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Search Engine OptimisationSEO for tourism businesses – Part 2

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Hi Good Morning and welcome to this sixth in aseries of webinars delivered by VisitScotland in conjunction with Business Gateway’s Digital Boostprogram my name is Andrew Craig from VisitScotland and today’s session is part of a recovery programa recovery package of webinars aimed at giving digital support to tourism businesses and onceagain this week we’re joined by Gary Ennis from NS Design in Glasgow a company that offers socialmedia and digital skills training if you remember who were here last week last Wednesday Gary ledpart one on search engine optimisation for tourism businesses and he’s leading again today as wedelve a little bit further into the world of seo a few intimation reminders as we before wekick things off you’re all in microphone webcam off mode and we’ll be as per usual we’ll bedistributing a link to the pdf version of the presentation Garys presentation later on andduring the session as well as asking for your feedback via a link that you’ll see later on andwe’ll put out via the chat functionality of go to webinar later on the session as well if you haveany queries about any aspects of search engine optimisation then as usual you can ask them viathe questions tab in your go to webinar control panel and as this is the same as last week thisis a 90 minute session today and we’ll spend 10 to 15 minutes at the end sort of around aquarter to one Gary will finish up and we’ll spend 10 to 15 minutes discussing any questionson search engine optimisation that you have and again we’re offering the opportunityfor participants to take part in a free VisitScotland digital review with oneof our industry relationship managers these reviews will assess manyelements of your digital output including I suppose not limitedto social media online bookings your social media press sorry your presence onsearch engines and your website performance itself and a sign up opportunity for that will come assoon as you leave today’s session you’ll a little notification will pop up in your screen andask if you want to participate in one of these digital reviews if you’ve already signed uppreviously you don’t need to sign up again what we would say is if you’re signing up you doneed to remember that it will be the onus will be on you to take action as a result of the reviewitself and you do need to be a tourism business and it’s open to all tourism businessesin Scotland and then finally just before I let I hand things over to Gary a quickscreenshot of the digital based homepage program delivers a lot of free services includingup to 21 hours of one-to-one specialist digital support and as well as workshops and webinars andbeing advertised there on begateway.com show boost you can book places on the website there on alot of upcoming web webinars and you can also look at a bunch of online guides on I think it’s21 digital topics and video tutorials on a further nine digital topics so that’s enoughfor me as per usual I speak too long I will hand things over to Gary who’s hererepresenting ns design and he’s going to lead at today’s session Gary over to youand i’ll just make sure that you can thank you Andrew wait and i’ll just quickly takecontrol of the screen when I can there we go let me just that that should be us now are you seeingthe agenda Andrew if you can just confirm that and i’ll crack her in oh good well thank you very muchright well again as Andrew has just said thank you to everyone who attended last week I know there’sa few names that are here again today so hopefully I didn’t put you off too much thank you also forsome great feedback on last week as well which we’ve had a little look at if you’re here todayfor the first time didn’t attend last session’s seo part one but you’re here for seo part twodon’t panic you’ll learn a lot of good things today and what I would suggest and i’ll remindyou of all of this at the very end as well I would suggest that you go and re-watch the thevideo that we recorded last week and kind of catch up so that you’re kind of covering all the seoaspects not just what we’re going to look at today so today’s agenda very quickly an awareness ofsome of the technical factors regarding seo last time last week we looked at they can have whatwe call the on page seo the keywords the content today we’re moving away from that to talk aboutthe technical side and it will be a wee bit geeky at times but I promise to make it understandabledepending on the level that you’re at on all of this so some of the technical issues we’ll lookat some of the off page seo again i’ll explain all of what that means later on in essence thatmeans the things that the other people do away from your site your web pages etc we’ll look atthe importance of local seo the fact that many locals are looking for your business andhow do we attract them for the right reasons and that will then lead us into the latter partof today’s session which is all around google my business and making sure that you have a google mybusiness profile you’re actually using it and have optimized it to best suit you again all with thegoal of driving awareness visibility traffic about you your business your website again all part ofthe seo remit this slide I i’ll be very quick on I showed this last week again just to confirmlast week we looked at the off page element sorry the on page element my apologies of seo thecontent the how you write things the words you use your choice of keywords again if you didn’t attendlast week’s session I do strongly recommend that you revisit that because it is the kind of theheart of seo you know what you should do before you tackle maybe some of the things we’re goingto look at today as I say we’re moving on to some of the more technical and off-page stuff soback links technical setup local and making sure things were kind of mobile and how that influencesgoogle and so on so just a reminder based on the slide I showed last week again i’ll spend notime over this I showed this last week as well what is seo what is search engine optimisationlet’s not use jargon we shouldn’t use acronyms without making sure everybody knows what they meanwell there’s the google the Wikipedia definition of seo at the top and in other words underneath myown definition it’s about convincing google to get our website higher up the rankings when the rightpeople search for the right things so that we get more right traffic leading to the potential ofbusiness now again I kind of stress that and expand on it a little bit in the recorded sessionfrom last week so you can go and have a little look at that when you get the chance a littlereminder to all of you before we crack on if there are any questions please just ask away and thequestion section of go to webinar Andrew will be keeping an eye on that and he will be interruptingme if there’s any pertinent questions coming in and of course we will be dealing with questionsat the end as well so if you’ve got anything you want from today under the banner of seo pleasejust ask away so let’s get technical I think that was a song from Olivia newton john it was alot of physical I can’t remember so let’s move on to the technical side of social media and let’sstart with a little bit of are you even there in the first place question you know all of thisgood stuff we looked at last week other things we will look at shortly none of that is in anyway worthwhile doing unless of course you’re you have the chance of google returning your websitein what they call their index so here’s a little thing that you should all try and again you cando this while i’m talking to you live if you’re if you’re feeling like multitasking if not revisitthese slides later on and go through this in a wee bit of detail you want to make sure that you arelisted on google now the one exception here is if you’re a brand new website you’ve only justlaunched the thing last week Googles not yet the chance to find you to index you i’ll steeryou on that side of things in just a second but the big danger is that you’re not on googlefor a very particular reason and until you change such things you might never be on google so if yougo to a google web browser yeah again I won’t do this live i’ll just use my slides for just now andyou and you type into the search box site s-I-t-e colon and then your domain name so the example onthe right site colon visit scotland.com and you should see something like that you should see thepages of your website coming up in a google search results box with the URL with the title with thesnippet or the meta description we talked about all of this and a wee bit of detail last week andthat’s an indication that google has your website in its index therefore could be delivered tosomebody searching using relevant keywords okay if you don’t see that if instead you see nothingor nearly all or most of your pages missing or you just see something like this and I shouldjust warn visit Scotland and the guys from visit Scotland with us today I mocked this up so don’tworry this isn’t what it shows when you search for visit Scotland and if you see maybe just thedomain name and just a very generic title usually related to the name of the business and underneaththat we usually get a nice little description it says no information available learn why if you seethat then don’t quite panic but you have a problem and it’s usually because you’re using what’scalled a robot.txt file now again this is a wee bit geeky as Ive already said a littlereminder to you as per last week there are kind of links on all of these slides for more detail formore in-depth awareness about all of the topics i’m going to cover today but what I mean by arobot.txt file well these things are usually added to a website on purposely usually for agood reason to hide certain pages or indeed your entire website itself and often they are donedepending on you know who’s built your website if you’re getting a web development company tobuild it sometimes they will add what’s called the robot.txt file because they don’t want googlelooking at your site while it’s under development and that kind of makes sense you know the pagesare half built the content is just kind of mocked up there’s no actual you don’t want to indexingthe wrong content or fake content or content which isn’t finalized yet so the developerwill sometimes drop in a robot.txt file the problem is and Ive seen this so many timesI mean it’s ridiculous but true that if they then forget to remove it you’ve got a live site peoplecan access it people can type it in manually they can visit all your pages but google is beingtold not to index the site it’s been told to hide the page you not have you in their indexso a quick check on this and we’ll quickly move away because i’m focusing on the negative here butIve seen this so many times that I want to just make sure this was introduced right at the starta quick check is if you go to your domain name in a browser and you add on slash robot.txtand you know what i’ll quickly do this live let me just bring over the ns design website sohere’s my own website and this design call uk and i’ll add in slash robots.txt and up comes anactual let me just zoom in on this just a little bit up comes an actual file it doesn’t say 404it doesn’t say file not found it actually gives a robot text because I am actually using one to notblock google from my entire website but to tell google not to have certain things in the resultsthat I don’t think are actually worthy of anybody ever finding in google results so Ive got acouple of files a couple of pages that are kind of pretty pointless it’s mainly just for people whoare looking for our stuff on email consent and there’s a whole category of stuff that we used todo which have now blocked the whole category and also that last one don’t ask me why i’m blockingthe Gary and Jan page I really don’t know I need to check myself to be honest there’s nothingdubious I promise and but one of the things I am blocking is the WordPress admin system because whywould I want google to ever return my back-end CMS login page you know here’s Garys login toyou why would why would I ever what so i’m telling google to disallow it okay disallowed thisallowed to slow but on the whole i’m saying allow everything else okay so i’m using a robot’s textfile not in any great detail and really it’s just to kind of tell google to block a few thingswhat you will see is something