What is a cornerstone article

Making your website easy to navigate can be the difference between keeping visitors or losing them to your competitor’s site. A cornerstone content is a important factor in keeping traffic within your site and improving your user experience.

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!

Why Is Website Maintenance Important?

Why Is Website Maintenance Important?

Your website is a very important part of your business. Not only does it bring you traffic, it also represents your business. This means that there are many reasons why you should be always updating your website. From constantly grabbing the attention of your visitors to improving your search engine rankings, frequently website updates might seem pointless, but they are far from it.

Retail shops are always updating their shop windows with latest offers and products. Even though you might not own a actual store, the same concept still applies to your website.

Corporate Image

Your website is a public reflection of your brand. A website which is not regularly maintained can lead to errors, broken links and outdated information and it can cause your business to decline over time. Frequently examine the look and feel of your website, update it to match your corporate image.

Make sure you leave the right impression for new visitors

A very important reason why maintaining your website is important is that it leaves a good impression on any new visitors. The website represents your business and is how many customers will see you.

When a user lands on your website you only have a few seconds to capture their trust. The best way to do this is to make sure your website is user friendly and more importantly, up to date.

Always give a reason for your customers to come back 

Another reason why you should keep your website up to date is that it gives previous visitors a reason to come back. If you happen to have a blog on your site that is regularly updated with new content, then you have better chances of visitors returning.

Many people will bookmark useful sites and will often check the site for updates. If you regularly provide your visitors with new content, then can easily generate recurring visits.

Improve Your SEO 


Another benefit of adding new content to your website is that it helps improve your SEO (search engine rankings). Google love new content. Whenever you update your site with new content, Google will crawl your site and boost your rankings.

If updating your website and adding new content leads to better search engine rankings and more visitors, then why would you not do it.

How Do You Maintain Your Own Website?

Visitors and search engines love fresh content. The easiest way to profit from increased search engine rankings and
returning visitors is to update a blog or latest news. If you don’t have a blog on your website, then you should look into it.
A blog is an excellent way to keep visitors up to date with what is going on in the business, and your trade. In addition to this, it can also be used as a platform to promote and share original content. If you can give customers original content that they can’t find anywhere, then this is a sure way to get recurring visitors.

Deleting Spam Comments


If you already have a blog, then the chances are you are get spam. The comments section on your blog is a way for a visitor to share their views and ideas about your content, but sometimes this feature can be misused.
There are many spam robots that crawl people’s website looking for blogs to comment on. These robots post comments on your blog in a bid to try and attract more visitors to their website. The easiest way to solve this problem is to disable comments, but comments can be important for many reasons, not only do they leave a good impression but they also help show what your users are interested in. To make sure your website is well maintained, you should regularly check your blog for any spam comments and then delete the inappropriate comments.

If a new visitor sees lots of spam comments within your website, then they may think your website is not trustworthy and go. It might sound weird that someone would leave over some spam comments, but the spam will significantly bring your businesses reputation down.

Other updates


Aside from blogs, the rest of your site should also be updated. Think of it as monthly routine where you go through your website and check all your pages to make sure they are up to date.
If you’re own an e-commerce store, then you’ll want to check your products are up to date with the right photos and descriptions. Any new stock or products should also be added regularly.

Lastly, as a general rule, you should always check for content management system (CMS) and plugin updates monthly. We build all our sites in the very popular CMS platform named  WordPress, and the developers of the software regularly update it to add new features and fixes often.

These make your website more secure but they can also significantly improve the speed of your website. Although the updates aren’t very frequent, it’s best to check for these updates monthly.


All websites need continuous monitoring, maintenance and upgrading so they give optimum performance and stay safe from hackers. But if your website does get hacked or goes down we are here for you to restore the site from clean/latest backup.

If you really don’t have the time to spare to keep your website updated, then it’s better to get a professional to look after it for you.

This way it ensures it gets all the care it deserves and everything possible to keep it healthy.

