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Brighton SEO

Brighton SEO

Once again the SEO Team took to their laptops for 2 days attending the different talks available at Brighton SEO last month. There was a great range of talks to choose from, all delivered by expert talkers, opening up topics for debate and enabling SEOs from across the globe to hone their skills.

Our Takeaways

After 2 days of attending talks brimming with information, here are the insights and tips we took away from virtual Brighton SEO:

  1. An internal search results page could end up ranking better than a dedicated category page. As SEO’s, we usually try to have a suitable landing page to help us rank for our target search terms – but after all the optimisation, Google may still opt to prefer the internal search page if it believes it provides a better answer to the user search queries.
  2. GPT-3 from OpenAI is scarily good at generating human-like text from a prompt. But how can this help us as SEOs? Using GPT-3, it is possible to copy & paste content from a web page and have it summarise the article within ~160 chars for a meta-description. While it may not be perfect, this could be a great timesaver for a situation where you would need to create meta-descriptions for a large number of pages.
  3. Google cache aggressively and probably won’t listen to your cache-control headers. Images, CSS, JavaScript and API crawls can all be cached and Google may hold onto these for some time to help preserve the crawl budget. Use the URL inspection tools in Search Console to see if Google is seeing your page the way you expect them to.
  4. Use data to drive your user-centric navbar design! You have plenty of data within Google Analytics that shows how users navigate around your site. Make sure you pick out the most important pages and ensure they are easily navigable to the user.
  5. We use DevTools regularly, but it’s always been something we pick up as we go. It was great to hear some tips about how we can use this powerful feature of Google Chrome to help within SEO. For example, local overrides can allow you to changes elements of the page locally and run lighthouse tests with your changes. This could be great to see the impact of your Core Web Vitals recommendations before they are handed over to the developers.
  6. Longform content doesn’t belong in FAQ’s. This area is for users who have been unable to find the content that they were looking for in your existing content and are looking for a pithier response.
  7. When pitching your new content via email, password protect your articles or emphasise when your post is due to be published. Doing so means that you avoid clients accidentally referencing your content prior to your article being published!
  8. Image Tags need to go beyond identifying the objects in the image. Consider using topic mapping to identify the links between the objects you are trying to describe, and the areas that you might be missing by keyword search terms.
  9. Make use of pagination on the comments on your article posts to reduce the DOM size and improve loading speeds.
  10. Create a Pivot chart in excel based on user traffic to decipher which pages are the most popular on your site. Organising the information this way helps you to identify popular pages that you might have missed from your navbar or highlight the need for a restructure.
  11. The bigger your site the more at risk you are of index bloat. Rather than letting Google crawl everything, it’s good to have more control over the different pages and sections Google indexes to ensure the focus is on pages that have the potential rank well and bring in leads.
  12. Neural matching impacts 30% of queries and is used to understand the patterns and concepts behind various search terms. This means your page doesn’t need to match the text, it needs to match the idea behind the search. So think less about keywords and more about the topic.
  13. When looking at your content, look beyond the keyword. Instead focus on how users interact with the site and products. This can inform any necessary changes to your content. It also allows you to embrace the ‘fuzzy’ keywords: Google wants to match you to users with unclear search terms.
  14. Accessibility is crucial! Currently, 70% of UK and US sites do not meet accessibility standards, whilst 90% of sites don’t meet accessibility standards worldwide. There’s also data to show that if a disabled person visits a site that isn’t easy to use, there’s only a 12% chance they’ll return.
  15. When developing an internal linking strategy, consider the pages your backlinks point to. Backlinks are more likely to point to the informational pages on a site, rather than the transactional ones. It’s important that the link equity and value of these backlinks is passed onto the pages more likely to convert.



Our Thoughts


We checked in with some members of the team so see how they found the experience. For our recent joiner Ellie, it was her first time! When we asked if it lived up to expectations, this is what she had to say:

“Overall, I really enjoyed my first Brighton SEO Conference as it gave me a great insight into the many different specialisms that exist within the industry. I’m looking forward to being able to (hopefully!) attend the event in person next time!”

Eleanor, Digital Marketing Assistant


We also spoke to one of our more senior members of the SEO team.

“Having been with Uprise Up for a few years, I’m fortunate enough to say this is not my first time attending Brighton SEO: both off and online. There’s always something to learn from these talks, it’s never time wasted! Over the last few conferences there’s been a growing focus on automation. Whilst it’s generally agreed automating where possible is the way forward, there still seems to be contradiction over what should be automated and what still needs human interference. This is a conversation I can see progressing more in the future.”

Aimee, SEO Consultant


As lovely as it is to attend Brighton SEO in loungewear, we collectively look forward to having the opportunity to go in person once more.  What were your favourite takeaways? Did something stand out to you that we haven’t mentioned? Feel free to get in contact today and start a conversation, we look forward to hearing from you.

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SEO News Round Up: February 2021

SEO Round Up February 2021

What happened in the world of SEO in February?

February was a calm month for SEO, with just a few changes announced. However, I suggest you keep an eye on results, as these announcements seek to continue Google’s aims of diversifying our search results. For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and our campaign you can sign up to our Monthly Newsletter.


Featured Snippets showed a decline in Feb

There was a decline in the percentage of queries including a Featured Snippet in the SERPs. Across all tools the decline starts from 18th February.


SERP Feature History MozCast
Source: MozCast


Broken down, similar declines have been recorded across desktop and mobile devices. It’s unclear whether this is permanent or Google will increase the percentage back up. Queries impacted are thought to be the shorter, more competitive terms and specific industry categories. Industry-wise, Health, Finance and YMYL were impacted most, though other industries have also seen notable change.


Top Featured Snippet Losses by Industry
Source: Moz


This is an important reminder that whilst Featured Snippets can be golden nuggets when you have one, they are a double-edged sword. You get a boost in visibility and traffic when you have them, but they aren’t permanent. They come and go; losing one can then lead to a reduction in visibility and traffic for that keyword.

It’s worth remembering that when you lose a Featured Snippet you don’t drop down to the next position as you do with regular rankings. You drop back to where you were originally ranking, which is typically further down the page (think positions 4-7). Your visibility, therefore, drops more dramatically than you expect.

Whilst Featured Snippets are unlikely to disappear completely, this is something to monitor. It’s likely Google updating their algorithms to closer match the intent behind search terms, so this is a percentage that could grow again. We’ll find out.


New Association feature on Search Console

Search Console has a new Associations feature available. This function allows you to link up your Search Console property with properties you have in other Google Services.

Associations can link up your Search Console with the following:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads
  • YouTube
  • Play Console
  • Action Console
  • Chrome Web Store

Association is a function worth utilising, it’s a great way to link up your data and see more in one place. The effect of the association does depend on the properties you’re linking up. For instance, linking up your Search Console with your Analytics means you can see organic query data with the Analytics dashboard.

To access the Associations feature, go onto the Settings Menu on your Search Console property.


Metric Boundaries updated for Core Web Vitals

Google has made a minor change to the metrics used to measure Core Web Vitals. The boundaries previously only looked at ‘less than’ the given number. Now, the defined boundaries have been updated to be ‘less than or equal to’. A small change, but one that could make the targets for each metrics more achievable.

The new boundaries for each metric are as follows:

New Core Web Vitals metric boundaries
Source: Search Engine Land


Passage Ranking has gone live in the US

Passage Ranking, first announced in October 2020, went live in US search on Wednesday 10th February. Expected to only affect 7% of searches initially, it’s a change to rankings that is likely to expand in the future-  to affect more searches and more countries.


What is passage ranking?

Passage ranking is where Google indexes passages within your page. The aim is to help Google find information that might be buried in your content. By understanding specific passages within a page Google can then rank that page for more specific queries, thus improving the relevancy of search results and diversifying the results.

We look forward to seeing what the impact is to US search in the coming months.


Did we miss anything?

If there was anything else that happened in February that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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SEO News Round Up: January 2021

SEO Round Up January 2021

What happened in the world of SEO in January?

With competition between search engines growing, new ranking factors being introduced and new tools becoming available, 2021 is going to be a busy year for SEO! For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and our campaign you can sign up to our Monthly Newsletter.


Coverage Data got an Update on GSC

The Search Console coverage report has always provided valued insight into the errors on a site. However, it isn’t perfect. It would seem Google have taken feedback on the report into consideration, and made some changes.

Of these, my favourite change without a doubt is: ‘Removal of the generic “crawl anomaly” issue type – all crawls errors should now be mapped to an issue with a finer resolution’. I don’t find “crawl anomaly” to be a particularly revealing error, so to know more detail will be on offer from now on is reassuring.

A new ‘warning’ has also been introduced: Indexed without content. From now on, this will identify pages on a site that are empty or where Google was unable to read the content. Again, a useful insight to have.

There are still some issues to be addressed, but the changes are a notable improvement.


New Report: Google News Performance

Similar to Discover, data on how your site’s articles perform in Google News can now be found in a bespoke report on the Search Console dashboard.

Google News, for those out of the loop, is separate to Google Search. Accessed via an app or news.google.com, it serves users with a curated feed of news content based on the publishers and topics they are interested in. Therefore, news publishers can rejoice, for they’ll now have access to even more data around the performance of their content and the preferences of their audience.


Google introduced Subtopics as a ranking factor in November

If anyone was able to attend Google’s On Search Event last October, one topic that was discussed was Subtopics. In January, Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter that Subtopics had gone live as a ranking factor mid-November.

What are Subtopics?

In the words of Google, Subtopics are ‘neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad’.

This means that for some of the search terms, Google is showing a range of search results that are focused on the topics related to the original query (Subtopics). This won’t affect all searches, but will focus on broader terms where there is more subtopics variety.

What does this mean?

It’ll be interesting to see how this affects SEO in the long-term. From a strategic perspective, SEOs should cater to this update and start shifting focus from individual keywords and more onto a broader topic focus. Some SEOs already do this, others will be starting to.

Google wants to diversify their search results by offering users a wider range of content that differs from each other, aiming to cater to the different needs of users. This likely means broader keywords are going to come much more competitive. Long-tailed variations are going to become more important as intent is scrutinised even further. It also means there’s a growing, pressing need for unique content that will make your site stand out. Understanding your topic, and any subtopics, in detail will be crucial.


100 Million Searches a Day for DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo has hit a new record in January as it finally reached the milestone of attaining 100 million searches in a single day. The search engine was on track to achieve an average of 90 million searches a day for the whole month. Compared to January 2020, this is a 73% improvement year on year. This shows that DuckDuckGo’s prominence is continuing to grow and they pose a growing threat to Google’s position.


They continue to thrive on mobile as well, as they became the second used search engine on mobile in the U.S. As DuckDuckGo boasts of its privacy features, the growth spurt signals an incoming shift to private platforms.


Chrome 88 includes Core Web Vitals metrics

The recently launched Chrome 88 is proving valuable to developers and SEOs as it includes elements that enable you to see the Core Web Vitals metrics along with pre-existing ranking signals. A useful amendment for those preparing for the upcoming Page Experience update.

One element they’ve actioned is to provide the Web Vitals, LCP, FID and CLS, with their own reporting lane in the dev tools. This has also been given more space for more detailed reporting.

Additionally, Chrome 88 now supports a CSS property called aspect-ratio. This allows you to define ratios for certain elements, which can contribute to an improved Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) score.

Some useful additions we look forward to utilising.


Did we miss anything?

If there was anything else that happened in January that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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A Very Different Brighton SEO: Highlights and Takeaways.

Brighton SEO

Brighton SEO 2020

Ever wanted to turn up to Brighton SEO in your pyjamas? While it’s unlikely there’s a rule preventing you from doing so, there’s a good chance that 50% of the attendees seized the opportunity at last week’s conference. With all the talks being released in a video format online, I generally thought that the format of the conference worked great. Having the ability to pause and rewind the talks was extremely useful, although I did often find myself falling behind on my schedule.

As per usual, there was hosting of different talks on different topics presented by some new and familiar faces. We did our best to cover as many of these as possible, and have collated some of our favourite ideas and takeaways from the events below.

