Tag Archives: Tips and Tricks

Google’s Nofollow Updates

Category: News SEO
September 19, 2019

Since the nofollow attribute was introduced in 2005, it has allowed Google to understand link relationships between pages.

What is a nofollow link?

Initially introduced to help with spam, the nofollow attribute was a simple way to tell Google whether or not to count or ignore links to use within their search algorithms. Link building strategies have changed drastically in this time and gone are the days of link spamming comment sections on websites in order to build authority and manipulate search engines as this was seen as a black-hat strategy and would decrease SEO performance for any sites flagged.

By adding a nofollow link, you can tell a search engine not to associate your site with the linked page and this has been the case for 15 years now. Best practice since is to build high quality and relevant links and this remains the same but with some amendments to the process.

What has changed?

On September 10th, Google posted a blog (see here) highlighting the updates to this process. From now onward, outbound links will now be managed using four separate attributes or ‘hints’ which will help Google understand these relationships in more detail.

  • Regular links will be managed as normal and there is no need to add an attribute to these.
  • The nofollow value remains the same and should be added when a link should not be followed or counted.
  • Links towards sponsored content should now be marked with a value rel=”sponsored”. This value is especially important to avoid any penalties when linking to pages where you have received something in exchange.
  • ugc (user generated content) – links toward comments and forum posts for example should be marked with a value rel=”ugc” but with certain conditions.   

For more detailed information on these values, please click here – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en

It’s also important to note the difference between a nofollow and a noindex value also. The noindex value completely excludes a page from being indexed and should be treated carefully.

In summary, the latest updates to how links are treated should help website owners to correctly mark links to help Google understand the relationship. At present, links already in place will not need to be updated as this would require huge effort for some sites and just isn’t feasible to achieve and there is no incentive or punishment for doing so. Google have said the following:

Why should I bother using any of these new attributes?
Using the new attributes allows us to better process links for analysis of the web. That can include your own content, if people who link to you make use of these attributes.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, our expert team is on hand to assist with any questions you may have. In addition, we also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services and our website process – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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5 steps to prepare your website for Brexit

August 16, 2019

At present, the UK is due to leave the European Union as of 31st October 2019. Even though the vote to leave Brexit was way back in June 2016, much uncertainty remains even at this late point in the process. Learning how to prepare your website for the implications of Brexit should be considered. Firstly, understanding how Brexit will affect your business as a whole is vital. We’ve found some useful articles to help fellow business owners here and herebrexit website ready

 

1. Trade

If you run an e-commerce site, purchase products from the UK or engage in any trade across the EU then you’ll likely suffer from higher prices, longer shipping and custom hold-ups and in turn hiked prices for your customers. It may be useful to contact UK suppliers and providers that you engage in to seek assurances. Back in January, Amazon, the largest marketplace in the UK noted that businesses trading on the platform should prepare in case of a no deal Brexit. This remains a real challenge but while there are many uncertainties, this may present a chance for Irish companies to promote buying Irish. If the expected skyrocketing of prices from the UK comes to fruition then there may be a huge potential to bring customers back shopping locally instead of using Amazon, Ebay and other online platforms.

2. Data Protection

Data protection has been heavily in the limelight in recent years. This is mainly due to the GDPR changes that came into place in May 2018. EU wide regulations were updated to protect user data processed by organisations and many businesses were forced to take action in order to meet these stricter guidelines. With the UK leaving the EU, this may require some further thought especially if you own or run a website and process data to or from the UK. If storing any of this data, using a newsletter service such as Mailchimp or taking payments from UK customers then you may need to consider reviewing and amending your existing processes and terms. You can read more on this on https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/bf5200-data-management/.

3. Currency

Since the Brexit vote was announced, pound sterling has been volatile to say the least. The conversion from € to £ has gone from £1.28 to £1.06 over this period and how it will continue remains unclear. As a website owner and especially if dealing with currency conversions, it’s vital to prepare for a worst case scenario. This PDF can help you prepare in detail.

