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The World Cup with Teeth – Suarez Bites Back

So far the World Cup has given us plenty to…er…chew over? I know, sorry, but we have to talk about it. In a World Cup that has seen an extraordinary amount of goals, some shock results, favourites being dumped out early and a great carnival spirit, it is sad that what it will probably be remembered for is yet another disgraceful scene including Luis Suarez. Read more

5 Things We Found Out About @boyddigital

When a Channel4 show a few months ago claimed that Twitter was the best video game of all time, a lot of eyebrows were raised. Twitter isn’t really a game as such (unless you’re desperate to get as many followers as possible) as it is a tool. And when something is viewed as a tool for engagement, its always a good idea to take a look under the car bonnet and see how your engine is working. Read more

Top 5 Films – June

So when Gregor told me I had to write about my 5 favourite films to celebrate the Edinburgh International Film Festival, I thought how?! I don’t really have favourites! However, here are 5 films that I could watch over and over again without getting bored, so I guess these are as good as any. Read more

Monday Mentions: 23rd June

A cloudy Monday morning after a beautifully bright weekend? You cannot be serious! The start of Wimbledon today means two things for everyone across the country:  a sudden rummage through closets and garages to find rackets that only get used for two blissful summer weeks, and an upsurge in the consumption of strawberries and cream. But how does the internet react to a bit of Murray Mania? Read more

Monday Mentions: June 16th

The world cup may be the talking point of the office for the requisute ‘What do you get up to over the weekend?’ catch up first thing (we want a can of disappearing spray!), but we’re always making sure the Monday morning catch up involves a good few reads while the kettle is boiling. Read more

The King of Cool

We know that bogging you down in a world of marketing and SEO would be a painful experience every time you visited this blog. This is why we try to put some posts up from the team about things that are happening in the office, around Glasgow and also globally.

Well, today the biggest and most important tournament in the world starts. The World Cup 2014, held in Brazil is a spectacle that the world holds its breath for and this year promises to be a great one.

I am dedicating this post to the man you should look out for in my opinion. While many have been asking, can Neymar drive his nation to glory in their homeland, can Messi translate club form to take Argentina to the top, will Ronaldo run riot and many more questions this man has been sipping wine in an Italian vineyard, this man is Andrea Pirlo. Read more

Your site’s midyear checkup

Running a business online can be extremely time consuming, and the rapid rate of change can often mean flitting from one new idea to the next without ever taking the time to review your older content.

Every once in a while it’s worth taking the time to step back and review the work you’ve done recently, looking for any possible improvements to your site which will help improve the overall user experience.

Read more

Chrome Tips: 10 ways to make Google Chrome more efficient

Everyone uses Google every day online. Well almost everyone (Hello to those who mistakenly have Ask as their default search engine). If you’re the kind of person who like to make their browsing experience go even faster and are always looking that short cut that makes ctrl+v seem ancient, then you’re in luck. We went looking for someone the best tips and tricks to make using Chrome as easy as possible. Here are 10 that will using Chrome even easier. Read more

The Final Countdown

With only 50 days to go until the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the team at Boyd Digital are starting to get excited.

It will be a real boost for the city of Glasgow from the investments and redevelopment of certain areas to the prestige and honour of holding an event like this. As well as welcoming the top Commonwealth athletes to the city visitors and locals will be able to enjoy a host of entertainment as the games approach. Read more

Glasgow Science Festival 2014

glasgow-science-festival1  The city of Glasgow has a lot going for it this summer, from the recent Radio 1 Big Weekend, to the upcoming West End Festival and of course the 20th Commonwealth Games that will be taking place. Don’t forget of course that from the 5th to the 15th of June, the Glasgow Science Festival will be taking place at various locations across the city. Read on for the pick of our favourite 5 events that will be taking place. Read more

Heart and Soul of Glasgow – Glasgow Barrowlands

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to go to the Barraloadasoul event in the world famous Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom. Having visited the venue a number of times to see bands from the Britpop boom of my youth in the 90’s until now, it was great to see the place being used for what it was built for. Read more

14 for Brazil ’14

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is fast approaching us and here at Boyd Digital football fever is tightening its grip. In order to celebrate this festival of football properly we are taking a look at 14 of most memorable world cup moments from great goals to bad tackles and glory to controversy. Read more

‘We’re a local shop for local people’: Understanding Google Local

It wasn’t so long ago that if someone wanted a specific service, out came the Yellow Pages and a game of ‘which is best/cheapest/closest?’ was afoot. Nowadays if you want, for example, to find a dentist here in Glasgow it takes just one quick search to highlight not just the names and numbers of different dentists, but also show you where they are on a map, when they’re open, what their phone number is and how they’ve been rated too. Read more

Boyd Digital Film Festival

Scotland has long been renowned in the world of film for  actors such as Sean Connery and James McAvoy to movies like Trainspotting and Gregory’s Girl as well as lending locations to such block busters as Harry Potter and World War Z. It will come as little surprise to you then that both the Glasgow and Edinburgh International Film Festivals always prove to be extremely popular. Read more

Everyone’s Favourite Festival Performances

With Radio 1’s Big Weekend taking place across town at Glasgow Green this weekend, a discussion started in the office about just what the best festival performances of all time were. Now we have a widely varying taste when it comes to the type of music we all like, so instead of spending the day arguing over which Glastonbury head-liners were the best, or which of us has been to the best festival possible, a quick solution was proposed: everyone find their favourite festival performance ever and share it. Read more

Putting All Your Eggs in Someone Else’s Basket

If you have a business or a website the chances are you will realise the importance of having a good social media presence. Being able to interact with your target audience is a great way to gauge opinion and promote your product and it is often the first port of call for potential new customers.

