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With bonfire night just behind us, we’ve been thinking about things that ‘should never be forgot’ in the world of digital marketing.

Here’s our round up of some common SEO and SEM mistakes people make that can cause their marketing plans to go up in flames!

SEO mistakes that should never be forgotten!

Search engine optimisation is an ever moving landscape, and it can be easy for website owners to get left behind. There are never ending algorithm updates and regular changes to the way search search engines display information, not to mention spam updates and evolving technologies. While keeping up to date with the latest changes is good for business, there are many typical mistakes that unsuspecting website owners may be falling foul of, completely unaware!

Read on for some of the SEO mistakes that can hurt your online visibility and conversion rate.

Not having a mobile responsive website

Having a mobile responsive website is essential in this day and age. It’s easy to check if your website displays nicely on mobile devices. Simply view your site on any up to date smartphone or tablet or use the website inspection tool. If the elements don’t stack up in a uniformed easy view and you have to zoom in and scroll to read the text, you should be thinking about a redesign.

Why is a mobile responsive website important?

Global mobile internet usage is 59.72% according to Statista, and that is the number one reason why you should ensure that you have a mobile responsive design! With nearly 60% of global internet use taking place on mobile devices, if your site isn’t responsive and delivering a good user experience, then you could be losing out on some serious web traffic. This is especially true for ecommerce websites. Conversions matter, so if your visitors experience a clunky, awkward and uninspiring session, they will simply click away and shop elsewhere. 

Furthermore, the search engine that takes the lion’s share of internet users, Google, uses mobile-first indexing. This means that Google will use the mobile version of the site first for indexing and ranking. As a result, a non-responsive design will suffer in the SERPs. This by all means isn't new news, as Google have been doing this since 2019. However, judging from the number of outdated sites on the internet, it appears that many website owners have been left in the dust when it comes to staying on top of website evolution.

If you need a website redesign, there are plenty of tried and tested CMS platforms out there to help you spruce up your site and ensure it is compatible with mobile devices. They include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and Shopify, plus other well known platforms such as Wix and Squarespace. 

It’s worth noting though, that website migration shouldn't be taken lightly. This is because significant changes to your site architecture, content, UX, UI or even switching to a completely new CMS have the potential to disrupt your organic search results, for better or worse. 

If done properly, your new site might do a little dance around the SERPs before settling down in a better position. However, if the site migration isn’t taken seriously, you could see your organic positioning tank down the SERPS (search engine results pages). If you need help with website design or migration, then contact us to find out how the team at Bell can help!

Mobile responsive website design

Missing & Duplicate Metadata - Page Tiles & Meta Descriptions

Ensuring that you have optimised and compelling unique page titles and meta descriptions is important for SEO. It might seem obvious, but many website owners overlook this aspect.

Understandably, large sites and ecommerce websites can have hundreds or thousands of pages, so keeping on top of a seemingly simple aspect of website maintenance is sometimes not as easy as it might seem.

Why are they important?

Page titles and meta descriptions provide a unique opportunity to promote your product or service in search engine results pages. Think of them as mini text based adverts that are designed to entice a user to click onto your website. They are also a key aspect that indicates to the search engine and user the subject topic of the page or product. 

How can you tell if they are missing?

There are many tools available that will crawl your website so you can analyse your metadata such as Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Sitebulb, Ubersuggest, and more. Find the missing or duplicate meta then fix and optimise it to help improve your position in organic search results. 

Not setting up canonical URLs

Ensuring you have canonicalized your URLs is something that webmasters often overlook.

So, what exactly is canonicalization and why does it matter? 

Search engines, like Google, don’t like duplicate or similar content. This is because if there are two or more pages talking about the same subject matter on one website, it won’t know which page to rank. Furthermore, having duplicate or similar content can cause issues with content cannibalization. Think of this as internal competition within your site with two or more pages competing to rank for the same keyword.

Ensuring you have implemented canonical tags across your site will tell the crawl bots where to find the master URL (the canonical URL). If you don’t implement canonical tags then the search engine will choose the page that it deems to be the canonical URL, which may be different to what you have intended. 

SEM mistakes that should never be forgotten!

If you’re using paid advertising to support your web presence and drive revenue, then here’s a brief summary of some common SEM mistakes that should never be forgotten!

Setting up very high CPCs compared to allocated budget

To make profitable conversions through PPC, you need to make sure you keep a close eye on your CPC. Cost per click can go up or down depending on factors such as competition and seasonal changes, and what used to be affordable may not be so affordable now! If the cost outweighs the profit, then you can find yourself in a sticky situation.

Why is CPC important?

Your cost per click will define how quickly you use up your daily budget. If you are bidding on expensive keywords and have a low budget, then you can expect to see your budget disappear quickly, resulting in your website having to rely on organic traffic to see it through the rest of the day.

On mobile devices, paid ads dominate small screens and this combined with searcher laziness and unwillingness to scroll down a page will mean that you risk losing potential traffic to your competitors if you’ve run out of budget.

How can you fix this?

