Author Archives: Richard Gilbert

What is Keyword Cannibalisation and How Do You Avoid It?

What is Keyword Cannibalisation and How Do You Avoid It?

Like many other industries, SEO and digital marketing has its own jargon. Of all the jargon used in digital marketing, however, the most unattractive and disconcerting is probably keyword cannibalisation.

Despite this, if SEO is a priority for your business and you want to get as much traffic from Google as possible, it is a concept you need to be aware of.

The Use of Keywords on Your Website

A good starting point for understanding keyword cannibalisation is to go back to the importance of keywords to your website. More specifically, the importance of keywords to individual pages on your website.

Keywords are the phrases that you want Google to associate with a page on your website. You also want Google to show that page in its search results when people search for those keywords. In addition, you want Google to show the page in as high a position as possible.

Each page on your website will have multiple keywords. This happens naturally as you write content, but you can also use an SEO company in Auckland to make sure the right number and variation of keywords are used.

These multiple keywords on a page are often referred to as keyword clusters. There is usually a main or primary keyword in the cluster – the one that is most important – as well as others that are all closely related.

There are lots of benefits to taking this approach to keyword optimising a website page. The main benefits are it gives Google a better understanding of the content on the page and it increases the number of keywords the page can rank for. Both of these benefits, but particularly the latter, will bring more traffic to your website.

Enter the Problem of Keyword Cannibalisation

Keyword cannibalisation occurs when you have multiple pages on your website targeting the same keyword. This could be multiple pages on the website targeting the same primary keyword or the same (or similar) keyword cluster.

Why is this a problem? Keyword cannibalisation dilutes the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Instead of all the effort going into a single page, Google has to either work with them both or go with one rather than the other. Both options are bad for you as you are likely to see a drop in rankings and/or traffic.

How Does Keyword Cannibalisation Occur?

Keyword cannibalisation can occur by accident or on purpose:

  • By accident – adding content and pages to your website without a clear and well-defined keyword strategy.
  • On purpose – one of the most common is where websites use keyword stuffing. A good example is adding a list of geographical areas you cover on each page of your website.

How Do You Know If Keyword Cannibalisation is a Problem on Your Website?

There are some symptoms that might give you an indication that keyword cannibalisation could be a problem on your website. They include:

  • A page stops getting traffic from its primary keyword
  • Google displays the wrong page when you search for a particular keyword
  • A page on your website drifts in and out of Google

You will probably need the help of an SEO company in Auckland to properly determine if keyword cannibalisation is a problem on your website and, if it is, put in place corrective measures. It’s a process that is worth doing, however, to ensure you maximise the traffic you get from Google.

8 Benefits of Professional Website Design

8 Benefits of Professional Website Design

You have several options available if you want to develop a new website. You can get professional website design in New Zealand by a Kiwi business – more on this option in a moment.

Other options include outsourcing the development overseas or getting your website done by an individual who has some experience but is not a professional. You can even do it yourself by using one of the commonly used website drag-and-drop design tools regularly advertised online and elsewhere.

The undoubted best option is to get a professional website design by New Zealand-based developer. Here are eight reasons why:

1. You’ll Have a More Attractive Website

A local website developer will have a better understanding of designs that will appeal to your customers. The design produced will also be modern and future-proof. Providing you use a website developer with a good reputation, you will also get a customised design.

2. The Website Will be Better Structurally

The underlying structure of your website will also be better when you use a local developer. The website will run faster, for example. This is important for a range of different reasons including for SEO.

A good website structure also means more efficient and effective code, improved security, and enhanced features.

3. The User Experience Will Be Better

One of the key skills you get when you use a professional website developer is known in the industry as UX optimisation. UX refers to user experience and involves using design, layout, and features that make your website appealing and easy to use.

4. The SEO Foundation Will Be Better

SEO is the process of maximising your website’s ranking in Google. While SEO is typically an additional service offered by professional website developers, they will include SEO features in their design to give your site a good foundation to build on.

5. You’ll Have More Flexibility and Options

There are almost no limits to what can be done when you go to a professional website developer. If you have seen a feature or tool on the internet before, a professional team will have the skills to create a version that suits your business. The same applies to design.

6. The Development Process Will Take Up Less of Your Time

Some of the options you have for developing a new website will take up a considerable amount of your time. This particularly applies when you use an individual or a drag-and-drop builder. You will be heavily involved in both rather than spending your time running your business.

You will have some involvement if you use a professional developer, but they will lead the process and will only need your input to find out your tastes and requirements and to get approvals as the design work progresses.

7. You Will Have Fewer Problems in the Future

As your website will be more structurally sound when it is professionally developed, you will face fewer problems in the future. This reduces downtime and prevents features from breaking.

