How can you analyse and compare your rivals’ SEO to your own?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Given that you will probably be glancing every now and then at how your competitors are doing anyway – it’s difficult to resist checking whether they are ranking higher or lower than you for a particular keyword – it makes sense to know how to undertake a more formal analysis of their search engine optimisation (SEO).

It’s worth remembering that while simply copying your rivals’ approach to SEO is not a fast ticket to success – after all, you’ll need to figure out the best ways to beat them, not merely match them – a competitor analysis can nonetheless provide vital insight into how your own site could do better. 

The five steps to a successful competitor SEO analysis 

There are five basic components to an analysis of your rivals’ SEO that will actually provide the information you need about where your competitors are going right or wrong – and by extension, what moves you could make to better challenge them in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

These are (1) determining your critical keyword themes and the sites competing with you for such themes; (2) conducting an organic ranking audit; (3) analysing the top-ranking pages; (4) identifying the elements valued by search engines; and (5) developing a plan to improve on these elements for your own site. 

Even a relatively basic analysis can go a long way 

As we mentioned above, picking out keywords and competitors is an important part of an effective SEO competitor analysis. If you have a keyword strategy already, this should be a straightforward step – and if you don’t, our team here at Piranha Designs can help to put one together for you. 

Some rudimentary keyword research can be carried out through the use of a tool like the free Google Keyword Planner. However, pinpointing your competitors from an SEO standpoint can be a little trickier, as they aren’t always the same as those your marketing team may have in mind. Remember that both large and small ecommerce sites can be SEO rivals of yours, as well as media companies and sites with different business models. 

Then, there’s the SEO ranking audit to undertake. You could do this with a dedicated enterprise SEO platform or even just manually with a spreadsheet, documenting how highly various rivals are ranking for certain keywords. 

Finally, once you’ve got such invaluable ranking data, you’ll need to start scrutinising and making some conclusions from it. It is at this stage that you will need to dissect the competitor pages that are outranking you, and consider just what is making those pages so special in the eyes of Google. 

It could be that certain high-performing competitor pages have more content than yours, or are optimised more effectively for the keyword themes you have identified. Perhaps they’re simply more engaging to read, which makes it more likely that the average reader will remain on that page, instead of simply leaving (‘bouncing’) a few seconds after arrival? 

Take your next big step to SEO success with Piranha Designs 

We could go into greater detail about how your business could make leaps and bounds online – but of course, we only have so much space here. So why not contact the Piranha Designs team to discuss how we could devise a search engine optimisation strategy that delivers big results for your brand?

Lost a few backlinks with your site migration? Here's how to fetch them back

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, February 05, 2019

You can't expect your site to fare particularly well in Google's search rankings if you neglect the task of collecting backlinks. That's because Google's algorithm has long counted a backlink as a vote of confidence in the linked-to site; that tradition has held since the search engine's 1990s genesis.

For that reason, as your site wins hard-earned backlinks, you should treasure them. Alas, some of those backlinks could disappear without you realising – perhaps because you have migrated your site from one platform to another and inadvertently left backlinks behind.

Why can site migrations break your backlinks?

In replatforming your site, you are almost definitely going to produce new URLs for it. If a migration led you to change the URLs of pages that had attracted backlinks, you should have put in place 301 redirects for all of those pages to keep the SEO juice flowing.

However, if you omitted this particular readjustment, you might have been left with a large pile of faulty backlinks. Fortunately, you can reconnect those links – here’s a step-by-step guide to how.

Where we're going, we do need URLs

You don't have to jump into a time-travelling DeLorean to find out how sites used to link to yours – just use the Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org to uncover lots of pages from years gone by. With a tool like Screaming Frog, you can use the Machine to extract many legacy URLs.

Still, how can you quickly tell which of these links work and which don't? Turn again to Screaming Frog. Switch its crawler to list mode, upload or paste the ageing URLs you have amassed, and click start to leave Screaming Frog detecting which of these URLs are properly resolving.

A URL would be improperly resolving if it leads to a 404 page, so you should consider getting a 301 redirect in place for each one. However, you also ought to make sure each redirect is to a page that is as close in relevance to the old one as possible; don't just redirect all of those outdated URLs to your homepage.