There are some tricks of the trade to help you overcome expensive CPCs such as:

  • Research less competitive keywords to target - Less traffic doesn't always mean less conversions and if you tailor your ads to target mid to long tail keyphrases you could achieve a better conversion rate because your ad may be aligned more with the users' search queries.
  • Focus on improving your Quality Score - Ensure your ad is relevant to user intent and that your landing page experience is satisfying.
  • Analyse your data - Look at your data to see what kind of users are clicking through and whether or not they convert. You may find that the demographic isn’t hitting your sweet spot, in which case you may be better off putting some or all of your budget into a different advertising platform or reworking your ads to better target your desired audience.

Using the wrong keyword match types

A common mistake people make when implementing a Google Ads campaign is selecting the wrong keyword match types. Here’s a few examples:

If you select broad match types, you may get a lower CPC but you could end up spending your budget on clicks that don’t turn into conversions. This is because although the competition is lower, the relevance to the user can be less, meaning you can end up wasting money. If you are using broad match, be sure to exclude search terms that will send the wrong audience your way by using negative keywords.

Selecting the exact match keyword type will mean that your ad will only appear if the user types in the exact phrase. This keyword match type tends to be more expensive on a CPC basis and you will get less traffic, but relevance will be higher meaning you have a better chance to convert the click into a sale. This is OK if you are looking to drive traffic to sell one very specific product type but it isn't so helpful if you want to appeal to a larger audience. 

If you run an ecommerce site it is especially important that you check your stock inventory when using exact match. There’s no point driving users to your site for them to discover the item is out of stock. A loss for you and a waste of time for your potential customer!

When using phrase match, you must be really careful when selecting which phrases you want to target. This is because if a user types a phrase but their search has an additional word in the middle of it, your ad won’t show up! It will however show if the additional word is before or after your phrase.

With phrase match, the best way to optimise your ad campaign is to think like a user. You can even look at your analytics data to find out how people search for your products or services and then amend your key phrases to reflect real user searches to give you a better chance of your ad appearing.

Need help with your digital marketing?

If you’ve found your business has been making costly marketing mistakes and you need expert help to turn things around, contact our team who can help to kickstart your marketing campaign.

Focusing on improving your website for organic gains in SERPs is a good idea. When done properly and in alignment with best practice, your efforts will not only help to boost your rankings but they will also have a positive impact on the quality of your website and attract a better targeted audience.

Search engines, like Google, put their users first. This means that their goal is to return results that have the most relevance to a user’s search intent. So, it goes without saying, quality content that is focused on the user first and foremost will benefit your website’s overall positioning in organic search. Check out our list of top SEO tools to help you boost your organic search rankings.

SEMrush, an SEO toolbox for keywords, content ideas & much more!

Among the professional SEO community, SEMrush is a favourite tool for optimising websites. Use it to improve content, find the best keywords and identify content and link gaps between you and your competition. It also has a ton of other insightful technical and on page tools to diagnose, fix and optimise your site, as well as features to help with pay-per-click search engine marketing, content marketing and more. Not only this, but you can also track your progress by setting up projects - a great way to monitor your progress in the digital landscape.

Screenshot of SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

A quick glance at what SEMrush offers

Keyword Research: Market leading keyword research tool that delves deep. Covering everything from keyword overview to position tracking, keyword gaps, monthly search volume and CPC. Not only this but it also includes a fantastic Keyword Magic tool that's great for in depth analysation.

Site Audits: Analyse websites from both a content and technical perspective. Check the health status and performance of your site, fix errors and warnings, check Core Web Vitals stats, internal linking, markup and crawlability, to name just a few!

Competition Analysis: Keeping up with the competition has never been more important. With many individuals and businesses feeling the squeeze of the cost-of-living crisis, staying one step ahead is essential to ensure your business thrives.

SEMrush allows you to analyse your competitors in detail. From identifying keyword and backlink gaps to tracking your competitors’ performance, these tools help you create a strategy to either stay on top or chase your rivals in the SERPs to increase visibility and help you take a bigger share of the market.

Is it free? Yes and no! Luckily for those on a budget (and with a small site) you can sign up for a free account. The free version is limited in its offering but is still worth a look if you’re searching for a decent tool to boost your rankings.

The paid version offers the complete toolbox and is one of the leading platforms for anyone serious about SEO. Subscriptions range from $119.95 per month.

Answer the Public - Find out what people are really asking!

Recently acquired by Neil Patel (founder of UberSuggest), AnswerThePublic is a great tool to explore the questions that are being asked about virtually any topic.

User focused content is a major factor for anyone serious about ranking a website. However, since the Helpful Content update was released back in August this year, relevant content that provides more insight and a satisfying user experience is now even more important than ever. This is where AnswerThePublic comes into play. 

Now you can write content that corresponds to the search intent of users and that provides real answers to their questions. A win for your users, and if done properly, a win for your website!

Screenshot of AnswerThePublic infographic

Is it free? You can sign up for a free account but this will limit you to just three searches a day. Alternatively, you can sign up for a paid subscription, starting at $99 per month. 

Free Google SEO tools – Not to be overlooked!

Considering your largest organic market is likely to be Google, it makes sense to get a look at Google specific data and this is the only real way to get the actual data on how your listings perform in Google results pages. Google offers a whole host of free SEO tools to help ramp up your visibility in SERPs. They include Search Console, Analytics, Keyword Planner and Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).

Let’s take a look at how you can use these tools to your advantage.