But just how reliant are we becoming on this? Focussing all of our energies on one platform such as Facebook or Twitter can be a risky business if it means we neglect the quality of our actual site or a wider social net. Read more

77 Best and Worst Practices in SEO

List of Best and Worst practices for designing a high traffic website

Here is a checklist of the factors that affect your rankings with Google, Bing, Yahoo! and the other search engines. The list contains positive, negative and neutral factors because all of them exist. Most of the factors in the checklist apply mainly to Google and partially to Bing, Yahoo! and all the other search engines of lesser importance. If you need more information on particular sections of the checklist, you may want to read our SEO tutorial, which gives more detailed explanations of Keywords, Links, Metatags, Visual Extras, etc.

Keywords
1 Keywords in <title> tag This is one of the most important places to have a keyword because what is written inside the <title> tag shows in search results as your page title. The title tag must be short (6 or 7 words at most) and the the keyword must be near the beginning. +3
2 Keywords in URL Keywords in URLs help a lot – e.g. – http://domainname.com/seo-services.html, where “SEO services” is the keyword phrase you attempt to rank well for. But if you don’t have the keywords in other parts of the document, don’t rely on having them in the URL. +3
3 Keyword density in document text Another very important factor you need to check. 3-7 {262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} for major keywords is best, 1-2 for minor. Keyword density of over 10{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} is suspicious and looks more like keyword stuffing, than a naturally written text. +3
4 Keywords in anchor text Also very important, especially for the anchor text of inbound links, because if you have the keyword in the anchor text in a link from another site, this is regarded as getting a vote from this site not only about your site in general, but about the keyword in particular. +3
5 Keywords in headings (<H1>, <H2>, etc. tags) One more place where keywords count a lot. But beware that your page has actual text about the particular keyword. +3
6 Keywords in the beginning of a document Also counts, though not as much as anchor text, title tag or headings. However, have in mind that the beginning of a document does not necessarily mean the first paragraph – for instance if you use tables, the first paragraph of text might be in the second half of the table. +2
7 Keywords in <alt> tags Spiders don’t read images but they do read their textual descriptions in the <alt> tag, so if you have images on your page, fill in the <alt> tag with some keywords about them. +2
8 Keywords in metatags Less and less important, especially for Google. Yahoo! and Bing still rely on them, so if you are optimizing for Yahoo! or Bing, fill these tags properly. In any case, filling these tags properly will not hurt, so do it. +1
9 Keyword proximity Keyword proximity measures how close in the text the keywords are. It is best if they are immediately one after the other (e.g. “dog food”), with no other words between them. For instance, if you have “dog” in the first paragraph and “food” in the third paragraph, this also counts but not as much as having the phrase “dog food” without any other words in between. Keyword proximity is applicable for keyword phrases that consist of 2 or more words. +1
10 Keyword phrases In addition to keywords, you can optimize for keyword phrases that consist of several words – e.g. “SEO services”. It is best when the keyword phrases you optimize for are popular ones, so you can get a lot of exact matches of the search string but sometimes it makes sense to optimize for 2 or 3 separate keywords (“SEO” and “services”) than for one phrase that might occasionally get an exact match. +1
11 Secondary keywords Optimizing for secondary keywords can be a golden mine because when everybody else is optimizing for the most popular keywords, there will be less competition (and probably more hits) for pages that are optimized for the minor words. For instance, “real estate new jersey” might have thousand times less hits than “real estate” only but if you are operating in New Jersey, you will get less but considerably better targeted traffic. +1
12 Keyword stemming For English this is not so much of a factor because words that stem from the same root (e.g. dog, dogs, doggy, etc.) are considered related and if you have “dog” on your page, you will get hits for “dogs” and “doggy” as well, but for other languages keywords stemming could be an issue because different words that stem from the same root are considered as not related and you might need to optimize for all of them. +1
13 Synonyms Optimizing for synonyms of the target keywords, in addition to the main keywords. This is good for sites in English, for which search engines are smart enough to use synonyms as well, when ranking sites but for many other languages synonyms are not taken into account, when calculating rankings and relevancy. +1
14 Keyword Mistypes Spelling errors are very frequent and if you know that your target keywords have popular misspellings or alternative spellings (i.e. Christmas and Xmas), you might be tempted to optimize for them. Yes, this might get you some more traffic but having spelling mistakes on your site does not make a good impression, so you’d better don’t do it, or do it only in the metatags. 0
15 Keyword dilution When you are optimizing for an excessive amount of keywords, especially unrelated ones, this will affect the performance of all your keywords and even the major ones will be lost (diluted) in the text. -2
16 Keyword stuffing Any artificially inflated keyword density (10{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} and over) is keyword stuffing and you risk getting banned from search engines. -3
Links – internal, inbound, outbound
17 Anchor text of inbound links As discussed in the Keywords section, this is one of the most important factors for good rankings. It is best if you have a keyword in the anchor text but even if you don’t, it is still OK. However, don’t use the same anchor text all the time because this is also penalized by Google. Try to use synonyms, keyword stemming, or simply the name of your site instead +3
18 Origin of inbound links Besides the anchor text, it is important if the site that links to you is a reputable one or not. Generally sites with greater Google PR are considered reputable. Links from poor sites and link farms can do real harm to you, so avoid them at all costs. +3
19 Links from similar sites Generally the more, the better. But the reputation of the sites that link to you is more important than their number. Also important is their anchor text (and its diversity), the lack/presence of keyword(s) in it, the link age, etc. +3
20 Links from .edu and .gov sites These links are precious because .edu and .gov sites are more reputable than .com. .biz, .info, etc. domains. Additionally, such links are hard to obtain. +3
