Leave your SEO to Yoast

On-page SEO with Yoast

On-page SEO – Why we use Yoast on all our client websites.

From time to time we like to provide a peek behind the curtain in our web development shop by shining a light on the tools we use to build great websites for small businesses.

We generally use WordPress for various reasons including how easy it is to allow clients to have just the right amount of involvement they want for making changes.  Most clients start out wanting to be involved but they find that running their business and managing a website is too time-consuming.  We encourage them to focus 100% on running and growing their business and leave the website development, monitoring and support to us.

However, just leaving all the technical things to someone else may not be ideal so that’s why we like to provide insights into what we do and in this case what tool (WordPress Plugin) we use for Search Engine Optimisation.

The information below is an excerpt from a recent article published by Marieke van de Rakt from Yoast explaining ‘On-page and Off-page SEO’.  We encourage you to follow the link to the original article if you’d like to read more from the team.

Every SEO strategy is focused on ranking as high as possible in the search engines. To do this, we all try to design and develop a website that Google’s secret algorithm will love. That’s basically what SEO is about. The factors in Google’s algorithm can be divided into two categories which will determine the ranking of your website: on-page factors and off-page factors. Here, I’ll discuss the differences between the two, explain the importance of on-page SEO and go over the most essential on-page SEO factors.

On-page and off-page SEO

On-page factors all have to do with elements of your own website. Factors include technical set-up, the quality of your code, textual and visual content and user-friendliness of your site. On the other side there are off-page factors, like links from other websites, social media attention and other marketing activities outside your own website. If you focus on off-page SEO you mostly aim to get more links to your site. The more relevant links you get, the higher your ranking in Google will be.

Importance of on-page SEO

On-page SEO consists of all the elements of SEO you can control best. If you own a website, you can control the technical issues and the quality of your content. We believe on-page issues should all be tackled as they’re in your own hands. If you create an awesome website, it will definitely start ranking. Focusing on on-page SEO will also increase the probability that your off-page SEO strategy will be successful. Link building with a crappy site is a very tough job. Nobody wants to link to articles that are badly written or boring.

Essential on-page SEO factors

In our view, there are three major on-page SEO factors. These three pillars are the ones you should focus on:

Technical excellence

The quality of your code should be high. Check if you’re not unintentionally blocking crawlers from indexing your website (we still see this happening!). WordPress is an SEO-friendly platform and our plugin takes care of most remaining technical SEO challenges, without you even noticing it. So if you’re using WordPress and configured Yoast SEO well, you’ll have most technical aspects of your on-page SEO covered.

Awesome content

Why do people visit your site? Most likely because it contains information they’re looking for. Therefore you should write excellent content. Search engines like Google read your text. Which site ranks highest is for a large part based on the content of a website. That content should be about the right keywords, informative, and easy to read.

Flawless UX

Finally, the third final pillar is User eXperience. Users need to easily understand your website and be able to find what they want in a heartbeat. They should know where to click and how to navigate through your site. And it should be fast! A beautifully designed website is nice, but you should definitely make it your top priority to create a user-friendly website first!

 

5 Things That Annoy Site Visitors

Website Annoyances

Website Annoyances Solved with the Right Booking Engine.

Keeping visitors on your hotel website can be challenging, but it is an important part of your business. The more difficult it is to navigate your website, the less likely potential guests are to complete their bookings. – Jeff Hamilton from RoomKeyPMS

RoomKeyPMS is cloud-powered software that lets you manage every aspect of your hotel. From rate management to housekeeping schedules tied together with deep analytics.  The team have released a great article outlining mistakes that accommodation websites make.  We have re-produced the article for our clients considering integrating a booking engine. Learn more about RoomKeyPMS.

Develop trust with your guest by encouraging them to stay on your website in order to drive hotel occupancy. Small mistakes discourage booking and ultimately lose you a potential customer. Here are some turn-offs easily avoided with the right online booking system.

1 – Hidden Costs

Guests don’t want to arrive at checkout only to find the price of their stay is more than advertised. Guests find hidden costs among the biggest turn-offs – so don’t hide them. Costs must be simple and straightforward so they can be easily understood.  Include all fees on the room information page and clearly display optional add-on costs and make them easy to select.

2 – Lengthy and Complicated Booking Process

Customers get frustrated if booking takes too long so reduce the number of steps in the process. Streamline the booking journey to avoid mishandled reservations. Ensure guests’ preferences are reflected in the final booking. Because you don’t want room overbooking you need the right booking system.  This means that customers are guaranteed to receive the room they paid for upon their arrival.

3 – No Reviews

Information you provide about your hotel is inevitably biased.  Show guest reviews as customers find these increasingly valuable. Feature positive reviews from popular reviewing sites such as TripAdvisor directly on your website.  You increase customer confidence in your services by highlighting positive guest experiences.

