be indexed by Google, you can increase the optimisation of your website, and especially the images by using Sitemaps. Google Webmaster Tools has many tips for correctly formatting the images for your Sitemap.

On Google Sitemaps it is important for you to add specific tags for all of your images. You can also create a separate Sitemap to list all your images. Follow these guidelines that Google suggests.

7. What is a Decorative Image?

Some websites have an bunch of images such as background images, buttons, and borders. Anything that is non-product related can be considered a decorative image.

A decorative image can add a lot of design appeal to your website, but they can result in large file sizes which in turn can mean slow load times. So you might want to consider taking a deeper look at your decorative images so that they don’t reduce your website’s ability to convert visitors into a buying customer.

Check the file sizes of all the decorative images on your web pages, and perhaps use a template that minuses file sizes for all of the pages on your website.

Here is some advice to cutting down the file sizes:

  • For any images that are borders or patterns, make them PNG-8 or GIFs.
  • Use CSS to create colours instead of using images. Use CSS styling as much as possible to replace any decorative images.
  • Shrink down those wallpaper-style background image as much as possible without ruining the quality.

These are just some helpful ways to boost the speed of your site, which in turn will help your SEO, which in turn will make you be easily found on search engines. Contact us anytime if you need further help.

Image SEO optimisation: Alt tags and title tags

Image SEO optimisation

The new SEO is now the speed of a site, and this is achieved by correctly optimising your images for your website. You also shouldn’t forget to give your images good alt attributes: alt tags and title tags do strengthen the message towards Google’s search engine spiders and improve the accessibility of your website.

The term “alt tag” is a common abbreviation of what’s actually an alt attribute on an img tag. For all images on your website, the alt tag needs to describe what’s on it. Screen readers for the visually impaired will read out this and which makes your image accessible for anyone who can’t see property.

What is a alt tags and title tag?

Below is a screen shot of HTML image tag:

The alt and title attributes of an image is usually referred to as alt tag or alt text and title tags even. The alt text describes what’s on your image and what it’s function of the image is on the webpage. For an example if you have an image that’s used as a buy button, your alt text should say: “buy button”.

The alt tag is used by a screen reader, a browser which is used by the visually impaired tells them what’s on the image. The title attribute is shown as a tooltip so when you hover over an element, for example an image button, the button could contain an call-to-action, like “Buy Now for only $10!”.

Every image should have an alt text, and this is not just for SEO purposes, but also for the visually impaired because they won’t know what the image is for. A title attribute is not required, however it can be useful, but if you decide to leave it out it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

But what if your image doesn’t need one?

If you have images in your website that are just there for design reasons, you’re doing something wrong, because these images should be in your CSS (and not in your HTML). If you can’t change it then give it an empty alt attribute, for example:

What the empty alt attribute does it makes sure that screen readers do skip over the image.

SEO and alt text

If you read the following article from Google, they say a heading “Create great alt text”. Google places a very high value on alt texts to determine what is on the image but also to know the topic of the text around the image.

A fantastic WordPress plugin Yoast SEO has the following stages for images and their alt text when writing your blogs:


yoast-seo-no-image-alt-error yoast-seo-no-image-error yoast-seo-image-focus-keyword-notice


If you look at the images above, they have the same alt and title tags so you can just hover to view them. These are long and descriptive alt texts, but that what a good alt text should read like.

If your image is something of a specific product, it’s good to include both the full product name and the product ID (if it has one) in the alt tag, this way can be found easily. If a keyword is useful for finding something on your webste then that should be on the image, so include it in the alt tag if possible.

WordPress and alt and title

When you upload an image in WordPress, you can easily set a title and an alt attribute. By default WordPress uses the image filename in the title attribute, so  if you have no alt attribute, it copies to the alt attribute. This is better than nothing but it’s actually not the best. You really should take the time to write a proper alt text for every image you add to your website. The interface makes it easy, click an image, hit the edit button, and then you’ll be shown an interface like the below screen shot:

image alt title wordpress screen shot

So you there is no excuse for not doing this correct, other than be just lazy. Your SEO will truly benefit if you get these little details right plus the visually impaired users will also like you all better 🙂

Fix Your Website Bounce Rate with Responsive Design

bounce rate


In the world of Internet marketing, a website which as a high bounce rate is considered to be a very negative blow. It’s a warning sign that something is wrong with your website, so if you want to capture more sales and leads, a high bounce rate is a issue you can’t afford to ignore.

A bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who come to your site and leave after viewing only one page. In most instances, this means that they land on your site, look at it for a few seconds, and then leave.

A bounce rate also shows you how effective your brand connects with your visitors, and today mobile website visitors have less patience than a desktop visitor does. It’s a fact that internet traffic shifts more heavily towards mobile these days, so the best way to engage visitors and lower your bounce rate is to have a responsive site that offers a great mobile experience.

A great questions is why do people bounce? Something brought made them come to your site, it could have been a page title, a meta description, or a social post, but they were at interested enough to click on your page. And they may just leave because they didn’t get the information they were looking for, or the page took too long to load.

A high bounce rate means people aren’t engaging with your website enough, which more than likely means they’re not buying your services. So, reducing the bounce rate on your website needs to be a priority if you want to see an increase in sale conversions.

We all get put off by the way a menu is not displayed correctly on a site that is not mobile responsive, it could be that the text is jumbled and images are not shown as intended. This often means that the user will move on to another website instead, perhaps your competitor whose website is responsive, and much easier to navigate on a mobile device. If your website is mobile responsive, things like Calls to Actions can be easier to find. Some interesting studies have been found by MoPowered, which state 30% of mobile shoppers leave a transaction if the experience is not optimised well for a mobile.

A desktop visitor can bounce 45% of the time on average. Mobile users are more likely to leave so you have to expect a mobile bounce rate figures to be up to 18% higher than desktop figures. The difference between mobile and desktop bounce rate percentages can be even more bigger with lead generated websites because of the requirements to complete large forms on a website. The expected bounce rate for tablets is up to 15% higher than desktop bounce rate numbers. A much higher percentage for mobile and tablet devices may indicate that the website is not optimised for smaller screens.


There seems to be an on-going debate if you can boost your SEO rankings with Google+ really helps your websites SEO ranking. I have heard both sides of the coin, and there seems to be sceptics and believers. At DesignLab, we are true BELIEVERS! I mean if you want to be on the first page of Google then why would you not use of all Google’s free add-ons (i.e YouTube, Google Analytics, Google Maps, etc). Any blind person could see that if Google own the SEO market, then you would be crazy not to take opportunity of all they have to offer.

It should go without saying that a businesses Google+ Page signals (any Google property’s signals) have a significant impact on its organic — and more specifically local pack — results. And while many discredit the influence of Google+, the simple fact is that studies of SERP ranking factors continue to highlight the influence Google My Business signals (and therefore Google+) have on your company’s organic rankings.

Google My Business now makes it easier than ever to manage your company’s presence on Google. But setting up an account and a Google+ Business Page is not enough to keep your business ranking in a good position. It takes a little bit of time, in the following steps will help you with the SEO benefits of Google+ and maintain your local rankings.


Pizza New York

Example of Local Pack results for a search query: “Pizza New York”

A Google+ Guide for Local SEO Success

The following guide presents recommended steps to boost a local business online presence.
Note: these steps apply to a Business Page for local businesses and not a Brand Page.

  1. Set Up Your My Business Account

Visit Google My Business to create a business listing on Google Maps. You will then be prompted to verify the listing with a unique code that you can choose to receive by phone call or a postcard (be wary it can take a few weeks to post, and Google only give you 30 days to activate the code). Once verified, your Business Page is ready!

There is another scenario in which you may now — or already — have two Google+ pages for your company:

  • a pre-existing Brand Page (where you actively post updates)
  • a local Business Page (connected to Google Maps and displays reviews)

Luckily after the release of Google My Business, Google introduced a feature enabling you to transfer core data from the local page (Google Maps pin, location and verification, as well as reviews) to your brand page, creating one united Local Business Page (connected to Google Maps, displays reviews and you can post updates, add images, interact with others etc). Google offers very clear instructions for connecting the two pages.

