Your site won’t rank well if Google doesn’t even consider it a high-quality one

Piranha Designs - Monday, September 23, 2019

You might not exactly need to be told that Google places a big emphasis on ‘quality’ when adjusting the algorithms that ultimately determine how well sites rank in its search results. But how, exactly, does Google define ‘quality’? Well, that’s been a matter of longstanding confusion and frustration among many online business owners.

A recent Google blog post, however, shed considerable light on what the search engine considers to be ‘quality’ in a website.

Indeed, it listed a series of questions for those optimising their sites with a view to getting them to rank well, across the four subcategories of “content and quality”, “expertise”, “presentation and production” and “comparative”.

So, let’s summarise what Google addressed in the questions it came up with, so that you can make the tweaks your own site might need to achieve strong rankings.

Content and quality

Google’s questions in this subcategory – including “Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?” and “Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book” – show a concern for genuine quality in the content that a given site publishes.

If your site’s content pieces thoroughly analyse relevant topics from multiple angles, incorporating original information or research beyond the obvious things that plenty of other sites are already saying, you can expect Google to give you high rankings in response.

Expertise

It isn’t exactly a secret that Google places a big emphasis on authority when ranking sites, and that this has been addressed in its algorithms, with inbound links conferring authority based on the linking sites’ own topic and quality.

However, your site’s content and the authors who write it also impact on your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. Do the people writing your content, then, have positive reputations and prominence in your industry? Are they active on other sites and platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and are they regulars on relevant industry forums?

If the answer to too many of these questions is “no”, these are aspects that you might wish to develop in the authors who contribute to your site.

Presentation and production

If Google is even addressing the subjects of presentation and production in its definition of quality, these can hardly be regarded as merely ‘superficial’ matters.

In any case, they should never have been considered to be ‘superficial’ by anyone. After all, should you expect to be able to win the trust of both shoppers and search engines if there are misspellings or grammatical errors on your site?

In its blog piece, Google presented a number of presentation and production questions that were especially interesting with regard to what could trigger manual penalties or lower algorithmic rankings.

These included “Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content”, and “Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”

Comparative

Finally, Google also put forth a few comparative questions, focused on how well a site compares to its rivals in terms of quality.

It’s well worth bearing in mind, after all, that your site doesn’t need to be perfect to achieve strong rankings – it just needs to be better than the sites it’s competing with for certain keyword phrases.

Is SEO quality a subject that has been concerning you as you look to optimise your site for better rankings in the months and years ahead? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team.

We provide acclaimed search engine marketing packages that will help your brand to ensure consistently great quality across every key aspect of its presence on the web.

How can a great user experience go hand in hand with great SEO?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, July 11, 2019

Are you constantly doing seemingly ‘all of the right things’ with the optimisation of your website for the search engines, only to find the high rankings you’ve worked so hard to achieve aren’t even bringing you a noticeable uplift in sales and loyal customers... that is, if your rankings are even climbing at all?

If so, your big problem may be that you’ve overlooked the crucial connection between user experience – or ‘UX’, as it’s frequently referred to in web design and development circles – and SEO.

You see, the two things have a very intimate relationship. Just imagine having two equally renowned high-street stores to choose from for a particular product, with the item being priced the same in both places... except that at one store, the staff are so much nicer, more responsive to your queries and more informative when answering your questions.

In theory, you might still buy the product at the ‘other’ store... but it’s the one that provides an especially great experience that you are especially likely to purchase the item from.

So, how does effect manifest for ecommerce stores?

Let’s continue with the offline analogy for a bit. You go to said brilliant store, you buy the product, you’re satisfied and you go back to that store again and again in the future, consistently benefitting from a brilliant service. You tell your friends and relatives how good this store is, and the store gains such a reputation that it is featured prominently in local directories, newspapers and magazines.

Well, there’s a similar thing going on for online stores that provide a superb user experience.

These sites don’t suffer from such high ‘bounce rates’ – the online store equivalent of someone heading into a shop, and then going straight back out again – while the more pleasurable browsing and buying experience for visitors lends itself to heightened ratings, referrals and inbound links.

A few quick ways to bolster your UX – and with it, your SEO

OK, so you might turn to Piranha Designs to undertake more in-depth optimisation of your site’s user experience – but here are a few quick tips to give you some inspiration and ideas. You might want to try...

  • Ensuring your site’s internal links are to pages that are genuinely relevant and useful for shoppers – there’s little point in linking to the page you’re already on, for example
  • Optimising for faster page loading times, in light of the Google study that showed conversions fell by 12% for every second of load time
  • Giving customers an equally pleasurable experience on mobile and desktop, in recognition of the fact that more than half of Google’s global search results are served from its mobile-first index
  • Going into greater depth with your content. Be careful here – length alone won’t translate into higher rankings, but content that is genuinely more informative and useful for visitors than what your rivals are serving up might well do
  • Targeting keyword themes and words that fit in well with what you’re offering to the customer, instead of being intended purely to drive search volume

Get in touch today with the Piranha Designs team at our Gibraltar, Edinburgh or London offices, and we’d be delighted to talk to you about our website design and SEO services that will help you to maximise your site’s user experience and with it, your brand’s online fortunes.

3 ways to shorten image loading times on your site

Piranha Designs - Monday, July 08, 2019

The reasons to have images on your website at all should be more than obvious when you consider what your site would be like without them. In short, it would be a rather dull place that would be relatively ineffective at inspiring visitors or giving them an accurate impression of your products or services. But are you allowing a love of sophisticated imagery to impact on other aspects of the user experience – such as how long it takes your pages to load? 

Believe it or not, it’s more than possible to reduce how long it takes for your site to load images, without compromising its all-round visual appeal. Here are a few examples of what we mean. 