21 Number of backlinks Generally the more, the better. But the reputation of the sites that link to you is more important than their number. Also important is their anchor text, is there a keyword in it, how old are they, etc. +3
22 Anchor text of internal links This also matters, though not as much as the anchor text of inbound links. +2
23 Around-the-anchor text The text that is immediately before and after the anchor text also matters because it further indicates the relevance of the link – i.e. if the link is artificial or it naturally flows in the text. +2
24 Age of inbound links The older, the better. Getting many new links in a short time suggests buying them. +2
25 Links from directories Could work, though it strongly depends on which directories. Being listed in DMOZ, Yahoo Directory and similar directories is a great boost for your ranking but having tons of links from PR0 directories is useless or even harmful because it can even be regarded as link spamming, if you have hundreds or thousands of such links. +2
26 Number of outgoing links on the page that links to you The fewer, the better for you because this way your link looks more important. +1
27 Named anchors Named anchors (the target place of internal links) are useful for internal navigation but are also useful for SEO because you stress additionally that a particular page, paragraph or text is important. In the code, named anchors look like this: <A href= “#dogs”>Read about dogs</A> and “#dogs” is the named anchor. +1
28 IP address of inbound link Google denies that they discriminate against links that come from the same IP address or C class of addresses, so for Google the IP address can be considered neutral to the weight of inbound links. However, Bing and Yahoo! may discard links from the same IPs or IP classes, so it is always better to get links from different IPs. +1
29 Inbound links from link farms and other suspicious sites Presumably, this does not affect you, provided the links are not reciprocal. The idea is that it is beyond your control to define what a link farm links to, so you don’t get penalized when such sites link to you because this is not your fault. However, some recent changes to the Google algorithm suggest the opposite. This is why, you must always stay away from link farms and other suspicious sites or if you see they link to you, contact their webmaster and ask the link to be removed. 0
30 Many outgoing links Google does not like pages that consists mainly of links, so you’d better keep them under 100 per page. Having many outgoing links does not get you any benefits in terms of ranking and could even make your situation worse. -1
31 Excessive linking, link spamming It is bad for your rankings, when you have many links to/from the same sites (even if it is not a cross- linking scheme or links to bad neighbors) because it suggests link buying or at least spamming. In the best case only some of the links are taken into account for SEO rankings. -1
32 Outbound links to link farms and other suspicious sites Unlike inbound links from link farms and other suspicious sites, outbound links to bad neighbors can drown you. You need periodically to check the status of the sites you link to because sometimes good sites become bad neighbors and vice versa. -3
33 Cross-linking Cross-linking occurs when site A links to site B, site B links to site C and site C links back to site A. This is the simplest example but more complex schemes are possible. Cross-linking looks like disguised reciprocal link trading and is penalized. -3
34 Single pixel links when you have a link that is a pixel or so wide it is invisible for humans, so nobody will click on it and it is obvious that this link is an attempt to manipulate search engines. -3
Metatags
35 <Description> metatag Metatags are becoming less and less important but if there are metatags that still matter, these are the <description> and <keywords> ones. Use the <Description> metatag to write the description of your site. Besides the fact that metatags still rock on Bing and Yahoo!, the <Description> metatag has one more advantage – it sometimes pops in the description of your site in search results. +1
36 <Keywords> metatag The <Keywords> metatag also matters, though as all metatags it gets almost no attention from Google and some attention from Bing and Yahoo! Keep the metatag reasonably long – 10 to 20 keywords at most. Don’t stuff the <Keywords> tag with keywords that you don’t have on the page, this is bad for your rankings. +1
37 <Language> metatag If your site is language-specific, don’t leave this tag empty. Search engines have more sophisticated ways of determining the language of a page than relying on the <language>metatag but they still consider it. +1
38 <Refresh> metatag The <Refresh> metatag is one way to redirect visitors from your site to another. Only do it if you have recently migrated your site to a new domain and you need to temporarily redirect visitors. When used for a long time, the <refresh> metatag is regarded as unethical practice and this can hurt your ratings. In any case, redirecting through 301 is much better. -1
Content
39 Unique content Having more content (relevant content, which is different from the content on other sites both in wording and topics) is a real boost for your site’s rankings. +3
40 Frequency of content change Frequent changes are favored. It is great when you constantly add new content but it is not so great when you only make small updates to existing content. +3
41 Keywords font size When a keyword in the document text is in a larger font size in comparison to other on-page text, this makes it more noticeable, so therefore it is more important than the rest of the text. The same applies to headings (<h1>, <h2>, etc.), which generally are in larger font size than the rest of the text. +2
42 Keywords formatting Bold and italic are another way to emphasize important words and phrases. However, use bold, italic and larger font sizes within reason because otherwise you might achieve just the opposite effect. +2
43 Age of document Recent documents (or at least regularly updated ones) are favored. +2
44 File size Generally long pages (i.e. 1,500-2,000 words or more) are not favored, or at least you can achieve better rankings if you have 3 short (500-1,000 words) rather than 1 long page on a given topic, so split long pages into multiple smaller ones. On the other hand, pages with 100-200 words of text or less are also disliked by Google. +1
45 Content separation From a marketing point of view content separation (based on IP, browser type, etc.) might be great but for SEO it is bad because when you have one URL and differing content, search engines get confused what the actual content of the page is. -2
46 Poor coding and design Search engines say that they do not want poorly designed and coded sites, though there are hardly sites that are banned because of messy code or ugly images but when the design and/or coding of a site is poor, the site might not be indexable at all, so in this sense poor code and design can harm you a lot. -2
