Clients are finding you via their mobile

I get emails all the time from odd email addresses claiming to offer ‘SEO services’. More recently though the emails i’ve been receiving have taken a more focussed attempt to question whether my site is mobile friendly.

The reason for this, just in case you didn’t know, is likely because on Tuesday 20th April 2015 Google decided to place a requirement on sites to be mobile friendly! Well, it’s not a requirement as far as your site will continue to work, but by not having a mobile friendly site your SEO rankings will be hampered and your search result rankings will drop!

For more information on what this is all about and for the official scoop direct from Google, you can check Google’s official announcement here. It’s a bit wordy and long-winded, so I’ve summarised the key points below for you below…

How Do I Know if I’m Mobile Friendly?

So, now that all sites need to be optimised for mobile too, how do we know whether we’re meeting the requirements Google are placing upon us? Simple, use the Google Mobile-Friendly Testing Site, right here:

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What do I need to do to become Mobile Friendly?

If you use the testing tool and find you’re not meeting the requirements to be deemed ‘Optimised for Mobile’ then you can also read some of the guidelines here on the WebMaster Blog. Just to give you the highlights though, the post says of optimising your site:

A page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

If you want to make sure that your page meets the mobile-friendly criteria:

  • Check your pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test
  • Read our updated documentation on our Webmasters Mobile Guide on how to create and improve your mobile site
  • See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page
  • Check our how-to guide for third-party software like WordPress or Joomla, in order to migrate your website hosted on a CMS (Content Management System) to use a mobile-friendly template

We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.

There are a whole host of other tips and advice on mobile-optimising your site, just head on over to Google’s dedicated micro-site to find out all about this thing!

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Am I mobile Friendly?

Yes I am! I’m fortunate enough to be with Squarespace, who have been mandating that all sites on the Squarespace platform were ready for this change to a mobile-oriented SEO boost. So, if you’re using Squarespace, provided you really haven’t managed to change your template too drastically or have disabled the Mobile-Friendly feature. Squarespace mention it all on their blog too:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 00.07.40So, I hope you found this information useful and that you can get your SEO-led inquiries back on track!

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Add extra Analytics to your Links with Bitly Link Shortener

Knowledge is power. Knowing how many people hit your website and which pages they are viewing is one thing, but actually seeing which links are being clicked and having a set of statistics for each link – that’s pretty useful!

Today I want to talk about the power of Bitly – a link shortening service that offers you so much more than just a shorter URL.

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Bitly Link Shortening

First and foremost Bitly is a link shortening service, which in itself is very useful for use with Twitter. A URL such as http://readysteadypro.co.uk/2014/02/17/seo-tips-photographers-blogging/ is 71 characters long – it’s huge! So, when you’ve got a limit of 140 characters this URL is just too long (It takes up over half your character limit!). It would only leave you 69 characters to compose your tweet. So, take your URL and paste it into Bitly and you end up a far more Twitter-Friendly URL: http://bit.ly/MrG7PW. This is 20 characters long.

Link Archive

Okay Okay, so Twitter does actually perform some shortening on your URL – but with Bitly it will save all of your shortened URL’s for you to re-use. This means that rather than pasting odd and random URL;s over and over you can delve back into Bitly, grab the shortened URL you made before and paste that to your blog, tiwtter, facebook, Google+ etc. Re-using the same link also gives you some wonderful advantages:

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More than just a shorter link

Having access to re-use the same shortened URL means you can track the clicks and the source of those clicks. So, when you write a new blog post and share it all over the internet on all of your social media presences, rather than scratching your head, wandering where all the traffic comes from, all you need to do it take a look at the clear and coherent analytics on Bitly:

Clicks on a link

See below: You can see here how many clicks each link got and on which days. Beneath that it will even tell you how the link is performing on various, connected Social Media accounts.

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Link Summary

In this screen grab you can see how my links have been performing. As a bonus it also shows where the links were clicked in terms of Geography.

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A Powerful Tool

So, in conjunction with Google Webmaster tools and the in-built analytics for your website (such as Squarespace) you can easily get a feel for exactly how each link you share, is performing.

Try it today. Bitly

SEO Tips for Blogging Photographers: Part 1

SEO can seem like a mystery to some. You may find that some of your more generic posts are climbing up the results ladder, whilst others are sitting in an abyss, getting only a few seldom visitors.

Well, there is a science to SEO. It’s not guess work at all. So today I want to share with you Part 1 of my top SEO tips for photographers that blog! (and let’s face it, we all blog!).

If truth be told these SEO tips are applicable to all, but we’re going to use photographers as our example, as that’s what Ready Steady Pro is all about!

1: Post Titles – What are people searching for?

Where possible, it’s important that the title of your post has some of the keywords in it. This very post for example has the words ‘SEO’, ‘tips’, ‘photographers‘ and ‘Blogging‘ in it. Already Google know that this post is giving SEO tips to photographers. More than that though, you should look for a title that people are searching for. Again, this post is likely to be found by photographers searching for tips on how to boost their SEO when blogging. It may sound obvious, but if I had called this post something like ‘Get blog posts found on the internet’ it’s not as likely to have the same success rate. Sure that title may still be relevant to you and I, but we’re writing posts not just for consumption by the reader (by humans!) but we’re also writing for Google too. Remember that.

