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How to Grant User Access in Google Analytics

Once you’ve created your Google Analytics account, you can add extra users to access your information. This way multiple users can view your data. You can also create specific permissions per user, ranging from only viewing the data, to editing it.

If you want to only share information about your Google Analytics, it’s best to rather grant access to someone, instead of sharing your login details.

Step 1: Open the Settings in Google Analytics

After you have signed into your Google Analytics account, choose the site to which you want to grant access.

Google Analtyics Grant User Access Choose Account 1

 

Next, click on the Admin option. This is the gear icon in the bottom left of your screen.

 

There are three types of access levels under the User Management option. Account, Property and View.

Account:this allows a user to add more users, extra websites, as well as link AdSense and AdWords data.

Property:this allows a user access to the tracking code. The user can also adjust the retargeting code and settings on a specific website.

View:this allows a user to view reports, add new goals and content groupings.

Google Analtyics Grant User Access User Management

Step 2: Grant Access to a User

To add a new user, you will need to make sure that the person has either a gmail account, or that their email is registered in Google Accounts. You have to decide on which level you want to grant access (account, property or view).

Click on the “+” icon on the column you want to add the user to (account, property or view)

Google Analtyics Grant User Access Add New User

From the drop-down menu, click on “add new users”

Different types of permission can be assigned to a new user. You can choose between manage users, collaborate, edit or just read and analyze.

Manage Users: a user can add or delete users and assign permissions. This permission does not include the option to Edit or Collaborate.

Edit: access to administrative as well as report-related functions. This includes adding/editing/deleting accounts; access to properties, filters, views and goals. But it does not include managing users. A user with this permission can also see report data. This permission is required at the account level in order to create filters, and at the view level to be able to apply filters. It also includes Collaborate.

Collaborate: with this permission a user can create, edit, delete, as well as share personal assets. The shared personal assets include: dashboards, segments, conversion segments, attribution models, channel groupings, custom reports, and unsampled reports. The user can also collaborate on shared assets and it includes the Read & Analyze permissions.

Read & Analyze: the user can view report and configuration data. The data can also be manipulated within reports for instance to create a segment, add a secondary dimension, or filter a table. The permission allows the user to see shared assets, create personal assets, and share them. But it does not allow Collaboration on shared assets.

Google Analtyics Grant User Access Add New Users Email Address

Enter the email of the user you want to add. You can send a notification email to the new user. Finally, click on add.

How to Modify the Permissions of an Existing User

Once you have created a user, you can modify the permissions assigned to the user at any time.

After you have signed into Google Analytics account, choose the site to which you want to change access. Next, click on the Admin option.

Choose the column of the level you want to change and click on User Management.

You can search for the user you want to change in the search box located at the top of the user list. Type in part of the email address or the full address.

Click on the user name, and then you can add or change permissions.

Remember to click Save.

How to Delete A User

After signing in to your Google Analytics, click on Admin and choose the account you want to change.

Click on User Management in the column you want to edit (account, property, or view)

Search for the user you want to change in the search box.

Check the box next to the user you want to delete.

Click Remove.

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How to Get More Google Reviews for Your Business

How To Get More Google Reviews

You’ve created your free Google business listing, now the next question pops up: how do you get people to review your business? The quick answer, you can send people a direct link to review it. But let’s investigate the step by step process and learn all the little secret tricks.

Google My Business

How to Get Reviews on Your Listing

We all know the power of the internet, over 90% of consumers do an internet search before deciding which company they will become loyal to.  Creating a Google listing should be a part of your reputation management strategy.

The easiest way to get people to review your business, is to make it as straightforward as possible. After you’ve completed a project or delivered your goods, contact the customer directly, thanking them for the business and request a review.

By including a direct link to the review, you ensure that the customer doesn’t lose interest or become frustrated because it is too complicated to figure out the reviewing process. Although there are various search engines out there, Google is by far the most popular and powerful.