8. Better Return on Investment in the Medium and Long-Term

Many businesses choose an alternative option to professional website design for cost reasons. This is a false economy, however, as the costs can often end up being much higher.

Even this isn’t the most important factor, though. The most important factor is return on investment. In other words, you shouldn’t look at website development as being a cost. Instead, it is an investment that you should expect a return from.

Put simply, you will get a better return from a website that is professionally developed than one that is put together on the cheap. This is why professional website development is the best option for your business.

What Are Breadcrumbs and How Do They Benefit SEO?

What Are Breadcrumbs and How Do They Benefit SEO?

You probably use the term breadcrumbs in relation to the crumbs left on your counter after making a sandwich, but it is also a term used to describe an optional feature in website design. Not only that, but breadcrumbs can help with your SEO efforts.

They are not the most important part of SEO by any stretch of the imagination. However, they can help, they are easy to implement (your website design company in Auckland can help), and they occupy very little space on your website. Therefore, it usually makes sense to use them.

Origins in a Medieval Fairy Tale

The name of this website design feature comes from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. As with many famous fairy tales, the story is quite horrible looking at it from a modern perspective.

It is set in medieval Germany during a famine. A woodcutter and his wife are struggling to survive, so they decide to walk their children into the middle of the woods, leaving them there to fend for themselves. The kids try to foil the plan by taking bread with them, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that they intend to follow in order to get back home.

However, things don’t work out well for Hansel and Gretel as birds eat the breadcrumbs, leaving the children stranded in the woods.

Luckily, the breadcrumbs we refer to in relation to website design are much more useful and reliable. The principle is the same, however, i.e. leaving a trail so website users can see where they are on your site as well as how to get back to where they started.

Enhancing the User Experience

Breadcrumbs are text-based, and they show visitors at a glance where they are in your website’s sitemap. Here’s an example:

Home > Blog > Category > Blog Title

So, in this example, the visitor is on the page Blog Title. The path to that page is via Home, Blog, and Category. If a visitor wanted to find more on the topic, they can easily click on the Category link in the breadcrumb. In other words, breadcrumbs facilitate easy navigation.

They also make it easy for visitors to quickly see and understand where they are on your website.

The Types of Breadcrumbs Most Commonly Used

  1. Hierarchy or Location-Based Breadcrumbs. These breadcrumbs are based on-site structure as in the example above.
  2. Attribute Breadcrumbs. Attribute breadcrumbs are mainly used on e-commerce websites for product listings. An example could be:Home > Product Category > Brand > Product

SEO Benefits of Breadcrumbs

  • Beneficial to users – as already mentioned, breadcrumbs improve the user experience of your website. Specifically, breadcrumbs help prevent your website users from losing their way or becoming confused. Plus, users are familiar with them. As with most things in relation to SEO, if it’s good for visitors to your website, it’s good for Google.
  • Can enhance search listings – Google can include breadcrumbs in search results for your website, enhancing your listings. Your website needs to be properly coded for this to be possible using what is known as structured data. Your website designer can help with this.
  • Helps reduce bounce rates – breadcrumbs provide you with another tool on your website to reduce bounce rates. A website bounce is when a user lands on a page on your website and then leaves without looking at any other pages. Breadcrumbs encourage users to explore further as they can see at a glance the structure of the part of your website they are interested in.

Compared to other aspects of SEO, breadcrumbs are a fairly simple feature to activate. It makes sense to use them.

Valuable Security Certifications for 2019

Valuable Security Certifications for 2019

This year, we witnessed the scariest cybersecurity threats with major breaches suffered by global entities like Facebook (breached 87 million records). The immense scale of these breaches of information security is equated not only with greater damage and media coverage but also with more IT and programming professionals employment opportunities.

Yes, you hear me right! Over the past few years, the demand for cybersecurity experts has continued to rise. Gaining training in this region is, therefore, an ideal way to build up your career potential. You will achieve your career goals easily and rapidly with the right certification. And as an IT professional seeking the next step in your career, you should start caring about how to make your professional life more satisfying. One possible way you can grow an outstanding career is by continuing to invest your time and money to validate your skills set, knowledge and experience, and there’s no better method to do this than to earn an IT certificate.

So what are the most valuable cybersecurity certifications? Well, It depends on who you are asking, and how you look at it. While some training courses or certifications pay more than others, the only differences among all of them are negligible and all of them are valuable. Want to know why? Continue reading to grasp and learn more about it.

So here is the list of the Valuable Security Certifications for IT Professionals:

CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional

CISSP is a specialized-level IT certification. It is tailored for people who are serious about seeking an information security career. ISC2 or the International Security Certification Consortium for Information Systems offers this certification. It is a vendor-neutral certification and is known internationally for its high standards. CISSP practitioners are in their organizations’ decision-makers. They possess the technical knowledge and expert skills needed within their companies to develop, manage and guide security standards, procedures and policies. There’s no doubt that this credential remains one of IT professionals highly sought after.

