Would a minimalist approach help your site to sell more?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, November 14, 2019

The saying ‘yes is more’ may have been around for a while, but it seems that with the increasing dominance of the Millennial generation, it is taking on a greater resonance than perhaps ever before. More and more of us, it appears, are trying to ‘de-clutter’ our lives, and this may even extend to what we expect from and respond to in ecommerce stores.

Indeed, in much the same way as a tidy bedroom can assist you in finding that item you may have presumed you’d lost forever, so a minimalist website design – consisting simply of such elements as striking product imagery, some modest text and a clear call-to-action (CTA) – might make it easier for you to focus on precisely why you’re browsing that online store at all.

It’s a compelling theory – but does it stack up in reality? Well, let’s take a look at the cases ‘for’ and ‘against’ minimalist site design...

Make the right moves, and it could transform your online fortunes

In principle, there’s huge scope to par your site design down to just those elements that will help you to really make an impact, through heightened visitor engagement and conversions.

Cutting out or at least minimising every possible distraction on your ecommerce site, not least by bringing the most crucial content to the foreground, will help you to convey the messaging you really need your site visitors to know, without allowing them to become too easily sidetracked.

Using just a few large, emotionally evocative context-of-use product photos per page, while streamlining the site’s navigation systems to reduce how many clicks or ‘taps’ are needed to get to each destination, and deploying a white background contrasted with other colour elements, could all help to give your site a striking minimalist appeal.

You might also think carefully about the most fundamental sections that each of your product pages can be reduced down to – such as its main image, the product name, its price, a call-to-action (CTA) and a section for supporting information such as product details and technical specifications.

And of course, a key part of web-design minimalism is being ruthless about what to jettison on your site. Are your social share buttons giving you much benefit? What about those eye-catching labels that you like to use on certain products, such as ‘new’ and ‘featured’? If your store’s analytics don’t indicate they’re making a positive difference, it might be time to say goodbye to them.

Is there an argument for not being minimalistic?

The short answer is: yes. For some sites, it really is just too important to provide in-depth information and imagery that visitors can see straight away, in which case, it might be counter-productive to try to relentlessly slice away elements of your site that users may appreciate.

Nonetheless, even if you’re not specifically aiming at a ‘minimalist’ web design, there can be big advantages in keeping an eye out for unnecessary clutter on your ecommerce store. After all, by doing this well, you’ll be able to guide your visitors towards that all-important ‘buy’ button so much sooner.

Get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today, whether in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh, for a more in-depth discussion of how we could assist you when you’re refining or – indeed – comprehensively revamping your own ecommerce presence.

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.

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.

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.

A few steps you can take to make your site more accessible

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Accessibility can be a tricky subject for many online business owners to get to grips with, what with all of the complexity inherent in how screen readers and voice command applications work.

The good news, though, is that you don’t necessarily need an in-depth appreciation of accessibility principles to tweak your site to be usable by as broad an audience as possible. In fact, the following steps can go a long way towards accomplishing that.

Make your buttons standard HTML

Buttons are vital for triggering actions on your site. Such actions may include sending messages, saving progress and opening panels, among other things, but it’s important to remember that it is buttons that make such actions possible.

It’s therefore also vital that the broadest range of visitors to your site can make use of its buttons. That’s why you should ensure your buttons are always standard HTML buttons. These are the buttons that are natively usable from the keyboard, with the browser and operating system already knowing what to do with such a button element.

Ensure your site’s links are only ever links

Links serve a specific purpose on your site, much like buttons do, although that purpose naturally differs: they take you somewhere. You can also use them natively from the keyboard – again, just like buttons.

Does that mean it’s a good idea to use a link to perform some of your site’s button-like actions? The short answer to that is “no”.

While a sighted user may not be able to differentiate between an actual HTML button and a link that merely resembles a button, the screen reader will tell its user exactly whether the element is a link or a button. The user may therefore expect the element to behave like a link, rather than a button, and if the response they get isn’t what they expected, this can make your site frustrating to use.

Provide labels for everything on the site

Take a look at one of the forms on your site – if there is one. Is there text next to the form fields, to make clear what each of those fields is for? Then, click on the text – by which we do mean the text, rather than the field itself. If your cursor automatically moves into the input field, you can be sure that the field is appropriately labelled.

An unlabelled form creates problems for a screen reader user, who won’t be able to tell what belongs in each field except by exploring the rest of the site for any other helpful text.

Even if you implement all of the above tips, you won’t necessarily have a perfectly accessible website – but such advice should nonetheless serve as useful inspiration for when you do come to design or alter your site specifically with accessibility issues in mind.

Why not ask the Piranha Designs team today about the custom web design solutions that we can provide for you, in accordance with your most demanding requirements?

