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Why is it important for your website to be…

Why is it important for your website to be mobile-friendly?

Mobile-friendly tagging in mobile search resultsThe term mobile-friendly has been around for a while now, but what does it mean..?

Following an announcement by Google in February 2015, having a mobile-friendly site will be even more important for marketing your business online?

From April 2015, Google will be looking to see if a website is mobile-friendly when people search from a mobile device. The search results will then be adjusted accordingly.

Last November Google had already added a mobile-friendly tag to mobile search results, highlighting web pages that Google determined mobile-friendly. This was Google saying “We are paying more attention to the usability of websites on a mobile device“.

Since Apple released the first iPhone in January 2007, smartphones have changed the way people access the Internet. At this time 80% of Internet-using 16-64 years of age own a smartphone. It’s been over a year since mobile Internet use overtook that of desktop computers. Mobile is on a march…

Read more “Why is it important for your website to be mobile-friendly”

Is Your Website Ready For 2015?

Is Your Website Ready For 2015?


Websites have become an increasingly important marketing tool for business over the last 20 years, and today most businesses will have a website with differing levels of interactivity based on their needs. This can range from a simple online brochure with contact details through to ecommerce, directories, informational, online communities, forums and many more.

Everything changes and websites are no exception

Websites go through changing trends and fashions just like everything else in the modern world, this can driven by evolving technology, the needs of business and the requirements of website visitors.

Website Trends for 2015

Whilst it’s relatively simple to have a website, are you missing out on the increased traffic that modern web trends could bring you? Are you missing opportunities whilst your competitors are taking a lead?

Responsive Design

Website visitors are increasingly more likely to visit your site on a mobile phone or tablet and it is widely accepted that the amount of web users accessing websites on a mobile has overtaken those using traditional computers. This is set to continue and increase throughout 2015. Today’s mobile devices typically have a smaller screen than regular computers or laptops, which can cause websites to display incorrectly or make them hard to read as website text can be very small and buttons hard to navigate. Responsive design uses different techniques display your website in a much more user friendly way.

Accessing a website on a mobile device brings up another consideration which is orientation. As you can see in these images websites often need to respond to different landscape and portrait shape screens making the best use of the space available.

By making your website accessible on multiple devices you are ensuring that all of your customers can have the best experience when visiting your site.

The images clearly show that the screen size and orientation are different yet the website has responded to this providing the same content but displaying it in a way that best suits the screen it’s displayed on, making it much easier for your customers to interact with your site.

Who you gonna call? Ghost Buttons…

ghost-button-example 300wA new idea that is becoming increasingly popular is ‘ghost buttons’. You may be asking yourself ‘what on earth is a ghost button?!’ Don’t worry I thought the same thing until I was shown an example. Ghost buttons are a transparent and empty button filled with a plain text which can fit perfectly over a large image. This makes it easier on the eye as the web page isn’t full of different colours. This is a very modern approach to buttons, but I think they work really well and I expect that these will become increasingly popular in the upcoming months.

This links in with my next point, ‘Bigger images are better’. Over the years we have seen the love for visual social media like Instagram and Pinterest increase dramatically and it shows that images have a big impact on customers. Larger images with text overlay allow readers to digest information without having to read large amounts of text. ‘A picture speaks a 1000 words


Larger images will take longer to load therefore if you have an image taking up the majority of your website and it hasn’t it hasn’t been optimised for the use of the web; this could result in lagging and loss of customers if they aren’t willing to wait for loading time.

Have a video!

gfHaving a video on your website can improve more than just how the website looks. Video takes up less room than large amounts of text that a lot of users who visit the site may not even read. A video is also a lot like telling a story therefore you can get information across visually and audibly – saving visitors time. An indexed video stands about a 50 times greater chance of ranking on the first page. – Real SEO (the marketers guide)

Did you know 80% of your online visitors to your site will watch a video whilst only 20% will actually read the content on your website?! – Digital Sherpa

What do you prefer? Scrolling or clicking? I prefer scrolling and it just so happens that scrolling is becoming more popular in the recent months. Newer websites are having fewer buttons. This can be a good thing as scrolling keeps a visitor in their reading flow and therefore more likely to read more information.

When you look on a website you expect them to be user friendly and give accurate information instead of being a confusing, complicated and hard to understand. All these changes to your website can make a HUGE impact to your target audience and essentially bring in more customers.

Have you got your website ready for 2015? Or have you seen any other new trends? Leave a comment below telling us about your findings.

Semantic Search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent

Why great website content is critical for semantic search

Why great website content is critical for semantic search

Semantic Search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intentGoogle’s focus has always been to be the best search engine, known for providing the fastest and most relevant set of results to the searches we enter.