Accelerate your CISSP qualification cybersecurity work. Earning the CISSP shows that you have what it takes to plan, execute and maintain a best-in-class cybersecurity system effectively. To obtain CISSP, applicants must have at least five years of experience working in at least two of eight common knowledge fields. Another option is having 4-year work experience with a college degree or other relevant credential in at least two of the Common Body of Knowledge domains.

CBK domains of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium are as follows:

  • Security and Risk Management
  • Security Architecture and Engineering
  • Asset Security
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Security Operations
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Software Development Security
  • Communications and Network Security are the CBK domains of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium.

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is the first and highly recommended certification an IT practitioners should have. It defines the key knowledge necessary for any position in cybersecurity and offers a springboard to cybersecurity positions at the intermediate level.

Although Security+ is an entry-level training course, potential participants should have at least 2 years of network security training and consider gaining Network+ certification first. IT professionals who receive this certification have expertise in areas such as threat management, identity management, cryptography, security systems, identification and mitigation of security risks, security infrastructure, and control of network access.

The certificate of CompTIA Security+ is also recognized by the United States. Defense Department to conform with requirements of Directive 8140/8570.01-M. The Security+ credential also complies with ISO 17024 standards.

The Security+ certification includes a one-off test, currently at a cost of $339, with discounts on CompTIA employees and full-time students. Training is not mandatory but is available.

IT specialists who have been granted the Security+ certification before the 1st of January 2011 will remain Security+ life-certified. Those who enroll after that date have to renew the certificate every 3 years in order to stay up to date. Applicants must successfully complete 50 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or finish the online course of CertMaster CE before the 3-year period expires to renew.

CISM Certified Information Security Manager

The CISM or Certified Information Security Manager is a prestigious certification for IT specialists who are responsible for running, designing and coordinating information security programs for projects at the business level and developing best practices in organizational management. Credential holders have advanced and proven capabilities in managing and responding to security risks, governance, program development and management, and incident management.

In order to get this credential, you must follow the following listed below:

  • You must be prepared to agree to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics
  • You need to have at least 5-years of Security Experience
  • Continue to comply with ISACA’s continuing Education Policy
  • You have to pass the CISM Exam and apply for CISM certification. The certification must be acquired within five years of the successful completion of the examination.

For three years, the credential is valid. You’ll be required to renew your certification after that.

CEH Certified Ethical Hacker

A Certified Ethical Hacker is a trained specialist who acknowledges and knows how to find flaws and vulnerabilities in target networks and uses the same tools and knowledge as a malicious hacker, but in a legal and legitimate manner to determine a target system’s security posture.

Hackers are certified innovators and will certainly find creative ways of attacking information systems and taking advantage of system vulnerabilities constantly. Organizations with experience in keeping their pc and online credential safe and secure and have resources who know how to combat hackers at their own games, they often hired a professional or expert classified as White Hat Hackers who proactively secure their information systems. These experts use the same skills and knowledge hackers use to detect device flaws or access points and prevent unwanted network or information systems exposure through hackers.

The Ethical Hacker Certification is a mid-level certification from the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants for IT practitioners who have a background in ethical hacking and it is absolutely essential to have it.

Candidates must complete one examination to receive a CEH certificate. A 5-day intensive CEH training program with an examination at the conclusion of the course is recommended. Applicants can self-study for the examination but have to have documents with at least 2 years of work experience with employer confirmation of information security.

Due to the almost daily changes in hacking technology, CEH credentials are required for every 3-year cycle to obtain 120 continuous training credits.

Bottomline

The world is expected to pay $6 trillion per year by 2021, compared with $3 trillion in 2015 for cybercrime damages. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates a growing market for skilled cybersecurity specialists or to individuals who want to get started with their cyber-security professional career in the next decade, which makes a valuable investment for Security Certifications.

Many other certifications are available to pursue or keep an eye on. The early you pursue on any given certifications given above, the soonest your career is expected to benefit from. If you are currently aiming to level up your career, these certificates highlighted above are perfect options for you to consider.

 

Author Bio:
John is an Opera Singer by profession, and a member of The Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the CEO of MegaMedia Internet Advertising Inc., and the Managing Director of Tech-Hacker. John is also the current SEO Manager of Softivire New Zealand and Softvire Australia – the leading software ecommerce company in Australia.

SEO in 2019

SEO in 2019

SEO requires continuous work to ensure you maintain your existing rankings and to improve your position in Google search. What are the things you should be thinking about and acting on in SEO in 2019? Here are eight of the most important.

