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A website can be likened to a book. It has a cover, a table of contents and numerous pages. While some books, and even websites, can stay the same, websites are often changed and added with new content.

If we follow the same analogy on books, Search Engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, are the librarians that identify, catalogue, sort, and organise all the books into meaningful orders for people to find information quickly.

While Crawl spiders follow algorithms to quickly go through your site’s content efficiently, there are still some things that may affect how well your site is indexed.

We will share some best practices that will help your site’s index “crawlability”.

1.     Allow Spiders to crawl your site.

Review Your Robot.txt, .htaccess and Sitemaps. It is critical that all your important content is crawlable.  Review your robot.text to see if you are blocking any specific important pages. On the end, you need to make sure to set-up scripts to disallow crawling of unimportant pages. Search engines do not need to access and crawl pages like logins or 404 pages.

You can also block Google spiders from crawling your page with the this meta tag: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex”>. You can also add a non-index tag like “X-Robots-Tag: noindex” to de-index a page.

Lastly, keep your XML sitemap submission up to date if you make huge changes on your site. Make sure you submit it on Google Search Console/Crawl> Sitemaps.

2. Keep it Simple with HTML.

While Google spiders have grown in sophistication, pages written in HTML are the easiest type of pages to index. If you have a large site with thousands of pages, it can be to your benefit to lessen the load of your servers by avoiding heavy Javascript, Flash or XML pages. Use small HTML files whenever possible to optimize both load and crawlability.

3. Are you creating redirection loops? Audit Redirects.

Review your site for Redirect 301 or 302 chains. This type of linking can cause redirect loops that are very inefficient for search engines. Review and limit this type of linking to not more than 2 in a row to avoid locking search engines in crawling loops.

4. Review HTTP Errors and Fix Them.

Look for HTTP errors as well as Duplicate Pages errors on your site. Make sure you spend time fixing the issues to keep your site crawl error-free.  

Make sure that you use rel=”canonical” to tell bots the main version of a page. This is important if you have different versions (like mobile versions) of your site. A pro-tip is to tag mobile versions of your site as the canonical version.

5. Do you have dynamic content? Review URL Parameters.

If your chosen CMS generates a lot of dynamic URLs, it can hinder search engine from crawling all your content and maybe also creating duplicate content errors. To inform Googlebot about how your CMS tags your content, you can visit Google Search Console/Crawl> URL Parameters. This will ensure that all the pages generated do not impact the search crawl bots.

6. Do you have content in multiple languages? Use hreflang tag.

If you have content that is in a different language, make sure you use hreflang tags to tag these pages correctly. This will ensure that your local language content is found by search engines and you do not create duplicate content errors as well. If are just using a single language on your site, you still need to make sure you have a hreflang tag set to the site’s language.

Find out more on how to set-up multiple languages tags here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077?hl=en

If you have any questions on this topic or search engine optimisation, comment on this article drop us a message here.

 

A short guide on how to use 301 redirects to migrate your old website to a new site without losing traffic

What is a 301 redirect?

A 301 redirect is simply a code of date telling website spiders where you have moved your old web pages permanently to or where they can find similar information.  It may seem to be an irrelevant task for websites that have less than 10 pages, however, these lines of codes can make or break a site with thousands of pages migrating to a new design.

Why is a 301 necessary for site migration?

While information on the internet is movable and thus temporary, it is critical to make sure that information that you previously published is easily found by search engines especially if you have renamed the URL. Changing any url without proper redirection will render the current URL “dead” or 404 does not exist.

Losing old links to a 404 (not found page) code is like demolishing a well-established bridge to a town without giving commuters due notice or even alternative avenues to reach their destination.

While the main reasons why organisations often move to a new site are founded in the hope of creating growth in their market share, migration can instead be a reason for them to lose more traffic overnight. A brand’s following may not actually diminish but the number of visitors you get to your web pages through specific website signals can get disrupted as you change over to a new website.

Below are some technical tips on 301 redirections that can help you transition smoothly to a new website without losing relevant traffic:

Document your current site’s structure

Make sure to audit the structure of your site. Take note all your internal and external links before you move over. Use tools like screaming frog to get a comprehensive list of your existing pages, images and links as well as all the meta information of your pages.

Develop your new website structure

Once you have a comprehensive record of how your site is crawled by search engines, you will have 2 methods of structuring your new site.

Option 1 –  You can use the existing URIs as the basis of your current site structure and mirror the url structure on your new site.

This means that you need to keep your pages and URIs one is to one with no alterations to the way URLS are written. For example, if you have a “website.com/about-us”, your new page will be “website.com/about-us” not “website.com/about” or website.com/aboutus”.

