SEO for SME's What You Need To Know

As a business owner with a website, one of the most important things to consider is visibility. SEO also known as search engine optimisation, is a daunting project if not approached correctly.

There are many ways to tackle SEO such as content creation, link building, keyword research and many more.

The danger of doing SEO without any prior knowledge can be detrimental to your website as many tactics that can be used may end up getting your site penalised.

Building Blocks

When beginning any search marketing campaign there are processes to address, firstly keyword research.

Without in depth keyword research a campaign can fall at the first step as identifying the correct keywords/phrases is vital to any success.

Once a defined list has been agreed the next phase is to then look at the website from an on-page and technical perspective.

This can identify any structural issues with the website as well identifying areas to improve.

Content is also a vital part of on page work to undertake, make sure your content is unique, not to keyword heavy, a reasonable amount of keywords to mention is perhaps 1-2 per 200 words, make the content useful for the user as conversion is the main goal for any website.

Patience

Once the website has then been ‘optimised’ for the SERPs (search engine results pages), patience is the next important part of SEO as it’s not a quick fix.

It can take the search engine’s time to re-crawl your updated site so a handy tip is submitting an updated sitemap.xml file to the Google Webmaster Tools console (account setup and verification needed). This can help inform Google of changes and new pages to crawl.

Now a little bit of time has passed and your newly optimise site is appearing for your researched terms in the SERP’s what next?

Links

Link building is an important part of SEO as links to your site count as a ‘vote’ but be careful when trying to attract links to your site as there are key factors involved to ensure a link to your site will be beneficial.

Relevancy is key, if your site is about and a site about laptops links to yours there is no relevancy between the 2 and therefore could be viewed as spamming which if this technique is adopted can lead to poor results.

Quality Over Quantity

Ensuring that the quality of a link is relevant to your site topic can lead to greater results 1 link from a highly related website will have more benefits than having 10’s to hundreds of unrelated links which could lead to a penalty.

End Results

SEO is a steady progression and making the wrong choices on a small budget can cost SME’s a lot more in terms of money if the wring strategy is adopted.

UPDATE

As SEO Account Director at MEC Manchester SEO Operations manager for Latitude Digital Marketing‘s I have seen businesses that use ‘black hat seo’ techniques as well as poorly planned strategies come a cropper compared to a professional and well planned campaign that reaps rewards.

g+1

Google +1, Yes Another Post!

Ok i’ll get straight to the point of my +1 post, i won’t bore you with will it kill SEO or how cool is it?

I have been playing around with this new social tool and spotted a couple of observations when a site has been +1’d:

When using the preview option for a +1 site, you get a little snippet from the site, in this example a description and contact details, quite handy if you want to contact a site without trawling through to find the information:

And without being a +1 site:

Ciao for now

Google Recipe Search – SEO for Foodies?

Google Recipe Search

Not sure what to make for your tea (dinner if not a mancunian)?

Google Recipe will make your life easier 😉

http://www.google.com/search?q=red+thai+curry&tbs=rcp%3A1

Only on google.com at present, also tells you calories where available.

You want a prawn curry (shrimp if you’re an American) not chicken I hear you ask? Simply select the recipe element you don’t want in your meal.

Google Red Thai Curry Recipe

Google Recipe Options

New Google Algo Update

Quick post, it has been announced that a Google algorithm update is to happen in the US only for now but the recent Chrome block sites extension has helped identify 84% of blocked sites match in the algo.

What does this mean?

Potentially for UK SERPS in the future sites that may be marked as link selling or spam sites may have their external links discounted further and pass no weight.

No indication of the release in UK yet but keep an eye on your site or clients rankings as if the drop a cleanse if backlinks will be required.

'No input = No output; "Merry Christmas my arse"'

SEO Tramp – Now with those extra optimised recipricul 3 way links and shit.

Scene 1: An office somewhere. An email is opened.

Search Editor (no I don’t know either): “There have been discussions from higher up in our organistaion questioning the value of SOE..”

I could go on but I’ve wasted enough time already (my cans are getting warm thanks to fat Mary).

SEO Tramp; “F&cking c*nt. Eh?”

In a room somewhere I feel my ears burning about the disatisfaction of performance, my role, my work and what can be done i.e. another round of un-deliverable deliverables for appeasement is required.

A meeting is arranged. How to defend yourself against pointless accusations and your position, justify your value. Various floppy randoms are present.

Some eejit: “So we’re all here on Christmas Eve to discuss what value your organistation and SEO is currently providing”

This statement is then followed by a 20 minute conversation between the floppy randoms about pointless shit and how they’re not making money. Worrying about funding and the price of the coffee I’ve been graciously provided.

‘Search Editor’: As a business…”

SEO Tramp: “Right you c*nt. Listen and listen well. 1) Although we’re about 1 month late with deliverables (the fact that a) your website’s a bloody mess and you keep changig your mind about things) here are your recommendations. So why didn’t you raise this earlier with us instead of letting fat gobsh!te getting involved?”