Key Takeaways

  1. If you want to understand the technical performance of your competitors, site search and XML sitemap cross-referencing is a great way to get a quick idea of your competitor’s indexing on Google.
  2. With Digital PR, often the small pieces you outreach alongside big campaigns can provide a lot of support, or even outperform. Whether it’s little pieces made from desktop research or articles using statistics sites, never underestimate the little content wins.
  3. When completing keyword research, user intent is becoming even more crucial. Especially for eCommerce, bear in mind how your user refers to your products – if you refer to them differently users are likely to struggle to find these products, on your site and in search.
  4. Need a boost to your internal linking strategy? Consider pagination. As Google crawls these links it’s a good way to ensure content doesn’t get lost. Though pagination can’t be relied on for full content accessibility.
  5. Using the “Fuzzy Lookup” add-in for Excel can help speed up tasks such redirect mapping and 404 mapping. Fuzzy lookup allows you to combine to datasets and help to locate the most similar value from one set to the other. A useful add-in that I’d previously never heard of!
  6. Introducing Python and machine learning into part of your SEO strategy is becoming increasingly popular and great way to save time. Got a site of thousand of images and no alt-text? Consider using MMF, a Python library that uses machine learning to describe what an image is portraying to be used for alt-text.
  7. Using headless CMS is becoming an increasingly popular way to create and publish content. It has many advantages of a traditional CMS, such as WordPress, and doesn’t contain the usual bloatware that come with them.
  8. Look at your client’s log files. It’s not always easy to get hold a of site’s log files, but doing so can contain valuable information on how Google crawls your site. Analysing these logs can tell you how Google crawls your site and can inform whether you may need to make changes to your site’s structure.
  9. A common marketing mistake is to try and present a brand as the best, which can be difficult for brands to prove and consumers to validate. All brands need to do is prove they aren’t the worst. Brands can be successful sitting in the middle of this spectrum.
  10. Large scale Featured Snippet acquisition could be achievable by an update to the back-end coding design, whilst the front-end design of websites remains untouched. Time to get in touch with your developers!


Were you attending this year’s BrightonSEO? Please comment below what your main takes were. And, as always if you have any questions about SEO do contact us.

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Page Experience Update: Coming Soon

Page Experience Update

The Page Experience Update Lowdown

As we said in last month’s Round Up, May was a busy month for SEO! We started the month with a Core Update and finished it with Google revealing the upcoming arrival of another search update: the page experience update.


What is the Page Experience Update?

The Page Experience update will update the signals Google examines and considers when ranking a page in organic search. Page Experience is a part of User Experience (UX) and looks at the how well different elements of a webpage perform to determine how accessible and engaging the page is for users. If a webpage performs well, it will get a good page experience score. Following the update, achieving a high page experience score will be important for good rankings in search.

Basically, Page Experience is joining SEO and UX in search matrimony.

As part of the update a new ranking signal will be included in Google’s search algorithm, one that looks at metrics associated with the page experience of a webpage. Confirmed metrics that will be considered are the ones observed by Google’s Core Web Vitals.

Some page experience signals already taken into consideration by Google include:


  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Intrusiveness


These signals are being extended upon on a yearly basis as Google identifies more areas that contribute to a good page and user experience.


Graphic highlighting the different page experience ranking signals

Source: Google


What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals (CWV) are the metrics Google uses to quantify user experience. They’re the universal usability dimensions that apply to all websites.

CWV is a step closer to understanding and gaining a better ability of measuring page speed. It’s also a confirmation for us that page speed is a ranking factor for Google (which we’ve always suspected!), with a revealed target load time of 2.5 seconds.

Metrics included in CWV are:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures perceived load time and identifies when the majority of content has loaded.

First Input Delay (FID): measures responsiveness and interactivity by identifying the time between a user initiating an interaction and that the page responding to that initiation.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability and the unexpected layout shift of visible page content.



Why focus on Page Experience?

Google has always placed emphasis on creating websites that appeal to the user rather than search engine algorithms. To do this the user needs to be the centre focus of any content or design implementation. The better a page experience is, the happier a user is and the more likely they’ll return to your site on another occasion.

Informative, relevant content is a vital step to bringing users to your site and engaging. However, this can easily be thwarted by other on-page elements.

It is no longer enough to just have good content. The content needs to be accessible. Google is zooming out and looking more and more at the overall performance of the page. If a page is slow to load or has poor interactivity, users can be quick to escape the poor UX and bounce off your page. Taking page experience into account will help prevent usability and accessibility from restricting your website’s potential.



What will change as a result of the update?

There will be more requirements for your page to rank well in organic search. Page Experience looks at more than the content on your site, it looks at how that content is presented, how it can be interacted with and how accessible it is to users of all capabilities. Usability and accessibility are elements websites have already been encouraged to incorporate in their digital marketing; ones that have done so shouldn’t expect too much to change.

As part of this update, Google will be making additional amendments to Top Stories eligibility. Once the update is rolled out AMP will no longer be needed to be eligible to appear in Top Stories on mobile devices. This will increase competition for Top Stories, but those with AMP implemented now shouldn’t expect to see any change to behaviour (according to Google).

Google’s developer tools, such as Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights will also be updating to help websites with optimising and identifying where page experience issues are.



How will the page experience update affect SEO?

This update is placing the user right at the centre (as if they weren’t there already?!) and by extension your SEO should be doing the same. By doing this a lot of your SEO strategy doesn’t change, as nothing should be subtracted from your current plan. But, your plan should grow as more areas need to be reviewed to ensure your landing pages consider page experience in order to rank well in organic search.

Content will still be key; page experience will not usurp this signal. Google have stated that they will prioritise the pages that have the best content and information overall, even if some of there page experience elements are subpar. Page Experience is not replacing any current SEO requirements, your content still needs to be top notch.

Accessibility will become more integral to your SEO strategy. This includes elements such as accurate captions on videos, alt tags that accurately describe images, clear easy to read font and a user journey that is easy to follow and enables a high conversion rate. We recommend speaking to your agency or in-house experts about User Experience. You’ll want to review the conversion journeys on your site too, so CRO is another service to consider.

In terms of service relations, your developers may find themselves working more closely with your SEO team. The page experience update will involve reviewing the usability and accessibility of your website design, by ensuring it loads quickly, is responsive and that the design isn’t intrusive. For all this to be optimised, your web developers need to be aligned with your SEO team.



When will the update be released?

Google have said we should not expect the update to roll out before next year, and that they will provide at least 6 months notice ahead of rolling out the update. This means we have plenty of time, with the update potentially not even launching until 2022. This early notice period is to ensure websites have plenty of time to prepare, review and update their websites ahead of the update. Google does not believe there is any need for immediate action, and we agree. However, it is important to start discussions now to ensure your SEO strategy takes this update into consideration over the upcoming months.



Want to chat SEO?

We recommend you make the most of this opportunity to get ahead, and we’re happy to help. If you want to talk to us about your SEO and the UX of your website, please do email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to have a chat and find out how we can support you.

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SEO News Round Up: May 2020

SEO Round Up May 2020

What happened in the world of SEO in May?

May started with a bang and has produced some great updates in the world of SEO. Read more to find out what our highlights are in SEO news this month. You can also sign up our monthly newsletter to get the latest company news.


Google update: May 2020

It happened! 4 months after the January update Google took to Twitter to announce the roll out of another algorithm update. Dubbed the May 2020 Core Update, it took 2 weeks to fully roll out. Many in the SEO community claim it’s the biggest update search has seen in a while.


What happened?

As usual, Google haven’t specified exactly what the update was targeting. Whilst core updates are intended to have a broad focus, content has been a key focus for Google and SEO in the last couple years. Recent Core Updates have focused on rewarding content regularly reviewed and updated, so it isn’t shocking to suggest that content is again the focus on the May 2020 Core Update.


What impact did we see?

Following the started release of the update we’ve seen a mixed impact to our clients, with some losing rankings and others gaining. There was a lot of volatility and fluctuations in rankings during the roll out process, but most of the change appeared to be off page 1 search results. Search results ranking on page 2 and onwards typically experience higher levels of volatility, so this wasn’t too concerning to us.


What should we do?

In their Twitter announcement Google link to their updates guidelines. There, they state that the updates aren’t about harming the performance of your content, but about rewarding good content that wasn’t getting the recognition, or rankings, it deserved in organic search.

That being said, if you have seen some keywords dropping it’s still not good to drastically change your SEO strategy in light of a Google Update; particularly if your website has a history of yoyoing in rankings from update to update. It’s very likely that any ranking changes you see in the first few days may level out. Wait until rankings have had some time to stabilise before taking any precautionary actions.  Review your site, identify the weaknesses (whether that be technical or content) and feed those into your current strategy.


Keep SEO and coding simple

Search Developer Martin Splitt joined an indexing and crawling session at Search Engine Land, where he discussed how some websites can overcomplicate their coding to overcome non-existent issues.

Internal Linking via JS

It would appear in our desire to be better SEO and Web Developers can often overcomplicate a solution, or needlessly create an issue with clever coding. Interal linking is cited as a common issue that is overcomplicated. A number of links are still invisible to Google owing to the way they are implemented on a website. We’ve seen this ourselves on client websites, where we as users know the link is there, but search engines don’t. This is often because the link is added through javascript rather than a HTML link tag. Invisible links are harmful to your SEO, as they restrict visibility and can lead to crawl errors.

We considered ourselves warned: clever, over-engineered shortcuts aren’t great, and can actually hurt our SEO more than help.


Google suggests customised searches for users

A new search feature update is being rolled out on Google. When a user does a search on Google will begin to use that search history data to suggest customised search results to you.

This new feature does appear to be a restricted update at the moment; you have to be logged into your Google account to have access. Google is also only able to use search history data from your current search session. This means customised search suggestions won’t be influenced by your search activity from a month ago. However, it’s another step towards encouraging users to consider the language they use in search, following on from Google’s update to search results that don’t adequately answer a search query. We look forward to seeing how these features influence search habits.


New Search Console Reports

Another month, another update to Google Search Console reports. This month 2 new reports have been made available on the tool. The Speed report has also had an update.


SpecialAnnouncement Enhancement Report

One of the reports released is for SpecialAnnouncement Schema markup. This is a follow up action from the release of the markup last month. SpecialAnnouncement markup was released to help local businesses and communities make Covid-19 announcements via Google Search. Creation of the report will help these businesses see any implementation errors or issues with the markup.


Guided Recipe Enhancement Report

Additionally, Google has released a new report for Guided Recipe markup. This is a form of Recipe schema, designed to help your recipes be found and used on Google Assistant and by voice search technology. This is a good step in the right direction, as previously you had to wait for webpages to re-crawl a page before you could see any updates via Google Assistant. This report should speed up the validation process.

You can also check your Guided Recipe markup via the Rich Results Test Tool. To use this tool you just need to add the markup to your page. Then you can submit the URL on the tool and it will test the page to see if it is valid for rich snippets (a search result with enhanced features) in search results. The tool will offer suggestions for improvement or show you any errors with your implementation.


Web Vitals replaces Speed Report

Google has swapped out the old Speed Report. Now, we have the Core Web Vitals report, located within the Enhancement reports section. Core Web Vitals is a Chrome Extension Google announced earlier in the month


Core Web Vitals on Search Console Dashboard


What’s changed? 

The metrics Google uses for measurement has changed from the original speed report, which suggests Google is using certain speed metrics to judge the performance of a website. These metrics are: LCD, FID and CLS. All 3 give an indicate of how good the user experience (UX) will be on that page.

  • LCD (Largest Contentful Paint): measures loading performance by marking the point when the main content on the page has likely loaded.
  • FID (First Input Delay): measures when interactivity is working, as it tells you when a user first tries to interact with the page and the time when the page responds to that interaction.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): measures visual stability. The more content doesn’t shift around unexpectedly the better the UX.

URLs that don’t have enough data for these metrics are excluded from the report, so it won’t necessarily provide a 100% insight. But, it appears that ensuring your webpages perform well for all 3 metrics will be vital by name and nature if you want Google to deem you site as high performance.


Bing says Yes (or No)

Bing has also been busy developing new search features. There latest update means Bing can now answer your search queries with a simple yes or no. Bing then backs up their answer by citing different websites.