Here at DesignLab we offer a range of website maintenance packages that ensure your website is kept up to date. Whether you need new items adding to your website or existing ones being changed, we’re here to help. To find out more about our website maintenance packages, contact us for a free consultation.


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.

How Video Creates SEO Results

Video has become a very important feature for anyone who is concerned with a good SEO ranking, conversion rates and brand recognition. That’s pretty much all of us.

So how does video marketing affect your website’s SEO, and how can you use it in your content marketing strategy? Below are some key SEO tips, and some practices for using video to climb the search engine ladder:

  • Higher CTR
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Quality backlinks
  • Improved SERP rank

Videos Rank in SERPs

Google SERPs prioritise video results. Ranking on Google’s first page is a SEO priority. Pages with videos are 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google.

Why is video marketing more likely to rank than say plain text based content? There are a number of factors that influence ranking, one is the recent Google search algorithm update – Hummingbird – which prizes “quality content” over keyword optimisation. It’s all about “quality content”.

Google cares less about whether you have optimised each individual page on your site to using keywords, it’s more about whether your sites content answers the question presented by your  user.

80% of the video content served up in SERPs are informational videos. Results aren’t simply viral lolcat videos, but rather more useful content that answer a user enquiries. And this is where  video marketing is perfect tool for explaining your service easy and eye catching.

Here are some best practices for video SERP:

  • Keep Your Videos Short – Keep them around 4 – 5 minutes (attention span fall after 4-5 minutes).
  • Create Rich-Video Snippets – This is the thumbnail beside the description of the content on the page. Follow this guide to creating a video sitemap.
  • Transcribe Your Script – Google is good at parsing video content for meanings, transcribing text helps the spiders crawl your content for searcher relevance.


Videos Make Users Click

Study show that search results with videos have a “40% higher click-through rate.” This happens because of rich-video snippets beside search results on Google’s window.

These thumbnails show quality video content, and make results with embedded videos stand out in a text-only field.

YouTube automatically makes these thumbnails (because it understands how powerful snippets really are), but don’t rely on YouTube to do the work for you. Rich snippets from your YouTube channel can take your user directly to YouTube – not your website.

If you have worked hard to create a quality video, so sit back and enjoy the rewards by embedding the video directly to your website – like on a home page with a clear call to action, Vimeo and YouTube offer increased reach, but nothing beats the SEO benefits of a home page video marketing right on your site.

Here are some best practices for High CTR:

  • Embed Video Directly to Your Site – Don’t slow your site down by uploading video to your server.
  • Rich Video Snippets – Entice your users into clicking with an alluring preview.

Videos Can Make Your Site “Sticky”

The average attention span online is less than ten seconds. A high bounce rate is when people leave your website after viewing a page, this will hurt your site’s SERP ranking, and  people leaving isn’t the best way to sell a product. A engaging video is the easiest way to make your customer stay at your page.

Google introduced a new metric into their search ranking algorithm called “dwell time,” this monitors the amount of time a user spends on a website after click-through from the SERP. The longer the user spends on a website, the more likely the content is relevant. Google gives relevant websites more weight via a “Page Authority.”

Page Authority

Visitors who view a video stay two minutes longer and are 65% more likely to buy than other site visitors.” Combine a high time with a low bounce rate, and you’ll have a amazing one-two SERP ranking pull.

Here are some best practices to reduce a bounce rate:

  • Embed Video “Above the Fold” – The fold is the imaginary line where a user has to scroll to see more content. On most web browsers it’s around 550 – 600 pixels.
  • Make Sure You Use Accurate Video Titles – Don’t trick users with misleading headlines. No one likes being misled, and if they feel betrayed, they will never return.
  • Panic Not – A 50% bounce rate is ok.

Videos Can Build Links

Having a video compared to just text will nearly triple the average number of linking sites. Video generate links.

You see people are the ones creating links to your content – not the bots – which mean people love video. Content we create is for the user.

