Why Brexit is good for SEO

OK Brexit – let’s get the good and bad vibes out of the way, it’s here in the UK, it’s a done deal, so let’s move on and move upwards.

So Brexit is good for SEO – how come? Well, like anything in business it does boil down to money. A good SEO agency (which by the way I classify our own agency as) delivers good SEO results that show how its work has affected Google rankings and subsequently increased visitors. And of course it repeats itself month on month getting better and bolder, more creative and more dynamic with results growing and visitors continuing and increasing.

But of course it comes at a price – it’s business and any good service costs money to deliver good results. But now with the onset of Brexit, excellent SEO services suddenly become immensely more affordable to companies based outside of the UK buying from a UK SEO agency. A simple time lapse comparison says it all. The UK Brexit vote occurred on June 26th 2016 and then the UK £(GBP) stood at:

1 Eur€ bought you £GBP 0.736

1 CAN$ bought you £GBP 0.489

1 $AUD bought you £GBP 0.495

1 USD$ bought you £GBP 0.678

Today that’s all changed for the better if you are buying services from the UK your Euro or your Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar or US Dollar gets you much more SEO it’s like getting 25% discount for exactly the same service:

1 Eur€ buys you £GBP 0.92 up by 25%

1 CAN$ buys you £GBP 0.624 up by 27.61%

1 $AUD buys you £GBP 0.615 up by 24.24%

1 USD$ buys you £GBP 0.758 up by 11.8%

With buying power increased by 25% you should be investing in the UK for your SEO. In a global economy and an always on internet SEO is the same whether it’s being implemented for a UK, US, Canadian, Australian or European website – the SEO is the same the price is just so much cheaper for companies buying services from the UK.

Your Euro (€), US Dollar ($), Canadian Dollar (CAN$), Australian Dollar (AUS$) Stretch’s further, buys you more and gets your SEO working as you need it to at effectively 25%+ discount. So for UK SEO agencies Brexit is good for selling services and for companies based virtually anywhere in the world buying from the UK has never been better.

SEO services – where to find out more

Find out more about our SEO work here or get in touch with us if you’d like to talk about how we can help you with SEO.

 

 

Action you can take on your SEO right now

Basic SEO

Basic SEOAs a marketing agency, I get to see a lot of clients’ websites.  As part of our research when we take on a new client, we always look at their website, not just to find out what the client does, but also to see how well their site is put together.

I have to tell you that I’m often amazed that an awful lot of websites don’t have even the most basic SEO. What I mean by that is that the website pages don’t have any meta titles or meta descriptions – all of which are very easy to put in when the website is built, and should be easy to put in even afterwards.  To leave them completely empty is just a no-no.

How Google works out what your website is about
Why is this so important? When Google (and other search engines) is crawling the web, it has to decide what your website is actually about. It reads the text on your web pages, but it also takes a great deal of notice of your meta tags, eg Meta Title, Meta Description.  These are your way of telling Google “When people search for the terms in my meta tags, I want you to put my website in the search results (SERPs).”  if there’s nothing in the meta tags, Google won’t know what your site is about and is less likely to bring it up in the SERPs, or will rank it lower.

Meta Descriptions
The meta description is also important, because although it is not used for SEO, it is the text that Google displays in the SERPs when it returns your page in a search and so it should contain marketing text that persaudes people to click on YOUR website and not those of your competitors. You should have a different meta description for each page. Amazingly, an awful lot of websites have exactly the same meta description for each page.  So how are people going to be persuaded to read your page and how will they know which page to read in the search results if they are all the same?  Many websites don’t have a meta description at all, in which case Google will just display the first text it sees on the page – which may not be the text that you want people to read.

Action you can take on your SEO right now
Don’t despair!  There are actions you can take on your seo right now. Check your website now and do something to put it right. You can check if you have meta tags by displaying your website, click “View Source” and search the code for “meta”. Then look at the text next to the “title” tag and the “description” tag. If it doesn’t look right, talk to your web agency about adding in some basic seo, or if you can edit your own website, go into the CMS and add in different titles and descriptions for each page. Do it now, it’s important!  If you don’t know what to do, drop us a line and we can help.

Building High Quality Sites – Google shares SEO secrets

google-algorithm-lg

Everybody wants to know exactly how Google ranks a site and how its complex algorithms calculate your site’s score so you can capitalise and push your site to number 1.

While Google will never give away all its trade secrets they are very good at guiding us and on their Google Webmaster Central Blog they list some of the key factors that go towards ranking your site.

So what counts as a high-quality site in Google’s eyes?

