Still not sure how SEO works?

Still not sure how SEO works?

Still not sure how SEO works?

Search Engine Optimisation is something you can’t escape in today’s modern world of business. Getting ahead of your competitors, and battling to get your content seen is essential for getting you in front of your ideal customers. And how does it actually work?

SEO is the process of trying to get found by the right people for relevant queries. And it has changed a lot over the last few years! With a huge focus now on user experience and finding answers to questions rather than keywords on a page.

For those of who who might not be too familiar with the process, SEO works by “crawlers” going through your website. Assessing how easy it is to understand information and follow steps to the next most suitable content. Pages are then “indexed” into the search engine for future use.

 

How is it decided what comes first in rankings?

Once your site has been crawled and indexed by search engines, users can start finding you. So how do you get to the top of the page to be found?

For each query inputted into google, it makes an educated decision as to what would be the most relevant search for that person. It does this by assessing a number of factors (over 200 to be exact) through an algorithm to deliver the best result for that person. Google won’t reveal the exact factors. However, there are a few which are known about and regarded as pretty important such as keywords, site speed and links. With many marketers focusing on these aspects to get their clients seen.

Not enough for you? There is a list of 200 factors here, but as they state, some are proven, some are just speculation.

So those ranking at number one have beat all of the other content on the web in those factors to become number one. With content being constantly updating, Google updating their factors, and each users search patterns being different, you cannot always be guaranteed the number one spot if you reach it. Rankings can vary each day.

 

How do I find out more about improving my SEO?

Making one change to improve your SEO will not bring you benefit. Same as one good meal will not make you skinny. One good investment will not make you a millionaire. And one early morning run will not help you win a marathon. Making changes to improve is a step in the right direction. But SEO is something that needs your constant care and attention. You need to work at it a little each day for it to be of any value or benefit to you.

Luckily SEO is a very talked about topic. So there are plenty of blogs and articles out there on how to get the best from your SEO. Just tread carefully though, as there are a lot of different approaches. And not all of them are the right way to do things. You may find you’re penalised by Google rather than ranking higher.

If you are just starting out with SEO, this article from Moz is a great starting point on search engines actually operate. And why we need to follow certain practices with SEO.

 

This seems a lot of work …

.. And it is! There are so many factors now when it comes to ranking well on the web. Which is great news for us as users. As we gain the most relevant, informative pages for our query. But as marketers, or companies working on their own websites, it is more complicated than ever before to balance all the factors needed.

Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this brilliant (if not a little scary!) period table of elements needed within SEO. Featured in this article by Forbes and created by Search Engine Land. It shows how many aspects you need to take into consideration for SEO. As well as how much pull they each have on your rankings.

SEO Period table featured in forbes and created by search engine land

 

Now you know how SEO works? Look at our other SEO blogs to find out more on how to use it properly and make your business stand out. Really struggling to juggle all of the elements? Why not have a chat with our friendly team in Burntwood about what you would like to achieve for your business, and we’ll do everything we can to get you there.

SEO Jargon Buster – Updated

up to date seo jargon buster

up to date seo jargon buster

We published our first SEO jargon buster in 2012 (with just 26 definitions!), and a lot has changed in SEO since then.

Our latest iteration has expanded hugely and now contains over 80 definitions.

Numbers

301 Redirect – If you switch domains, or delete a page, the URL will present users with an error message. If you carry out a 301 redirect on these pages, users will be taken to another page on your website and will not see the error message.

404 error – A message that appears with a web page no longer exists, or has moved to a different URL.

A

Above the fold – The part of a web page that users can see before scrolling down the page. It’s recommended that you place the most important information above the fold.

Algorithm – A formula search engines, programs, and computers follow to solve a problem and come up with a solution. In SEO, search engines use algorithms to decide what order to show search results in.

Alt text – Text used to describe an image. This will show up in place of an image if it cannot be loaded. Alt text is also useful for people using screen readers. And for telling search engines what the image is of.

Analytics – Data which shows how something is performing. For example, your website analytics will show how many people have visited your website, the most popular pages, your bounce rate, and so on.

Anchor text – The clickable text that is part of a hyperlink. For example: “Find out more about our marketing services”. In this case ‘marketing services’ is the anchor text.

