SEO Rankings – is #1 your only goal?

Rankings are a big part of every SEO effort and it is great to see numbers change and watch SERPs display your site nearer to the top.
It’s widely understood that viewers tend to click on sites near the top of the page but here we take a closer look at the fickle world of rankings from a few different angles.

It’s more than a number

Discerning customers use the web so regularly now to shop for products and services that it only takes a glance at a page and a quick skim of the text to decide where the next click is being taken.
This means that the top choice is maybe first to be skimmed through but maybe doesn’t win the next action. Think about when you search the web yourself, do you scan the page first before clicking? So what other factors could be overriding the top position?
  • you recognize a brand name you like in a lower position
  • the title or description of the top ranked page doesn’t resonate with you or your particular search
  • a title or description of a lower ranked page grabs your attention
  • a site looks unprofessional (perhaps the title or description are truncated)
  • the site is not mobile friendly and you’re currently searching from a mobile device
  • the title or description are ambiguous and another ad sums up the service you need better
  • the site looks annoying because some of the text is in ALL CAPS
  • the text is clearly out of date – perhaps it has an old date displayed or is promoting an event which has already taken place.

seo rankings blog

All this scanning is done very quickly. The key takeaway is that first impressions count. If your keywords are showing great rankings but that is not converting into clicks there are a few things to check immediately
  • Are those keywords (or strings) still right for your business (in other words, are they still relevant enough to invest time in further investigation)
  • How popular are those keywords
  • Is your ranking analysis accurate
If your keywords are no longer relevant then a keyword review is long overdue. It’s better to start off with a new list and let go of the old reports with their months of historical data.
If the keywords are not popular then ranking at number 1 may sound nice but is not going to generate much interest. The logical step is to look for a new string which you can focus on in the rankings which maybe has a bigger share of the searches.
Double check your rankings and look at which search engine they are being recorded from. (Ranking #1 on Yahoo and bing is a good start but are those engines the main funnel into your site?)
It is normal for rankings to fluctuate so also look for a trend. In the absence of an SEO toolkit to report on rankings, just key in the searches on your own device and see how your business is presented on the search engine results page.

 

The aim for a business is not to rank highly for a string of 10 or 20 keywords. The aim is to attract new potential clients to your site, so when rankings are looking good but traffic isn’t being won, it’s time to dig deeper and understand the data. A good SEO agency will take the time to understand your business to tailor a plan for you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the keywords and their rankings should be a part of the discussion. If you are ready to explore a new SEO strategy and pin down the keywords which will work for your business, contact us today.

 

If Only My Website Had Responsive Design

It can be a dilemma.
  • You love your website
  • You are getting visitors to your site
  • It represents your brand perfectly
  • Your business is doing OK
What’s the problem? If you like everything about your site but it is not responsive in design, be prepared to make a change or pay the price in reduced traffic.
There are exceptions. If your site is visited exclusively by clients using a desktop, it may not matter. If your client base is broad and your new orders are triggered by existing customers, chances are they are only looking you up to check prices or submit a new transaction. In those cases, investment in a new site may not be worthwhile.

How do you know who accesses your site?

It’s easy within Google Analytics to see a breakdown of how clients are interacting with your website. The ‘Mobile’ overview breaks down the percentage (and actual session number) split between desktop vs mobile vs tablet. On the same screen, you can check the bounce rate – the percentage of people who clicked into the site and then didn’t explore further or clicked away. The lower the bounce rate, the better the chances that your visitor found your site engaging and interesting – good indicators when you are looking to promote your product or service.
 bounce rates1

Is the writing on the wall? (or in analytics?)

When you see a bounce rate that varies across devices then it can be an indicator that you are losing potential clients by not having a responsive site. What would that look like numerically? It may be a bounce rate of 50% from desktops and a bounce rate of 70% from mobile devices. If the sample size is large enough to make the data compelling, then chances are the experience viewers are having from mobile devices is offputting.
If in doubt, look at your site from a variety of devices and see how it appears when you use it. This is a good idea anyway so you can relate to the experience in a similar fashion to that of your customer.

Will things change?