Google’s site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find high-quality sites – in doing this they reduce the rankings of sites with low-quality content. In a blog on the site Google explains some of the ideas and research that drive the development of their algorithms.

Their approach is to pose the questions that answer their algorithms. They aren’t disclosing the actual ranking techniques used in their algorithms but answer all these questions and you will be much closer to getting into Google’s mindset and more importantly right up there on page 1 rankings:

 

  1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  4. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  5. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  6. Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  7. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  8. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  9. How much quality control is done on content?
  10. Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  11. Is the site a recognised authority on its topic?
  12. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  13. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  14. For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  15. Would you recognise this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  16. Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  17. Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  18. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  19. Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  20. Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopaedia or book?
  21. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  22. Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  23. Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Get the answers to these questions right and you’ll be well on the way to a top ranking.

Ranking techniques – where to get help

Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and techniques: How to be found in Google Searches

Do you know how to set up SEO?

How to set up SEO

How to set up SEOIt might sound like a strange question when we’re the ones offering SEO services! But we exhibit at lots of business and networking seminars and in talking to visitors about SEO, when we ask that question we often hear the answer:

“It’s all right, I know how to set up SEO – leave it with me!”

But all too often their knowledge is just outdated. Lots of people have content managed systems (CMS) to manage their websites and see the section called ‘SEO SETUP’ which has a few fields to enter information such as META TAGS, META DATA, PAGE TITLE and URI. They quite rightly enter these details and then assume that’s all there is to SEO and away they go expecting their sites to be ranked on the first page the next day. If only it was that simple!

SEO management covers a whole host of areas, is an ongoing activity and needs to really inform the search engines about every aspect of your website and your business:

  • detailed analysis of how you want to be seen;
  • how on-page content is related to underlying website SEO information;
  • how to create a unique focus on the information on each page;
  • the correct way to submit your website to each search engine;
  • updating information regularly;
  • ensuring videos are managed correctly to avoid down grading by search engines;
  • image tagging for performance and recognition;
  • site structure levels and the money pages…

There’s so much to do to setup and then manage regularly to get that search ranking and to maintain it.

SEO Top Tips – Download this guide now

The list of activities and requirements is extensive and is more than just entering the scant data into the SEO fields that may be available to you. So we’ve put together some SEO Top Tips to get you started that touch on some of the key areas to look at when starting out on SEO.

 

Keywords: How to help search engines understand your website content

Pick the Right Keywords

Pick the Right KeywordsWe’ve been doing quite a few web site analyses over the past couple of weeks and it’s been fascinating to see that not one of the sites we’ve analysed so far, has what I would call good SEO in place.

Most of the sites have no meta tags, but I won’t go on about that here as I’ve covered it in previous articles. But surprisingly, not many sites actually include their key search terms in their on-page copy.

Analysing the most frequently used words on a web site home page often picks up generic terms like “leader”, “we” or “business”, which aren’t specific enough to explain to a search engine what your website is about.

While I don’t want to encourage you to repetitively stuff your page full of keywords, you have to make sure that the search terms you want people to find you for, actually do exist on your page, maybe 2 or 3 times, otherwise Google is not going to find your site when people type those search terms into the search box.

You should also make sure that the other copy on the page supports your main theme. So if you’re a social media consultant, talk about social media channels, twitter, facebook, youtube, and whatever other words relate to the social media. This sort of occurrence of associated words makes Google realise what your site is all about and will increase the chances of your page being returned higher up in the search results.

Creating online brand loyalty needs more work

Work harder nad smarter to create an onlien brand

Work harder and smarter to create an online brand

To retain online customers you need to work harder and smarter than an offline business.

Think about it – when you need that new gadget, new website design, or lipstick, do you automatically go back to the site where you purchased the last time or do you go straight to Google and search for the site that can give you the best price/service/delivery/support? If you opted for the second answer you’re not alone:

♦  66% of online shoppers buy because it’s cheaper,
♦  75% because of special offers and
♦  80% for the wider choice

Big business and retailers knew this and when the only option was to walk past their office or shop they needed to stand out – outside they had big metal corporate business signs or retail posters and sandwich boards. Inside it’s the environment – music, heating – or for business, that busy office combined with that friendly customer service, special offers and after sales service.

And it worked – as buyers we remembered that friendly sales person who explained the plethora of choices, the new special offer sign in the window or the ‘thank you for selecting our services’ letter with a promotional offer.

The essence of any shopping experience is front of mind and it’s still visual memory that drives buyers. Online you need to work so much harder to create and retain that image – but you have so many more tools. We all know that SEO is crucial to ensure people find your site and click to visit, adwords can entice buyers and online adverts provide endorsement and awareness. Getting people to purchase is your next challenge when they visit – clear information, interactive sites, lots of interesting activity (but not too much!) – guiding them through to what they need and that final buying decision.