Authority links – Links from authoritative websites, such as the BBC, .gov, the NHS, etc.

B

Backlink – A link to your website from another website.

Below the fold – This is any part of a website which users will have to scroll down to see.

Blackhat SEO – SEO techniques which do not comply with best practices. Blackhat SEO techniques are used to try and trick search engines into giving a website a higher search rankings than it deserves. Using these techniques can mean you are penalised or de-indexed from search engines.

Blog – Short for weblog, a blog is traditionally an online journal. However, it has evolved to be somewhere that businesses can share useful hints and tips about their products. Information about offers, events, and more. It has become a way for businesses to connect and engage with their audience.

Bounce rate – The percentage of people who visit your website and leave before visiting another page.

C

Canonical URL – If there are multiple URLs that show the same piece of content. A canonical URL is used to tell search engines which one is the original and which one should be counted.

CAPTCHA Completed Automated Public Turing test to tell Computer and Humans Apart – A ‘test’ used to figure out whether the user is a computer or human. You will often see these when submitting forms. The test usually involves typing letters and numbers into a box.

Cloaking – A technique used to show search engines and users different content. This is usually done to try and improve a page’s search ranking.

CMS – Content Management System – A system, such as WordPress or Concrete5, that allows you manage and update a website.

Content scraping – Copying content and posting it on another website without permission.

Conversion – When a user completes a ‘goal’. This can be a purchase, downloading an ebook, filling in a form.

Conversion rate – The percentage of people who visited your website and completed a ‘goal’. For example, the percentage of people who visit your website and then purchase. Or maybe the percentage of people who visit a landing page and download your ebook.

Cookie – In this case, we’re not talking about the delicious things you eat. Cookies are used to identify users and improve their user experience. For example remember your log in details.

Crawl – When search engine bots visit your website and follow links to other pages on your site. Even out to other websites, this is called crawling.

C Abbreviations

CPC – Cost Per Click – In Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, your CPC is how much it will cost you every time someone clicks on the advert.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand – This is the cost per thousand impressions.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets – This allows web designers to create ‘style sheets’, which give them more control over how a page, and the elements that make it up, will look.

 

D

Deep link – This is a link to a page on a website that isn’t a homepage. For example, linking to a specific blog post would be considered a deep link.

Directory – A website listing businesses, containing information about their name, what they do, their contact details, their website, opening hours, and more.

Dofollow – A dofollow link is a link that you are telling search engines to ‘count’, which will pass on some SEO benefit to another website.

Domain name – A domain name is made up of the name of a website followed by a generic top-level domain, such as .co.uk, .uk, .org, etc.

Domain authority – This is a 100-point scale developed by Moz, that predicts how well a website is likely to rank in search results. It’s a measure of the ‘strength’ of a website.

Duplicate content – Copy which appears exactly the same in multiple places, either on the same website, or different websites. An example of duplicate content is several retailers who are all using the manufacturers description for a product. Duplicate content can result in SEO penalties.

E

Ecommerce – Buying or selling products or services electronically.

External link – A link out to another website.

G

Grey hat SEO – SEO techniques which bend best practice rules, rather than completely breaking them.

H

Hits – A request for something on a web page to load, such as the page itself, or an image. Hits are not a good indication of how much traffic your website has had as each image count as a ‘hit’. If you have 10 images on a page and the page was loaded twice, you’d see 20 hits.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language – This is the language used to tell browsers how a website should look and how to display it.

I

Impressions – The number of people who have seen something. For example, if 100 people see a search result, or an advert, it will have had 100 impressions.

Index – These are the databases search engines refer to. It will contain information about websites that have been crawled. It is possible to be removed from the database (de-indexed), which means your website will not show up in search results.

K

Keyword density – The percentage of times a key word, or key phrase, has been used on a web page. It’s important to note that there is no ideal keyword density, so don’t feel that ramming copy full of keywords will help your search rankings.

Keyword research – When you carry out research to see what kind of words and phrases your audience use to find your products and services.

Keyword stuffing – When words or phrases are stuffed into copy as much as possible, which often makes the copy hard to follow and understand, in an attempt to improve search rankings.