47 Illegal Content Using other people’s copyrighted content without their permission or using content that promotes legal violations can get you kicked out of search engines. -3
48 Invisible text This is a black hat SEO practice and when spiders discover that you have text specially for them but not for humans, don’t be surprised by the penalty. -3
49 Cloaking Cloaking is another illegal technique, which partially involves content separation because spiders see one page (highly-optimized, of course), and everybody else is presented with another version of the same page. -3
50 Doorway pages Creating pages that aim to trick spiders that your site is a highly-relevant one when it is not, is another way to get the kick from search engines. -3
51 Duplicate content When you have the same content on several pages on the site, this will not make your site look larger because the duplicate content penalty kicks in. To a lesser degree duplicate content applies to pages that reside on other sites but obviously these cases are not always banned – i.e. article directories or mirror sites do exist and prosper. -3
Visual Extras and SEO
52 JavaScript If used wisely, it will not hurt. But if your main content is displayed through JavaScript, this makes it more difficult for spiders to follow and if JavaScript code is a mess and spiders can’t follow it, this will definitely hurt your ratings. 0
53 Images in text Having a text-only site is so boring but having many images and no text is a SEO sin. Always provide in the <alt> tag a meaningful description of an image but don’t stuff it with keywords or irrelevant information. 0
54 Podcasts and videos Podcasts and videos are becoming more and more popular but as with all non-textual goodies, search engines can’t read them, so if you don’t have the tapescript of the podcast or the video, it is as if the podcast or movie is not there because it will not be indexed by search engines. 0
55 Images instead of text links Using images instead of text links is bad, especially when you don’t fill in the <alt> tag. But even if you fill in the <alt> tag, it is not the same as having a bold, underlined, 16-pt. link, so use images for navigation only if this is really vital for the graphic layout of your site. -1
56 Frames Frames are very, very bad for SEO. Avoid using them unless really necessary. -2
57 Flash Spiders don’t index the content of Flash movies, so if you use Flash on your site, don’t forget to give it an alternative textual description. -2
58 A Flash home page Fortunately this epidemic disease seems to have come to an end. Having a Flash home page (and sometimes whole sections of your site) and no HTML version, is a SEO suicide. -3
Domains, URLs, Web Mastery
59 Keyword-rich URLs and filenames A very important factor, especially for Yahoo! and Bing. +3
60 Site Accessibility Another fundamental issue, which that is often neglected. If the site (or separate pages) is unaccessible because of broken links, 404 errors, password-protected areas and other similar reasons, then the site simply can’t be indexed. +3
61 Sitemap It is great to have a complete and up-to-date sitemap, spiders love it, no matter if it is a plain old HTML sitemap or the special Google sitemap format. +2
62 Site size Spiders love large sites, so generally it is the bigger, the better. However, big sites become user-unfriendly and difficult to navigate, so sometimes it makes sense to separate a big site into a couple of smaller ones. On the other hand, there are hardly sites that are penalized because they are 10,000+ pages, so don’t split your size in pieces only because it is getting larger and larger. +2
63 Site age Similarly to wine, older sites are respected more. The idea is that an old, established site is more trustworthy (they have been around and are here to stay) than a new site that has just poped up and might soon disappear. +2
64 Site theme It is not only keywords in URLs and on page that matter. The site theme is even more important for good ranking because when the site fits into one theme, this boosts the rankings of all its pages that are related to this theme. +2
65 File Location on Site File location is important and files that are located in the root directory or near it tend to rank better than files that are buried 5 or more levels below. +1
66 Domains versus subdomains, separate domains Having a separate domain is better – i.e. instead of having blablabla.blogspot.com, register a separate blablabla.com domain. +1
67 Top-level domains (TLDs) Not all TLDs are equal. There are TLDs that are better than others. For instance, the most popular TLD – .com – is much better than .ws, .biz, or .info domains but (all equal) nothing beats an old .edu or .org domain. +1
68 Hyphens in URLs Hyphens between the words in an URL increase readability and help with SEO rankings. This applies both to hyphens in domain names and in the rest of the URL. +1
69 URL length Generally doesn’t matter but if it is a very long URL-s, this starts to look spammy, so avoid having more than 10 words in the URL (3 or 4 for the domain name itself and 6 or 7 for the rest of address is acceptable). 0
70 IP address Could matter only for shared hosting or when a site is hosted with a free hosting provider, when the IP or the whole C-class of IP addresses is blacklisted due to spamming or other illegal practices. 0
71 Adsense will boost your ranking Adsense is not related in any way to SEO ranking. Google will definitely not give you a ranking bonus because of hosting Adsense ads. Adsense might boost your income but this has nothing to do with your search rankings. 0
72 Adwords will boost your ranking Similarly to Adsense, Adwords has nothing to do with your search rankings. Adwords will bring more traffic to your site but this will not affect your rankings in whatsoever way. 0
73 Hosting downtime Hosting downtime is directly related to accessibility because if a site is frequently down, it can’t be indexed. But in practice this is a factor only if your hosting provider is really unreliable and has less than 97-98{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} uptime. Try using a reputed hosting provider such as Hostgator for hosting. -1
74 Dynamic URLs Spiders prefer static URLs, though you will see many dynamic pages on top positions. Long dynamic URLs (over 100 characters) are really bad and in any case you’d better use a tool to rewrite dynamic URLs in something more human- and SEO-friendly. -1
75 Session IDs This is even worse than dynamic URLs. Don’t use session IDs for information that you’d like to be indexed by spiders. -2
76 Bans in robots.txt If indexing of a considerable portion of the site is banned, this is likely to affect the nonbanned part as well because spiders will come less frequently to a “noindex” site. -2
77 Redirects (301 and 302) When not applied properly, redirects can hurt a lot – the target page might not open, or worse – a redirect can be regarded as a black hat technique, when the visitor is immediately taken to a different page. -3