We live in a world where articles get skimmed, videos are lanterns of conciseness, and also a signal of intent that says yes, I want to communicate something to you. This “content” is going to be something you will enjoy. Videos are easy to consume, and that is why they generate audiences.

There is a saying “A video is worth 1.8 million words”. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video shoots at 30 frames per second, so a 60-second video really does have the equivalent of 1.8 million words.

People like video because they are useful. People don’t share content that is rubbish. So, to get the success you’re looking for, it’s really important that you really think about who you want to share the video with.

Video can communicate useful information easily, they allow people a chance to sample the content before committing to reading lengthy and sometimes boring content, and a quality video with a specific marketing goal creates high backlinks to your site.

Here are some best practices for Link-Building:

  • Embed Your Video – Don’t just add a link to YouTube because it won’t help your SEO.
  • Focus The Video on a Single Topic – Keep it simple, but entertaining.
  • Create High Quality Video – A Amateur video can make you look unprofessional, and that’s bad for business.

Quality video will improve the way you approach SEO. That in itself is worth more than all the search engine tips you can find.

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 🙂

Speed Is the New SEO

If you’re website doesn’t load in one second, you’re web developer is building it wrong.



We are in the age of mobile devices. Nearly every person in this world uses a mobile device when looking for information online now. So for this reason alone, businesses have catered to the needs of the mobile users worldwide to ensure a positive and satisfying experience. Google gives a mobile-friendly site a boost in search engine ranking in relation to its recent algorithm update.

Google has updated the page speed ranking factor to look at the page speed of your mobile site.

But once a business has gained a competitive advantage by making its website mobile-friendly, what should be next?

Speed, and why it matters

Page speed is the to the time it takes a page to display its content (i.e. text, images, etc).

Google uses a point-based system that ranges from 0-100 that looks at two main components of page speed: time to above – the-fold load and time to full page load.

When optimised correctly, page speed can work amazingly for your brand. Fast sites that load faster, receive 25% more views in ads and lower bounce rates.

That’s why your page speed directly affects your sales and conversions. Basically, the faster your web page loads, the more revenue you’ll make.

Optimisation for speed

The first step to optimising a website’s speed is to analyse its current page loading. Then, if and after confirming it has a slow loading time, businesses can get started with speeding up their sites by optimising the images, using a caching system and minifying code.

One great way to guarantee a fast website is to use a website builder that has pre-designed with speed in mind. Then you don’t have to optimise page speed yourself, which can take a lot of time and effort, and knowledge.

There are a bunch of website builders that vary in performance in speed, these includes SquareSpace, WordPress, Weebly, Wix and Duda.

How fast does the site need to be?

Google looks for a minimum speed of less than half a second. But, to be fair they have set the threshold to around 2 seconds. Beyond that, your site is slow.

Because the best way to building speed is starting with a CMS platform that has already been optimised, we need to look at the actual Google PageSpeed Insights test results of the above leading selected website builders out in the market.


WordPress scores 62/100 on a mobile device and 83/100 on a desktop. This was based on WordPress first theme (Edin) for businesses.


Weebly scores 48/100on a mobile device and 58/100 on a desktop. The was based on Weebly’s LoveSeat theme.


Wix scores 48/100 on mobile device and 71/100 on a desktop. The was based on its Barista theme.


Duda scores 91/100 on mobile device and 97/100 on a desktop. The was based on one of Duda’s websites.

Out of the four, Duda has the highest score for speed performance.

Selling Speed to your clients

Small businesses have accepted mobile optimisation, and therefore followed the best steps to gain a loyal customer. The next ranking factor is page speed. While brands can tap into methods to speed up their sites, building their online businesses from the start while using a platform that’s designed to the latest speed advantages puts them ahead of the race.

Customers are making quick judgments about you the moment they arrive at your site. A few seconds of delay creates a strong negative impression.


