Why a ‘website coming soon’ holding page is not necessarily a good idea

Whether you are having a brand new website designed and your old one is down or you have yet to have a website put up at all you should never put out a ‘website coming soon’ page.

You might think that with your brand new all singing, all dancing site on its way it’s best to let your users know and put the old site out to pasture. But this is really not the case.

They destroy user experience

While your old site might be unattractive or simply awful to use, putting up this page is even worse. While your old site might be terrible it could still hold value, still allows your users to read a little about your or find your phone number etc.

But when users are instead dumped in front of a single page with just the words “Website coming soon!”, they grow frustrated. While those words may excite you, they certainly do not elicit the same feelings from your potential client.

Google doesn’t like it

Not only do they destroy user experience and add absolutely no value to your business whatsoever but they completely nuke your SEO.

Google will index this page of just three words and it will not be impressed. If you previously had a site full of content and now have a single page any rankings your held will not only fall through the floor but will be incredibly difficult to build back up again after the new site is finally launched.

Google wont care that the new site is much prettier than the last, it will only care that you had single empty page for so long and will penalise you for a long time after for that fact. You will have to start from zero all over again.

What about new companies?

There is the misconception that as a new company you need to put something up as soon as possible, to let people and search engines know you are now around, but this is not true at all.

A ‘Website coming soon’ page will simply not rank and would you really want to point any potential clients toward it anyway?

If you haven’t ever had a website before and the first sign of your company, Google sees is a practically empty page it will be none to pleased. You will rank at the bottom of page 5000 and even when the new site goes live you will be unlikely to move much from that place. To Google, not only are you brand new, but for months you had nothing but a single page, you are hardly going to be it’s most favourite website.

As a brand new company you may – maybe – could – might, get away with having a ‘coming soon’ page but it is hardly going to help you, your company or your rank. But if you are absolutely convinced you want on just make sure it is pointing towards your Social Media pages and that those pages are buzzing with useful content for your clients.

Latest Google Algorithm – 8th March 2017

Penguin is dead! Long live Fred!

“Fred” (Unconfirmed) — March 8, 2017

Google rolled out what appeared to be a major update on the 8th of March 201. Widespread reports were heard from across the SEO community of the impacts of this update, with many sites effected with huge crashes in their user ship and lost in website revenue.

Google Spokesman Gary Illyes jokingly refrred to the update as Fred in a Twitter exchange with SEO blogger Barry Schwartz, and from there the name stuck.

Based on the evidence and data taken taken from the most affected sites, it appears the update targets ad heavy or link heavy, low value content and affiliate sites.

Our Advice:

So keep your content relevant, useful and interesting.
Avoid having more than 5 outgoing links on each page unless absolutely necessary.
Don’t write about the same subject over and over, find new things to blog about.
Keep your site up to date,
But most importantly make sure your website is as appealing to users as possible.

All Hail Fred!

7 Reasons why Online Marketing can benefit you

Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, SEO, it all can seem to much when you already have a business to run and yet the importance of it all is growing more every day, as more and more potential clients head online to find the services they need.

If you’re unsure of what Online Marketing really is, or have already had bad experiences with it there are plenty of factors to consider before ignoring one of the largest growing digital industry entirely. To help, we at Clockwork Moggy thought we’d share a few of the top reasons we recommend every company big or small use Online Marketing.

1. Press You Control

As a business owner you have so many channels that you already own. Be it your own website through blog posts, Facebook post or Google reviews. All these channels give you the position to showcase the benefits of your services or products better than ever before.The ‘Press’ you create is followed by the customers who already love and trust your business making your post updates, discounts codes and major announcements made through social media even more effective.

2. Customer Support

This is the biggie for any modern company. Customer service is more important than ever. Now that clients from all over the world can see you, your business and your services at a click of the button. They expect you to communicate so much more. With properly managed social media not only are your customer able to ask you question about products and services but you are also able to ask them what they think about products, pricing or updates. It is a much more efficient way to communicate with you client base, after all Social Media is public so other potential clients can see just how helpful and friendly you can be. Besides responding to a Facebook comment or sending a tweet is far easier for clients than filling out questionnaire on their experiences.

3. Tracking your Competition

Spying. Okay so it’s not quite James Bond, but Online Marketing is a great way to keep an eye on what the competition in up to. The fact is, a modern customer is likely to look you up numerous times though hundreds of different channels before ever actually making contact with you. If you don’t have the right online assets the odds of them not only finding you but making a sale with you is next to none.
The trick of course that any Online Marketer will tell you is to launch campaign and makes sure you SEO is up to scratch and lastly make sure all your clients are giving you shining reviews everywhere they can.