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.

Part 2 of 3 - High quality incoming links

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The first secret was to do with your title tag, the positioning and density of the keywords within that title tag can greatly affect your ranking. However this second secret has been proven to be the single most powerful tool for high rankings.

A few years ago in the property boom there was fierce competition for keywords such as Spanish Properties, Morocco Properties, etc. Whilst working on some optimisation for an estate agent we came across a phenomenon. A competitor was ranking first on loads of incredibly popular keywords without even having those keywords mentioned on the page. I started looking into this, I checked the source code and did some tricks in google.


What I discovered was this, (secret number two):


High quality links to your website can amazingly boost your rankings


These sites did not have a lot of content, they didn't have many keywords but they did have thousands of sites linking to them. It is these links that make all the difference.


Google has a way of ranking links and their relevance to your site, so a link from a well-ranked website which is relevant to your business has much more authority than your sisters personal website.


An example:


If you are an estate agent and you get a link to your site placed on another estate agent site in Spain, and this site ranks well in Google then that is like a qualified vote for your site.


It is well known that links from popular sites like Delicious, Digg, etc are also valuable.


Links from government and education websites are particularly valuable, especially if they end in .gov or .edu


You can check the links to your site by simply searching in Google using link:www.yourwebsite.com - You can also check your competitors links too!


You can get high quality links by simply contacting the website owners and asking them. The problem is they will want something in return and that is normally a link from your site to theirs. This is no good. Google can see that and will recognise it as a traded link rather than a real recommendation.


In order to get sites to link to yours you need to have good, compelling information or services that people are happy to recommend. Many sites use a free widget, or some unique information or a guide or a white paper. There are many ways to do this and I will go into detail in another email series. You can also pay for someone to submit your links and articles to a large number of websites for you.


So to recap:


Secret 1.


Use your title tag to its full power


Secret 2


Get high quality one-way links to your site

Part 1 of 3 - The power of the title tag

Piranha Designs - Thursday, January 20, 2011

We all know that ranking well on Google can completely change your business. Many companies rely on Google for most of their leads and sales. I run a website for one particular client who does no offline marketing at all; all sales come from being well ranked on the search engines.

But this can be incredibly frustrating as you are competing with the whole world, and that sounds daunting...

Many of my clients ask me:

How can I beat my competitor on Google?

What can I do to go up the rankings?

Unfortunately there is no single easy trick that will boost your rankings, but there are some secrets that can definitely improve your rankings and these are easy to implement. It's just a matter of knowing what to do or ask your designer to do.

Ok, let's get into the secrets:

Secret 1

Your title tag is incredibly powerful. You need to know how to use it.

Every page on your website has what is known as a title tag, this is a small tag within the code of the page that tells Google and visitors what this page is about. Imagine if you had to organise the world's data, you need some kind of tagging system, your title tag is the starting point.

So what do I put in my title tag?

This is where the secret lies; most companies will do the following:

* ABC Company Ltd - Shoes and slippers for adults

* ABC Company Ltd - Homepage
* Welcome to ABC Company Ltd

All the above are examples of what NOT to do.

Google spiders will use the first words in your title tag to identify what your website is about. The closer the right keywords are to the start of the title tag the more relevant they are.

If you are selling shoes like the ABC Company above, then your title should be something like:

* Shoes, Slippers, High heels, trainers for adults from ABC Company

However you can still improve on this.

Here are 3 examples of title tags:

1. Gibraltar Accountants at GibAccountants.com

2. Gibraltar Accountants

3. GibAccountants.com - Gibraltar Accountants and Auditors

Which one do you think would rank best for the search "Gibraltar accountants"?

Well it would be number 2. Although all three include the keywords number 2 is more focussed. This means that the keyword density is higher. The more words in the title tag the more diluted the keywords become.

This is great if you know the exact keyword you are optimising for but you can also use variants and different spellings to your advantage:

Gibraltar Accountants - Accountancy in Gib

It is important to have 10 words or less in the title tag, but at the same time, you can use other keywords that help support the main keywords which are at the beginning of the title tag.

So whenever possible ensure the following:

1. each page in your site must have a specific title tag

2. that title tag should be focussed on the keywords

3. the keywords should be first and as undiluted as possible

This little known secret can make a huge difference to your websites rankings and its overall success on Google and the other search engines.

Some little known tips for ranking well in Google

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, January 12, 2011

After years of optimising websites and learning the ins and outs, we have released an email series of 3 little know secrets for ranking well in Google and the other search engines. We will now be publishing them on this blog one item per week.

The basic secrets are:

1. The power of the title tag - you need to know how to use it correctly
2. High quality incoming links - links can be a huge deciding factor in your ranking
3. Link text - the actual text you use in your links is extremely important


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.