Option 2 –  Use the current structure as a guide to match your new pages.

Most of the time, there is a necessity to alter the current URLS. This often happens if you want to alter the way information is ordered on your site or if you happen to have a new domain altogether. In this scenario, you will need to match the current urls with your new set of urls by using 301 redirections.

For example, if you have a blog entry about “how to buy cars” using a URL carscars.com/how-to-buy-cars, you will need to 301 redirect this page to your new url “carscars.com/a-guide-on-buying-cars” or to your new domain “carbuyer.com/how-to-buy-cars” otherwise your visitors will not be able to find the page with the old link.

Side notes:

  • Do not simply 301 redirect all pages to your new homepage.

It can be tempting to shortcut this step by redirecting old links to the new home page. It seems like an easy fix to do but doing this will make your site both confusing to the web spiders and, most importantly, frustrating to your users.

  • Match pages logically

If you do not have an apple to apples match of new pages with old pages, you can still 301 redirect pages to similar pages that may have the same kind of info as the previously existing page. However, accuracy in matching information is important. You do not want to send users and website spiders to page on shoes for men if your old was all about shoes for women.

  • Create a useful 404 page

Instead of just simply providing a generic notice use the opportunity to provide similar links or a search bar that they can use to find similar information on your site. Aim to create a 404 page that can turn a missing page into a user satisfaction opportunity.

Afterthoughts:

After you have implemented your 301 redirects on your new site, make sure to take note of 404 links through Google analytics and to re-crawl your site for 404 pages that may appear in the future. It will be guide practice to keep 404 pages to a minimum whether you are migrating to a new site or not.

More info on 301 redirects

https://yoast.com/create-301-redirect-wordpress/
https://www.bruceclay.com/blog/how-to-properly-implement-a-301-redirect/

More info on 404 pages

http://charlesriverinteractive.com/check-404-errors-right-way/

 

Cyber security is no longer an option but has become a necessity for any business. It’s easy to think that these attacks will never happen to you or your company. Although this may have been true even 10 years ago, cyber-attacks can happen to anyone with a device that is online. Cybersecurity has become a growing issue as attack rates have been increasing each year, and due to the complexities of these cyber-attacks, cyber security has never been simple. It’s important to know what constitutes a good cyber security and what is needed for each business.

Here are the three reasons why cybersecurity matters to you:

 

1.     Protecting client data & maintaining trust

When your business starts becoming a profitable entity, it is only right that there will be more clients to manage. A crucial part in any successful business is the trust between the customer and the company. Ensuring that the client’s data is safe will not only benefit your company but also the customer’s trust with the business as cyber-attacks can put your customers and partners at risk.

On May 2014, eBay was a victim of a giant cyberattack affecting over 145 million users exposing names, addresses, dates of birth and encrypted passwords. In short, hackers got into the company’s network using the credentials of three corporate employees and had complete access inside for 229 days in which they were able to hack into the database. The breach resulted in the decline in user activity and a decline of trust. PwC’s Global State of Information Security Survey 2018 states, “87% of global CEOs say they are investing in cybersecurity to build trust with customers.”

 

2.     Increase in cyber threats

According to a report by McAfee, cybercrimes in 2014 had a total cost of $445 billion and in 2017 had reached $600 billion. Cybersecurity Ventures report of cybercrimes estimates that the cost of cyber threats will rise to $6 trillion annually by 2021. Not only are the attacks increasing but the degree of the damage of these attacks are also on the rise.

 

Examples of cyber-attacks include:

·      Malware that gives your banking and credit card details of cyber criminals

·      Ransomware that encrypts your data files (The only way to access your data files is by paying the criminal to unlock the files)

·      Data leaking/ destruction of data

·      Stolen money

·      Theft of intellectual property.

Cyber threats are no longer a matter of “if,” but “when,” and these breaches can be a huge financial burden for your company. With cyber security, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

 

3.     Cyber-attacks can apply to any business

Many times, when we hear of a wide scale cyber-attacks, we hear of big companies like Target and eBay and tend to think that my business is too small to be at risk. However, you need to know that this is a false sense of security. We’ve grown too accustomed to hearing about big companies or government bodies being hacked but not of the attacks that do not make the news. Small to medium sized businesses are actually the ones not addressing the problem properly, making them an easier target. 43 percent of cyber-attacks in 2015 were targeted towards smaller businesses according to Symantec, a software company. This number has continued to increase each year.

 

Cyber threats are here to stay and being proactive about your cyber security will only benefit your company in the long run. Threats will only continue to increase and become more intricate as time goes by. Like all businesses, it is best to be proactive and reduce any risks and vulnerabilities that can arise.

