Target market research
Target Market research should be done at the start of any planning for your website and other sales and marketing activities. It must include all the relevant behaviours, needs and desires of your core audience, including; age, financial status, education, marital and family status, internet/social media habits, what brands/ media they are influenced by, what they want from a trip to your area (and what they don’t want!).
Understanding your target markets personas will help inform which keywords you select for your website.
Personas are detailed profiles that should be created for each relevant group e so that you can focus and tailor your sales and marketing activities in order for you to better sell to the specific audience. For each persona you should tailor content of your website, email marketing campaigns, etc.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
= Strategies and techniques to increase the quantity (and quality) of visitors to your website through “organic” (not paid for) results from search engines
“On-Site SEO” or “On-Page SEO” are strategies and techniques applied directly to your website to improve SEO. Example: keyphrase placement.
“Off-Site SEO” or “Off-Page SEO” are strategies and techniques applied off of the website that impact SEO. Example: link building.
Google, Bing & Yahoo
By far Google is the most popular search engine used worldwide, so we recommend that you follow Google’s guidelines for SEO. (Optimising for Google also achieves good results on other search engines)
As it is Google’s mission to bring the best search results to its users, this usually means that optimising your website for Google is also optimising your website for your users.
Robots "Bots" or Crawlers
= Automated programs used on the internet to obtain or distribute information. Crawlers are “bots” used by search engines to move through the page and files on the internet.
= A formula used by a search engine to determine which search results are shown when a search is performed.
The formula is updated regularly and kept secret, although search engines often provide guidelines so site owners can optimise their websites accordingly.
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) or Rankings
= The list of website pages that appear on a search engine when a user performs a search on a phrase.
Rankings are the order in which the pages appear in the list. In SEO the aim is to increase the rank of your page as it appears in SERPs for the phrases relevant to the content of your website.
Key Phrases, Keywords, Target Phrases
= The phrases that are relevant to the content of your website, that are popularly used in searches by your target audience, that you select to “target” to use SEO techniques to obtain/maintain highest possible rankings in search engine results.
(The terms Key Phrases, Keywords & Target Phrases are synonymous, and can include 1 or many words)
Key Phrase Research
= Research using a tool, like Google AdWords Keyword Tool, to determine which phrases to target on your website.
This research should include, at the very least, the average number of monthly searches for the phrase and the amount of “competition” (other pages targeting the phrase) so that you can determine which phrases you should target.
It is best if the tool can provide this information for searches made on a variety of search engines or demographics (i.e. Google UK, Ireland or US, etc.). More recently it’s become important to get information on such searches on mobile versus desktop devices.
Long Tail Key Phrases
= Phrases that are more specific and relevant to the content on your website; which may have a lower number of searches, but are less competitive and more likely to rank well for, if SEO techniques are applied.
Called “long tail” because of its shape on a graph showing frequency of relevant searches.
While there are a large number of searches on the most popular phrases, they are more difficult to rank for because they are very competitive. There are a large number of various related “long tail phrases”, thus a large number of searches combined. These are good phrases to target, especially when you are just starting to optimise your site, to improve results more quickly. Also, as these phrases are more relevant and targeted, users are more likely to visit your site (“clickthrough”) and become customers.
URL, “Page Slug” or “Permalink”
= The specific address of a page of your website.
The “domain” is the main address (i.e. http://ireland.com), also known as the “root”.
The internal pages each have their own different address, built on the root (i.e. http://ireland.com/county-derry).
Content Management Systems often use the term “Permalink” or “Page Slug”. These are usually editable so you can use your primary key phrase.
It is a benefit for SEO to use your primary key phrase in the URL of that page.
But do not to repeat a word more than once within the entire URL, or it may appear as “keyword stuffing” and bad for SEO and can appear “spammy” to users.
Content Management System (CMS)
= An application used to create a website, usually making it easier to create content without the need of a developer.
Most CMSs have a variety of themes and plugins to easily design and add functionality to your website. WordPress, Weebly, Wix, Drupal, Joomla are examples of commonly used CMSs. Some offer hosted solutions, like WordPress.com, and others require hosting and installation.
HTML & CSS
= “Hyper Text Markup Language” (HTML) is the “mark up” language, or “code”, used to create websites. “Cascading Style Sheets” (CSS) interact with the HTML to indicate style elements.
= The amount of time for a page to “load”, download all necessary files (images, html, scripts, etc.) for the site to completely appear and function.
3 seconds is considered a good load speed. It’s important to check the load speed on the mobile and desktop versions of your site.
This has become a increasingly important factor for SEO, especially for the mobile version.
There are a number of ways to optimise load speed: resizing images before uploading, minimising code and scripts and remove/reduce any type of “redirects” required to load the desired page.
If you are using WordPress; themes, plugins, etc. can cause excess code and file sizes; so it’s important to carefully choose which you use. There are WordPress plugins that can optimise the files and reduce page load speed.
Redirects or 301 Redirects
= When the content or URL of a page has changed and you instruct the web server to send a visitor (or search engine bot) to go to the new URL.
To avoid increasing page load speed, redirects should only be used as necessary, but it is important to use them if a page or URL is no longer being used and you want to redirect the visitor to the new page.
This will minimise the loss of SEO weight that may happen when you make a change like this as well as avoid “Page Not Found Errors”.
Most CMSs will have an area or plugin in order to create Redirect instructions.
Use of https - Secure Connection
= Where your website is provided with a secure internet connection.
While many think that this is only important when taking credit card or very sensitive personal details, it is now considered important for SEO, as well as GDPR and showing visitors that you handle their details with care, for all sites to use a secure connection.
You can purchase a “secure certificate” from your web hosting company for approximately £100 and change the settings on your website control panel so that it uses https and redirects from http to https.
= a search ranking score, ranging from 1 to 100, developed by SEO trainers Moz that predicts how well an overall site will rank on search engines.
It is calculated by various factors including number of “incoming links” (links from external websites) and the number root domains that link to the site.
= Moz’s search ranking score, also ranging from 1 to 100, for a specific page on a website.
= The age of the domain from when it was first registered.
While some feel that the age of your domain is not relevant for SEO, if the website has been active for a significant amount of time, it does ‘signal’ to search engines that the site has longevity which may impact on it’s authority.
= A ranking for your site and each page of the site based on the number and authority of the web pages linking into your site.
This is an important factor to SEO.
= The menus and other organisation of the links that allow visitors to move throughout the pages of your website.
For best SEO and “crawlability” of your website, ensure you use a clear “link structure”, organised by relevant topics in a hierarchical manner.
The use of “breadcrumbs”, a method of secondary navigation often shown just above the content of a page, shows visitors where they are located within the site and further assists “crawlers”.
= Additional code added to your website to format information to be presented to users in a specific way.
This is most often used to indicate information on your site to be featured in Google’s search results; i.e. reviews, events, news, recipes, etc.
XML Site Map
= A listing of the pages, videos and other assets included in your website, indicating the level of important of each page, formatted in XML language, to be submitted to Google to more intelligently crawl your site.
While a site map is not absolutely necessary, it is helpful if you have a large site and/or utilise microformats to provide search engines with information to be highlighted in results. Many CMSs have a plugin or addon to create and edit the XML sitemap for your website.