The SEO tag features blog posts about tips and advice on SEO best practices. SEO is an abbreviation of search engine optimization.

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Introducing the new Search Console

New Google Search Console Announced

Introducing the new Google Search Console

Introducing the new Google Search Console

Google Search Console, Farewell Webmasters Tools

Google’s Webmasters Tools has been providing webmasters with useful features to help them make their websites more findable and useful for almost ten years.

But Google wants to rebrand and rename Webmasters Tools: Introducing the new Search Console!

Why?

Since change is always a good thing, well, most of the time, Google’s reason behind the rebranding is that webmasters aren’t the only people who use the app. Inclusion is the keyword! As Google has stated, “the traditional idea of ‘webmaster’ reflects only some of you.” There are all kinds of webmaster out there from hobbyists, small business owners, SEO experts, marketers, programmers, designers, app developers, and, of course, webmasters as well.

The one thing they all have in common, apart from using Webmasters Tools of course, is the desire to make all their work available online.

Google posted this update on their Webmaster Central Blog on Wednesday 20th of May. They’ll also be rebranding the new Search Console over the coming weeks. Make sure to bookmark it for future developments on all things Google!

The STAR Team

 

Killer Landing Pages By Google

Google Breakfast Briefing: landing pages by Google

Landing pages by Google

Web designers and marketing gurus are always on the lookout for the next killer design for landing pages or home pages.

Getting new customers to your site and then having them buy, or convert […] is a tough challenge. Recently, Google held a presentation in the Foundry, part of Google’s EMEA HQ called Breakfast Briefing to share their best practice advice for website design.

Damian Scattergood, our managing director, attended and here’s what he learned…

Landing pages
Interestingly, the most important point about landing pages is that “Every page on your website is a landing page”. In terms of SEO and the copy on your website, you should consider every page as a landing page. People often consider a few pages as actual landing pages though. The logic is that at some stage, someone will land on any page of your website. What will they do when they get there? Every page should be a landing page and have a call to action on it.
Keep it simple
Google advised that all web pages should be simple and to the point. Don’t talk about how brilliant you are. Nobody really cares. They came to your page for a reason; if they want to buy a washing machine, they’ll need to know the price, credit terms and how to buy it. That’s it! They can drill down into other pages if they want more information. Don’t overcrowd your pages with text either. We were shown an example of a dentist’s website that talked about where they were located and how great the clinic is however, the site didn’t mention anything about teeth.
Use simple graphics
When it comes to web design, keep the images strong but limited. On an obvious note, it takes ages to download lots of images which makes users frustrated. Design your site yo be simple, giving a general idea means that it’s clear and easy for users to find what they want and how to do it.
CTA (Call to action)
Make sure all your pages have clear call to action buttons. Just one is sufficient. Two at maximum. Make it easy for your customers to read your text by keeping it short and straightforward. Make the site easy to navigate so that they can find the next step in the process. Do you want them to call , email or send something to you?
Short web pages
In today’s busy world, people don’t have time to scroll down 2 to 3 pages to get to the information they need. It should always be visible. On smartphones this is even more important; keep your pages short and to the point.
Use bullet points
Bullet lists are easy to read. If you have lots of information on features of the products / services you sell, then list them as 1, 2, 3… It’s easy to read and to the point. Long descriptive passages aren’t read anymore. Keep bullet points on one line. Don’t turn them into “bullet paragraphs”.

We hope this helps you on the way to improving your landing pages and getting the conversions you need.

The STAR Team

International SEO and Impact of Stock Images

International SEO

A great question by a Webmaster asked to Matt Cutts from Google this week, “does using stock photos on your pages have a negative effect on rankings?”

Interestingly, Matt states that using stock images has no affect on your Google ranking.

He also states that original photography does not influence ranking either. Effectively, for now, Google treats all images the same. He suggests that maybe this is an area that they could certainly look at in the future.

Original imagery can certainly make your product or site stand out. Using good SEO practices such as using describing your images using the alt tag will certainly make your site more compelling and indexable. In a small way, this may have an impact on your rankings.

When in comes to international websites, you do have be to a bit careful in what images you use on your site. Flags often cause some concerns. A lot of people use flags to signify the language of a website – this is not actually correct. Flags represent political boundaries and should be used in that context. We recommend, for language websites, that you use text to define the language. For example, instead of a Union Jack (UK flag) “English” should be displayed. If you use an American flag, customers in the UK may not be happy to click on it!

