Good web designers Sydney and the world over stay so close to Google, you’d think it we were paparazzi tracking a supermodel. Staying up to date with Google is an important factor to success with any digital project launched. That’s why we offer SEO
and do our best to educate you via content such as this.
Staying up to date with the Google algorithm changes is work, make no mistake about that. But it doesn’t have to be as hard some developers and web designers Sydney and beyond make out.
So Webcoda is trying to relieve some of the pressure but telling you a few ways to tickle Google in the website region – all while having fun with it
The basics of SEO without the eye-glazing conversation
Google did an amazing job of grabbing a growing internet and placing some order to the system. Essentially, the building blocks for this came down to two things:
The words used by people to describe their content, shop or website (keywords)
How useful this information was as demonstrated by how many people link to the info as a source (backlinks)
From here, other qualifications were added such as how easy the information was to use, how safe the eCommerce was from hackers, including paid opportunities, the quality of the web design and so on. It also saw us move to long tail keywords (so focusing on 3 or 4 word keyword phrases), a bigger focus on usability and navigation, introducing social proof signals such as social media and bookmarking, including reviews from people and so on.
Other changes had to be made so stop naughty things from happening such as keyword stuffing, people buying links and anyone attempting to use signals in cheap and nasty ways.
The difficulty with SEO and tracking Google updates is twofold:
Information is thin on the ground
There’s a huge amount of guess work involved in staying on top of SEO. Google doesn’t always give the information out plainly and clearly. Part of this is because there are groups of people that use blackhat and greyhat techniques to game the system and the rankings. Indeed, many an algorithm update is essentially to stop people from using dodgy tactics to outrank good quality websites. This was especially true of the days prior to 2012.
If Google published what gave the good rankings, there were people prepared to use it for nefarious purposes. So they don’t usually produce a checklist to make a healthy website and leave it up to individuals to work out the full picture for themselves.
That’s not to say we’re flying blind. There are some great resources from Webmaster Videos from Google. Google also produced a good practises guide in 2015 that was incredibly useful. There are some individuals dedicated to doing great work in SEO such as Moz and Rand Fishkin that test and clear out misconceptions.
Web designers Sydney and beyond also conduct their own tests, track their rankings and piece together the mystery. We operate on the “many hands make light work” principle when it comes to sorting the wheat from the chaff.
The level of information about SEO is strong and healthy, but it also means that anyone claiming they are 100% sure on how to get you a great website ranking in 3 months is either using dodgy tactics or full of hooey.
It’s a lot of homework
As web developers, we stay close to the fold. But even for people that have web as their bread and butter, it can be tough to stay up to date. Moz has this fantastic list of the changes in SEO. As you can see, there are fairly weighty changes every year with seasonal refreshes. And that’s outside the wrecking ball sized algorithm updates that change the game completely.
For businesses and organisations that use SEO to find members, customers and eyeballs, staying this close to Google is too much work on an already over-stretched company. You cannot be expected to provide major infrastructure to the public while also getting your nerd on with SEO. Your core business may be producing and shipping product, not writing web content. You could be looking after the vulnerable people of Australia or spreading the world about environmental causes. Much of this work doesn’t lend itself to being chained to a desk, tweaking a website.
Still, you want your customers to be able to search for the information they need, buy your products when they want and support your causes. SEO is the foundation of people finding the products and services they need. So you have to play the game.
What you need to focus on to have healthy SEO today
March 2017 saw all the web designers Sydney and the world over start muttering into their lattes. Changes have been made to Google algorithm as an unconfirmed update called FRED. There are a lot of guesses going on about what FRED may entail.
Google is following the usual line and saying “if you focus on quality, you’ll be OK”.
This means literally what it means- quality content rules. Webcoda spoke a bit about this in our suggestions for a 2017 online review. And we explained the advantages of using a Kentico CMS (or similar) in meeting basic signals such as structure and information in a SEO positive CMS blog.
From what has been said on the web and alluded to by Google, this latest update seems to have wiped the importance of some old triggers, reaffirmed a commitment to some that are existing, and added a couple of new ones.
A rough guide to tickling your website’s SEO in the happy place
Make sure you have a well setup Google My Business listing and check it to see if you need to review the information based on structural changes to the GMB feature. Also make sure the details are correct reflections of your address, opening hours and that you haven’t been marked as permanently closed
Include a connection between YouTube and Google My Business (and your website) so they are all happily playing together
Security is a priority so make sure your website is HTTPS (not HTTP), your payment gateway is using secure technology and any membership login service has appropriate anti-hack safety provisions such as two part verification
Labels are everything so ensure that your page titles and meta descriptions are distinct where possible
Phone numbers need to be read and used easily on the go. Remove any dashes, dots and superfluous characters from the presentation of phone numbers and include area codes
Think about your citations and backlinks. Choose the research paper over the blogger with the nice summary for example
The claims have to match the reality. If you want to claim you are the “best of” or similar style of claim, ensure you have the certification and awards to back it up
It’s not the volume of the social media, it’s how social it is. If you can have a group of hardcore fans that comment and click helping you more than volume of users and likes
Have good clean, quality reviews. Major changes here are that if you get too many reviews too quickly, Google will be suspicious. You should also make sure that the same people doing the reviewing aren’t the same people listed as staff. One interesting major change is ensuring reviews are not duplicated across platforms or to websites. They have to be distinct
Site health is an imperative. This includes making sure you are free from Malware and viruses, that the Schema is functioning well and that the old favourites of Robots.txt and Sitemap are in good working order. It also must be mobile responsive and able to be used by a variety of smartphones and tablet formats easily
Concerned that your website may be having trouble or noticed a significant reduction in rankings and/or traffic since March 2017? You may need to revisit your website to ensure it is both healthy from a technical perspective and in the content department.
Give the web designers Sydney and Australia wide that can give you a wonderful Kentico experience to make Google smile. Contact Webcoda today.