2: Keywords in Post URL

Keywords are of, erm…Key…importance. Not just in your post title, but also in your URL too! By actually including the keywords in your URL it helps Google to find your post. I’m not talking about just listing your keywords or as many keywords as you can. For a bad example: “readysteadypro.co.uk/blog/Post104-photography-business-weddings-tips-seo-photographers-berkshire-marriage”…I’m talking about an actual readable post URL, much like your actual post title. A URL such as this would be far better: “readysteadypro.co.uk/blog/SEO-Tips-Photographers-Blogging”. Remember, we’re writing for Google as well as the human readers. This URL is digestible, understandable and clear.

Keywords are important. Be precise and use them wisely

3: Title Tags and Heading Tags

Have you ever seen the <h1> & <h2> tags in html?Or in WordPress blogging you may have seen the ‘Heading 1‘ & ‘Heading 2‘ options in the font format section in the toolbar:

Make use of Heading Tags when blogging to gain SEO Benefits

Well, these heading options are more than just a convenient way to consistently format your headings and sections. Google Search Robots scan through your post and pay particular attention to these <h> tags (the heading option in the drop down sorts out the html-behind for you). Imagine if you were looking at someone else’s screen and they scrolled quickly down the post are your eyes more likely to catch one of the larger titles or are you more likely to pick out a random piece of text from one of the many paragraphs? Okay, some may say random text from a paragraph, but the point I’m making here is that Google loves these headings. The headings represent another opportunity to highlight your keywords. Don’t go formatting your entire post as a heading, but instead use the headings throughout your post to throw in a few keywords here and there.

Perhaps if you’re blogging about the most recent wedding you photographed could have a paragraph about the venue with a heading tag to start. In that heading tag write the venue name so that searches for the venue could also return your post to the searcher. For example: “Wonderful Wedding at The Ritz Hotel”

4: Tag & Title all of your images (Alt Tags)

Google loves text! The more text you have the more Google can make sense of what it is you’re writing about. Photographs and images however can often present Google with a problem as it can’t crawl the pixels and deduce what the photograph is. However, you can help Google out by giving the pictures you insert into your posts proper titles and descriptions. Depending on the blogging platform you’re using, you should be able to look at the properties of the pictures once uploaded and give them a title and an alt tag and possibly a description or caption. If you can do this – be sure to do so! It really does help Google to make heads & tails of what the image is that you’ve just uploaded. You may also find that photograph will then be returned in Google’s Image search, which of course will link back to your site also.

5: Links, links, links!

Google Search robots are like Lemmings – they’ll just follow the paths you provide for them. So there are a few ways you can leverage links in a post to your advantage. First of all, be sure to include plenty of links to content on the same site as the post. That’s right –  link to other pages and posts on your own site! Google robots will scan through your post, see that it points to your ‘contact me’ page, or links to another post and go off and have a look at that too. Think of it as self-promotion. There is nothing wrong with that.

Secondly, linking to other, reputable and popular websites is also another way of gaining kudos with Google. Websites that provide links to other places on the web are connected sites. Google loves this. If you’re linking off to an article you wrote on a wedding magazine’s blog, or linking to a florist or dress maker Google will look upon this favorably. So be sure to use links throughout your posts

Top Tip for Linking:

Do’s:

  • Use links within text and on appropriate words. For example: ‘It was a wonderful wedding at Grafton Manor

Dont’s:

  • Do not use place links on generic text or on the words ‘Click here’. For example: ‘To contact me click here‘. (place the link on the words ‘Contact Me’ instead. It gives context to the link. Google likes context)
  • Do not link too many times to the same content: A few, well placed links in a blog post is sufficient. Google may think you’re a dodgy site if you just have articles filled with too many links. There is such a thing as too much.

Again this is all about keywords – if your links contain words that are key, such as ‘wedding‘ and ‘Grafton Manor‘ you’re doing yourself, Google and your reader a favour. First of all you’re not having to type extra, pointless words like ‘click here’. Secondly Google like to see the keywords in the link, as we’ve discussed. But thirdly, as mentioned, you’re writing for a human reader too: including the link within the text itself makes it a more natural read and cuts out those extra words. It’s just cleaner! And when it comes to linking too many times, those blue words that are underlined can also get annoying for the reader too. Remember who you’re writing for. Strike a balance between SEO-optimized and reader-optimized.

Bonus Tip 6: Post length is important!

As mentioned, Google looooves text. Google can get it’s little robots all over your post, picking out the heading tags, the links and the keywords and is able to form a profile of what it is you’ve written thus allowing Google to better return your post for matching search queries. Well, the more you can tell Google (or, the more you can write, rather) the better this whole process works. Articles of less than 500 words, even those that are pretty well setup for SEO, won’t perform quite as well as those with 1,000 words or more. So get writing. But as I’ve said throughout this article don’t forget you’re writing for the reader too, so don’t just write any old words down. It has to be all-killer and no-filler. You could try writing in a conversation style. You could add a summary to the end of the post for a little bulk, you could add quotes. There are lots of ways to increase the word count if you’re having a hard time, but don’t write for the sake of writing. 1,000 words of more would be nice though.

(Word press blogs have a little Word Count that updates as you go. I can’t say the same for every blogging platform out there, but another way to check your current word count is to copy all your text into a word document and use the word count function there too:

Another means to count the number of words in your post would be to paste the post itself into a word processing tool that has a word count function

Well, that’s it for part 1 of this post. Next week I’ll be sharing another selection of top-tips with you, including:

  • Google Maps for business
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • The importance of the ease of sharing and social media
  • Categorizing your posts on your blog
  • Back Links

Try applying these top SEO tricks to your next blog post and see how you get on – do let us know if you implement any of these suggestions!