This is just part of Bing’s development strategy to utilise AI in their search algorithms. Their algorithm is able to understand and cross-reference the language of multiple sources and deduce a yes/no answer, even if the sources used and reviewed by Bing do not explicitly state that.

For SEO, it’ll be worth monitoring search queries where this is likely to affect the search results. With Bing providing clear, concise answers within the SERPs, there’s potential for the CTRs of these queries to be impacted by this update. As Search Engine Land also comments, we should also monitor impressions and visibility change.

Bing’s Yes/No summary feature is live in the US and looking to roll out in other search markets soon.


Page Experience Evaluation Changes Incoming

Google have announced changes are coming to how they measure the performance of a page. Called the Page Experience Update, Google will be updating their ranking factors to take page experience metrics, such as the ones in Core Web Vitals, into consideration more.


Stay Tuned!

This planned update is a big step towards ensuring website’s produce pages that users like, and is something we’ll be exploring in much more depth next month.


Did we miss anything?

If there was anything else that happened in May that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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Five Great Talks At Search Leeds

Search Leeds Conference 2019

Search Leeds Conference 2019

This year’s Search Leeds conference didn’t disappoint. All the talks I went to were great, and reflected the continuing journey of SEO from being an opaque technical skill, as it was often seen in the early 2000’s, to the business-critical discipline that it is today.

Here are my notes from the five talks that I found most useful:


  1. Why most SEO audits are shit

The speaker, Bastain Grimm, is an experienced SEO who went directly from the conference to the EU Search Awards where he won ‘Search Personality of the year’. Over the years we’ve put a lot of work into the style and readability of our SEO audits and continue to do so. Several of the points he made resonated with me:

  • Include an executive summary – a snapshot of why you’re doing this audit, what you’ve found and what you recommend
  • Put detailed technical findings into an appendix
  • Report on causes, as well as symptoms
  • Ensure your recommendations are actionable, prioritised and include an estimate of impact

Check out Bastian’s slides here


  1. The business value of SEO

Jenn Hoffman, Marketing Director at Deepcrawl, covered the familiar problem of showing the value of SEO work to stakeholders and decision makers. She proposed three solutions:

  • Becoming customer obsessed
  • Reporting on business impact metrics
  • Making friends with your Development team

Key points for me were around how we can further develop the relationship between our SEO team and our clients’ / partners’ tech developers. When did an SEO last take a developer out for a beer? Do they know:

  • If devs work to sprints, or how their workflow works?
  • What comms platforms they work on?

Full slide deck here


  1. Personalisation in a search journey

Gary Arnold, Strategic Consulting Director at Edit, (the agency behind Search Leeds). A possibly confusing title to this talk, Gary discussed the need for employees in an agency to have multiple skills.

Partly it’s the responsibility of agency owners to keep their staff motivated, happy and fulfilled (and with better career prospects), partly to give your agency the edge, and partly because in 5-10 years’ time a good deal of SEO work will be done by machines. SEOs need wider skills to maintain their employability.

He used the ‘comb-shaped skills’ analogy: what process understanding do your people need – the base of the comb, and what technical skills do they need – the multiple teeth of the comb.

Check out Gary’s slides here


  1. Put your money where your data is

Samantha Noble, a paid media expert currently at Biddable Moments, formerly Director of Strategy at Koozai.

She talked about the wonders of  Google Data Studio (‘GDS’) and came up with some great ideas I’d not thought about:

  • Supermetrics is a clever tool that allows you to pull data into GDS from multiple sources. We use it a lot at upriseUP, but I’d not personally thought about using it to pull in data from Google My Business to report on local SEO performance.
  • Supermetrics also enables you to report on site speed (from Google Analytics) and shows you which section or pages of the site is slowing it down. Whilst GA is never in my experience that accurate at reporting site speed, it’s the relative reporting here that is so useful
  • Embed a URL into GDS so you can see the page you’re reporting on
  • Mailchimp (or other email marketing tool) integration – showing how your email campaigns are performing, without having to login to anything other than GDS
  • Google Ads auction insights: reporting on campaign performance, and interestingly, which other organisations the campaign is competing with
  • Deals with conversion windows for Facebook ads & Google Ads. The problem, in summary, is that advertising platforms in general will take the credit for a website conversion using last click attribution. For example, imagine if someone first sees your website on Google. They visit your site and follow you on Facebook. After a few weeks they go back to your site from Facebook and make a purchase. Very often a performance report will attribute that sale to Facebook, when in fact it should be attributed to Google. Samantha explained that Data Studio deals with this ‘attribution’ issue. This is one I need to investigate further!

Full slide deck here


  1. One Search – Combining your organic and paid strategies for greater effect

Sarah Barker, Head of Biddable Media at StickyEyes. She covered a few different themes including the benefits of PPC and SEO teams working together.

Some examples:

  • Using PPC to do keyword research, and test SEO title-tags and meta-descriptions.
  • Using a different mix of SEO & PPC according to:
    • where a buyer is in the sales funnel – see slide 14
    • …and what kind of keyword / intent there is – see slide 21
  • The classic sales funnel isn’t really a funnel any more – see slide 6 for how Stickyeyes visualises it

Deck here

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How to successfully email pitch to Journalists

How to successfully email pitch to journalists

Pitching to the Media

So, you’ve started your digital PR journey and you’re well on your way to building up your backlink profile. The ideas are there, the content is ready, and you’ve got a huge list of names of potentially interested parties… the next step is actually getting it out to the press. 

If you think about how many emails journalists will receive each day, it’s worth taking a moment to learn how to make sure that you’re moving from their inbox to article. Here are the top tips from upriseUP on how to successfully email pitch to journalists.

Don’t forget to share this post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn if you enjoy our top tips!


Do your research 

The first aspect of getting your story, product, or service noticed is making sure that the right people are finding it.  

Build up a targeted list of the influencers and journalists in your industry and make sure that you aren’t spamming people with press releases that are completely irrelevant to their publication. 

You might initially think it’s beneficial to get what you’ve worked on out to hundreds of different people – but more often that not, effective pitches are more personalised and targeted. 


Remember the little details 

When you’re writing an email make sure that you’re paying attention to the details and to the people that you’re in communication with. 

Nothing will put someone off more quickly than being given the wrong name or getting the publication they write for, wrong! 


Keep it simple… 

Journalists are busy people and their inbox is always going to be heaving with press releases, pitches, and interesting opportunities. They don’t have time to read everything, so make sure that you get the fundamental points across with a skim of the email. 

Make sure that you quickly get to the point of your story, why it would work for their publication and audience, and any relevant details attached. 

If they’re interested in taking it further, then that’s where you can build on the details and start writing longer emails! 


But stand-out! 

As we said above, journalists skim emails. The biggest grab from your pitch will be in your email header. Make sure that your subject line quickly summarises the most interesting aspect of your story. 


Ignore the traditional rules 

‘Rule of thumb people’ will warn you to not email on Monday or Friday, as you’ll get lost in a sea of emails or ignored. We’re calling nonsense on that. 

If everyone else is playing by that rule, then make the most of the opportunity and get into an empty inbox! 

If the idea or content is good enough, then they will pay attention and will work on quickly turning it around! 


Be willing to follow-up or pick up the phone 

If you feel that the journalist would benefit from having a few more questions answered and you’re looking for a successful pitch, then be prepared to follow-up or give them a call. 

Don’t be afraid to chase for the coverage if you think it’s worth getting. If you aren’t hearing anything? It might be time to re-frame how you’re selling the story in the first place. 


Nurture the relationship 

Once you’ve managed to place a story, congratulations! You’ve got the coverage, and hopefully gained a valuable backlink, but don’t just leave it there! 

Building and nurturing a relationship with a journalist means that you could potentially contact the same person in the future with other things they might be interested in. 

Thank them for the work you’ve done together and acknowledge their help! You never know how useful that relationship could be in the future. 


If you want to know more, or want to discuss a how we can help you with your digital PR strategy, then please do get in touch. As always, we love to hear from you.

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SEO Migration Checklist


An SEO Website Migration Guide

Today we are looking at the SEO website migration necessities. The top necessity? A plan. In the world of SEO, a website migration is the last thing you want to wing. Regardless of what a migration refers to, whether that be a change in site location or mass-content review, it can be an incredibly daunting task. Feelings of confusion and uncertainty would not be unheard of. But, if you have a plan in place, a migration becomes substantially more manageable. Having previously looked at common migration errors, we thought we would now explore some of the steps you can take to make a SEO migration soar. Completing these steps can ensure you do not reduce the visibility of your website in searches.



Preparing is the best action you can make for a successful website migration. It helps you navigate what can be a massive challenge and minimise detrimental impacts. You want to build a solid foundation for your migration and ensure nothing slips through unnoticed. We suggest utilising a classic SEO technique; URL mapping. Catching every URL with your migration is crucial. Redirects can be the cause of a lot of mistakes, especially if you are not meticulous about the process. It is very easy for some URLS to be ignored. URL mapping helps you to remain vigilant from the start. You keep track of all your live URLS and assign them their new URL ready for the next stage.

Sorting out those 301s just became a lot simpler; start with your priority pages and work your way through the site.

Also, don’t forget any potential content purges. Migrations are the perfect opportunity to reconsider the content you want on your site. Keep track of pages you are saying goodbye to and of future pages that are waiting to be created on your new site.

Benchmark your site so you know what the current performance of your site is. You want to record KPIs such as your traffic and keyword rankings. Having this data will be particularly useful post-launch, when you will be able to compare the results and see the full impact your migration is having on your site.

In every stage of the migration, you will want Google Search Console. Pre-launch, you want to be informing Google Search Console of your plans by registering for a new site. Essentially, you want them to know in advance so they can locate your new site as soon as possible. If you leave them in the dark, you’ll simply lose your visibility to everyone. A consequence best avoided.


During the Launch.

Whilst you are implementing the migration, you want to monitor your site’s data like your life depends on it. Not to exaggerate or anything… your data is your biggest indicator of how well your migration is being received by users. Right now, it’s your biggest ally. Constant monitoring in Google Search Console and Google Analytics will help you identify any occurring issues and resolve them before they cause any serious damage.

During this stage you also want to check all your redirects are correct and functioning.  Ensuring all redirects point to the most relevant page on your new site, especially in the cases of a content overhaul, is the best way to guarantee an ideal user experience for the new site.



Lift off! You have now reached the point of no returns and I’ll bet you’re a little terrified. Don’t worry, it’s usual to be wary now you’ve launched the changes. This is a crucial point in the process. Right now, you want to continue monitoring your data – honestly, this is the constant in your migration. The difference, however, is that you will be monitoring your data via your new site, so if there was a change in your domain, protocol or server, you’ll want to notify Google Search Console of that change. And then, you watch. Regularly conduct manual checks on Google Search Console to see how the performance of your site is impacted by the changes.

Also, regarding your current backlinks, re-upload the disavow file. Thanks to all your successful redirects you’ll still have all your old site’s backlinks meaning the disavow list for your old site will still apply. So, you want to re-upload the file for your new site and regularly monitor incoming backlinks to ensure any ‘spammy’ backlinks cannot harm the trust of your site.


Download our SEO Website Migration Checklist

If there are any points on the checklist you want to discuss further, or if you’re about to go through a migration yourself and would like some advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch


For regular SEO news and updates, follow us on Twitter or sign up to our newsletter.

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Common Website Migration Mistakes

Common Website Migration Mistakes

Website Migration Pitfalls

In SEO, a website migration is not an easy, straight-forward task. Mistakes are easy to make, and the repercussions of those mistakes can sometimes go undetected for weeks, even months, and cause a lot of damage in the meantime.

Website migration can be seen as an umbrella term referring to a considerable change on your website. A change that will impact how your site is seen by search engines and users. To liken the virtual world to reality, a website migration requires the strategic mindset and meticulous eye for detail one needs when moving house. With a plan, all goes smoothly, without it’s utter chaos. So, to save you some time, here are the common mistakes made in a SEO website migration that we recommend you avoid.

If you find this post helpful, why not share it with others on Twitter?

You can also download our free website migration checklist here.