4. Growth and Expansion

Growing your online business within the UK market again remains unclear but in order to protect your business, preparing for a worst case scenario is advised. Many companies may struggle just to stay afloat after a potentially hard Brexit so future plans to expand in another market will need to be examined in a realistic manner. 

5. Website Security

As GDPR is now a vital area of many websites, a critical component on this is ensuring data stored and processed is fully secure. The implications of a data breach can be catastrophic for businesses. A secure website allows you peace of mind that data held is fully secure and allows you to focus on other key areas such as website sales. The storage of this data should be treated as a potential serious security issue. If you have any questions regarding the website hosting or data storage then please use our contact form to send a message – https://2cubed.ie/contact/

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we are on hand to assist you with any required changes to your website which may be impacted as a result of Brexit. In addition, we also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services and our website process – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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Strong Customer Authentication

August 2, 2019

From 14th September 2019, the manner in which payments are processed is changing. Strong Customer Authentication is a new rule coming into effect in Europe. What this means is that an extra layer of security is added when making a purchase online and currently this usually is via an SMS sent from your bank with a code to input but as technology is developing rapidly, options such as fingerprint and facial recognition can be used but this is dependant on your banks’ verification process.

How do I know this will impact my business?

If you have an e-commerce store then you’ll need to ensure you have a clear understanding of this new rule.

In order to meet this new PSD2 regulation, you should ensure you are fully compliant if your business is impacted by this new update. If any of the following apply to you, then you’ll be impacted by SCA.

  • Your website serves customers within the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • If your business is located within the EEA
  • You accept card payments on your site (credit, debit etc)

The method used to achieve compliance with this new change is called 3D Secure 2. Our friends at Stripe have some excellent detail on this which you can read here https://stripe.com/ie/guides/3d-secure-2

How will this affect me?

2Cubed have been in contact with Stripe to clarify what action is required and many of our customers who use Stripe, Global Payments, Shopify Payments and so on have been in touch for clarification. The good news is that no action is required on your end. The liability will lie with the e-commerce platforms in order to meet compliance. The following info came directly from Stripe; Right off the bat if you’re using a third party plugin/platform such as Squarespace, Wix, WooCommerce etc then they will be carrying the liability of ensuring your store/checkout flow is SCA compliant. We are working closely with our partners to get their integrations updated before September.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we are on hand to assist you with any of the e-commerce needs above, helping you to understand this new regulation. We also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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Google AMP in 2019

July 12, 2019

Google’s AMP project was launched in 2016 and after a slow start, soon became a common feature across mobile search results. AMP or accelerated mobile pages, is a framework developed by Google to rival Facebooks Instant Articles and the technology allows pages to load almost instantly. Last year, we wrote a post about the importance of AMP – See here. So what has changed in the past year and how important is AMP now? 

Nowadays, online users expect everything instantly. Waiting 10 seconds for a website to load is a big no-no in 2019 so enabling AMP can help enormously in getting traffic into your site while getting ahead of your competitors.

Google have now branched out and added some more features to the AMP framework. At present, it’s possible to create:

  • AMP Websites
  • AMP Stories
  • AMP Ads
  • AMP Email

You can find more information on all of the above and see some case study ‘success stories’ by viewing the AMP resource website – https://amp.dev/

Many sites are now seeing the full benefit of having AMP enabled content on their websites and this is likely to increase further into the near future so this needs to be factored in to your thinking if you own, run or manage a website.

Enabling AMP on your website can be tricky but once done correctly, it’s fairly easy to maintain and use on blog posts etc. For example, a number of WordPress plugins are available to help with layout, templates and amplifying content. As an example, you can view our previous post on this topic on your mobile device by clicking here – https://2cubed.ie/2018/06/the-importance-of-amp/amp/

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can advise or help you with any of the needs above, helping you to enable AMP on your website. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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wordpress plugins

8 Great WordPress Plugins

July 5, 2019

If your site uses WordPress, you’re probably familiar with plugins. Plugins are there to make life easier, essentially. We’ve gone through some of the top plugins on WordPress and picked out 8 that you may want to consider for your site.