4. Return on Investment

The return-on-investment for a full online marketing package is incredible. Most companies will charge you a few hundred pounds a month and for that you can spread your company’s brand reach to thousands more customers through organic Google search and Social Media, talk with leaders in your industry through blogs or LinkedIn and ultimately build up a stronger market base.

Better yet, online marketing can be monitored. This allows online Marketers to quickly move with the times and leave behind anything that is not working for you or your business. Allowing you not only see how effective your assets really are but also drop any that are not working.

5. Opportunities

Most company use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, blogging and the perfect search engine for them give their marketer more to work with than traditional advertising would. Allowing for more clients to see them, more clients to interact with them and therefore more opportunities at a sale.

6. Targeting your preferred Market

If you have a strong online presence across multiple platforms and a strong direction with your online marketing, you will be able to target specific groups of customers. Facebook and Google allows you to promote your business page to certain cities and demographics. Meaning the people most likely to buy from you are the people that are seeing your brand the most. Another reason why online marketing can have a much higher return on investment for smaller, local businesses than traditional marketing would.

7. Positive Brand Awareness

Lastly but probably the most important one of all, brand awareness. Businesses that have a strong online marketing strategy can position themselves higher up in search results in places that make a difference to their business, appear more professional to customers and fully reach out to the markets that really matter to them, all the while building a stronger brand.

We hope this helped explain the importance of online marketing for any modern business for more information or a help with your own online marketing, check out our service page or feel free to contact us.

Google Fix AMP Reporting in Analytics

Given Google’s intent to make the internet mobile-friendly, the company has been a long time fixing the reporting feature for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in Analytics.

However, the search engine giant has now announced an AMP filter has been added to Analytics so marketers can test the performance of all AMP pages on mobile devices.

Google did add an AMP filter to its free Search Console Analytics tool back in May. But strangely, the metric did not include the core results. It only reported on the lead stories that appear in the top carousel section.

Reporting on Top Stories only allows publishers to follow news stories, which made reporting on AMP pages practically useless for most marketers. The feature should yield better results now you can filter AMP article results across the board.

ampWhat is AMP?

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is an initiative led by Google to speed up load times for mobile phones users. Because many mobile handsets are not typically connected to fast internet connections, wait times increase.

One of the reasons a website loads slowly is because it has too much code. Every action, feature and graphic requires a code. These are programmed using either HTML, CSS or Javascript.

Whenever you visit a website, each code has to communicate with a server. So the more codes, the longer the communication takes. Hence, websites with a lot of codes take longer to load. In essence, codes disrupt to the performance of a website and negatively affect the user-experience.

To help avoid these problems, Google initiated the AMP Project which is an open source platform where developers can access stripped down HTML codes that do not require as much communication with servers. The result is faster loading websites.

Why do you need AMP?

Google ranks websites based on a number of metrics. Some of the most important metrics are user-engagement. Therefore, if visitors to your website are not hanging round and exploring your online store, search engines will determine you are not providing a good user-experience and rank you lower in search results.

Google says that over 50% of searches are performed using mobile handsets. This means there is over a 50 per cent chance your website will be performing slowly on mobile devices. And if it is, you compromise your ability to climb search results.

Furthermore, Google plans to introduce a mobile-first search index in the early part of 2017. The new directory will rank websites based on their performance on mobile phones rather than desktop PC’s.

This news is a forewarning to online businesses to ensure your website performs well on mobile handsets. And that includes using AMP codes to ensure your webpages load promptly on mobile handsets.

The switch to a mobile-first world will be disruptive. However, online businesses have little option other than to take prompt action – otherwise you risk losing the search engine standings you have worked so hard to build.

How Snapchat Can Help Your Business ?

Snapchat has been tipped to knock Facebook of its social perch. The increasingly popular social network passed Twitter earlier this year and with 150 million active users a day, Snapchat is destined to be the ‘next big thing’.

generation-yThe reason why Snapchat is so important for online firms is because it is mostly used by millennials – the 17-34 age bracket. Generation Y generally have the most spending money to squander on goods because they do not have overheads like family and a mortgage to fund.

Furthermore, two out of three companies claim they are becoming more reliant on social media to connect with customers and perform customer service.

Millennials do not trust traditional advertising. Having grown up with technology they have been bombarded with marketing ads and spam that have let them down. Generation Y consumers want authenticity, innovation and active listening.