With some of your old backlinks having possibly faded in SEO power over time, you might want to augment them with a few new ones. We can add those, thanks to our search engine marketing packages – just call our Gibraltar head office on (+350) 200 45599 to learn more about what these plans entail.

5 elements that any product video on your website should have

Piranha Designs - Monday, January 21, 2019

Video has gained considerably in prominence as an online marketing medium in recent years. Whereas it may have once been little more than a supporting element, for many customers browsing an ecommerce site, it may now be the primary device through which they learn the basics about a given product and what it does.

However, it’s still perfectly possible for a product video to be posted on your site that does little or nothing to boost sales. In short, just uploading a video isn’t enough – it also needs to be the right video. That means it’ll need to boast the below characteristics and components.

A clear and concise message

Does your product video hook in the shopper by telling them precisely why they need the product? Any fluff in your video can be fatal to your chances of actually selling the product. This is a medium through which to communicate purposeful facts, in a running time of one minute or less.

An opening that grabs attention

Those browsing your store in search of a product don’t usually have much time to waste. Your video should therefore make clear straight away, what problem the given product fixes. The intro should be all about being relatable to your customers – otherwise, they’ll quickly hit that browser ‘back’ button.

Compelling and evocative content

Of course, the tone that your product video should have is likely to be greatly dictated by the product itself and your target audience. However, emotion is a powerful force driving many purchases. You therefore need to consider what is most important to your target customers, and then play on it in your product video.

References to the user’s pain point

A good product is all about resolving a problem – in other words, alleviating a customer’s pain point, or even several. This means a great product video will discuss at least one such pain point, perhaps by showing a customer struggling in a certain hypothetical situation, and then finding their problem to be solved by use of the product. It’s best not to overdo the number of pain points you discuss, however, so that you don’t muddle your product video’s overall message.

A decisive call to action

It’s worth remembering that with video having come to prominence online alongside the rise of optimised mobile websites like those that we create here at Piranha Designs, there’s a good chance that a large proportion of those viewing your video will be doing so via the small screen of a smartphone. This makes it all the more vital for your video’s call to action to be eye-catching and clear, perhaps achieved with specific instructions or icons that the user can tap.

Are you looking to bolster your online business’s fortunes with a brand new website design during 2019? If so, the Piranha Designs team would be delighted to hear you – feel free to contact us via our Gibraltar, Edinburgh or London offices today.

What could be stopping your ecommerce site’s visitors from buying?

Piranha Designs - Friday, December 21, 2018

The festive season is a period when you will want to see high conversion rates from your ecommerce store; the truth is, however, that even a strong-performing online shop can improve in some respects.

Fortunately, some of the reasons for any faltering conversions may be obvious to you; you may already know that your current checkout process is cumbersome, for example, or that your delivery costs are high compared to obvious rivals. Sometimes, overly restrictive returns policies can be harmful as well.

However, customers can also be deterred from purchasing from you by seemingly minor, ‘easy-to-overlook’ issues. Here are just a few that you may look to fix.

Colours that are harsh on the eye

Yes, even a site’s colour scheme can cause a visitor to spend less time browsing it than would otherwise be the case – and that means potentially lost sales.

Is your site largely decked out in a less popular colour – such as brown or yellow – that could be putting off visitors? Maybe the overall colour scheme is a bit unsightly, or there are clashing combinations of colours in various crucial parts of the site, such as its navigation menus and buttons?

Standard manufacturer descriptions

Guess what? Manufacturers have an interest in making their own product look like the best in its industry, so their own product descriptions can feature more than a little hyperbole.

Indeed, the typically highly sales-focused vibe of manufacturers’ own product descriptions can even sometimes fail to provide a clear outline of what the item is and how it could benefit the customer.

By writing your own site’s product descriptions, you could therefore do a lot to engage your particular visitors and give them the information and insight that they most need.

Typos, poor grammar and run-on sentences

Most of us naturally stop when we encounter an obvious spelling or grammatical error in a piece of text. It’s especially glaring on an ecommerce site, as it would normally be presumed that you have the professionalism to at least proofread the content on your site before making it ‘live’.

Also be sure to avoid especially long sentences that can be difficult to quickly read and understand.

Substandard photos and videos

The photos and videos that you use to advertise your stocked products should clearly show the item in question, not least so that the prospective buyer can easily understand what it is.