Yes – the world of search engines and search habits are always evolving, however, the bad news in this scenario is that the swing is towards even more people searching from mobile devices so maybe it is a good time to make a change now.

Don’t want a new website design?

It’s not unusual to love your current site, after all, you probably helped design it, it serves a useful purpose, you’re familiar with it, it has evolved to be your perfect virtual storefront. Here’s the good news… there is no need to stress over a whole new website design and the costs which are typically incurred. If you like your content and don’t want changes made, the chances are it can be copied across to responsive design with minimal compromise. It might mean that some boxes appear bigger or smaller, there might be a slight shift in the overall aesthetic but a good designer will be able to lay out potential changes up front so you can decide if a switch is worthwhile.
It’s something to mull over as there are potential benefits to taking your current site over to responsive design without redesigning
  • it could be cheaper
  • it could be quicker than a redesign
  • it sets you up for the future with more and more people using mobile devices
  • there is no large investment of your time
  • website appeal will remain the same for desktop users but should improve for mobile users
If you love your site but it is not responsive, it may be time for an upgrade. You needn’t lose the features and design you like, it can be tweaked slightly to make it more friendly across all devices. If you’re looking for help with a new website or want to find out more about how a lack of responsive design may be affecting your online experience for clients, contact us today.

Does my Website need a Responsive Design?

Despite everything you hear, the answer at the moment is a (hanging on by its fingertips) ‘no’. There are still a few instances where a website without responsive design could still meet your requirements. First things first, what are we talking about with ‘responsive design?’. We’re talking about a website which adapts and can be easily viewed and navigated from a desktop OR a mobile device like a tablet or a ‘phone. If you browse on your own mobile device, you may have stumbled across a site which seemed to have impossibly small text or the frame simply didn’t fit the graphics. Chances are that website did not have a responsive design. Does it matter? Maybe – there are a few instances when the investment in a new site can be questionable.

  • Viewers are only looking for contact information and all you need to display is a ‘phone number or an address
  • Nobody really visits your website because everyone ‘drops by’ or sales are exclusively by word of mouth or restricted to existing customers
  • Your business customers work standard office hours in an environment where employees all routinely use desktops
  • Your traffic is not being driven by social media links which are primarily accessed from mobile devices
  • It isn’t an important factor to the success of your business if you don’t rank well on search engine results pages

The trouble with painting all websites with the same brush is that every business is unique. If what you already have is working for you, then why invest in a new design? If your business is already thriving and shows no signs of slowing down, then having a responsive design for your website needn’t keep you awake at night! If you are wondering if it may be making a difference to your bottom line, then there is an easy way to see how traffic from varying devices ‘rate’ your site. Assuming you have a few pages at least and that you have content to read, google analytics shows you a breakdown of which devices your viewers are accessing your site from, the bounce rate (how many people who land on your site don’t interact further with your site), how many pages on average they view, and how long they spend on your site. There are no hard and fast rules because maybe 90% of people visiting your site get the information they need on that first page, but when you check the analytics and see a discrepancy between the engagement for viewers from a desktop and viewers from a mobile device, it might be time to find out more about responsive design.

be responsive and mobile readyThe undeniable truth is that the use of mobile devices shows no signs of slowing down. If you feel you can ‘get away with it for now’, re-assess every few months to make sure your business is not missing out on a mobile audience.

 

If you are ready to venture into the world with responsive design, our team at Trulium can help you plan a new site and transition to offer a better experience for viewers on mobile devices. Ready for a change? Contact us today!

Practical Hints and Tips for Website Content

Some advice on creating websites and website content is so academic, the nitty-gritty helpful tips are overlooked – so this is a common sense guide to setting off on the right path.

 

Only List Prices in One Place
It’s a slippery slope when you start listing prices across your site. Sooner or later, the inevitable will happen and you will update some – but not all – of the new prices. What’s the guessing that your next client finds the only one at the discounted rate and holds you to the bargain? Use links to track back to a master price list if required.
website content blog

 

Think Generic
If you can reuse content at some point in the future then think generic. Avoid mentioning current events or pinning down dates on a calendar. A good example would be a campaign designed for the Holidays. Choose your colors and style then rotate out the look when you’re ready. Next year at the same time, dig out your generic campaign and it will only need a minor revamp instead of a major rework.

