WEBSITE DESIGN & ONLINE MARKETING

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Why is SEO important for your business?

Written by Hamish Braddick on March 29th, 2011.      0 comments

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the way you structure your website and your content so that it can be found and indexed by search engines like Google. When you optimise your website for search engines, it makes your site visible to search engines and therefore to the users.

Why is SEO important?

Studies show that 95% of NZ adult Internet users research goods and services online before making a purchase. This means that even though people might see your offline advertising offline or a sign they are highly likely to jump online to search for the products or services.

It's also well known that most users only browse through the first page and if they don't find answers to their query, they will click through to the second page but very few go past the second page. So if your website is not listed in the first couple of pages, chances are no one can find you. Instead, the users will probably find your competitors. Therefore, being seen on the first page of the search results should be one of your priorities when promoting your website.

To get your website ranking highly on Google, it pays to understand how Google actually works.

> Read our article on how Google works

 

Why doesn’t my website appear in Google?

Written by Hamish Braddick on March 28th, 2011.      0 comments

We are often asked this question not long after a new website has gone live. To answer this question we first of all need to explain how Google works…

Google employs some of the world’s greatest minds to continually develop the complex ranking process which ensures that the top results of a user's search are of the highest relevance and quality.

This is of course what makes Google the world’s most popular search engine.

Understanding how Google works

Google is constantly looking for new websites and updated content on the Internet using automated programs known as 'spiders' or 'robots'.

These robots use links between websites to travel around the internet and find new websites. If your website is not linked to the rest of the web, the robots will not be able to access it. And Google will not be able to find it.

When Google finds a new web page, it will analyse the content, known as 'crawling' the content. It will then transport the information back to the Google data centre, where Google stores it, known as 'caching'.

Once Google has a copy of your website in its index, it will send out the robots to check for new content on a continual basis. If the robots find new or updated content Google will add it to its index. The period between visits will vary from site to site, but the robots are intelligent and they will not waste their time visiting websites regularly if the content does not change regularly.

Relevancy

Once Google knows about your website, it then needs to calculate the 'relevancy' of each page to a user's search term. So when a user performs a search with Google, Google calculates the relevancy of search term to the web page. If the search term is not relevant, or the search term does not match the content of the web page, Google will not list the page in the results.

Google also uses geographic location to help match a website to a user's search query. Google will try to serve web pages that match the users geographic location.

Quality

Relevancy is just part of the equation. Remember there are likely to be hundreds, thousands or millions of other websites that are 'relevant' to a user's search query. And only a few spots on the front page of the search results. Therefore, the next thing Google does is calculate the 'quality'. This allows Google to position the web pages that are most relevant and of the highest quality at the top of the results page. This is of course what makes Google the world’s most popular search engine.

Calculating the relevancy and quality

Google uses a very complex 'formula' or 'algorithm' to calculate the relevancy and the quality of a web page to a user's search query.

This formula uses many factors to help calculate the relevancy and quality of a web page, including and not limited to:

  • Keywords found in the content of the page
  • The headings
  • Links on the page
  • Hidden Meta data found in the code of the page
  • External links that link to the page

Google awards ranking for a page based on how often the keywords appear, how prominent they are on the page and the location of the keywords on the page.

Therefore, the more focused you are on a certain topic, the better you will rank, as Google will believe that you are an expert on the topic.

Let’s use an example

Let’s say you have a website focused on photography services in Wellington. Let's say a user performs a search using “photography wellington”. Google, at the time this article was written, lists 411,000 web pages that match this search term. That is 411,000 different websites that are relevant to this search term.

Google has a tough job to order this list to ensure the websites at the top are the most relevant and of the highest quality.

The top listings are websites of photographers based in Wellington. If we look further down the list we will see websites with less relevant content, for example photography equipment suppliers, etc..

Now we know how Google works...lets apply this knowledge to our website...

Does Google know about my website?

Now that we have a greater understanding for how the search engines work, we can turn our attention to finding our website on Google.

The quickest way to find out is to perform a 'site' search. You can do this by entering Site: [your website address] into Google as shown below:

Google Site Search


If your website has been listed you will see a list of all the pages of your website that Google has stored in its cache.
Next you can find out which search terms your website is ranking for. The easiest way to do this is to check your Search keywords, traffic report. If you are a Zeald client, you will be able to find this report in the admin of your website under the "Reports" tab.

If other people have found their way to your website via these search terms, chances are your website is ranking well for them. Try a Google search using the search terms to see where your website is currently positioned.

What if my website is not listed?

If your website is not listed with Google, your search for the site will result in something like this:
Website Not Listed in Google

This means that Google has not discovered your website yet, or has not completed the content crawling and storage process.