Remember that smartphone and tablet users – who make up an especially large proportion of online shoppers today – will frequently wish to pinch to zoom for a closer look at a given item. You should therefore ensure they can easily do this on your own site, even if you already provide a dedicated zoom feature.

To find out more about how Piranha Designs’ expertise in ecommerce website design could make all of the difference to your brand’s efforts to significantly bolster its conversions during 2019, simply email or get on the phone to our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices.

Could your ecommerce site's search functionality be improved?

Piranha Designs - Monday, December 17, 2018

It's difficult to think of many more important elements of a shopping site's design than its search features. We say 'features' rather than 'feature', because we aren't necessarily just talking about the keyword search box – the likes of category browsing and faceted search can also be key elements. 

In case you're wondering what those latter two features are, the first should be fairly self-explanatory – it refers to when users select categories on your website and then continue working through subcategories to narrow down the items they are interested in. 

Faceted search should also be very familiar to you. It's all about the various filters – such as size, length, colour and brand – that ecommerce sites customarily use to help shoppers to get to the products that are of greatest relevance to them. 

There are, though, many ways to optimise site search 

You shouldn't underestimate the complexity and sophistication of site search technology these days – but also the relative ease with which you can start improving this aspect of your ecommerce portal, as long as you know which components to focus on. 

It's worth scrutinising, to start with, how your site search currently uses synonyms and substitute terms. If your site is an online health food store, for example, people won't necessarily look for food supplements simply by typing in the term 'food supplements'; others could be 'health supplements', 'nutritional supplements' or perhaps something slightly more specific, like 'digestive supplements'.

Remember, too, that there are also differences in the terminology used from one industry to the next. Your visitors may perform searches for popular acronyms, abbreviations or even slang terms that lead to a zero results page, despite the products they are seeking being available on your site.

Misspellings can easily happen too, which leaves you with a decision to make: just how tolerant should your site search be to them? You could optimise your search functionality to account for one or two letters in a search term being incorrect, which could increase the number of results produced from a user's search, but also risks decreasing their relevancy.  

Then, there are such features as predictive search and type-ahead that have become 'in-vogue' on ecommerce sites in recent times. These elements can be instrumental in making life easier for your prospective customers by giving them product, category and keyword suggestions as they type. 

Get on the phone to Piranha Designs about a complete new ecommerce site design 

Is the state of your site's search functionality just one aspect in which you consider your brand's present ecommerce presence to be below-par? In that case, it may be the best decision to invest in one of our comprehensive shopping site design packages, which are offered at a range of highly competitive price points and give you full Content Management System (CMS) functionality. 

We can also undertake exacting bespoke designs if you prefer. So, why not enquire about the possibilities to the Piranha Designs team right now?

Tips for converting festive shoppers into regular customers

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, November 14, 2018

For many people, the Christmas shopping season is now very much underway – and for this reason, you can expect your e-commerce website to attract a flurry of eager customers. However, there remains a question mark over whether they will stay with you for the long haul.

Unfortunately, if you tailor your site to primarily target fleeting Christmas shoppers, you shouldn't be surprised if the festive season brings you only a spike in sales. You need to capitalise on the valuable opportunity to tempt these customers into making repeat visits.

Advertise your loyalty program

Yes, you might be advertising a round of attractive deals in the run-up to Christmas, but your visitors might expect those deals to vanish in the New Year. You could therefore reserve prominent space on your website for promoting your company's loyalty scheme.

After all, educating your site's visitors on this scheme will give them an incentive to purchase from you again – perhaps during the January sales, other seasons or even just regular shopping.

Streamline the shopping process to make it easier

If a customer has a great experience the first time they shop at your site, they will remember that. Such a good memory could easily persuade them to shop with you again, especially if you give them a good choice of payment methods and limit how many details must be typed into entry forms.

Respond quickly to customer queries

If a festive shopper has simply stumbled across your site after seeing one of its products listed on – for example – the Google Shopping portal, they might have questions about your service.

For this reason, you should implement a range of communication channels – including live chat and social media, as well as the more traditional options of email and telephone – to ensure you are ready to deliver a prompt and useful response whenever a message comes your way.

Of course, a site that is easy to navigate, compelling and informative might relieve a shopper of the need to drop you a message in the first place, which is where the importance of powerful and well-tailored website design comes into play.