  • Woocommerce – Woocommerce powers over 40% of all eCommerce websites on the web. Powerful and easy to use, it allows you to manage products, orders, discount codes and much more. You can read more on Woocommerce here
  • Yoast SEO – Yoast is a plugin to help with SEO on your site. Yoast is a free plugin but the premium version offers more features for advanced SEO. See here for more information.
  • WP Rocket – A number of caching tools are available for WordPress sites and WP Rocket is one of the most popular. Caching helps to maximise site performance and improve speed. The free version offers limited features but a premium version with more advanced options is available. You can read more on WP Rocket here
  • Elementor – This page builder has become one of the more popular tools out there in the past year and the reviews are outstanding. This powerful page builder allows you to easily manage page content and includes both a free and premium version. See here for more.
  • Smush – This plugin is mainly used for image compression and resizing. Having multiple large images on your site will cause issues with speed and performance. Smush helps with this by automatically compressing images once uploaded and again comes with either a free or premium version. You can view the full list of features here
  • Slider Revolution  – Powering over 2.5 million websites, Slider Revolution allows you to add sliders, carousels and more. Currently there isn’t a free version but it is cheap to purchase and includes a good deal of functionality but the premium version gives access to many more templates and features. View a full list of features here
  • Sucuri  – This security plugin helps to flag any security issues or breaches on your website and alerts you if anything does happen. Generally, your website host will look after security but this added layer of protection gives you peace of mind. See here for more info 
  • Redirection – This plugin allows you to easily manage 301s, 404s and more which can help reduce errors and improve site ranking. This plugin can be a useful tool but used incorrectly it can cause some issues. Take a look at more features here 

These are just some of the tools you can use to improve your WordPress site. *Please be aware that installing and updating plugins on your website may cause some issues*

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can assist you with any of the needs above, helping you decide on and install / updating plugins. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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A Quick Guide to Technical SEO

June 28, 2019

In this post, we’ll look at a critical element of search engine optimisation; Technical SEO. This has become a fundamental and sometimes overlooked area of SEO but we’ll explain why it’s more important than ever below.

Technical SEO contains many topics we could dive in to, but by understanding the key elements, it should allow you to gain an understanding of what it is and best practices to follow. As you would have seen in or SEO Audit post, technical SEO was listed as a key element along with on-page and off-page optimisation.

So, what exactly does it mean? Essentially, the technical health of your site indicates how well Google and other search engines can crawl and index the information on your website. If they encounter any issues, these will be flagged as errors or warnings in Google Search Console.

By resolving these issues, you’ll ensure your site is in good standing from a technical sense and means that the site crawlers can index your site fully without any obstacles. Some of the common issues you’ll need to address are as follows:

  • 404 errors – nobody likes seeing these, especially soft 404s. You can manage 404s by implementing 301 redirects
  • 5XX errors – server errors or timeouts which are blocking access to pages
  • noindex issues – noindex is commonly used to block access to a page that you do not wish to be indexed (such as private or secure pages). If you submit a url in the sitemap but it includes a noindex tag then you’ll need to address this
  • blocked by robots.txt – another method to block access to a page. You can see more here – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7440203#indexed_though_blocked_by_robots_txt
  • Mobile Usability – Google analyse each page and flag any anomalies that may cause a poor user experience on mobile. For example, if clickable elements are too close together, if a page is not fully mobile responsive, text is too small to read and so on. Keeping your site fully mobile responsive ensures a good user experience, decreased bounce rate and just an overall better experience for your website users.  

Most of the errors above can be viewed on the Index Coverage Status report within Google Search Console – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7440203#submitted_but_noindex

This brief overview of technical SEO should hopefully give more understanding of the variables a search engine goes through in order to show your website on Google.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can assist you with any of the needs above, allowing you to ensure your website is in good technical standing. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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What is Structured Data?

June 20, 2019

As structured data becomes more important, you are likely to see the term more and more. So what exactly does it mean? And what does it mean for your website? We’ll explain in more detail below.

Google and other search engines are always working hard to understand the content on your website. By implementing structured data, you can ensure you give the search engines clear and explicit information, allowing more accurate and descriptive search results for the end user.