Tell Google about my new website

You need to ensure that Google knows about your website or connect your website to the rest of the internet so Google robots can find your website. You can do this by submitting your site to Google and/or generating inbound links to your website.

But I have already submitted a sitemap?

Once you have submitted your sitemap, there is usually a delay before which you can find your website on Google. This is because the robots still have to find their way to your website and complete the process, which can sometimes take up to 3 months. Unfortunately you can't rush Google but there are things you can do to speed up the process.

How do I speed up the process?

There are a few things that you can do to ensure that your website is found and the content crawled as soon as possible:
  1. You need to ensure that you have submitted your website
  2. Or that you have some inbound links to create a pathway for the robots to be able to access your website
  3. To get your website instantly to the top of Google for targeted search terms, use Google’s advertising program, called Adwords.

How do I get my website to the top of the Google results for a keyword of my choice?

There are various techniques you can do to improve a web site's ranking in Google's organic search results for chosen or targeted keyword phrases. This process is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and is a large topic that requires another article.

>Stay tuned for our next article on how to optimise your website

Or... you can get your website to the top of Google for targeted search terms using Google’s advertising program, called Adwords. By setting up Google Adwords you can create a listing and choose search terms that will trigger your listing or advertisement. The good thing about Google Adwords is that you don’t pay unless someone actually clicks on your ad and visits your website.

You might pay as little as 5c per click, especially if it is your own business name, which will be less competitive.

>Learn more about Google Adwords

>Learn more about Search engine advertising
 

How to setup a Google Adwords campaign

Written by Hamish Braddick on March 3rd, 2011.      0 comments

This post has been updated - May 2016.

Recommended reading prior to this blog post:
The importance of identifying the right keyword phrases for your website and how you can do it yourself.

So how does Google Adwords work?

When you did the keyword analysis as detailed in the link above, you would have ended up with a whole bunch of keyword phrases which are part of keyword segment groups. For each of these segments you will create an Adgroup. For each Adgroup, you will create an advert that Google will display when a user searches for any of the keywords within that keyword segment. If a user clicks on your ad, you will pay Google an amount that you specify.

The structure of a Google Adwords account

Google Adwords Campaign

The structure of Google Adwords is made up by a campaign (which could be area specific like NZ or Australia). Under each campaign, you have an Adgroup (which is the keyword segment) and you will create an ad for each Adgroup, which will use the keyword phrases under that particular segment.

How does Google position your ads?

Google calculates your position in the paid search results based on two main things: Cost per click (CPC) and  Quality Score (QS). If there are no competitors for your keywords, you will pay the minimum cost of 5c per click and be at the top of the page. When you do have competition, you'll need to outbid them in order to gain placement. It's not always the highest bidder that wins however, and that is where QS comes in. A lot of how Google determines QS is kept secret (for obvious reasons), but we do know it takes into account factors such as landing page, ad relevance, click through rate, web design, historical statistics etc. Basically, Google will serve the highest quality ads to customers that are going to be most interested in the offering, even if it means they will make less money per click.

Make your ads and landing pages relevant to your keywords

If there is one thing that you should always keep in mind when setting up a Google Adwords campaign it's relevancy. It is very important that you make your ad and landing page highly relevant to your keywords. This is why we go through so much trouble to segment our keywords. With our 'Give a duck' example from this post, we determined a segment 'bath toy' which contains many phrases centered around the theme: 'bath toys', such as 'baby bath', 'bath for baby', 'bath toy', 'water toys', 'bath for kids', etc. So with this in mind we would create an ad using these keywords and we would also make sure that these search phrases were incorporated into our landing page so it all ties in together and makes sense for the user.

Create new campaign

Before you create a campaign you'll need to sign up to Google Adwords account. Simply follow the directions supplied by Google.

You can create campaigns to target customers who browse the Internet:

  • from a specific geographic area
  • using a specific language
  • with a certain type of device like mobile phones/tablets

If you need to, you can set up different campaigns for targeting different geographic locations. For example, we might decide to sell rubber ducks to New Zealand and also Australia. We would create a separate campaign for each country and label them 'Rubber duck NZ' and 'Rubber duck Aus'. We can also create a campaigns specific to regions within a country like Auckland or Wellington. A photographer based in Wellington, for example, will likely target Wellington only. Keep in mind that it can be difficult to keep track of multiple campaigns, so make sure it is something you absolutely require.