Did you know? More than 80% of online queries are performed on Google

Reviews on your Google My Business listing is completely transparent to the public. Potential customers can form an independent opinion of your business, not through what you want to tell them about your product or service on your website, but through real customer reviews.

How Important Are the Reviews?

These reviews should not be taken lightly, studies show that 84% of people give the Google reviews as much authority as a personal referral from a friend or family member. The reviews also serve the purpose of adding oomph to your Google ranking on search page results.

After your first five reviews, you will start seeing organic search engine traffic results for your business. This means your listing will appear more frequently on the first page of search results. It might be tempting to try and create your own reviews, but this tactic will backfire in the long run. Google’s main aim is to provide relevant and useful information for its users.

Create A Prefilled 5-Star Review for Your Customers

How To Get More Google Reviews 2

Although you don’t want to tamper with the review results, you can use a technique of creating a link with the 5-stars automatically filled in for customers to use. The aim of a review is to get both a star ranking as well as personal feedback from your satisfied customers.

To create this link, you will need a mobile phone. Once created, it will be functional for reviewing from any device. It will take a bit of effort to set this up, but it’s highly recommended to invest the time to prepare it.

To start the process, verify your address once you’ve created a Google My Business page. Next, open an incognito page on Google Chrome from your phone. Go to your company’s listing on Google My Business. You will see a Knowledge Graph with your company’s details.

Find the section called “Review and Rate”. On the right you can tap the 5 stars. Click on the “Leave a Review” page. You can now copy the address from the URL bar with the automated 5-star review into an email. Use a URL shortener to create a sleeker URL to send to your customers. Before sending it to a customer, first test it out on your own phone and computer.

Note: if you struggle with this technique, contact one of our Cape Town SEO specialists to assist you with the process. Click here for help.

You can also consider adding the review option onto your website, with a specific page dedicated to reviews. Use the automated review link and change it in your website backend to something more relevant, such as https://www.companyname.com/review. This can be done through a 301 redirect link.

Next, you can create a message to request a review from a customer. Remember, the point of the reviews is to receive honest feedback. Once you’ve sent the link to the review, the response is out of your hands. If you believe the review violates the Google listing policies, you can flag it for removal.

Create a message thanking the customer/client for their business. Request a short, honest review for your Google My Business listing, including the link you’ve created. Remember that the customer is under no obligation to leave you a review, so you need to choose your words carefully to not make the request seem forced.

If you were using other communication methods such as SMS or WhatsApp, you can consider using this. But it will depend on your level of relationship with the customer. Emails are generally seen as a less intrusive method.

Your customer needs to have a Google account to create a review. Add a note in the review request email to explain this to the customer, to avoid frustration when the link doesn’t work. Many people have Gmail accounts, but you most likely were communicating with a client via their official work email.

Google Accounts are also linked to YouTube, Android phones, Blogger and more. It is also linked to other Google services such as Google+, Drive, Analytics, AdWords, Search Console, Calendar and more.

The reason Google decided to add this security method, is to prevent anonymous reviews, that can promote dishonesty and malicious attacks. If your customer doesn’t have a Google account, you can alternatively request a review on your Facebook page.

Alternative Method to Create A Review Link

If you feel uncomfortable with the above suggestion of preselecting 5-stars for the review, you can create a link from a Google Search. Use your computer to create a more accurate link. Firstly, search for your business on Google. Locate the listing on the right, scroll down and click “write a review”. Next, copy the URL in the address bar. Use the URL shortener to create a more professional link. You can use a link building service such as bitly.com to track and optimise your links.

Three Key Changes to Google Review Guidelines

These changes affect the Google algorithm’s filtering process. The guidelines aim to specifically deal with review spamming. Another big change is that the criteria is now part of the Google Maps content policy.

Mostly the guidelines are straightforward no-go’s that make logical sense. It deals with major issues such as no adult content, no hate speech, no confidential info, no copyrighted or illegal content, and more.