Contact the Piranha Designs team today, and we’ll be able to advise you in more detail about how we can make the best-suited site design possible for your brand.

How your website's design can prove a formidable storytelling tool

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Are you old enough to recall the early days of the World Wide Web in the early '90s? If so, you probably have lingering memories of the rudimentary appearance of websites of the time, compared to today's much more aesthetically slick and sophisticated online portals.

Reassuringly, web design techniques have advanced leaps and bounds since then, allowing modern webmasters to communicate essential details in many different ways.

If you wish to tell a riveting story through your website, you can even use design components to do it, as the following examples show.

Let your visitor form their own online persona

When you watch a great film or book, it's possible to relate to the lead character so strongly that you can easily imagine yourself in your shoes, effectively making yourself the hero.

Unless you feel emotionally invested in a given character, you probably won’t be greatly eager to follow their journey.

You can take inspiration from this for your website by allowing the visitor to create their own persona – complete with an avatar and detailed profile – that they can use when exploring the site.

Carefully select images to guide the visitor through a story

You might not have known that people are 22 times likelier to remember data when it is presented to them in a narrative form. Furthermore, as we digest visual material at a 60% faster pace than textual content, you shouldn't overlook visual elements like video and animation.

You could incorporate the above media into your site as chunks of a visually-told story. If your company offers package holidays to exotic locations, for example, photographs of the destinations could show prospective holidaymakers where they could take steps for real.

Symbols enable you to use mobile screen space more effectively

Apple recently grabbed headlines when it launched the iPhone XS Max with a supposedly monstrously large screen. However, the device’s display actually measures only 6.5 inches diagonally, which still makes it much smaller than the average laptop screen.

The continued popularity of smartphones means web designers have to keep asking themselves how they can communicate information effectively within limited real estate.

However, easily recognisable symbols can effectively convey all manner of information to visitors within a small amount of space. One obvious example of this is the hamburger menu button, which takes the form of three horizontal bars meant to resemble a collapsed navigational menu.

Would you like your own organisation’s new website to embrace techniques like the above for concisely communicating vital information and telling a story? If so, you may wish to enquire to our skilled and seasoned website design professionals about how they can help.

Some lesser-spotted advice on optimising your site content for search engines

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, October 17, 2018

While the design of your website will always play a central role in ensuring it ranks well in the search engines, it can be easy to forget just how crucial the most relevant content also is. If your site content isn’t relevant to anyone, you can’t expect to generate many visitors and revenue from natural search.

It’s therefore well worth considering the below strategies for tweaking your site content in a manner that is search engine optimisation (SEO) friendly.

Allow keyword research to guide your content strategy

Keyword research is a key component of all of our SEO and marketing packages here at Piranha Designs, and with good reason. The higher the standard of your keyword research, the more you will know about what searchers truly want.

That’s why keyword research is so vital when you come to devise your natural search and content strategies for your site. Good keyword research enables you to spot the gaps in your site that you need to fill with fresh content.

It’s also important to assign intent to keyword themes – whether the user is looking for information, to make a purchase or to merely navigate relevant sites – so that you can craft the content that will stimulate and fulfil the visitor’s desire in each case.

Make sure you aren’t competing with yourself

Once you have established certain keyword themes, you will be able to map them to specific pages of your site to accommodate the broadest range of relevant keywords.

This greatly helps to ensure you don’t end up simply attempting to optimise every page of your site for a similar set of in-demand keywords, thereby forcing your pages to compete with each other for rankings.

Optimise in both scalable and manual ways

You can efficiently enhance your site’s tag-based content through the use of default ‘formulas’ for generating title tags, meta descriptions, headings and image alt attributes.

However, it’s also true that you can only get so far with your SEO when you depend purely on formulas. In any case, your pages based on the highest-value keyword themes will need to be manually optimised as part of the fine-tuning process.

In a lot of cases, you might simply find yourself needing to fix awkward grammar brought about by the aforementioned formulas. One aspect of your pages that should always be manually optimised, however, is the main body of text, as you can’t apply scalable optimisation methods to what is supposed to be creatively written content.

These tips cover just some of the many elements that you will need to think about when you are tweaking and adjusting your site with the search engines in mind. Contact Piranha Designs’ Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today, and we can give you more hands-on assistance with your site’s search engine profile.

