It’s that time of year! Time to look back and reflect on all that has happened over the last 366 days (it was a leap year!). For us at Hammersmith, it means that it’s time to count down our most popular blog posts! We posted, you read, shared, and commented to let us know what you were most interested in reading. So without further delay, here are the top 10 Hammersmith Support blogs of 2020!

#10 Website Accessibility

Consumers who are differently-abled account for 15% of the 4.66 billion internet users in the world. Ensuring that your website is accessible to anyone is essential for good business, and good SEO.

#9 Certified Woman-Owned Business

Find out what it takes to be a Certified Woman-Owned Business and the benefits that the certification had for Hammersmith Support.

#8 Blogs and SEO

You know that having a blog is great for SEO, but did you know that the blog structure can contribute to SEO as well?

#7 The Roots of Women in Tech

Did you know that modern-day Wi-Fi was developed by an actress during WWII? Click to read more about how women are at the roots of today’s tech.

#6 Business Blogs

Still on the fence as to why your business needs a blog? We’ve got your answers here.

#5 The Future of Women in Tech

Even in today’s seemingly male-led world of tech, the future for women in the industry is bright.

#4 An Interview with Allison Kierman of Kierman Law

We loved interviewing Allison Kierman of Kierman Law about her best advice for female entrepreneurs and business owners, and we know you will enjoy it too!

#3 An Interview with Founder, Heather Locke

It’s no surprise to us that one of the top posts of 2020 was an interview with Hammersmith Support founder, Heather Locke!

#2 What to Ask When You Have a Website Built

Even though you’ve hired a professional to design your business website, there are still some questions you will want to ask to ensure that your site is built the best way for you and your business. Read 5 questions by clicking here, and we have 5 more available in a download for you too!

Drum roll please! And the number one most read blog post of 2020 is……

#1 Google Ranking Factors

It’s no surprise to us that everyone is curious about how Google ranks websites. We’re here to help take the mystery out of the process by bringing you what you need to know about Google Ranking Factors and how you can work with your site to boost your SEO organically.

Thank You!

We want to say thank you for reading our posts and letting us know what you want to know more about! Got more ideas? Email us at info@hammersmithsupport.com to tell us what you want to read more about in 2021.

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice! Gonna find if your site is naughty or nice…

While it may be a lesser-known holiday song, it is true: Santa does put websites on the Naughty List too! Not sure which side of the list your site will be on? We’ve got a list of offenses that will get your site on the Naughty List for sure. But don’t worry, Hammersmith Support can help get it on the Nice List just in time for the holidays!

Naughty: No SSL Certificate

Nice: Updated Certificate

No matter what you use your website for, lead generation only or for full-scale e-commerce, you really need an updated SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and it’s the “s” in “https.” Not having an updated certificate can leave your site vulnerable to hackers and malware. An expired SSL certificate will result in some browsers blocking access to your site and displaying a warning that your site is not secure. Lastly, Google Ranking Factors hate unsecured sites. Bad security leads to bad SEO.

Naughty: No Image SEO

Nice: Alt Text, Captions, Descriptions

Web crawlers utilized by Google Ranking Factors just love image information. And including all of the descriptive information in each image – tedious as it may be – is worth it for the boost in SEO. Crawlers are bots and they can only interpret so much from an image. Giving written descriptions helps them return correct information faster, which is a great boost for your SEO.

Naughty: Not Accessible

Nice: 100% Accessible

With nearly 15% of the 4.9 billion internet users in the world being differently-abled (that’s 735,000,000 for those doing the math), it just makes good sense to have your website accessibility certified. While they may seem like minor things to add to your site, these things can make a huge difference for users. Some accessibility requirements include text that’s able to be converted to audio, large print, or braille, tab navigation, and alt text on images.

Naughty: Stale Content

Nice: Fresh Content

There’s nothing a web crawler hates more than a stale website. Google Ranking Factors look at the content on your site from several angles, but age is a major factor. Keep your content fresh and updated by swapping out or adding images, creating blog content or adding testimonials.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

If you’re worried that your site might be on the naughty list this year, Hammersmith Support is here to help! Visit our site to book a free, 30-minute consultation and we’ll talk through your concerns as well as what options are available too.