very similar or you’ll maybe see a photo 404 file notfound you’re not using one at all and that’s fine because by not having one you’re basicallytelling google that you’re not blocking anything worst case scenario you see something like this onthe right of the screen user agent star that just means telling every search engine so google Bingand you know yahoo so every search engine disallow everything the slash means everything the slashis basically means your domain name and everything under it so if you see something like that and asI say as daft as it sounds Ive seen that on so many live websites who are then asking me why doesgoogle not ever show me you know Ive done all you’ve told me I did my keywords Ive done all mytechnical Ive done and they’ve left a robot text file live and basically google is doing what it’stold not indexing anything it’s being disallowed access to everything on this site so I just wantedto start with that hopefully nearly all of you when you go and check you don’t have one or indeedyou are allowing access rather than disallowing access to everything but it is important and I dosee that a lot so what I want to move on and talk about is if that’s how you kind of tell google notto index you how do you tell google to index you now there are a few ways to do it the simplestway and actually the way that you can and kind of take maybe a more hands-off approach and justlet it happen on it by itself is to make sure that you are using a google site map now by a googlesite map I don’t mean a link in the footer of your email and sorry in the footer of your websitewhich is just another page for the for the users of your website with links to all of the otherpages and again you’ll see many websites with exactly that I mean a google site map which againis quite a geeky file written for google not for the general public that you can give to google andit will be aware of all of the pages that exist on your website and you’re telling google to go andlook at them go and index them go and look at all the keywords go and analyse my titles my headersall of the things we covered last time but the keyword density and my body text that goesand indexes all of that and decides whether or not you have authority on certain keywordsagain just to revisit a little bit of last week and rather than me just tell you a little bit moreabout sitemaps I want to quickly just to give you another voice to listen to i’m going to quicklyplay a little video hi i’m Daniel Weisberg search advocate at google and today i’ll talk abouthow to use the search console sitemaps report by the end of this video you should be ableto understand what a sitemap is decide whether you need one or not and learn how to submit asitemap and track its status using search console a sitemap is a signal about which URLs you wouldlike google to crawl on your site it may provide information on URLs that were recently createdor modified and give us some extra information about them google supports four main waysfor you to provide additional information you can extend a URL with images included in it you can also extend the URL with videos includedin it you can include information about alternate languages or country versions with reflagannotations and finally for new sites you can use a special variation of sitemaps to giveus information about the most recent updates note that this information won’t necessarilybe highlighted on search console but you can still provide it in your sitemap but if I don’thave a sitemap will google find all my pages i’m glad you asked john usually if you havea relatively small website and your pages are properly linked Googlebot can discover yourcontent so you don’t need to worry about a sitemap however if your site meets one of the followingcriteria a sitemap might help google decide what and when to crawl your website if your siteis really large a sitemap will help google prioritize the URLs to crawl if your pagesare isolated or not well linked to each other a sitemap might help google find those pagesif your site is new or it has a lot of quickly changing content such as a nils website asitemap will help google discover your content please remember that using a sitemap doesn’tguarantee that all your pages will be crawled and indexed but in most cases yoursite will benefit from having a sitemap and there is no disadvantage for having one inaddition sitemaps don’t replace normal crawling and not including URLs in a sitemap won’tresult in those URLs no longer being crawled interesting I might need a sitemap but how canI create one another great question john ideally the system running your website will make sitemapfiles for you automatically for example you can find a WordPress plugin or Drupal extensionif you use those content management systems check the documentation from your provideras every platform is slightly different we recommend finding a way to automaticallygenerate sitemaps rather than creating them manually usually this will involve running code onyour server so if you’re not a developer you might need help from one there are limits to the numberof URLs and the maximum size of a sitemap file i’m going to pause it there because that’s all we needto show for today if you need more space sorry let me just close him down so again it was a littlebit geeky and it’s always good to see somebody present and be even more cheesier than me whichis a bonus from my perspective here’s just a quick summary of what Daniel just said to you okay asite map is essentially just a list of your pages and not having one shouldn’t impact small sites ifyou’re a very small website with just five pages a home page and about us page a services page acontact us page and one other page that I can’t think of if you’re just a small set as long asthose are clearly linked as long as you’ve got a good navigation structure and every page isclearly linked from the home page then google will probably find your website and crawl it willsend out what it calls its spider to follow the little links and to index all of your small volumeof pages because they’re easily carefully linked together if you’re a large website with youknow tens fifty hundreds of pages or more and then not every page is easily linked not everypage is certainly linked to the home page some pages might not be linked at all whatwe’ll often call an orphaned page so Ive got a particular page but I don’t really have any linksto it so how’s google ever going to find it so under those conditions a site map is always a goodthing to do and I personally myself think that even small to medium websites will benefit from asite map because you’ll always be telling google to look at all of your pages to index them toget them onto the google results page and to tell google about these things in just a wee bit moredetail now also what Daniel said he says you don’t want to be creating these things manually becausethey are quite geeky files you want to have them generated automatically and if you use somethinglike WordPress my advice would be looking at it and I think we talked about this last week theyoast plug-in yoast y-o-e-s-t is a plug-in for WordPress which makes WordPress that a little bitmore seo friendly and one of the things yours does is create your site maps for you and then whatyou do once you’ve got this link to a site map is you submit it to google search console so I wantto just quickly show you where you would do that in google search console just in case this helpsin previous visit Scotland digital boost webinars we have talked about google search console in alittle bit of detail and so here’s me logged into my own google search console you should haveone for yourself for your own website and if I scroll down to the site map section of googlesearch console it basically because Ive already submitted one there is what looks like my set mysite map if I just go into here and click this and show you so there it is I Ive submitted in actualfact what use produces is a number of site maps one for your pages one for your blog postsone for your events if you’re running an event plug-in type of thing the point is it’s generatingthese pages for you manually and if I just quickly show you what one of these things looks likejust to show you it’s fairly geeky ns design cool uk slash oh randomly typing in nonsensehere bear with me should have prepared this in advance let me just go and grab the link it’spage sitemap.xml let me just go and grab that and paste it in there we go so it looks likethis and this is why you don’t so there’s the main pages on our website we have 12 main pages wealso have you know 3 000 blog posts written over the last 20 odd years so there’s the 12 links tothe pages there’s the 3 000 links to the blog post there’s the 64 links to the events and as you cansee it’s not just a link to the actual page itself it shows us when it’s last modified it tellsgoogle if there’s any obvious images on there and so suddenly you create these things viayoast or some other system of your own choosing and then you upload them into a google searchconsole it through what’s called the site maps section and basically what you’re telling googleis here are all of my pages when they were last updated kind of what’s in them a summary etc goand look at them go and index them and so you know that if you create a blog post today thenyour site map will be automatically generated almost immediately because that’s what you knowthat the systems tend to do and google search console because it knows where to go and lookit will look every so often you can see that my google search console last looked at my site mapsback in July at end of July so maybe Ive done a wee update since then and it will look in the nextday or so i’m certain and now google has all of that data in it knows about every one of my pagesagain wee bit maybe time to take your head to get around all of this but it’s really important it’simportant we understand robot.txt how to block google how to tell google not to index thingsand making sure we’re not doing it accidentally and it’s more so important to understand how totell google here is here are the pages that I want you to index I want you to look at that I want youto return to people because if google has none of that done if it’s not able to find our pagesif you haven’t properly linked your files your pages together and it’s hitting kind of theseblank orphan pages it’s not able to reach them then you might have a lot of great content thatwill never be returned to google because that’s how it does it does it via you telling it whatto allow and what to block sitemaps and robot.txt files important stuff bit technical bit geekybut hopefully that’s been beneficial to you let’s move on to deal with some easier concepts thingsthat you can all get to grips with very quickly and the first thing I want to mention is the needfor speed you can insert your your movie quote of choice in there and you can tell i’m a bigtop gun fan sad but true let me want to talk about speed google ranks websites that are fasterhigher okay now it’s not quite as black and white as that but today i’m going to say it is if mywebsite is identical to your website and we are optimizing for the same keywords and we arebasically about the same thing and you came to last week’s session two and you know all aboutyour title optimisation and your body text and all other things being equal if my website’sfaster i’m going to appear higher and the reason is google wants to deliver a good fast convenientyou know you know suitable experience that don’t have people fed up waiting for your site to appearso general advice is your site should load under three seconds repeat visits even fasterand i’ll explain why in just a second so again do you know it’s a rhetorical question youcan chat to me in the chat box if you like you can ask any questions of your own if you wantin the questions box do you know how long your site takes to load because you should andthere are some easy ways to go and test it on this slide there are a few links to some thingswhich you should definitely play with later on i’m going to go and play with the google the toplink just now i’m going to show you this live just in case you want to play with it as well letme go and paste it into the chat box so that if you if you like you can give that a click welllet me just send that to everyone rather sorry there we go there we go let me show you what thislooks like this is the google page speed tool and if I go and just search for my own domainname