#1 Former/Current Employees Cannot Leave Reviews

Previously this was a grey area and sometimes Google did not want to comply with deleting a horrible review. Now the system is on your side and you can rest assured that a disgruntled employee can’t publicly badmouth you on your business listing.

#2 Do Not Request Reviews in Bulk

This change is a bit tricky, as the criteria for “bulk” is very ambiguous. An easy rule of thumb to use, is to not get trigger happy with sending out hundreds of emails to customers every day and getting more than 10 reviews in a day.

As always, the Google algorithm is a mystery. Does a link used too frequently trigger the system? If this is the case, is it the click on the link or the actual review that sets off the bulk sensor? Google tracks links in emails, so the system alert could possibly pop up after the same link has been sent out multiple times in a day.

The volume of reviews linked to the historical trends could also potentially be a trigger. This sometimes happens after a listing had been dormant for a while and suddenly the owner decides to start requesting reviews from customers.

Rather start slowly and build up your reviews in a more organic way. As you finish a project, send out the review request, as mentioned above. And spread out the review invitations to older customers across a few weeks.

#3 Missing: Mention of Kiosks

In the previous set of guidelines, it was clearly stated that you should not set up a review kiosk or station at your business. Although the new guidelines do not explicitly mention the use of review stations, you should read between the lines with this one.

It’s mentioned on Google’s Get Reviews page that you should inform your customers that it’s very easy to leave a review from a phone or computer. It’s been proven that Google tracks the devices from where the reviews are generated. So, if numerous reviews appear from the same device, Google will most likely filter them out.

Please Note: it’s against the Google Review Guidelines to incentivise people to leave a review.

Spam Alert

Local guides are encouraged and incentivised to create longer reviews with photos. Keep an eye on the frequency of reviews on your listing. If you notice a suspicious increase in reviews, check the source of the review. There is a photo spam on the rise from fake LG profiles.

Let Storyteller Design Assist You with Your Google Business Listing

Creating a professional business listing can boost your online presence in many ways. Potential customers can get a better idea of your business identity. Also, with a well-written “about us” section and good choice of photos, your business listing can be effectively turned into a virtual brand ambassador. The choice of words in the description can also be used to boost your SEO ranking on the search result pages.

Contact us now for a free evaluation. Let us help you harness the power of the Google Business listing!

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How to create a shortcode using Advanced Custom Fields data

ACF Fields With Shortcodes

I have noticed that when Google populates the search results for this question there are actually two different questions being asked by a similar search.

The first asks:

How do I create a shortcode that outputs the value of an Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) plugin field.

The second asks:

How can I dynamically populate a short code using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin.

I was trying to find the answer to the first question, but I will try to show both answers here, so that you do not have to search again.

How do I create a shortcode that outputs the value of an Advanced Custom Fields plugin field.

 

  1. To do this you must first install and activate the ACF plugin on your WordPress website. You can download the free version here.
  2. Create a field group with the information you want to use. You can learn more about how to do this on the ACF website.
  3. Once you have your field set up you can start creating your shortcode. You are going to do this in the functions.php file of your child theme.
    • First create a function. Here is an example<
      function my_shortcode() { 
      
      	$myfield = get_field('my_field',false,false);
      	
      	return $myfield ;
      	
      }
      

      The trick here is to first create a variable using the get_field ACF function and then return that value as the output for the function./li>

    • Once that is done you need to register your function as a shortcode.
      add_shortcode( 'myshortcode', 'my_shortcode' );
      
    • Putting it all together you get
      function my_shortcode() { 
      
      	$myfield = get_field('my_field',false,false);
      	
      	return $myfield ;
      	
      }
      add_shortcode( 'myshortcode', 'my_shortcode' );
      

It is important to note that you only need to worry about this if you are using more advanced field than just a text field. If you are only using a text field you can use the inbuilt ACF shortcodes.

e.g.

[acf field="field_name" post_id="123"]

You can learn more about that here.

How can I dynamically populate a short code using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin.