Don’t have quite so many images on your site

It may sound like an obvious tip, but did you know that according to a HTTP Archive report, the typical webpage in 2019 may request between 28 and 32 images when it loads? It’s well worth asking yourself, then, whether all of those images on a given webpage of yours are really necessary. 

When it comes to product category pages on ecommerce sites, for instance, the various images showing actual available products tend to be critical in terms of not only showing the viewer the products in question, but also educating them about these items’ benefits and inspiring them to buy. 

But are some of the images on such pages on your own site effectively just pictures of text, or decorative, or perhaps even stock images that don’t really communicate anything? 

Embrace the ‘lazy loading’ of images 

Traditionally, when a webpage loads, it requests every image listed in the page markup, including any images that may be initially off-screen and only become visible when the user scrolls down the page. 

This is where ‘lazy loading’ comes in useful, as it loads certain images only when they are strictly needed. Just imagine how much quicker a given page on your site could load, if it only initially requested those images that would immediately appear on the user’s screen. 

Various lazy-loading scripts are available to introduce this functionality to your site, or you could ask the Piranha Designs team to incorporate it when you turn to us for website design.

Compress your images

Such raster formats as JPG, PNG and GIF are widespread on the web, and may therefore be represented across many of the images on your own site’s pages. 

Sometimes, it’s possible to compress such images to ensure they load faster, while scarcely making any visible difference to their quality. It can be done through popular image-editing software, or automatically via such other solutions as content delivery networks, scripts or application programming interfaces. 

Images may be just one element of your brand’s online presence, but they can make a greater-than-initially-expected difference to your efforts to market your business and generate revenue on the web. For a more in-depth discussion of your firm’s web design needs in 2019, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today? 

Picture this: tips for optimising images to make them Google-ready

Piranha Designs - Friday, May 03, 2019

In your efforts to carefully tailor your site's on-page text content in such a way that draws Google's positive notice, you could be in danger of overlooking how much of Google's search results pages are now being taken up by imagery. Indeed, Google search results now include images on 34% of occasions.

In just weeks, image results have grown by 42% on the world's most popular search engine, as per a recent study. Those results have increased in both frequency and prominence – about half the time, the images are among the first three positions.

While you may initially see such developments as cause for alarm, SEO has always continued to experiment and adapt over time. For this reason, you should regard the increasingly visual nature of Google search results as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

Do keywords still come into play with images?

The perhaps surprising answer is that yes, they do. While images lack visible text compared to website pages with their textual content, you can start optimising an image by tweaking its filename, into which you should try to insert unique descriptions and attributes.

For example, if you run an e-commerce site selling swimwear, an image of blue Speedo shorts could be beneficially given the filename blue-speedo-shorts.jpg, as all three elements of that filename could be plausibly inputted into search fields.

Naturally, though, if you sell blue Speedo shorts, you probably sell a very broad range of swimwear, which is where tinkering with the alt tags attached to your images can also prove useful. In these tags, you should mention points of differentiation; for example, the specific colour of the shorts, if you offer them in various hues.

Your website's text copy still plays a part, too

Unexpectedly or otherwise, the visible text near an image on a page can also influence the image's placing in search results. Across captions, product names, descriptive bullets and other textual elements near the image, you shouldn’t neglect to include more details relevant to it.

If you remain unsure as to which keywords should go where when you are optimising your images, our search engine optimisation (SEO) services can steer you in the right direction. We invite you to phone us on (+350) 200 45599 for more information on this point.

Content writing tips that will help to vault your site up the search engine rankings

Piranha Designs - Monday, March 25, 2019

Composing the most effective text on your website – think such things as your product descriptions, articles, blog posts and other written copy – is a task that you may find intimidating from time to time. After all, it’s an element of your online presence that needs to be carefully crafted to appeal to both human users and search engine spiders.

But that doesn’t mean you need to give in to the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ when you’re trying to rustle up some text for your site. Follow our advice below, and you can maximise your chances of writing content that engages your target audiences and bolsters natural search engine performance.

Come up with an outline before you start

Sometimes, simply doing what your English teacher would have told you to do at school can be a brilliant formula for generating high-quality written copy.

It can greatly help, for example, to first devise an outline of what you want to write about in a given piece of text on your site. What are the key features and benefits of a product for which you are writing a description, or what vital points must your next blog post address?

Don’t worry too much about saying everything in an ordered or organised way at this early stage – just get it all out on the page.

Follow the ‘expel, then excel’ principle...

In the same spirit as the previous tip, when you come to actually write down those first few sentences or paragraphs, just focus on writing. Throw all of your thoughts down on the page, no matter how ‘stream of consciousness’ it might be.

Once you’ve got a lot of material written down, you’ll be able to then edit and refine it, including in line with the keywords you intend to use, to rustle up something polished, pleasurable to read and effective in attracting high search engine rankings.

...as well as the ‘keep it simple, sweetie’ one

The KISS principle works so well in many areas of life, but especially when you’re writing. Don’t use overly complicated or specialised language, unless your brand voice requires this.

Make your written content readable and engaging for your target audience, and they’re more likely to stay around on your site, trust you and make use of your products or services.

Produce seasonally appropriate content

Those lulls of time during the year between the really big ‘flashpoint’ events – Christmas, Easter and so on – can really drag.

That’s why it may greatly help to put together a ‘content calendar’ that will provide a template for what kind of content you will be writing and uploading to your site at certain times of year. For example, you may time some of your content to coincide with birthdays, anniversaries or events that are important to your sector, or provide general advice that makes sense in the given season.

Did you know that your site can benefit from such services as keyword research, on-page optimisation and blog content writing when you take advantage of one of our SEO marketing packages? When you contact the Piranha Designs team, we’ll talk to you about how we can best address the needs you have for your firm’s online presence.


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