i’ll just make my life easier and I won’t embarrass anyone too much today by being overlycritical then this this returns quite a again quite a geeky detailed there’ll be things onthe on the on the results page you maybe don’t quite understand i’ll talk about some of them butwhat it does give you quite nicely is a nice score now straight away you can see that oh my goodnessGarys website is only a 59.59 out of 100. you know i’m not gonna lie Id like to be a hundredout of a hundred and notice it breaks it down over mobile speed and desktop speed if I changethe desktop speed i’m a lot better i’m a 92 and it’s basically kind of warning me thatmaybe my website has a few biggest images maybe my website from a mobile perspectivepeople loading it up on a 3g or a 4g phone maybe it’s acceptable on desktop the speeds buton mobile certainly room for improvement now what I like to do at this stage is pause andsay nobody panic depending on what your speed number is what your speed score is becausethis is all comparative so if I if I am you know I i’ll just go with the number if i’ma 59 that only really matters if other people around about me on google i.e my competitor typebusinesses those people who could be above me that only really matters if they are higherthan 59 so one of the things I urge you to do when you’re doing tests on your own websiteis do similar tests on your competitor websites do similar tests on the businesses whichare appearing above and below you on google and if every one of your competitors in my caseis a 40-something I don’t really need to I guess of course Id love to get higher and higher andhigher but I don’t really need to obsess over changing this because i’m faster than they arebecause this is about google putting me ahead of other people doing similar things whensomebody’s googling for it so don’t panic use it as a nice little benchmark and use it to goand kind of compare others and just be aware as to where you sit comparatively to everyone else sothat’s the kind of google what they call the page speed insights test what you might also want to dois play with the next link as well it’s called the think with google test and it gives you a kind ofI don’t mean this badly it kind of dumbs it down a little bit more it basically says slow medium fasttype of thing but it also gives you the capability to download a free report from google with loadsof great advice as to how to speed things up so there’s loads of places where you can goand test the speed of your website the third little link on there is a is a free tool againyou do need to create an account with it if you want to change server so you can use gt metricsto do some very clever things if you know that most of your customers are from the united statesor Australia or you know Canada or china you can actually isolate the tests to people under thoseconditions you can choose American servers you can choose Canadian servers so again this is allabout having a real understanding of your customer we talked a lot about this last week understandingthe customer their behaviour where they are where they’re from how they do things so thegt metrics tool is a nice one to go and do speed tests from different locations to checkthat you are comparatively faster than some of your competing businesses that you that you wantto do better than on google so do some speed tests again you know running your site through someof these and nice little simple test sites they give you some ideas for improvement someof the things that they suggest you do that’s kind of top tips at the bottom of the screenthey suggest that you very much start by doing the obvious thing which is reducing your imagesize often a slow website is caused by big images big images that you’ve maybe taken off your mobilephone because that’s capable of producing some very large file sizes and high quality images thatyou’ve uploaded but so you’ve uploaded this huge pixel size huge resolution image which actuallyis going to be showing quite small on your website and especially when that website is viewed ona mobile phone so you want to make sure your images are optimized sometimes you can do thisautomatically through clever plugins for your website or your WordPress or again depending ifyou’re if you’re a photoshop wizard then you’ll know how to do this yourself on the assumptionthat many of you aren’t that there are tools nice and easy free tools to allow you to do someof this yourself and let me just demonstrate the link that’s on the slides right now reduce imagesi’m just going to quickly show you this it’s the free simple little tool an online based tool sohere is here is the website reduce images and as it says it says drag in your image so i’m justgoing to go and get a bit of a cheesy image of me so first thing i’ll show you i’ll actually showyou this image of me so you can see what it is there’s there you go there’s me sitting with myvery cheeky t-shirt on about to start a digital boost webinar so that’s the image which is too bigand it is too big because you see when I drag it in if I just drag it into here it says it’s onemegabyte in size and it’s 2 800 pixels length and breadth it’s a big sizable image i’m probablygoing to show this on one page of my website maybe on my blog it’s going to be showing you knowa fraction of that size and that’s a megabyte somebody needs to download which doesn’t soundvery much if they’re on a high speed broadband but if they’re on their mobile phone if they’re on 3gGoogles not gonna like it so that’s me uploaded it then using this free tool I can go and reducethe size i’ll make it 70 percent of the size that which will bring the file size down a littlebit I could probably go a lot more than that I will change the quality of it to 60 becauseat the moment it’s a big high resolution image and i’ll click on the resize button and forfree very quickly there we go it’s now done it it’s now created the image which is available forme to download it started at 1.1 megabyte it’s now telling me it’s 300 kilobytes so it’s under athird is a third of the of the file size and if I click it just to prove to you here is the tweakedimage very quickly for free much smaller size much a smaller resolution and as you can see it looksalmost identical to the original why because it didn’t need to be that big and high resolution etcso go and play with tools like this go and learn how to use photoshop and Canva and any other imagemanipulation tool and get better at optimizing your website content especially your images okaythat’s usually the thing which can slow an awful lot of websites down dramatically other things toconsider and again i’ll just introduce these to you today I won’t go into them in too much detailbecause again they’re fairly complex fairly geeky it says there you consider using caching andminify your website code again if this this means something to you great because you’vealready looked into it you’re already doing it again my advice to you if you’re using aparticular system CMS system content management system like WordPress or whatever let’s go andinvestigate caching plugins or minify plugins what these things do is they crunch down the codeokay they crunch them so a minify plugin basically takes all of this nicely formatted code gets ridof all the empty blank spaces all the things which aren’t actually required and crunches it down tothe bare minimum code which I won’t lie when you go and look at the code if you’re ever so inclinedit makes it a nightmare to work with because it’s basically all on one big line there’s no linebreaks there’s no spacing but from Googles perspective you’ve crunched the file size down tothe bare minimum which means a much faster website attaching is quite similar caching is all aboutmaking sure that somebody visits your website and this is what I said earlier on at the topof the slide repeat visits should be faster caching makes repeat visits faster cachingbasically means when somebody comes for a second time to visit your website they don’tneed to download everything again your website is not telling them they go and grab all theseimages again you’ve already got and it’s telling the visitor that they don’t need to go and do thedatabase lookup again because they’ve just done it and so they’re basically kind of pullingstatic content or indeed not pulling anything because it’s there it’s already ontheir systems so caching is all about just improving the efficiency for repeat visits andagain you can usually massively improve websites by installing caching and functionality cachingagain it’s a whole topic in its own right but be aware of it maybe do some investigation otherthings you might want to consider what’s called a cdn a content delivery network again a littlebit advanced this one but if you’re at this stage it’s worthy of mentioning because it can makea huge difference to speed the principle here is you’re not hosting your content just in onelocation you’re hosting your content on multiple locations how is that possible well you hostyour images on a uk server an American server a new Zealand server using a content deliverynetwork provider there are many of them and what that means is if somebody from new Zealandis looking at your website they are pulling an awful lot of the content from much closer to themthey don’t need to come all the way to the uk to get the data off that server to pull it backover the internet they’re getting it much more localized to them and again a cdn is certainlysomething you should consider if you know if you’re a big website if you’re trying to reallypush the boundaries in terms of optimisation that can make a big difference and as Ive alreadysaid all of this chat around faster websites you should always compare against competitor you knowdon’t obsess over oh my goodness i’m only a 57 I want to be a hundred at 57 only mattersif everybody is above 57 you know for our the competing businesses that you’re trying tomake sure that you are ranking higher van so again I hope this is all making sense but speedis important google wants fast websites and you should certainly do all you can to technicallyoptimize for speed my top tip start with your images always start with your images go and go andgo and look at every image on your website go and go and run your run your website through oneof these reports and it will probably flag up you have a lot of big images and you probablydon’t need half of them reduce them compress them optimize them makes a big difference if youwant a real further boost the speed and again this is just an introduction to this because againit’s far too complex to talk about in the time we have available you could consider implementing ampemp accelerated mobile pages the amp was developed by google it’s now used in a variety of guiseselsewhere Facebook have a version of it themselves and basically what this means is if googledetects somebody is on google on a mobile phone and they’re about to click through to your websiteon their mobile phone they could just send them the actual page which might be quite big andbig images and too much code and all these other things that we’ve just talked about or if itexists it could give them the amp page the emp the accelerated mobile page and these are things thatagain you can create yourself manually don’t do that it’s incredibly complex you will definitelywant to look to generate these automatically again depending on the content management system you’reusing you can maybe get a plug-in for it or there’s maybe an option for it again I know I keepmentioning WordPress because it’s the site the system I use myself loads of great pluginsto do loads of great additional things one of them is to create amp pages for all pagesof my website which means if somebody from google search comes on a mobile when they click the linkto my website it returns almost instantaneously to them and the reason is Googles already fetchedthe content in advance it’s being served from google they’re pre-loaded now the example to showyou is on the screen on the left on my mobile on a mobile phone interface is the actual page witha slightly better design which is with this you know there’s my cookie checker at the bottom ofit and there’s my full menu and on the right is the amp page and it’s been stripped back it’s justmainly text and there’s one image which has been compressed to be really small the interface isgone there’s no there’s no clicks to the rest of the navigation so i’m missing out a little bit onpeople getting the full experience of my content