The best tactics for your homepage in 2014

The homepage is a critically important page for many reasons. Oftentimes it is one of (if not the most) trafficked web page that we have on our websites.

Homepages were once the authoritative one-stop-shop for online brands, but over the years, search engines become more adept at understanding what users are looking for and their purpose has become more targeted. Just as the homepage’s purpose has progressed, so too have the wants and expectations of the people viewing them; and as marketers, it’s our job to deliver on those expectations.

To understand how the purpose of the homepage has evolved, we’ll take a look at some of the original ways of developing a homepage and compare them to the practices of 2014.

Give your homepage a singular focus

It used to be that we would promote all of the major sections of our site on the homepage — here’s our product, check out our blog, here’s this new launch point, look at this new thing we’re doing!  All of this is great, but they end up competing with each other for attention. And while these methods may have worked for websites of yesteryear, it’s not working in 2014.

Nowadays, we can make each of these different sections easy to find and navigate. This way we can focus our homepages uniquely on the most important information, the most important customers and visitors. Whatever you want to say, communicate it quickly and in a visual-centric way — perhaps a video or some graphics that reinforce your primary message.

From here you can A/B test different variations of your homepage to find out what viewers respond to the best.

Cut back on the keywords

It used to be standard practice to try to cram as many keywords as possible into the homepage. And in the past, this made sense because it would have been your highest PageRank page as well as the page that earned the most links.

These days, Google and other search engines are much more sophisticated and understanding. They know your website is about a lot of different things, not just the one page, and are considerate about a site’s authority in different areas and around keyword terms and phrases. This allows your internal pages to inherit strength and authority from your overall site, which lets you focus on a smaller, more refined subset of keywords on your homepage. Focus on brand-centric keywords and leave the unbranded ones for more specific pages deeper in your site.

Communicate quickly

Back when we were cramming as many keywords into the homepage as humanly possible, we needed walls and walls of text to harbour them.

Since we no longer need to accommodate a generous helping of keywords, you can ditch the lengthy prose and quickly communicate the primary objective of your homepage — your value proposition. Many good homepages use simple text and take a visual-centric approach to help the viewer absorb the information in a swift and interesting way — this could be a video, illustration or graphic, just to name a few.

Don’t stress about the fold

In the past, there was a lot of pressure to keep your important information “above the fold.”  But thanks to tablets, smartphones and wider screens, we as website viewers do a lot more scrolling, so really, the concept of keeping everything above the fold is becoming more and more antiquated. Keep some page content at the traditional scroll line, it will keep the experience compelling and draw the eye downwards, encouraging the viewer to keep scrolling and giving visibility to the rest of the information on your homepage.

There is a lot that can be said about homepage development, but these four points cover some very important issues. When writing a homepage, above all focus on clarity and simplicity. Help people understand quickly what the site is about and enable them to find what they are looking for without having to work hard to find it. A well designed and organised homepage will allow your visitors to feel comfortable and confident that they have come to the right place.


If you think your homepage needs some refurbishing, but are unsure where to start, contact our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs. She’ll be happy suggest some tips and tricks to get your website running on all cylinders. p: 950 2143

6 ways to earn higher rankings (and no, it’s not content marketing)

There’s a lot of buzz about content marketing at present, and how essential it is to earn higher rankings. And while there is truth in the hype, it’s easy to forget about all the other tools that good SEOs and marketers have at their disposal.

There’s an idea that the only thing SEOs do anymore is content creation — this is truly minimising the job requirements, which are vast. So we’ve listed 6 ways (out of many) that you can earn higher rankings without investing in content marketing.

1. Better snipets

When I say snippets, I’m talking about what shows up on a search results page: your titles, URL, meta description, maybe even an author profile or a video. All of these things lead to your page, and if you change or tweak then to be a little bit more compelling, you will be able to drive more traffic to your site. But you can’t stop at simply making your teasers more interesting, you’ve got to make whatever is on that page match what is on the snippet, or vice versa.

If the snippets and the page don’t make sense together, you run the risk of people clicking, then jumping off the page, often called “pogo-sticking.”  Pogo-sticking can hurt you in two big ways; first, the engines look directly at this behaviour and think, “Oh, people don’t like this page. I don’t want to rank it.”  Second, you lose the opportunity to convert these viewers into buyers or someone who would share or link to your content.

2. Improve crawl-friendliness

Search engines frequently crawl website pages in order to determine which ones are indexed in their search listings. Search engine crawlers, also known as robots or spiders, collect, store and download pages they find important, such as a sites’ homepage. The search engines may not download pages they find irrelevant.