The Advance of Mobile

Overall, a huge percentage of people search using mobile devices rather than computers. While the results are different industry-by-industry, all business owners need to focus their efforts on improving the experience of mobile users.

Remember as well that Google is increasingly prioritising mobile. For example, it has adopted mobile-first indexing. This doesn’t mean it ignores desktop websites, but if your site is mobile friendly, it will look at that first.

Content is Still King

All three of the most important factors about your website from Google’s perspective will be covered in this blog. One of the three is the content on your pages, particularly the text.

Put simply, you must ensure the content on your website is as good as possible. It needs to be sufficiently long (without being repetitive), and it needs to be helpful and engaging for users.

This is as important in 2019 as it has ever been.

You Gotta Have Speed

Another element about your website that remains crucially important is page load speed. Google has been focused, almost from the day it launched, on speeding up the internet. That focus continues in 2019. So, if your site takes too long to load, your priority this year should be to speed it up.

Security Can’t Be Ignored

Security is now important for all websites, not just those where users or customers send personal or sensitive information. Even if the only place you ask people to enter information on your website is a contact form, Google wants you to make your website more secure.

This means adding encryption by getting an SSL certificate. This is a fairly straightforward thing to do, so your website developer or SEO provider will be able to sort it out for you quickly. It’s not costly, either, so should not be ignored.

Evolving Your Backlink Strategy

In one of the above points, the fact that Google has three main ranking factors was mentioned. One of those three is links. In fact, links are arguably the most important of the three big ranking factors.

If you want success in SEO in 2019, you need to continue building backlinks to your website. This involves creating fantastic content that people want to link to, having a good social media strategy to ensure as many people see your posts as possible, and sharing your content in as many other different ways as you can.

There are two other things you should think about in 2019, however, if they are not already part of your strategy:

  • Targeting your competitor’s backlinks – this is a simple concept but is one that can produce excellent results. It involves researching the websites of your competitors to find out where they are getting backlinks from. Your SEO provider can give you this information, plus there are plenty of tools on the internet that will give you a backlink profile of almost any website on the internet. You can then devise plans and strategies to get links from the same or similar sources that your competitors are getting them from.
  • Increase mentions to your website – links are one option that websites have when including a reference to your business. The other main one is by mentioning your company name, brand, or product without linking back to your site. This is called a mention in SEO and, while it’s not as beneficial as a link, it still helps.

Focus on Search Intent

This point is absolutely crucial, particularly if you have a fairly advanced SEO strategy in place already. This is because search intent is one of the main priorities of Google at the moment, as you’ll see in the next point below.

Focusing on search intent means thinking beyond a keyword, instead thinking about why people use that keyword when they search.

The most important keywords are those that have a buying intent, i.e. where there is a chance you can get the person into your sales funnel. This covers everything from someone using a keyword for initial research on a product or service right down to a person who has decided on what they want and is ready to make a buying decision.

Many of these will be long tail keywords. If you don’t yet include in your SEO strategy long tail keywords that have buying intent, 2019 is the time to start.

Get Your Head Around RankBrain

RankBrain is the third of three main factors that Google considers when ranking websites on search results pages. It is something that hasn’t had much focus in SEO, particularly with small and medium-sized businesses. It is becoming more important, however, so this year is a good time to start getting an understanding of what RankBrain is.

In very simple terms, RankBrain is a machine learning algorithm. Its main job is to help order search results for keywords that Google has never seen before (which is about 450 million a day). In other words, RankBrain tries to understand the intent of the user so it can display search results that don’t include the keyword used in the query the person typed into Google.

Start Adapting for Evolving Search Patterns

The way people search on the internet is changing. Of course, Google is still the dominant search player. However, there are other things you should be aware of that could influence your SEO strategy in 2019. At the very least, you should be thinking about the following:

  • Increasing use of voice search – the use of devices like the Amazon Echo is increasing. When people use these devices, they use a more conversational tone than they do when typing.
  • Siri and Bing – Siri, the personal assistant in iPhones and iPads, uses Microsoft Bing to answer search queries. Most companies, however, focus only on Google when thinking about SEO.
  • Amazon search – according to research, people looking for a product will search in Amazon before they look anywhere else, including Google.

Setting Your Priorities

All the above points will be important to SEO in 2019, but you need to focus on those that are both relevant to your business and likely to generate the best return on investment. This will help you improve your position and the results you achieve.

Importance of Long Tail Keywords in SEO

Importance of Long Tail Keywords in SEO

Keywords come in all shapes and sizes. One common way of categorising them is either as a short tail or long tail keyword. Long tail keywords are longer phrases, i.e. phrases with more words. So, “building contractor” is a short tail keyword, while “renovations building contractor in Auckland” is a long tail keyword.

