Today is celebrated all across England as the day that is dedicated to a man that, against all odds, managed to slay a dragon and rid a small Libyan town of its blight. But while most of us struggle to comprehend how exactly we should celebrate a day that is seldom given the same focus as other saint’s days, why not mark it in your own way by slaying a dragon in modern day guise.
In the world of SEO the search engines lay down the laws of the land. It is they who decide what hoops need to be jumped through in order for a site to rank highly in the results and slaying them would result in getting your business’s website to the summit. It may feel like you are just one person against the might of a dragon such as Google but this is exactly how St. George would of felt before leaving his legendary footprint.
A Helpful Dragon
The dragons in this story are not so much fire breathing though as they are helpful. All over the world people log onto search engines every day to find the answers to their queries. Some will be seeking information, some will be seeking directions but others will be seeking a purchase; something that your business should be taking advantage of. Making sure your website can be found should be the minimum requirement for any business owner, whilst getting it to the top of the results pages will see the dragon well and truly slew and your profits sky-rocket.
So make today the day that you bear arms in the form of title tags, keywords and social media activity and take the fight to the search engine dragons. It’s time to rid your website of obscurity and give your business legendary status in your industry; just like St. George.
However, if you feel that your sword is not quite sharp enough or your shield could do with some maintenance them Marketing By Web, resident dragon slayers, are always available for hire. St. George may indeed be a mythical martyr but replicating is achievements in the digital age can be a welcome reality for your business.
Today marked the funeral of one of the most influential ladies in British history, Margaret Thatcher, and whilst there is doubt about whether it was right to use tax payers’ money to pay for her funeral there is no doubt about how a lot of people found out about the news of her passing. In today’s world social media has become so much more than just a way to keep in contact with our nearest and dearest and is now the primary news source for a vast amount of people.
When the news of the Iron Lady’s passing first broke on April 8th the social media site Twitter burst into action and started spreading the word across the globe and straight into the hands of over 200 million users worldwide. Within minutes the subject was trending and Hashtags were being created faster than you could say ‘budget cuts’, but it seemed that while most of us were reacting to it whatever way we saw fit; a whole generation were scratching their heads with confusion.
What’s Happened To Cher? –
One of the Hashtags that was quickly trending was #nowthatcherisdead which to most of us was a cue to comment on the passing of the first women prime minister in this country but to others it was reason to be concerned about an entirely different women. It seems that a lot of younger people who maybe hadn’t heard of Thatcher’s death, or even know who she is, were worried for the health of 90’s pop sensation Cher; reading the Hashtag as ‘now that Cher is dead’.
Confused tributes started flooding in about the American singer prompting comedian Ricky Gervais to try and put people straight with a tweet of his own. The confusion took on an even bigger twist when tributes also started appearing for former X factor contestant Cher Lloyd which proved to be another damning indictment on the ability of today’s youth to keep up with current affairs. My favourite confused tweeter has to be the person that tweeted this though: ‘RIP Cher you were loved for your titanic song’. That’s too much confusion for 140 characters.
Failing In Styles –
The melee surrounding Thatcher’s death then went a step further when One Direction lead singer and teenage heartthrob Harry Styles decided to comment on the situation. Maybe his followers can be forgiven for most displays of unenlightenment due to the fact that their heads are largely filled with catchy pop songs but the replies to his tweet of ‘RIP baroness Margaret Thatcher’ were verging on comical.
Replies included people commiserating Harry on the loss of his personal friend, people referring to Mrs Thatcher as ‘he’ and others asking who indeed Margaret Thatcher was.
Twitter has proved itself time and again as being a fast and effective way to communicate news around the world but it seems that sometimes news doesn’t quite reach everyone in the same way. The fact remains though that social media is likely to remain a viable source of the latest information and this can and should be used to the advantage of your business.
Nobody quite knows why confusion hit a generation so hard when the news of Thatcher’s death first broke but perhaps it had something to do with the lack of calcium in their diets growing up.