Google Search Console, an essential for your SEO toolbox

The Search Console is a totally free SEO tool that allows you to measure the organic performance of your site across Google results pages. It covers everything from clicks, impressions and positioning, to what key-phrases were used to find your website.

That's not all. The Search Console also allows you to have an overview of the health of your site. Examples include:

  • Where your pages are in the SERPs
  • Track trends in your search visibility
  • Detect and diagnose potential Google bot crawl errors
  • Analyse the backlink profile of your website and remove toxic links
  • Review your site's mobile usability and Core Web Vitals scores
  • Monitor potential Google penalties and security vulnerabilities

If you have an Analytics account, be sure to link it with your Google Search Console to obtain additional data insights relating to your organic traffic. It is also one of the most direct ways to know if your site has been penalised by Google or has major issues impacting visibility in SERPs.

Google Analytics, an SEO toolbox to better know your audience

Google Analytics is a must-have for enhancing your SEO strategy. It’s free and allows you to analyse audience behaviour on your website. Insights into user behaviour can help you sculpt your strategy and identify positive performance and areas of improvement. 

Key metrics include:

  • Visits
  • Page views
  • Traffic source
  • Devices
  • Geographical origin

Analytics also offers you functions to measure the user experience on your site, such as the average page load speed, the terms entered in the internal search or the user journey from arrival to departure.

Unlike Google Search Console which measures performance within Google's results pages, Google Analytics tells you what people do once they arrive on your site, as well as where they have come from.

Knowing your audience better means that you can adapt your SEO strategy by offering content that is targeted to users, and therefore improve the user experience on your site.

Google has an Enterprise version of Google Analytics priced around $150,000 per year for Enterprise businesses, so you know the free version of this tool which includes most elements is a must.

Remember that Google is changing the current version of Google Analytics to GA4 next year, so if you are using GA already you need to change over, otherwise from July 2023 you won't have any data. If you need help to transition, feel free to get in touch with us to help you with this. Email us at to find out how we can help you.

Google Ads, an underrated free SEO keyword research tool

Google is the master of search so it's hardly surprising that their own data is extremely valuable. Keyword Planner is a tool primarily used for planning advertising campaigns; however, it also lends itself well to keyword research for organic SEO. Identify keyword difficulty, search volume, trends and CPC (cost-per-click) to name just a few metrics. What’s more, because the data is straight out of Google, you can trust its accuracy.

To tip: Use a Google account associated with your campaigns to allow you to have more precise search volumes.

Google Business Profile – A must have to boost your local SEO

Formerly Google My Business (GMB), Google Business Profile (GBP) is a service for business owners to gain visibility in SERPs. It is intended to be an overall snapshot of your business and is also a place where customers can leave reviews. It was primarily created for ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses who have a physical location they can list in Google Maps.

Set up an account, create a listing and map location, then pack it with informative information such as posts, offers, opening hours and photographs.

Currently these listings will appear on the right-hand side of Google results on desktop, or just underneath sponsored ad listings on mobile devices. You must make sure that you keep your profile up to date with relevant information including helpful FAQs. Ensure the listing also targets some of the main keywords you are looking to rank for. 

For Google Maps and the Local Business Map inserts in Google results, quality information and the number of Google reviews (and their average rating) will help your business get returned higher in Maps results.

Page Speed ​​Insights, a tool to correct your technical SEO

Finally, let's look at an SEO tool that is often overlooked - PageSpeed Insights. This tool allows you to test your page speed and see what real users are experiencing when they visit your site. 

The quicker the load speed the better, and this essential SEO tool allows you to test on both mobile and desktop. It provides useful insights into performance issues along with helpful tips on how to improve your website’s score. Page loading speed not only has a direct impact on bounce rate and user experience but it can also influence overall conversions. So fixing speed issues using the advice given can provide some quick wins.

Need advice on how to improve your organic search results?

If you need a helping hand to improve or maintain your positioning in search engine results pages, the team here at Bell Digital Marketing are here to help. Contact us or email us on for expert assistance.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates, or get in touch for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. 

In 2020, Black Friday was the most popular 'deal day' in the UK, Germany and France. Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) kicks off the festive deal season, with the whole long weekend (Black Friday to Cyber Monday) presenting consumers with irresistible deals and promotions.

Due to the incredible increase in online shopping, as a result of the pandemic, online retailers have a momentous opportunity to harness the mass influx of consumers. In 2020, mass retailers' online sales rose by 93%. Now, more than ever, it's essential to optimise your organic search strategy and maximise organic traffic to your site to capitalise on those Black Friday deal hunters.


Page Speed and Robustness

Optimising site speed, fixing broken links, error pages and images that fail to load, and crucially ensuring that your site can handle the extreme increase in visitor traffic, should be the first tasks you tackle in preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (henceforth to be referred to as Black Friday).

According to Google, site speed is one of the most crucial indicators in determining page rank. Consumers will more often than not, immediately steer away from slow-loading pages and websites. Google bots register high bounce rates, malfunctioning forms, and slow loading times and will conclude that your site is untrustworthy. After all, they aim to provide the best user experience.

Do this well in advance, to allow plenty of time for your site to be crawled, indexed and ranked properly.

