The benefits Google’s BERT update could bring for your ecommerce store’s product pages

Piranha Designs - Thursday, October 31, 2019

It may be easy to become overwhelmed by the abundance of acronyms in the world of SEO (‘SEO’ itself being just one of them), but that doesn’t mean Google’s recently released BERT algorithm should be ignored.

Indeed, this particular open-source update – its letters standing for the rather catchy Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers – could be a particularly significant one for your ecommerce site’s product pages, given its focus on better understanding the intent of search queries.

So, what does BERT actually do?

Reading the above, you may wonder whether BERT is the replacement for RankBrain, which was Google’s 2015 effort to understand searcher intent. As it happens, it isn’t a replacement, with the two instead working simultaneously to decode what a user means when they perform a particular search, and giving them more relevant results accordingly.

While it isn’t the only thing that BERT does, a particular strength of the update compared to previous ones is the more sophisticated way it evaluates prepositions like “to” and “with”.

Among the examples Google provided of how BERT makes a difference was the query “2019 brazil traveller to usa needs visa”.

As human readers, we can easily understand that the person performing this search was probably someone from Brazil enquiring about how to obtain a visa to the United States. However, search results pre-BERT would also provide pages for US citizens interested in travelling to Brazil, which would obviously not meet the requirements of this specific searcher.

What should all of this mean for your ecommerce site?

Such an improved understanding of prepositions could have real positive implications for an ecommerce store wishing to attract more targeted traffic through long-tail queries.

After all, users looking for particular products online often include many specific details in their queries. Searches that use lots of such details and prepositions – for example, “red record player with speakers” or “basswood window shutters with green finish” – are likely to yield a higher proportion of truly relevant results now that BERT has arrived.

Now is the time, then, to consider how you can adjust your ecommerce site’s SEO to make the most of BERT. This should be the case across not only the product detail pages themselves, but also the filtered product grids that arise on your site due to the wealth of product attributes, such as colour, size and material, that you allow shoppers to toggle between when searching.

By citing a greater number of more specific attributes on your product pages and elsewhere around your site, you can help to put your ecommerce store in a strong position to tap into the power of BERT as you look to the busy festive shopping season and beyond.

In fact, why not have a more detailed discussion about this and other aspects of your site’s SEO with our search marketing professionals here at Piranha Designs today? It’s easy to contact us via our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and it could help to make a big difference to the effectiveness of your brand’s online presence in the months and years ahead.

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.

Introducing the ‘answer box’ – and what it could do for your SEO chances

Piranha Designs - Friday, May 31, 2019

You might think that you’re already doing everything you realistically can to get your ecommerce site to achieve strong positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs). But are you?

In today’s blog post, for instance, we’re taking a closer look at something called the ‘answer box’. It’s the box that you might have noticed at the top of a results page, providing an answer to whatever query you performed a search for.

A quick response to many users’ problems

To give just one example, let’s imagine that you are looking to purchase window film for a building, to better protect occupants and furnishings from solar heat gain and glare at this hotter time of year. You might not be able to easily reach the inside surface of the building’s windows, so you might be wondering whether it’s possible to install window film on the outside surface instead.

So, we Googled “can window films be applied outside”. An answer box popped up at the top of the resultant search page from www.windowtintingco.com, informing us that “the application of window film to the outside surface of some windows may be considered.”

The answer box goes on to provide further relevant information, and a link to the page on the aforementioned website where this text has been taken from.

You, too, can take advantage of these boxes

‘Answer boxes’, then, are a seriously handy feature for users, who might not even need to leave the Google search results page to have their query answered. For the same reasons, they’re also powerful from a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective for the online businesses that manage to capture them. But with so many ‘how-to’ and other content-rich sites out there, does your humble ecommerce site have much chance of grabbing an answer box or two?

The answer to this question might surprise you. Data from one enterprise platform, for example, shows that the Internet’s 10 most popular shopping sites are collectively eligible to appear in the answer boxes arising from over 453,000 search queries.

But even these ‘elite’ sites – including such household names as eBay, Etsy, Walmart and Home Depot – only actually capture 11 per cent of those answer boxes.

‘Eligibility’, meanwhile, was defined as ranking in the first three positions in Google for a search query that brings up an answer box. The top three was chosen for the threshold because data indicates that 98 per cent of the time, it is one of those three sites that grab the answer box for the given query.

So, what does all of this mean for your online retailer?

What it means is that if you can get your ecommerce site into the top three positions for a query that causes an answer box to spring up, you might well have an extremely good chance of winning it – and reaping the consequent benefits for your brand’s online profile, authority and rankings.

