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Google release Penguin 2.0 update

Like it or not the internet has fundamentally changed the way we do business.
Being visible in search engine results has become a critical factor for most UK firms. It's estimated that there are hundreds of factors that Google take into account in their ranking formula or algorithm.
To a large extent we are all in the hands of Google as they can update their algorithm at any time without any prior notice. The initial Panda update in 2011 targeted sites with what Google deemed to have “thin or poor copy” and also attacked sites that had duplicate copy taken from other websites. This is a clear message that “content is King” in Google’s eyes.
In 2012 Google released a new breed of update called Penguin which concentrates more on inbound links to websites rather than on page copy. It’s apparent that over-optimisation may also be a factor included in this update which punishes spammy SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques. The Penguin update attempts to devalue rankings for certain phrases / web pages / sites where Google believes the backlink profile to these looks unnatural.
Both the Panda and Penguin updates have affected the rankings of thousands of businesses online.
On Wednesday 22nd of May Google released an update to Penguin dubbed Penguin 2.0 which promises to be much harsher than version 1.0.
Obviously Google doesn’t publish a document outlining what Penguin 2.0 is targeting so it’s the job of the SEO community to learn more about the update collectively.
The weeks and months ahead will involve savvy businesses adapting their online marketing strategy. It’s probable that the latest update will take into account the dominance of mobile search and the importance of social media signals.
Long term online marketing strategies should involve:
Publishing high quality content
make sure your site is one that people would want to bookmark
Gain authoritative, relevant links
the days of building thousands of spammy links are gone
Use of social media
social media signals are becoming more and more important
Follow best SEO practices
use an SEO expert to aim for perfection
The bottom line is that SEO is changing and businesses will have to follow suit or fall behind.
Disregarding social media for business because “it’s something that just kids do” is no longer an option.
Businesses in the UK need to commit to rewriting and continually adding new, compelling copy to their websites or risk falling behind in search engine results.

Agree? Disagree? Do let David Clarke know what you think by commenting below.

Is your website mobile friendly?

blogpost-responsive_web_design

Unless your site is cutting edge then chances are the answer is no.

Over the last year browsing the internet on-the-go has exploded in popularity. More and more people are using their smartphones such as Androids and iPhones, or tablets like the iPad, to browse websites.

It’s predicted that 2014 will be the tipping point when more people will be browsing the web on their handheld devices than on traditional desktop computers.

Despite this massive increase in popularity, most of the web has not yet caught up with the mobile revolution. This means that when you visit a website on a handheld device you see the entire website. A design that would normally have a full sized desktop monitor to display itself in is crammed into a small screen.

If you have found yourself having to pinch and zoom to be able to see the words, click buttons and fill out forms on the website then you will know how frustrating and slow this can be.

Is there a better way? Yes! Instead of showing the full desktop design your website should be tailored to fit on a small screen device. Text should be larger, buttons should have lots of space around them so you can press them with your fingers and navigation menus should be tucked away until you need them.

There are currently two main types of mobile website. The first technique that came out was to set up two sites. The main website and a separate website specifically designed for mobile visitors. This was effective but meant that web site owners had to remember to update both sites whenever they made changes. Out of date and reduced content is frustrating to mobile visitors.

As mobile technology moved on a better technique was developed which is known as responsive design. Responsive design takes a single website and enhances it with technology that can detect the size of the screen a visitor is using when they look at your website. If they visit on a desktop computer with a large monitor then the full site is displayed. If they visit on a small handheld device then the website detects this and changes its layout to fit snuggly into the screen space available, adjusting font sizes and padding along the way.

The good news is that your website can most likely be enhanced to support a mobile friendly, responsive design. DBS Internet Marketing are experts at converting websites to use responsive design techniques. Our website has more to read and an introductory video which will help you understand mobile friendly websites in more detail.

Agree? Disagree? Do let Matthew Rayner know what you think by commenting below.

The Role of Social Media in Search Engine Rankings

Firstly, a “social signal” is a measure of activity or recommendation through social media platforms such as a like on Facebook, a re-tweet on Twitter or a +1 on Google+.

So what kind of impact do these social signals have on rankings? Good question and one which is not hard to answer but relatively hard to quantify. In short, social signals do and will have an increasing impact on rankings in search engines in the future.

Google is pushing personalisation more and more in the search engine results. If Google has a good idea that you’re based in Leeds and you’re looking for a “domestic cleaner” Google will display “Leeds” related results for this term. Another method of personalisation used is past browsing behaviour. If you visit a particular website on a regular basis, wouldn’t it make sense that results from this website to appear above others in the search engines? Google thinks so and the more Google know about you, the more they believe they can deliver a better experience; better search results, more targeted ads etc.