Keywords / key phrases – The words and phrases your audience use to find your products and services, and the words you want to perform well for in search rankings.

L

Link bait – Content that is created in an attempt to generate links back to the website / piece of content.

Link building – Techniques used to build links back to your website. This includes creating helpful content that people want to share.

Link farm – A group of websites that all link to each other with the intention of boosting search rankings by creating links. This is not a recommended SEO practice.

Link juice – A colloquial term used when talking about SEO benefits gained from / given by a link.

Linking C-blocks – This refers to IP addresses, and is used by search engines to determine whether websites linking to each other might be related. If websites on the same server, with the same c-blocks, are linking to each other, it’s a signal that the links might not be natural and might be owned by the same person.

Local SEO – When you specifically target higher search rankings in the geographic location around where your business is / has locations.

Long tail key words – These are key phrases made up of a few words. For example “purple non-leather dog collars” is a long tail key phrase. It’s much easier to try and rank higher for a long tail key phrase than a short tail keyphrase.

M

Meta description – Tells search engines what a page is about. This shows up as the description in search results, so it needs to be interesting and engaging to encourage people to click on your results.

Meta keywords – A meta tag that allows you to list keywords used on the page, and tells search engines what a page is about. Due to the abuse this feature received, meta keywords hold very little SEO value now.

Meta title – This is the title of a page that shows up in search results.

Mobilegeddon – A colloquial term to describe Google’s algorithm update in April 2015 that means websites with mobile-friendly websites may perform better in mobile search results, and those without a mobile-friendly website may have their rankings decreased in mobile search results.

N

Nofollow link – A link to another website which you are telling search engines not to count as providing any SEO benefit.

Non-organic search results – These are paid advertisements that appear on search result pages.

O

Off page SEO – Techniques used to improve a website’s search rankings that are not carried out on the website itself. For example, link building.

On page SEO – Techniques used to improve a website’s search ranking that are carried out on the website, such as making sure your website is responsive.

Organic search – These are search results that are not paid for.

P

Pagerank (PR) – This is what Google use to rank websites in their search results.

Pageview – The number of views a page has had. For example, if one person visits your page twice, it has had two pageviews.

Panda (Google Panda) – A Google algorithm that was first released in February 2011, and focused on improving rankings of websites providing high quality content, and lowering the rankings of poor websites that provided low quality content.

Penguin (Google Penguin) – A Google algorithm launched in April 2012 that aimed to catch and lower the search rankings of websites using black hat SEO techniques, such as buying links or keyword stuffing.

PPC – Pay-Per-Click – An advertising model where the advertiser pays for each click on the advert.

R

Ranking – Where you are showing up in search results.

Reciprocal links – When two websites agree to link to each other. Done correctly, the websites will link to each other because website A provides useful content for readers of website B, and vice versa. Excessive reciprocal links, especially when there is no relevance or need to, could harm your search rankings.

Rich snippets – Extra information that appears in a search result, such as star ratings, price range, and time required to complete a recipe, and so on.

ROI – Return On Investment – The financial return, or benefit, you will get as a result of an investment.

RSS feed – Really Simple Syndication – If an RSS feed is set up on your blog, new posts will be sent to anyone who subscribes to your RSS feed. You can choose the send the entire post, or just a snippet of it.

S

Schema markup – Code you can put in your website to give search engines more information about you, and give users better and more relevant results. For example, if you’re a venue, or a performer, you could share dates. You can share things like price, star ratings, how long a recipe will take.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing – A marketing method which focuses on improving search rankings, by doing things such as ensuring a website is SEO-friendly, and creating SEO-friendly content.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – Techniques used to improve a website’s visibility in search results.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page – The pages that show a list of search results.

Short tail keywords – (Also known as broad match) These are key phrases which contain around one or two words. For example “Black shoes”. Due to the small number of words, these are often very broad search terms.

Site map – A list of pages on a website that people and search engine crawlers can get to. An XML sitemap makes it easier for search engine bots to crawl your website, while a HTML sitemap can make it easier for users to find their way around your website.

Referrer spam – When spam bots ‘visit’ your website, skewing your analytics data.