Go through your website; you may click around and find pages that don’t help anyone. Get rid of them or remake them; you’ll significantly improve your crawl bandwidth and the contentment that Google sees in your site.

Improving your good v. bad page ratio, making sure your models of navigation are clean and your site more index-able will greatly improve your site’s traffic.

3. Make pages faster

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you make your pages faster, the internet will reward you. Some of the benefit will be reaped through Google directly (small factor in the ranking algorithm), but mostly it will be indirectly — lower bounce rates, reduced pogo-sticking and more opportunity to convert viewers.

4. Leverage your network to attract links

Leverage your networks to help attract links, shares, traffic, endorsements etc. Ask your followers — if you think you’ve gotten something great out of working with us, by buying a product, by using our service, interacting with us, please share it.

5. Identify pages that make your viewers happy, but aren’t getting organic search traffic

These are the pages that have a high engagement, low bounce rate, good number of visits, high browse rate, but for whatever reason, they aren’t getting organic search traffic. Often times the problem is keyword optimisation and keyword targeting isn’t quite there. Find the keywords that these pages should be ranking for and update the page, title and content to suit. In most cases you won’t even have to tweak much of the content to get the targeting right.

If you do happen to do a more significant update, relaunch and re-share it — especially if people or search engines have started to forget about it. Just a quick little update and reminder can help you just that little bit more when it comes to rankings.

6. Link building

For search engines that crawl the web, links are the streets between pages. Links aren’t everything in SEO, but search professionals attribute a large portion of the engine’s algorithms to link-based factors (see Search Engine Ranking Factors). Through links, engines can not only determine the popularity of a website and page, but metrics like trust, spam and authority. Trusted sites tend to link to other trusted sites, while spammy sites receive very few links from trusted sources.

Using link building tools, such as Link Intersect from Moz, you will be able to participate in competitive link building by finding pages that two or more of your competitors are linked to, but you are not. From here, you can create a prioritised list for outreach and start getting in touch. For example, if a journalist has written about your competition and not you, ask what you can do to be featured next time — it’s probably something really simple!


These tactics and hundreds more like it are all in the realm of what modern SEOs still need to do in addition to the newer obligations that we have around content creation and content marketing. If you want some advice about how to establish some SEO best practices within your organisation, come to us. Our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs is ready and able to take your strategy to the next level.

Ally SEO and PPC for some seriously stunning CTR

The key to any successful SEO and SEM campaign is utilising data to make the right decisions. The focus here isn’t to pit SEO against PPC, but rather to establish when and where the two can (and should) be used in partnership with each other.

By using data from both of these traffic sources, you will be able to fill information gaps, creating a broader picture of the factors that affect your website’s visibility in the search engine results page (SERP). And now that Google is limiting data more and more, providing it to only paying advertisers, using both these disciplines has become critical to our digital strategies.

How can SEO and SEM work together on a click-through-rate basis?

In a recent AdWords ‘paid and organic’ dimension report, the data suggests that CTR substantially increases when both paid and organic ads are shown together. SEER Interactive recently implemented this report for six of their clients and found that when paid ads were shown alone, they achieved a CTR of 5.66% and similarly, organic results shown alone got 6.15%. Now here’s the kicker — when paid and organic listing were shown together the CTR for paid results increased to 18.06% and organic results to a whopping 38.26%! This impressive data strongly indicates that SEO and PPC support each other, and having both on the SERPs is going to generate synergy and make a bigger impression on the searcher.

Run AdWords first

First, properly set up an optimised AdWords account with clearly defined campaigns, ad groups that are tightly knit to keywords and relevant ads that direct to relevant landing pages. A well thought out and implemented AdWords campaign will be strongly beneficial in the beginning because:

Budget: Small to medium sized businesses probably don’t have the budget to smash out on something like SEO. In today’s world, optimising your site properly can be very costly, not to mention results can take up to three months to start realising — that’s a whole three months with potentially no gain on your company’s targets! By running a PPC campaign, you’ll bring visitors to your site and you only pay when someone clicks through. This way, you will be getting some kind of return and, if it produces any mount of profit, it can be put towards your future SEO campaign.

Awareness & CRO: Don’t stress if your AdWords campaign isn’t producing the profits you were hoping for in the beginning, the value is still there. You continue to bring visitors to your site, which not only increases awareness to your searchers, but provides you with extremely important data. You’ll learn how visitors interact with your site, which pages convert better and the keywords that perform best on each individual page.