Search engine optimisation is a little like constructing a building in that if you don’t get the foundations right then the whole structure could soon come crashing down around you. Whereas link building could be compared to building the different stories of your edifice; the foundations definitely lie with the onsite SEO.
This is something that is often not taken into account when building a new website but the truth is that without thinking it through you could end up creating a website that can’t be found online. There is little point in having the most creative and exciting website is the vast majority of your prospective audience will never get to see it because of its inability to rank well in the search engines.
So before you start dreaming of your fifty floor tower structure with thousands of external links; it’s time to put the ground work in place.
404s And Other Errors –
When building your first website or switching over from an old one to a fancy newer version it is important that you make sure there are no dead ends. 404 errors are when a page can’t be found and if any search engine spiders hit one of these then they may give up indexing your site and assume there is no more to be found; which could drastically affect your SEO.
The most likely cause of a 404 error is when a new page has been created and the old one hasn’t been redirected properly. At Marketing By Web we have software that will check your site for these types of errors and then we can inform you of how to put them right.
Yes pictures look great on website and they can be a great way of attracting interest and drawing in users, but in terms of SEO words will always speak louder. If a site is short of copy (wording) then it is difficult for the search engines to gauge what it is about and therefore they won’t be able to rank it highly.
A lack of copy will also mean that it is hard to create meaningful, relevant links from other websites. When we do link building on your behalf we use specific keywords to link back to your webpage; if these keywords are not present in your copy then the link will not be as effective.
Pictures are still great to use, especially for ecommerce sites, but just make sure that you give them alt tags so that the search engines know what they are depicting. At marketing By Web we can provide the relevant pages of your site with great, optimised content.
Title Tags –
The title tag of your web page is kind of like a bookmark that tells the search engines in a few words exactly what is on that page. A lot of people make the mistake of having all their title tags the same on every page but as Matt Cutts himself says this is as pointless as bringing out a whole collection of books that all have the same title; how are your readers supposed to know what each individual part is about?
A better tact to take is to use one or two of your keywords which specifically define what is written or pictured on that one page. This way the right pages will also be ranking for the right search terms and you won’t have users bouncing off your site because the content doesn’t relate to their search query. At Marketing By Web we can provide you with title tags that are of the correct length and that are perfectly optimised.
Do you ever get that horrible feeling when you send an inappropriate email to a colleague and wonder if you accidentally somehow clicked ‘send to all’? Well posting something on a social media platform is just like having the ‘send to all’ button permanently clicked. And once it’s out there, there is no getting it back; it’s done, it’s been said and you’ve now got to face the consequences.
Now in most situations those consequences will only be the hilarity that ensues from your pithy comment on something in the news or a wave of ‘likes’ from people loving the succinct and intelligent way you have put across some industry tips but it can so easily go so wrong. So here are a few things to check before you post to ensure disaster is averted at every turn.
Leave It A Few Minutes And Check If You Still Want To Press Send –
Most of the hot water that people manage to get themselves into on social media sites stems from the fact that they have performed a knee jerk reaction to something that has just happened. Off the cuff comments might be fine in passing conversation but they will never be viewed in the same way online. So before you tweet your reaction to what you just heard or saw, take a few moments and then see if it still seems appropriate.
Who Am I Representing? –
A lot of social media disasters have occurred because the person has posted personal opinions from a company profile. You need to make sure you don’t blur the line between what’s suitable to post from the company account and what should be left to your personal profile. In some cases, if you are always in the public eye, it may not be appropriate to post it from either account.
Have I Got All The Facts? –
There’s nothing worse than not catching the full story and only reacting to what you think you know. This could cause embarrassment if someone else responds with something you have missed leaving you to realise that you have jumped the gun. Social media is often such a spontaneous practise but it is so important to make sure you haven’t misread the situation.
Am I Giving My Community What They Want? –
With the power of being able to contact millions of people in one go at your fingertips, it is easy to just furnish them with any information that you can think of but this is a great way to lose your audience. Listening is the most important part of a successful social media strategy and if you are doing it effectively then you will be in the best position possible to provide your audience with what they want to hear. Posting without regard for your following will just drive people away.