And social media ticks all the boxes. Especially Snapchat.

Why brands should use Snapchat

Snapchat is a social platform that encourages unique and creative content. Millennials are also brain-trained to reward openness because they appreciate ‘sharing is caring.’ Just remember to publish content that is short and fun. Great graphic designs and videos work well.

Proving brands cut back on sales pitches and deliver useful information, entertainment and excellent offers, you will be given social acceptance. And Snapchat doesn’t limit the number of people that see your content like Facebook.

Ten billion videos are viewed on a daily basis in Snapchat which presents huge opportunities for forward-thinking brands to connect with tech-savvy millennials.

Furthermore, millennials are open to discovering new brands, more than any other age bracket. And generation Y typically stay loyal to brands they trust.

How brands earn consumer trust

Trust is a principle consideration for millennials. Brands need to make a promise and stick to it. If you can prove this through snapchat, your reputation will grow and you will receive more engagement, leads and sales.

Shoppers are open to receiving great deals and 58% of students confirmed they use coupons brands send to them via snapchat. Coupons also offer convenience.

Publishing quality content is also a driver for earning trust. And now the majority of millennials are accessing the internet and social media accounts with mobile devices, graphic images and videos have taken on increasing importance.

Snapchat users rely on brands to deliver entertaining content through visuals and videos. The social networks challenges brands to be more creative – a tactic and a gift you can use across all digital channels to attract more customers.

Although Facebook, still has the most active users, it is only a matter of time before millennials get bored and look for new experiences. And as the snapchat audience continues to grow, the creative social platform is a natural transgression.

Brands that adopt snapchat sooner rather than later will therefore be better prepared for the mass migration. Given Google’s mobile-first policy is challenging brands to publish creative content that is easy to digest, snapchat is a platform that will help and not hinder.

What Does The Penguin 4.0 Update Mean For Websites?

Google recently launched the latest update of Google Penguin 4.0. The week of the launch we noticed a bit of wobble, but that soon stabilised. However, some website owners experienced a dramatic fall.

So why are some websites affected by Penguin when others are not?

The reason for that is simple. Penguin is part of Google’s algorithm that identifies bad links that have been placed around the internet in order to boost search engine rankings for the recipient website.

The problem is that many inbound links have been purchased rather than earned on merit. Attempts to manipulate search results is something Google want to stamp out, and whilst some SEO companies persist with unruly black-hat link building tactics, it is their clients that ultimately suffer.

Now Google has incorporated Penguin as part of their core algorithm, an unnatural number of low-quality links will be penalised immediately. On the upside, sites that are penalised and rectified straight away will also be re-ranked immediately without suffering hammer blows. It would take around two years for brands to recover previously, now it can be pretty much immediately.

What are best practices for Penguin?

It’s been said a million times before, but the only way to rank in search engines is to publish premium content that engages readers. High-quality content will naturally receive inbound links whereby websites will benefit from higher ranking positions together with better trust and authority scores.

The focus of your content marketing strategy should therefore be based around building a brand rather than links. When consumers trust your brand and feel confident about buying products for your online store, they are more inclined to stay loyal. Changing brands carries a risk, and many people are resistant to change because it is a human condition to fear the unknown.

google-penguin-4-0-update-600x310If your content marketing strategy is focused around building inbound links, you will not feel the benefits for very long. Search engines measure trends and can determine the likelihood of a website receiving an average number of links within any given timescale.

Black hat SEO agencies that offer link building services tend to buy four or more links for their clients a month. If a brand was not getting any links, then suddenly starts being tapped four times a month, it’s a red flag to search engines.

The Google algorithm is more sophisticated now than it was three years ago. And since Penguin was released in 2013, thousands of websites have suffered because of poor content strategies. Now, digital marketing agencies will not be given the time to get away with manipulating search rankings and swindling their clients out of money for producing good results.

Google has always been intent on encouraging online businesses to publish premium content. Now they have figured out how to prevent SEO practitioners from cheating the system, end-users should expect to find more quality sites in their search results.

Online businesses on the other hand have no option other than to produce premium quality content in order to rank in search engines. If you want to know more about Websites or Online Marketing check out our service pages.

What is Google’s Core Algorithm?

There was another flurry of activity in the SEO community this week as online businesses witnessed a dramatic twist in their organic search results. Yes, seems as though Google has launched another major update to its core algorithm.

As usual, the search engine giant rolled out another snow ball and as it rolled down the hill it took out some passersby. There are always winners and losers whenever Google update their algorithms.