Check your page speeds using Google PageSpeed Insights.

Internal Linking Structure

Optimising your internal linking structure is twofold.

1. Encouraging visitors to spend longer on your site, by ensuring you have a seamless internal linking structure and offering easily accessible and intriguing options for further viewing, will help to increase your sales. The longer a visitor spends on your site the more likely they are to make a purchase. Create more relevant internal links.

2. When it comes to the check-out process, this needs to be as convenient as possible. Make sure to audit your check out system in advance. Can it be streamlined? Is it clear and quick?

Mobile Site

With Google now prioritising your mobile site when determining page rank, having an efficient and effective mobile viewing experience is essential. Thus, you may have already turned your attention towards mobile. But, did you know that in 2020 75% of Black Friday consumers used their mobile devices to research products and make purchases?

Ensuring that your mobile site can handle the excess traffic, fixing malfunctions and slow loading times, and creating seamless check-out experiences on your mobile site should be a TOP PRIORITY.

Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to make sure your site is up to scratch for this Black Friday.

Obviously, these are excellent best practices all year round, however, during Black Friday their importance is heightened as the competition grows and shoppers have countless options to choose from. Make sure it's your website they choose.


As a long-term strategy, your marketing campaign should begin with SEO. From this foundation, you can build social media and PPC to create a cross-channel digital marketing strategy. Furthermore, with paid ad costs on the rise, organic search traffic is increasingly important.

Keyword Research

Analysing your previous Black Friday campaign is the best place to start. Which pages drove the most traffic and the highest conversions? Note the highest ranking keywords and begin your keyword research from there. You can use these to generate similar search queries in your Google Keyword Planner.

If you don't have previous Black Friday campaigns, never fear! Begin by selecting broad high volume keywords, such as 'Black Friday sale' and leverage this in combination with more specific terms such as product type. Think about consumer intentions and whether you have products that fit them.

Select keywords that your business can be competitive with. Keywords that have relatively high search volumes, low competition and relevance to your business are ideal. Focus on long-tail keywords that include specifics. For example, 'Black Friday cashmere jumpers' (obviously only if your business sells cashmere jumpers). Adding terms such as 'deals', 'gift', or 'coupons' is also good practice.

Landing Pages

Now you've identified your target keywords, it's time to use them on your landing pages. Optimise your meta tags, create targeted copy and product descriptions, and focus on Black Friday search queries. Identify and optimise existing weak and mediocre pages.

Creating a page dedicated to Black Friday deals is an excellent way to include lots of high ranking keywords and display your promotions in one place for improved user experience.

Including creative visual content is strongly advisable, to engage random visitors and encourage page sharing.


Reaching out to influencers, bloggers, local citations and Black Friday listings, will also boost your SEO.


Customer Testimonials

With so many mind-blowing deals to choose from, consumers look increasingly to reviews and testimonials to determine their purchase. Include these on your landing pages to build trust and demonstrate credibility.

Email Marketing, Social Media, PPC

Collaborating with your digital marketing efforts and diversifying your campaign has proven benefits for brand awareness and sales.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer tremendous opportunities to boost sales and make a significant contribution to your revenue. Optimising your digital marketing efforts by leveraging SEO to its fullest potential can transform your Black Friday campaigns. Being prepared is the name of the game here.

For more information about how to improve your SEO, get in contact with our team at Bell. Follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

PR (both digital and traditional) is an important part of any SEO strategy, and vice versa. By informing and working alongside your SEO team for an upcoming activity, you can ensure maximum online impact for your PR campaigns. SEO will also benefit by improving keyword rankings and content performance on your website. Continue reading to understand exactly how important the PR and SEO relationship is.

The Importance of Digital PR to Search Engines

Earlier this year John Mueller from Google Tweeted on the importance of digital PR and search visibility, saying it was as critical to get right as Technical SEO issues.

Often PR teams work with little or no SEO input. With Digital PR this makes no sense, and even traditional PR teams should consider the online impact their messaging could have. Does that Sunday magazine post have a killer Tag Line, what happens if I search that tagline? You wouldn’t believe the number of times PR teams fail to check this. That potential search traffic goes into the internet void and gets lost forever.

Make sure you search that clever tagline to see what comes up in Google, then have a page on your website optimised for that term so you rank for it.

Digital PR is more of an obvious fit. In-article links or brand mentions can not only increase brand awareness, but drive direct traffic and increase organic searches. They can also add to the Trust and Authority of a website if the site carrying the release in an online publication with good readership levels and a high domain rating.

Search engines still rely on links to associate and rate websites to each other and how they should rank for specific search queries. Often SEO link building campaigns are far from great quality. Digital PR campaigns that place high quality, original content in topically related, high authority sites are gold dust to organic performance.

PR & SEO Combined for Extra Impact

As you can see, combining SEO and PR can give a bigger combined visibility impact. The same is true of social media whose aspects should also be considered, from reviews, Tweets, shares, and posts on your business’s social channels in addition to the article comments section. This all helps to widen the reach of the initial release. Paid Social could also play a part here in boosting various posts to a wider audience.