If you are migrating your website to a new domain, then the top, and easiest, mistake you could make is to neglect your redirects, both current and pending. This is a time when redirects should be your new best friend, don’t cast them aside or underestimate their power. A redirect will guarantee you retain your hold on any link equity that was passing through to the original URL. Since link equity will help boost the domain rating of your site, and how much Google trusts you, you will want those redirects in place pronto.

Say, for example, you run a small local business. Chances are, most of the traffic to your site is a direct rather than coming through other channels, such as paid search or organic. If they enter your old domain into the search bar, and you have not set up that 301 redirect to the new site, that is a visit lost. Instead, they are delivered a server error and likely to bounce back to the search results page. Loss for you, potential gain for your competitor. As User Experience (UX) is at the forefront of modern SEO, you need to ensure that the users are your priority when conducting a website migration. That means making sure they are able land on your target pages.

The good news is, this is easy to achieve! If you set up your 301 redirects in advance, there is no reason why your migration shouldn’t be a success. Setting up redirects is a task that requires you to be meticulous, you will need to redirect every URL on your old domain to the equivalent page on your new domain. Make sure you don’t neglect any current redirects live on your old domain either. Doing all of this will not only maintain the visibility of your site to users in search engines, but on external sites linking back to your old domain. Protect your bank of backlinks and ensure none of them are broken by your website migration!



Incidentally, if your migration is more changing your website protocol from HTTP to HTTPS, your redirects will have the added bonus of preventing any link equity being split between pages, where you would rather a single page benefit. Also, be aware of potential duplication issues when changing from HTTP to HTTPS. Without redirects in place, you could accidentally create a second, identical, version of your site. You might find your pages end up competing against each other in search rankings, which is never ideal. Ultimately, neither page would rank well in this situation and you run the risk of a Google penalty.

Whilst you’re sorting out your redirects, don’t forget to create a sitemap for your new site. Doing this will help Google find your new site that much quicker. Update it with your priority pages and when search engine crawlbots, such as Googlebot, come visiting, your site has a much better chance of ranking higher in a quicker time frame.


Monitoring (or hereby lack of)

When undergoing a migration, you want to be able to monitor the entire process, from pre-migration through to post-migration, so making sure you have access to Google Search Console and Google Analytics is very important! Being able to monitor your website’s data throughout the migration process allows you to see the full impact your migration is having on your levels of traffic, if any crawl errors are appearing and the ongoing health of your website.


Mobile Compatibility

Another frequent mistake we see in website migration is the neglect to monitor the website compatibility for mobile. When making any substantial changes to your website you do not want to have a detrimental impact on mobile page speed. It is important to accommodate to this user behavioural shift, with so many users now accessing the virtual world through their smartphones. In fact, Google now uses Mobile First Indexing, which crawls the mobile version of a website as the primary form of the website. The consequences of this can be that if the mobile version of the site is not well optimised, then a dominos effect occurs, impacting not only the site’s search rankings on mobile, but desktop devices too.


Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

Quite often, people will make website migration more laborious than it needs to be, by doing more than one form of website migration at the same time. We do not recommend this. One form of website migration is a massive change, to perform multiple changes simultaneously would be overwhelming, especially for users. There would be restricted familiarity and traffic would be more likely to drop in the post-migration stage for a time. The workload would also be staggering for you, or the SEO team, and you run a higher risk of missing out some of the details. Phasing out your forms of website migration is the advisable move forward, as the process becomes more manageable for you and you are less likely to have a negative effect on the site’s user experience.


“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”


Preparation is key, especially with a website migration. From an SEO perspective, disorganisation and lack of preparation are very often fatally made errors. It’s worth pointing out that there are three stages to consider when preparing: pre-migration, during the migration and post-migration. Each stage has its own set of points to focus on. Stay tuned and you might just get to check out our priority lists for a website migration in the future.

Making changes to your site, sizeable ones, is no picnic. Stay vigilant, stay organised and there is no reason why a website migration shouldn’t be successful from the get go.

If you want to know more or want to discuss a website migration potential, then please do get in touch, as always, we love to hear from you.

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What is SEO & How Does it Work?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often a term thrown around by businesses, but from my experience, most people don’t understand the full scope of what is covered by SEO. All they know is, they’ve got to try and improve it! Hopefully this blog will give you a small insight into what exactly SEO is and some of the basics of what to look at when optimising your site.


What is SEO?


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of using different methodologies and techniques to optimise your site so that it appears higher up in search engine results pages.[1]


How does SEO work?

To answer this, we need to take a more detailed look into how search engines, like Google and Bing, work and there are a number of different steps:


Step 1. Crawling

The first step for Google is to explore the internet and get an understanding of the types of sites and content that are online. To do this Google runs a series of code, sending ‘bots’ or ‘crawl spiders’ throughout the internet. These bots visit every page available and fires details of what it finds back to Google.


Indexing Tree Icon


Step 2. Indexing


Once Google is aware of which pages are visible, it records the site data in one of its two indexes -either the mobile first, or the desktop index – here you can read more about Googles new mobile first index . Like any index, once a user makes a search, Google refers back to its index and identifies relevant pages and sites that are related to the user’s original search term.


Indexing Book


But how does it choose which websites and pages are most relevant to the user? This is where the Google Algorithm comes in.



Step 3: The Algorithm


The majority of factors, and how much weighting they are given, are never directly referenced by Google or Bing, so it is often down to marketers and SEOs (search engine optimisers) to identify trends and patterns following algorithm updates to see which factors may be affecting rankings.


With this said, there are some of the key factors which are core to the algorithm and have been confirmed by Google, some of which include:


Algorithm Symbol


The Three Pillars of SEO


Ensuring that your site is correctly optimised for this algorithm can be difficult, especially when considering it’s evolving nature, but there are 3 main areas where everyone should start – Technical SEO, Content SEO and Backlink Building.


Technical SEO


Technical SEO, as the name suggests, focusses on the technical aspects of your site, including crawl errors, pages speed, canonical tags and 301 redirects to name a few. It’s also the first thing that we look at when optimising a site, and put simply, Google won’t rank you if your site doesn’t work, so you need to make sure any technical issues are resolved before looking at your on-page content and building your backlink profile.


As the main goal of Google is to provide the greatest relevancy to its users, meta tags are a key area where many sites fall short and is often a quick win. In many cases, sites will automatically create page titles and descriptions by default within the site’s CMS (content management system), however, this can often cause search engines difficulty when trying to understand the relevancy of each page as titles and descriptions can be duplicated. With multiple pages all with the same title, how will Google know which page is the most relevant? Your answer, it won’t – and your rankings will be affected as a result.


Content SEO


Only once your site is technically sound do you want to begin reviewing your existing content, begin creating new content and developing an ongoing content strategy.


Often, existing content will rank relatively well in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) without optimisation, as the pages will likely contain extremely relevant information that is going to prove to be very useful to the user. This said, with optimisation, these pages could rank better and for a wider range of search terms, thus increasing the number of visitors to the page.


One of the most important factors when it comes to on page optimisation is to outline your page keywords and ensure that the keywords you want your pages to rank for have a good level of monthly searches.


New content creation also provides a fantastic way to provide unique and  relevant information to your users. Ideally, you want to be creating fresh content that web masters would naturally want to link to.


Internal linking is another essential method on improving your on-page content. When you link internally to another page ‘link equity’ (page ranking power) is passed through from the host page to the linked page. This can be particularly useful in helping to signal to Google which pages are a priority. By having a number of relevant blogs internally link through to the appropriate service or product page, you are able to further highlight which page you want to be ranking.


The benefit from internal linking is twofold. As well as helping pass on link equity, by providing relevant related pages and information to the user, you are further improving their experience on your site, all of which is beneficial in Google’s eyes.



Backlink Building


SEO has often been described as an iceberg; where technical and content SEO sit at the tip, just above the water, with a mass of off-page SEO and backlink building lurking, hidden below the surface. Whilst not the perfect analogy, it does help highlight the importance and the role that backlinks play on your sites organic performance.


Much like internal linking, when an external site links through to your site, they are distributing part of their link equity down to you. Where a site is known as an industry leader or authority, it will pass down a greater amount of link equity and will be more valuable as a result.


We’re often asked, ‘how many backlinks should I be aiming to get each month’? and the answer is simple – it’s not about the number of backlinks, but the quality of the backlinks. One backlink from a well renowned trusted site such as the BBC will be worth more than 10, 100, possibly even 1000 backlinks from small unknown sites.


This is only a quick look into the world of SEO, but if you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or send us an email at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.

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Why Charities Need to Manage the Online Presence of Their Shops

Why Charities need to manage the presence of their online shop

The Importance of Online


Understandably, charities have limited marketing budgets and need to maximise return on investment.  Investing time and money to manage the online presence of a charity shop may seem unnecessary, but in reality, it is essential, not only to meet the changing habits of consumers but also as a means of driving footfall and growing brand awareness.


This article covers the reasons why charities need to manage their local online presence, how to do it and the benefits of doing so.  Importantly, we will focus on the minimum that needs to be done in-order to meet the needs of customers whilst improving brand performance.


The author is David Whatley of MiShop.local who has more than 8 years experience of advising and managing the online presence of more than 4,000 locations in multiple sectors including retailer chains and charities.


Firstly, a bit about “local search” – When people search for “charity shop”, the results will appear in Google Places or Google Maps!  How and where you appear is influenced more by your physical address than your website.  In all likelihood, your shops will already be listed, but are they correct and are they performing at their full potential?


Mishop Blog Image.png


So what? Surely charity shops rely on passing trade, and as many don’t have an e-commerce site, why do they need to care about their local online presence?


Charity shops are like any other retail business; people want to know when you are open, where you are located, the services you offer and whether you have what they need, they may also want to know how to donate or volunteer etc.  However, it is wrong to assume that people go directly to your website to get this information.  They don’t! Instead, they start with Google to search for opening times, contact details, directions, products and services.  They also read and write reviews and ask questions about local services.


Coupled with this, Google has invested heavily in Google My Business pages, which brings together information from around the web about your shop into one place.  It is a Knowledge Graph for a specific location and is the first point of call for most people searching for local information.  Google My Business is the ‘online front door’ to your shop and the most important digital asset you can have in local search.



The Anatomy of a Google My Business Page


Below is an example of a Google My Business Page as seen on a desktop.  The information is the same, although the look and feel is slightly different for mobile users.


Mishop Blog Image 2.png


Should charities manage their local presence for performance improvement or hygiene?


Local presence management should in the first instance be about “hygiene”; meaning that the information used by your customers should be correct wherever they find it in local search.  For the most part, if people search for “your brand + location” they will find you, just make sure the information they find is correct. In other words, your brand name, address, phone number, weblink and store opening times need to be consistent and correct.   Coupled with this, not all charity premises are shops; charities have offices, volunteer groups, service depots, support services, care centres, etc. all of which can (and do) appear in local search results. You may not want the public to call or visit certain sites, or they may only be open at certain times, so it is up to you to check that your premises are listed appropriately.


Correctly listed information is a hygiene factor that happens to have SEO benefits.

At the very minimum, charities should ensure branch details are correctly listed in the main local ‘doorway’ listings, namely; Google, Bing, Facebook and Apple Maps. Doing so will ensure you appear in most local ‘brand’ and ‘charity shop’ related searches.


Optimising for local search performance.

Not everyone will search for charities by brand or think to look at a charity for a particular product or services, for example; furniture.  A charity that collects and sells furniture needs to appear in searches for “furniture clearance” and “furniture store”.  Competing for these keywords requires an organic SEO strategy including; optimising your listings, website, blogs and social media etc.


There is, however a law of diminishing returns with local SEO; there is only so much that you can do and in fact need to do to get on the map.  This is driven by a number of factors including:  local competition, local population size and demographics AND the user’s location in relation to your location.  In other words, performance varies on a location by location basis.  If you have multiple shops, it may be impractical to ‘micro-optimise’ each location, which means you need to focus on the fundamentals of claiming and managing your Google listings, ensuring other local listings are correct and point to a locally optimised store page.




Other considerations:


We promised to focus on the fundamentals of local search.  If you are tight on resource, start with Google Places.  However, here is a very high level over view of other areas you should consider for local:


Facebook is also local.