 

Naming Conventions for Pages
The links are displayed at the top of the browser so keep them consistent and logical. They may follow your menu structure but plan ahead in case your menu structure changes, does the page name stand alone and make sense? This also helps with any optimization of your site – thinking ahead about the perfect page name will help later.

 

Naming Conventions for Images
When a picture is new and you can’t wait to showcase it, you’ll upload it immediately. Perhaps the name is a filename like DCS00345.jpg. Take a few extra seconds to rename the file first and adopt a naming convention that works for your business eg sunflower design fluffy pillow. In the future, whenever you need to find that great picture again, chances are you’ll search on at least part of the title and will find it. Spending too much time  thinking of how best to rename the images? Just stick to sunflower fluffy pillow1, sunflower fluffy pillow2 etc. They’ll still come up on the search and you won’t agonize over how many permutations of the words you can find.

 

Don’t Duplicate Content
Utilize internal links to other parts of your site. Not only does this ‘de-clutter’ the pages, you will only have one source of data to update with changes. If you want the same data displayed on multiple pages there are better coding solutions (eg widgets, headers, footers).

 

Open Links in a New Window
Especially if you are linking away from your site, make sure to select ‘open in new window’ so that if your viewer clicks and then looks around on the new site or gets distracted, your site is still open and they are reminded to continue on your page.
website content blog

 

Responsive Design
It’s not enough to use a responsive design template. Take the time to look at your site on a variety of mobile devices. Check out not only the layout, but the page load times and the ease of navigation.
Website Content

 

Organize your Source Data
When you start a folder and have maybe a few dozen files, it’s easy enough to see the screen and find what you need. As your number of source files grow, this can become a time burden. Start out with logical folders and subfolders then stick with your system. It is your own personal virtual filing cabinet. This also reduces the need to fit every keyword into a filename, if a picture is within the ‘summer’ folder the need to add ‘summer’ to the title is negated.

website content blog

Planning ahead is critical and can save you many hours in the long run. If you want help with a website design project or want to refresh the look of your site, contact us today at  info@trulium.com

DIY website pitfalls

There are so many websites that it must be easy, right? If you’re looking to create your own website and take the DIY approach, there are some considerations to weigh. A website redesign can be just as big a project as a website design from scratch.

  • Time – creating your own website may be more time consuming than you thought. If you have prepped your content and know what you want your site to say, you’re off to a great start. It is rarely as easy as plugging in text though, plan on a steep learning curve and some frustration if you are looking to ‘go live’ within days.
  • Being found – Search Engine Optimization is a skill which takes time, experience, experimentation and analysis, it is also a moving target where what works today might not work next month. When building your website, SEO should be integral to your website design and forefront in your mind, not so that it drives the content of your site, but so that it reinforces the message you are sending out. If you want to be found with particular search strings, it’s not as easy as mentioning those key phrases in as many creative ways as you can think of.
  • Doing what appeals to you (and only you) – maybe you like a vibrant pink background, flashing lights or a soundtrack from the 1980’s. You have to forget about what you like to appeal to a general audience and there are serious studies on which colors are turn-offs and what palettes are more aesthetically pleasing. Being unique is not always good – it can scare people away and look unprofessional.
  • Cheap templates can look … cheap – if budget is your biggest consideration then a cheap template may serve its purpose, although it might take significant customization to make you stand out. If you are unable to customize it yourself, you’ll still need help.
  • It can’t do any harm to try – the only thing worse than not having any website is to have a terrible website. It can harm your brand and potentially not only draw in no new business, it can tarnish your reputation with partners.
  • Who can help down the line? You’re up and running, everything is great and then one day a client calls to say they can no longer see your site or the links don’t work …. do you have someone on hand who knows the history, took the backups (or coached you) who can help once you come to rely on your website.
  • website designBe responsive! – if your site is not friendly for clicks from a tablet or mobile phone, you’re not engaging so many potential clients. It’s not just the future, it’s the now.
  • You need to balance what you present with how long the screen will take to load. If it takes a few seconds to load big images and lots of links,  your audience may give up on waiting. There are tricks of the trade and there are compromises to be made, it takes experience to know where trade-offs are inevitable.