Once you have verified your Business Page, it is important the business information you supply is 100% complete, accurate and up-to-date. The following are core Business Page elements that when properly optimised, help push your organic and local pack results in the right direction.

• Business Category

Make sure you select the correct category tags for your business to ensure Google displays your SERP result for the right searches. The category describes what your business is (e.g. real estate agency), not what it does (e.g. property valuations) or the product it sells (e.g. houses). You can set a primary category followed by secondary categories, but it needs to accurately represent your business.

• Set the NAP (name/address/phone number)

These are displayed below your business name and profile image on your Business Page. Your business name, address and phone number should be referenced in the same manner across your Business Page, your website and any other platform where they are displayed. Google now has strict guidelines for representing your business on Google+, including:

  1. Your business name on Google+ should reflect your business’s real-world name as it is displayed on your storefront and all other marketing material.
  2. Use a physical address, not a PO BOX, so Google Maps can pin your business to the map and your customers can find you! Trust me we have had many customers with PO box issues.
  3. Use your local/landline phone number, not a 1800 toll free number.

• Business Information

Put your business’s official website because this will create a link to your site. Ensure the company introduction is filled out, making sure it is clear and concise. It is beneficial to include keywords your site already ranks for as the introduction is used as your page’s meta description in Google’s SERPs.

• Opening Hours

Check your opening hours are correct- there are reports that Google may not include your Google Plus page result in its local SERPs if the hours listed indicate the company is closed and especially if no opening hours are listed at all. You can also add information regarding payment options and images for better engagement if you like.

  1. Optimise your Page for Better Local Organic Rankings

Now that your account has been set up, here are some additional actions you can take to increase the SEO of your Business Page.

Encourage Reviews From Your Customers on Google+

Encourage customers to write positive reviews of your business by clicking ‘Write a Review’ on your local Business Page or from the SERP or knowledge graph results.


Reviews can increase the authority of your Google+ page with more high quality, positive reviews, the likelihood of ranking well in the local search pack increases. Just take a look at the Local Pack results for a local search (example above), or the organic results and knowledge graph for a local brand-name search and you will see exactly why reviews are so important- because Google loves displaying them in search results! Users also trust reviews, so the more positive reviews your brand has, the higher your CTR and conversions. So, start encouraging your customers to help you out!

Claim a Custom URL

Once the local page has been verified, you can claim a custom URL to match your brand. This incorporates your brand name in your page’s custom URL to increase your brand’s visibility in Google’s SERPs.

Connect Your Business YouTube Channel

Your Businesses YouTube channel’s settings provide the option to link your channel to your Business Page. Once they are linked, your channel’s videos will be displayed under an additional “YouTube” tab offering additional elements for engagement on Google+. A link to the Business Page will also appear on your channel, sending more valuable traffic to your Google+ page. With the additional activity on your Business Page, the social signals from your business’s account will also play a bigger role in your rankings.

Remove Duplicate Business Pages

Run a search for your business in Google+ to track down any duplicated Business Pages. If you have access, you can remove the pages or if you do not want to delete the page, leave an update directing visitors to your active Business Page. It is quite common to find a number of Business Pages with your company name (such as additional local pages linked to an old location on Google Maps, different Business Pages set up by different accounts etc).

  1. Promote Your Google+ Page to Gain Followers

It is not enough just to set up a Business Page and integrate it with other Google properties to achieve top results in local search. You must maintain the page and use it to interact and build brand awareness across the web. The following are some tips to gain followers and increase your page’s engagement:

  • Post updates frequently and keep your profile fresh. Users are more likely to engage with a page that is up to date, active and complete. Always use hashtags related to the topic you are posting about for better searchability. Incorporate images and videos to encourage engagement from your followers. All simple steps.
  • Add influential people and pages to your circles (especially in your local area). The key to building your following is to engage and interact with other personal and business profiles by commenting, sharing and +1’ing their relevant content as many will often reciprocate these actions. The more activity and engagement you receive on your content, especially +1’s, the more likely Google will favour your page in SERP results.
  • Encourage your website’s visitors to visit your Business Page by embedding the Google+ badge on your site. This allows your site visitors to directly engage with your page, consolidating +1’s from your website and your Business Page.
  • Include a link to your Business Page in other marketing material such as your company’s email signature and your AdWords advertising campaigns.