Charities with multiple locations can have a Facebook ‘Place Page’ for each shop connected to the main brand page via a ‘store finder’. Facebook rules can be configured to govern how Place Pages are branded, who has access, and whether they are managed centrally, locally or both.  However, most charities have many standalone, unofficial, unmanaged and unbranded Facebook Pages for each of their shops.  Customers may be checking-in and posting on these pages without the charity’s knowledge.  By setting up a Place Page hierarchy, charities can control information and interactions with customers that wish to follow their local charity shop or office.



Bing Places, is less complicated and easier to manage than Google Places, but does not have the same level of functionality or insights. Its reviews are sourced from different listing sites around the web such as Yelp and Foursquare.


Apple Maps

3 out of 4 iPhone users will use Apple Maps instead of Google Maps. It is an important digital asset that needs to be managed, although it does not offer the same level of flexibility, functionality or insights as Google Maps.


Local Listings

Fundamental to local SEO is local business listings. Local business listings are an important reference point that can further raise your local online presence and improve search performance.  The likelihood is that most charity shops will be listed in a number of these, however, it is important that the shop’s Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) is consistent wherever it is listed.



Ideally each shop should have its own locally optimised webpage where the NAP and opening times are presented in schema mark-up and are consistent with that listed in Google Places and local listing sites. The webpage should also have local tags in the url e.g. www.yourwebsitename.co.uk/brighton_charity_shop , and ideally contain local content and references.


Google Posts

Google Posts is a fantastic new feature in Google My Business. This free feature can be used by charity shops to raise awareness of specific fund-raising events, highlight your cause, encourage people to volunteer or sign-up to a newsletter (for example).  The only challenge is managing it at a local level.


Customer Reviews

Customers reviews raise your profile in local search. Unfortunately, unhappy customers aren’t averse to writing bad reviews about charities, however you can encourage your supporters to write positive reviews that raise your local online profile and help to promote your cause.


Q&As (in Google My Business)

Q&As (In Google My Business) is a recent development. Questions are mostly answered by a community of local Google Guides that mean well, but may not know the correct answers.  Q&As are in their infancy and are not easily managed by large charities across multiple locations, so this is one to be aware of for the moment.  However, it may be a function that is monitored by the Social Media Team.





Charity shops, like other retailers, need to manage their local online presence in the ‘doorway listings’ Google, Bing, Facebook and Apple Maps as well as local listing sites.  Most charity shops are already listed, but not in a controlled way. Charities need to:


  1. Claim and manage Google, Bing, Facebook and Apple Map listings.
  2. Ensure local listing sites have NAP consistency.
  3. Link to a locally optimised shop webpage.
  4. Encourage and monitor customer reviews.
  5. Use Google Posts and Facebook location pages to drive local awareness.



About the Author

David Whatley is the founder and Managing Director of MiShop.local.  MiShop.local is one of the leading local presence management services in the UK.  We manage the local online presence of multi-location brands from 10 to 3,000 locations.  Our “Local Doorways” management service is the most cost-effective way for multi-location charities to optimise and manage Google, Bing, Facebook, Apple Maps.

For more information, please visit their website http://mishoplocal.co.uk/local-doorways-management/ or email [email protected] or call 01273 987498

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Brighton SEO 2017 – Our 30 Key Takeaways

Brighton SEO 2017

Back In Brighton – Our Highlights


At Uprise Up we’re back from enjoying all that Brighton SEO 2017 had to offer!

Brighton SEO is not just about Search Engine Optimisation. We gained some great insights into Analytics, Social Media and Email Marketing, as well as Business Strategy. The wide-ranging sessions from industry experts offered real food for thought and were jam-packed with tips, do’s and don’ts, discussions and new tools to help meet our digital marketing objectives.

It’s safe to say we’ve all learnt something we’re eager to put into practice and in this blog, we’ve pulled together our top take-aways:


Top 30 Takeaways


Technical SEO


  • Google’s Gary Illyes hinted that the rank boost of secure sites might be getting stronger!


  • Bing’s research into trust online showed that 74% of users trust the search engine’s ranking as much as the brand.


  • Local links, irrespective of the type of sites they are, can be enough to cover Google’s relevancy criteria for local SEO.


  • For ecommerce sites with multiple languages, use the sitemap to assign hreflang tags rather than the page.


  • Think about infinite scroll & pagination. When infinite scroll goes wrong you can get orphaned pages & uncrawlable content, which can impact ranking and sales.


  • Using faceted navigation gives a great user experience and works well with infinite scroll, but can lead to many competing pages throughout a site. To combat this, make good use of robot.txt files, canonical tags and parameter handling.


  • You can dynamically change meta data through Tag Manager instead of through the CMS, and Google will be able to use these changes when ranking. For example, an ecommerce site could dynamically append the current offer to each product page (e.g.. 25% Off – Black Shoes).


  • Tag Manager can be used to extract the meta data on every page. Then, by creating a custom dimension in Analytics, this meta data can be seen alongside your regular Analytics stats (Pageviews, Bounce Rate etc.).




Content SEO


  • Create data heavy content to increase the chances of people linking back to your website.


  • When approaching a webmaster about content, look for the ‘what can I do for you’ and not the ‘help me by sending a backlink’ approach. Use as many sources as possible when creating your unique content and make it relevant to your target audience.


  • Use the 3 H’s content strategy – Hero (big-ticket featured content), Hub (regularly scheduled content) and Hygiene (helpful, informative content).


  • Blogs receive on average 97% more inbound links than other content.


  • Statistics blogs are a great source of links, even on obscure subjects. Don’t be afraid to try one for your business!


  • Long form video (15 mins+) ranks higher in the YouTube search results than short form video.


  • Video doesn’t have to be expensive to make as modern day smart phones are capable of recording high quality video.


  • Using 360-degree photos and VR technologies allows you to engage with the consumer on a higher level, evoking emotions and memories in the viewer (making an emotional connection). This will ensure they engage better with you and your content.


  • Utilise user reviews for your product or service to look for potential keywords. What adjectives do users use when they give you 5* reviews? What about 1*?



John and Ben in Brighton Pier cutout



  • Keep out of stock & seasonal pages live where you can! Advise the product is retired or out of stock, then direct them to similar products, or take their information and email them when it is available. However, for non-priority pages, it is still best to redirect to a similar product.


  • Avoid using years in HTML developments.


  • The usual SEO factors don’t apply for ecommerce sites. Search engines know what ecommerce sites are – they don’t need the same amount of text as a content page would. What is important is the use of relevant keywords, easy access in menus and good usability of filters.


  • Make use of keywords in your ecommerce sites’ descriptive text.



Social Media


  • Use a tool like Brand Watch to discover latest trends, search phrases and affinity with brands and use it to steer content.


  • Have a social media strategy that integrates with all of your marketing mix. Don’t tweet and blog about random things, make sure it fits with your brand and overall marketing strategy.


  • Micro influencers can be a better investment than larger influencers. Choosing micro influencer followers of a larger influencer only keeps the message within that network, so branching out is important. YouTube influencers will be more willing to be flexible.


  • Brand evangelists are 52% more valuable than the average satisfied customer. They will be the fans who will truly get involved and will share your message to friends, family and beyond.


  • Take the time to understand your audience – learn how they engage, the language they use and how your brand personality matches theirs – then develop your strategy, A/B test and measure their engagement beyond the number of likes. Ask for feedback, reviews and ratings!


  • Don’t fill the need, create the need. You’re not filling the need of buying a drill, your filling the need to create the hole.


  • If you want to create Facebook video content, make sure you optimise and upload it to be viewed vertically. Only 9% of users do this, and the vast majority of videos are played this way.


  • Don’t worry about your sound in social media videos, 85% of people play them on mute!


We hope you find these take-aways useful! All the slide decks from the conference will be added to the BrightonSEO website blog page, or if we can help you with your digital marketing at all please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!


Also, if you want to see our previous experiences of BrightonSEO and see how these takeaways compare to previous BrightonSEO conferences, you can read our blogs on Brighton SEO Key Takeaways – April 2017 and Brighton SEO – Our Top 9 Takeaways (Sept 2016).


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A Guide to Google Featured Snippets

A Guide to Featured Snippets

Featured Snippets


If you were on the internet in March 2017 you may have come across a Featured Snippet claiming former President Obama is planning a coup, certain Republicans are Nazis and several American Presidents were members of the KKK.

As I’m sure you’ve deduced, the political world has not imploded; this was simply Google joining the likes of Facebook in falling foul of fake news, though in a spectacularly high-profile manner.

Notwithstanding unreliable rumours, Featured Snippets are a fantastically useful tool; they provide a better experience for Google users and a high level of authority to the third-party content they source. So, what are Featured Snippets? How do they work? And, importantly, how do you win them?


What Is a Featured Snippet?

If you’ve ever asked Google a question, over voice search or text, you might have seen a Featured Snippet; it’s the box at the top of the page with larger text and bold keywords that tries to summarise the answer to your question.

On a Google statement sent to Recode: “Featured Snippets in Search provide an automatic and algorithmic match to a given search query, and the content comes from third-party sites.”

Featured snippets comes in a variety of different formats, as seen in the below images:



Featured Snippet Example - Lists


Featured Snippet Example - Graphs


Featured Snippet Example - Tables


Featured Snippet Example - Cooking Instructions


The Featured Snippet lends Google’s authority to the content and gives a level of credibility to the site – after all, Google visually enhances and places it prominently above all other search results. This is great for the user, for Google and for your site – unless it goes wrong!


How do Featured Snippets work?

I’m sure many of us would love a clear-cut instruction manual from Google, with information on which variables are important and how to best optimise them. However, a quick search will tell you that it’s another of Google’s top-secret algorithms – no official details available to the public.

As with the vast majority of these well-protected algorithms, the only insight we have is what we can glean from Google’s previous behaviour and the digital marketing community’s experiments with Featured Snippets.


History & Development

Google also has a couple of other programmes that existed before Featured Snippets; Knowledge Graph and Answer Box. However, these both used Google’s own database and, short of Google taking over the entire world, it can’t answer every question internally.


Google Answer Box can tell you many things, such as how tall the US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was (and the actor who plays him!)

Featured Snippet Example - Alexander Hamilton


Questions that are longer, or more specific will often now be answered with a Featured Snippet.

We can infer how Featured Snippets were developed, based what we know about how other Google features have been developed. For example, we have been told that OneBox relied on the CTR by Marissa Mayer when she was a Google VP.



One of the commonly expressed concerns about being featured in a snippet is that it would lower your CTR, as people do not have to click to get the information from your page. While there is logic to this conclusion, the data doesn’t seem to be adding up. Search Engine Land have published multiple examples of traffic jumping up when featured in a snippet, especially when the page is below the top 3 spots on the results page.


How Do You Get a Google Featured Snippet?

Actually, a better way to phrase this would be “how do you WIN a Google Featured Snippet?” since you are competing against everyone else on the results page, as you always are on Google.

The fact that snippets do not always come from the very first search result means that there is something more at play than just the organic search ranking factors. In some special cases, snippets have been taken from a result in 100th place! Nevertheless, over 99% of Featured Snippets are taken from the top 10 results, so it’s still vital to ensure you are optimising to be on the first page of the search results.


Engagement Metrics Must Be High

Pages who get ‘snipped’ seem to be those with very high engagement metrics. In a blog by Larry Kim, he suggests pages that have a higher amount of time spent on them, relative to the rest of the site, have a good chance of being chosen for a snippet. Larry’s research suggests that when a page can hold a user’s attention for around double the amount of time that your other pages do, that page is a good candidate for a Featured Snippet.


Satisfy the Spiders!

A general rule in SEO is especially important if you want to be automatically chosen for a Featured Snippet – make sure the Google crawl spiders can read your site! Ensure the page has quality Title, H1, H2s, meta-description etc. with at least one keyword in every one.
Make it obvious that you have the answer by having the question in a subheading– the easiest way to do may be a Q&A page on your site.


Target the Question, Not Just the Topic

Furthermore, Featured Snippet targeting is theoretically possible as snippets appear when the searcher asks a question. This means a variety of things, the first being that you should be targeting the WH keywords – what, when, how, where, who and why. It was noted by Qi Zhao that, of these keywords, ‘how’ and ‘why’ have the highest proportion of Featured Snippets compared to the total search; however, ‘how’ and ‘what’ have the highest search volumes.