 

We are Website Design Experts

You are the expert in your business, if you don’t have the time or the inclination to become an expert in website design, let us help you with a plan. Contact us today  info@trulium.com

 

Exploring bounce rates

What is a bounce rate?

First things first, let’s clear up the definition of a bounce rate. When related to websites, the bounce rate is the statistic which tells you how many visitors click on your site and then leave without further exploring your site.

For example, 50 people visit the home page of your website on one particular day.  35 of them click around the site accessing menus like packages or pricing and the other 15 don’t look further on your site (it doesn’t matter if they go to another site or just stop the session there). The bounce rate is

15/50 X 100% = 30%

Your bounce rate can be found in the analytics for your site.

Need I worry about a high bounce rate?

 

This depends on what you want your site to achieve.  A very high bounce rate can actually be a good thing if you are attracting the visitors you want and they are getting all they need from just one page on your site.

Examples would include:

  • directions to your business – your page is clear enough to get people to your address
  • opening hours – a visitor is interested in your service and just needs to know when to visit
  • contact information

Obviously, the smaller the amount of content on the site, the more likely the design can cram valuable content into that first page that the visitor ‘lands on’ (usually the home page).

 

How can understanding bounce rates help me?

This is where the value of the statistics really kicks in. Instead of just knowing the figures, we can use them to help tweak the site. From the raw data, it is impossible to know why your visitor didn’t click on more pages:

  • the site was boring
  • your site took too long to load
  • your site content is poor and you are being presented in search engines when other sites would be more appropriate
  • it’s unclear how to navigate around the site
  • the site looks overwhelming with blocks of text
  • worst of all – the site wasn’t easily recognized as yours due to lack of branding or an inconsistent message so you did all the hard work in getting that engagement and then failed to capitalize
  • the website was hard to read, literally (this is especially relevant from tablets and mobile devices)
  • all the information required was gathered on the landing page

Analytics can help tackle the ‘responsive design’ issue easily – if your bounce rate is being influenced by poor interaction from tablets or phones.

Look at the data inside the section

Audience -> Mobile -> Overview

bounce rates

 

The first column will display how your visitors are accessing your site. In this case, nearly 47% use mobile devices, about 45% use desktops, and only 8% use tablets. Understanding this pattern will help you know if it is worth looking at the experience a mobile device user is having. If 90% plus of your clients are accessing your site from a desktop, it may be worth concentrating on them. This is highly unlikely and the trend towards mobile and away from desktops shows no sign of slowing.

bounce rates2

Following the data table along, look at ‘bounce rate’ as well as ‘pages per session’ and ‘average session duration’. If the visitors to your site are having trouble navigating your pages or reading your text, you would expect the bounce rate for those devices to be significantly higher than from a desktop. That would also translate into a lower number of pages viewed per session and a shorter session duration. In this example the site has the highest bounce rate from a desktop and the other values (between the two device types that make up over 91% of the traffic together) are very similar. The conclusion would be that this site is mobile friendly.

If you’re looking for help with your website, why not contact us today  info@trulium.com

Your Website – what first impression are you giving?

Over time it’s easy to become so familiar with your website that you lose sight of how it appears to a new visitor – a potential client clicking into your site for the first time. That first impression could be the difference between winning their business or losing them as they click into a competitor’s site.

What to avoid

  • excessive load times
  • be responsive and mobile readylimiting your audience by not being responsive – if your site can’t easily be viewed from a phone or tablet, your online visitor will find a site that is simple to navigate and read when it is convenient for them
  • error messages
  • outdated content
  • poor quality images
  • a confusing layout which makes the site (at least appear) difficult to navigate. This includes a page ‘heavy’ on text with no natural breaks or images. Nobody will read the entire page before they decide to find out more, they will jump between headings and scan the site to decide if they like it enough to keep looking
  • a generic site which hasn’t been branded – when a search pulls up your site and your potential customer clicks in, they scan the page to check they recognize a logo, location or slogan which reassures them they are on the business they thought they were

 

The next consideration is what first impression you would like to give. Are you trying to present information or encourage your visitor to explore your site?