and the rest of my website but I am massivelytelling google that you probably want to favour my content because it’s going to load instantly foryour users so you might want to investigate emp again it’s kind of pushing the boundaries evenmore so but it does make a huge difference to the whole concept of speed because arguably it’sloading instantly rather than causing any delay whatsoever because it’s being served by googlethemselves notice that was very much focusing on the mobile okay this is google created theseamp pages because of delivering a faster mobile experience and google have gone what we now see ismobile first google is basically looking at your mobile version of your website to rank you so thepoint here is if you don’t have a well optimized mobile website using what we often call responsivedesign and poor old unicorn paddle let me just use them as my quick example here you know there’sunicorn paddle on the on the left there on our kind of typical mobile phone interface and you cansee that it’s all kind of squished and minimized and all the whole page is kind of reduced in sizeso that it fits the problem with that is the font size is tiny it’s very illegible I can’t clickon the navigation it’s a difficult site to use and compare that to rugged paddle okay ruggedpaddle well they’re based in Glencoe very similar business immediately it looks like itis going to work better for me on a mobile phone lovely big image optimized to the size of themobile phone screen I can do what I call thumb scrolling on this one where I can easily scrolldown and click big buttons with my big clunky thumb the navigations the nice little pull-downmenu at the top those three lines what we call the burger icon and suddenly because they are usinga mobile responsive and web design maybe it’s a template maybe they’ve designed it themselvesmaybe they had a developer maybe it’s a WordPress you know theme they are going to get a higherscore on google not because of all the things we previously talked about but simply becausethey work better on a mobile so my point here is are you checking your website on mobile are youchecking Googles mobile test so again let me just quickly paste in this link for you into the chatbox just in case any of you want to play with it it’s dead simple it basically gives you a yesno let me just type this into here again it tells you whether your website is mobile friendlywhether it’s going to rank highly under the mobile criteria or whether it’s not mobile friendlytherefore work to do before google really like you because google has gone mobile first you cancheck via the mobile friendly test you can also again here’s me mentioning it another time searchconsole google search console you’d probably guess by now if you don’t have a google search consoleaccount you are missing out there’s loads of clever analytical type information and data insearch console one of them is google analysing your website to warn you against any pageswhich are problematic on mobile devices and if you have any pages which have mobile errorsor warnings you want to address these because all you’re doing is technically telling googlethat you haven’t bothered you bothered your backside enough to do any of this technical stufftherefore it’s going to creep down the rankings you want to make sure it’s mobile fast works wellseamless experience for all of your customers so do some checking and if you do go and check onsearch call as I say the good news is it will give you a hint so tell you know what you saydoesn’t work you know search console especially will give you some errors and give you know a bitof detail on them well what does that you know your text is too small to read the navigationis too close together your clickable elements can’t be clicked by people’s thumbs the contentis wider than the screen that usually means you’ve got some horizontal scrolling let alonevertical scrolling which is a big mono on a mobile so all of that information and guidance is inthere for you depending on the system you’re using and again a wee reminder to all of you there aredetailed links throughout all of these slides if you want more on this if you want more detail ifyou want to kind of obsess over some of this stuff and you know get all geeky on it like I like Itake pleasure in doing then please feel free to do more reading do more research follow up viathese links and just make your site better okay um should the amp page so the accelerated mobilepages the age look as appealing as nice as the original website no it shouldn’t and that’s thewhole point of an amp page and again this is why some people take the view of not using them me i’mmore they can as you’ve discovered i’m more like of geeky analytical I want you know the optimalsome people choose not to use them because oh they don’t look as good and they don’t look as good itstrips out the interface it strips out the nice design it strips out some of your font choices etcand what it only returns is not quite but i’ll say it like this is pure content somebody googled toget some good content here is the content being given to that given to them as fast as we possiblycan and so it will look up like a much more basic page as I say again i’ll gladly share some ofthe way we create amp pages of our blog posts no of the other pages of our websites so ifsomebody goes to visit our home page from a google mobile they get the fully featured all singingall dance and designed home page because from there I want them to understand us our brand visitthe rest of the pages learn about if somebody is googling something which ultimately is resultingin a click directly to a blog page they want to read the blog so I create amp pages of all of ourblogs because i just want to get them up quickly easily i’ve now satisfied the need for them toconsume that content and the blog pages as a result are going to be featured higher on googlethan not doing it like that so I hope that’s answered the question that it’s they’re not foreveryone and it is about you obsessing over speed and how you choose to use them is up to youbut it will scale back the design a whole lot so if that annoys you maybe don’t even entertainthem but if it’s about saving content quickly there’s nothing comes closer in terms of theincrease in speed okay so thank you for that Andrew if there’s any other questions please justask away i’m going to quickly move on we’re going to look at a few other technical issues andthen we’re going to move on to other topics just a little time what else is google lookingto see google is looking to see security and web accessibility what I mean by security you all kindof know what I mean by this they’re looking to see the we padlock the https i’ll make an assumptionthat nearly all of you are running secure websites these days okay normally hosting providers nowmake it default not all of them though okay so if you are and again I hate doing this but i’llquickly i’ll quickly use an example just to show you poor old brave you guest house and layer weekhere is here is the lyric guest house again we could debate all day long the kind of qualityof the website we’ll leave that for another day the point is hopefully you can see this up at thetop in the web browser preview guesthouse.Cool uk and the browser is warning me this site is notsecure the browser has won it and if I click on that not secure link it says it flashes it all upalmost in red hey be careful entering data here this is not secure it warns me about passwords andclick oh my goodness it’s freaking me out okay and some people are a little bit wary and some peoplewould literally take that you know word per word then go oh my goodness the preview guess the houseis insecure i’m not booking with them closed down going all because of google the chrome browser allof the browsers do it warning you that a site is not secure listen it’s important for your usersto get trust and reassurance it’s also important for google uses security as a ranking factor soif you’re not running an https website if you’re not running out if the vpadlock is not appearingin the browser when I visit your website you are repeating lower in the rankings than you needto be irrespective of anything else because security is part of the ranking and so having asecure web address increases you in the ranking and let’s just very quickly make a comment on allaspects of your website should be secure one of the worst things you can do to absolutely plummetin google rankings all of this good work that you’ve been doing hey good i’m now on page oneand i’m doing really well and it’s past me like oh I blew my bombs why did I bomb because googledetected your website got hacked google detected the actual content on your website was compromisedso while that’s a whole topic in its own right you know when it comes to security google prioritizessecurity so make sure that your own website your own content management system your ownpassword is strong and you’re applying all these updates and patches and because security isvital in Googles eyes not just in customer eyes other things which you should definitely be awareof i’m not going to go into any of the detail today because it’s again a whole other topic webaccessibility again good websites should be built for all users many of you will be familiar withthings like the disability discrimination act which basically says you know if a wheelchairuser has a challenge getting up the big steps of your guest house then that’s a bit of aproblem you should try and make efforts to put in a ramp or make it easier for themetc well the reality is web accessibility applies to the digital world as well and soyou can check your website so that people with visual impairments or heating impairments or motorskills issues you can check your website for some of the basics to make sure that it’s going to beusable by people with accessibility or disability issues and again there’s a link to some of thekind of trusted checkers etc and links to more on accessibility on these slides if you want a littlebit more than that one of the basic things you can do with the guard accessibility you might rememberthis slide if you were here last week I showed you this about where to start applying some of yourkeyword research well I want to quickly zone in on the out tags remember we talked about thislast week alternative text descriptions for images if you don’t have out tags on your images that’s abig no-no from an accessibility point of view and it’s also a big no-no as we talked about lastweek i’m going to quickly expand on that now from Googles point of view so why should youhave one well from an accessibility point of view if you just have an image that I can’t see becausei’m blind I don’t know that that’s a picture of a kid skiing lesson on the cairngorms I don’t knowthat because i’m blind I can’t see the image and you have no text alternative so google doesn’tlike that from an accessibility point of view google also doesn’t like that from an seooptimisation keyword authority point of view so if you really want to push the boundaries withregard optimizing your images so that your whole website gets better a boost for certain keywordsand phrases all the things we talked about last week and maybe actually the image itself againwe haven’t really mentioned this last week or we probably won’t mention it much today but you’llknow that google is what I call a variety of vertical search engines it’s made up of differentsearch engines and one of the kind of search engines within google is the image search you cando an image search on google and if you use good out tags on your images your images might startappearing on google image search so here’s just a few things you can start to do to really pushthe boundary worst case scenario is this is what it looks like in the code i’ve uploaded animage from my mobile phone onto my website on my mobile phone it was called df00121.jpg andi’ve uploaded it like that and given it zero out tag tells google nothing better seo optimisationwell it’s still called the same file because it’s still that same file name and i’ve used the outtag cairngorms at least i’ve called it cairngorms at least it’s now got a little bit more of akeyword density a little bit more of a mention of a word which somebody might search for the imagei’m now telling google is about Cairngorms you want to get better at this you go the extra mileyou rename the actual file name before you link to that file name so instead of df00121 it’snow called cairngorms.jpg and my