In summary the key to Google+ success, as with most social networks is to remain active, to engage and be engaging and to send a consistent message to your users. With a little bit of time and effort, your Google+ Business Page has the power to keep your business highly visible both within Google’s local pack and local organic search results and organic results overall.

Five SEO strategies to think about in 2016


Five SEO Strategies to think about in 2016

We are nearly at the end of 2015 and SEO marketers have likely been deep into links, keywords, content, and conversions. As you keep working hard, you would do well to adopt the following strategies to keep your momentum going into 2016.

1. Send social signs

There are lot of digital marketers who complain about low volume of incoming traffic from social platforms in relation to the efforts spent on those platform, but a silver lining has finally been added to the social big picture.

Just as backlinks act as votes for your site, raising your domain authority and rankings, so too does the popularity of content you share on social media.

Late in 2014, Google loosened its grip and took the first steps toward allowing non-Google social media platforms to be featured on its search engine results pages (SERPs). Social media platforms other than Google+ made their entry into Google’s Knowledge Graph.

With the removal of Google authorship, as well, from search result snippets, you can expect social signals from popular platforms to gain in importance in the years ahead.

2. Love the mobile

We all know the coming of age of the mobile Web, it’s been creeping upon us. With the share of smartphones at 80% of the US market, predictions are coming true. Further, mobile Internet activity now stands at over 40% of all Internet traffic and only half that are desktop computers.

Recognising the changes in browsing patterns, Google took the step of tagging sites on its SERPs as “mobile-friendly” as a tip off to searchers. The click rates and engagement for sites tagged specifically as mobile friendly are higher than others.

So hurry up and switch to responsive design (if you haven’t already). Search the site markers that Google uses to confer a tag on sites and implement these changes on your site ASAP, which include the following:

  • Make sure you have buttons that are big enough to be clicked easily on a small mobile device
  • Lots of whitespace to prevent the “fat finger syndrome”
  • Your copy should be large enough to read without zooming in
  • Links that are placed fairly apart to avoid wrong navigation

Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and make sure your site passes.

3. Don’t abuse guest blogging

As content gains acceptance as a road to earning you links and growing authority, there was a mad rush between 2012 and 2013 toward guest-blogging simply for the sake of  links, no matter how irrelevant or unimportant the referring site. Thousands of low-quality websites and blogs exploded, soliciting guest posts and offering backlinks in return.

Not surprisingly, that extent of guest posting sites did not go unnoticed, and in early 2014 Google specifically highlighted guest-blogging as a strongly undesirable method of earning SEO brownies.

In the words of Google: “If you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”

But that does not mean you need to close the doors on guest blogging in 2016; it just means that resorting to spammy guest posts on spammy sites is a bad idea.

To avoid Google’s wrath, resolve to put quality over quantity. Aim to acquire high-quality links from respected and well-read websites rather than anyone who agrees to publish your content for the sakes of backlinks.

Doing so is easier said than done. A guest post on a high-quality site comes with two requisites:

  • Creating undeniably great content
  • Building a lasting relationship with high quality sites in your niche as opposed to simply looking for one-off links from them

4. Move to HTTPS

HTTPS (HTTP Secure) is technology for transferring data between your site and the Web servers with an additional layer of encryption called SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to make your data transfer very secure.

With the recent hacking of large-scale data breaches, including the famous Sony hack, security has been a priority of most digital marketers. Gone are days just e-commerce retailers, financial websites and the likes having to spend time and building airtight websites with SSL encryption.

In a move for safer browsing experience for all users, in August 2014 Google announced it would be using HTTPS as a definite ranking signal.

Keeping the ever-worsening Web security situation in mind, combined with Google’s announcement regarding HTTPS as a ranking signal, it is definitely worth your while to invest in an SSL certificate for your site. It’s even more important if your site needs login authentication or handles sensitive user data.