 

Since I didn’t have to actually code this, I am taking it from an example I found on StackOverflow. You can read it here.

Say you have an ACF field ‘contact_form’ which is the ID of a contact form 7 form. You want to populate this ID dynamically using ACF.

Your normal short code that you would use in a template is

echo do_shortcode( '[contactform id="1457"]' );

To get this to work is as simple as

echo do_shortcode( '[contactform id="'.get_field('contact_form').'"]' );

The trick here is to use the ACF get_field() function instead of the ACF the_field() function.

Please note that the contact form 7 short code has been changed so that it is not called here, and you can see how we use it. Otherwise we get a 404 contact form shortcake showing.

I hope this helps.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below.

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Single Page Applications (SPAs): How to Get Around the Tricky SEO Impact

Single Page Application

You’ve probably interacted with AngularJS numerous times, without even realising it. AngularJS and other react-style frameworks are slowly taking over the internet. To name a few popular sites currently using the technology – Upwork.com, Udemy.com and Youtube.com.

You definitely recognized the last one, nowadays a lot of people spend numerous hours each week scrolling through the latest YouTube video clips. And you would agree that using the YouTube website is a pleasant experience. 

Angular JS SEO

 

React-style frameworks create a more streamlined web experience for both the site users and web developers.

What Is A Single Page Application?

Firstly, Single Page Applications (SPAs) and Single Page Websites are not the same thing. SPAs are web apps using dynamic updates to load a single HTML page and update information as the user interacts with the website or app.

With the use of HTML5 and AJAX, Single Page Applications create a fluid and responsive experience, without constantly reloading the page. Also, the JavaScript updates happen on the client side.

How Single Page Application Work

Traditional websites load each individual page while the user navigates through the site. This includes calls to the server and cache, loading of resources, and page rendering. SPAs cut out a lot of the back-end activity by loading the whole website when a user lands on any of the website pages. This means that a single HTML page is updated dynamically while the user interacts with the website.

How Does Single Page Applications Impact Web Crawlers?

The biggest benefit of Single Page Applications, is that the user has a streamlined speedy interaction with a website. Web developers also enjoy using it, with an effective universal template that allows for easy customization, testing and page optimization.

But the downside of an Angular or React site, is the SEO challenge. With all the data hidden in the background, it’s not only hidden from the site visitors, the Googlebots can also not access the information.

The Google crawlers rely extensively on HTML/CSS data to interpret and render site content. If the HTML content is hidden behind the site scripts, the crawlers have no content to use for indexing to list a website in the search results.

According to Google it is possible to crawl JavaScript and with a few SEO tests their claims are true. But the Googlebots still seem to struggle with most sites built on a Single Page Application framework. Oftentimes the only search engine results page (SERP) that appears after a crawl of the website, is the homepage.

The other issue that arises, is capturing Google Analytics data. The data is tracked by collecting pageviews when a user navigates from page to page. Without the usual HTML response trigger, the pageviews can’t be collected effectively.

A Five Step SEO Solution for Websites Using Single Page Applications

These steps will assist you to index pages for search engines, as well as rank on the first page of search engine results for specific keywords. Firstly, you need to create a list of all the site pages. Next you must install Prerender and activate the “Fetch as Google” feature. Thereafter the Google Analytics must be configured. Lastly, the site needs to be “recrawled”.

Step 1: Create A List of All Your Site Pages

If you’re thinking “this will take me ages to do”, grin and bear it, in the end it will be worth it. You might be lucky and all you need to do is export an XML sitemap for your site. Even if you have hundreds of pages, this task will help you to create a reference guide to consult while indexing your site. The list will also help to pinpoint any issues that might pop up during SEO optimization.

Tip: divide the content into sub directories, instead of listing individual pages.

Step 2: Install Prerender

This is a crucial element for effective SEO on a website operating on a Single Page Application framework. The Prerender service renders your site in a virtual browser. Next it provides web crawlers with the static HTML content.