But after they have made that first purchase the greatest challenge is to get them coming back – repeat purchases are the most profitable, you’ve already convinced them you are good to do business with, you just need to convince them to come back for more – again, and again, and…..:

  • Be intelligent – categorise your buyers, then communicate regularly with offers that influence them – if they are part of the 80% looking for a broader choice then don’t keep telling them that you are cheaper.
  • Keep reminding them a) that you are here and b) about what’s new
  • Use different marketing channels to excite them – keep sending them text messages every hour and they’ll soon forget you
  • When you send out links, make sure they go through to a new/special page – when your customer has made that clickthru decision if they see the same (tired) old page it’s a massive turn off
  • Entice them with offers when they buy and when they don’t – if they look at your site and don’t follow thru, chase them! Something got them there so find out what stopped them and turn it to your advantage with a tailored offer – but be quick about it, they’re in buying mode now! You can use Google remarketing to help automate this.
  • Let people contact you how they want – offer all options, just because you don’t like twitter doesn’t mean that they don’t – 47% said their customer experience was better when their supplier used social media

Most importantly you need to give your buyers a mental ‘shopping picture’ of your business – the massive office/store front with bright lights/impressive business signage, the warm memory of a great buying experience and the long term value from taking your advice, your offers and your after care service.

Buying has changed dramatically for both business and consumers. The online web tools are here to make you a smarter supplier. Next time they buy make sure your customers have an image of your website at the front of their mind.

Online brand loyalty – Where to get help

If you would like to find out how we can help you generate brand loyalty amongst your prospects and clients, please get in touch.

 

* Shopping trends from Lab24: “How People Shop Online”

Fact: Our website is #1 on Google and SEO only cost us $99!

That was the comment I was confronted with when I went to see a client recently.

“See this? See this!” said my client. “There we are, our website is right up there at number 1, and it happened overnight after I paid my $99. How simple was that? And I have a cast-iron guarantee that it will stay at that position for that single payment!”

Now I had two options here:

  • Hit him hard with the facts i.e. there is no way you can go to #1 overnight

or

  • Let him down gently and explain what’s happened and that he’s just wasted $99

I have to admit I was so annoyed that he’d gone off and done this that I wanted to take the first option, but I decided that our long term relationship deserved more than that – my annoyance is my problem!

How Google indexes websites

So I explained that when you type your own website url into Google search, Google will return all instances of the pages it has indexed. So yes it appears to be number 1 (and 2 and 3 and 4….). And yes every time you do that it will be the same, but actually that’s not what he wants or needs – if someone knows his url then SEO is not needed, people will just go straight to his site anyway – a fact that he had forgotten during the sales pitch.  I expanded on ‘real’ SEO and what it meant, what people search for, how his competitors are defined and how to set up his USPs. We talked about all the different areas that needed to be considered, from search terms, on-site content, domain authority, meta data, video and PDF optimisation through to Google Search Console, articles, blogs and on and on. It was then that he realised just what a mistake he’d made.

#1 on Google for $99? No way!

Don’t waste money on the wrong sort of SEO

Next, I showed him how it worked for any website by entering website urls at random. He saw that they were also #1 and the penny dropped big time – yes he’d been duped. What came next was more embarrassment for him and shock for me. He’d been so impressed by what he’d seen that he’d paid out another $199 to do the same for his site on Bing (because, as the sales pitch went, “Bing is so much more complicated to get to number 1 than Google”). He’d also paid out $248 ($49+$199) for 3 other sites he runs plus a general overrider fee of $499 for a whole host of secondary search engines that “we can get you to number one on as well”. So in total he’d handed over $1,491 for absolutely nothing.

Giving SEO agencies a bad name

While I am fuming that there are con artists out there that play on the innocent (and give real SEO agencies like us a bad name) I was more annoyed at his naivety – but part of me can’t blame him. Everybody (and their dog!) must get the same emails that I do “$99 to be #1 on Google with instant SEO techniques”. These emails scream that they can achieve the impossible. But when you want to drive people to your site it does seem attractive and low risk. To give him his due, he then said “OK – I was stupid” and proceeded to give me an order to carry out ‘real SEO’ for him – I just wish it didn’t have to come on the back of wasted money.

SEO – where to get help

My plea to anyone reading this is – don’t be duped and fork out money for nothing. The old adage is worth remembering more than anywhere else at this time:

“When people expect to get ‘something for nothing’ they are sure to be cheated.”