Would I Say This Face To Face? –
Essentially anything you put on social media should be able to pass this final test. With the ability to hide behind a faceless computer when we publish our posts, a lot of people will say things to others that they wouldn’t in a face to face situation. Just because it is possible to contact people directly who you would never normally get the chance to speak to; it doesn’t mean the standard etiquette of a usual face to face conversation shouldn’t be adhered to.
When we think about social media we immediately think of social media giant Facebook, or perhaps Twitter, maybe even Instagram but try to think of many more and most of us would struggle. Whilst a few other sites may come to mind such as Pinterest and LinkedIn many of us are unfamiliar with the various other social media sites available. In SEO it is essential to utilize social media and it is worth checking out the less known but still very popular sites. Here are five popular social media sites that you probably haven’t heard of-
Many of you may never have heard of Ning but this is an incredibly popular social networking site with an estimated 12,000,000 monthly visitors and 2 million communities built on the site. Ning allows their users to create their own social networks, posting their own content and interacting with their readers and has been up and running since 2005. Using Ning you can create your own community website using the design studio adding your blog, photos, forums and other social network sites. Use Ning to create your own community around your business and publish your content.
Live journal is a social networking platform where users can post their own blog or ‘journal’ so that their readers can keep up to date. Live journal is one of the first ever blogging sites and was launched in 1999. Live journal is not strict on the type of content you publish, so you can use it to publish blogs, diaries or even just your thoughts. Live journal boasts 20,500,000 monthly views so it’s definitely worth looking at for publishing on and gaining brand awareness.
DeviantArt has an impressive 26 million members and over 252 million original pieces of art to explore. Launched in August 2000, DeviantArt allows its members to upload photos of their own unique art work for others to view and comment on. You can also use DeviantArt to upload Infographics, which are very popular in the SEO world!
‘Tagged’ is described as a ‘social discovery site’ where members can browse profiles and play social networking games online. Tagged is a little like Facebook but is aimed more at being fun and for enjoyment over communication. Tagged has 100 million members and 19,500,000 monthly visitors from across the globe so is worth checking out.
Digg is a site where you can share news stories from across the web. What goes on Digg is chosen by the users and you can browse and share news stories via Digg. Users can vote whether they like content or not so it’s a great way to share your engaging and unique content!
Getting involved with social media is certainly important in SEO and internet marketing. Although Facebook and Twitter will always be the big dogs of social media it is always worth looking into the smaller but still popular social media sites to boost your efforts.
Since the birth of the search engine they have been getting smarter and smarter and Google regularly adds new features to make sure that it remains at the top of the search engine popularity charts. We’ve seen Google maps, Google suggestions, the changing faces of the Google home page and Google even suggested yesterday that they were bringing out Google nose (though this was an elaborate April Fool’s joke).
However, there are a few things that you may not know Google can do but that will keep you amused for many hours. Incidentally, if you ever have a spare 5 minutes to trawl through the many funny suggestions that Google provides to a wide array of our chosen search terms then it’s definitely worth a look. Here are just a few of the many things Google can do that proves search engines have a sense of humour.
Nessie In The Night –
Anybody that has visited the iGoogle page will know that it allows you to personalise your home page to provide you with all the desired information you are interested in. It also lets you choose from a variety of backgrounds for your desktop which, depending on which one you choose, could provide you with a bit of entertainment. You’ll have to get up pretty early to see then though as they all seem to happen at precisely 3.14. If you choose the beach landscape then the Loch Ness monster will greet you, the city scape background is high-jacked by UFOs and the northern lights grace the Christmas one.
One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor –
Fans of the popular Lord of the Rings film series will love this one as Google shows that it has cultural awareness as well as a sense of humour. If you go to Google Maps and set your travel parameters from ‘The Shire’ to ‘Mordor’ and click on the walking icon you will be met with a caution and the above quote from the films. The films would have definitely been a lot shorter if Frodo had access to a smartphone and Google maps.