So, speed is important and does already play an important role in SEO. Page speed is fast becoming the critical element that any online business cannot ignore. Make your customers web experiences enjoyable. Don’t give them any reason to choose your competitors because you failed to optimise your site for speed. Using a platform built for speed is a sensible way for you to guarantee a better and higher conversion, a better Google ranking makes customer satisfaction.

The Ultimate WordPress SEO Checklist

How exciting, you have just finished your WordPress website and you all set to launch, but have you optimised your site for the best possible SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) results? Below is our Ultimate WordPress SEO Checklist.

SEO Checklist

1. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools

Google Analytics is brilliant! It generates statistical information about your website traffic and it’s sources. The Google Webmaster tool, helps in optimising the websites visibility and provides information about how a particular website is performing. It also shows information about the keywords, and the queries that are boosting the ranking of each of the pages. This fetches further information, checking if there is any negative impact on the ranking of the website. And the best thing… it’s all free!

Google Analytics Code

2. Meta Keywords and Description

Meta descriptions are descriptive information about a page that explains “the about” of the pages to a search engine such as Google. The characters for meta descriptions must be under 156 characters. These descriptions help the user gain the relevant page information prior to actually clicking the page. WordPress SEO Plugins that help you in this are Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack.

Meta Keywords and Description

3.  Content, Keywords & Pages Titles

It’s important to have a unique page, and the post title is critical, this is because it is generated with on-page optimisation practices, which include placement and keyword density, meta tags and HTML codes. These titles usually must have a 50-65 character limit. For the best approach of keywords, it is recommended to allow 10 keywords per page. It is also really important to have relevant content on each page. Unique and relevant content is one of the fundamental elements that Google always recommends for better website ranking. Relevant keywords will help for the better search ranking also.

Content, Keywords & Page Titles

4. Header Tags

Headers tags come in the form of H1, H2, H3, and H4. These are placed at different spots on a web page to help the search engines locate key headlines plus information, providing the most relevant results to the users searching. The H1 tag should always be placed at the top of a page. H2 tags can help in determining different sections on a page. H3 and H4 tags can be used for subheadings that are specific links to the content.

Header Tags

5. Page URLs – Permalinks

The URL of the content published on a WordPress website is called permalinks. These are the links that are entered into a browser by a user when looking for specific content. As soon as search engines find the best link match, the results are displayed. This means it is very important to optimise the permalinks with the most relevant searched keywords.

Page URLs - Permalinks

6. Image Optimisation

Images which have been described with relevant content are more likely to get a better ranking. Image optimisation (setting specific image URLs), on the other side, is an additional practice to offer improved page ranking. You need to make sure you are naming your files properly i.e. having relevant content with the best use of a top searchable keyword for a specific subject. This will give you better rankings of the pages on the web. Another way is making sure the file size is kept low, that way is loads faster. There is a WordPress plugin named EWWW Image Optimizer that automatically optimises your images as you upload them to your site.

Image Optimisation

7. Page Loading Times

The speed of a page loading will always be important. Visitors usually don’t wait for the page to load they are taking more than 5 seconds. So, it is very important to host the site with  SSD web host  providers like Web Hosting Hub, &  incorporate the page speed online tool, like Disable Page Revision, for helping pages load quicker. If a user has to wait for a page to load, they may leave the site, which could result in a loss of business. You can use tools like Google Pagespeed Insights which will analyse elements of your website and allow you suggestions on how to improve your site.

Page Loading Times

8. Internal Links

WP Internal Links Lite lets you create links that tailor better results in search engines. Developers have the option of including URLs to related pages. Linking another related posts to a specific page helps search engines crawl on the secondary posts and fetch information, this allows a better chance of page ranking.

Internal Links

9. Utilise WordPress Plugins

There are a ton of WordPress plugins available to ensure efficient search engine optimisation, security issues and file backup issues. For every one of these concerns there is a plugin out there available, including Yoast SEO plugin, BulletProof Security and BackUPWordPress. These plugins have been designed to make your’e SEO easier to configure.