Spiders – A program used by search engines to crawl web pages.

U

Unique visitor – The number of individuals who have visited your website.

URL – Uniform Resource Location – The address of a web page.

W

White hat SEO – SEO practices which comply with search engine guidelines. Do not attempt to trick them into giving a website a higher search ranking than it deserves.

 

Need help getting to grips with your SEO? Contact us today on 01543 495752 for a no obligation chat. Or you can read more about SEO in our blogs. 

What is SEO, and why is it so important?

What is SEO, and why is it so important?

What is SEO, and why is it so important?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation; it’s a method used to help your website show up higher in search results.

The reason SEO is so important is because the higher your website shows up in search results, the more visitors your website gets. And if your website works well, that will translate into more leads and sales.

A study carried out in 2014 found that on average, 71.33% of searches resulted in a click through to one of the organic search results on the first page. Additionally, the first five results account for 67.60% of all clicks.

As you can see, ranking on the first page of search results can bring you a lot of traffic that you just won’t get from search engines if you’re below page one.

SEO is not an exact science. You should run a mile from anyone who tells you that they can guarantee they’ll get you ranking first in search engines.

Depending on how much you know about SEO (but we’re going to hazard a guess that you don’t know a lot if you’re reading this). You may have heard that it is all about building links, and the more links you have the better. Well, that’s still kind of true, but not in the way it used to be.

A little history

In years gone by, you could literally buy thousands of links, and that would result in your website ranking better. It didn’t matter what kind of website was linking back to yours, or the quality of your website. If you had lots of links, your website would rank well.

But then, to the joy of internet users, search engines got wise and their algorithms improved.

It’s easy to see search engines as ‘the bad guy’, but their role is to provide users with the best possible search results. This means they have to rank websites in order of the most useful and relevant first.

If they don’t do that and show irrelevant websites on the first page of search results instead. They aren’t answering the user’s questions, and the user will switch to another search engine. That results in less users for the search engine. Which translates into less revenue from advertising because the audience is smaller.

This is why whitehat SEO is now about providing visitors to your website with the best experience you can. The better their experience on your website, the better your rankings.

 

 

What’s this “whitehat SEO” you just mentioned?

If you carry out SEO which adheres to search engine’s rules, it’s called ‘whitehat SEO’. This means you’re doing it by the book, and search engines have no issue with your practices.

As you might imagine, blackhat SEO is when you carry out spammy techniques (such as buying links, hiding content, keyword stuffing, etc). Which search engines do not approve of, and you risk being de-indexed.

Greyhat SEO is somewhere in between the two. Where you carry out some blackhat practices, or things that search engines aren’t particularly clear on.

The best thing to do, of course, is to only carry out whitehat SEO practices. Yes, there are times where you might see a website ranking above yours that is using blackhat SEO practices. But algorithms are updating all the time, and it isn’t worth carrying out blackhat techniques and risk getting de-indexed and losing visitors.

 

What happens if I do blackhat SEO?

As we mentioned above, blackhat SEO involves using practices which try to trick search engines into giving a website a higher ranking.

If you do this, you may end up being penalised or de-indexed. If you’re penalised, you may see your search rankings take a hit. Whereas if you’re de-indexed, you won’t show up in that search engine at all.

Either way, the result will be a loss of traffic, and potential leads and sales, from search engines.

If you clean up your act and your website, you can submit a reconsideration request. If the search engine decides you are no longer spammy. Or no longer using blackhat techniques, you will start appearing in search results again.

Be mindful that if you buy a domain which was previously owned, the previous owners actions can result in your website not being indexed.

A couple of years ago, one of our clients bought a domain. We developed a website on it, but it wasn’t indexing in Google at all. We hadn’t carried out any spammy techniques. And we’d developed the website exactly the same as the hundreds of other websites we’d developed.

In the end, it turned out that the previous domain owner must have carried out blackhat techniques. We had to submit a reconsideration request to Google. The request was processed, and the website began appearing in search results.

 

 

How do search engines crawl websites?

To crawl websites, search engines use software robots called spiders. Spiders work by ‘visiting’ a website and following every link on that site and indexing the websites it crawls.