The word count of searches that triggered a Featured Snippet have also been analysed on the same page; the optimum length of search coming out at 6 words, with longer phrases also giving a high likelihood of triggering a Featured Snippet. Choose your phrasing carefully.

Continuing along the theme of length – your answer has to be able to fit in the answer box! Average and maximum lengths can range, depending on the format of your snippet; paragraphs are 45 words long, lists have 4.2 items and tables have 3.6 rows on average. Nevertheless, their maximums can more than double, so don’t unnecessarily restrict the length your content if it has a negative impact on the quality. Paragraphs can be as long as 97 words, lists top out at 8 items and tables can be extended to 9 rows – if you still can’t fit all the information in, consider opting for another format used in Featured Snippets – such as a graph.



As voice search becomes more and more prevalent, we may be seeing increasing instances of Featured Snippets being read out as fact, presented as the “One True Answer”.

Their recent stumble in reliability likely has Google scrambling to teach their bots how to spot fake news, and I personally anticipate soon seeing something from Google on exactly that. One suggestion has come from Peter Shulman, the Associate Professor of History who first heard the ‘Presidents in the KKK’ rumour from students in one of his classes; he suggested that Google source it’s snippets from peer-reviewed content.

Whatever the answer may be, always make sure that your content is well-sourced and reliable – something Google must be looking very closely at right now!

As with all things SEO, winning a Google Featured Snippet spot is more of an art that an exact science but implementing some of the above recommendations, along with general SEO best practices, could increase your likelihood of appearing in the ultra-competitive space of Featured Snippets.


Get In Touch

If you enjoyed this guide to Google Featured Snippets, don’t forget to leave a comment below or send us a tweet @upriseUPSEM. If you had any about how you can improve your site’s SEO performance, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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SEO Bash: Content Optimisation

SEO Bash Content Optimisation Uprise Up Event

SEO Bash: Content Optimisation


SEO Bash will be an ongoing series of talks and discussions specifically focused and designed around Search Engine Optimisation. The first set of talks will dive into different aspects of optimising content on your site.


You all will have heard the phrase ‘Content is King’ and there’s a very good reason why! Content is the very essence of what makes your site yours. It’s what attracts your users, keeps them coming back for more and is one of the best ways you are able differentiate yourself from the competition.


Search engines know how important the role of content is and so should you!


What did we discuss?


We had a fantastic lineup of speakers and presentations covering a number of different topics on how to best create and optimise web content to improve your organic performance:


Ed ColesContent Pitfalls – What to Avoid When Creating Content

Ed’s talk looked into the history of Google’s ranking algorithms with a particular focus on the Panda update. With a number of examples of ‘Black Hat’ techniques and explanation of what Panda is looking for, Ed highlighted some of the common mistakes and pitfalls that people may encounter.


Grace GibbonsHow to Create Effective Video Content

Grace’s talk dived into the power of video marketing and the various types of video content you could use along with answering some common questions – How long should my video be? How do you optimise for Facebook or YouTube? And what are some content planning essentials?


Konrad SandersWriting for SEO

Konrad’s talk focused on Google’s change towards ‘awesome’ content and looked at 10 key steps on how to improve your content writing for SEO, including building anticipation and grabbing users attention with a powerful hook.


Kapwom Dingis – Actionable SEO Content Takeaways

Kapwom’s talk took a look at the value of content and provided a number of different techniques and actionable takeaways for how to best optimise your content to improve your SEO performance. This provided some great insight into general SEO best practice.


Patrick LangridgeLocal SEO – Optimising Content for local

Patrick discussed Google’s change in focus towards localised search, what this has meant for businesses and some best practices for improving Local SEO. The talk also covered some fantastic examples of where businesses that have been able to utilise local content and the positive results that can come from local optimisation.


The talks were then be followed by a brilliant Q&A session with a whole range of questions from where’s best to host new content to technical implementation of HTML tagging.

If you’re interested in learning more about SEO or digital marketing in general, why not check out our Digital Marketing Resources or training?


About the Presenters

Patrick Langridge

Head of SEO, Screaming Frog

Patrick is Head of SEO at Screaming Frog, leading a team of talented search marketers and content specialists to deliver best in class technical SEO, creative content and cutting edge digital PR for clients. He has been an honorary frog for 6 years now, and is constantly challenged by the fluid nature of the SEO industry.

Kapwom Dingis

Head of SEO, Uprise Up

Kapwom, head of SEO at upriseUP has a vast background in technical and on page SEO with years of experience working with well-known brands such as Krispy Kreme and Bon Voyage Travel. Since working with Uprise Up he has been involved in the strategic implementation of SEO tactics to improve the organic performance of several clients’ websites.

Grace Gibbons

Founder, Bounce Productions

Grace runs a video marketing company called Bounce. An experienced film-maker, Grace trained at the BBC before working for 8 years in the freelance broadcast sector, producing and directing on programmes such as the BAFTA-award winning series Gogglebox, One Born Every Minute & Watchdog.  Grace now uses her documentary background experience to help businesses and charities convey the essence of who they are through video marketing.

Ed Coles

Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Uprise Up

Having graduated with a degree in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour from the University of Reading, Ed joined upriseUP and has since used his extensive SEO, PPC and Social Media knowledge to ensure the successful execution of a number of key campaigns. Brands Ed has worked with include ASOS, Ten Health & Fitness & RVS.

Konrad Sanders

Founder, The Creative Copywriter

Konrad is the CEO and Content Strategist at The Creative Copywriter, and has a pretty darn creative noggin on his shoulders. His gang of word-slingin’ cowboys know how to compel, convince and convert customers through the power of content.

John Onion

Managing Director, Uprise Up

John is a specialist Digital Marketing Consultant with over fifteen years’ industry experience. John started his career in the commercial sector, working for major media planning and buying agencies on clients including BT, Intel, Barclays and Canon. Realising that traditional agencies struggled to respond to the constantly shifting digital landscape, he created Uprise Up to focus on the growing needs of clients.



John Onion, Uprise Up

Content Pitfalls: What to Avoid When Creating Content

Ed Coles, Uprise Up

How to Create Effective Video Content

Grace Gibbons, Bounce Productions

Writing for SEO

Konrad Sanders, The Creative Copywriter

Actionable SEO Content Takeaways

Kapwom Dingis, Uprise Up

Local SEO: Optimising Content for Local

Patrick Langridge, Screaming Frog

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Brighton SEO Key Takeaways – April 2017

Brighton SEO 2017

Brighton SEO Highlights

While many lessons were learned at Brighton SEO (the April 2017 edition), there was definitely one that stood out above everything else – Remember to test your t-shirt cannon before you host an event (sorry Kelvin!).

In all seriousness, Brighton SEO was an event that was full of great knowledge and ideas to take away. Many expert speakers with engaging topics were present and I’m going to do my best to summarise some of the more useful information I took away from the event.

The events I attended were as follows;

  1. The Future of Search
  2. Content
  3. SERP’s
  4. Link Building


While each of the sessions were informative and enjoyable, we all had our ‘aha’ moments. Here are mine:


Ranking for the Answer Box


This was a talk I particularly enjoyed, as I am getting more clients who have quick answer boxes showing up for some of their key search terms. Some of the key action points from this talk by Adrian Phipps included –

Write in the correct format – 82% of information that appears in the answer box is in the form of paragraphs, 11% in the form of lists (especially bullet points) and 8% in the form of tables. This lets us know how we want to produce our content.

The first 100 words are key – Aim to answer your audience’s questions within the first 100 words of content. Where this is done correctly the chances of showing up in the answer box increase significantly.

Question the page title – Put in simple English, include the question being answered in the page title. This highlights to Google in no uncertain way what the relevance of the on page content is.

Look to answer related questions – By answering questions people in your niche are looking for you are more likely to improve engagement metrics and ensure that Google see your webpage as relevant for the search query you want to rank for.

Target 1,200+ words – Google seem to reward longer content, as long as it provides value of course. Look to thoroughly answer the question(s) your audience is asking.

User intent should guide what you do – Remember that user intent is the foundation of SEO (where there is motivation, needs and wants)

Don’t’ forget tried and tested SEO practices – In the bid to rank for the Answer Box, don’t forget to have health checks on your website. Make sure your page speed is good, there are no duplicates to be found and you are redirecting deleted pages correctly. There are many other things to check but just having good SEO practice as your foundation will give you a good chance of appearing in the answer box.

Building Backlinks without a Budget


Probably my favourite talk at Brighton SEO was by Sam Charles, who is a popular blogger that gave some quintessential tips on approaching webmasters for backlinks.

Put yourself in the webmaster’s shoes – One of the most surprising things I heard at Brighton SEO was the amount of time most bloggers are propositioned daily. Imagine owning a small blog that is thriving and getting 20 – 30 emails per day from people who clearly want a backlink from your website. Next time you’re approaching blogger keep this in the back of your mind.

It helps explain why most bloggers don’t even respond to a query, if it’s not original and of value to them. So make sure you are offering great value to the blogger.

Honesty is a must – Most people that approach bloggers aren’t fully upfront with who they are and what they’re goal is. Being honest, is essential in getting bloggers who work with you. Most bloggers, will do a little research on whoever is supposed to be approaching them. At the end of the day, when you ask for that backlink you’re going to have to state which website you want it pointing to. If you’re not honest from the jump off it will begin to show-off.

What can you offer – If someone is going to be sending backlinks to you, what benefit are they going to be getting from the trade-off? This can be as simple as amazing content, however in such cases, be sure to have links prepared where you can send them for a review of your writing style. On the other hand, it can be as complex as offering your services to them (if you’re an SEO person you can run an audit, if you’re a lawyer maybe offer them advice on incorporating their business).

Ego bait them – This one may not work for too long but it’s still worth a go. Create a list of top bloggers in your niche and include some of the key websites you want to get backlinks from. Tweet them to let them know about your post. It panders to the ego, which is one of the best ways to get people to act.


Content Distribution PlanDistribution Arrow


What are you trying to achieveDifferent websites are going to have different goals when creating a content distribution plan. Some key ones are building backlinks, building brand awareness, increasing organic traffic levels and improving keyword positioning.

Knowing what you’re KPI’s are will also stop you from wandering away from your initial goals. Set these from the start (with a little flexibility in case they prove to be unrealistic).

Who are your audienceIf your content is going to be effective it needs to resonate with your target audience. Make sure all content you produce is written in a style and format that your target audience can easily digest. For example if you’re targeting early teens (13-15) you might not want to produce 2,000+ word articles without images/videos to break up the content (you might not want to do that for adults either, to be fair).

Making these considerations ahead of time will ensure you have a much higher chance of producing successful content.

Find out who key influencers areBy identifying key influencers in your niche you’ll be able to get your most valuable content in front of more eyeballs. Contact these people, build relationships (by offering to help them before asking for anything in return) and you’ll find you perform much better in the long run.

Decide on distribution channelsAgain, if you’ve done your homework and know your audience and how they digest content, you’ll be able to select the correct distribution channels to better reach them.

While there was so much more picked up from this year’s Brighton SEO, the above is more than enough to help you do your job that much better (if you’re in the SEO space). If you didn’t go to Brighton SEO this time, make sure you get down there next time. You’ll find it’s well worth it.



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Rich Snippets & Structured Data Markup

What is Micro data?

What is Microdata?


In my last blog on optimising for voice search, I mentioned utilising microdata – but what exactly is microdata? Microdata is a type of structured data mark-up which can be used to add additional information to your organic listings. These little extra bits of information at the bottom of your results are known as ‘Rich Snippets’.


Types of rich snippet & Schema

One of the great things about rich snippets is that there is a wide selection of different microdata available which can be used. Below are some examples of the different types of schema:



Product & Availability





Rich snippets don’t actually have a direct impact on your SEO performance, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful. One of the main benefits from rich snippets is that they gain the users attention. In many cases, they simply allow your listing to stand out from the crowd, with the use of photos, videos, ratings and even by just taking up more room in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This all ends up making your listing more clickable and as a result will help increase your CTR.