If you’ve recently downloaded our “Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Web Designer,” you saw that one of the questions is what platform will my site be built on and why? It may seem like a silly question to ask, but it’s important for a lot of reasons! We’re excited to share with you why WordPress is the preferred platform for Hammersmith Support-built websites.

User Friendly 

Open-source (meaning the code for each page is visible and changeable) makes each site customizable, enabling the creation of unique and robust websites.

The WordPress admin panel has also evolved over the years to include a visual builder, which makes it easier to train clients how to add and update pages.

Mobile Friendly

WordPress has created a mobile-friendly structure at its core so that each and every site can be optimized for mobile viewing.

Most themes are already mobile-ready, but in addition, the WordPress editor can also be accessed and used from a phone or tablet.

Built-in SEO and Google Loves It

WordPress automatically creates a page structure with built-in header, footer and structure tags that Google loves. With an easy-to-use plugin like Yoast or SmartCrawl, you can further define page descriptions and titles that produce even better results, ensuring your site is optimized for SEO.

Highly Customizable

In addition to being open source, there are thousands of plugins available to extend WordPress’ core functionality. You can also develop your own plugins and add customization specific to your business.

Built-in Blog

Each site comes with a built-in blog page, making it easy to add content, images, and expand your library, organically boosting your SEO in the process.

Support

Because WordPress is open source, there are knowledgeable developers all over the world as well as endless information online. Generally if you have an issue, you can use Google to find the answer.

Compatible with Many 3rd Party Software Products

WordPress plays well with most providers, making it easy to invite site visitors to sign up for your newsletter, conduct e-commerce business, and integrate marketing strategies. Some great examples of 3rd party software include WooCommerce and Stripe for e-commerce and Mailchimp, Constant Contact and HubSpot for marketing integration.

Why Hammersmith Support

We’re always happy to answer your questions! If you are curious about your own site, or are thinking about a new one, we’re here to help! Schedule a free consultation through our website to talk through your questions.

Simply having a blog on your business website is good for providing value for your clients and boosting your site’s SEO. But you can get even more bang for your SEO buck by physically structuring the blog with some of these layout tips:

Headers

Headers are great for both readers and web crawlers. Visually, they break up large blocks of content. But they also make it easy for readers to scan for information, making it more likely that they will stick around and read the post. In addition, web crawlers love using headers to analyze and rank information. Happy web crawlers = good SEO.

Signal Words

Much like headers, signal words such as first, second, last, in addition, etc. are good for both readers and ranking. When drafting your post, think of signal words as how you can lead readers through the content. Use signal words in chronological order to make the flow clear.

Content Length

Blog posts with a minimum of 300 words are ideal. Posts with 1000+ words are a plus! Posts of that length are considered cornerstone content, or the best content on your site – also the posts you would want to be ranked highest on your site. Cornerstone content should include keywords that most relate to your site.

Title Length

This one may be surprising to some, but the length of your blog title matters. Depending on the length of your post, you may lose a potential reader if it’s not descriptive enough – on the flip side, if the title is too long, it will likely get cut off in the title tag displayed in search engine results. Keeping titles 50-60 characters is the sweet spot between descriptive and fully displayed.

Categories + Tags

Much like headers, sorting blog posts into categories and then tagging each one is good for readers and search engine ranking. Tags are basically keywords for that post. They should be no longer than 3 words, and 1 word is ideal. For example, some of the tags for this post are; blog, blogging, how to, SEO, web crawler, ranking, etc. The better your post is organized, the easier it is to be found.

Images and Their Descriptions

Images in a blog post are great for several reasons; they visually illustrate your post, and they also provide a break in the written content that is pleasing to the eye. But images are also important because they are a sneaky way of boosting SEO. When you upload an image to your post, be sure to fill out ALL of the information including Title, Description, Caption, and Alt Text. Learn more about each of these in our post “Image Information, What’s Important for SEO.”

Want More Blogging Tips?