Business owners tend to undermine the importance of creating an effective advertisement. In order to create an effective advertisement, you must first understand the basics of a good advertisement content. As every business wants to stand out from the rest, and with the rising competition due to globalisation, promoting your business with proper advertisement techniques is essential. The challenges of creating an effective advertisement correlate with the increase in the amount of media consumption. Online advertisements go beyond just the visuals and the message. It is often is about finding a balance between finding the optimal delivery method, with the right message, for the right customers, at the right time and place.

The following 6 tips can help you gain the results you’re looking for in creating advertisements that are effective. These techniques can also be used for any promotional tool for your business such as brochures, emails, fliers, online advertisement, postcards, and more.

 

1. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS

What makes you stand out from the rest? If you can communicate your brand strengths in your advertisements, there’s a chance some potential customers will choose you instead of your competitors. For example, the Red Bull “Gives You Wings” Campaign conveys an inspiring message that makes customers feel more capable. The use of “Wings” is unique from other energy drink. It connotes instant “flight” ass though it will help those who drink it will be able to perform at their jobs better.

2. UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Creating an ad with a specific target audience in mind can help increase engagement for your business. If you try to reach everyone all at once, you might have a difficult time reaching anyone. You can target your audience by different characteristics such as:
• Demographics
• Psychographics
• Business Industry/Market segment
• Geographical Area

With a defined audience, you can create marketing messages that will resonate deeper with each potential customer. Likewise, this will also help clarify the vision and mission of your organization and help your business stay focused.

 

3. HAVE LESS CONTENT
“Less is more” has been a phrase that has been important in the design world and is true for the content as well. As with the Red Bull example, “Red Bull Gives You Wings” is a short phrase but conveys a powerful message by empowering the audience. This phrase creates an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. This emotionally-inspiring phrase can instrumental in creating brand loyalty with its consumers.

 

4. MAKE YOUR VISUALS CREATIVE
Mixing the right visuals with the right content make the most effective combination. It’s important to make sure that the visual elements you use do not overpower the message. The visuals should be attractive enough to target audiences but not distracting from the main message.

 

5. HAVE A CATCHY CALL TO ACTION
Your call to action should include words to encourage your audience to take action by telling them to click on the ad, buy your product, provide an email, etc. It’s important to use exciting words that will draw in potential customers. Make your call to action have a sense of urgency by focusing on action words, focusing on value, creating anticipation, or by showing the product or service benefits.

 

6. WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?

No matter how much money your company spends on advertising, all companies must go through a process of determining the budget for the advertisement(s). In order to do this, you must first decide what your goals are from advertising and create an advertisement plan. This will help determine where you want to spend your marketing funds. One advantage of using online advertisement is its ability to set limits of your spendings.

There is no “one size fits all” model for creating the perfect advertisement as each business is different. However, building a strategy with these 6 tips in mind will help create a more effective advertisement and put you on the right track.

For all eCommerce sites, the following sentence always holds true: “trust creates conversions.” It doesn’t matter how good looking and user friendly your eCommerce website is. If it does not gain the trust of your audience, then they will not go through with their sales. Big name shopping sites that have already created a name and a royal user base will have no problem with creating trust. But for websites that are just starting out, these tips can make a huge difference. Read on.

TRUST DRIVERS

Whatever helps you get trust, use it and flaunt it. Make your customers know that you have seals, badges,  and logos that guarantee your legitimacy. These will help turn visitors into customers faster than you think. An SSL certificate is your first priority. If your site doesn’t have this most basic security then how do you expect your visitors to trust you?

Testimonials and Reviews

These are another type of trust driver that should be very visible to your site visitors. Testimonials and reviews are indeed very powerful and studies have shown just how effective they are.

More than 90 percent of site traffic will check out reviews and testimonials before choosing to purchase. Around 88 percent of purchases put their faith in reviews as much as recommendations from friends.

ecommerce check review

Another great thing about testimonials is that they help your website’s SEO. So there is so much going for them that having none of them on your site is a big mistake. They can generate optimal product specific key words that will help people find your website through search engines. This significant boost in traffic is also “targeted” traffic, making it even more valuable.

More Payment Options Makes Customers Feel Secure

If you provide a healthy range of payment options, this will make your customers feel safer. How? Because if they recognize payment options they used before, there will be a sense of familiarity.

Here’s a list down just a few possible options for you to try:

1. PayPal

2. Stripe – Amazon

3. Klarna

Though the eCommerce industry in general is experiencing massive growth, it also is getting more cut-throat. You won’t be able to compete anymore with just a good looking site. That’s all in the past. What you need is to have a more technical knowledge on what makes eCommerce sites. These trust drivers are not the only things that you need, but these can help give you the edge in your niche market.