As most companies focus on short tail keywords, the long tail variety presents you with a considerable business opportunity.

Many of the world’s largest and most successful websites get this – websites like The Huffington Post, Forbes, Amazon, and eBay. They all have strategies that target long tail keywords, and you should too. Here are the reasons why:

Additional Keywords You Can Rank For

If you look at any industry or niche, individual short tail keywords are the most searched for terms. This is one of the reasons why they are the main target for most SEO strategies.

However, 70 percent of searches are for long-tail keywords. So, even though individual keywords get lots of searches, the majority of web searches are long tail keywords.

Less Competition

Any individual short tail keyword that has a high search volume will be hard to compete for. Depending on your business, that competition could include major regional, national, or international websites that have significantly more resources available for SEO than you do.

There is much less competition for long tail keywords, though, making them easier to rank for.

Can Bring Significant Traffic to Your Website

Following on from the previous two points, long tail keywords can result in your website attracting more visitors. Here’s how:

  • You create high-quality content on your website targeting long tail keywords
  • The content ranks near the top of search results pages because there isn’t much competition
  • You get clicks through to your website

Traffic is More Targeted

Another factor to remember is that long tail keywords are often very specific. Look at the example from the start of this article:

  • Short tail keyword “building contractor” – this could mean anything, from a building contractor who specialises in major commercial projects to a building contractor who covers a different geographical location.
  • Long tail keyword “renovations building contractor in Auckland” – if you’re an Auckland-based building contractor who specialises in renovations work, this is a better keyword to rank for.

In fact, it is often the case that people use long tail keywords the closer they get to making a buying decision. So, at the start of their research, a person looking for a building contractor might use the keyword “building contractor”. They will then refine their searches as they get closer to understanding what they need, using long tail keywords in the process.

Better Conversion Rates

This point follows on from the previous one, i.e. if the keywords are more targeted, you are more likely to get a higher conversion rate.

Ideal for Competitive Industries and Niches

Long tail keywords are suitable for any SEO strategy, whatever products or services you sell. That said, all the previous points combined make long tail keyword strategies particularly useful if you are in a competitive industry or niche.

This is because you may not be able to compete with the SEO budgets of the big players on the web, whether those sites are international or New Zealand-based. Instead, you have to think smarter, which means targeting long tail keywords.

Less Expensive Method of Beating Your Competition

Whether you’re in a competitive industry or not, targeting long tail keywords in your SEO strategy is much less costly than targeting short tail keywords. Therefore, if your competitors currently rank higher than you, targeting long tail keywords is an approach that is likely to deliver the best return on investment.

Easier to Optimise Content

An essential part of targeting any keyword, short tail or long tail, is optimising the content on your website in general, as well as on individual pages. This can be tricky when targeting short tail keywords, not least because you face the ever-present risk of over-optimising. Over-optimising can be worse than not optimising at all.

Long tail keywords are much easier to optimise. For example, you can identify an important long tail keyword and then write a blog on that topic, using the keyword in the headline and in other strategic locations. After a few additional steps, you will have a page of content optimised for the targeted long tail keyword.

Good for Voice Searches

Another factor to consider when looking at long tail keywords is voice search. Voice search is becoming increasingly important given the growing popularity of devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

When people search using one of these devices, they naturally use language that is more conversational, i.e. they use long tail keywords. Therefore, targeting long tail keywords will help increase the visibility of your website and brand on voice searches.

Improve Bounce Rate

In brief, your bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website from Google search and then leave soon after arriving without visiting any other pages, i.e. they hit your website and bounce off it.

While this rule doesn’t apply in all situations, a high bounce rate can be an indication to Google that people visiting your website are not getting the information they are looking for. Google doesn’t like this.

As a result, it’s often better to have a bounce rate that is as low as possible.

The content on your website targeting long tail keywords is more likely to provide users with the information they are looking for. This means they are less likely to bounce, reducing your bounce rate.

Builds Better Relationships with Visitors

Following on from the above point, providing a Google search user with a focused and specific answer to their query helps to build your brand and increase your reputation. Content optimised for long tail keywords achieves this.

Helps with Your Social Media Strategy

Finally, long tail keywords can often help with your social media strategy, albeit indirectly. The previous two points are important in understanding this, i.e. the fact that content optimised for a long tail keyword is likely to directly answer a search user’s query.

This increases the possibility the person will then share the page on their social media channels, helping your overall social media strategy.

Start Targeting Long Tail Keywords

As you can see above, there are lots of benefits to targeting long tail keywords. They should be a central part of your SEO strategy.

SEO Optimisation of Parallax Scrolling Websites

SEO Optimisation of Parallax Scrolling Websites

Website design and SEO are two things that should go hand-in-hand. In other words, you should not include a design feature on your website unless you consider the implication for SEO. Parallax scrolling is a design feature, so how will it impact the SEO of your website? How can you optimise a parallax scrolling website?