Click over to our blog page and read “BW Concepts Guest Post: Blogging 101“. Also, catch up on “52 Reasons to Start a Blog.”

Have questions about how your website works? Hammersmith Support is offering free training sessions that include tips on how to maintain and understand your WordPress website.

Book your free WordPress training session today!

We’ve posted quite a bit about different ways to organically boost your SEO. And the one marketing tool that always checks the most boxes is a business blog.

Without a blog, your website has one link to your site, your URL. But if you posted a blog once a week for a year, you would have 52 links pointing back to your website. Fifty-two! That’s fifty-one additional ways that a potential customer could find your site. That’s huge.

In addition to the links back to your site, business blogs are great for a few more reasons. Here’s why.

SEO

Your website is constantly being crawled by search engines to analyze and categorize your site. The easier it is for a crawler to do this, the better chances your site will get returned when someone searches for a related topic. Google uses over 200 factors to analyze and then rank your site, including freshness of content, magnitude of updated information, and quality of content, especially grammar and punctuation. Blogs check off a lot of these Google Ranking Factors, making it an absolute must to include on your site.

Images

Speaking of SEO, having great images in your blogs not only boosts your SEO but it’s also an opportunity for you to share and add new images without having to redesign your website – meaning the images posted in your blog change often without having to update the main images on your site. Keeping a consistent feel across your site is important, but so is displaying new and exciting graphics. A blog is the perfect spot to keep your customers and readers up-to-date on what’s happening while maintaining the look and feel of your site.

Micro Content

Blog topics are a perfect way to feed your micro content (i.e. social media). Blogs are macro content because they are longer, more detailed posts. But those detailed posts can be broken down into bite-sized pieces and used to feed your micro content. For example, this post could be broken down by headings (images, SEO, links) and used for one to 3+ social media posts. The result is a consistent social media presence and cohesive message for your marketing.

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

Do you have a blog tab set up on your site? Let’s talk. Hammersmith Support’s comprehensive monthly maintenance can help get your blog set up, get your site on track, and keep it there with monthly check ups.

For web designers, the word schema makes sense. But for the rest of the world, schema may be a mystery. So first, let’s define some terms; according to Search Engine Journal, in terms of search marketing, schema is code markup that you add to your site’s pages to help search engines create more detailed descriptions of your content or data. Put more simply, it’s language that search engines understand. And if your site is easier for a search engine to read and understand, it will be able to better index your site.

So! Now that we understand schema, let’s dig in to local schema and why it’s helpful for your business.

What Is Local Schema?

Local schema is schema code that is specific to your local business. It codes things such as the hours your business is open, currency accepted, department information and so on. When potential customers come to your website, they see the standard information. But with local schema, a search engine will see not only that information but the background code as well. The easier the code is to read, the higher ranking a search engine can give your site.

Why Is Local Schema Helpful?

Just like any form of SEO, making your site easier for search engines to understand, index, and return results to a searcher is paramount. We have blogged quite a bit about organic ways to boost your SEO. Being able to add coded information to boost your SEO is just another tool to improve your site’s Google ranking.

In addition, improving the indexing of your site by search engines can improve the click rate to your website. And local schema, just like other types of organic SEO, is free. Unlike paid advertising, your website will be indexed faster and more easily, resulting in a higher search ranking.

Where to Go for Resources

While schema is purely code, there are several websites that can help you generate the correct local schema. Moreover, you can find helpful resources for testing your code:

Generate schema: https://technicalseo.com/tools/schema-markup-generator/

Test your results: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results

We Can Help

While Hammersmith Support is great at building websites, we’re also amazing at maintaining them! Contact us to talk through how we can help you and your site, including adding local schema to help clients find your business.

For so many businesses, it may be a slow or very slow time. But slow time doesn’t have to be wasted time. Utilizing newly open hours of your day by doing some work on your business website will ensure that it is in tip-top shape as things begin to rebound. Hammersmith Support has brought you many blog posts over the last year and we’ve gathered several that have great information about why and also how to get your website updated.