Linking to the press release from your own website makes sense in a few ways:

  • Firstly, it will associate that page value to your linked page
  • It will expose your brand to that page readership
  • It will increase brand/product awareness
  • Google will see the association between your brand and the copy content

SEO links and PR links do have a different initial focus, SEO links are focused on the ranking opportunity presented according to the:

  • Location of the Link
  • The content context surrounding the link
  • Anchor text
  • Domain & Page Trust and Authority

For PR links the focus is usually:

  • Exposure in terms of views/clicks the link has the potential for acquiring
  • How the link will look on the page and that page content to align with the brand/campaign
  • Brand association

So, while the focus of digital PR and an SEO link may differ, in many ways they match up and can be complementary to each other.

As many PR campaign managers find out, the copy they send over is not always presented in the way they write it. Often online publications will not include links, and certainly not a follow link that passes page value and association. In which case it is good to know that your company/brand/product/service getting mentioned in a quality (topically related) article still allows Google to associate your company with the page copy and website it is on.

Digital PR SEO Tactics

So how can an SEO team add value and help the PR offering? While digital knowledge in the PR world is now part of the mix, there is still limited understanding on how search engines work and how they work out the value of a mention or link. So, the first thing an SEO person can do is educate the PR team on how earned media can impact search visibility.

Your PR team should:

1. Always ask for a link.

2. If no link is available, then the company name and homepage URL in the text (a good idea anyway).

3. Link structure – Use relevant (ideally brand or product name) anchor text in the link and link to the most relevant page on your site, not just the homepage.

4. Look for high domain authority coverage.

a. PR judge on readership, target audience and perceived quality within the industry – SEO will look at domain/page authority, topical relevance, and yes quality of publication and content, so similar enough.

5. The article/post should be topically related to your brand and quality original copy.

6. At best the link should be within the post as a text link surrounded by copy relevant to the linked page.

7. Always search in Google for your Article title, are you just up against the top competition, if so changing the title can make all the difference while still being on audience target.

8. Communicate with the Web and SEO team to align with what marketing they are up to, so they can prepare the target page so its optimisation matches the copy on the referring page.

Speaking of referring page – Your marketing team can use Analytics to benchmark the target landing page metrics and track referrals from link traffic from the post. Analytics will also show any increased awareness that it might have generated in terms of organic and direct traffic.

9. If allowed you could add campaign tracking to the link for better analytics.

10. Get the SEO/Social team to share and amplify that external content across their owned social media. A PR campaign that ends up having the extra metrics of referral traffic, organic, direct, and social traffic as well as increased noise and awareness can measure any success.

If the ongoing PR campaign is getting links and mentions on trustworthy and high Authority sites this will have beneficial effects, including:

  • That Trust and Authority will get passed onto (by a reduced margin) your website. Google prefers higher Authority, higher trust websites in their results, so any association to those sites reflects well on your own site.
  • Your website and the section the keyword within the post or article is placed on becoming related with one another – For example, if a Women’s fashion Ecommerce site, has a PR release placed in the Sunday Times Style magazine online – the website will become associated to the fashion sector and gain authority from the ST Style standing in that space. The keywords that Google are associating to that page and surrounding section will also be passed in some small way to your linked to (mentioned) page. So, if the page is about Kaftan Wrap Dresses, your Kaftan Wrap page being linked to will get a stronger Google association to those keywords and hopefully rank better for those associated terms.

Good PR takes time, money and effort to achieve valuable earned media on strong sites. So it makes sense to add in SEO knowledge to maximise the online impact of that PR, while amplifying and measuring that impact.

Our SEO team at Bell can offer training, reviewing of PR campaign content and measurement to show impact.

Get in touch if you are interested or have any questions. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Creating a robust content marketing strategy can be a challenge but is extremely important for SEO. Search engines crawl content for information that helps them index your pages correctly and help you rank in search results. Having a good SEO content strategy improves your website's visibility on search engines, helping to drive traffic. Furthermore, well thought out content will increase conversions by encouraging people to purchase your products/services.

The Top 3 Challenges of Content Marketing in 2021

1. Creating content that drives traffic

Solution 1: Create a content strategy based on the buyer journey

Truly understanding your customers is the first step in content marketing. If you understand customers' needs and expectations throughout the different stages of the buyer journey, then you can build a strategy that drives traffic through each stage of the funnel. Your content decisions should be based on user behaviour data that you continuously collect and analyse.

Solution 2: Research and understand search intent 

Search intent is the reason why someone conducts a specific search, and forms part of the buyer journey. For example, are they looking for information, are they searching for a specific website, or are they looking to buy something? Keyword research will play an important role in planning content for search intent. Read more about the different types of searcher intent on SEMRush's blog.

Solution 3: Make use of long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are usually more specific search phrases, and are particularly beneficial when there’s a lot of competition in your market. Although long-tail keywords get less search traffic, they usually have a higher conversion value because competition is lower and they're targeted. Spend some time researching long-tail keywords before writing each content piece.

2. Keeping the target audience engaged in your content

Solution 1: Get creative with content formats

Diversify your content and get creative with different formats. Blogs will always play a major role in content marketing but by getting creative and focusing on user experience you can really engage with consumers and stand out from the competition. Research and test new formats of interactive and immersive content across all digital channels.