Struggling to find good-quality, free stock photos? Try these 5 sites

Piranha Designs - Friday, October 12, 2018

While – in an ideal world – you may aspire to only populate your website with images that your company has created itself, the truth is that there will also likely be times when the use of stock photos on your site is necessary or desirable. In any case, there are many high-quality stock images out there; a lot of the problem for online business owners is the difficulty of finding them.

This is why you may be thankful for our below suggestions of free stock photo sites.

Unsplash

With Unsplash having even been used for the default theme provided with WordPress, it has come to command a great deal of respect in the stock-photo world. Its library now consists of a whopping 600,000 high-resolution images, and more are continually being added by the site’s photographer community.

Pexels

There aren’t too many better sources of high-quality free stock images than Pexels, which draws its photos with user contributions and free-image sites. Visitors can browse hundreds of thousands of photos, while the search feature and use of tagging makes it easy to find the perfect image for almost any conceivable application.

Pixabay

It’s one of the most instantly recognisable names in the stock-photo world, and with good reason. Pixabay is a relatively ancient site by the standards of most stock image portals, having been launched ‘way back’ in November 2010. However, the opportunity that it affords you to sift through more than 1.5 million copyright-free images and videos surely can’t be passed up when you are in need of such commercial-ready material that also doesn’t require you to request permission for use.

New Old Stock

Stock images aren’t a phenomenon solely of the 21st century, and New Old Stock takes advantage of this fact, granting you access to all manner of vintage photos and image collections from the public archives that aren’t subject to any known copyright restrictions. Both colour and black and white images are available, as may be handy for those areas of your site where you’re delving into the past.

Startup Stock Photos

It’s worth keeping an eye out for any stock photo sites that specifically represent your industry or even, in the case of Startup Stock Photos, your company’s size and stage of development. Expect to see images on this site that include laptops, whiteboards, office spaces and all of the other paraphernalia and motifs associated with small companies.

Remember that when you turn to Piranha Designs for CMS website design services, we will provide you with stock photo library access as part of our Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum plans, further strengthening the range of images from which you can pick for your site. Simply call our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today for more information.

Sophisticated ways to boost the appeal of your landing pages

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, September 19, 2018

You surely won’t need our team here at Piranha Designs to tell you about the importance of your site’s landing pages quickly commanding the attention of your visitors and enticing them to act. However, some of the most effective techniques for doing so can seem less than obvious, until you know them – at which point, you may wonder why they weren’t the very first things you did.

With that in mind, here are just some of the proven means by which you can make your landing pages more impactful.

Include a testimonial as a headline

Would you most trust someone telling you that their product or service would work for you... or an actual past customer of the given product or service telling you that?

Including an approving quote from a person who has used the product or service previously, detailing not only the result they gained – for example, their company growing by 50% - but also a recommendation that it would work for a wide range of other potential customers or clients, can be very powerful indeed.

Include a real name, job title and photo of the person sharing such warm comments, and you will be able to maximise the trust level still further.

Use an authoritative image

Does the main image on your landing page communicate the values that you would like your brand to be associated with?

If the picture shows a person from your company, for example, this is an invaluable opportunity to depict them as authentic, authoritative and intelligent... rather than hapless, untrustworthy or incapable. It all contributes to your ongoing efforts to build the right reputation for your organisation and its people, products and services.

List impressive past customers or clients

If your company is fortunate enough to have formidable and respected past customers, your landing pages give you a great chance to feature these in a manner that enables your site visitors to immediately recognise them.

You could do this by showing the given companies’ logos, or perhaps an image of a well-known person if the customer is an individual. Whatever you do, make sure the people or firms you include are those that would impress your target customers or clients, rather than necessarily the general public.

Save mention of the cost until later if it may be an objection

Sadly, you can’t offer everything for free or a bargain-bucket price – but you can make a given price seem like exceptional value if you have taken the time to establish that value first.

This is what you may be best-advised to do on your landing pages, depending on the particular product or service you are advertising. After all, not all products or services are about the price first, and you won’t want to unnecessarily turn away many of your prospects before you have had the chance to properly pique their interest and build a relationship with them.

We can rustle up captivating and relevant websites for all manner of businesses, ranging from estate agents to ecommerce companies. So, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today to talk to us about all things web design for your own brand?


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive

Follow Us

We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.
Send us an email, stay in touch and follow us on facebook/twitter/linkedin.