Enroll in Google Search Console and Google Analytics

Are you using either of these FREE tools from Google yet? If not, now is the perfect time to get rolling. Google Search Console will help you pinpoint any issues on your site and keep you updated should something go down. Google Analytics is great way to see where traffic to your site is coming from and more.

Look at SEO

If you’ve been neglecting your site’s search engine optimization, we’ve got a few ideas about how to fix that. First, read about what SEO is. Next, check out these organic (read: free) ways to boost your SEO.

Start Your Business Blog

You really do need that business blog! Not only is this a great way to reach out to customers and potential customers, blogs also feed your micro content (i.e. social media) and boost your SEO. Learn how to get started here.

Freshen Up Your Site

A stale site is not only bad for SEO, but it’s bad from a customer perspective too. If a potential client sees that your site never gets touched, it can be a huge red flag. There are some easy ways to update your site with new images, refreshed image information, a blog, new reviews from clients, updates to your “about” page, etc.

Get Some Support

Are there areas of your site that need a professional touch? Or is your site in need of a full overhaul or rebuild? Drop us a note, let us know what you’re thinking about and we’ll help make it a reality.

We’re here to help. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Google ranking factors

We’ve shared a lot about SEO on the Hammersmith Support blog: what it is, how to boost SEO organically, and how to use images for good SEO. Now we’re bringing you a few of the actual factors that Google uses to rank a site. As of 2019, there are 210 individual factors that Google uses to evaluate a website. Some are things we can all do for our websites, and we’ll detail those below. Others are best left to the website professionals! Here are 10(ish) of the Google Ranking Factors to consider for your business website:

Content Content Content

Content is evaluated in several ways, but we’re going to group a few topics together:

A. Freshness: how recently your website has been updated is HUGE. In fact, Google even puts the date of the most recent update in the search results. If that doesn’t tell you how much Google values fresh content, we don’t know what would. At minimum, content should be updated 1-2 times a month.

B. Update Magnitude: This goes hand in hand with freshness. Changing a few words here and there isn’t going to cut it. Making significant updates to content, like adding new testimonials, images, blogs, or multimedia, will help the most.

C. Quality: Grammar, Spelling: This one is a *little* contested. While some reports say Google doesn’t rank quality, others include quality as part of End User Experience. Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to have good grammar.

Links

There’s a fine line between not enough links in a post and too many. The baseline is 1 internal (linking to another part of your site) and 1 external (linking to an outside website) link per post. BUT, if you have the opportunity to link to more than one internal page or external site because they’re related to the topic of your post, then there should be more than 1-2 links. Linking to reputable and authoritative sites (news outlets, educational institutions, established businesses) increases the rank as well.

Security

Obviously security is important for your end user safety and your website’s lifespan, but Google also ranks secure sites higher. All the more reason to make sure your URL has that important “s” in the http.

Page Speed

Having a website that loads quickly is usually targeted at end users to keep them from bouncing. But Google also ranks the page speed. If your site has a lot of images or other multimedia, software downloads, or is targeting buyers from around the world, using a CDN can speed up the loading process, not only making potential customers happy, but improving your rank at the same time.

Mobile Friendliness

This is one of the more recent additions to Google Rankings. Having a site that is optimized for mobile users is vital. In addition, priority is given to sites that build mobile framework first, then desktop user framework. Something to keep in mind when evaluating how your end user will likely access your website.

Keywords

Keeping your website’s keywords quality is a must. In addition, be sure that a keyword appears in the first 100 words of a page’s content. At Hammersmith Support, we utilize the Yoast SEO plugin to make sure that our meta data, keywords, and post descriptions are optimized.

Headers, Numbered Lists, Bullet Points

Big, bulky blocks of words are a no-no from an end user’s perspective and for Google Ranking as well. Be sure to break up content and organize it so that readers – and web crawlers – can scan the information easily.

Site Architecture

A well-designed / organized website makes it easier to be evaluated by Google, resulting in a higher ranking. Being able to quickly and easily index site pages is a must. This includes a well-designed site map.