alternative text becomes a little bit more detailed describethe image not just some so family skiing can dorms that is now a nicely optimized image and thatwill do you no harm whatsoever in terms of google ranking etc if you want to almost go theprofessional seo route again you make it even better the image is called cairngorm license.jpgthere is keywords in the actual file name now reinforcing to google this is an image aboutKieran ski lessons reinforced by the alternative text family ski lessons at cairngorms there’s akind of long tail search which might actually be used by somebody looking to find exactly thatservice so one image on one web page is now helping optimize that web page because you’vegiven a better out tag great for accessibility you’ve given a good out tag for seo keywordauthority and you’ve actually renamed the image itself that’s pushing the boundaries that’sdoing some real kind of professional level seo optimisation if you get to that level consider meimpressed you can start taking these webinars in the future because it’s really pushing things sothat was out tags again just before I move away from this particular screen again I introduced allof this last time I just want to focus in on two other things descriptive links you’ll rememberlast time I talked about how links need to be descriptive if you’re linking to another pageon your own website or indeed another page on anybody else’s website a link to a third party youwant the link to be keyword not just click here you want some descriptive content in there wellone thing I wanted to talk about when it comes to technical optimisation you want to make surethere are no broken links okay if I link to and let’s just say that you know four years agoI linked to a visit Scotland blog post as I probably have done things like that on a regularbasis but it was four years ago so my website now has a link to visit Scotland and maybe last yearfor whatever reason they changed their website they redesigned it they got rid of some otherold content i’m now linking to a 404 page not found you want to make sure that you analyseyour own website make sure that you are you have no broken links either to internal pages pagelinks to your own content or links to third-party content google hates broken links google works byfollowing links Googles whole organization of the entire internet is based on all good links we canfollow to find new stuff and here’s you providing a whole load of broken links wasting Googlestime sending people down rabbit holes so again do some analysis on your own website it’stechnical there are easy checkers to do so there’s a link on this slide called the ahrefs abroken link checker you should definitely go and make sure that you’re checking for no brief brokenlinks on your website and fixing them fixing them removing them or changing them to the actuallink if the link has changed or moved or whatever and the last thing just to make a mention of isthat whole thing we talked about last week about keywords in the body of your content so whenyou write the paragraphs of words on every web page whether it’s blogs or the about us page ora product description or whatever it is again a little reminder because arguably it’s technicalrelated no keyword stuffing no just repeating the word for no obvious reason other things to stayclear of what we call black hat seo no invisible text Id like to think none of you would evenconsider this but believe me it used to be done to kind of fool the search engines many yearsago invisible text what do I mean by that I mean white text on a white background I want googleto read all of these words which have nothing to do with my website because I to my contentbecause I want my site to appear higher for searches around anything and everything so I uselots of invisible text saying all of these words commonly used we are doing it was you know everytown and city in Scotland mentioned on a web page hoping that you then start being returned forholiday in any town in Scotland again that’s not google best practice that’s considered very badpractice so non-relevant text invisible text is stuffing in keywords etc big no no trying not todo any other kind of black hat seo techniques most of you probably wouldn’t even have dreamt aboutthem but again just be aware okay we’re gonna move on and talk about off-page seo Gary well GaryWestbrook doing that there’s somebody’s coming with I think you might sort of be covering aroundthis area just now in terms of inbound links but some of these that’s the question just related towhat you were discussing here about broken links and websites about one business is just about tochange their website structure content and design yeah I can make sure that anyone linking to thissite doesn’t return broken links okay so if you if somebody’s linking to a particular page on yourwebsite and you know because you’re just about to do a whole redesign a redevelopment you knowthat that page is not going to be there anymore if you do nothing all the all the kind of sourcewebsite gets is a 404 page not found instead what you should be doing and again my apologies thisis actually isn’t mentioned in today’s into this slide but you should because the question has beenasked and you should definitely that person go and research this you should look to implement what’scalled google 301 redirects okay again i’m just going to try and give you a quick link to go andlook at myself here 301 redirects and let me just send you the google advice itself so let me justpaste this into the chat box this is basically you telling google and my blog post used to be on thisweb address it’s now moved to another web address so anybody who’s still linking to the originaladdress don’t you just give them a 404 error automatically take them to the news to the newdestination therefore the link is still valid they might technically be linking to the oldnon-existent file URL but you’re you what’s called these 301 redirects on your end you canset this up you cant you can kind of on your website tell google all of these old pages nowexist on these new pages one of the simplest ways of doing this it’s not the best way ofdoing this is let’s just say that you scrap your entire website and start fresh thereforewe haven’t just moved pages we’ve deleted all the pages so anybody linking to arguably anyof our previous pages are going to get an error well you can do a 301 redirect at the very leasttaking them all to your home page so they thought they were going to somewhere specific but thatno longer exists so it now redirects to your home page and that still keeps the link live andactive and there it’s not an error it’s not a 404 so look into these 301 google redirects definitelyimportant if you are changing your website if you’re doing a big rebrand redesign restructurearguably important for us all to know if we are deleting moving changing content so hopefullythat that’s explained that a little bit in detail for you let’s quickly talk about off page seo i’maware of the time so we’ve never got about another 20 minutes or so and then we’ve still got timefor q an off-page seo basically refers to anything that other people can do to help you in the googleranking so last week’s activity was what we called the on-page seo activity you can do all of thisyou can make the changes you can change your content you can change your titles off page isabout other people doing things to benefit you so some strategies would be link building we’ve justtalked about there’s somebody linking from their website to me an inbound link it could be guestblogging me blogging on somebody else’s website is off page activity is somebody else’s website thati’m contributing a blog or an article to hoping that I get a link back to my own it could be basicsocial media it could be doing you know trying to work with influencers this is all off your websitetrying to bring people to your website it could be forum submissions directory submissions the gistof all off page seo is about getting a click a click back to your website back to yourwebsite from somewhere else somewhere independent somewhere somebody else on the internet and googlebasically go oh good lots of people linking to you we use that as a measure of trust we use thatas a measure of we should probably rank you a little bit higher your competitors don’t have thatmany links your competitors don’t have good links from other people again it’s almost not quite butit’s almost a case of if you know how many links you’ve got to your website what we call inboundlinks and if you know that that’s higher than your competitors then again you stand a betterchance of being higher in the rankings than your competitors all links are important i’ll kind ofdo you know contradict that in just a second so some questions to ask when it comes to how doyou get links from others is ask the question well who would link to you why would somebodylink to you we’ll talk about that in a minute you know is it suppliers is it customersis it competitors probably not the latter who would link to you and then the second pointwell why would they link to you which page what content have you actually got that’s valuablefor them to link to because would they just link to you because they love you well they would ifthey were you know if they didn’t love you but most people don’t love me so they’re linkingfor a reason and if we can get i’ll come back to those two bullet points in just one secondif we can get a link from a third party website could I actually encourage them to remember Italked about descriptive keywords in the link and back then I was talking about your links butwhat about if somebody links to my website okay as most of you know you know my company specializein digital skills and social media training and all of you if somebody just links to ns designand that’s the link click here for ns design then all they’ve really done is reinforcedto google okay i’ve got a link that’s good but in terms of passing the keyword authoritythey’ve just told google that we’re called ns design google no record whereas if they say heyclick here for some social media experts i’m just making this and the social media expertsis the actual clickable keyword in the link then they’ve just passed some keyword authority asauthority to us so if you are going to get links from third parties I urge you to go the extramile and almost dictate what you want to be the link what you want to be the clickable keywordsthat they click and then visit your website and quality and relevance over quantity i’ll come backto that in just one second and lastly never buy links it’s not about going and having no linkstoday and 500 links tomorrow if that’s the case google detect oh yesterday you had no linksto the day of your 500.You bought them that’s not organic that’s not you know sustainablethat that’s clearly been purchased overnight for lots and lots of reasons which I won’t boreyou with today there’s a couple of links on this slide you should definitely go and click them andread them and never buy links should be organic and natural somebody should have wanted tolink to you not because you’ve purchased a link so let’s very quickly talk about linkbuilding tip number one quality not quantity high quality relevant links okay influence googlemore so I could quite easily I say that might actually be quite difficult but play along I couldquite easily go and get 10 plumbers to link to my website let’s just say I run a little you knowb and b and outbay ah I know I keep mentioning i’ll be and I have 10 plumbers linked to me wellagain general advice all links help those 10 links help google says oh 10 links but there are 10links of from businesses in no way relevant to me to my business to what I do so instead Idmaybe go and sacrifice those 10 plumber links from one great link from an out b touristpage who is talking about good places to stay it’s relevant to my topic we’re both in the samearea here’s an article about good places to stay and they’re linking to me so it becomes a relevantlink in my actual world so again as i’ve said we do a lot of social media training etc do I want alink from a plumber i’ll take i’ll take any link but what Id much rather have is a link fromsomething like mashable.com you know of a popular and google trusted established news websiteabout social media here’s a site about social media using a link to us therefore passing someof that social media keyword authority over to us so when you go and think about links go and getquality relevant links