Having a higher CTR, with good engagement metrics once the user lands on your page can positively impact the performance of the website, as it signals to search engines the relevance of your website to a specific search query.

By being able to display more data in your listing, you’re able to provide the user with much more useful information. This means that when they click your listing they have a better idea of what they’re going to get from it. When they then land on your page they are less likely to ‘bounce’ and leave your page as they already know what kind of content they’re going to get.

Not only do rich snippets help the user understand the type of content on the page, but search engines too are able to better identify of the content and theme of the page. This only furthers the crawl spider’s knowledge of your page and will help them identify your relevancy for when users next make a search. You may even notice that Google begins to pull all of this information from structured data into their Knowledge Graph on the right hand side of the SERPs.



It’s also worth noting, Google have hinted that in the future rich snippets may become a factor in their ranking algorithm, so structured data markup is definitely something to consider.

So how do I go about introducing rich snippets on my site? Well the good news is it’s really simple. Just go to schema.org and view the range of different types of mark-up available, copy the code and paste it into your website’s header – that’s it!

Google also offer several free tools (Structured Data Testing Tool & Structured Data Markup Helper) to help you create, test and manage your use of structured data if you’re not too familiar with rich snippets.

If you’re thinking of implementing rich snippets and structured data markup on your site and have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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How User Experience Impacts SEO Performance

How User Experience Effects SEO

How User Experience Impacts SEO Performance

Is the world of online search heading towards a new reign; where user experience, not content, is king?

I’m not saying that content isn’t vital – it is. You can’t sell a product you don’t have, you can’t get a click to a webpage you haven’t created, and no-one wants to read an article three years out of date; Google will still rank newer, fresher content above old. However, in an online world where everyone is creating original content, how do you get a competitive edge? User experience; it’s been estimated that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and produce as the key brand differentiator.

Stand out from the crowd by optimising your user experience! Here are some of our top tips:


Optimise For Mobile

Google’s current pet project; everything should be optimised for mobile. Their choice of undertaking is no mistake; time spent on mobiles overtook desktops & laptops in 2014, yet, according to this infographic, 96% of smartphone users have encountered sites that weren’t designed for mobile devices.

Rather than struggle through using your site 79% will search for another site to complete the task, likely a competitor, or are 5 times more likely to just abandon the task altogether. Think of all the wasted traffic and missed conversions, purely because your site isn’t optimised for mobile. Stop your audience clicking away in frustration.


Target The Right Audience

Target your audience – not someone else’s! If you type LOL, be sure you’re talking to a millennial; if your average audience is 80 years old and looking for knitting patterns, they might not understand. Use the language your audience will most appreciate, whether that is full, eloquent sentences or short text speak.

It’s not just about language – target your content to your audience’s demographics, and make sure you drill down into those demographics. Saying that your audience likes sports is far too generic; if your audience are interested in Rory McIlroy’s chip shot, but you start posting about LeBron James shooting hoops, you’ve lost them.

Engage your users with language and specific content targeted to them; entice them to stay longer and click to more pages, and you will be rewarded with higher rankings.


Page Design

Do you remember what a teenage girls’ MySpace page looked like? Hold that image in your mind, and then go the complete opposite direction. No-one wants to look at a flashy page full of gifs and a sparkly background. Not only will this destroy your page’s loading time (which Google measures and uses to rank your page) but when your audience does finally get there, they will click away before they’ve seen even one gif loop.

Your page should be clean, easy to read and pleasing to look at. Use easy-to-read colours, fonts and font sizes; have a spaced-out layout with plenty of white space, also known as negative space. White space isn’t necessarily white; it is just free of any content. Google’s homepage is over 88% white space, drawing you eye to the most important part – the search bar. Work out what’s most important on your page and, instead of making it bold or bright, make it stand out by clearing everything around it.


Navigation & Flow

Following on from Page Design, your headers and navigation panes should be straightforward to understand and use; don’t lose your audience amid a sea of irrelevant webpages. When considering how user experience impacts SEO, a digital marketer will tell you to make your website ‘flow’ and make it ‘easy to navigate’. Regardless of various sailing puns I could include in this section, this is good, if a little generic, advice.

What you need to do here is to ensure that you have all the usual navigation sections – navigation menu on the top or side, logo link back to the home page, a search bar etc. It has been reported in this B2B Web Usability Report that, after reaching a company’s website via a referral site, 50% of visitors will use the navigation menu to orient themselves; so make sure that your navigation menu is simple to use! When first getting to a website, 47% of people go straight to ‘Products and Services’, to your homepage and 16% to ‘About us’; have these pages prominently in your navigation menu.

Don’t underestimate a search bar; if a user wants something specific and is having trouble finding it, they will look to the search bar. Don’t give them the chance to move away from your site and go to a competitor; 61% of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site.

Flowing is harder to define – but I’ll give you an example of not flowing; imagine a site with a bright, blue homepage with a link. Clicking on that link takes you to a page all in black and dark grey – are you even on the same site? The same thing applies to content – make sure what you’re saying on one page doesn’t contradict what you say on the next.

The principle of flow is to have as few clicks as possible between the user coming onto your website to converting; whether that is purchasing a product or downloading a PDF. For example, having a best-seller displayed as a recommended product helps it be seen, clicked on and purchased. Perhaps you keep the ‘Add to Cart’ button prominently displayed on each product page or a download link on every page; customise to your website and make it easy for your audience to convert!


Media, Social Media & Links

A relevant picture or infographic is great, but have you considered having a video on your page? Having an appropriate and engaging video is just one way of ensuring users enjoy their visit to your site and, if you include social media sharing buttons, it’s a great way to get more traffic from a referral on that first users social media.

Also, link your audience to your own social media pages if they are well-kept and up-to-date. Recommendations are one of the best ways to increase your audience size, and not only on social media. Make it easy for your audience to let their friends know that you exist!


To Summarise

  • Optimise for mobile
  • Target your audience’s demographics and preferences
  • Have a clean, easy-to-read page design
  • Use clear and simple navigation
  • Make use of social media, videos, infographics
  • Link to other relevant pages


Your users will thank you!


If you are looking to have a UX audit of your website to identify ways to improve user engagement, get in touch with Uprise Up today to find out how we can help.


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Voice Search & Optimising Your Site

The Power of Voice Search

The Power of Voice Search

Voice search is something that is becoming increasingly popular and here at Uprise Up we believe that it’s only going to get bigger. In May 2016 at their I/O event, Google announced that 20% of mobile search queries were made using voice search, and ComScore estimate that a half of all searches by 2020 will be made by voice. This has all been fast tracked with the likes of Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa hitting the market.

With more searches being made using voice search, optimising your site is going to be increasingly important. So what can you do to make your website voice search friendly? Here are 5 quick tips to get you on your way:


Utilise Microdata

One of the most important things to consider when optimising for voice search is allowing your site to be found by Google. The easiest way to do this is to utilise Microdata. Microdata is information such as your location, phone number, opening hours, offers, price etc. and by having this on your site Google is able to identify your value therefore making your site much more relevant for users. The use of Microdata also allows you to feature in Google’s knowledge graph which, appearing at the top the SERPs, can have a great impact on your organic traffic.

There is a whole range of microdata at your disposal, but by choosing the ones which are most relevant to your business you should start to see an improvement. You can find more information on microdata and the various types available at schema.org.




Make your site mobile friendly

If your site isn’t mobile friendly yet, this is something you should really look into. Not only is Google’s Mobile First index coming into full force, but with 20% of voice searches conducted on mobile and with this figure only looking to increase, this should be a priority. By making your site mobile friendly or responsive you greatly improve the users experience on the platform where they’re going to use voice search and as a result this will be rewarded by Google.


Optimise for Local

With mobile, people are more likely to be searching on the go and looking for services, products and information near them – this is also the case for voice search. Local search is becoming increasingly important to search engines, and this is something that Google have been putting a lot of effort into with their Possum algorithm update – helping provide legitimate relevant results by aggressively penalising non-genuine listing. By making your site optimised for local, you’ll not only improve your traffic for local listings, but you’ll also improve performance with voice search.


Using the right keywords

Whether you’re searching on desktop or mobile, the language you use when searching is going to differ drastically. As mentioned in the previous point, optimising for local search is key. Therefore including local search terms in your on page content is important.

Google itself has suggested it will soon be releasing voice search volumes via search console. This could turn out to be a goldmine for certain businesses and services. Even if you don’t think you’ll get much business from voice search, optimising for it can only further benefit your business.

It’s the goal of Apple, Google and Amazon to think of their voice search engines as your very own personal assistant and this is where Siri, Alexa & Cortana come in. By giving your phone a personality, they want your experience to feel much more human and conversational. This ultimately ends up with search queries taking the form of questions. By using longer tail keywords based around search phrases and questions, Google will see your content as much more relevant to the user compared to a standard non-optimised web page.


Answer the questions

With user’s searches taking the form of questions, and easy way to optimise your site is to create content to directly answer them. Using third party tools such as Answer the Public can help identify and give you great insight into common questions and themes in your niche or business sector. By knowing what people will be looking for and what questions they’ll be asking, you can create content around them and increase your relevancy. A great way to do this is a Q&A or FAQ section on your site or even on the bottom of each topic page.


Many of these points are applicable to general best SEO practice and overall, with a general improvement to your SEO you will see an improvement in your voice search performance. That said there are definite ways in which you can further boost your performance.

If you’re thinking of beginning on site optimisation on your site and would like to know more, or if you simply have any questions on voice search, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you and we’re more than happy to answer any questions!


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Google’s “Mobile First Index” & What It Means For You

What is the ‘Mobile First Index’?


In September 2016, Google announced that it would be separating its search index into separate versions. The mobile index, which will be regularly updated and a separate, secondary index for desktops.

Mobile compatibility and search results have always played an important role in how well a website ranks organically, but with Google shifting from desktop, mobile is gaining ever-growing importance. In October 2015, Google’s Amit Singhal highlighted this even further, mentioning that over 50% of all monthly Google searches are now carried out on a mobile device.

With the ‘mobile first index’ planned for a full roll-out, expected to be sometime in 2017, it is imperative to ensure that you are not only aware of the changes but know exactly what you need to check to ensure you are not negatively impacted by one of the major Google updates in recent times.

Below are some of the key questions you should be asking:


What if my mobile content differs from desktop content?

With the mobile first index, Google will be giving priority to all mobile pages ahead of the desktop site – this means that if your mobile content differs from desktop you may see a difference in SEO performance and ranking.

Google understand that mobile content will naturally differ from the desktop version and so are providing more weighting to expandable/collapsible content. This won’t, however, solve all of your issues. Google are currently recommending sites take a responsive approach to their site – this will ultimately mean that your content will be the same across all platforms and will also mean that your pages will automatically be mobile friendly.


What to do if you don’t have a mobile compatible website?

If you’re looking at the mobile first index thinking ‘I don’t have a mobile site or a site that’s mobile friendly, how will this affect me?’, there is little need to worry, but it is still worth being cautious. If your site isn’t mobile compatible or doesn’t have any mobile pages, Google will still index your desktop site.

We recommend making your site at least mobile responsive in preparation for the switch just to be safe. Google’s Mobile Friendly Test is a great tool to identify where your site is and isn’t mobile friendly and where you can improve.


How much will my rankings be affected by this?

Gary Illyes from Google has gone on record to say that there will be minimal  changes to rankings, even after the mobile first index is fully rolled out. However, as with any algorithm update there may be some fluctuation near launch as Google try to iron out any kinks. Ultimately though, Google don’t want to be changing rankings with this move, they are simply updating how they index – the full impact of this though is yet to be seen.


Site Speed?

Site speed and page load speed have always been an important factor in the SEO of any site, but with the introduction of the mobile first index it will be even more important. Mobile users expect pages to load quickly and as a result, Google reward pages and sites which are able to provide the best user experience. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) are a prime example of this.


Other factors to consider

Structured Data – Having structured data on your site gives the search engines have a better understanding of your website. By ensuring that both the mobile and desktop versions of your website use structured data, the knowledge graph of your website/business is improved and will mean that the mobile version of your page performs at an optimum level.