SEO Plugins for WordPress

The SEO checklist above gives your WordPress site the edge over all other related websites. If you are set to launch your WordPress website, make sure you have these essentials covered.

If you require any help we at DesignLab can look after all this for you.

WordPress Checklist Infographic

Thanks to Capsicum Media for the below infographic.

Wordpress Checklist

SEO Tips for Designers

SEO For Designers

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a important component of any website. As a web designer or graphic designer, it’s important you understand how SEO works. There is in fact a serious lack of resources for designers who don’t know about SEO out there. Here are some easy SEO NJ tips for designers that will immediately improve the SEO on all of your websites.

Tip 1: Do Not Cheat

Do you think you could outsmart a room full of genius scientists with PHDs? No. Google has many genius scientists with PHDs, and their job is to work tiring hours a week to make sure you can’t fool Google. No matter, what you do, you can’t outsmart them. Just ignore trying to cheat Google and focus on making a web site with great content, and your site will show up fine in the search engine.

Tip 2: Use Your Keywords

Pick some keywords or phrases that describe your website. Use words related to them, whenever it’s natural to do so. Repeating keywords is no good, use them in headlines, sentences and links.

Tip 3: Yes, Content is King

Users search for content. If your website doesn’t have the content people want, then no one will look at it. It’s that simple.

Each page should lead with a relevant H1 tag with one of your keywords, and the first paragraph of text should be a summary of the rest of the page.

Tip 4Clean Code is Searchable Code

Build your website and write clean and readable HTML. It should follow the conceptual structure of your page, this means navigation is first, followed by the H1 tag, then the first paragraph. Try to use descriptive tags when possible. For example using UL for lists, P for paragraphs, H tags for heads and STRONG for bolded text.

Your site can still look great, this is why you CSS.

Tip 5: Home Page is the Most Important Page

The home page is the secret to your website being found by Google. It has to summarise the rest of the site, and give a clear, compelling reason for a user to look at the other pages in the site. It needs to sell your product or company, see it like a advert. You have one shot only to attract the buyer.

Tip 6: Links Need to Have Meaning


Search engines do pay a lot of attention to the links on your website. Never use words like “click here” or “see more” for a link. The link text needs to describe where the link will take the user, for example “examples of CSS web design” or “learn how you can improve your SEO.”

The more relevant the links on a page, the easier to find the page becomes. Don’t go overboard, and don’t link to anything irrelevant.

Tip 7: Title Tags

Every page in your website should have a title with the site name and a short description of the page. About 70 letters in total. Include one keyword. Remember the page title is what appears in Google’s search results, it should give your user a reason to click on it.

Your navigation links should have title attributes that match the titles of your pages. This looks like <a title=”name of page” href=”link”>. It’s a small thing, but it will give you a significant SEO improvement.

Tip 8: Alt Tags Do Matter

Every image on your website needs to have an alt tag, especially images that are relevant to the page. If your page is focused on clothes for example, then label a screenshot “car for sale”, this will improve your page’s searchability. Labelling it “Pic-001” or “image” will not help.

Tip 9: Ignore Meta Tags

A long time ago meta tags were the secret to good searchable SEO. Those days are behind us now. The only meta tag that really matters now is the description tag. Some search engines may use it to provide the text under the link to your page in their results, but make sure it describes the page in a way that explains why a user searching for your content would want to look at your page.

Tip 10: Must have a Site Map

Just make sure you have a site map. This is an xml file that describes the breakdown of pages in your website. Make one, and upload it to Google.

Just remember that search engines are designed to find what a user want. This means the best way to make your site findable is to design it for a dummy (make it dummy proof). Your job as a web designer is to solve a problem, not make art, or feed your ego.

Your problem is to provide your users with a website that is easy to use and have helpful information for what they’re looking for. If you can do that, then the search engines will find you.

I recommend this page also SEO Guide for Designers.