(However, bear in mind that SEO-related things can go wrong when migrating your HTTP site to HTTPS, so seek an expert agency to help you out.)

5. Focus on contextual search

Semantic search shot into focus with Hummingbird in 2013. SEOs of all kinds rushed to optimise their content to not just keywords but also their synonyms, product- and brand-related phrases, different content formats, and so on.

In 2014 processing capabilities of Google bots became more refined. A smart SEO strategy would approach keyword research from the perspective of search intent. So now, you must think like your user and come up with as many combinations as possible for queries related to your brand.

Instead of using single keywords to build authority, consider conversational queries that use natural language structures. If you do have to focus on keywords, use universal transactional words like sale, buy, cheap, discount, etc. to build probable search queries for your products or brands.

“Content that links back to your site does not have to be in your face with exact or partial match, or even branded keywords as your anchor text,” says Vaibhav Kakkar, co-founder of RankWatch, which offers backlink and on-site SEO analysis in addition to monitoring rankings.

Vaibhav concludes from analysis on its links to rankings interaction data that even a mere reference with no link back to your site adds to your ranking potential, just as long as your brand is mentioned in relevant context.

Even if your products are alluded to along with those of your competitors, search engines pick up on the fact that your brand belongs to the same product category as the others. If any of the brands that share space with yours happen to have high online authority, some of that authority rubs off on you via association.

Google always continues to keep SEO experts on their toes. The good news is that SEO is now more about how useful your site is to the end user than how smart you are at outflanking Google’s ranking systems.

The challenge is that it’s an uphill battle to be truly useful to today’s informed and savvy web searcher.

After years of umming and arring about social media’s relative importance to search rankings, Google finally acknowledged its place as a valuable visibility factor, albeit in a subtle way.


One Page Scrolling Websites SEO

One page scrolling websites SEO

One page scrolling websites are all the rage right now; we see more and more each week on sites. They do look quite cool when filled with great fonts, graphics and transitions, but can you SEO a one-page site and rank?

It’s going to depend on what your particular area is, what the topic is, and what kind of layout you come out with. But if it works for you and for users to have that all on one page, for the most part, it should work for Google as well.

We took a look at what other web developers have to say about SEO optimising one-page sites. The same old advice I keep hearing again is to include adding sub-pages or blogs because of the content value. The only problem with this is it skirts the issue by turning your one page site into a multi-page site. Does this mean you should not use a one-page?

1. Authority

At first glance, authority might seem like an argument in favour of one page sites. Every off-site and inbound link will point to the same URL right. But the counter argument is that it’s more difficult to earn links for the same content again and again than it is to get them for fresh content.

And while one page sites can work for Google, most SEO experts believe having multiple pages with off-site links improves the overall credibility of a website and SEO.

  • Page Authority/PageRank: It’s possible to benefit by having all links point to the same URL.
  • Domain Authority: Questionable/unknown: having a 1:1 ratio of links to pages, and having only one page may inhibit domain-wide authority benefits.
  • Link Building: It may be difficult to earn a continuous flow of new links over time.

2. Content

Search engine algorithms like to seek relevancy; they match queries with content. While a one page site could improve relevancy for your primary keywords, it’s more likely you will alter relevancy for sub-topics and ranking terms that might rank easier if they had their own pages.

Let’s consider Google’s Hummingbird new update. How it works is it strives to better match the meaning of a query to relevant documents, not just matching the words in a search with words on pages. If you have only one page describing everything about your product or service, and all the other stuff found within a normal business website — how relevant can one page be for any one section?

3. Crawlability

Can a search engine crawl your one-page site? If you have any transitions that load new content as a user scroll down the page, you must make certain that search engines can crawl and cache your page from top to bottom. Google’s search spiders have a limited support for executing javascript.

If you’re not sure, copy a line of text from the bottom of your page and search for it in Google Search within quotes. Does it appear in the search results? Another test is to turn off CSS and javascript before loading your page. I use the Web Developer Toolbar for this.