Indexability – Another key factor is to check whether both the mobile and desktop versions of your website are indexable by the search engines. Check that your robots.txt file is not blocking any pages you want picked up by Googlebot.


If you’re looking for more information on Google’s Mobile first index, Google have provided a more detailed run down on their webmaster’s blog.

If you’d like to discuss in more detail how these changes may affect your site, please do contact us.

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Google update Penguin, and add a Possum to the mix…

Another Addition to the Google Zoo


Not too recently I put together a post about the plethora of Google algorithms – most lovingly named after zoo animals – and ended with the closing remark that we’d be back to update you on any further changes from Google HQ. Well, they have been busy and apparently I’m a man of my word so let’s get started.


Google Possum

It seems like most of the community are in agreement that Google have revamped the way they filter local search results in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Specifically, businesses that fall outside a city boundary are being penalized less for ranking locally within that city. In a similar vein, the location of the searcher is becoming more prevalent for ranking within the 3-pack search.

Local business filters for look to be strongly improved with Google Possum. For example, there are currently more than 180 businesses registered at 33 St James’ Square in London. This is clearly not genuine, and Possum will now more aggressively penalize listings at addresses like this to provide legitimate, relevant local results.

possumGoogle Penguin

Google have officially confirmed that Penguin, one of their search algorithms, now runs in real-time. Historically, the rankings that Penguin assigned would need to be refreshed for any positive – or negative – SEO changes to be evaluated and for any search ranks to change.

Alongside this change is a slightly more confusing one. The official notes say “Penguin is now more granular”, continuing “Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.” The general consensus is that this is a somewhat roundabout way of saying that Penguin now penalizes pages for spam heavy content rather than traditionally penalizing site-wide for individual page infractions.

Also included in their official blog post is the handy phrase, “it also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes”. This isn’t too much to shout about, it just means that every time sites get re-crawled and re-indexed, Penguin will automatically re-align its rankings instead of being manually refreshed. This puts Penguin in line with Panda, for which Google stopped commenting on once it was introduced into the core algorithm.

The blog post closed with the phrase “webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites”. This is a hopeful goal and maybe if more people and more work went this way over learning how to falsely maintain a good ranking on a poor site, Google – and the user – would be both be better off.



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A tour around the Google zoo…

Google’s Algorithm Updates


To a lot of people – myself included prior to this job – Google is some sort of magic box for every possible query and search under the sun. “How does it work?” is usually met with shrugged shoulders and a puzzled expression but not today. So let’s get into it.

People are adding new things to the web every second of every day. A new blog, website page, a new Facebook post, a Tweet, or generally any fresh content at all. Alongside this, Google bots crawl around the web searching for and indexing fresh content, following links across the web and keeping track of everything they touch including (but by no means limited to); links to and from pages, the level of quality content on a site, any ad copy present, and the user quality and interaction.

All of this provides the Webmasters at Google with a score of how relevant and valuable a site is, and this goes on all the time. Google are pretty good at keeping interested parties up to date with algorithm changes and overhauls and generally announce the development of any major updates so let’s look at a few of the big ones.





Now we are in a position to dive into the development of this web-index. In 2010, Google announced ‘Caffeine’ – the first iteration. When introducing the change, Google cited radical web expansion not just web extension, saying “the average webpage is richer and more complex” and as such a better, more dynamic and intelligent algorithm was needed.




The first overhaul to Caffeine came in 2011 with the rollout of Google Panda – named after an engineer who worked on the project. The key targets of Panda were sites with spam-heavy, duplicate or otherwise poor-quality content and the aim was to improve the quality of search results towards those sites with solid, original content. For interested readers (with some time to kill), the patent overview is available here. At the time, it was estimated that v1.0 overhauled the search rankings for 12% of all Google’s search traffic. After receiving a fair amount of backlash from Webmasters who thought they had been unfairly penalized, Google published some guidelines to help websites understand the changes and avoid being falsely targeted – available here. Some of these sites reported seeing a drop in traffic of over 90% after the rollout of Panda.




Panda continued merrily sifting, searching, and indexing the web for a year or so before Google Penguin arrived. The aim of Penguin was to decrease traffic to websites that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. These had been heavily abused since Google Panda released as Webmasters began manipulating the algorithm to falsely promote their sites. These techniques have since been referred to as ‘black-hat SEO’, one example of this is link-farming which involves cheating a ranking feature in Panda aimed at rewarding sites with quality external links. Schemes for ‘link-sharing’ began to pop-up whereby a webpage could pay for solid links to other websites in the scheme in exchange for theirs. In this way, a group of poor-quality websites could rise up the search rankings and appear above quality sites. Penguins revamp hit around 3.1% of all English searches.




Google’s zoo of algorithm updates was then joined by Hummingbird. This addition represents the development of semantically intelligent search where the algorithm started to determine the meaning of entire queries over just analysing and searching word-by-word, with the hope that search would provide pages that answer the meaning of a question and not just those pages that hit each keyword.

By now, Google wanted to answer simple questions within the results page itself and Hummingbird was the first step. It is Hummingbird at work when you google ‘Height of Ama Dablam’ and the following result shows inside the results page.





Another bird to add to the roost, Google Pigeon arrived to promote local businesses in Google search. “Aimed at providing a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results” this update also overhauled the Google Maps feature to provide relevant search results based on location and local directories. Pigeon is in action in the picture below for a search about local gyms. The impact this had on local business was huge, with many looking to solidify their presence in directories and business listings to help Google promote them higher up the search.




The aptly named ‘Pirate’ is googles answer to growing pressure from Hollywood and the entertainment industry to combat pirated content online. The algorithm identifies those sites with a large number of valid copyright notices against them and penalizes them in the search rankings for it. Alongside steering traffic away from illegal sources of media, the hope was that Google would promote the sources of genuine music, video and film sales.

A huge number of updates and revisions have been made since Pirate was installed – Google update their engine hundreds of times a year – and we’d be here until the cows come home talking you through them – but luckily a handy changelog can be found here for the interested reader!



So we’ve covered some of the heavy hitters inside Google HQ, the real question is what’s next?

One thing we can be pretty sure of is that more development time will be put into updates like Hummingbird with a focus on semantic search improvements and answering searches inside the SERP itself.  Another likely bet, given the tidal shift towards mobile, is more innovation towards making web search more friendly and easy for mobile users. Whatever the case, you can be sure Google are working on something so come back when it drops and we’ll keep you updated !

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BrightonSEO – Our Top 9 Takeaways

Brighton SEO Highlights – September 16


Last Friday saw the 13th Brighton SEO conference take place. Having outgrown the Brighton Dome, this year and having ‘come a long way from a room in a pub’, the conference was held at the Brighton Centre. If you’re not familiar with Brighton SEO, it’s a place where all forms of SEO geeks can gather and discuss all things SEO.

On the programme this year there were several speakers from around the world talking about all manner or SEO topics, from the importance of local SEO to the future of SEO and the potential dystopia associated with it.



Due to the sheer amount of information on the day I’ve decided to break it down into a nice list of the top 9 takeaways from the conference (in no particular order):


Never stop link building outreach

Even once you’ve hit your target number of backlinks to a page, article, post, don’t stop – there are many sites which will still link to you and not including them is just causing you to miss out. Local and regional press are a prime example – often freelance journalists write for multiple papers and sites, both local and national. By providing continued outreach and building relationships with sources, you can open doors you never thought were there.


Site migration doesn’t necessarily always have to a big impact on site performance

Whilst often site migrations result in lower rankings and visibility, this is usually the result of poor planning and not involving SEO from the offset. As we and other agencies have found, instances where SEO is well implemented from the start and is involved in the design process show far more consistency in performance across the migration. SEO and 301s needs to be integrated early on.


The ever increasing importance of local search

Local search is becoming more and more important to Google and other search engines, and as a result they are starting to put more weight behind local listings. This has led to a huge increase in the number of tools and services available to help manage listings and to capitalise on this ever growing sector – many of which featured at Brighton.


Google don’t give consistent – or even correct advice on how the algorithm works/is being developed

This is something that we’ve seen before, and at Brighton plenty of other agencies were also talking about where Google’s advice on things such as backlinks and 302s etc. simply aren’t borne out by the results.


The continued direction from Google (and other search engines) is to pull the data that users are looking for into the search engine rather than serve people to a different site

Ecommerce is moving in this direction too and we expect the ultimate goal to be where the products of Tesco, Asda and others are pulled into Google and the entire journey, including payment, is kept within Google – in a manner closer to Amazon or eBay. With Google’s phenomenal reach, this would place the search engine in an exceedingly powerful place across all ecommerce.


Our job is increasingly becoming the role of a scientist

The algorithm is too varied, inconsistent across sectors and quickly evolving to implement ‘best practice’ any more. This was a main topic of a very good Keynote speech by Will Critchlow at Distilled. For us as an agency, we are moving away from an ‘audit to pass on to clients’ model and more into a proactive way of working with clients where we can implement most of the changes ourselves, keep on top of changes to the algorithm and test what we work on with clients, making the amends needed as we go.


Content duplication for eCommerce is a big no-no

Whilst this might seem common sense for most sites, it is often overlooked when it comes to ecommerce and shopping and can even result in a penalty from Google if you’re not careful. Unfortunately for ecommerce, canonicals won’t cut it either, so avoid duplicate content at all costs! If you have a product that covers multiple categories, it’s recommended to use long-tail flat URLs e.g. www.upriseup.co.uk/Black-Silk-Evening-Maxi-Dress as opposed to having both upriseup.co.uk/Black-Dress/Maxi-Dress and upriseup.co.uk/Evening-Dress/.


Descriptions are crucial for Shopping

The 150-character Product Titles are what’s going to entice the user to click on your ad or product, so they need to be fully utilised and filled with relevant info and keywords. By using an ad redirect option on the Merchant Feed you can also send top-of-funnel searches to a ‘category page’ to direct users to the top items. Speaking of which, by ensuring that the most relevant top-selling item is the most relevant item you’re able to further boost potential sales.


The future of HTTP & HTTP/2

Currently, if your website is performing badly on HTTP, the upgrade to HTTP/2 isn’t going to fix your site – it will still perform badly. To even be able to use HTTP/2 your site will also need to have HTTPS so if you’re thinking of making the jump, this is a big deciding factor. Many agencies have described the move from HTTP to HTTPS as essentially a new site migration which can cause massive issues down the line if not implemented properly. You can see the effects of HTTP/2 here.

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AMPing up mobile page load speed…

Mobile Page Speed

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

The attention of web users is hard enough to grab on a desktop display, and now as mobile web overtakes desktop as the most common user interface, the attention of the mobile user has to be taken into account.

The processing power of a mobile device is much less than a laptop or desktop computer but more and more frequently people use their mobiles and tablets for information. Every time a webpage takes too long to load and the user bounces from the webpage, that site loses a visitor, the advertisers lose an impression and everyone loses the opportunity to earn any money.

The good folks over at Google HQ realised this was an issue for everyone on the web – most of all the user who expects fast, reliable content anytime on any device. After discussion with content providers, publishers and companies, Google announced an open-source project called ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’ or AMP. The aim was to streamline UX across the web, and especially on content rich pages with video, graphics advertising.

The importance of this functionality is paramount on pages like BBC breaking news, or the live commentary of a sports game. When news and information is updated in real-time across a multitude of devices, the framework for that delivery has to be robust enough that no user is disadvantaged and no updates are delayed.

Google released an official blog introducing the AMP changes that can be found here, AMP also have an extensive FAQ section on their website which covers a lot of information about purpose and implementation. To give you an idea of scope, the companies below are just a handful that listed as publishers of AMP.

AMP companies

So how will this impact digital marketing and online advertising?

A report from Google/SOASTA found that 40% of consumers will leave a page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, but it also found that in July the average retail site in the US loaded in 6.9 seconds. This friction between service and user expectation only hurts digital advertising and online business. The report continues with two key findings regarding conversion rates on mobile pages; the more elements on a page, and the number of images present. Google define pages like this as ‘heavy’, leading to cumbersome load times and a slow user experience, it was found that sessions with converting users had 38% fewer images that those non-converters.

The full google report can be found here, and continues with a section on bounce rate factors and another with action points for the mobile marketer.AMP blog logo


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