Solution 2: Regularly review performance and update your content strategy 

Content marketing works best as an ongoing process. By auditing your content on a regular basis, you can test and learn what works best and is most favoured by your audience. Consumer behaviour is always changing online which is why regular analysis and an agile strategy is important for continued success.

3. Creating content that converts

Solution 1: Have a specific goal for each piece of content

Content should never be created for the sake of it, instead, you should have a clear, measurable goal in mind for each piece of content. This brings us back to the importance of understanding your audience and creating content for different stages of the user journey. Some examples of content goals include boosting blog traffic, growing an email list or increasing landing page conversions.

Solution 2: Create content for each stage of your funnel to create paths to conversion 

A content strategy should look at each funnel stage. Plan an equal amount of content for each stage in order to create conversion paths that assist your customers through the buyer journey.

From your regular content audits, choose the content that already converts well and ensure there’s stable traffic flow to this content. Make sure other teams in your company know about this content, especially your sales team who can hopefully use the content in their own efforts.

By investing in an SEO Content strategy, you can help ensure long-term success by building stronger relationships with your customers and improving brand recall. We are here to help you with the many challenges of content marketing.

Our Content Team at Bell can help you create an SEO content strategy by helping you understand your audience and the different content formats. We use analytics to make optimisations and improve your long-term strategy.

Want to know what other SEO trends will be important in 2021 and beyond? Check out our 5 SEO trends to include in your 2021 strategy article.

If you are interested in hearing more, get in touch. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

It was last summer when I decided to change jobs. The idea was to specialise in SEO, given my strong interest in this field, so last November I accepted the job offer from Bell Digital as an SEO Account Manager. I was very excited to embark on a new adventure despite the uncertainty due to the global pandemic.

The 3rd of November was my first day - remotely - in the new job. If I had started in the office, I would have met colleagues by the coffee machine and had the half-day orientation of meeting people to establish relationships at work. Instead, I saw myself locked up in my room, at my desk, which was close to my bed. I honestly felt kind of isolated, particularly because I’m not British and I really need to mingle with other people in order to get that sense of togetherness which is pivotal when you live abroad.

I was worried . . . many questions and doubts crowded my mind. For example, I wondered if I would quickly learn the job, and if I would be able to understand my colleagues and quickly integrate into the team. I was afraid, so afraid, that wouldn't be able to adapt to a new way of working. However, the excitement was high too, and I wanted to progress with my career and keep a positive attitude.

I was given a lot of learning material. My drive and curiosity have taken me a few times down the wrong route. I have felt overwhelmed sometimes. I loved what I was learning, but I lost focus because I wanted to absorb all the new many concepts and techniques I was presented with all at the same time. Thankfully, I had lovely and helpful colleagues who explained to me where I had to focus my attention.

In the office, conversations would happen spontaneously. I would either talk about projects and tasks with people around me or ask if they could give me their opinion on my work - that’s how I had developed relationships in my previous job.

Brainstorming in the office would make the learning process easier and quicker. I believe that discussing tasks with colleagues helps develop new perspectives and skills. It is eye-opening because It encourages you to think of multiple approaches to perform a task.

My team has a really good structure to ensure we regularly have face-to-face video chats. This structure has given me the chance to speak my mind, ask questions and discuss projects. Whenever I had task-related doubts I asked for help. My colleagues have been supportive and always available to listen. I had video calls where I could receive some training and talk freely. This has made me feel reassured and more confident.

To put it in a nutshell, it's an experience I would do again despite all the difficulties and uncertainties. It has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and my work and get out of my comfort zone. I was worried, but the willingness to make it work was stronger than the fear of failure. I have tried to keep a positive attitude, listen attentively to any advice from colleagues and be flexible and adaptable. I would encourage anyone to change jobs, even in times of uncertainty, if they have a career path clearly in mind. Although my experience during lockdown has been generally very positive,  I still look forward to going back to the office to establish closer relationships, make friends with other people and achieve great results together.

Share your experiences with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Looking for a new job in digital marketing? Check our careers page for new job openings.

Something you may not have heard of, or even understand, is now possibly, going to impact your website pages rankings in Google results, in May!  We’re doomed I tell you.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Google introduced its “Core Web Vitals Report” earlier last year, and later confirmed that they will become ranking signals for search results in May 2021.

“What are Core Web Vitals?” is a question many online businesses may be asking, or “Isn’t it too late to do anything now?”.

The answers are:

  • They are part of Googles’ User Experience metrics that use real-world user data (from Chrome and other sources) to measure if a site provides a good user experience in terms of
    • Page Load Time – How long does it take to load the largest element?
    • Page Visual Stability – Is the page stable as it loads or does it shift/jump around?
    • Page Interactivity – How long does it take before a user can interact with a page (scroll, click, fill forms etc.)

While Google gives reports on both mobile and desktop, your focus should be on mobile-first.

Does Core Web Vitals Impact Your Website?

The first thing you need to do is check if your site is impacted by these metrics by having a look in the Google Search Console account for your website (You don’t know what Google Search Console is? Ok maybe you need to get reading before you address Core Web Vitals).

The Core Web Vitals report was introduced into Search Console in May 2020 and there is no getting away from the fact that to resolve many of the issues brought up by this report, you will need technical knowledge or access to a developer, since most Content Management Systems will enable you to address some, but most of these issues require developer support.