Being the best is what has taken them from their small beginning of two computer geeks working together on a Uni project , to where Google is today: used by around 70% of the world’s population and, in locations like the UK, usage is nearly 90%.

Google has become the verb of search.

But Google’s ability to remain the premier search engine is founded on its ability to be able to increasingly index and understand information on the World Wide Web. To do that, Google search is changing to what is called “semantic search”. (For more information and understanding on semantic search, please read the first article in this series).

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of web content. For Google to improve search, the semantic index behind their Knowledge Graph needs to continue to consume information, understand it, and analyse its validity and authority.

Google’s search satnav system is locked on to a destination, moving Google search from being just a search engine to a knowledge engine, and your website has the opportunity to play a part in that transition. The content (text, images, video, audio etc) you present on your website has the potential to be a valuable resource for Google to display in their semantic search results, but first we need to consider why it may not.

A Lesson from the Garden

A wise rose gardener will tell you the importance of pruning. Wikipedia helpfully describes the process: “The practice entails targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from crop and landscape plants” . The process of pruning is very important to increase yield and quality.

During the last three years, Google has been engaged in an extensive pruning programme. Through updates to its algorithms given cute names such as “Penguin” and “Panda”, but with not so cute outcomes for those affected, Google has targeted removing diseased, damaged, dead and non-productive links and pages from its index and search results. Google has been preparing the way for a better search experience that finds better content and ultimately better answers. In other words, search that provides increased yield and quality.

For Google to give the best search results relevant for those searching, it needs to find the best and most authoritative content. If we are honest, we wouldn’t expect anything less. When we search via Google, we want to find the best answers to the questions we are asking.

How can I help you?

So for your web pages to display in semantic search results for the questions your target customers are asking, your site needs high quality content focused on the meeting the range of needs presented by your customers.

When anyone searches the Internet they do so because they have a problem for which they need a solution, or a question that needs an answer. By writing and producing semantically rich web content (don’t just think text, think quality images, video, audio etc as well), your website will provide a rich source that can be harvested by Google’s web spiders and presented through search.

Consider, for a moment, the experience of walking into a shop in the days before supermarket-style self-shopping came about. As you opened the door and the bell above gave that inviting ring, the shopkeeper would come to the counter to greet you and say something like, “Good morning. How can I help you?”. That type of engagement not only made you feel welcome in the shop, but also gave you an assurance that the shopkeeper was ready to listen to you – the customer.

For semantic search, it won’t be enough anymore to just put up supermarket-style self-shopping pages that contain a few lines of text loaded with the right keywords. Content needs to engage with its audience, it needs to be able to greet the visitor and give that assurance that you have an answers for the questions they are asking.

In-depth content will also have an important part to play going forward, but don’t get stuck on that as a silver bullet to SEO success either. Quantity is not necessarily a guarantee of quality. As David Amerland says in Google Semantic Search (pg 181), “The guiding principle is, always, value to the end user as determined by relevance to a search query”. What counts going forward will be useful and valued content that answers the questions the customers in your target market are asking.

Optimising web pages for semantic search

Google search: How old was the King of Rock and Roll when he died?Consider too, the relationship between content and what may also be relevant to that content. Just as we can see in Google’s Knowledge Graph search result for the question, “How old was the King of Rock and Roll when he died?“, there are relational links to other information: e.g. his wife, songs and movies.

Google’s semantic search is capable of a much broader and deeper search experience than what we have become used to with the ten blue links of regular search. Google is now able to understand the intent of our search queries and provide personalised search results. This means that the answer to a given query will be different depending on a wide range of factors including your location or time of day and the connections you have in social media.

As we have seen above, the goal of semantic search is to provide relevance to a search query. When considering our own website content and optimising it for semantic search, we need to think relevancy, i.e. how we can build relational connections between our web pages to provide greater informational depth and value to each one through interlinking. By doing that, we can then increase the content value of each through, greater informational depth.

For each of the pages on your website and in respect of the search queries each page answers, ask yourself, what other pages may be relevant to that page? By doing that, you can increase the value of each page by extending its reach to answer further visitor queries, rather like a miniature “Knowledge Graph” experience

Creating a web page “Knowledge Graph”

For example, consider a website for a Garden Centre business. They will not only sell plants and shrubs for your garden, but, to name just a few, also garden tools, pesticides and fertilisers, garden furniture, and books on gardening.