think about established and trusted websites organizations like universitiesor the media or other industry leaders visit Scotland etc having said that understandthe difference between follow and no follow this is a bit geeky so I won’t spend too longexplaining this some links and it’s usually the links that you will find on social media onblog comments on things even like Wikipedia they you can create a link on Facebook back toyour website immediately so you could go onto your Facebook and say hey here’s a link to my websiteGary told me to create links i’ve just made one in fact I do this 10 times there’s another 10.the problem is google knows it’s easy google knows that there’s no real value google knows thatthat can be done on a whim and so these links are what’s called no follow links google actuallydoesn’t pass on the google ranking benefit of a no follow link what it will only pass on theranking benefit if it’s a follow link and again these are normally the types of links that peoplewill manually type onto their own websites onto their own news reports onto their when linking toyou so don’t not create links on social media and blog comments etc because they’re still valuableyou still get traffic finding them and seeing oh i’m there i’m on Facebook i’ve seen a link i’llclick it and i’ll go to your website you still just gained a follower gained a visitor but it’snot actually influencing google too much because it’s a no follow link rather than a follow linkagain that’s quite geeky there’s a whole detailed explanation if you want it on this slide but it’simportant that we understand some of the basics here link building tip number two again goingback to that question what would they why would they link to you what why would somebody actuallychoose to link to you are they going to link to your home page unless they love you why would I dothat so it’s all about creating shareable content most links are generated because you havesomething on your website something specific that is really good really valuable that other peoplehave discovered and they want to share with other people through a link to that content so we talkedabout this last week start blogging start blogging ideally not just you know promotional me typecontent start blogging about great things start blogging about interesting content start bloggingabout opinions and views and things to do in your area and create content that actually peoplemight find valuable to create links to things like top 10 articles are no brainers the top 10things to do in the Scottish highlands you know articles like that people can’t help well ifi’m in any way related to the Scottish highlands and I can’t be bothered creating content myselfI just look for great content to link to so top 10 type articles always go down to treat casestudies expert opinions how to guide the example on the right of the screen here here’s a stand-uppaddle there’s that sup again the pain in my life just call it paddle boarding sup beginners guideand this is a an actual paddle boarding company has written a really good beginner’s guide topaddle boarding that weirdly loads of other paddle boarding competitors linked to why becauseit’s a really good guide and they’re not quite my competitor because they’re based in Canadaand i’m based in Scotland so why not share a link to this wonderful resource and lastly whatabout even things like infographics here’s the example of an infographic that visits Scotland didas part of their Scotland loves local campaign and infographics beautifully designed lovely whetherit’s pretty illustrations or whether it’s data and graphs and things like that infographics tendto get shared a bundle of times you only need to go look at how often infographics are shared onPinterest to realize that people love them people love sharing them people love linking to themso that this particular page on visit Scotland which holds the infographic gets linked to loadsbecause people just like the infographic they also share the graphic itself directly ontothe likes of Pinterest as i’ve said so that nicely leads me into the last part of today’ssession which is all around local I said that that was an infographic about local and shop local solocal seo is critical and vitally important what do I mean by local seo well here’s a nice littlequote from HubSpot it’s about improving the search engine visibility for local businesses especiallythose with a physical premise it’s about driving people to that physical premise whether theybe locals already there or whether they be from further afield looking to come and visityou locally and an interesting statistic is the one at the very bottom of the page near me googlesearches in the last year and a bit have grown by 136 percent massively driven by covert we’ve allhad to remain local we’ve all had to stay in our you know local vicinities and shop in our localhigh streets and not travel outside our regions etc so local seo has always been important it’snow in my opinion more important than ever before so some tips to do local seo again just froma content perspective start posting content to google my business we’ll talk about that in justone second and we’ll finish up today’s chat on that engage with local people a bit of a nobrainer there but the amount of businesses that I see are constantly thinking about thenext visitor from far away the next visitor you know from abroad and forgetting that you’rethat you are in a in a location you have locals around you they could be your champions soengage with some of these people on social media and create content for them on your websiteyour website isn’t just to attract the customer your content is to track people who would shareyour content to other people attracting same customers or other locals etc it says they ensureyour address and maybe even a map is prominently displayed we’ll talk a little bit about that ina minute and optimize local directory listings again I will cover that what does how does localwork how does google prioritize local again i’m just going to introduce you to some of theseconcepts and the time we have remaining today google ranks you locally based on relevancedistance and prominence so relevance we talked about relevance is everything we coveredlast week relevance is do you have authority for that word or phrase they are looking for so ifI search for um local cottage in the highlands small family cottage in the highlands are youabout those things does google think that your business is about that search those words etcthe relevance aspect of it but of course this is it knows i’m looking for location now sodistance comes into play if I go and look for something near me then maybe those nearer me getreturned above you know others in the rankings the distance comes into play as well we’ll mentionthat again in just a second and lastly prominence what do other people say about this business howwell known is it are people actually rating and reviewing you so you could be really close to mebut google doesn’t really rank you very highly because you’ve got no reviews nobody else istalking about you nobody’s linking to your website inbound links as with you so okay you’re maybea bit relevant very close but we think other businesses should come above you so relevancedistance and prominence are the main three factors that come into the local aspect of google andlocal rankings so there are two main areas which google could return you they could return youin the directory listings they could return you in the map pack now actually they’re not returningyou in the directory listings okay so this example on the screen right now this is me searching forghost tour Edinburgh and the first thing above anything else which google might give me back isdirectories which can give me access to lots of ghost tours in Edinburgh so there’s things likeTripAdvisor if you scroll along you will if you do this live search you’ll see it right now you’llsee a link to visit Scotland a directory of other businesses so you want to make sure that when yousearch for these keywords related to your business and location local aspect of all of this whateverdirectories are coming up at the very top of google okay you’d like to be able to beat them andbe listed above them directly but you’re probably never going to be so the next best thing is whynot be in that directory so if somebody clicks and visits that directory they’ll now just one clickaway from you so i’m in TripAdvisor therefore I might be found by somebody visiting tip advisorwhich is the first thing given back when somebody searches for ghost tour Edinburgh they’re notgiving back me they’re giving back trip advisor so i’ll be in that directory i’ll be in visitScotland i’ll join and have a profile on yelp or foursquare or yell or various other directorylistings some of which are linked to from this particular slide when you are adding yourself todirectories most of this is free by the way i’ve given the links on this slide are the direct linksto add your business to these three directories the top tip i’m going to give you is be consistentwith your name address and phone number what we call the nap and that’s because google likesto join the dots if I join visit Scotland as a business and I call myself ns design and Ijoin TripAdvisor as a business and I call myself ns design limited there’s a bit of a mismatchon the name if on yelp i’m listed at a Glasgow g1 one he because that’s where our old officewas before we just moved around the corner and on TripAdvisor i’m listed as Glasgow g11renow that we’ve moved during lockdown well there’s a mismatch and if there’s a mismatch google mightgo that’s probably not the ns design that we know so you want to ensure whenever you’re adding alisting you are incredibly consistent with the name the address the postcode the phone numberbecause if google looks at my website and sees my name and my address and my phone number and thengoes and finds an ns design on TripAdvisor same name same address same phone number it bases iton okay that’s the same company we now know more about ns design we now know more of who they arethat they’re on TripAdvisor what your advisor says about them we’ve just built a bigger picture aboutthat company and you want google to join the dots the more it knows about you through what you seeand through what other people say directories are core part of that massively helping google returnyou any time so get on these directories focus on the ones that are important to you and yourcustomers it all helps google ranking and build a bigger picture of you and if nothing else damnit the directories are above me but doesn’t matter because people click these directories you’rethere you’re listed you’re still going to get traffic from them even though they’re not comingto you directly the other part you can get listed in is what’s called the google map pack okay sothese are typically the three businesses that appear underneath a map so this example ghost tourEdinburgh up comes a map with three businesses on the map and underneath that details of those threebusinesses now again why is it chosen those three businesses again it all comes back to relevancedistance and prominence if i’m in Edinburgh on my mobile phone and i’m doing a search simplyfor ghost tour the reality is google will know i’m on my mobile phone i’m in Edinburgh because it’sgeolocating me and it will return the map pack showing me possibly the three ghost toursclosest to me right where I am in Edinburgh at that point in time if I for example doing thesearch term ghost tour Edinburgh from my browser or my mobile phone whatever and i’m doing anairshirt because i’m actually going to Edinburgh tomorrow and i’m looking for things to do then itwon’t quite so much based on location on distance because right now it doesn’t know where I want toand so it’ll simply use some other ways to rank me based on relevance based on prominence but it willstill give me three Edinburgh ghost tours but not quite so important that distance is an issue sowhat does it put up there again why are why are these three examples on the screen when I searchfor ghost tours Edinburgh well the first thing i’ll say is that the ratings and reviews come intoplay they don’t actually help rank you exactly google don’t just go okay the one with the mostreviews goes top it doesn’t quite do that but it uses the ratings and reviews to influence where itputs you that’s where the whole prominence aspect that and a whole load of other things but beaware the first thing