With this solution you are getting the best of both world. Your users can still enjoy the speedy SPA experience and the search engine crawlers are happy with the indexable content for effective search results.

View Prerender’s pricing

Step 3: “Fetch as Google”

This is a very handy feature in the Google Search Console. You can enter a URL from your website and fetch the data in the same way a Googlebot would while crawling your site. Selecting “Fetch” will provide you with the HTTP page response, including a download of the source code, the way that a Googlebot interprets it. The “Fetch and Render” option offers you a page screenshot, showing you how Googlebot and site visitors view the page.

Even though Prerender can improve your site indexing, sometimes Google still displays some pages only partially. Or key features might not be featured. By using the “Fetch” or “Fetch and Render”, you can also assess the keyword rankings. Furthermore, you can use the “Request Indexing” option to improve the search results.

Step 4: Configure Your Google Analytics

Because Google has trouble fetching Google Analytics data from a Single Page Application framework, you need to use an alternative method in addition to the traditional tracking code.

Use the Angulartics plugin to replace the standard pageview tracking with virtual pageview tracking. The plugin tracks the user navigation across the entire site. It compensates for the SPAs loading HTML content dynamically, by creating a virtual version of the traditional Analytics tracking.

Another option is to use the Google Tag Manager “History Change” triggers. The biggest challenge is to make sure your Google Analytics record the user interactions with your pages, replacing the pageviews method.

Step 5: Recrawl Your Site

Once you have completed steps 1 to 4, you need to manually check that all the possible crawling errors have been removed. Prerender is a handy application to use, but sometimes a few technical hiccups can still pop up.

Storyteller Design Can Assist You with SEO Ranking for Single Page Applications

We’re not going to lie to you, the SEO process for a Single Page Application site is very tedious and troublesome. But luckily you can make use of our professional SEO services to take care of it for you.

We have the tools and knowhow to tackle this process on your behalf and make sure that you can offer site visitors the dynamic SPA interaction experience on your website, while keeping the GoogleBots happy.

Take our free SEO audit now.

 

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The Dawn of the Google Mobile First Update

google-mobile-first-update

We all suspect that mobile phones are taking over the world. But do you know just how big the mobile movement really is? A few stats that Neil Patel has gathered:

There were close to 150 billion mobile app downloads worldwide in 2016. If this trend persists, statistics predict that in 2021 the mobile app downloads will be over 350 billion. BrightEdge reported recently that their web traffic was 57% mobile generated, versus the traditional desktop computer generated traffic.

What Is the Google Mobile First Update Impact On SEO?

The mobile usage trend is huge. So, it’s no surprise that Google has finally implemented the mobile-first search index criteria. There has been rumours about it for a while now. You might wonder why this is something to take notice of.

The Google Webmasters blog shed some light on how this will affect your website. The Google algorithms will systematically work towards eventually using only the mobile version of your website’s content to rank pages, evaluate structured data, and to display page snippets in the search results. Google’s search index will remain a single index of both websites and apps, but soon the mobile movement will completely take over.

These changes can either help or hinder you. If your website is not currently mobile-friendly, any attempts at a good SEO strategy will be futile. But if you respond swiftly to the algorithm updates, you can beat out the competitors in your industry that are lagging behind.

Related: The value of being in the first page of search results.

google-mobile-first-seo

When Will the Google Mobile First Update Be Implement?

Unfortunately, Google is currently keeping everyone in the dark, not committing to a specific date. Gary Illyes mentioned at the March 2017 SMX West conference that it would happen as soon as Google views results as “quality-neutral”. They are monitoring the search results to remain close to a status-quo level, or a little above it.

Luckily there are a few basic steps that you can follow to ensure that your website survives the Google mobile first update. Firstly, let’s look at what exactly mobile-first indexing is. Till recently Google used only a desktop-oriented page ranking method.

Related: desktop indexing vs. mobile indexing

Back in the day, everybody used desktops to conduct searches. Desktops won’t disappear any time soon, but Google knows that it must pay attention to the mobile movement. Mobile traffic will constantly keep increasing.