4 – No Personalisation

Create raving and loyal fans by making them feel understood and valued by your hotel. A log-in option for your website or a loyalty rewards system helps optimise the guest journey.  It enables gathering useful data on your guests and storing their preferences (with their permission). Offering guests personalised perks based off of previous stays or remembering their dietary preferences creates a more customised experience.

5 – Hidden Cancellation Policies

Make sure your guests easily find and understand the terms of service and cancellation policy for their booking. Ensure your cancellation policy is clearly visible and guests are given the opportunity to review the details before booking.  So having this option will give them confidence if they ever need to cancel.

The overall quality of your website gives your potential guests their first impression of your hotel. As a result of awareness of common online booking engine annoyances you have the opportunity to stand out from the competition. Furthermore, you provide your guests with a cleaner, easier process.

Contact RoomKeyPMS directly if  it’s a good fit for your business.  If you’d like assistance in integrating into your current website we’d be glad to help out.  Drop us a note to start a conversation.

Tool Review – Canva

Stuck for graphics for your Website or Blog – Consider Canva

Finding original content to use as images for blog posts can be time-consuming so a lot of bloggers and affiliate marketers are turning to online graphic creation tools such as Canva.com for inspiration.

Having taken Canva for a spin I have decided that I will use it from time to time – perhaps when I’m low on ideas or time.  Here’s a list of things to consider if you are considering using it as well.

Pros:

  • It’s free to use with limited but usable output options.
  • Ability to upload your own original content to use in conjunction with native elements.
  • Good off-the-shelf templates based on common image sizes for blogs, social media and print.
  • Excellent range of scalable fonts.
  • Export as .png file (transparent background)

Cons:

  • Possibility that outputs are very ‘Canva-like’ and may diminish visual effectiveness as wider use grows.
  • 100% focus on the trendy ‘flat design’ look so there’s no sign of drop-shadows, embossing etc (might be a ‘pro’?).
  • Cost could add up if you are a power-user. Although there’s a lot of free content some elements cost $1 per usage.  You can use your downloaded file as often as you like but if you create another graphic using the same element you pay $1 again.

Verdict – Everyone should at least give Canva a try.  It will cost you nothing except some time but the payoff could be massive when you generate that next social media viral graphic.  Only caveat is that you need to use it judiciously to avoid your images looking everyone else’s.

Here’s a short 5 minute video showing how to create a very simple graphic using Canva.

 

SaaS Review – Typeform

Typeform is a web-based platform for enabling the creation forms without writing any code.

Some of the suggested uses are:

  • Surveys
  • Contact forms
  • Polls
  • Questionnaires
  • Job application forms
  • Invitations
  • Online order forms
  • Quizzes & tests
  • Contests
  • Registration forms
  • Waiting lists
  • Guest lists
  • Landing pages
  • Interactive storytelling
  • Simple apps

Typeform is for anyone who wants to ask people questions online and give them a great experience across devices (desktops/laptops, tablets, and smartphones).

Visit typeform.com for further information and leave a comment if you are an existing (or past) typeform user.

Online Testing Tool – Sitebeam

Sitebeam (sitebeam.net) has a robust testing engine which provides detailed and summarised test results on Accessibility, Marketing, Technology and Content.

Testing your site is crucial but data without action won’t improve the efficacy of your website.  Sitebeam produces lists of recommendations.

The main features are:

  • Comprehensive list of 32 tests available.
  • Access the report online or export PDF.
  • Compare your site against your competitor(s).
  • Use keywords and phrases.
  • Geographic and industry targeting.

Using Sitebeam’s free trial offer (limited to 5 pages on each site) I ran reports for nine different sites including one of my own ‘live but dormant’ sites and amazon.com to provide lower and upper expectations.

  1. Predictably the dormant site scored under the average for all metric groups (Overall – Accessibility – Marketing – Content – Technology).
  2. Surprisingly amazon.com scored below average for Technology which includes individual tests for Search Engine results, Alt text and Analytics.
  3. Incredibly amazon.com scored below average for Content.  One of the Key Points in the report indicated ‘Barely shared socially – lack of sharing suggests content lacks appeal.
  4. All the 9 sites were assessed as having no analytics solution (eg. Google Analytics) which I suspect is a limitation of the test itself.
  5. Marketing was the lowest scoring metric for all 9 sites which again indicates a potential problem with the test algorithm.  Social media sites were not found for amazon.com.

Conclusion – Sitebeam reports run very quickly (2 minutes) and provides a great visual display of results.  I do have some questions about the efficacy of some of the individual tests which impacts the scores returned.  My advice is to ignore the scores and focus on the Recommendations list, fix the highlighted issues one by one and then re-test.

Pricing Plans:

  • “Light” – $60 per month (10 reports)
  • “Pro” – $120 per month (20 reports and white-label option)
  • “Premium” – $240 per month (50 reports and white-label option)