‘Online Marketing Senior Executive in charge of pencils’: “Well. We’ve been discussing a lot of things internally to people who don’t listen and never communicate. The upshot is you’re in the shit.”

Up.U.P.

SEO Tramp;”What you’re doing isn’t good enough. You need to do better. Why do I say that? Because, despite the fact that we are about 1 month behind on current deliverables (keyword density percentages are a very fine art – 13.6%) you’re about 6 months behind on the recommendations that have already been provided. Which you still haven’t implemented. Becuase you can’t. Because you’re a bunch of freaking upper middle class twits. Your KPI is 3,000% uplift in natural entry visits. I can’t even get the bloody data off you to show you the uplift in organic traffic without running some bloody formula. You know what. One word. ‘Megatrffikzzz'”

Senior Director of Sitting About and Not providing anything of any importance (probably went to a private school. looks down on everyone. Has a very small penis and a disatisfied wife. Kids have drug problems again. And he’s out of port and stilton).: “We feel that there has been no siginificant organically optimsed data benefit regarding the KPI’s and SLA’s put in place to optimise our alt tags and move momentum through the elephant in the room. From you. Despite the fact that we can’t (internally) actually do anything. Are those my slippers?”

SEO Tramp:”So aside from the fact that you’re done NOTHING with the advice we’vew provided. Aside from the fact that you all clearly have no idea about your business and how to run it (SPEAK TO EACH OTHER) or even make money (do we need a conversation about traffic vs conversion. Don’t answer that). I cant do any PR, Link building or anything. Yet you want to be no 1 for “twat insurance” – and lets be honest, it’s quite a competitive vertical.”

Dim Head of Unlinking Internal Marketing Campaigns: “Weeeeellllllllll. Realllllllllly Iiiiiiiii thinnnnnnnk thhaaaaaaat weeeeee shhhhhhhhooooooouuuullllld beeeeeee. (Pause for 20 minute internal conversation about how none of this conversation is feasible). Soooooooo maaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyybbbbeeeeeeee yyyyyyyoooooooooo shhhhoooooooollllldddddd….”

SEO Tramp is found several (w)hou()r(e)s later. Screaming at the sky about conversion and why he has to deal with people in knit wear.

SEO Tramp sezzz

“The main channels of information available to the guerillas are newspapers, leaflets, radio, word of mouth. Other methods may be worked out and new ones invented…All the means of winning the confidence of the people must be utilised. The ideas of the movement must be so popularised that no one is in doubt – least of all the enemy – that it will win eventually.”

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO

There are various methodologies used to describe the practices of search engine optimisation (SEO) and they generally are colour based, the main 2 are “White Hat” and “Black Hat” techniques.

Whilst believing that black hat SEO techniques might have some short term positive effect, the long term implications can be disastrous for your website and in turn your business.

Black hat SEO isn’t just about buying paid links as there are various techniques that can give a website a short term boost but as mentioned can have a detrimental effect on your website, such as ranking penalties, Page Rank penalties and being de-indexed altogether.

Let’s take a look at a few methods for both White and Black hat SEO in more detail:

BLACK HAT SEO TECHNIQUES

1. Bulk Link Purchasing/Link Farming

Buying a large volume of links in a short period of time will alert the search engine’s to unnatural linking behaviour and could see penalties imposed.

Known public networks are generally used to place links on a site within the network but generally placed in “bad neighbourhoods” i.e. a link for a keyword relating to a blue widget site being placed on a gambling site with a high page rank.

2. Keyword Stuffing

There are 2 meta tags that are used to inform search engines of content on the page, they are the description and keyword tags.

Meta Description is used to describe the page to a user and is usually a descriptive paragraph of 1-2 sentences.
A common black hat technique is to overload the description and keyword tags with just keywords that are being targeted for rankings.

3. Hidden Content

Hidden content comes in many guises but the basic principle is that content is “stuffed” with keywords within the code of a website site, this content will not be visible to the end user of the site but can still be read by the search engine’s when crawling the site. Examples of this as follows:

1. Comment Tags
2. The use of the tag
3. JavaScript

WHITE HAT SEO TECHNIQUES

1. Keyword Research

Research keywords and key phrases you think people might useful to find your site, multi-word phrases that are much more specific to your product/service and you’ll be targeting end users that are much more likely to want what you are offering.

Use the keywords and key phrases you’ve identified effectively throughout your website. Assign each page 2-3 of the keywords you’ve identified and use the keywords throughout all the important elements of the page. Those are:

• Title
• Meta Description
• Meta Keywords
• Heading Elements
• Text
• Alt Tag
• Links

2. Link Building – Quality vs. Quantity

It is important to look at the ways to link build in a natural way as to not just grow the back link count to help with rankings, A A good approach to link building for campaigns to look at quality, relevant links that will pass benefit to a keyword so rankings may improve for a keyword where just a small number of relevant, on-topic links will impact greater than bulk buying links on un-related websites. The amount of quality inbound links to your site therefore have some relevance on where in the search engine your site is placed.