What is a Parallax Scrolling?

Parallax scrolling has its origins in video game design. It is a website design technique where the background of the website’s page scrolls slower than the foreground (or content) of the page. So, you could have a background image that will scroll slower than the text on the page.

The effect is to add depth to the page, making it feel more interactive and making it look almost 3D.

It is an effect, however, and it can be overwhelming and/or distracting when used in the wrong context or when used too much. When used subtly, however, and when the focus remains on the content of the page rather than letting a design quirk take over, parallax scrolling can enhance a website and make it more memorable and eye-catching.

The SEO Impact of Parallax Scrolling

Generally, parallax scrolling is not, in itself, problematic for SEO. The search engine optimisation issues occur in its application.

There are two ways that website designers use parallax scrolling:

  1. To add a design feature to a page on a website
  2. To make parallax scrolling a central feature of a one-page website

The first approach is the least problematic. So long as the website has a good SEO architecture, the addition of a parallax scrolling feature to a page will have minimal impact on search engine ranking, although you do need to consider site speed – see below.

Big problems arise, however, when you use parallax scrolling on one-page websites. The issue isn’t necessarily with the parallax scrolling feature but, with the fact the website has a one-page design.

We’ll come to the issue of one-page parallax scrolling websites in a moment, but there is an important factor to point out for any parallax scrolling element on a website, even if it’s a design feature on a single page of a multi-page website – speed.

Website Speed and Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling will slow down your website – it really is as simple as that. This could impact the SEO of your website, particularly if you already have speed issues.

Where the problem of speed is most acute, however, is on the mobile version of your website. Parallax scrolling can slow down websites viewed on phones considerably, so you should think carefully before adding it.

One helpful approach is to remove the parallax scrolling effect for anyone viewing your website on a mobile device.

Why Parallax Scrolling is So Popular on One-Page Websites

Back to one-page websites and why parallax scrolling is so popular.

One-page website design is a design approach favoured by some for its minimalist style. You need to overcome the issue of having one long page of content, however. How do you stop the page from becoming boring?

The solution that many website designers turn to is parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling helps to break up content and grab the attention of visitors with visual uniqueness.

In other words, it can be the difference between a one-page website design that is flat, uninspiring, and boring, and a website that works and visitors love (notwithstanding the speed caveat mentioned above).

What’s the Problem with One-Page Websites?

Parallax scrolling can make one-page websites work from a user’s perspective, but single page websites are problematic for SEO. This is because Google views them as one-page websites. While you might think that’s the whole point, this is not what search engines want.

Instead, search engines want each section of your website (i.e. each section of your one-page website design) to have its own page and information. This helps give Google a better understanding of the content on the page and where it fits into its search results.

So, to get the best results, you should abandon the idea of a one-page website altogether, giving your website a multi-page site architecture instead. You can then add the parallax scrolling design feature to individual pages wherever you think it will enhance the user experience.

What If You Want to Stick with a One-Page Design?

What if you want to stick with a one-page design that uses parallax scrolling? This approach will never be as good as having multiple pages, but there are some things you can do to improve the SEO of your site.

While you won’t have multiple pages on a one-page website, you will have sections of content. This could be About Us, Services, Contact, etc. Most one-page websites have a menu that lets users jump to these specific sections on the page.

Google doesn’t treat the links to these sections as separate URLs, but you can use workarounds. Specifically, you can use code that makes your website appear to Google as multiple pages with each page having its own unique content, page title, and meta description.

This will enable Google to more effectively index your website which, in turn, helps ensure your website appears on searches for crucial keywords.

The way to achieve this is to use Google’s guidelines for pages with infinite scroll. Infinite scroll pages and one-page websites with parallax scrolling are different, but the solution for infinite scrolling pages will optimise your site for Google search.

Importantly, it will improve the SEO of your website while maintaining the one-page design for users. Therefore, you get the design features you want – one-page design with parallax scrolling functionality – while ensuring your site has the SEO structure it needs.

Final Thought – Analytics

The above solution doesn’t solve all the issues that exist with one-page websites that have parallax scrolling. The biggest is the problem of analytics.

The analytics data you get from a one-page website is restricted to a single page. This means you can’t drill into the performance of each section of your website. Chunking your one-page website into different sections for SEO will not change that.

Summary

In summary, many people like the parallax scrolling feature, but it does have implications for SEO. Make sure you take the necessary steps to optimise your site if you choose to implement parallax scrolling.

 

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SEO Pagination and its Best Practices

SEO Pagination and its Best Practices

Pagination is a necessary feature on many websites, particularly if you have a large number of articles (an active blog section, for example), or a large number of products on your website. How does pagination impact SEO and what should you do to optimise pagination on your website?