I’ve seen some web designers advise serving a static version of a page to search engines still while displaying the dynamic version to online users. We advise to be cautious about doing something like this. Google defines cloaking, a penalty and banning offense, as serving different content to people and search engines. If you serve a static version to search engines you better be sure the page content is exactly the same.

4. SEO For One Page Sites

If you’re not discourage at this point, you may be wondering: how do you SEO optimise a one page site then?

a.  Content Sections More Defined

Design each section of content as if it were a separate webpage. Select the keywords you desire to rank for and draft the appropriate headline, copy and image alt tags.

b. Separate Content Sections in DIV containers

An idea is to place each section of your content inside a DIV tag. For example:

<div id="design">...content...</div>
<div id="web-design">...content...</div>
<div id="illustration">...content...</div>

CSS id names are not considered signals of SEO keywords, but it can be a good way to keep things highly organised. You can also use them for anchor links, which are also SEO signals.

c. Anchored Links

We know Google looks at anchored links. Don’t be confused with anchor text, anchor links take you to a specific place within a website.

Try to optimise each DIV id for both a usability and keyword SEO standpoint. You want them to make sense for people using your website and have a relevant keyword for the section.

To create an anchor link for each section,

Name the DIV id.

<div id="web-design">

Link to it.

<a href="#web-design">Web + Design</a>


d. Content Section with a H1 Tag

This is probably the one time we will suggest multiple H1 tags on the same page. A H1 signal that follows is distinct and separate from the rest of the page. Just make sure to only use one H1 per section.

In Conclusion

One page websites can look great for new sites and perhaps special projects. We don’t recommend them as a long-term solution. If you have a multi-page website then I recommend leaving it.

Is your website prey to Google Mobilegeddon?




Its been almost been two months that Mobilegeddon made its debut, and so far it seems that its not that significant..so far. So how far is Mobilegeddon ( Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm ) affecting your site? To find an answer to this question, the team at DesignLab has researched a bit and we have some good as well as bad news for you.

The Good News

Is that if your existing website is not mobile friendly, then this really has got nothing to do with your desktop & tablet ranking. This means that if your website was performing really well in the desktop results, then it will most probably be there were it is and MobileGeddon has got nothing to do with it.

MobileGeddon was officially launched on 21st April and is still under a implementation stage. So, untill and unless your website is not crawled by the Google spiders, there are chances that it will most probably stay were it is. This gives you some extra time to get your site mobile ready. So hurry up!

Bad News

Google is saying that 60% of its searches come directly from mobiles. So, if your website is not mobile friendly then there is a real string possibility that you might attract only 40% of the audience that searches for something on a desktop.

Apart from this, we have seen a big drop in some of our clients ranking. The websites that were ranked in top 10 for mobile results have just dropped to 20 position. So, even if Mobilegeddon is in the primary stages of its implementation, there is still a possibility that your website may fall prey to it, and maybe already has while your’e reading this.

So, what should be your approach towards MobileGeddon and how seriously shall you take it?

Before making any decision , just go through a few points that you must keep in your mind:

1. Googlebot must be allowed to crawl CSS & JavaScript to pass the “mobile-friendly” test

2. Mobile friendliness is determined at page level – not sitewide

3.Tablets such as iPads will not be affected by this update

4.Google is currently working on a dedicated mobile index (stay tuned)

Now the first thing you must do is just go ahead and check if your website is mobile friendly or not. To do so, just enter your website in the text box below and hit submit.

What are the solutions ?

1. If you are running a WordPress website, then you can go ahead and just install any of these 3 plug ins which will convert your website into a Google Friendly Mobile site. But this is a temporary solution as it simply just uses a pre defined theme and even though if it makes your website MobileGodden friendly, it can badly damage the UX for your website. But if you wish to just go ahead and use it, then feel free to download it from the below links:


2. Send us your website and we will get back to you with a quote for converting your existing website into Mobile friendly site. We convert existing static websites into responsive websites and even Responsive WordPress websites.

I know this seems daunting, especially if you have just recently designed your website, but as I keep saying to all our clients web design is always changing and ever evolving and if you want to run your business online you need to keep ahead of the game.

Call Spiros on 0431 926 575 anytime, he is happy to answer any questions.