Now think about a page that showcases some of the roses they sell. The page could just describe each type of rose for sale and nothing more. But what if that page also included a few blocks of additional information written in summary form, which linked off to the related articles? For example, the page could link to an article on the best pesticides to use for roses. Another link could be to a blog post on 10 top tips for caring for your rose garden or the history of roses, and yet another could link to a page of books on rose gardening.

What is more, the related articles included on the page could be changed to reflect the season, for example providing different related content for the spring compared to the summer. This will then more closely mimic the way Google’s personalised search provides search results, in this case, based on the season of the year. By providing Google with seasonally relevant content you can improve the chances of your web pages being displayed for personalised search queries.

Worlds converging

It’s here that we can perhaps see the merging of the needs of a ‘visitor’ to your website, be that a real person or a Google search bot. By providing a better, more joined-up, user experience on your website for people, you are in essence providing a better semantically connected indexing experience for Google.

If your website content is better understood by humans because of the way you have structured and connected it, then it’s very likely to be easier for Google to understand. The better you can help Google by providing semantically relevant content (think Knowledge Graph), the better the chances are that your site will be well indexed and understood as a resource to return in Google’s search results. The better your visitors understand how you can help them, the more likely they are to share that content with others through social media or from their own website.

Producing content for semantic search requires much more work than the magic spells cast in the past. Gone are the days when optimising a web page meant sprinkling the page with a few prime keywords dipped in secret sauce. 

Search engine marketing has, to a large extent, become harder, but it has also got better because it requires content that answers the questions your customers are asking. In essence, that’s what they have always been asking for. There are no shortcuts, no fixed formulas and before you think it does – the above suggestion shouldn’t be considered one either. But for those who are willing to give time to invest their expertise into the content they produce and do it right, the rewards will be worth it.

This is the second in a series of three articles on semantic search:

The importance of link building

The importance of link building

One of the most important SEO tools on the Internet today is Link Building. It is an extremely effective method of getting your site good exposure across the web, by letting people know what your website has to offer. The thing is, to take full advantage of this Internet resource, you have to know what it’s all about and how to do it right to get maximum benefit.

Why is link building so important?

The easy answer is an increase in traffic. The links that you create are doors that lead others to your website and the services you have to offer. The information on your site is your call to action so it’s very important that the links you forge are with sites of similar content, this helps you to target traffic that may be looking for services like yours.

This works on a very simple premise, if you sell dog whistles and you build links with websites in the cake baking sector, it’s unlikely that much of the traffic that comes through will have much interest in what you do.

Improving your search rankings

Links and traffic are taken into account by search engines and the relevance of the incoming links help to boost your rankings. If the visitors coming into your site are being directed to you from sites with related content, then this builds your reputation as a trusted resource on your subject.

Which links are best?

There are two types of links, two way links (also known as reciprocal links) and one way links. Two way links are traditional and are based upon you linking with a site and agreeing to link to each other. This is still valid and of some value, but the better situation is to have one way links coming in to your site with no return link. What this does is show the search engines that others agree with the content you are publishing on your site, once again helping to boost your reputation as an expert in your field and more relevant than your competitors.

Which pages should incoming links go to?

The old fashioned method of link building is to send all the traffic to your homepage. The problem with this is that the content on your homepage won’t be relevant to all your incoming links and leaves visitors with the task of finding the information they came for. They won’t! They’ll just move on! With the use of social media sites, SEO services and a web blog or constantly updated content on your site, you can build incoming links that land directly on the page the visitors want to absorb. Always link to the page that has the most relevance to the site you are linking from, this is rarely your homepage!

Things to remember for a successful linking campaign are:

Be sure that your content is relevant and easy to understand By doing this you can be sure that your readers will appreciate and approve of your offerings, employ the services of a copywriter to get the balance between information and promotion just right. Check your content for spelling and grammatical errors Always proof read your content, this small but often overlooked task helps to remove any signs of non-professionalism and helps to build confidence. You should always have a ‘Privacy Policy’ and ‘About Us’ on your website Remember these are two of the few tools you have to introduce yourself and your business on a more personal level. Make them easy to find so if visitors want to learn more, they can!

Being ranked number 1 is good right?

Being ranked number 1 is good right?

So you have a great looking web site – well, maybe you’re not quite there yet – but you are ready to rock the Internet with your brilliant products or services. All that you need to do now is make sure your site is ranked number 1 on Google.


Well not necessarily…

We are all told that being number 1 on Google is the ticket to riches. You will have even received a marketing email or seen an advert by a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company guaranteeing you top position or your money back.

Be number 1 on Google and:

  • you will be found by customers
  • people in their droves will visit your web site
  • the only way is up for your business.