The ranking requirements vary between desktop and mobile, but the indexing system remains the same. What it does mean, is that Google will be using your website’s mobile version as the primary means of ranking. Your desktop site version won’t be completely ignored, but Google will focus first on the mobile site.

Guide to The Google Mobile First Update

In the end, the main aim of the Google mobile first update, is to provide users with the most relevant and accurate search results, regardless of the device used for the search. Quite a few years ago mobile users exceeded desktop users, but desktops are not yet completely out of the running. The mobile movement does not point to a mobile-only shift, only a steady increase in mobile usage.

This increase offers you a great opportunity to tap into a different online market. Research shows that 78% of internet users have discovered a new business they were unaware of when browsing on their phone.

The Google mobile first update does not mean that Google will completely disregard desktop searchers. You need to keep both your desktop and mobile site up to date. This change will not be drastic, it simply means that Google is taking the mobile movement into consideration when determining site and page ranking. If your site is genuinely relevant to search criteria, Google will rank you near the top, regardless of where the search request is coming from.

For instance, if the search criteria were “best five star hotel in Cape Town” and you are one of the most prominent hotels in town, you will appear at the top whether someone is searching from their desktop computer or Smartphone.

Follow the Google Mobile First Update Rules

The trick is to make sure that whether the searcher is landing on your desktop or mobile site, they are still having an effective browsing experience. If your mobile version would frustrate even a five-year-old trying to navigate around your website, Google will start penalising you.

Google doesn’t like ranking sites that are frustrating to use. You don’t have to go overboard and completely redirect your SEO strategy, but it’s important to have an optimised mobile site. One of the most important reasons, is to ensure your competitors don’t outrank you.

Tip: use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure your data is optimised for Google to index your website correctly.

Step One: Test Your Mobile Site

Before you start making changes, determine the current mobile-friendly rating of your website. Google has set up a test to assess the quality of your site. Go to search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.

It’s very simple to use, simply enter the URL you want to test and click “Run test”. The system will analyse your website. The results will offer you feedback about your website. If there are any existing problems, it will be clearly listed for you to investigate the issues. Click on the “Page loading issues” link at the top for a more detailed explanation of errors that were detected. You can also view more tips on the “Fix your WordPress page” link.

google-mobile-test-tool

One of the most important elements to keep in mind with a mobile version, is how the user will engage with your content. Make sure that it loads quickly, and that the navigation is very simple to follow.

Related: basic checklist for a good mobile site

Step Two: Check your Content

If your site is listed on an “m” subdomain or if the mobile version uses adaptive/dynamic serving for content sending. The tricky part with a mobile website is that there are a few display limitations. You need to prioritize the most important elements, keeping the user’s experience of your website in mind.

This includes both text and visual elements. Ask yourself with each element how it fits into the visitor’s interaction with your company. Rather stick to the bare basics, than adding too much clutter that could be confusing.

Try doing a few random Google searches on your phone, click through to the websites, and take note of your first impression of the site’s mobile version. What did you enjoy about engaging with the content and what frustrated you?

Step Three: Check Site Responsiveness

google-seo-responsive-design

Designing for a desktop experience is very different to mobile. Firstly, when browsing on your desktop computer, the little mouse cursor is doing all the clicking work for you. On the mobile version, you need to design for easy finger touch.

By focusing on creating good “tap targets”, you will ensure that users will not become frustrated with engaging with your site. For most of the browsers 16px is the best default font size. For design elements, it is advisable to have at least 44 pixels of whitespace around a clickable element.

Together with the actual design, another important element is loading time. Users will simply click back to the search results page if your site loads too slow. Research shows that 53% of users will click the back button if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Telephone numbers need to be in the correct format to be tappable. If a user needs to copy and paste a number to get hold of you, chances are you’ve already lost the potential lead. Same principle for your email address.