SEO pagination is an advanced area of SEO, but for many it is important. Let’s start at the beginning, though.

What is Pagination and Why Do Websites Have It?

Website developers add pagination to websites to improve the way the website displays information. An example will illustrate this best.

Let’s say you sell products on your website, with 1,000 products over 10 categories, with an average of 100 products per category. One of the options you are likely to give users on your website is the option to view all the products in a category.

How do you display that information? Do you put all 100 products on one page? Or, do you paginate the category, putting 10 products per page with links for the user to scroll through the pages?

Most websites choose the second option, including large websites like Amazon. One of the reasons they do is the fact that putting 100 products on a page would have a detrimental impact on page load times.

So, in summary, the most common usage of pagination is to make it easier to display large amounts of information.

Before moving on, though, there is another usage of pagination that you might have seen on websites – pagination within an article. In other words, a single article split over multiple pages.

This is a very different usage of pagination. Instead of helping users, website owners use this option so they can show more ads to visitors, i.e. as the user clicks through to each new page in the article, they see a new set of ads.

In this blog, however, we’re going to focus on the more common usage of pagination – to display large amounts of information.

Types of Pagination

  • Article pagination – as mentioned above, a single article spread across more than one page
  • Gallery pagination – where each image or gallery item as its own page
  • Forum thread pagination – where a single forum thread has multiple pages
  • Category pagination – where each category has its own page, like the product listing example mentioned above
  • Infinite scroll pagination – where the website adds new information to the page whenever the user scrolls

The Impact of Pagination on SEO

The primary concern of most website owners when considering SEO and pagination is the fact that Google can, and probably will, index multiple paginated pages. In other words, it will index page two, three, four, etc in a paginated series as well as page one.

This is an issue for two main reasons:

  • Most website owners put the most relevant information on page one of a paginated series. Therefore, they want users to see page one first. A Google search, however, might return page two in the paginated series, for example, or any other page.
  • Depending on the size of your website, you might run into crawl bandwidth issues. In other words, the Google crawler will only spend so much time on your website indexing pages. If it gets stuck indexing multiple pages in multiple paginated series, it might not crawl other, more important pages.

The second point above is compounded by the fact that modern website Content Management Systems often add strings to URLs. This could result in not only lots of paginated pages in Google’s index, but also lots of variations of paginated pages.

Outdated Solutions

One method that some website owners use is to noindex every page except for page one in a paginated series. They do this in an attempt to force Google to prioritise page one.

This can have unintended consequences, however, including the fact that Google will stop following internal links on the other pages in the series. As internal links are crucial to SEO, this method of optimising pagination could have a detrimental impact on your website’s overall SEO, so it’s not recommended.

This means you should let Google index all pages in your paginated series.

Pagination Best Practices

Let’s first recap on the objectives of optimising the pagination feature of your website. There are two:

  • You want Google to understand that it has found a paginated series on your website. Furthermore, you want Google to know which page is page one in the series, so it knows that, from your perspective, it’s the most important page.
  • Secondly, you want to eliminate the variations of each paginated URL in Google’s index.

Two different link elements are the solution.

The first is:

  • rel=”next” and rel=”prev”

You should apply this to the “Next” and “Previous” links that appear on pages in your paginated series. Often these links appear at the bottom of each page.

Obviously, page one in the paginated series will only have a rel=”next” link element. Google will understand this means it is page one in the paginated series.

All other pages will have both link elements, and the last page will have just rel=”prev”.

What about the second objective – limiting the number of pages in Google’s index to only clean links in the paginated series, i.e. eliminating all the other links created dynamically by your CMS?

The solution to this is the rel canonical link element. Specifically, on each page in your paginated series, you should add a canonical link to itself.

What About Duplicate Content?

One problem with pagination that website owners often highlight is duplicate content warnings. In other words, the pages in your paginated series are likely to have duplicate content, so you may get warnings.

The simple answer to this one is you don’t need to worry. Google understands that not only is pagination a fact of the internet, duplicate content on pages in a paginated series is also a fact of the internet.

So, while duplicate content warnings are important everywhere else, on paginated pages, you can ignore them.

Optimising Your Paginated Pages

The above may sound complex, but your website developer will be able to put in place solutions that automatically apply the rel=”next”, rel=”prev”, and rel canonical link elements to pages in a paginated series. Doing this will optimise them for SEO.

 

An Introduction to Keyword Research for E-Commerce SEO

E-commerce Search Engine Optimisation (e-commerce SEO), is essential if you want to rank your online shop in as a high position on Google as possible. It will help your ranking on other search engines too, including Bing, but Google is the most important search engine for e-commerce businesses in New Zealand.