Setting up your campaign on Google Adwords:

  1. Name your campaign
  2. Select the relevant location. This can be either entire country, a city or a radius from a certain point or an arbitrary shape that you can draw on the map.
  3. Select the language.
  4. Choose the device type (we generally recommend starting with all devices).
  5. Choose a network. We recommend just the search network to begin with. You can always set up a new campaign to target the display network.
  6. Select your bidding option (we generally recommend starting out with automatic bidding to maximise clicks).
  7. Set your budget, which is the amount of dollars you want to spend per day. This means that if you have a budget of $200 per month you would divide by 30 to give you about $7 per day. We generally recommend that you start with at least $200 per month, but a maximum of $500 to a $1000 per month. This is a good start for testing purposes, but budget can be analysed after keyword research when CPC's have been defined.
  8. Don't worry about advanced settings for now.
  9. Click next.
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Steps for setting up an Adgroup

  1. Choose a keyword segment for your first Adgroup. We have decided to start with the segment 'bath toys'.
  2. Review the top most popular search phrases to work out the keywords that you should use in your ad. Our top phrases include: 'bath for baby', 'bath toy', 'water toys', 'bath for kids', 'bath toys', and 'toys bath'. We would use phrase 'bath toy for baby' in our ad which includes most of the words from all our top phrases, especially the headline.
  3. Write your headline.
  4. Write each description line.
  5. Set your display URL. Again use your target keywords or phrases that help to qualify the user. For example we used www.giveaduck.org/RubberDuck. Note this does not need to be the actual URL. It is there to give the user an idea of where they are going to be taken. It must also incorporate your domain (giveaduck.org).
  6. Set your description URL. Find the most suitable landing page that the visitor is taken to when they click on your ad. Make it specific to your ad, make it relevant and ensure that it uses the target search phrases. Avoid sending people to your generic homepage.
  7. Copy and paste all the keywords associated with the chosen segment from your research, into the keywords field.
  8. Save your ad. Once you have set this up, the ad will be sent to a real person at Google for authorisation.


Set up an Ad

  1. Use your most popular search phrases in your ads, especially the title of the ad. 
  2. Check out what local competitors are doing and also look at what might be working globally. Try a google.co.uk search for the same keyword phrases and see what the ads look like.
  3. Convey your unique selling proposition (USP) in your ads: 'Money to charity', 'Largest range', 'Good price', etc.
  4. Add a call to action and it's always great to create a bit of urgency: 'Buy Now', 'Don't miss out', etc.
  5. Add a compelling offer: 'Free delivery', 'Mothers day sale', 'Half price', etc.
  6. Think about qualifying your customer. We don't want to incur the cost of people clicking on our ad if they are not interested in our offer. You need to make up an ad that compels quality clicks that result in a sale.
  7. Include prices if possible;this is a great way to make sure that people that click on your ad are actually willing to pay the price. It's also a great way to convey discounts.
  8. Split test multiple ads. This means for each Adgroup, create at least two ads with one or two elements that are different so you can find out what's working better. So you can choose to change the headline to see if that makes a difference or you can choose to change the offer in the ad to see what's perceived as more important. It will also allow you to test which ad clicks actually result in sales.
  9. Avoid using competitor brand names.

 

Split test your ad

It is very important that you split test your ad. This means just changing one or two aspects of a Ad group to test out what's working better. It will allow you to test which offer is perceived as being more attractive and which ad click actually converts into a sale. Keep in mind an effective split test needs a large audience, so you may want to wait on this until you're getting a lot of interest in your ads.

Steps to create a split test

 
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  1. Create a new ad under the ad group. You can do this once you have saved your ad.
  2. Avoid making too many changes to the ad - just change either the headline, or your offer or your USP.
  3. In our case, we want test out our offer vs. the USP. So we are trialing out to see if users are more motivated to click an ad because of charity or because of free delivery.
  4. Allow for an appropriate period of time to gain significant results before analysing the data and implementing changes.

Note that Google will start monitor your split tests and if one them is really under performing, it will cease to run that ad so as to make sure that your click rate is high.

Billing

We like to recommend that you use the Postpay billing option to ensure that your ads are running smoothly. Often a prepaid balance will run out and your ads will dry-up, meaning once your prepaid balance is out, you will have no click throughs. This means that you will start to lose traffic and more importantly you will lose important test data. It makes it difficult to test and tune your ads and your landing pages if you have big holes in your reports.

Postpay billing isn't a scary option either because you will have set your budget beforehand. There is no way Google will let your spend go over your budget. If you decide that you don't want to spend anymore money on Adwords, you can go in and cancel anytime you like.

Going Live

Your ads will not go live straight away because Google will need to review the ads to make sure that they pass their criteria. This will usually take around a day or so before your ad can go live.

 

We've tried to make this process as simple as possible but you can always get us to help you with it instead. Contact us to find out more.

Topics: Google, Promotion
 
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About Zeald

Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest website design and digital marketing agency in New Zealand and has recently made moves into Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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