By doing this, your website visitors may see more rich and interactive results on the search page.

 

You can see more descriptions of these search results by clicking here – https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/search-gallery

Most of the major search engines combined to create a special project Schema.org. The Schema.org website gives more info on how this data is populated and show examples of these ‘schemas’ and how they should be used.

Why does this matter?

Structured Data is an important element of SEO nowadays. Any information you provide to Google in a clear and easy manner, means they gain a better understanding of who you are what your website is about and can only help to increase rankings.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can assist you with any of the needs above, allowing you to take advantage of structured data best practices. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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Website Maintenance Tips & Tricks

Website Maintenance Tips & Tricks

Category: Tips and Tricks
October 5, 2017

Your website is often the first point of contact between your business and your clients. It impacts all stages of the customer journey from initial enquiry through to completing a purchase and potentially forming a long standing customer relationship.

In order to effectively reflect the fluidity of your brand position and business offering, your website must be maintained regularly. If potential customers visit your website only to find outdated information on services and products you no longer offer, you might find it’s about as useful as a brolly in a hurricane!

So, how do you ensure your website is maintained to the highest standard without it taking up your entire week?  

The best bet is to create a maintenance checklist and schedule each task into your calendar for completion. This way, you can ensure that your website remains regularly updated while minimising your maintenance time pressure.

The following are five of tasks that should be included in any maintenance calendar.

Review Your Website Analytics 

Analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, are your friends. They allow you to track how visitors find your website, which pages are particularly successful and which are not. Having a grasp of these figures is essential to the success of your website and overall online marketing strategy. They should be reviewed on a weekly basis to keep you fully informed and allow you to augment your content strategy to maximise success.

Fix Broken Links

When it comes to navigating a website there are few things more annoying than coming across a 404 error page. It’s thoroughly off putting as a potential customer and gives the impression of a lack of professionalism. That said, broken links can appear quite easily. If you forget to update a link after making even small changes to your website’s files, you could be left with a horrible assortment of 404 pages.  

The good news is that there is no shortage of tools at your disposal to help fix these issues. Google Search Console is a free to use service, provided by Google, that allows you to check for and fix indexing errors that lead to 404 errors. Alternatively the wordpress plugin ‘Broken Link Checker’ will continually scan every page on your website for broken links and email you if/when a new one appears.

Optimise Website Navigation

It is imperative that visitors to your site end up where you want them as quickly and as easily as possible. Navigating to your key pages and contact forms should require as few clicks as possible. If navigating through your website proves an arduous task, you’ll likely see your bounce rate fly right through the roof.  

Deliver Effective Relevant Content

Content is king. Not only does compelling content add pages to your website, it attracts visitors and allows you to position yourself as an authority in your area as well.

Keep your content posts relevant to the services you provide as well as the needs of potential customers and you will be on track to turning your website visitors into valuable customers. Not only that but, consistently posting relevant content will keep you in Google’s good books, making sure that your website ranks higher in search results. Set a schedule, brainstorm content ideas in advance and stick to it.

Assess Your Website Goals 

What is your website for? What metrics are you using to measure website success? Are you hitting your targets? Business and Online Marketing Goals are fluid, they don’t exist in a vacuum. Equipped with your latest analytics feedback, you should reassess your website goals on a regular basis. These goals should be written down and set for each quarter allowing you to measure successes and failings on an ongoing basis and implement adjustments where necessary.

Developing and following an intuitive website maintenance plan is a key step on the path to ensuring that your website remains professional, user-friendly and accessible to your current and potential customers.

If you’d like to improve your website, social media, brand identity, or want a Digital DNA assessment and overhaul, contact 2Cubed today!

 

Improve your Digital DNA

How to improve your Digital DNA

Category: Tips and Tricks
July 5, 2017

Every business in 2017 has its own unique Digital DNA. This encompasses every single aspect of your business identity online. Sure, you may have an amazing bricks-and-mortar business, but in the 21st century this needs to be accompanied by a thriving online presence.