If you are trying to draw clients literally to your place of business, consider maps and clear directions from major nearby cities.

First impressions count imageWhen your business is visual eg. florist, artist, designer, showcase your work so that a glance conveys your colors, style and design. Put your best images in the most prominent place as they are your ‘hook’ to spark more interest in exploring your site. Brand the image if necessary so that it is clear the image is your own and not a generic stock image. If you can’t choose or your product range is diverse, consider a scrolling gallery with 4 or 5 images which rotate.

Checklist

Imagine yourself in a potential client’s shoes (or ask someone you trust who is not familiar with your website for their opinion) and consider:

  • do the colors appeal
  • are my service or product clear to see
  • do I appear an expert in my field
  • does the site look professional and trustworthy
  • is any of the content out of date
  • do I have better images to represent my brand
  • is it clear how to contact the business
  • are the navigation menus intuitive
  • are there distractions drawing a client away from my content (eg excessive links or ads)
  • does the site reinforce the other branded material you are distributing? (business cards, shop front, advertising)
  • is there a link to social media so that it is easy to ‘follow’ you

 

first impressions countA website that looked great a few years ago may look tired to your audience today. If you are spending money on SEO (search Engine Optimization) to drive your site higher up the rankings, you need  positive first impressions to capitalize on your advantage and persuade prospects they have found exactly what they need as soon as they find your site.

 

If you’re ready to revisit the first impressions you are giving , contact us today  info@trulium.com

Mobilegeddon- Why is Mobile such a Big Deal these days?

Your business needs to fit in the palm of your potential client’s hands. This is a mobile world filled with social networks, review sites, a whole lot of online searches and a savvier bunch of potential customers than ever before. These days, business is in the palm of your hand. Any business that isn’t ready to make itself accessible will be left behind in the age before smartphones. Your leads are looking, yes, but they have many options to choose from, and it is up to you to cross their path.

Mobile-friendly sites are just one step, but a huge one, to showing up on your consumer’s radar. Being mobile-friendly is imperative to your business in many ways, including:

Accessibility

We are in the world of now, now, now. Businesses are not exempt from this mindset. Statistics shows that your prospective clients are looking for services via their phones and tablets more than ever. This leaves a huge space for any business that does not have a mobile-friendly site. Sites that are not mobile-friendly show up horribly on phone screens, cutting off valuable information and tend to be impossible to navigate. This error could lead to a lost opportunity, over and over again.

Local Searches

When you are a small, local business, those local searches are worth their weight in gold. Many industries benefit from local exposure, especially those that cater to the direct area around them. Mobile-friendly sites promote local SEO, giving you an advantage when your particular area is searched.

Closing Deals

A great plus to going mobile is the close rate. A whopping nine out of ten searches conducted on mobile phones end in purchases. When a person searches for goods, services, or items on their phone they are usually already set to buy. This point alone should be enough to help you embrace the need for a mobile site, but we have one more.

Professionalism

Keeping up with the times keeps your business professional. Each generation has its particular way of checking a company for authenticity. With all the scams going around, many of your potential customers will be checking for a few key identifiers of shady work. In the 2010’s, a business is considered shaky and untrustworthy if it does not have:

–        a clean, easy to navigate website

–        some form of content on said website

–        forms of acceptable payment explicitly listed

–        a mobile-friendly platform

You do not want to be confused with scammers and thieves. Make sure you show the pride and professionalism your business emits by having a site that leaves no room for worries.

Mobile is, to put it plainly, the present. It is what people expect in this busy world where, at the slightest thought, goods are supposed to appear before them. This world belongs to the consumer, and your business depends on being up front and center when they are ready to buy.

Google’s Mobile Friendly Update: What to Expect!