By PT Barnum (that great showman who knew a thing or two about convincing people to part with their money)

I rest my case.

If you’d like help with your SEO and want to work with a white-hat (ethical) SEO consultant, please get in touch.

Find out more

Please click to find out more about our SEO service.

Have you been conned by SEO?

Have you been conned by SEO?

Have you been conned by SEO?“Hello, my name is Sonya and I’m an SEO consultant. We can get your website to the number 1 position in Google for only £99.”

How many emails and phone calls per week do you get that start off with something like this?  If my own experience is anything to go by, you probably get quite a few.  What’s your first thought? “Mmm, maybe they might be onto something here, I would love to be in the top position on Google”?

You might think it sounds tempting. But let’s just analyse this for a second. What exactly are they promising? To get your website to the Number 1 position in Google.

What do they mean by “Your Website”. Do they mean the home page? Do they mean a particular section page?

And when they say “Number 1 position”, what search term would someone have to search for in Google, for your website to come up in the “Number 1 position”? I would hazard a guess that if you typed your company name into Google now, your site will probably already come up in the Number 1 position. But the people you want to find you on Google are the people who DON’T already know your company name. What search term will they type in?

Let me explain why this promise is meaningless

Let’s say your company name is “Lannards” and you sell office furniture. What search term do you want to be found for? “Office furniture” probably, right? Maybe some other terms like “desks”, “office chairs”, that sort of thing. Certainly, you’ll want to come up in the top 3 search results if someone types in “Lannards” and “Lannards office furniture”, but you probably already do. what you really want is that if someone types in “Office Furniture”, your website will come up in the top 3 results. Probably you’ll want this to be your home page.  If that happens, you’re reaching new potential buyers who may not know about your company and who will click on the link to your site.

What page should come up in the search results?

But if someone types “desks” into Google, you would probably want the “desks” page of your website to come up into Google, so that the potential customer goes straight to the page containing the products they’re interested in. And if they typed in “office chairs”, you’d want them to go to the “office chairs” page. In this way, each page of your website needs to be optimised so that it can be found for its main topic when people search for it.

Don’t be conned by style

So it’s totally meaningless for someone to say they can get you to number 1 in Google, because it depends on a) the search term being searched for and b) which website page will be returned in the search results. They could quite easily take your money and then say “we got you to number 1” because if you search for “Lannards”, you’ll come up top. And don’t be fooled, it can’t be done for £99. Because all your competitors are constantly changing their own websites and doing their own SEO, it has to be a continuous process of updating content, tweaking copy and key search terms, to keep on top of it all.

How can you improve your Google rankings, then?

What you should really be doing, is deciding on a main topic for each page of your website, make sure each page has a good volume of high quality text and other content such as images and videos that talks about this topic, and optimise each page for its own unique topic. In this way, Google will be able to easily work out what each page of your site is about and your rankings will improve. You can do this yourself of course, if you have the time and the inclination, or you can use a trustworthy SEO agency, based in the UK, who have proven results and a good track record with other clients. They should want to talk to you about what’s important to your business and what your potential customers are looking for.

For more information about how to improve your Google rankings, see our SEO top tips and other marketing resources and read about our in-depth, organic SEO services.

 

Google+ but not as we know it and how the G+ break up affects your SEO

google-plus-breaking-up-2015Going, Going, Google+ Gone

Since Google+ was introduced it became one of the must haves to help boost your SEO. G+ and YouTube from Google gave website owners the optimum resource for search engine optimisation. No matter whether it was personalised search results you were looking to improve or gaining increased organic reach G+ was a key driver to get Google on your side and to build on SEO for your businesses. Anyone searching for terms would see posts in Google+ being posted in top spots and YouTube helping with video promotion was also part of the social move by Google. But all this is set to change with Google’s change to G+ and its reorganisation into:

  • Communication
  • Photos, and
  • Streams

The three new areas were announced by Bradley Horowitz, the new VP in charge of the changing face of Google social media. In a recent Google blog on 27th July, Bradley commented:

“When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes.”

And these changes are still in an embryonic stage and include:

  • A more focused Google+ experience
  • Moving Google+ Photos to the Google Photos app
  • Putting sharing into Google Hangouts
  • Using Google without a Google+ profile (hurrah!)