 

Brand Yourself For Impact

Watch any phone, car or camera ad on TV and the product will somehow be linked to you in its description. It usually sounds something like ‘this is the car you’ve been waiting for/ a camera that you’ll create memories with/ a phone that connects you’. These are the kinds of slogans that have been used by advertisers for years. Read more

Making An ASO Of Yourself: Looking At App Store Optimisation

We here at Boyd Digital do one thing really well: SEO. Helping to get sites at their top of the respective field is something we take pride in every day. This kind of work doesn’t just happen for sites though. There’s a growing market that does the same kind of work but for all the apps we have on our phones. This practice is called ASO  Read more

Keyword Conundrums & Confusion

One of the most important factors for determining how well your website will perform online is through the keywords you want to use for it. Here at Boyd Digital we’re all about getting businesses to perform well online when we carry out thorough analysis in to which keywords would get the best results for their company. Read more

Twitter Tips

With the exciting news that Twitter has announced  it is going public, the popularity of the site has never been more noticable. In any given day 200 million users are active on the service.
When there are so many people out there looking for someone new to follow, the opportunities for businesses to reach a new audience are rife. Read more

Mobile SEO – Changes in Google’s Algorithms

Mobile Marketing & SEO

There are more than 1 million mobile devices activated every day and more than 25{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} of all search traffic comes from mobiles. With these rising numbers it is no wonder that search engines start to factor the mobile experiences into their algorithms. If you haven’t thought about your customers mobile experience, this is a good time to start.

Google’s recent post has made all SEO minds alert as it is changing the search algorithm to favour those websites that are mobile-friendly.
To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their main issues,
Google will make several ranking changes and address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users. The aim here is to support smartphone friendly websites and the main point is addressing faulty redirects that move mobile user from the content he wants to irrelevant page on the smartphone-optimized website. Failure to fix such issues will result in your website falling down in the search rankings or lowering your possibilities to rank higher.

Confusing Redirects

Make It Easier For Your Customers

 


Google suggests using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device. The main benefit of responsive design is the ability to use the same URL for both mobile and desktop devices (concept known as “One Web”), instead of separate ones. This principle ensures that searchers can find the same version of the page on mobile device, therefore creating a consistent brand message.

There are other options besides Responsive Web Design. Such frameworks as Mooweb – unifies all versions of the site allowing an even more customized mobile experience. You can always create a mobile app, but recent studies have shown that they are decreasing in popularity and users spend less and less time on them. Besides, if you don’t have a mobile version of your website, more than likely that it won’t rank as highly on search results after Google’s new algorithm takes place.

The main problem with smartphone user experience is the annoying faulty redirects to a wrong URL or home page (studies show that about 30{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} of the most popular retail websites redirect mobile users to the home page instead of the right URL they are trying to access). These redirects often lead to error pages, most commonly – 404. It is even better showing the desktop content rather than redirecting them to a wrong page.

It is very important for developers and SEO specialists to avoid all possible misconfigurations of smartphone websites. You should try to test the site on different devices and operating systems. By making your site mobile friendly you will not only make your visitors happier, but also allow searchers and search engines to browse your content fully.

 

The Power of Title Tags – Onsite SEO Tips

Bart Simpson Learns About Title Tags

In this new and exciting series of onsite SEO tips we are going to educate wannabe SEO rock stars on how Google weigh the various onsite ranking factors in a short and easy to digest manner.

If you are an intermediate SEO specialist don’t worry, we will be providing you with hints and tips on the more technical side of SEO at a later date set in the not too distant future. For now we are going to focus on helping the new generation.

Why Google?

The reason we are focusing on Google and not Bing and Yahoo is simple, Google control the lion’s search market share in all English speaking countries, until that changes any search engine marketer worth their salt will be focusing on ranking websites in Google.

Ranking Signals

It’s well documented in the industry Google have over 200 ranking signals in their algorithm. In my opinion it must be climbing closer to the 300 mark as Google add more weight to social signals and schema formats. Anyhow, that hypothesis can wait for another day.

The Title Tag

Title tags are one of the 200+ ranking signals in Google’s algorithm and is the single most important piece of ‘on page’ information on a page, providing all the other elements are in place.

What the title tag does and should do

Your title tag will define to users, and search engines, what the page will talk about. It provides the link within search engines to pages. As such it must relate to the appropriate keywords and also help to inform readers of what the page contains.

Title tag length

Google displays title tags in their search engine results pages and should be formatted to fit. If your title tag is too long Google will truncate it. Google determines the length of title tags by pixels but you don’t need to worry about that, as a rule of thumb keep your title tags under 70 characters and you should be fine.

Keywords in title tags

Search engines also consider the title tag element to be the most important place to identify keywords. Rankings are heavily influenced by keyword usage in the title tag.

Google also passes more weight to keywords placed at the beginning of title tags. Best practice is to place one or two generic keyword phrases followed by your brand or website name.

Google best handles segmenting keyword phrases present in title tags by use of a pipe or a hyphen between keywords.

How a title tag should look

Good title tag example
As you can see the title tag above is short sweet and handsome and gives a clear indication to Google and users what the content will be about should they decide to click through to the page via search results.

How a title tag should not looktitle tag note

Poor title tag example
The example above amuses me. The chap who wrote the article titled ‘Title Tag Best Practices‘ fails to optimise his own title tag. He even mentions in his article:

Length: Title tags should be a maximum of 70 characters long, including spaces.