This helps search engines to discover pages on that, the contents of the website, and the websites it links out to. This creates a big ‘web’ or an index.

Search engines then store all this information for later to create a cache. When you search for something, the search engine will search the cache, rather than live searching the web.

Submitting a sitemap to each search engine is a good way of helping the spiders find and crawl your website.

That is a brief overview of how search engines crawl the web, but if you want a detailed review, Woorank have a really simple, and in-depth explanation.

 

How do search engines decide what order to rank websites?

Search engines use complex algorithms, which no one other than those who work on it completely understand, to decide what order to rank websites in when you search.

What factors (called ranking factors) they take into account when deciding on ranking varies from search engine to search engine, and again, no one knows exactly what is taken into account.

That being said, we know that websites which perform well often have these traits:

  • Have good user experience – users don’t have any problem navigating these websites.
  • Contain truly useful content – users find what they’re looking for, and don’t leave immediately with their question unanswered.
  • Load quickly – 47% of people expect a website to load in 2 seconds, or less.
  • Is mobile-friendly – as of April 2015, mobile-friendly is a ranking factor; if your website does not perform well on a mobile, your rankings in mobile searches may suffer.
  • Have, and attract, high quality inbound links – the better your content, the more likely you are to attract links from top, authoritative websites. If your website has a lot of links from high quality websites, it’s a sign you too, are a high quality website.
  • Have a low bounce rate – to search engines, a high bounce rate (this is the number of people who leave your website having only visited one page) means users didn’t find what they were looking for.

 

How do I get my website to rank at the top of search engines?

SEO is no longer just about building links, it looks at every aspect of your website, especially user experience.

To reach the top of search rankings, you need to be providing your visitors with the best possible experience. In short, your website should be very user-friendly and contain high quality, useful content.

If your site has lots of backlinks from other reputable websites, that’s also a clear sign to search engines that your website is trustworthy.

It isn’t an exact science at all, and the best way to approach SEO, is to think about your customers, and your own experience using websites; think about how to give them the best experience you can, and your rankings will improve.

To find out how you can improve your content, read our recent blog post about how you can create the best, most useful content in search results.

 

But, how do search engines know if my content is useful?

It might seem like a bit of a mind bender; how does an algorithm understand whether or not content is useful?

Since they can’t understand content like we can, algorithms look at a huge amount of information, including:

  • What keywords content contains
  • Whether content has been scraped or stolen from another website
  • Whether or not it contains spelling or grammatical errors
  • If it has a very low word count – content that is very short, is not likely to be as helpful as long content
  • How long people spend on a particular page
  • The bounce rate – that’s how many people enter your website and leave before clicking through to another page
  • Links to it and the kind of website those links are coming from

 

SEO is a huge beast, which covers many aspects of your website, but the best thing to do is to create a website, and content, which gives your user’s the best experience possible.

 

 

If you are struggling with SEO, or your website isn’t performing as well as hoped, get in touch to find out how we can make your website work hard for you, and improve your website. Or, you can read more about SEO in our blogs. 

What are meta descriptions and why are they important?

what are meta descriptions and why are they important?

what are meta descriptions and why are they important?

Meta descriptions are used to describe the contents of a page. And are often displayed in search results by search engines.

The meta description is the black copy in search results underneath the page title and URL. (See image to left)

In Google, meta descriptions no longer have any SEO benefit. As they were abused when people rammed them full of keywords.

Yahoo and Bing however give a small amount of weight to meta descriptions. Though if you ram it with keywords they will penalise you.
Meta-descriptions

It’s worth remembering that search engines won’t always use your meta descriptions. If they feel there is a piece of copy on your website that is more relevant to the users search terms than your meta description, they will use that instead.

 

Is it worth using meta descriptions then?

You can see why people would ask this question. Adding meta descriptions can be time intensive, especially if you have a lot of pages.

The best way to think about meta descriptions is as an advert. It will be one of the first things users see in search results. You need to convince people to click through to your page and not your competitors.

 

Meta descriptions best practice

Ideally your meta descriptions should be around 155 characters long. If it’s much longer you might find the end is cut of in search results as 155 is around the maximum they can show.