somebody can do once they have a number of businesses on the screenin front of them is that the user can organize by rating they can immediately go only show methe businesses with you know four stars and above five stars and above and so huge importancethat we get better google reviews i’ll talk about that in just a second other things whichhelp notice that well keywords in these reviews so the first one there from the ghost bus toursthere’s actually pulled onto the google results a review okay from a customer didn’t see any realghosts but horrifically good okay now I search for ghost tours there’s the word ghost ina review is increasing the relevance they again if you go and get reviews what wordsare the people using try and get them to use the right relevant words don’t you say Garys companywas great instead getting to say Garys company provided the scariest ghost tour i’ve ever beenon in Edinburgh in my life i’m now scared to death of seeing any ghost what have I just done gotmore keywords onto my content through a customer review increases relevance and most resultson the map give some helpful information for visitors such as opening hours closing hours youwant to make sure these are correct and accurate even some things like phone numbers etc and alsonotice the map listing can occasionally also go just go and pull content from your website sohere is the city of the dead tours and one of the reasons why it’s on here is because googleknows because it’s joined the dots that their website is highly optimized for the phrase ghosttours so again this all begins to join back to what we talked about last week keyword authoritygetting the right words onto your web page getting the right words onto the titles joining the dotsmaking sure that this content typically comes from google my business now I know we’ve not got alot of time left I want to very quickly do a quick poll all of that content comes from a systemcalled google my business i’m going to ask you the poll should be running now I want to knowif you have an active google my business profile are you already on google my business or do younot have a google my business profile and if you don’t know what google my business is then makethe assumption that you don’t have one okay the results are coming in fast and furious over 25percent of you oh it’s just going down a little bit no it’s back up I feel like i’m commentingcommentating here on a horse race 25 percent higher lower 25 of you say no we do not have thegoogle my business profile there of the remaining 75 percent of you it’s split 50 50 yes but Idon’t update it and yes and I do update it so what i’m trying to encourage all of you is a to youabsolutely must have a google my business profile even if you’re not a physical premisethat people come to I still advise you to get a google my business profile more than thatI urge you to use it okay so the 25 of you said no task one for you get this thing up and runningof the 38 who say yes but I don’t update it task for you start updating it and those of youwho are already active on it let me just hopefully give you a little bit of a recap of things you arecurrently doing helping your business do better and thank you for that okay so you know googlemy business profile this is typically how we will see it we will see a mini listing below themap or indeed on google maps directly if google decides that you are worthy of being listed onthe map pack based on again relevance distance prominence etc but nine times out of ten peopleare coming across your google business google my business profile because they’re googling you whatwe call a branded search so when you search for meerkat tours especially if you search for MerkatEdinburgh you will get you know what looks like the following onto the screen right now beforegoing anywhere i’m still on google I haven’t gone anywhere i’ve still just done a search and on theright hand side of google I get all of this great information about this business so first thingis go and get a google my business account set up it’s free it’s easy it’s simple once you’ve donethat you want to optimize your profile what do I mean by that well the first thing you need to dois verify it if you can get it verified fantastic you don’t need to get it verified to have theprofile active and live and working for you but a verified profile will do a lot more for youhow does google verify you well you’ve basically told google i’m this business i’m based here andhere is my details and so it needs to check that and so typically I believe the phone youemail you or nine times out of ten send you a postcard to the actual address that youneed to kind of confirm you’ve received get your listing verified you’ve got a stronger google mybusiness local profile next thing i’ve mentioned this earlier on but i’ll repeat it again ensureyou’re consistent with your nap name address postcode would what do you call yourself on yourown website what address and postcode do you use what do you call yourself on the various directorylistings that you’re on what address and postcode do you want to make sure you are using aconsistent name address and postcode anywhere that google has a chance to join the dots andunderstand more about your business if you don’t do that it might actually never make a connectionbetween your google my business profile and even your own website because it detects them as maybedifferent businesses they’re using different data so consistency is key next thing you want to writea description a nice keyword rich description again this is before anybody goes to your websitethey’ve seen you they’ve googled your name up comes on the right hand side something about youhey we are merkat tours we do walking tours of Edinburgh exploring there blah blah blah somethingyou know appealing that pulls the customer in notice you can only see 244 characters you haveto click the more button to get the rest of the 750 but write a good description again rememberkeywords let’s take this right back to last week keywords in that description again are youusing the right words are you calling it paddle boarding or are you calling it sup let’snot go there again off your high horse Gary what about choosing a category you should indeed thinkand choose the most appropriate primary category google my business will say hey which categorydo you fall in so again take some time go through all of the categories pick the most importantrelevant close to you primary category as you can and maybe choose some additional categoriesas well if you kind of do fall under kind of a you know more than one category listing isimportant because somebody searching for even just somebody going on to google and searchingfor a holiday accommodation service because you’re listed in that category you stand the chanceof being now returned onto the google results just because they’ve searched for the categoryholiday accommodation service in Edinburgh why would somebody say I don’t know but you getthe point so think carefully about the category and lastly make sure you’re filling up all yourattributes and the category specific so if you claim that you are a hotel and you’re in thehotel category or a restaurant in the restaurant category there will be some attributes veryrelevant to you like your menu and you know your I do you serve as a breakfast lunch and dinner andso depending on the category it opens up these various attributes but you basically tell googlewhat you provide there is right now there’s a whole load of covered 19 specific attributes whichyou should definitely be looking at you know stuff around do the staff wear masks do customers needtemperature checks etc just to paint a better more honest and trustworthy picture of your businesson google on google my business so that when somebody reads it understands it sees all of thisthey now can make a decision based on the reality okay above and beyond just having the profile thisis for the 38 of you who said yes i’ve got one but I don’t do much with it I want you to get moreactive on it what do I mean by that I want you to post updates google my business allows you topost almost like Facebook type updates okay when you log into the admin side of google my businessyou can do post an update and that’s a bit like posting a Facebook status update or a twitterupdate or a LinkedIn update it’s you just you doing that update on google content on googlemy business keep in mind I said this last week google and Facebook etc don’t really like eachother so if all you’re doing is spending every day updating Facebook and never updating google mybusiness with some of the similar type of update news latest events you know new products thingsthat you might want to see on your social media I urge you to consider google my business as anotheroutlet for that type of content influencing google not just Facebook etc so start postingupdates start posting photos again a lot of people on google my business post up a few photosat the start and then forget to do any more photos can be added whenever and what you knowhowever you choose and it will usually ask you to kind of categorise them so google says hey isthis an exterior picture of your building is this an interior is this your team is this somethingelse I urge you to flash your google my business profile out with lots and lots of photos you canpick which one is your logo you can pick which one is the kind of cover banner that they sometimesshow and prioritise you can kind of highlight you keep in mind other people can add photosas well this is a community resource I can post pictures of your restaurant because I ate thereyesterday onto your google my business profile at the very least be aware as to what is appearingfrom other people and if any inappropriate ones are there you can flag them up you can usually getthem removed in some shape or form but the but the images influence people so make sure it’s theright images likewise the q a influences people google my business has a question and answers apart whereby on your google my business profile there are previously asked questions and youranswers to them now here’s the thing if nobody is asking you and asking you any questions youcan kind of cheat and ask them yourself which is what you’re doing you’re populating your profilewith more of the right words the right phrases the right questions that I want people to see becausethat will influence them and influence them well so you can actually start to do this yourselflikewise you can start to add up all your products and services while before i’ve even left googleI just googled your name and I know some of your products I know what the prices are if I and Isee pretty pictures about these things and if I click them it takes me right to the page on yourwebsite to buy that stuff so again very powerful and again those of you who are maybe you knowrunning organisations where people can actually ask you and get you to quote on particular bespoketours or something like that you can actually turn on capability like quote me button what’scalled the request the quote button if you’re a restaurant you can activate the reservationsfunctionality so real clever functionality all built into google my business you do you’re alittle bit restricted based on some of their third third-party providers but again just be aware ofwhat’s there the last thing to talk about is you want to definitely use google my business torespond to and indeed encourage more reviews remember I said the reviews are used they’re usedsomewhat in the ranking they’re used for people to organize the ranking and reviews influencepeople again there was a whole visit Scotland and webinar a good few weeks ago now about how youneed to be using reviews to influence customers so make sure that google reviews is verymuch part of that process again when you log in as an admin there’s a link straight on yourgoogle my business home page as an admin which says hey go and encourage more reviews get morereviews and you can click that and it gives you a link to send out to customers hey thanks forcoming last week here’s a link we’d love if you reviewed us on google my business thanks so muchit really helps more reviews on google my business okay final slides it’s really justa quick summary for all of you and I realize i’m slightly over time my apologiesbut there’s some good questions throughout so i’m gonna hang back for any more so don’t worrybut i’m not rushing off and please hang back if you’ve got any final slide a summary of everythingwe’ve covered last