Humorous Home Pages –
Although Google regularly keeps us entertained with its constantly changing home pages to commemorate famous birthdays or events, there are a few that you can find on any day you please. These include the Elmer Fudd home page where all ‘r’s and ‘l’s are replaced with ‘w’s, the Google Loco page which resembles everyone’s favourite font from school ‘Wingdings’ and a Gothic Google page if you are feeling a little emotional and dark inside during your internet surfing. Just search for them and you’ll see.
Calculate The Fun To Be Had –
Google has many tools within its homepage which include the Google dictionary; to be found by typing ‘define’ and the word you wish to know the meaning of, Google time zone; to be found by typing in ‘time’ and then the city you wish to know the time in and Google calculator. This calculator is more than just a number cruncher though as there are several things hidden within it that let you use words to create a number answer.
For example if you search for ‘the loneliest number’ without the quotation marks it will bring back the number one and the same will happen if you search ‘the number of horns on a unicorn’. Perhaps the best one though is a reference to the novel ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ where if you type in ‘the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything’ the calculator will display 42.
On The Street Where They Live –
Google spent many years sending cars around the world taking pictures to use for Google maps and so when it came to depicting the road in Mountain View, California where the Google headquarters is found, they decided to celebrate by lining the streets with flags and banners. Type in ‘1648 Charleston Rd Mountain View, CA 94043, USA’ to find it.
Of course though, the most powerful thing that Google can do is increase the exposure of your business and put your company in front of millions of people. For more information on how you can find this ‘hidden’ feature of Google; give the team at Marketing By Web a call.
When doing search engine optimisation for your website it is important that you build links in order to increase the online authority of your site and have it rank better in the search engines. There are a few different ways to do this; one of which is blog commenting. Blog commenting involves searching the web for other people’s blogs that relate to the topic of your own site and then creating a link by commenting on them.
However, just because you submit a comment to a person’s blog doesn’t mean that it will get accepted and if you don’t go about this process in the right way it almost certainly won’t be. So how do you get your comments published; creating valuable backlinks to your site?
Take An Interest –
There is no way that your comment is going to be accepted if it is clear that you haven’t even given the author the time of day to read their article. Read the piece carefully and actually take an active interest in order to be in the best position to comment on it.
Add To The Conversation –
Believe it or not comments weren’t created solely to help you with your SEO and instead should be used as a way of interacting with the author about the subject of the piece. With this being the case it is important to add something to the conversation and not just reiterate what was said in the blog post. If you make a valid point that moves the conversation on then the author will have no reason not to publish your comment.
Read The Other Comments –
There is nothing more embarrassing then posting your comment only to look further up the page and see that another commenter has made the exact same point. Not only is this more than slightly awkward but it’s also a sure-fire way to ensure that your comment doesn’t get accepted. Read the above comments and factor them into your point. You could even reply to one of them directly in order to move things forward.
Remember You Are Speaking To A Person –
If you spend a bit of time surfing the net and reading multiple blogs then it’s easy to forget that every piece of content was written by a real person who will be judging whether to publish your comment of not. Therefore it’s a good idea treat them as such and address them by name where possible.
Don’t Be Afraid To Disagree –
Sometimes you can read down the comments on a piece of writing and they will all say a similar thing about how the person likes the article and agrees with this that and the other about it. However, if you don’t agree with what has been said then don’t be afraid to say so. As long as you do it respectfully and you back your opinion up with clear reasoning then the blog owner will not be offended and will publish your comment to show balance.
Upload An Avatar –
Before you start your blog commenting adventure it is a good idea to create an email account, such as a Gmail, that lets you upload a picture of yourself that will then be attached with your comments. By doing this other people will be able to see what you look like and relate to you more personally as opposed to just seeing your words. Also, if blog owners start to see your picture in other places they will trust you as a valued member of the community.
With spring finally in full bloom it’s time to consider carrying out an SEO spring clean. SEO isn’t something that can be put in place such as site copy and title tags and then left to work its magic, it needs regular reassessing, adjusting and measuring. With Google’s regular updates to their algorithms it is essential that you are regularly checking your traffic and rankings to see if any changes have had an effect on your site. With this in mind an SEO spring clean is a great idea, here’s what to check, update and introduce…
Google authorship has been around for a while now, but it’s only recently that it’s becoming increasingly influential on SEO. Using authorship means your contents clicks will dramatically increase and the more popular a piece of content the more powerful the link. Read up on online guides on how to set it up.
Social shares in SEO are essential. The more social shares a page has the more popular Google deems it. Make sure you have social buttons on all your pages on your site, especially your blog pages. Share any off site content you publish too on social media sites.
In many cases in SEO we write our title tags and then leave them, never to be touched again. If you have added any new key words into the mix recently make sure they are on your title tags for the appropriate pages. If you are having trouble with certain key words rather than pushing more and more off site content to try and improve your rankings try re-evaluating your title tags and changing them where necessary.
Site speed can be have a major impact on your customers experience and if your site speed is poor this could be why you have a high bounce rate. Use the Google speed test tool to determine what is slowing your site down causing people to click back quickly. You can then take appropriate measures to get it fixed. Site speed can effect SEO but more importantly you want your visitors to have a good experience when visiting your site.
Unfortunately from time to time a similar company to your own may duplicate your copy, using it as their content on your own site. Google hates duplicate content, and even though it was your site copy originally they will punish you for it. Use a content checking tool such as site copy and run every last little piece of content through it, if there is any duplicate content anywhere on the web site copy will pick up on it. If you do have duplicate content make sure you change it, but remember to keep your keywords!
The main purpose of any business website is to attract potential customers and persuade them to stick around long enough to have a good look around and hopefully purchase something or get in contact. However this is something that not all websites manage and so people will visit these and simply ‘bounce’ straight off because they either don’t like the site or immediately know that it wasn’t what they were looking for.
Although bounce rate is not thought to be a factor taken into account by the search engines for ranking purposes; having a high one is not something to brag about and will mean you are wasting your budget if you are using Google Adwords at all. If users are bouncing off your site then it is likely to drastically affect your profits and so here are 3 ways you can ensure your bounce rate is kept to a minimum.
An Easy To Use Layout –
I realise that an ‘easy to use layout’ is a pretty vague term but there are some things that this encompasses which should always be present. Internet users are notoriously in a hurry to find what they are looking for and so if they don’t find it pretty soon after they have landed on your site then they are going to be off sharpish. There are a few things that you can have in place though to help them out a bit.
Consider including an internal search bar so that if they haven’t located their desired information straight away they can search for it within your site. You should also ensure that all the fancy bells and whistles that you have included on your site don’t make it harder to find information or distract the user from where they want to go.
Conscientious Link Building –
Link building is part of content marketing and is the process in which you place content on an external website whilst including a link back to your own site in order to build up its authority and improve how it is ranked by the search engines. However, using generic URLs in your link building could lead to your bounce rate increasing.
For example if you are writing about brown shoes and you use that phrase to link to your website you should always ensure you use the relevant URL for the link. Linking to your home page or generic shoe page will mean that if the link is clicked the user won’t be able to find the brown shoes and will bounce straight off. When using your brand name as a link it is a good idea to link to your home page but for all others you should choose specific page URLs to use.
Cut Down Loading Times And Cut Out Pop Up Ads –
If there’s one thing that will make your users leave your page faster than Usain Bolt chasing his daily chicken nugget fix then it’s a slow loading site. And if there are two things then it’s a slow loading site with multiple pop-up ads. If your site takes longer than 5 seconds to load then the time-conscious 21st century internet user is likely to bounce off and try another one. Similarly if the screen is immediately filled with ads for everything under the sun as soon as it loads then don’t expect people to hang around. Keep your users at the forefront of your thinking and you will have a much better chance of getting them to stick.
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