When to use flags

If your website has a web page for a particular country, then use a flag. The website targeting the United States of America should use a US flag and not just text; and a UK flag for a site serving British customers.

However, if you just have a multilingual site, then it’s best to just use text.

Look at the our site, as another example. We translated it to show we can translate and therefore use text. This is also good for SEO as it’s indexable content. The phone numbers on the language pages all lead to our Irish office. This tells foreign visitors that we are an Irish operation, but we translate to their language to help them communicate with us.

Sites like Amazon have stores in every country; they have a website dedicated to that country making it appropriate for them to use flags.

The STAR Team

50 Changes to Google Search Engine

Changes to Google Search, March 2012

In March, Google made some 50 changes to the Google Search Engine — all positive and will have a huge impact on websites and current SEO.

The changes to Google Search include items such as:

  • Better indexing of profile pages. [launch codename “Prof-2”] This change improves the comprehensiveness of public profile pages in the Google index from more than two-hundred social sites
  • High-quality sites algorithm data update and freshness improvements. [launch codename mm, project codename Panda] Like many of the changes Google make, aspects of the high-quality sites algorithm depend on processing that’s done offline and pushed. In the past month, Google has pushed updated data for Panda
  • Live results for UEFA Champions League and KHL. Google have added live-updating snippets in search results for the KHL (Russian Hockey League) and UEFA Champions League, including scores and schedules. Now you can find live results from a variety of sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, NHL and others
  • Tennis search feature. [launch codename DoubleFault] Google have introduced a new search feature to provide real time tennis scores at the top of the search results page. Try [maria sharapova] or [sony ericsson open]
  • Fresher image predictions in all languages. [launch codename Imagine2, project codename Suggest] Google recently rolled out a change to surface more relevant image search predictions in autocomplete in English. This improvement extends the update to all languages
  • Tweaks to handling of anchor text. [launch codename PC]. This makes for better quality link scores
  • Fewer undesired synonyms. [project codename Synonyms] When you search on Google, it often identifies other search terms that might have the same meaning as what you entered in the box (synonyms) and surface results for those terms as well when it might be helpful. This month they tweaked a classifier to prevent unhelpful synonyms from being introduced as content in the results set
  • Better handling of queries with both navigational and local intent
  • Better local results and sources in Google News
  • Improvements to Image Search relevance
  • Tweaks to language detection in autocomplete

For the full list of changes see Google Inside Search.

The STAR Team

Tips for SEO for Big Brands

Top Tips for SEO

As a translation services company, we provide both document and website translation services. That’s why we are also interested in SEO.

When launching or managing a website, or a blog, you need to look at the best SEO practices in order to optimise the visibility of your site on the Web.

Here is an interesting infographic we found on this subject that we want to share…

Six tips on SEO for big brands

Image credit: Neo Mam Studios

The STAR Team

Google Warns SEO Experts for Over-optimization

Google Warns SEO Experts

In Matt Cutts’s latest video on Google Search Engine Optimization, he warns Google will penalize sites for over-optimization.

The next generation of Google Search will analyse sites that have been heavily optimized. The idea is to level the playing field for all users online.

Listen to Matt and share your opinion with us.

What do you think? Is it a good or bad move by Google?

The STAR Team

New AdWords Location Targeting Feature

This week we noticed that Google has changed the AdWords location targeting features.

Some functions have been retired and a number of new ones have been added to improve the service.

Search suggestions
When you start to type a location term, Google will provide suggestions to help you quickly find your desired location.
Nearby locations
Nearby locations are locations that are nearby that you may also consider adding. Nearby locations can be added to or excluded from your campaigns.
Related locations
Related locations may be near the location that you’ve entered, have a similar name, or enclose a location that has a similar name. Related locations can be added to or excluded from your campaigns.
Enclosing locations
Enclosing locations are larger areas that contain the location that you’ve selected. You might consider adding this larger enclosing location if you want to reach a larger audience.

Google have provided a video introducing the new features to make it easy to implement them straight away.

The STAR Team

Google and SEO, rel=canonical

About rel=canonical

This time we’ve a blog specially for techies. We have been doing some work on our own website and SEO recently and one of the big items of discussion is the tag rel=canonical in HTML.

It is difficult to understand, but it’s important to know about it. Google checks for this tag in the head section of every page when crawling your site for SEO purposes. We found a great link on Matt Cutts’s website which explains how it works, how Google sees it and he gives some advice on how to use it appropriately.

Visit Matt Cutts’s blog

The STAR Team