But given Google is so secretive about how its core algorithm affects search results, recovering a drop in organic rankings is not always straightforward. The best way to avoid being penalised is to understand how the core algorithm works and work with it.

hummingbird4Hummingbird

The bulk of the core algorithm is known as Hummingbird and uses semantic text that understands the concept of content on a page. When Google launched Hummingbird in September 2013, it was the first sign the search engine was moving away from relying on keywords and steering more towards user-intent. Earlier this year, Google announced they added Penguin and Panda to the core algorithm to support Hummingbird.penguin5

Penguin

Penguin upset a lot of web owners when it was first launched, but they only have themselves to blame for trying to manipulate search results with ill-gotten links. Penguin digs our spammy links pointing to your website from third party sites and also broken links or links to unrelated topics. When embedding internal links, do not use exact-match anchor text. Use categories, related topics and hierarchies for anchors.

pandaPanda

The Panda algorithm relates entirely to content, or more specifically high-quality content. If you are publishing content that is well-written and in-depth, you will not be harmed by Panda, but promoted up in the ranks. Pages with thin content, badly written content or content visitors are not engaging with, do not get ranked.

Panda also supports Hummingbird in trying to match user-intent with keyword relevancy. The core algorithm takes keyword searches and looks for text that matches search terms exactly. If there are no exact keyword matches, Hummingbird determines the context of a page and throws up results it thinks should satisfy user intent. To improve that function, the final piece to the algo-puzzle is RankBrain.

google-rankbrainRankBrain

RankBrain is a machine learning piece of the algorithm which considers search terms that have never been used before and tries to determine what the user actually wants. When Hummingbird and Panda can’t meet user-expectation it is hoped that RankBrain will.

But RankBrain is also designed to understand natural speech patterns of humans in order to second-guess what users actually want. Once the algorithm has matured there is a strong possibility the core algorithm will be able to cope with voice search. We are not far off search through speech being the norm.

Understanding how search engine algorithms work gives you a better insight into how your website will perform better in search engines. But as you can see from the core algorithm, visibility in search engines predominantly resolves around high-quality content.

What Ranking Factors Should You Concentrate On To Improve Google SEO?

When Google let it slip the three most important ranking factors are content, links and RankBrain, they didn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know.

At least not on the surface. But there are underlying reasons why these metrics are what website owners should be concentrating on.

Google’s mission is to improve the quality of experience for end-users. The more people that use their search engine over their rivals means more advertising revenue goes into their already deep pockets.

But the search engine giant also has a genuine interest to improve search engine results and deliver content end-users want – especially on mobile devices.

Because mobile is becoming the customary way for users to access the internet, and will continue to do so as mobile technology improves, Google is intent on improving mobile search.

But for it to work properly, the search engine has to rely on publishers to create a user-friendly experience for mobile users. Hence the ranking metrics and subsequent awards of trust and authority scores.

What is RankBrain?

google-rankbrainLast year, Google launched RankBrain, an element of the Hummingbird algorithm that uses machine learning to improve search and rank content in relation to search queries.

But there is a long-term goal in mind: voice search. Because the keyboards on mobile phones are fiddly and take more effort, technology companies are trying to make mobile searches easier by using voice activated services.

But in order for voice assistants in search engines to function well, Google’s artificial intelligence system needs to understand natural speech patterns to determine what the end-user is searching for.

Google has already stated that end-users are still over-thinking search queries so that the machine understands what they want. But Google want end-users to use natural language so that RankBrain can learn what they want.

Although the search engine has not said as much, there is a strong possibility it will rank content that uses natural language over content that uses jargon, lingo or corporate language. Because this is how mobile users will conduct voice search.

Effective link-building

want40963-1UytrR1469101110We already know that content is king and inbound links are the strongest metric search engines use to determine the trust and authority of a webpage and ultimately a website.

The more inbound links you have pointing towards your content the higher it ranks. But you can also chip away at improving your trust and authority scores through internal link building and embedding outbound links into your content.

Search engines encourage publishers to point outbound links to high authority sites. The fall back to that is mainstream websites will take all the top ranks and leave little room for anybody else – even if they are publishing better quality content.

It is also a good idea to create silos on your website by pointing internal links to your main product or services pages. This is an indication to search engines that these are your main services and will be ranked higher alongside the keywords you have chosen for those pages.

Understanding how search engine metrics work is the first step to improving SEO rankings. So hopefully this article has helped.

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