3. Quality Website Content

There is nothing more valuable than to optimise your site for search engines by offering unique, well written content. A search engines aim is to provide what it believes to be the most appropriate website for any given search term to the end user.

4. Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

Providing pages with proper titles and meta data is an essential part of on page optimisation. As discussed in the black hat SEO techniques section the meta description and keywords tags have been so misused in the past that search engines place less importance in using them in the algorithms for search rankings, but it’s still important to ensure that the information given is correct and used in an appropriate way.

5. Semantic HTML Structuring/Internal Linking

Structuring HTML mark in a semantic way helps search engines understand the content of your webpage. Make proper use of heading elements is essential because search engines give more weight to the content within the heading elements.

Using CSS to separate the design elements from the content makes for much leaner code and makes it easier for search engines to find what they’re looking for.

Creating an internal linking structure is essential to help both users and search engines traverse your website.

Why SME's Should Employ Agencies for SEO

As the Operations Manager for the SME division of one of the UK’s leading digital marketing agencies i thought i would share my thoughts of why outsourcing SEO as a small business is key.

You can find my blog post on small business seo over at the Latitude blog.

Key points I covered off include:

1 Price
2 Resource
3 Contracts
4 Specialist Teams
5 Accreditations
6 Tools

Hope you fond my info if use.

Ciao for now.

Thursday Morning in the Park

As dawn breaks over the fast paced world of drinking on a park bench – chatting with the cutting edge of the digitul media world, SEO Tramp finds that the nearby phone box is ringing…

“SEO Tramp here, excuse the noise, the lads are sorting out a whip round for some more bevy.”

“I’ve been liasing with the board of direrctor and we have a few points that we wish to raise with you regarding the work done on our campaign.”

Fucking hell, here we go. Someone’s been reading SEOMoz.

“Now don’t get me wrong, we’re happy with the progress on the rankings”

“Ah, would that be the fact that you now have 5 terms on page one, in a competitive vertical, with high search terms n all that?”

“But we feel that we’re not seeing the benefit and the lads have been having a few discussions”

“Our crack” pot “IT Team have been discussing moving resource in house as they feel they especially” have absolutely no bloody idea what they’re doing “but in reviewing the current back link profile they have a few concerns. Would you mind responding to the following…”

“Sorry mate, missed most of that…guys keep it down”

“We’re concerned that our original target of 10,000 of the dirtiest, spam has not been achieved despite the fact that you’ve had the campaign for over 7 months.”

“It’s like looking after a fine lady…you want to be treating her with a can of Tennants Super rather than Holsten Pils. Quality mate. Quality. Not quantity. Besides, you’ll see that it’s all a good mix, using various tactics i.e Lambrini and Monster Munch for dinner. Can’t always stack all your cans on the best shelf in the offie. Know what I mean.”

“Well I can’t find half the directories that you said we have been submitted to”

“Listen mate. You get a full breakdown of everything I do. If you can’t find it then I suggest you start bloody looking properly. Plus, I take no responsibility for that shit you were doing before I started. Fucks sake.”

“But some are in the wrong category?”

“Ain’t my doing that”

“Well, we’re unhappy that you’ve specified the Domain PageRank of each link and not the actual Page Rank. We’re thinking of resourcing all our dirty link strategy in house so that we can get as many PR12 links as possible. “

“Good luck contacting NASA with that one”

“and some of the links are not in what we consider the best place”

“It’s not a perfect world. Internet less so. I’ve been doing this game for a while mate and let me tell you something, I…hang on a sec….Didn’t you say that you were happy with the ranking performance?”

“What? Oh yes.”

“and that you’re non brand organic traffic, quotes and conversions are steadily increasing – as detailed in every bloody report I get sent to you?”

“err yes but…”

“and that you still haven’t implemented the recommendations that I told you to do months ago. You know the ones – which would remove the duplicate pages and canonical issue, look to improve the CTR of your site and get you more traffic…those changes been done yet?”

“Well we’re discussing that as an internal resource problem but…”

“So let me get this straight. You’re questioning all the work that I’ve recommended or done on your website rather than actually focusing on doing what I’ve told you?”

“Well we feel that….”

“You feel that you’ve read a few blogs and want to cut you’re costs because some cocky shit has decided this lark’s all really easy. That’s what you’ve decided.”

“I’m putting you in touch with Spinning Danny at Shit & Click Media. Now fuck off and stop wasting my time.”

Google Mobile Goes Instant? Suggest More Like! – Updated

A recent post by bigmouthmedia here is saying Google Mobile Goes Instant, I quickly jumped onto my iPhone 4 to check and it seems that the suggest feature is what is showing not instant, as the background SERP’s don’t change upon searching:

I’ll keep my eyes peeled to see if instant is rolled out on iPhone mobile.

This is available on google.com as my default is .co.uk that’s why not seeing.

Ciao for now!