week as well as today last week very much around authority keywords in your webcontent fresh content blogging content what’s an absolute cheat but keyboard authority also Ihope you now understand you know is impacted by google my business google my business contentwhat you said on your google my business profile what have you posted up about and whatfresh content have you talked about their trust how does google you know kind of workout whether they should trust you or not lots of things and obvious one being your google mybusiness reviews other people say you’re good other people say you should be trusted it alsouses inbound links off page seo hey Garys website must be good he must be trusted he’s got lots oflinks from other people to his website as opposed to others who have maybe less therefore I looklike the better trusted organization I will be higher in google rankings things like speed againsome of the technical things you want to make sure that at the very least you optimise your imagesyou want to tighten up your code you might want to consider using you know a content delivery networkbut bit geeky pushing and pushing the boat a little bit later but again all of which will helpyou provide a faster website for google it what’s that especially when it’s done on a mobile becausegoogle is now thinking mobile first you want to check your website on a mobile checker you want tocheck it loads quickly it’s easy to use its thumb scrollable it’s not horrible and clunky to use andlastly security google ranks based on security you want to make sure that you’re running ssl you wantto make sure that you’re running a secure website that you have got a good non non-hackable youknow WordPress installation you don’t want to be running an old version of WordPress because googlewill detect oh there’s an old version of WordPress that’s not a secure version of WordPress andall of these things impact your security ranking in terms of where google put you so those are thetopics we have covered in fast and furious fashion over the last last week and today I hope all ofthis has been understandable I hope it’s all been you’ve been able to resonate with it all andI hope you’re going to take away a few kind of top tips and kind of action plan to go andimplement some of this on your own website any of the above you’re higher on google thanyou were last week last month that’s a good thing that might lead to more business right i’mgoing to hand back to Andrew thank you very much i’m still here though for any questionsafter Andrew begins i’ll be quick wrap up Gary thank you so much so so many helpfultips hints today that you’ve you’ve gone through and I think that’s highlighted bythe fact that we’ve had questions already and we’ve got some a few more as I show a fewhelpful links and resources on screen just now be a reminder that you can catch up with anyprevious events on our visit Scotland news YouTube channel at youtube.com slash user slashvisit Scotland news all previous recordings are made available there and this today’s sessionwill also go on there as well you can also look at our visit scotland.org website and all of ourprevious webinar content along with a lot of other excellent digital advice content is on visitscotland.org as well and there are further events available for you to register on thegateway.combusiness gateways website slash events and there’s one that I should mention at the moment it’s notup there quite yet but we’ll be getting under the business gateway website very soon and that’sa panel discussion event that we’re having on august the 25th at 12 noon for tourism experiencesand that will feature a bunch of businesses booking system businesses as well as someScottish tourism businesses themselves who will be discussing online bookability and distributionvia other large well-known travel agent websites like TripAdvisor that’s for tourism experiencesthat’s visitor attractions activity providers and tour companies so that will in the next few daysbeing going on to business gateway be gateway.com events and you’ll be able to register therefor that event so Gary coming through to a few questions and whilst we’ll start say whilst i’mjust bringing up these questions i’ll also display our feedback link for today on the screen just nowpins for this business gateway feedback.com the pin for today’s one two zero one two and the outfor the slides for today’s on the screen as well though I know my colleagues just put that elsejust put that in the chat as well which is great so Gary just a few questions before we finishup and we mentioned WordPress on a number of occasions today using it yourself one businessis asked is it worth paying for the yoast plug-in the premium version of that how would you viewthat okay I can only really answer that from my own perspective and that is simply to say that Iuse the free version of yoast maybe that’s just because i’m a cheapskate I don’t know but the freeversion of yoast for me does all I need it to do in terms of some fairly advanced seo capabilityof updating my titles my metadata my generating my site maps as per today’s chat and it will doall of that for free you just need to add in add that in as a feed plug in yes there is indeed thepremium version of it available which gives you more functionality but for me that’s clearlynot required or i’m not willing to pay the price because as I say I stick with the free version andfun for what that gives me is more than enough to really help enhance the seo side of the websitea lot more so than not having a tall you know WordPress of course a lot of whatwe’ve covered is covered in the core of WordPress but you know the real benefit comesfrom looking for these clever plugins just being one of them which really kind of tweaks and makesbetter the seo optimisation side of all of this so for me it’s the free the free versionI used and if whoever asked the question tries tries a premium trial and they love it tellthem to get in touch with me and sell it to me and i’ll be glad to look at it but for now I just maydo the free version it’s absolutely good enough great stuff on that on the WordPress note againGary do you use do you yourself use WordPress to reduce image sizes somebody was askinga question about image sizing is it better to reduce the size of the image prior to uploadingor is it okay to just do it within WordPress okay again everybody has different views on thisit depends on what you’re comfortable with what you’re good at your own photoshop capabilities etcetera et cetera me i’m all for cutting corners where the corners are cut well and efficientlyand the end result is a good one and I do just cut a few corners here again I use a WordPressplugin which I don’t ask me to name it because off the top my head I can’t remember but again there’sloads of them out there do a bit of research which basically as i’m uploading the image to WordPressit’s already doing that compression reduction asking me to make sure you know it’s warning meGary this is a huge file I use you know and it’s kind of doing some of that kind of optimisationon the fly so again if you can do it like that fantastic again I don’t want to just talk aboutWordPress because not everybody uses WordPress you know not every content management systemhas built-in tools or plugins to do that so if for whatever reason the system you’reusing doesn’t do it itself then you’ll need to kind of almost prepare your images in advancebefore you give those images to the system and that’s where you know an understanding of some ofthese freely available tools or getting better at Canva or photoshop or any of these kind of imagemanipulation tools really important the point is as long as you’re doing it how you do it I don’tmind so as long as you’re doing it grant kraken dot I think it’s tracking is a very good one aswell you look up google kraken that’s another very good one for optimizing nowadays thank you andquery from our business about google street view how often does google change the street view ifit’s no longer accurate to a particular business can they ask for their street view to be removedor changed it’s incredibly difficult to do so my advice on that and this is not me to kindof kind of look for an easy answer here but I genuinely can the short answer is googleupdate the street view very irregularly and again it’s not consistent so you know maybecentre of Glasgow they are driving their car with the camera on the top of it through every yearyou know maybe in the back streets of Ayrshire you know they’ve been once and they don’t haveany plans to come back who knows and so it’s very inconsistent and irregular so that you’re kindof at the mercy of them doing it two things you can do and again I won’t get to the detail of thisbut be aware and by all means again any anybody’s also more than welcome to contact me after todayand my i’m easily found just google keep keeping the theme google ns design and you’ll find me youcan you can google it will occasionally run some webinars and physical they haven’t obviouslybeen doing many through covert etc but they’ll occasionally run some physical sessions themselveswhere google people are in the room and if you get the chance to kind of chew the ear of an actualgoogle rep who has access to some of their systems I i’ve heard of people you know having agood kind of chin wag with the google people themselves directly and slowly but surely tweaksbeing changed the problem is you know that’s not always possible so if you can kind of bend the earof google try and do it trying to do this directly through the web through the internet throughtheir support systems they don’t really entertain you very much i’m afraid I have to say the otherthing you could look at is you can actually upload your own kind of google 360 type content you canactually start to populate your google my business profile with your own integrated content whichwill start to integrate with google maps so you again if you go and for example go and visitgoogle street view in city centre of Glasgow as an easy example walk down the cannon street you’llstart to see little links on the actual map which jump into the business into the into the receptioninto the restaurant into the meeting room because you can create some actual mapintegrated 360 type panoramic content yourself and have that not replace what google maps isshowing but enhance it and augment it and so it becomes a little bit more fresh and relevantand up to date than what google might be doing themselves so again I would I would urge you tokind of do a bit of investigation here as well on a very similar theme to that Gary is itpossible for a business to create multiple profiles for multiple locations so if i’ve got atour that’s running in three different locations in Scotland can I put them in different areas theshort answer is yes the long answer is be careful because the legitimate way of doing it the waygoogle want you to do it is actually have more of a physical premise in the so if I am a froma shop and i’m an inverness Aberdeen and Dundee then I can legitimately create three andgoogle my business profiles based on the bricks and mortar shop in those physicallocations that so yes to multiple locations no i’ll be i’m not gonna lie to youI know plenty businesses who don’t abide by the rules 100 and i’ll let you makethat decision whether you want to or not know if you’re not really there you just operateout of those locations if that makes sense what google would then rather you had as one googlemy business profile and then the actual there’s a section in there whereby you tell google the kindof reach that you’ve got the regions you serve the parts of Scotland or the uk or beyond that youactually provide your services to it would rather you have one location where i’m simply telling itthat you operate in other regions but as I say I i’ve known other service-based businesses to kindof flout the rules a little bit and suddenly have what looks to be three physicallocations in three physical places not actually the case but they get they’regetting away with it and hopefully from their perspective they continue to do so againhopefully that’s a wee bit of a steer on what you can do and what you what you are you shouldbe doing from the rules perspective as well superb Gary thanks that I think wraps us up fortoday and as we run out of time thanks to everyone who has joined us this morning and I wish all ofyou to have a lovely afternoon take care everyone.

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