Improving your Digital DNA can start with small tasks and gradually work its way into shaping your complete online presence. Your website and social media accounts should reflect your branding and users should have a streamlined experience going from one medium to another.

The simplest factor in refining your user’s online experience is to have a strong company logo that is used at every opportunity online and offline. Your logo should work with your brand identity to ensure that your colour scheme and feel is used everywhere. This gives you a professional identity online.

Having accounts on the various social network sites also forms part of your Digital DNA. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have been traditionally the most popular, but more and more enterprising companies are using Instagram and Snapchat to promote their products and services. Setting up social media accounts is usually a straightforward process, but keep in mind that your personal accounts and business accounts usually should be separate. Nobody wants to see 100s of photos of your cat – unless you’re a business selling products for our feline friends!

A strong website and regular blog updates are crucial to your Digital DNA. People will look to Google when searching online and your website is often the first time a potential customer is introduced to your company. Therefore your website needs to be professional, user-friendly, and accessible – this is especially true if you are selling goods or services through an eCommerce website or a mobile application.

If you’d like to improve your website, social media, brand identity, or want a Digital DNA assessment and overhaul, contact 2Cubed today!

10 Tips for Successful Copywriting

Category: Tips and Tricks
October 21, 2014

10 Tips for Successful CopywritingWhen working on their websites, many companies find the task of copywriting quite daunting. However, there are some straightforward tips you can follow to help your page rank highly on Google with good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and clear, readable content.

  1. Write content with your customer in mind. Obviously you should have Google rankings in mind when creating new copy on your website, but bear in mind that your customers will read your text – and you don’t want to put them off by having a website littered with indecipherable gobbledegook.
  2. Avoid needless repetition. Having pages littered with the same keyword over and over is not really much use any more. You should use keywords prominently, but putting the same word or phrase in the one page dozens of times can be penalised.
  3. Use related terms and phrases. Remember, all customers may not use the same words in order to describe your product or service. So, dig out that thesaurus and add in a few synonyms as you’ll constantly be amazed by how people find you! Just don’t do this…
  4. Don’t be afraid of writing too much. Your customer might not read every word on your website, but having plenty of content is never a bad thing. In fact, statistics show that the majority of pages that are in the first 10 results for any term on Google have an average of 2,000 words. That’s about six pages of your average paperback!
  5. Optimise your page titles. Every website has a Contact Us page. The contact of this page is not going to make you stand out from your competitors. People clicking on Contact Us know exactly what to expect. However, you can give it a customised title to help you rank better in Google. So instead of About Us, you can include your keywords e.g. Contact 2Cubed Website Design and App Development.
  6. Give the customer what they want. Some customers coming to your website will have questions about your service. You should always try to be transparent on your website and answer their questions and their problems. This builds trust, and also highlights your insider knowledge. It also marks you out as a better alternative than your competitors.
  7. You don’t have to sell everything. Not every blog post or article you write needs to be about one of your products. Customers appreciate getting hints and tips or like to know that they are not always getting the hard sell. Do link back to products and services you provide where applicable, but having news, events, and even commenting on current trends or events can get you a lot of important traffic.
  8. Use the CMS software to make parts of your content stand out. Bold or italic words can make a statement and draw in the reader’s eye. Bullet points help divide up lists like this one. Images and Videos won’t do much for your Google ranking, but they can make content more visually stimulating.
  9. Treat every page like a landing page. Unlike a bricks-and-mortar shop or business, not every customer will arrive at the front door. The homepage will be the first port of call for many customers, but if you’ve tailored your SEO properly, all your pages should rank highly for various terms – this means that the customer might never see your homepage. Thus the content should welcome them in and help them find exactly what they need – even if it’s a different section of your website.
  10. Research. Click around other websites – your competition, other businesses, even totally unrelated pages – this helps you learn what works for other people. If it works for them, it can work for you. Notice the stumbling blocks where other sites fall short, and try to better them.
  11. Avoid needless repetition. Remember what you were offering in the first place…

2Cubed offers full Copywriting and Content Writing Services. Contact us on 01-9055874 or 051-440425 or at hello@2cubed.ie to discuss or for more information.