Now back onto the social media aspect, taking the above personalisation points into consideration, it makes perfect sense that search engines use available data (likes, shares, re-tweets, interaction etc) to provide the most relevant, useful results to users i.e. the idea of if your friend has liked a piece of content, maybe you’d like that piece of content. The fact is consumers want the opinions and experiences of their peers.


When somebody has liked, shared or re-tweeted, that’s a real person and a real ‘recommendation’ which is extremely powerful data for search engines and why social signals will most likely have an increasing impact in the future.

While this post has covered the importance of social media and search engine rankings, there’s no denying the fact that if social media platforms are managed correctly they have the potential of driving huge amounts of traffic directly to your website and improving brand awareness.
If you would like to find out more and the social media packages that DBS offer, please call DBS on 01522 811688

Agree? Disagree? Do let Unknown know what you think by commenting below.

What should my web pages say?


At DBS I get asked this most basic question over and over again.

I am going to give two responses to the question from the point of view of both:

·Human visitors

·Search engines


Human visitors

There are a few concepts to get your head around to with regards to human visitors.

The first one (and please don’t take offence) is that your web visitors probably won’t read all of the words on your pages.

It’s more likely that your visitors will read headlines, glance at copy and form an opinion of whether this is a company they want to telephone, email or submit an online form to.

Whether you engage a prospect from your website depends on many factors other than the words on your page but, for now, we will concentrate on the copy and then just list the other factors with examples.

Remember that all of your prospects will be asking themselves the same question which is: “What’s in it for me?”

So, put yourselves in your prospect’s shoes and write copy from their perspective.

Think about it. I’m not expecting you to be reading this article because you have an avid interest in DBS Internet Marketing or David Clarke. You are doing it because you want to use something (in this case knowledge) to your advantage – not mine.

So don’t bore your prospects with stuff all about you – write your copy from their angle. It’s fine to have an “About us” page but don’t cram the action pages of your site with this type of information. Put it in a place where your visitors will go if they are really interested.

People have short attention spans so present information in bite size chunks such as bullet points so that your pages are:

· Easy to read

· Snappy

· To the point

· Don’t look cluttered


Search engines

All search engines have spiders whose job it is to read and index your website’s content.

There are some big do’s and don’ts that include:

  

Do
·Write at least 300 words of unique copy for each page

·Write a page of copy per service or product as a rule of thumb

 

Don’t
·Rip off content from another website – search engines don’t like this at all and may penalise you heavily

·Use a “cookie cutter” approach to the pages of your website ie if you have a page for buckets and a page for spades make sure that you don’t just interchange the words bucket and spade


Other factors

Other factors apart from copy include:

Credibility
eg Members of the Chamber of Commerce, Established since 1986

Images
Can people quickly and clearly see what products and services you offer?

Ease of contact
Does your site have a prominent telephone number displayed no matter how far a prospect scrolls down your web page?

Calls to action
Do you encourage prospects to interact by using online forms such as “Arrange A Callback” or ”Get a Quote”?


If you would like a free, no obligation chat about your current website or a new venture please contact David Clarke of DBS on FREEPHONE 0800 988 8366.

Agree? Disagree? Do let David Clarke know what you think by commenting below.

How small UK businesses can use Facebook

FacebookAs of March 2013, Facebook has over 1.11 billion users globally, with around 26 million in the UK. It is the world’s second most viewed website.

It is therefore not surprising that businesses are a continually growing presence on Facebook, as it is a fantastic opportunity for them to reach, engage and interact with new and existing customers. Here are a few tips on how small businesses can use Facebook.

Get as much information about your company on your page as possible, including contact details, opening hours, descriptions about your business, products and services.

Post regularly to build up a relationship with your followers. This creates more chance of your posts being seen and shared. You can schedule posts in advance if you are not able to post for a while.

Engage with your audience. If someone comments on your page or status, reply and interact with them to build a relationship.

Use your statuses to ask questions of your followers, so that they feel involved with your business, and encourage them to like or share your statuses.

Once your page has reached 30 likes use “Page Insights” to see which posts have been popular, shared or talked about the most so that you can tailor future posts to be more like these.

Keep your posts short and eye catching – most people have a lot of status updates on their newsfeed to scroll through and don’t sit there reading each one.

Make good use of photos as they stand out on people’s newsfeeds. Your cover photo says a lot about your business, so change it regularly to attract attention. Don’t change your profile photo as it gives continuity to your page and helps to establish your brand.

Highlight the most important posts on your page that you want customers to notice, and pin to the top posts you want to be seen immediately.

Post about relevant events and key issues of the day to engage with your audience.

To attract more likes, give followers something that nobody else can get unless they like your page – e.g. exclusive access to a competition or a special offer. You could announce new products or services first on Facebook, or display the photos from an event on your page, which people at the event will only be able to see if they like your page.

Agree? Disagree? Do let James Hopkins know what you think by commenting below.