But the truth is being top of the Google tree offers no guarantees for your business. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people excited that their business web site has made top spot on Google (or they are listed on Page 1) for this, that or the other.

That is not to rubbish their claims. In most cases they are, but that is not the whole story. We had a new client come to us recently in exactly this situation. They had spent a lot of money on their site, had lots of good content and now, with their web site positioned first and second from over 50,000 search results, everything was set up for their business to grow. But they waited, and waited, yet hardly anyone came. So what happened? OK.

I ought to come clean… despite the headline to this blog post, being number 1 on Google can be extremely good for your business, but you need to understand that being number 1 doesn’t guarantee anything. In the case of our client, as is the case with many who are proudly listed on Page 1 of Google yet receive little traffic to their site, the problem was not to do with them being there but the fact that nobody searched on the term for which they were listed top. If that is what is happening to you, then that is why being listed on top for a term that no-one searches on can be bad for your business.

The likelihood is, just like our client, you could be sitting there with days and weeks passing expecting visitors to come to your site, when all the time they are going to your competitor’s web site. So, what’s the answer? The key to your web site being found is to optimise your web pages for the right search terms not just any terms, that is, not just the words and phrases you think people are searching on.

Here are some dos and don’ts for optimising for the right search terms:

  1. Check out the terms your competitors are using but don’t assume they are using the right terms either. You need to do some more research.
  2. Ask some trusted friends what words or phrases they would use to search for your products and services, but don’t feed them with suggestions. Allow them to decide themselves.
  3. Having gathered some suggestions, try them in Google’s free keyword tool. This will give you some useful suggestions based on the words you enter and will also give you an idea of how many searches use those terms per month both nationally and globally.
  4. Don’t optimise a single web page for more than one term, but do optimise for terms that include more than one word. A single term can contain several words that people will be searching for, e.g. ‘luxury hotel breaks’ will be indexed by Google for that term but also for ‘hotel breaks’, ‘luxury hotel’ and ‘luxury breaks’.
  5. If your business operates mainly locally or within a defined geographic region then consider including a city, county, state or country in the term, e.g. ‘luxury hotel breaks uk’.
  6. Once you have decided on your search term, you can then set to work on optimising your web page. There is a lot you can do to refine this, but you must as a minimum do some basic optimisation. Essentially, you need to make sure your search term is represented in the Title metatag of your web page (this is what appears in the caption bar at the top of your browser) as well as the Description metatag (which can be more descriptive).

There will be more on metatags and SEO another time, but for now Happy SEOptimising! But if you are stuck not being sure what to do next, then please visit our SEO Services page to find out more.

Understanding Why Your Website isn’t Working

Why Your Website isn’t Working

Posted on August 8, 2012 by Amanda Ferris

Do you want the visitors that flock to your website to be converted into profitable customers?

Are you disappointed in the lack of response you received from website visitors? Is trying to understand ‘Internet Marketing’ and the options available confusing to you?

understanding-internet-marketing-300x158There are some common misconceptions held by website owners. Changing these ideas and using proven solutions will help you improve your Internet strategy and bring in customers more effectively.

1. You have a brilliant website, but nobody knows about it:

It’s simple; you need to drive people toward your website. The only way to do that is to market your website as part of your ‘Internet Marketing’ strategy. Try not to fall in the trap of thinking the design of your website has a link with how many people visit your site, this is a mistake commonly made with Internet Marketing. The quality of the content on the site and how it helps visitors has far more to do with driving traffic to your site than how it looks.

2. Your website is all about you:

 This is possibly the biggest mistake made by website owners. Unfortunately this is not the case, visitors are only interested in what you can do for them. If your website is worded to focus on solving their problems rather than how good your service is, then it will dramatically change the performance of your site. Many websites are written by sales people and don’t give away any useful information to visitors.


If your site is written this way visitors will more likely move on to the next site to find their answers.

3. Getting visits to convert to Enquires/Sales:

You need to think about what you want people to do when they visit your site. Do you need them to buy something from the site or do you focus on getting their contact details, so that you or your sales team can follow up?

A big move in Internet Marketing is the shift from sites that sell products or a business, to sites that want to build ongoing relationships with their customers. This has become known as ‘Permission Marketing’, acquiring a customer’s permission to communicate with them. If you’re using your site to get customers’ contact details, they will need a compelling reason to offer those details. Possibly the best way to do that is to offer something ‘free’ in exchange e.g. a newsletter or free sample of a product, but it needs to have value. Follow that up with a good email campaign and a proportion of those people will convert into customers.

