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James Gurd

Building your landing pages around the call-to-action

‘Best practice’ learning promotes placing the primary CTA (call-to-action) for your landing page near the top of the page, above the fold. At face value, this seems logical, right? You want visitors to complete the primary goal for the page, which means following your CTA. However, there are several reasons why this basic recommendation isn’t necessarily true or accurate: 1. The ‘fold’ is a myth The mind-numbing variety of devices (it’s estimated there are about 6,500 and counting!) means that the fold is not a fixed entity and depends entirely on the device type accessing your landing page. 2. Your CTA should be placed where an action is most likely to be taken New visitors to your landing page may not know who you are and what you do. These people are less likely to be willing to commit to an action immediately as they need to know that…

Why you should place regular analysis at the heart of your SEO 

In this article I will review the importance of regular analysis to help SEOs learn what is and isn’t working on their website, helping to inform optimisation and testing programs.

Why is regular analysis required?

The world around us is forever changing which impacts online behaviour. The key reasons for this are:

1. Online search patterns change

This is driven by several factors, including social trends and fads. A fad can drive a surge in specific search activity, only for this to wilt quickly.

A great example is retail fashion – each season has its theme and only a few of these themes will stand the test of time. Also some trends are cyclical/seasonal so will phase in and out of search e.g. Knitwear – popular at Christmas and through Winter.

Screenshot – declining and rising search keyphrases in the UK market

Using SEO analysis tools to identify linking opportunities

In the latest article in this series on how to use analytics techniques for better SEO we look at the importance of targeting relevant domains for your link building. I'll start by introducing what you should look for in quality link sources and then in Part 1 of this two part article, I'll cover how to select domains to target through link-building tools. In Part 2 I'll drill down to cover how to analyse existing links using web analytics tools.

Not all links are born equal

You'll know this! The impact of a link rests on several factors, not least the reputation of the website it resides on. Search engines place a great deal of importance on quality, relevance and trust. This is a deliberately simplified explanation, but the three signals combined make a heady cocktail of link love. My advice is that if you focus on these…

Creating effective landing pages for SEO

If you have followed the first six steps in this series on SEO (plus added your own twist and freestyling) you should now be seeing increased coverage (pages & keywords) in search results for your target keywords. Now the real fun begins since... Being visible and getting clicks doesn’t guarantee you success. Success depends on many factors, of which landing page quality is one. It’s almost impossible to create a landing page that caters for the needs of all natural search visitors. Your aim should be to improve your landing pages over time, using proven optimisation methods, so that the natural search traffic you get positively contributes to your website’s KPIs. Please note that you don’t have to make immediate conversions and revenue the primary goals for all natural search traffic – there may be some research terms (head and mid tail keywords) for which your…
What is the objective of your SEO program? Actually you will have many but at the heart will be the desire to increase the amount of relevant traffic that hits your website(s) from natural search. The total number of potential keyword searches that could drive traffic to your website is enormous. Some web owners get traffic from hundreds of thousands of different keywords. However, not every keyword delivers high quality traffic that adds value to the bottom line of the business. One of the biggest challenges for SEO is to learn which keywords are contributing to ROI, focusing efforts where they can deliver the most reward. To achieve this you need to separate the wheat from the chaff and that means using the data available to discover what doesn’t work. This article takes a look at some of the techniques you can use to identify and screen poor performing keywords, enabling you to…

Part 5 in James Gurd's website optimisation series

In Part Five of this SEO series, I'll show how to improve page titles and meta descriptions to increase traffic from natural search. This type of testing should be an integral part of any optimisation program and these two elements are often overlooked. As many of you will know, there are two key elements that appear in every listing, regardless of whether or not you have optimised your webpages to display targeted content: Page title Meta description Why is this important? It's simple, the words that people see on search engines results pages (SERPs) influences their click decision. The more persuasive the copy and the closer it appeals to the needs of the searcher, the greater the propensity to click. Google rewards pages which have a higher relative click through rate since this is a positive relevance signal. Furthermore, the title…