SEO Learnings: Google AdWords provides a wealth of knowledge when it comes to how search engines appraise your website. Not only will you be able to see how Google judges your page, but how your visitors do too (i.e. bounce rates, exit rates, time on page). You’ll also be able to see which pages and keywords have better quality scores.

Once you’ve gathered enough data through AdWords, you can start focusing on your SEO. Two metrics that are especially useful are quality score (QS) and cost-per-click (CPC). By looking at the QS and CPC for inbound keywords on specific pages, we can gather important information that Google themselves use when decision making. Based on this data we can build a fairly decent idea of:

  1. How relevant Google deems a keyword to a landing page (QS)
  2. How competitive a specific keyword is to target (CPC)

Once you have this keyword information you can actively decide which keywords to target.

So in the end, SEO and SEM are two traffic sources cut from the same cloth. They complement each other in SERP and cooperate to provide you a better overall CTR, and by employing AdWords in the beginning, you’ll be able to retrieve data that, when later applied will give you a winning SEO strategy.

Ignite sales by rekindling the meta description flame

In simplistic terms, meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages. Meta description tags, while not important to search engine rankings, are extremely vital in gaining user click-through from search engine result pages (SERPs). We’ve all seen them before, they look like this:





As SEO best practices constantly evolve and change, it is easy to take our focus off our meta descriptions, after all they don’t immediately affect our rankings, so why exhaust our energies here?

Well, it’s high time we rekindled the relationship with our forgotten friend. As mentioned before, meta descriptions directly effects traffic volume. It serves as your ad copy, and therefore needs to be compelling, relevant and include a call to action.So while the lowly meta description may not get your page ranking at the number one spot, it will drive sales.

Getting back on good terms with your meta description

1. Solve a problem

Web users are generally searching for an answer to a problem. This is applicable to online retail as well. Say a user is looking to put in an above-ground swimming pool for the summer. They’re looking for one that is the best quality, price, warranty, installation service, etc. and the meta description needs to address this.

2. Stand Out

Google Adwords does not allow you to use capitalisation for emphasis in paid advertisements, however nothing is stopping you in the meta description. Used sparingly it can really capture the attention and draw the eye of the reader. Similarly, numbers can attract attention where words may fail (e.g 50% off or Fortune 500 Company).

3. Key Facts

Include the most important facts that are relevant to your audience. Whether it is size, model or same day delivery, list it clearly and concisely in your description. Keep this up-to-date. Nothing will scare off a sale faster than archaic, obsolete products.

4. Talk Up Yourself/ Use Superlatives

You’ve only got a few sentences to draw a user in — so show off. If you can name drop or boast any accolade you’ve received, do it now. Furthermore, superlatives will help sell yourself and your page content, e.g. “Check out our stunning, top-of-the line [product and/or service]!”

5. CTAs

Calls to action are used in every other form of advertisements so why would you leave them out of your meta description? Encourage the user to take the next step of clicking-through to your site.

A few last words on the subject: meta descriptions should employ your keywords intelligently, but also sell your company and product offer. Make sure your description is compelling with direct relevance to the page. Each page’s meta description should be unique and ideally be between 150-160 characters.

It’s high time to welcome the meta description back into our SEO friendship circle. The more we put into our descriptions, they more we get back. Putting the love back into the metadescriptionrelationship canonly benefit us — the better the description is, the higher the click-through rate will be, ultimately bringing more traffic to your site.

If you want help producing dynamite meta descriptions and amp your click-through rates, or if you are looking to revamp your entire SEO campaign, talk to us.Our Digital Manager Veronica Nobbs will get you on the road to optimisation in no time!




SEO best practices for the C-suite

In the past 12 months, the SEO industry has undergone some very significant changes. And while some aspects of search engine optimisation haven’t changed (relevant and engaging content, keyword research, page titles and descriptions are all still invaluable), the presence of social media and inbound marketing are making considerable transformations in search optimisation, specifically at the enterprise level.

Organic search is the indisputable leader in driving traffic that will convert to a website. Yet, it remains among of the lowest funding priorities when it comes to the website or marketing budget. With organic search results garnering over 75 percent of clicks, it’s a wonder why so many businesses continue to invest such a large portion of their marketing budget into paid media. Yes, paid searches offer a quick fix solution, but it’s a short-term outcome with very few lingering benefits. Think of it this way: paying for search results is a lot like renting space in shopping centre–as long as you pay, you stay but as soon as you stop it’s like you never even existed.

So what do C-suite executives need to know? You’ll be surprised that these tips actually have more to do with company-wide collaboration than actual SEO programming.