The move makes perfect sense because since G+ was installed in our mindset the general concensus was that it didn’t quite hit the mark of knocking Facebook or Twitter off their respective pedestals. It had some nice features, some confusing features and a lot of irritating features like not always being able to access other Google products without a G+ profile. With photos becoming increasingly important (e.g. Facebook acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram) the move makes sense and Google+ has seen a lot of pick-up in the image area. Google Hangouts has had a solid following and the move to breakout Google+ into streams signifies that Google has recognised that it has strengths but not the overall Social Media clout it thought it might achieve.

Changes to your SEO activities

Q: Should I ditch my Google+ business page?

Definitely not! You should keep your business page (and if you haven’t got one, then set it up now!) The “Google My Business” section of Google+ is still key to search results and allows you to add and verify business listings – these are the details that appear in organic search results and in Google Maps. You should ensure that you manage this business page to enter all correct business details, add up to date photos and videos – and to make sure that you stay on top of, and respond to customer comments.

 Q: Is it time to split my YouTube & Google+ accounts?

Again, not yet. On YouTube’s own blog they say:

“Do NOT do it right now or you’ll delete your YouTube Channel!”

Google+ has been a good tool for locating people with similar interests but in its new guise it will help ensure that the people are actually using it, and where useful, should help it thrive. Your activity on Google+ has been sharing itself across the platform and once the separation occurs (G+ split from YouTube) comments will only appear on your YouTube channel. This is great news as it should raise engagement on YouTube. At the moment comments include Google+ activity and these tended to go to the top of the comment section, which discouraged interaction as the comments just listed the activity of a video being shared – not a lot of meaningful feedback. Keep an eye on the split as you’ll need to make a positive change to split your G+ & YouTube channels to take advantage of the SEO gains of a focused YouTube offering.

 Q: How do capitalise on the changes?

Reading between the lines of the announcement and the focus on ‘Photos’ the clue here is that Google are still placing a major importance on imagery. This means ensuring that you are using images liberally across your website, when they add value and when they are relevant – just posting holiday photos on your business website doesn’t hack it with Google search! But also make sure that the images are setup correctly, tagged correctly and pushed to Google search with Webmaster tools and if used in a blog use blog posting indexes. So if you are moving to a new generic/vanity TLD you won’t have a loss of SEO – but remember Google needs to know what’s happening, just moving without following the SEO rules WILL upset your current ranking. You can read more about getting on top of Google SEO with our guide

To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:

► Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: ‘How to be found in Google Searches

► Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO

How Google is handling SEO for new top level domains

Great News! New Top Level Domains (TLDs) avalable to boost your marketing – but what happens to your SEO?

top-level-domains-and-google-seoSince the new extensive list of TLDs (gTLDs) were announced there has been rumour upon rumour that Google is marking down your SEO if you use a vanity TLD or in one blog post that I saw, “Don’t use a new vanity TLD as Google will remove your site from SEO search and give a zero ranking!” Really? Will implementing a new TLD upset Google that much and kill your SEO?

In a recent blog John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google posted a comprehensive Q&A to put the record straight and to squash some of the more ‘outlandish’, scaremongering rumours. Here are the key highlights of the blog on new TLD’s and the impact they will have on your SEO… or not!

“With the coming of many new generic top level domains (gTLDs), we’d like to give some insight into how these are handled in Google’s search. We’ve heard and seen questions and misconceptions about the way we treat new top level domains (TLDs), like .guru, .how, or any of the .BRAND gTLDs, for example:

Q: How will new gTLDs affect search? Is Google changing the search algorithm to favor these TLDs? How important are they really in search? 

A: Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.

Q: Will a .BRAND TLD be given any more or less weight than a .com?

A: No. Those TLDs will be treated the same as a other gTLDs. They will require the same geotargeting settings and configuration, and they won’t have more weight or influence in the way we crawl, index, or rank URLs.

Q: How are the new region or city TLDs (like .london or .bayern) handled?

A: Even if they look region-specific, we will treat them as gTLDs. This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia. There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they’re used in practice.

Q: What about real ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) : will Google favor ccTLDs (like .uk, .ae, etc.) as a local domain for people searching in those countries?

A: By default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country. Again, see our help center for more information on multi-regional and multilingual sites.

 

So if you are moving to a new generic/vanity TLD you won’t necessarily have a loss of SEO – but remember Google needs to know what’s happening, just moving without following strict SEO rules WILL upset your current ranking. You can ensure your SEO is not hit by following these four basic steps:

  1. Prepare the new site and test it thoroughly
  2. Prepare a 301 table from the current to the corresponding new
  3. Configure the server to redirect from the old to the new ones
  4. Monitor and track the traffic on the associated URLs

 

Aside from TLDs you can read more about getting on top of Google SEO with our guide

To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:

► Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: ‘How to be found in Google Searches

► Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO