Are you a website owner who, would like to have a greater insight to your own website keyword rankings but you don’t know where to start?
Well I’m going to guide you through how to get your site ranking better and give you an insight to the tools us professionals use to manage SEO.
Achieving strong SEO rankings for websites is a complex process in a competitive marketplace and generally requires a dedicated SEO professional to complete this work for you, however the good news is, as a website owner, there are many things you can do without an SEO expert to assist your site’s organic rankings.
So here’s my SEO DIY guide to achieve organic rankings for your website:-
Selecting keywords for SEO
First things first! What are the keywords you want your site to rank under? Think like your clients think. What would they type into a Google search when looking for businesses like yours?
Now you need a good SEO tool to help analyse the best keyword combinations. You want to choose a SEO tool which shows you variations on the keywords you have selected, whilst also showing you the keyword search volumes, meaning the number of times each keyword is searched. When selecting your keyword, you want to choose a combination of keywords with large search volumes but also some niche keywords with lower search volumes. The reason for this is that keywords with lower search volumes will be less competitive and therefore, most likely, easier for you to rank under.
In terms of a reliable and easy to use SEO tool, personally, for my clients I use a tool called SE Ranking. There are a lot of others you can choose from, however for me, I find SE Ranking has access to excellent and reliable keyword ranking reports and auditing reports with an easy to use interface. At $5 AUD per month with no annual contract it’s a bit of a no brainer … or you can just use their free 14 day trial however you’re going to want to track your keyword rankings over a longer period of time and we’ll discuss this in a minute but now you have your keywords you need to run a website audit.
Essential to your site’s performance is that your website’s SEO set up is optimised correctly without any errors or issues which may be causing blocks in your site’s communication back to the search engines. SEO is all about ensuring your website is feeding the correct information back to search engines. Right now, if your site is not ranking, it is probably because you have your front door closed and the blinds down … it’s time to open the door and let the search engines know you’re open for business!
The first step to assessing and resolving any issues is to generate an SEO audit report on your website. An audit can be automatically generated via a good search engine analysis tool and will automatically assess all the important SEO factors required to allow search engines to find your website and provide recommendations on what needs to be improved.
These factors include:
- Domain overview
- Website health check
- Page analysis
- Meta analysis
- Content analysis
- Links analysis
- Image analysis
- Optimisation across all devices
If you are using SE Ranking, run the website audit and start working your way through the results. Your audit will give you an overview as a % showing you just how much or little work needs to be done on your SEO setup. You may need to go through some of the results with your website developer but as a starting point have a look at the “health check” overview before going through your pages analysis, images analysis and meta analysis. For the moment this is where you should focus your attention as these are updates you can manage yourself. You’ll need access to your website CMS and if you don’t know how to add an image alt information, or meta data, just ask your website developer and they should be able to let you know. I provide my clients with training videos showing them how to do these updates, so if you run a WordPress or Joomla website, send me an email and I can provide you a training video.
Keeping track of your keyword rankings
Keeping track of your keyword rankings is easier than you think but what you need to remember is SEO is a long term and ongoing strategy for your website. Rankings don’t happen overnight and your rankings will fluctuate. You need to focus on your rankings improvement over time, rather than day to day. Personally, I work on a month by month basis with my clients so that they can see improvements over each month. When a site is first starting to rank, the rankings my go up one day and then decrease the next however generally you want to see an increase over the month when the month is looked at as a whole.
To measure your rankings you, again, need a good SEO tool which will keep track of this for you. Your ranking tool should show you your daily rankings plus your rankings over a time period you choose. When using SE Ranking I can view my client’s website rankings in a table and a graph for the past 4 days and I can generate reports showing me any date range. Generally I look at the past month and then the entire duration that we have been working on the site’s SEO.
This is by no means a comprehensive guide to SEO and it is not meant to be. This is a starting point. Before moving onto other aspects of SEO you need to create a strong foundation for your website’s SEO. You are looking for long term and lasting SEO results and this is the best place to start. I’ll cover more specific SEO strategies in another blog soon!
SSL Certificates are the backbone of securing websites and protecting your data and sensitive information as it is being transmitted.
SSL Certificates are essential for protecting your website. They provide privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your website and your websites users’ personal information.
Back in 2014, as part of their effort to promote a more secure Internet for all Google called for “HTTPS everywhere”. They further encourage websites to use SSL certificates by giving preferential search engine rankings to websites with SSL certificates active.
This month with the release of the latest version of Chrome, Google introduced a new warning message for all non-HTTPS websites and the browser now marks all sites without SSL certificates as “not secure”. As a website owner this is a huge deterrent to your online customers.
What is an SSL?
An SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer), creates a secure link between your website and your users browser. The SSL Certificate encrypts data being passed between the two therefore preventing hackers from stealing your clients sensitive information such as credit card numbers, email addresses etc.
When you add an SSL certificate to your site, you’ll be changing your domain name from “http://sitename” to “https://sitename.”
This change will happen automatically for you and all traffic will be automatically redirected from your unsecure http:// address to your secure https:// address.
All web browsers give a visual cue as to whether a website is secured by an SSL or not. You’ve probably noticed a lock icon or a green bar, to make sure visitors know when their connection is secured.
When customers see the green lock, or secure text next to your website URL they know they can trust your website and that their data is secure. This is not only essential for ecommerce sites but any website which collects customer data … even if only via an on-line contact form.
Websites not displaying the secure icons risk loosing customers through lack of trust.
SEO Advantages of SSL Certificates
Following Google’s recommendation for all websites to install SSL certificates will not only benefit your website security but can also provide SEO benefits. Let’s have a look at these:
Google has specifically stated it will provide prefer search rankings to HTTPS sites over HTTP sites.
Google Analytics becomes even more useful with HTTPS since unlike HTTP, the security data of the website that referred to you is saved–meaning that referral sources won’t appear just as “direct traffic.” For SEO alone, this gives HTTPS an edge.
Security and Privacy
SSL Certificates provide security for both website owners and their users. This security helps you avoid monetary losses, data theft and damage to your website’s reputation.
What does an SSL cost?
The cost of an SSL certificate is generally under $100 annually and you will most likely have a small installation cost.
How do I get an SSL?
Setting up an SSL certificate on your website is an easy process however this will need to be completed by your web developer or server as it requires access to your site’s files and hosting. SSL certificates can be set up quickly and once active need to be renewed annually.
Need a hand?
Feel free to contact me and I will assist setting up an SSL Certificate on your website.
Over the last couple of weeks you may have noticed changes to your Instagram feed as features of the new algorithm were released.
Some of the new features include:
- business CTA buttons
- sliding emoji polls
- feed improvements
- simplified inbox
- account muting
Let’s have a look at the changes:
Instagram have stated that they have made changes to ensure newer posts are “more likely” to appear first in your feed to make your feed feel “more fresh”. Many users may not realise that our Instagram feed is not only based on who we follow but it is also based on who and what we like. To make a complex algorithm simple the message here seems to be that it is best to interact as much as possible with friends, brands etc who you want to keep seeing high on your feed giving them priority in the hierarchy of your feed.
Tip: If you are not seeing users posts in your feed that you like to see you may consider using the new mute feature to stop seeing posts from accounts you don’t care to see therefore allowing room for posts you want to see. See more on the mute feature below.
New Call to Action Buttons
One of my favourite updates is the addition of four new call to action buttons for businesses. The new buttons allow your customers to complete transactions directly via Instagram. The new call to action buttons are:
- Get Tickets
- Start Order
The new buttons are integrated with 3rd party partners to be fully functional. Your customers can now book an appointment or get tickets directly via Instagram.
For any businesses marketing via Instagram this is a fantastic update for you. The easier it is for your customers to transact the more likely they are to do so!
Sliding Emoji Polls
This one’s a bit of fun! Instagram have created polls for stories allowing your followers to respond using a sliding emoji! User polls allow you to ask more nuanced questions to drive consumer engagement, conduct valuable research or find out more about your customers. Instead of Stories being static you can now make your stories interactive. As a business owner this allows you to gain important insights into your customers.
You’ll find the sliding poll in the middle of the 3rd row of your stories options. Another feature I love of the sliding polls is that you can select any emoji to use, even one from your own library. You are able to view your followers answers in real time and share the results to your feed.
Share Posts to Stories
See something you like on another users feed and want to share it? Instagram now allows you to share other users posts as a sticker to your stories.