Google announced a couple of months ago, to an online audience in panic, that it would be coming out with a new algorithm. Google, always the fickle one, is constantly changing, growing stronger, better, faster, and (sometimes) more confusing. What could Google possibly be up to now, you might be asking, and how will it affect my business? How will it affect my hard earned marketing budget?

Well, no worries. Google’s new update is completely geared toward mobile sites, keeping your desktop practices safe and sound. Google’s spiders had some trouble before ensuring that mobile sites were worthy of their higher rankings. The new algorithm will take much more into effect when it comes to all things mobile, meaning that work needs to be done to enhance your mobile usability. To quote Google directly, the changes are in place to ensure “text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”

These are things that a business’ mobile site should take into consideration, anyway. This new update is coming with a lot of reassurance that your other SEO practices will remain effective. Only 40% of the top ranking desktop sites are optimized for mobile use, making this a great opportunity to push your business to the top of search rankings (above the not so prepared masses).

Some important facts to note about the update:

  • Sites are either mobile friendly or not (with no inbetween).
  • These changes will only affect mobile search results (with no effect on desktop rankings).
  • The update is on a page by page basis, so even with only some pages mobile friendly, you can benefit
  • This does not affect Google Adwords accounts
  • Google’s bots will determine if a page is mobile-friendly every time they crawl your site
  • Linking to a site that isn’t mobile-friendly will not harm your ranking
  • Your site does not have to be responsive to be mobile-friendly (but it should be anyway)

For the most part, excellent content can still rank well with or without a mobile site. This can change, though, as Google is a shape-shifter. The best way to stay in good standing when ranking is concerned is to have a mobile-friendly site, a desktop friendly site, and great content. You can check whether your site is mobile-friendly or not through Google’s own Mobile Friendly Testing Tool.

Is your site mobile ready? If not, get in touch with us so we can get you up to date!

Why You Should Have A Mobile Ready eCommerce Site

eCommerce businesses are a growing phenomenon in our computer-savvy world. Of course, an eCommerce site has to deal with both the laws of business and the laws of the online universe. It’s not enough to just throw a site together and start selling your products anymore. Putting in all the necessary work, you’ve assured that the desktop experience your customers go through on your site is impeccable. Even with a site that is SEO-Optimized, desktop ready and user-friendly, how can you assure customer satisfaction? How do you assure that your customers user experience is enjoyable from beginning to end?

Ask yourself a question: where were you when you decided to make your last purchase?

Chances are you were nowhere near an actual computer. When you’re busy, or even just out and about, those impulses to shop don’t suddenly disappear. Even something as small as a taco can warrant a quick internet search for a local favorite. Much like 50% of all internet searches, the beginning of your experience as a customer usually takes place on a mobile device. How frustrating is it to attempt to navigate a broken, too big site on a tablet or phone? Finding that only the name of a business can fit on your screen without countless attempts to resize is probably a great way to drive your search elsewhere.

Trust that your customers feel the same way and are sensitive to eCommerce sites that are not mobile-ready. It’s a must if you’re aiming to rank high with Google’s picky algorithms as well. Having a mobile ready site can lead to:

More Sales 24/7

With a mobile-ready site, you become a traveling salesman with an edge. When someone decides they need a product you sell while out and about, it’s dangerous to hope they’ll remember you when they get home. A mobile ready eCommerce site gives customers access to your store wherever they feel like shopping.

Increased Professionalism

What’s scarier than putting your credit card information into a glitchy, buggy site? With all the scams in the world, it’s important to separate yourself from spammy sites and businesses. Most consumers are warned to stay far away from sites that seem sketchy, which is exactly how a desktop site appears on a phone. A mobile-ready eCommerce site gives the security of professionalism, encouraging your customer that they are in good hands.

Customer Satisfaction

Customers are looking for a fast, functional experience when they visit your site. As mobile screens get bigger and bigger, your site is better able to present great esthetics, helping to convince people to spend more time (and money) on your site. Instant contact via customer service is also a huge plus for eCommerce customers.

Giving your customers a great online experience, even from the smallest screen, is of the utmost importance when the internet is your livelihood. You should consider mobile-readiness to be the route to a truly satisfying customer experience and a required step for your eCommerce site.