The only other option is to go down the route of paying for one of the many new plug-ins that are appearing for systems like WordPress and Magento, however, using these without some background knowledge or researching that the Plugin does the job it says it does, could cause problems.

So first off log into your website Google Search Console Account and have a look at the Core Web Vitals Report.

Follow the Google recommendations for non-technical and technical users below, but be aware that for non-technical users Google still adds a step about passing on the report to “the development team”, so some level of technical knowledge is still needed.

Steps To Address and Fix Core Web Vitals Issues

Non-technical users steps to address Core Web Vitals Issues Report:

1. Focus on everything labelled as “Poor” first, then look at the issues that impact the largest set of URLs first or by your most important URLs. Those pages assessed as poor by the report are the ones Google will impact after May.

2. Once sorted by priority, pass the report over to your web(developer) team.

3. Common page fixes:

      a. Reduce page size – best practice is under 500Kb for a page and all its resources (images, JavaScript, CSS etc), but as we know ‘best practice’ and the real world are two different things so just look to reduce image size without impacting visual quality, getting rid of large JS or CSS files that are not used on a page and order the way a page is loaded by focusing on ‘above the fold’ elements – the part of the page that shows in a browser without the need to scroll down.

      b. Limit the amount of resources to no more than 50 for best mobile performance.

4. Test your fixes using PageSpeed Insights Testing Tool (or the Chrome Lighthouse tool, if you want to use an in-browser tool).

5. When you consider a page issue fixed then you should click “Start Tracking” on the issue details page in the Google Search Console Core Web Vitals report.

6. Track your validation process, you will likely have to go through the process a few times before getting a passed state.

Website Developers' steps to address Core Web Vitals Issues Report

1. Prioritise issues/pages labelled as “poor” first and focus on “Mobile” since fixing for mobile will likely resolve most of the issues on desktop and Google has been mobile-first focused for years now. If you manage to clear the “poor” URLs by all means start working on those URLs labelled “Needs Improvement”, but it is the “Poor” pages that will be impacted most when these metrics go live in May.

2. Page load speed will resolve many of the flagged issues, so have a look at dev fast loading guidelines for theory and guidelines t improve page load speed. (The site is a go-to resource for improving performance resources and tips as well as all things Web development.

3. Test your fixes using the PageSpeed Insights testing tool (or the Chrome Lighthouse tool, if you want to use an in-browser tool).

4. When you consider a page issue fixed then you should click “Start Tracking” on the issue details page in the Google Search Console Core Web Vitals report.

5. Track your validation process, you will likely have to go through the process a few times before getting a passed state, the validation states are:

      a. Not Started: There are URLs with an instance of these issues that have never had a validation request.

      b. Started: You have begun a validation attempt, and no remaining instances of the issue have been found as yet.

      c. Looking good: You have started a validation attempt, and all issues checked so far have been fixed.

      d. Passed: All URLs are in a passed state. You must have clicks “Validate Fix” to get to this state, if issues disappear without your having requested validation, the state would have changed to N/A.

      e. N/A: Google found the issue was fixed on all URLs, even though no Validation attempt was started.

      f. Failed: One or more URLs are in a failed state after a validation attempt.

The reality for many eCommerce sites who use systems, such as Shopify, is that you are restricted in how many changes you can make, but even here developers can optimise images, add Lazy loading, Preloading, setting width and height attributes for containers, checking 3rd party code and so on.

So keep calm, access your Search Console Account to see what issues exist, and work through the poor rated pages one step at a time, the more you manage to fix, the smaller the potential impact is going to be in May, and remember, the more you do and the less your competitors do on this issue, the better placed your website will be.

Later this month we will look at some developer actions your team could try that have already worked for large eCommerce sites who have put the time and effort in to address this issue.

If you are interested in hearing more about SEO, do not hesitate to get in contact.

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Last year was full of changes and uncertainty, but presented new consumer trends and a greater emphasis on digital and SEO than ever. But what’s key to include in your 2021 SEO strategy?

Let’s take a look at 5 important areas that will help you be a cut above the rest.

1. Search Intent

Search intent in SEO continues to grow in importance. While it’s hardly a new concept, every year it’s a good idea to re-examine user behaviour to keep on top of changes. Especially after the year that was 2020 when online behaviours changed so rapidly.

Understanding the why behind a search query and matching it to one of the four types of Search Intent (informational, commercial, navigational and transactional) will help you write content that answers consumers questions.

There is a large section on the topic in Google's most recent edition of Quality Rater Guidelines.

Google is getting better at understanding how people search so make sure you create content that reflects the different types of user intent.

2. Core Web Vitals

In May 2021 Core Web Vitals will become a Google ranking signal.

Core Web Vitals are designed to measure how users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a page and combine the following signals:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe-browsing
  • HTTPS-security
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines

It will be critical for marketers to make sure they stay on top of this to be competitive with the average website and ensure their traffic and conversions are not affected. So start looking at this now ahead of the update in May.

Overtime Core Web Vitals will change as user expectations of web pages change so staying up to date and checking these elements of SEO regularly should be an important part of your SEO strategy.