Yet his own title tag is 140 characters in length???

This is definitely a good example of what not to do.

Keynotes

  • Keep tag under 70 characters in length
  • Place important traffic driving keywords to beginning of tag
  • Keep keyword usage to two keyword phrases
  • Place brand or website name to the end of title tag
  • Segment keyword phrases by pipe or hyphen

So that’s it ladies, gentleman and future SEO rock stars. Keep your title tags short, crisp and lean and your title tags will be picked up with enthusiasm by the Google gods.

Should you need further assistance in optimisation title tags or have questions don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a comment below.

How To Stay On Top Of Social Media – Part 2

Twitter

We have covered how you can use Facebook to your advantage and we can now have a look at another huge social media platform that has over 500 million registered users, Twitter.

With many celebrity users utilising this platform it gives you the opportunity to post up to 140 characters in short messages know as Tweets. Sharing pictures and links is also possible and it has been used as a successful marketing tool as well as a great way of interacting with customers.

The most popular users have a staggering following with Justin Bieber currently being the most followed with well over 39 million, closely followed by Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. You might be thinking that Twitter is just a domain for Pop stars and their fans looking at this but both Barack Obama (30+ million) and The Pope (2.5+ million) hold official accounts that have regular posts on their behalf.

Many businesses are now realising the potential of this and the likes of McDonalds and Nike have over 1 million followers on their main pages with several other pages falling under their umbrella too. Companies such as O2 now even offer customer service and advice over twitter.

We are going to look at how Twitter can benefit you and your business and the key points to ensure you maximise the impact of your Tweets.

In order to reach as much of your potential audience as possible timing your Tweets is essential. There are several tools available for you to look over the analytics and reaction to your Tweets. From this you can see the patterns of your followers and plan a schedule. Again, there are many tools at your disposal to help with this. You can set up programmes to post on your behalf so you know the messages you want to send will get out at the right times regardless of how busy you are or if you have access to a computer at these times.

Producing good and interesting content that appeals to your market will make followers more likely to ‘Retweet’ your post. This then allows everyone following them to see your original post, a great way of spreading your message and attracting new followers.

As always with any form of social media, interaction is key to your success. If people have taken the time to get in contact with you or respond to your post, replying is not only polite but will make them feel engaged and have a closer identity with your brand.

Having links to your social media accounts on your website is a great way of showing that you are well connected and open to interaction. Making good use of these platforms will help you establish your brand and become more identifiable in the market place so taking the time to do it right can be extremely beneficial.

 

International Longtail Multilanguage Optimisation for the Hotel Industry

Most Hotel groups and owners around the world are most likely sitting back accepting that the search engine marketing that has been done up until now is the best they are going to get.
Most swap digital marketing agencies every 18 months only to hear the same strategy, which this time round brings a slight increase in traffic, but nothing new, nothing that makes the Hotel a game changer in the industry, nothing that changes the way the Hotel, as business, starts to think different as a business.

With a little research we found out that 3 of the most competitive key phrases in the Hotel industry are open for optimisation. If you operated a hotel in London, New York or Barcelona and your SEO agency indicated that you could achieve first place in Google.co.uk for these terms you’d get excited, however truth is, this is a massive task.

The keyphrase’s we are looking at are:

Cheap Hotel London
Cheap Hotel New York
Cheap Hotel Barcelona

These 3 keywords in the UK in English are searched 130,000 times per month, that’s a lot of business, however it’s a very competitive market. With most sites on the first results page of Google for these terms having link profiles on average of over 3,000 links this is a hard market to break in to and will take years rather than months to achieve.

What if you could get your business placed in a market which is one third the size of the UK market without the competitiveness?
That would make sense, what if there were 8 markets that totalled 110,000 searched per month for the same terms, that would make even more sense and you’d be thinking why you haven’t already done this.

The 8 markets that provide over 110,000 searches for these 3 keywords are:

France
Spain
Germany
Sweden
Denmark
Portugal
Austria
Belgium

As an example the 3 keywords converted into French would provide 35,000 searches per month with a very low competitiveness with most sites on the first results page of Google having links profiles with less than 200 links.

So by looking at long tail marketing, mixed with Multilanguage SEO there are lots of untapped opportunities for Hotels companies around the world.

The BoydDigital Blog is now available in 20 Languages

On my last blog post I briefly tested if a blog could be automatically converted into another language and after some trial and error I’m now happy to say that the BoydDigital blog is now on offer in 20 languages.

Why not use the Google Translate plugin?

The easiest option for offering your blog in another language was to install the Google Translate plugin which lets users convert the content once they have arrived at your website, what this doesn’t do is pre-convert your content into the other language so that will be available to be indexed in native language versions of Google.  By converting the BoydDigital blog into actual native language blog posts it allows Google to index the pre-translated content, this then makes the BoydDigital blog accessible in over 60 countries and will also allow the blog to be indexed in different country based search engines such as Chinese Baidu, Naver in South Korea and Yandex in Russia to mention a few.

BoydDigital-Korean2

Benefits of Foreign Language Internet Marketing

With Google and other search engines now looking for good content that benefits the user the opportunity to expand to new countries and penetrate further into markets that are already partially open to English seem an obvious point.

While the English language is the single most used language on-line it is still only representing over 25{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} of the total usage. Research studies have shown that multilingual users trust websites more that offer the content in their native language, especially in the on-line travel and e-commerce industries.

If you want to know more about what BoydDigital can do to expand your online business into other languages, why not give me a phone on +44 (0) 141 427 9337.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Converting Blog Posts to other Languages Automatically

So, I’m testing automatic blog translate which, if works, will allow you to offer your blog in 71 different languages.

So how am I doing this, we’ll I’m starting with Yahoo Pipes, I’ll feed the Boyd Digital feed in to Yahoo Pipes and then add a translate service, the hope is that the output is in French, this feed could then be added to wordpress.com or tumblr or similar, we could even create a fr.boyddigital.co.uk blog and then use geo locator plugin to send users with French IP address’s to the correct blog.

The other option is to add the google translate plugin to the blog, however the downside is that those pages won;t be indexed in Google.fr

So this was a little test email that I’m using for the RSS feed.

UPDATE!

Well are a bit of messing about I managed to get it to work http://boydtest.tumblr.com/

I used the Boyd Digital feed and the Hiconsumption Feed. I re-translated the the post back to English and it was readable to say the least

Tesco Rank No1 in Google For Interflora

tesco online marketing

The cheeky wee monkey’s (Tesco) look to be coining it in by inserting Interflora into their title tag. They now rank No1 in Google for the search term “Interflora UK” and No2 for generic brand term “Interflora”.

Now, we have no idea when this was inserted into the title tag but after looking at the Wayback Machine (page last crawled 16th Jan) we can see previous title tag was “Tesco Flowers Delivered to Your Door”.

Now it reads “Tesco Flowers From Interflora Delivered To Your Door”

Tesco certainly did stop and smell the roses!

Interflora Penalised by Google

How to Stay On Top Of Social Media – Part 1

Facebook Move Goal PostsI am sure we have all heard the panic about having to pay for all your Facebook followers to see your posts, this does feel a bit like the goal posts have been shifted.

The more astute online marketers had long taken advantage of this way to communicate to people who had actively sought them out but now that ability has been cut to reach just a small percentage.

Of course you can always pay to get sponsored posts on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter but there is a general feeling from users that these are the junk mail of social media, clogging up posts.

They are effective to some degree in promoting a message but getting natural posts to go viral and create a buzz is a much better way to engage people.

How then can we make full use from social media? The simplest way for me is this, Interaction. Interacting with users is a great way of spreading brand awareness through people mentioning your brand as well as reposting, sharing, re-tweeting.

By interacting with followers it also makes them feel more involved and, in turn, more likely to interact with your posts.  This interaction on their part helps to publicise your page.

On Facebook for example commenting on or liking a post comes up on your friend’s timeline, “Hector likes Boyd Digitals photo”. If Hector has 1000 friends they will then see this. Creating good content that invites people to interact will then become a catalyst to your profile becoming visible on thousands of pages. Content such as good photos, polls and promotions can entice people to like, comment and share.

Creating a good balance is equally important because posting too often can frustrate people and lead to you clogging up news feeds the way that people tend to deal with that is to block or unlike the page.

Not posting enough or lack of interaction can also mean that people lose interest; it can also mean that you drop out of people’s news feeds. Another change that Facebook made was making pages invisible unless you interact or click on ‘Show in newsfeed’ which many people do not.

It goes without saying that this only really scratches the surface of good techniques to deal with your companies social media but it is good practice and can get good results.

Common SEO Mistakes & Crawling Issues

Dont get cought with pants down with SEO mistakesDon’t get caught with your pants down with the most common SEO mistakes!

On the back of Matt Cutts releasing a new webmaster video listing the top 5 SEO mistakes webmasters make, I thought I would elaborate on the first point Matt talks about in his video.

The first mistake Matt talks about is probably the biggest and most common SEO mistake out there, making a website un-crawlable to search engines.

We at Boyd Digital have come across a lot of websites in our time that for one reason or another could not be crawled by search engine bots.

The most common mistakes are relatively easy for the experienced search engine optmiser to spot however, we understand these common mistakes can easily slip through the net for webmasters and developers who specialise in management and development, and not SEO.

That’s why we are always glad to help webmasters identify the problems when their traffic volumes plummet.

Below are the most recent scenarios we have come across in the wonderful world of SEO.

Blocked by robots.txt File

Search engines blocked by robots.txt file. This is probably the most common issue in regards to search engines being blocked from crawling websites.

This usually happens when a new website goes live. When developers are in the process of building a new website they intentionally block all bots from crawling the test website (new website before it goes live).

When the new website gets launched without an SEO consultant or SEO expert directly involved in the migration and launch, more often than not the robots.txt file stays the same, blocking search bots from crawling the website.

What the robots.txt file looks like when it is set up to block all bots

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

 

What the file looks like when it allows all bots to crawl all sections of a website

User-agent: *
Disallow:

 

Blocked by Canonical Tags

Search engines blocked from crawling deep pages of a website due to incorrect use of canonical tags.

Canonical tags are mainly used to eradicate duplicate content issues on websites.

If Google finds pages with identical content they may only index and display one version in search results.

Their algorithms select the page they think best answers the user’s query. This does not always result in the most appropriate page being selected by Google hence the use of canonical tags.

Webmasters can specify a canonical page to search engines by adding a <link> element with the attribute rel=”canonical”.

This basically informs Google there may be duplicate versions of the page in question and Google has to ignore all subpages containing the tag and focus on indexing and ranking the parent page the canonical tag points to.

For example, many websites we come across have four versions of the homepage.

Root domain:

www.example.com

Duplicate versions

example.com

www.example.com/home

example.com/home

Google sees each of the pages above as individual pages. By inserting the canonical tag in the head section of the root domain:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com”/>

Informs Google to ignore the duplicate versions and focus on indexing and ranking the root domain page in Google.

The same rules apply to the deep pages of websites.

Canonical tags are great in eradicating duplicate content issues however, improper use of canonical tags can seriously harm a websites visibility in Google.

In this instance we identified incorrect use of canonical tags. A developer mistakenly inserted a canonical tag pointing back to the root domain URL in the footer area of the website.

By placing this information in the footer area of the website resulted in the code being present on all pages of the website. This instructed Google to ignore all deep pages. As a result all deep pages vanished from Google SERPS, hundreds of generic keyword rankings were lost as were thousands of visitors per day.

Unfortunately, the client waited three months before outsourcing the investigation work to Boyd Digital. Within 15 minutes of us taking on the work the issue was identified and rectified.

Blocked by 302 Redirects

This issue is a first for me and one of the most unusual instances I have come across in regards to search engines being blocked by search engines.

The site in question operates in the UK alcohol industry and operates the ineffective age verification process required not by law, but by the voluntary industry body called the European Forum for Responsible Drinking.

How the age verification page works

  1. Enter any page on a participating website
  2. An age verification slash page / pop up box will appear
  3. Type in your date of birth
  4. If you are of drinking age bobs your uncle
  5. You may now enter the alcohol website

In this instance, instead of adding a pop up function like most alcohol websites, a 302 temporary redirect was placed on each page of the website. The redirect took all visitors to the age verification page. Once users credentials were entered they would then be allowed access to the website.

This works well from a user perspective, catastrophic from an SEO perspective. Each time a search bot tries to enter any given page on the website it is redirected to the age verification page.

Search bots are very clever but they are not human savvy. In the eyes of search bots the only page that existed on the website was the age verification page.

When we came across the redirect issue and informed the client they were none the wiser. The website had been like that for years resulting in untold amounts of paying clients being unable to find the website.

Conclusion

The web crawling issues we came across can be embarrassing for people involved in developing or managing websites.

We have come across serious players in the industry who have failed to spot the school boy errors mentioned above and what’s even more worrying, it took weeks, months and even years for the crawling issues above to be identified and rectified.

This never goes down well with clients who invest tens of thousands of pounds on new and improved cash cows, only for traffic and cash flows to fall through the floor while people scratch their heads wondering what’s happened.

Our advice to webmasters and agencies involved in managing websites or launching new websites is to hire an experienced SEO company or SEO consultant to help manage the SEO aspects of existing websites, or to help manage the migration process from mold to new websites.

Don’t get caught with your pants down!

How to Avoid a Political Uprising using Social Media?

Social Media Political Uprising

So, apparently Ed Miliband thinks the world can be fixed with social media. And while we’re not 100{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} sure that world peace can be achieved through Facebook and Twitter, we can see where a government could help smooth out some highly unpopular issues before they spiral into a global outcry.

Let’s face it, if you are running a country there is nothing quite as embarrassing as a political uprising. When whispers about your ‘daring’ choice of headwear and ‘stern’ treatment of opposition supporters are making their rounds at diplomatic dinners things are bad enough, but when you have a full on political uprising hitting international headlines, it’s nothing short of humiliating.

Like most problems of this scale it is best to avert disaster, and you can often stop a slow burning situation from turning in to a major problem with social media.  Now we’re not suggesting that any facebook savvy dictators take tips on how to rule their land through this, but any powerful body that needs public support can improve relations with the people who matter by investing in social media. And this could be a government, corporation, new business or even your local council.

So, here is our a tongue-in-cheek -guide to using social media to prevent a political uprising…..or just some useful tips on how to use social media to improve public relations –

  1. Monitor – A clever mix of automated and manual social media monitoring is required.  Knowledge is power, what are people talking about?  What topics are trending?  What is the general sentiment towards current political issues?   The identification of hot topics can be used to define policies that will please the people.  The identification of unpopular issues can be used as a basis for corrective action.
  1. Map – Mapping the social media landscape and its key players is vital if the social media and real world is to be better understood.  Identification of key influencers with large followings, high authority, and high interactions would allow better management of difficult political situations.  Often political and social problems exist for a long time and it is only when a small handful of influencers take up the cause does an unpopular change gather momentum and becomes a big issue.  By keeping track of the overall social media landscape and developing a thorough understanding of the people or organisations that influence or control different areas, paves the way for stage three.
  1. Interact – This is perhaps the most valuable and most difficult stage of the process.  It involves using the historical and real time data to form offline and online strategy, while taking immediate action on social media platforms.  For example, if a region of a country is voicing concern or anger over a particular issue, the problem can be met head on at various levels.  At an offline level, resources could be diverted from a more content region to improve conditions and support in the unhappy region.  On a positive social media level an alternative side of the story can be put across, by effectively engaging the key influencers, rather than a low level scatter gun approach.  Strictly for arguments sake influencers could be persuaded to change their views.

This three step process barely scratches the surface on what would be a vastly complex and time consuming enterprise.  It is vital to remember that social media is an uncontrollable freedom of speech monster.

While it can be monitored, mapped and guided through interactions, it can easily backfire, as any community can act in unpredictable ways.  There is also a large moral question attached to monitoring any group in such a way.  What one person considers to be listening to the voice of the people in a bid to make a better world could be view by another as Orwellian engineering.  None the less, there lies a great opportunity for governments or companies alike to find out what its people want or need, sometimes before they even know.  Political or consumer un-rest can be avoided by engaging with the affected people in the problem areas online and meeting their needs in the real world.

On a political (or corporate) level an advanced social media monitoring campaign could be a powerful tool in the correct hands.  Even just at an information gathering level the potential benefits are plentiful.  The big question that must be asked of any government or company aiming to attempt this is: do they have the understanding of such a modern and fluid technology and the restraint to use it wisely?

Drop us a line!