Put simply, getting a high ranking in Google will ensure your website is seen by the masses.

Doing this means knowing the specific keywords and phrases that people use in Google that are related to your content, website, or products

This involves doing keyword research, which is an essential part of e-commerce SEO.

Keyword Research

Keep in mind that keywords needed for blogs and other website content will differ from those needed for your e-commerce store. The reason for this is that there are different types of searchers online. This includes people searching for general information, while others will be looking for products.

In addition, you will have different types of people looking for products. This includes people who have just started their search right through to people who know exactly what they want to buy and are now looking for an e-commerce store that will give them the best deal.

Your keywords must first appeal to product searchers, not the information searchers. You then ideally want to capture people who are close to making a buying decision.

Find Keywords that Have Buying Intent

The aim is to identify commercial keywords that indicate buying intent.

Where do you find these keywords, however?

You can start with places that people often use to search for products. This includes:

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Any other strong website that sells similar products to yours

Start by typing into the search box a keyword you think will rank well. You will then see autocomplete options that will show you other ideas that are related to the keyword you type.

On Google, you can also scroll to the bottom of the search results page. There you will find a list of related search queries which can also be quite useful.

The great thing about using this technique to find keyword ideas is that major websites like Google, Amazon, and eBay understand the phrases the people use when searching for products, and they understand buying intent.

AdWords Keyword Planner

You can also use the Keyword Planner in Google’s AdWords product to find keywords. You will need to create an AdWords account to do this, but getting an account is free.

Not only will the Keyword Planner tool generate keyword ideas, it also gives you the average number of monthly searches for that keyword.

It gives you AdWords bid information too, which can also be helpful, even when you don’t plan to run AdWords campaigns. This is because you can use the estimated bid for a keyword to get an idea of the level of competition that exists.

Research Your Competition

The final source for e-commerce keyword research on this list is to check what your competitors use. You may need a keyword tool to achieve this, although they can be expensive when you just want to check a few websites.

You can, however, get information by manually checking the websites of your competitors. Things you should look out for are the Page Titles of product pages as well as the titles they give to products.

Keyword Research for E-Commerce SEO is an Ongoing Process

One final tip with keyword research for e-commerce SEO is that it is an ongoing process. Adding to the list, finding new opportunities, and lowering the priority of under performing keywords, will help you stay ahead of the competition.

Four SEO Basics to Begin Optimising Your E-Commerce Website

Google can send free traffic to your e-commerce website and some of those visitors will then go on to buy something from you. Maximising the number of visitors that you get from Google, however, requires SEO.

That said, SEO is a big topic, particularly for e-commerce websites. So, to get you started, here are four essential basics you need to know.

Keywords

Keywords are the phrases that potential customers type into Google when looking for the products you sell. When it comes to keywords, you should have the following goals:

  • Ensure your website appears on Google search results pages for all crucial keywords related to your products
  • Ensure your website appears as high up on these Google search results pages as possible

You do this using several techniques:

  • Researching keywords so you know which ones to optimise your website for
  • Having one target keyword per page
  • Optimising each page by including the keyword in the page’s URL, title, heading, and in the content of the page
  • Telling people about the page to get them to link back to it

That is a very quick overview, but it is a succinct description of the importance of keywords to SEO and how to make them work for your e-commerce website.

Mobile-Friendly

Having a mobile-friendly website is essential for SEO, whatever type of website you have. For e-commerce websites, however, this can be a bit more challenging.

This is because many people consider how a website looks when they think about mobile. In other words, ensuring the website adjusts to display properly on a smaller screen.

However, having a mobile-friendly website also means ensuring all the functions and features work for people using it on a mobile device. This includes your shopping cart and checkout processes.

In fact, it should be just as quick, safe, and easy for a customer to buy something from your website using a mobile device as it is to make a purchase on a computer.

Fast-Loading Website

Your website should load quickly too. This is one area that many e-commerce websites fall down on, but it is critical. This is because Google loves fast-loading websites and it constantly advises website owners to make their websites faster.

Consumers like fast-loading websites too. So, not only will a fast loading website help with your e-commerce SEO, it will also get you more sales.

Reviews and Product Ratings

The final essential SEO basic for e-commerce websites on this list is to add star ratings to the products you sell as well as getting reviews for your business. You should use one of Google’s approved services when doing this to ensure you get the maximum benefit.

While the impact on rankings is not as great as other SEO factors, star reviews and ratings enhance the appearance of your website on search results pages. This is because Google displays star ratings on its search results pages, helping to encourage people to click.

Getting Started with E-Commerce SEO

Of course, there is much more to e-commerce SEO than the four points on this list. However, getting an understanding of these points and then taking action on them will improve your Google ranking and bring visitors to your website.