To share a feed post to your story tap the paper plane button below the post and you will see the option to create a story. Once you tap this you will see the post as a sticker on your story where you can customise the story by adding comments or why not add a poll? See a new product your thinking of stocking … why not ask your customers first?
Do you have accounts you are following but would like to see less of their posts? The muting option is an awesome new Instagram feature giving you more control of who’s content you see on your feeds. You can now use the mute feature to hide posts from certain accounts while still following the account. This allows your feed to be more personalised so you see more of the content you like.
Instagram have made changes to their previously cumbersome messaging to have a new simplified inbox makes responding to messages easier.
What do you think of the new updates? Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. In my opinion, this months updates greatly enhance Instagram’s ability to be more dynamic and interactive platform.
Why use stock photography?
High quality photos will make or break your website. Quality photography makes a huge difference to the overall impression of a website has the power to make your brand, tell your story and sell your product. In the competitive world of websites first impressions count and quickly creating consumer trust is essential.
As a web developer I often face the challenge of clients providing website photography which is low quality, an inaccurate representation of their product or brand or photography that is potentially in breach of copyright restrictions.
Simply put great photography will have a positive impact on your website. If you do not have professional photos of your business the use of stock photography will enable you to incorporate high quality imagery to your website either for free or for a fraction of the cost of a photo shoot. Stock photography is therefore a very cost effective option to ensuring your website boasts high quality images and positively portrays your brand.
What are the best stock photography websites?
I’ve been sourcing stock photography for my clients websites for over 10 years and to save you some time here are my favourite stock photography websites:
My #1 pick is Adobe Stock – it’s one of the largest stock image sites with over 100 million really beautiful images and videos housed in an easy to use interface. They offer a one month free trial where you can download 10 images for free with no commitment to continue.
With over 190 million images and 10 million video clips, Shutterstock are my next go to stock image website due to their huge variety. Images can be purchased in bundles of 5 images or a monthly subscription.
Want more Instagram follows but still have a life that doesn’t involve you being permanently attached to your phone?
INSTAGRAM AUTOMATION IS THE KEY!
Automating some of your Instagram activity allows you to target potential followers with automated likes or messages that act as an introduction to your Instagram account.
Instagram automation tools handle some, or all of your Instagram activities on auto pilot so you can:
- Schedule Posts
- Auto Comment
- Auto Direct Message New Followers
- Auto Like
- Auto Follow
- Auto Unfollow
- Auto Repost
Instagram automation isn’t for everyone and the key is ensuring you don’t become an annoying spammer. Here are my recommendations when automating your Instagram activity:
- Start by only automating Likes. By automating accounts you follow you need to consider your feed (see below) so start with likes and see how you go.
- Add a well written auto reply which is not salesy. This is a message your new followers receive as a direct message. Here you need to build interest and trust … the building blocks to starting any good relationship!
- Add new automation rules slowly so you are more in control and comfortable with the automation behavior.
- Monitor your automation behavior closely.
There are a lot of Instagram Automation Tools available so you can trial them for yourself and choose the right tool for you. I’ve trialed most of them and for me Gramto is my personal favourite. Gramto has a really easy to dashboard which allows you to manage multiple Instagram accounts from the same place. It takes no time to set up and get started and customising and managing your activity is very straight forward.
An effective way to use Instagram Automation is to automate your follow activity by auto following accounts by hashtag, places or people. Following other uses is a great way to gain new followers however when automating you need to be aware that you will start following potentially thousands of Instagram accounts. You need to consider the impact of this on your feed if you are following thousands of accounts.
If you are going to automate comments you need to be very careful in the way you structure your comments and the accounts and hashtags you automate the activity to. Remember that the automation tool will post for you without allowing your manual approval. It is important to ensure you do not post responses which could you inappropriate or damaging to your brand. This can be tricky to navigate so when starting with an automation tool it is best to start very slowly with automated comments. In the dashboard of Gramto you can view the comments which your account has responded to so I suggest always keeping an eye on this to ensure your activity is relent.
* IMPORTANT NOTE *
Please do not ever buy followers. Instagram automation connects and engages you with genuine Instagram accounts that follow you for a genuine reason. Purchasing followers will increase your following temporarily with spam Instagram accounts and have absolutely no value to you. If you are thinking of purchasing Instagram follows please contact me to discuss so we can develop strong and lasting followers for you.
When it comes to using hashtags on Instagram some of us love them and some of us hate them! Here I’m going to cover why you should use Instagram hashtags and how to use them effectively.
Hashtags are one of the quickest ways to grow your Instagram following and using the correct combination of hashtags will expose your business to large targeted audiences. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post and posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without.
How hashtags work
Hashtags categorise your content across Instagram optimising where your images and content are displayed. Many Instagram users follow hashtags for subjects they are interested in as well as individual accounts. By adding hashtags to your post you expose your business to users looking for the content you are posting.
Finding the best Instagram hashtags for your posts
Here’s where the magic happens. Be strategic and take time and care to select hashtags that are relevant to your post and are popular. Using generic emotion hashtags like #happy #friday may convey your emotions but they are not going to get you new followers. You want to select hashtags which already have high engagement with your audience. Research what your competitors and industry leaders are using and check a hashtag’s popularity by search the hashtag and seeing how many times it has been used.
Finding Related hashtags
Finding related hashtags will increase your audience even further and is easy. Simply type your hashtag into the instagram search bar and select “tags” from the menu. Here you can see all the top hashtags related to your hashtag plus see their popularity by the number of posts. You can also browse posts for each of these hashtags and see hashtag groups being used by other Instagram users. This will give you further insight into your competitors activity and hashtags to target.
Ready to get started?
Using targeted hashtags is a great way for your business to connect with potential new clients and followers. SO next time you post on Instagram give it a go and here’s a great tool that will help you identify the best hashtags to use:
A custom landing page on your Instagram profile allows you to highlight your services and direct traffic to targeted pages of your website.
Linktree have a fantastic tool allowing you to achieve this. Here’s what you need to do:
- Create a free Linktree account by signing in with Instagram
- Select “add new button / link”
- Give your button a title
- Add your link
- Repeat for all the buttons you’d like to add
- Copy the custom link and paste it into your Instagram profile
In order to boost posts on Instagram you will need to convert your account type to be a business profile.
To convert your Instagram account to a business profile follow the steps below:
- Go to your profile and tap the settings icon
- Select “Switch to Business Profile”Tap Switch to Business Profile
- Select the Facebook Page you’d like to link your Instagram account to
- Make sure your profile is set to Public. Private accounts can’t switch to Business Accounts
- Make sure to review your business’s contact information, make any changes and tap Done
- With a business account, you’ll get access to business features and Instagram Insights
- A Business Profile on Instagram can only be connected to a single Facebook Page
Line breaks and paragraph spacing do not work in Instagram … but here are some tricks for you!
There are 3 ways to add line breaks in your Instagram posts.
1. Use a symbol
This is the easiest and fastest way to add a line break in your post.
You can use a dash, a full stop, a wave, an emoji etc and this extra character will act as a space.
If you use a symbol it will be visible in your post caption. If you want an invisible line break between your paragraphs, the below two options are for you …
2. Add an invisible line break in Instagram caption
To add invisible line breaks in your Instagram caption, you need to use invisible spaces.
Copy and paste the invisible spaces below:
Only past the spaces between these brackets and paste multiple times if you need more lines.
3. Use a scheduling app
Scheduling apps allow you to type your post using line breaks which then appear as line breaks in your post! Finding a scheduling app your like is really a matter of trial and error but my go to app is Gramto. I have tested Hootsuite, Buffer & Later but for ease of use and a bunch of other things I love including their automation Gramto is the clear winner.
Ready to sell products directly from your Instagram post?
Instagram now allows you to tag products in your Instagram post so your customers can purchase product directly from your post rather than existing Instagram and searching your website.
Follow these steps to create shoppable Instagram posts:
1/ First you need to add the product you want to tag in your Instagram post to Facebook:
Facebook > Shop > Add Product (this is what links the product to the website checkout).
2/ Create an Instagram post
3/ Select Tag Products
4/ Tap the photo and a list of your products from Facebook will appear
5/ Select the product from your Facebook shop
6/ Save the post.
The result of this is that when a follower views the post they can tap the product and see the product details, they then can tap through to the product and select Shop Now which redirects to the product on your website. Here they just purchase and checkout.
It is a very effective way to direct sales straight from Instagram. Your user can purchase directly from your post, rather than going to the website and searching for the product etc.