Remember that the content standing the best chance of capturing an answer box is that which answers a question in simple language, in a couple of short lines.

Would you like to investigate the full range of SEO possibilities for your website, and start propelling your business to ever-higher rankings, sales and revenue online? If so, our team here at Piranha Designs is available at the other end of the phone. Get in touch now to discover more about our in-depth search engine marketing expertise and packages.

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.

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?

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.

3 possible explanations for your site’s indexation numbers dropping

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, August 15, 2018

If your site’s pages aren’t indexed, they don’t have any chance of appearing in natural search results. There are many reasons why your site’s indexation numbers may be on the wane, so let’s have a look at just a few of the most potentially obvious and easily spotted.

Page speed

It may seem logical that when search engine spiders are unable to access a given page at all, they demote that page in the rankings and eventually remove it from the index altogether. However, you may not have known that this can also happen to pages with overly slow loading times.

If enough of your site’s pages have this problem, you may therefore suffer a significant enough drop in indexation numbers for your entire site’s rankings to be affected.

Design changes

If you’ve been tweaking your site’s header and footer navigational structures lately, the resultant impact on categories and pages may mean that entire areas of the site are removed from site-wide navigational elements. With the affected pages receiving fewer internal links as a consequence, search engines may end up demoting their value.

Other design changes can also be problematic for indexation – for example, if they mean the page no longer has as much content or some of its content is included within an image, instead of being readily indexable as plain HTML text.

Duplicate content

There’s no point to a search engine in keeping two or more copies of the same page in its index, so guess what? When the search engine spiders begin to perceive your site as having a lot of duplicate content, your pages aren’t likely to be indexed as much.

Nor is this just a problem for pages that are duplicated exactly, with pages that are merely very similar in their content also vulnerable. This can be a particular issue for ecommerce sites, where browse grids for two subcategories may have largely the same products, meaning the search engine sees little use in indexing both.

Is your own site receiving the close and informed attention that it requires if it is to thrive in the natural search results? Yes, that’s right – as well as web design, Piranha Designs can provide comprehensive search engine marketing services incorporating such vital elements as keyword research, page optimisation, guest blogging, monthly reports and much more.

Grow customer confidence and increase your Google rankings with an SSL Certificate

Piranha Designs - Thursday, September 28, 2017
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Is your website secure?

Grow customer confidence and increase your
Google rankings with an SSL Certificate.

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Protect your rankings

Google now adds more weight to sites that are protected by an SSL certificate and use HTTPS on all their pages. So as well as protecting your customers, you will have better search engine results, even if you do not host sensitive data.

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SSL Encrypts Sensitive Information

The primary reason why SSL is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can understand it.

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SSL Provides Authentication

This means you can be sure that you are sending information to the right server and not to an imposter trying to steal your information.

SSL Provides Trust

Web browsers give visual cues, such as a lock icon or a green bar, to make sure visitors know when their connection is secured. This means that they will trust your website more when they see these cues and will be more likely to buy from you. SSL providers will also give you a trust seal that instills more trust in your customers.

How your site displays with SSL

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How your site will eventually look without SSL

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SSL is required for PCI Compliance

In order to accept credit card information on your website, you must pass certain audits that show that you are complying with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. One of the requirements is properly using an SSL Certificate.

SSL options (packages):

Providing your visitors the security they deserve

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Simple SSL

£99/yr

£75 installation fee

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Standard SSL

£239/yr

£75 installation fee

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check.png£10,000 warranty

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Extended SSL

£349/yr

£75 installation fee

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Part 3 of 3 - Link text is vital

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
The websites I mentioned in the last post that were using incoming links to boost their rankings to the top of google, also knew another secret. This is secret number 3, and this is often over looked even by professionals.

Secret number 3:

You need your best keywords in your link text.

When you link to your site from someone else's the tendency is to do this:

Beautiful high-heel shoes at ABC Company Ltd

Here your company name is the link.

Or this:

For a large range of great high-heel shoes Click Here

This is really bad.

The link text is the text that is highlighted and is actually clickable. It is this text that google will read and check as to the relevance of the page it links to. This also affects the links on your website to your other pages.

The correct way to use these links is to make the keywords linkable.

An example:

Beautiful high-heel shoes

How to buy high-heel shoes

On your website instead of using Click Here, More Information links etc, use the title of whatever it is you are trying to link to.

This simple trick can help your site jump up the rankings and will actually make your site and each page easier to use.

So there you go, 3 little known secrets for getting high rankings in google.

There are a lot more tips and tricks but these are the core secrets you should focus on at the beginning, once these are done you are ready to go to the next level.

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