Tip: activated browser caching for user convenience

If you want to create an advance mobile site experience, use a site builder that will detect the device from which the user is browsing. This way your site will be automatically adjusted to display in an optimised format.

Step Four: Streamline the Coding

The speedier the mobile site, the better. There’s a few coding tricks you can use to make sure that your mobile version responds quickly, and the navigation is efficient. Try to decrease the HTTP requests as much as possible. You can achieve this by reducing images, or completely removing them if they are redundant to the browsing experience.

google-seo-mobile-first

The next tweak won’t increase the speed of your mobile site, but it will increase the chances of searchers clicking through to your website. Also, on a Smartphone there’s less space for the meta titles and page descriptions. So, choose your words carefully.

Also, make sure your social metadata has been optimised to entice people to click on the link when someone shares your content on a social media platform. Each platform has its own system for creating engaging links to share. From Twitter Cards, to Pinterest Rich Pins – invest time in creating correct meta tags to entice people to share your content. Or you can use the Open Graph meta tags across all platforms.

Related: how to create effective social meta tags

Check that your media sitemaps and XML are set up correctly. Also pay attention to your linking structure. Finally, consider using the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) plugin. It’s a separate format, used by Google to cache your site, increasing the page loading speed. It won’t affect the search ranking of your website. But as mentioned before, it’s crucial for a mobile site to be extremely responsive, ensuring a good user experience.

Let Storyteller Design Help You Optimise Your Mobile Site

The Google mobile first update is a huge shift in the way that websites will be ranked from now on. There’s no denying that the mobile movement will only grow stronger. A mobile-friendly site is extremely important if you don’t want to be left behind with the mobile movement.

If your head is spinning from all the information in this post, not to fear. As a Cape Town SEO company, Storyteller Design we make it our mission to stay on top of the latest trends. We can assist you to tweak your existing website to adhere to the Google mobile first update criteria.

Take our SEO help survey now to give us a better idea of the health of your website.

google-mobile-first-seo-search-engine-optimisation

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Local SEO

Local Map SEO

How is local SEO different to traditional SEO?

Traditional SEO focuses on ranking websites whenever a certain keyword is used to direct the search. However local SEO try to rank a website whenever a keyword is used within a certain geographical area.

For example:

yourbusiness + city/area
yourservice + city/area

The geographical area can either be based on what was directly entered into the search bar or it can use the geographical location of the searcher themselves.

Any business with a physical location or that services customers within a specific geographical location absolutely needs to be using Local SEO.

It connects your business to people searching for your products and services in your area. Local searches are less competitive than international or national searches as there are less companies vying for the same space.

But how can I rank my website well for local SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is difficult because Google keeps changing the rules it uses to decide where to rank websites. Below you will find a quick summary of Google’s last few changes and how they changed the rules.

  1. Panda Update: Penalized Bad Content
  2. Penguin Update: Penalized Bad Links
  3. Hummingbird Update: Semantic Search – which means Google were trying to understand what the users are looking for rather than just the words in the search bar.
  4. Pigeon Update: Local Search ( July )

Googles’s Pigeon update is the update that most affected the local search results, which we are discussing. The update brought local search results more in line with traditional website ranking factors.

What changes came with the Pigeon update?

  • The geographical search radius shown was reduced.
  • Different search radius’s are also applied for different types of searches.
  • Favors directory websites. Look for our upcoming post on Barnacle SEO.
  • New local map pack – called “snack pack” with only 3 results instead of 7.

So what influences local search rankings and how have they changed?

Moz-2014-Local-Search-Ranking-Factors

The local search ranking factors have changed substantially in 2015.

Moz-2015-Local-Search-Ranking-Factors

On-Page Signals: ( down to 20.3% ):

1. Quality content is now more important than ever, it is more valuable to have fewer high quality posts rather than lots of average content going up on your website. Once you have quality content then optimise it for your local targets.