If you are interested in getting sales when potential customers visit your site, then it’s a combination of the written content, images or video that explains and shows the benefits of the product that will possibly guarantee the purchase.

Things to look into:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Being listed in what are called organic search results costs nothing other than the time involved to make sure each page on your website is optimised for search engines. Try to identify what words or phrases people use to search for the products or services you sell and make sure those words/phrases are represented in the pages of your site. If you only market to customers that are local to you then make sure you include the name of your local area when you optimise each page. You can find out more about SEO in our post on Search Engine Optimisation.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Using Google AdWords, you only pay for the visitors that click through to your website making it one of the most cost effective advertising solutions available. Beware though as your ads need to be written clearly and targeted at the correct audience so that costs don’t get out of control.

Video Search

YouTube is now the second most popular search engine in the world and Google also uses video content in its regular search results. Obviously, the only way to be listed in YouTube is by using video, but it is well worth considering as video content is more and more sought after and the cost of producing video has fallen.

Get into the Testing Habit

Don’t forget to test and experiment, find out what works for your website. Always use analytics to measure the results from your different strategies. Google’s own analytics tool is free to use and is being improved all the time. The results may astound you.

Websites for Start-up Businesses

Websites for Start-up Businesses

Are you starting up a new business?

Are you unfamiliar with the technicalities of digital marketing?

If so, there are a few things to consider before cracking on with building a website, then displaying your products and services on the internet for the whole world to see.

Yes, DIY website development using templates and online builder tools are an option, at first glance they appear easy, however there is always a learning curve and they lack the flexibility needed to truly match your branding. Some systems restrict you to a number of pages or functionalities then charge small amounts for extras that all add up, so your free or cheap website deosn’t look so cheap anymore.

Another consideration is a personal one, you already have many other responsibilities to your business, so do you have the extra time needed to develop a successful website that will work at it’s full potential..?

Even if you do have the time (so to speak), these free sites often hide your content anyway in the code! It is in the interests of the website template or builder to promote their own business above yours, so you may end up with their banners on your site. This is especially true of free and low cost systems.

Here at Cracking Media, we recognise that your business and website is unique to you, we therefore provide you with our highest quality website service whilst integrating your needs and requirements. We also offer our expert advice to help maximise your potential online exposure.

New business website build advice

Here are some things to consider when building your new website:

  • Web Design that emphasises your brand
  • Search Engine-friendly
  • Mobile Friendly (more important than ever before)
  • Simple, fast contact form for visitor ease
  • Online photo gallery
  • Optimised Social Media Integration
  • Embedded Video Player
  • Consider cloud-based, pro email

Feel free to contact us and tell us how many pages you would like on your new website or ask about flexible payment terms (monthly/ annual payments). We can help you build a professional online profile, so you can confidently display your website address on invoices, business cards and vehicles, knowing that when people find you online they will discover a truly professional looking business, your business…

Just call 01202 532 522 or email


Use Clear Visuals to Create a Strong Message

Use Clear Visuals to Create a Strong Message

Using clean but strong visual elements to promote your products or services offers you greater benefits than ever before and a great example of this is video.

Video is widely acknowledged by viewers as trusted information with sites like becoming the first choice for many when searching a topic online.

Add to this the integration of all the elements you need to run a marketing campaign, such as social media management, SEO and analytic reporting and you have the best combination to help you build an audience for your business…

Here is some of the different types of media you can add to your marketing:

  • Promotional video
  • e-commerce photography
  • User experience and testimonial video
  • PR photography
  • product demonstration/training videos
  • podcasts/video blogging

In today’s competitive business world it’s so important to present a great image.

Bespoke UK Web Design

Bespoke UK Web Design

The internet is rapidly changing and with improved web site technology your web site can now work much harder to attract new customers and develop your business. The power of the internet can help develop your website into one that performs beyond your expectations.

Your website visitors are potential clients, so building a site with them as the focus is a key to success. There are new marketing tools available to you, that help generate higher response rates 24/7, whilst offering you more data for measuring website use to help you improve on under performing areas of your site and to do more of what people like.

Get the Best from the Web….

Here are some of the services that you can take advantage of to help make this happen:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • A web design in tune with your business
  • Social media, brand awareness & PR
  • Strong ‘Call to action’ building lead generation
  • Measuring return on investment (ROI)

Good web design, ease of use for visitors and effective SEO is an important combination for enhancing your brand and direct marketing.

Here are a few things you should know about Cracking Media:

  • We’ve developed and implemented online strategies for national and international companies
  • Our experience in professional photography and video services will help to enhance your online profile
  • Cracking Media have experience of developing web sites since 1997 in multiple sectors