Usability

This is another factor that initially appears to be relevant for the end user, but doubles by impacting rankings as well. An easy-to-navigate site will keep users longer and reduce the bounce rate. This low bounce rate and satisfied user translates into higher rankings.

Image Optimization

We’ve shared how ensuring that your image information is on point is a great way to organically boost a website’s SEO. The same is true for ranking. Making sure that image captions are accurate and informative, while the “behind the curtain” items like title, Alt Text, and description are all completed as well are all considered for rankings. Be sure not to have spammy Alt Text or descriptions. They may work for a short time but will hurt the rank in the long run.

Hungry for more? Click over to the Hammersmith Support Blog for more topics about SEO. 

Blogs have one of the highest ROI’s when it comes to your business. Why is that? There are several reasons, all of which we’ll detail below…but if you need to be convinced to keep reading, consider this; on average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads a month than those that don’t. Read on to find out more.

Blogs = Links

Blogging gives an opportunity to post both internal links to other parts of your website, along with links to outside sites. This is important for a few reasons. First, internal linking gets visitors to stay on your site longer to explore as well as introduce more information to them. External links provide validity to your posts and most importantly, both types of links boost SEO. Google Ranking factors evaluate and reward posts with credible and accurate links.

The other side of linking is that every blog posted is a link. That link is shared on all social media platforms, LinkedIn, etc. If you post once a week for a year, that’s 52 links to your site floating around waiting to be discovered!

Blogs Boost SEO

Speaking of Google Rankings, blogs help to fill a few of the factors that Google evaluates. Google takes the freshness of websites content so seriously that the date of the last major content update appears in the search results. Note the word major! That’s another Ranking factor; magnitude. The amount changed for the content makes a big difference too.

Customer Value

Setting aside all the technical reasons why blogging is a good thing for your site, blogs are a big win with current and potential customers. Why? Because providing free information for them is a value add for your business / product. In a world where everything comes with a price, having free content for visitors to learn about your company, product, industry or even just gives tips and tricks for every day life is a win. It builds not only value, but trust with your visitors.

Feed Social Media

If the concept of keeping up with your social media content, blog content, website updates, etc is overwhelming, think of it this way; you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to your content. We talked about micro verses macro content and how each concept can feed the other. Think about using your social media posts to create one large, detailed post. Or start with your large, detailed blog post and break it down into smaller bites for your social media. The two areas do not have to be independent thoughts. In fact, having your social media topics and your blog topics all tie together makes your message more memorable because it’s exposed in more than once place. It’s repeating, without beating your visitors over the head.

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

Do you have a blog tab set up on your site? Schedule 30 minute consultation to discuss all of your website needs. Hammersmith Support’s comprehensive monthly maintenance can help get your blog set up, get your site on track, and keep it there with monthly check ups.

According to CNBC, nearly 51% of 3.9 billion Internet users worldwide access websites exclusively from their smart phones. That number is expected to increase to 71% by 2025. Those are some incredible stats! These numbers are based on search engine information alone and don’t account for users who may come to your site via social media. Knowing this information, is your website optimized for mobile viewing?

Google Ranking: Mobile First Infrastructure

In 2016, Google added Mobile First Infrastructure to their 200+ ranking system for SEO. This means that websites that are built with the mobile version of their site first are given a higher ranking. Sites that have any mobile infrastructure are given a higher ranking, but those for smart phone first are the highest.

Types of Business / Clients

Some businesses may be saying “our customers don’t use their smart phones to buy” and for some, that’s true. B2B business is more than likely not being handled on mobile devices. However, B2C business has a much higher probability of being accessed on a smart phone. Not sure how your customers are accessing your site? Enroll your website in Google Analytics and use the Audience report to see how your customers are accessing and engaging with your site.

Testing End User Experience

Lastly, if your site is optimized for mobile view, be sure to test it! Ensuring that every part of your site, from the layout to the overall look, is accessible through the mobile version is critical. In addition, the functionality of a mobile site needs to be quick to load and easy to use – in fact, the majority of smart phone users expect the mobile version of a site to load faster than on a desktop computer, and they will turn to a competitor’s site if unsatisfied with loading times or functionality.