1. Forget What You Know

Nearly every CEO, CMO and CIO understands the value of SEO and the crucial role it plays in generating leads and traffic. But with the constant metamorphosis of SEO, few executives realise just how challenging it is to not only gain, but sustain visibility in today’s digital environment.

Many in the C-suite will believe that bringing in a search agency or hiring more developers will be the golden ticket out of an underperforming SEO slump. Unfortunately, it’s going to require a little more blood, sweat and tears than that, and more importantly, teams across the entire company have to get involved. All departments must understand what it takes to earns organic search visibility and work together to complete the SEO objectives.

2. You’re In For the Long Haul

Good SEO isn’t simply a project; it’s a long-term investment strategy. Ensure that your SEO consultancy or agency will offer education across all internal divisions in your company. If a comprehensive understanding is not reached throughout all departments, there will be weak links, disconnects and obstacles from several directions, including management.

While the first step to better SEO practices is an enterprise-wide shift in processes and thinking, leadership must also be prepared to commit resources. Improving organic SEO practices is notoriously underfunded — when a strategy doesn’t meet immediate sale and bonus goals (campaigns can take up to 12-18 months before palpable results are felt), marketing managers and executives are hesitant to invest. The reality is, while pay-per-click offers a quick fix solution, SEO’s return on investment will continue to rise long after PPC has peaked. It may take a bit more company elbow grease, but your ROI will thank you for it.

3. Bring the Focus Back People

When putting together an SEO campaign, it’s easy to focus our attention on giving search engines what they want. It’s true that there is great value in ensuring your site conforms to technical SEO best-practices, but visibility isn’t accomplished simply by changing some keywords and titles. Social influence, social shares and content all have a hand in SEO success. And with the ever- increasing impact social media is having on digital media, people matter more than ever. Great content will resonate with your target audience and allow them to see you as an online authority. If you site is trusted, what you have to say will be shared, liked, tweeted, etc which will naturally boost your ranking.

So there you have it, the top three SEO best-practices for C-suite executives. As a leader of your business, you have considerable say in how far you can take your brand SEO. If you take anything away from this article, understand that good SEO requires development from all facets of a company, discipline, nurturing and patience. As the age-old adage goes, “good things take time”; garnering and sustaining organic search visibility is no easy feat but the success and exposure is well worth the struggle.

If you are looking increase the ROI on your SEO campaign and want some expert advice alongside a wealth of tools to cultivate your brand, give us a call! p: 09 950 2140

How your mobile browser experience affects your SEO

Search engine optimisation can be a tricky procedure for any business — especially on mobile. But as we live in the now, a world of tablet computers and smarter smart phones, we must accept the decline of the desktop in favour of something more portable and accessible. In the end, mobile is the future. While we cannot predict when mobile search will overpower desktop, it is inevitable. And to help ease us through the transition, Google has ordained and established a few suggestions.



Responsive Design — This is Google’s recommended configuration

Responsive design crafts sites to provide an optimal viewing experience — easy reading and navigation with minimal scrolling and re-sizing. And isn’t that what it’s all about? This type of web design adapts the layout to the viewing environment, which is great for mobile, tablet, and desktop devices! If you want to play it safe and smart, consider using this type of design for your next site (will also save you the headache of having to code both mobile and desktop sites).


Mobile Redirects

Mobile redirects are particularly essential to an eCommerce site with a variety of products. For example, if a person searches for “soccer ball” from a mobile device and a result is returned by say, Rebel Sport, that result must be directed to the mobile version of that page. In the event that only a portion of this site is optimised for mobile (home page, checkout, About page), it is recommended that the user is taken to a specific page, and not one which is a mobile-optimised home page.


Stay away from Flash!

Attempting to load a web page from a mobile device, only to find that is uses Flash, generates mounting frustrations as you unwillingly lower the proverbial anchor on any thought of further page navigation. Using embedded video that has been developed in HTML 5 will be accessible to all users. This way, if someone does happen to access your desktop site from a mobile device, the video will work seamlessly, and any attempt to view your product or service will not be thwarted by inflexible Flash.


404’s are a sure fire way to kill the mood

When Google says, “All pages should be optimised for mobile,” Google means it. If your site is mobile-friendly, but redirects users to a desktop 404 page, you’re still not quite hitting the mark. It is essential to confirm that your mobile 404 page is, in fact, formatted for mobile. Bear in mind that mobile 404 pages can be interesting and interactive for your users. Perhaps a game or a quiz?