Area to optimise:

  • City in the title tag
  • City in the H1 heading tag
  • City in content
  • City in image alt text
  • City in URL
  • City in metadescription

2. Embed Google Map from Google My Business not Google Maps.

3. NAP – Name, Address, Phone Number

4. Use a local phone number

5. Blog regularly

Link Signals ( Up to 20.03% ):

  1. Quality links are important, not just quantity.
  2. Local sites with high authority carry a lot of weight.

Citation Signals ( Down to 13.55% ):

Citations are mentions of your website and NAP on other websites and directories around the internet. The listings will usually include you name, address and phone number along with a link to your website.

  1. Make sure your citations are consistent.
  2. Get citations your competitors are not paying attention to.
  3. If you have ever moved or changed phone numbers? Then citation clean up is your number 1 priority.

Google My Business ( Up to 14.72% ):

  1. Claim your Google My Business (GMB) location.
  2. If you are having problems use phone support.
  3. Customers are 38% more likely to visit and 29% more likely to buy from a business that has a complete GMB profile and page.
  4. Optimise your GMB page:
    • Use a long description with formatting and links
    • Choose the correct categories
    • Upload lots of photos
    • Use a local phone number
    • Use your own profile and cover images.

Review Signals ( Down to 8.39% ):

88% of customers trust online reviews as much as reviews from friends and family. People will decide not to buy from you if you have bad reviews. Definitely do not fake reviews, rather care about your customer and let their reviews shine through.

  1. Make it easy to leave reviews
  2. Don’t forget to ask for reviews.
  3. Set up a review page on your website domain.com/reviews ( Link this to your GMB page )
  4. Hand out post cards with a link to your reviews page.
  5. Follow up with emails asking for reviews.
  6. Google reviews are the most powerful.
  7. Have at least 10 reviews on Google before targeting 3rd party review sites.
  8. Most importantly have more reviews than your competitors.
  9. Reply to all your negative reviews.

Seem like a lot to take in and not sure where to start. The best place to start is with a local SEO audit of your site. Get one for free below.

Scan your website’s local SEO for FREE.

 

If you have any questions please email us at info@storytellerdesign.co.za. Information sources for this post include Moz.com and Greg Gillford’s Local SEO – A Seriously Awesome Blueprint.

Local Map SEO

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Page Speed: How to test it and improve your SEO

Rocket-Launch SEO Speed Test

Rocket-Launch SEO Speed Test

The best way to test your website for its load time and how Google views it is to use Google’s own page speed insights. Since we want it to help us rank higher in the Google website and search rankings, it is important to take into account how Google views your load time, and what they think needs to be fixed or improved.

To test your website using Google Page Insights.

1.Click here and enter your website address or URL.

2.Click Analyse

3.Read through the results and see what needs to be changed or upgraded.

Do not get scared if you find the results too technical for your understanding, send us an email at info@storytellerdesign.co.za along with your website address and we can test your websites speed and let you know what needs to be fixed and improved, what is critical and what should not be changed.

What can slow your page speed down?

  • Your host or server: As the saying goes, you usually get what you paid for. In the long run, a cheap hosting account can damage your page speed. Pick the right host best fits your business size.
  • Large images: Images which are very large are heavy to load and can really slow your website down. It is often due to extra data included in the comments or to a lack of compression.
  • External embedded media: External media like videos are highly valuable but can seriously lower you load time. To gain some load time, host the videos on a sharing platform like youtube or vimeo.
  • Unoptimized browser, plugins and app: You should test your website on all browsers since they do not all load your website in the same way. Applications like Flash can also slow your site down considerably.
  • Too many ads: Besides irritating you visitors, ads can cost you page speed depending on how they are set up and how many you have.
  • Your theme: Some highly designed themes containing a lot of effects and fancy functionality can penalize your load time.
  • Widgets: Some social buttons or comment areas can have an impact of your page speed.
  • Double-barreled code: If your HTML/CSS is not efficient or too dense, it will lower your page speed.

Alternatives for testing your load time and your websites speed are:

Pingdom or Web Page Test

It is always good to have a number of sources when trying to speed up our website.