3. Mobile First

By March 2021, Google will have switched all websites from desktop-first to mobile-first indexing. This means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of a website's content for indexing and ranking, meaning it has never been more important for marketers to focus on a mobile-first strategy.

If you haven't already, now is the time to check your website pages and make sure they are easy to navigate, and all images and content are displayed well.

It’s ok to have a different desktop and mobile website experience, but considering Google will essentially ignore the desktop version, if you still have a separate mobile site, now might be the time to migrate to a mobile responsive site instead.

4. Structured data & SERPs

In 2021 Google is set to offer even more answers directly on search result pages without people having to visit a site. This means structured data, or schema mark-up should be an important part of your SEO strategy in 2021.

Marketers should use structured data to help Google better understand who you are, what you offer and what audience you serve, increasing rich results from your website on SERPs. This can have a remarkable impact on CTA’s and attention from users.

Using Googles’ Structured Data Testing Tool, you familiarise yourself with the concept and start applying structured data for your website.

Although not always easy, if you can win FAQ or how-to schema on SERPS you can significantly increase the likelihood of people clicking on your result. You will want to make sure you're creating content with the user in mind and answer common questions on your pages.

5. Long-Form Content & Topic clusters

While the word count of content is not a ranking factor, long-form content generally suggests more information, more expertise and more questions answered.

Marketers should research topic clusters around one central content theme. Cover all aspects of a topic, in as much detail as possible with strategic interlinking. This will send signals to Google that the content of your site has a high level of breadth and depth.

Break up your long-form content with lots of keyword-rich H2 and H3 tags.

You should also take a look at updating old content with relevant new information. Answer questions you haven't previously touched on, and provide extra breadth and depth.


Adapting to SEO trends and keeping up to date with Google’s criteria is fundamental to SEO success. 2021 should see marketers put consumers' interests first, with a focus on excellent user experience and in-depth, interesting written content.

For more information about SEO strategy, get in touch.

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Stop Using Robots.txt Noindex By September

Let’s all get prepared ahead of time, ready for the 1st of September, when Google will officially stop supporting noindex in the robots.txt directory.
Over the past 25 years, the unofficial standard of using robots.txt files, to make crawling an easier process, has been widely used on sites across the internet. Despite never being officially introduced as a web standard, Googlebot tends to follow robots.txt to decipher whether to crawl and index a site’s pages or images, to avoid following links and whether or not to show cached versions.

It’s important to note, robots.txt files can only be viewed as a guide and don’t completely block spiders from following requests. However, Google has announced that they plan to completely stop supporting the use of the noindex in the robots.txt file. So, it’s time to adapt a new way of instructing robots to not index any pages in which you want to avoid being crawled and indexed.

Why is Google stopping support for noindex in robots.txt?

As previously mentioned, the robots.txt noindex isn’t considered an official directive. Despite being unofficially supported by Google for the past quarter of a decade, noindex in robots.txt is often used incorrectly and has failed to work in 8% of cases. Google deciding to standardise the protocol is another step to further optimising the algorithm. Their aim with this standardisation is to prepare for potential open source releases in the future, which won’t support robots.txt directories. Google has been advising for years that users should avoid using robots.txt files so this change, although a major one, doesn’t come as a big surprise to us.

What Other Ways Can I Control The Crawling Process?

In order to get prepared for the day that Googlebot will stop following noindex instructions, as requested in the robots.txt directory, we must adapt to different processes in order to try and control crawling as much as we possibly can. Google has provided a few alternative suggestions on their official blog. However, the two we recommend you use for noindexing are:
• Robots meta tags with ‘noindex’
• Disallow in robots.txt

Robots meta tags with ‘noindex’

The first option we’re going to explore is using noindex in robots meta tags. As a brief summary, a robots meta tag is a bit of code that should be located in the header of a web page. This is the preferred option as it holds similar value, if not more, to that of robots.txt noindex and is highly effective for stopping URLs from being indexed. Using noindex in robots meta tags will still allow Googlebot to crawl your site but it will prevent URLs from being stored in Google’s index.

Disallow in robots.txt

The other method to noindexing is to use disallow in robots.txt. This form of robots.txt informs the robot to avoid visiting and crawling the site, which in turn means that it won’t be indexed.

A disallow to exclude all robots from crawling the whole site should look like this:

A disallow to exclude one particular robot from crawling the whole site should look like this:

A disallow for certain disallowed pages to not be crawled by all robots should look like this:

To exclude just one folder from being crawled by all robots, a disallow should look like this:

Important things to bear in mind

There are some important things to keep in mind when using robots.txt to request for pages not to be indexed:
• Robots have the ability to ignore your instructions in robots.txt. Malware robots, spammers and email address harvesters are more likely to ignore robots.txt, so it’s important to think about what you’re requesting to be noindexed and if it’s something which shouldn’t be viewed by all robots.
• Robots.txt files are not private, which means anyone can see what parts of your site you don’t want robots to crawl. So, just remember this because you should NOT be using disallow in robots.txt as a way to hide certain information.

And over to you

We’ve given you an overview of our two recommendations for alternative noindexing methods. It’s now up to you to implement a new method ahead of the 1st of September so that you’re prepared for Google to stop supporting noindex robots.txt. If you have any questions, make sure to get in touch with us.

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