As we said earlier, the best way to think about meta descriptions is to imagine they’re an advert. So you need to write some short, interesting and compelling copy which encourages people to click through.

Your meta descriptions need to stand out from competitors and tell them why they should go to your website and not anyone else’s.

Don’t be tempted to use the same meta description for every page. If you’re going to use them, make sure they are unique to each page.

 

How do I add meta descriptions

How you’ll add meta descriptions depends on how you edit your website.

If your website is hard coded you need to put the following code between the <head></head> tags.

<meta name=”description” content=”this is where your meta description goes.”>

If your website has a CMS system, like Concrete5, there will be a place for you to add a meta description.

For example in Concrete5 you hover over ‘edit’ and select ‘Properties’. Under the ‘Custom Attributes’ tab you can see the option to add a meta description in the left menu. You then type your copy into the meta description box and press ‘Save’.

If your website is an ecommerce website there may be an option for you to add a meta description to each product where you edit the products information.

Some of our clients use Magento and when you edit a product, there is a ‘meta description’ tab in the menu on the left hand side. Which allows you to add a meta description.

 

If done right meta descriptions should help to pull more people into your website. Giving you more opportunities to sell your products or services.

 

Are you looking to do more with your companies SEO? Why not contact one of our friendly team today to see how we could help, and in the meantime, you can read more about SEO in our blogs. 

What are alt tags and how do I use them?

what are alt tags and how do i use them?

what are alt tags and how do i use them?

Are you confused about what ‘alt tags’ are, or how to use them? If so, keep reading. We’ll explain all and send you away with a few tips for implementing alt tags on your website.

 

What are alt tags?

Alt tags are a small and simple piece of HTML code which is used to describe an image.

For example, the image to the left is a picture of our French Bulldog, George, sat on a desk. The alt tag for this image is ‘French bulldog George sat on a desk’. If that image could not load, you would see the words ‘French Bulldog George sat on a desk’.

 

French Bulldog George sat on a desk

Why are alt tags useful?

If an image is unable to load properly or a user has images turned off in their browser the alt tag will be shown. So that users can see what image was supposed to be there.

Additionally, alt tags are useful for people who are visually impaired and use a screen reader as it will be able to read the alt tag and tell them what’s there.

They also help search engines as they cannot ‘see’ what an image shows. So alt tags tell them what’s in the image which can help your images show up in image searches.

 

Do alt tags help SEO?

They won’t make a huge difference to your search rankings but they can help your website gain visitors through image search.

 

How do I use an alt tag?

If your website runs on a Content Management System (CMS), such as Concrete5 or WordPress, there will be a small field when you upload your image where you can simply type in your alt tag.

If your website is flat coded, your alt tag will look like this:

<*img src=”georgeonadesk.jpg” alt=”French Bulldog George on a desk”/*> (Remove the * to use this code)

 

Tips for using alt tags

  • Describe what’s in the image using keywords
  • Write your alt tag for users not search engines
  • If the image shows a product, use the full product name
  • Don’t stuff it full of keywords

You should be using alt tags on all of the images on your website to enhance user experience.

 

If you need help applying alt tags to your images or help getting the most out of your website, get in touch for a free no obligation chat about how we could help your business. Looking for tips on your SEO? Read more of our SEO blogs here

Six Reasons Why Long Tail Search Terms Are Important Too

six reasons why long tail search terms are important

six reasons why long tail search terms are important

Ranking number one for a one or two word search phrase seems to be every website owners dream. However, sometimes it’s better to go for long tail search phrases which are more specific and have less competition.

When Ask.com was released it encouraged users to ‘talk’ to the search engine in a conversational manner. Which made it quite popular, especially with people who were new to the internet.

Years later when 65.8% of the UK population have smartphones and more and more people use voice search, long tail keyphrases are more important than ever.

 

What are long tailed search terms / key phrases?

Long tailed search terms are search terms which are made up of three or more words. For example, ‘dog treats’ would be a short tail search phrase. Whereas ‘how do I make homemade dog treats’ would be a long tail search phrase.

 

Long tailed search terms are easier to rank for

It’s much easier to rank for long tail search terms. As there is much less competition for a long search term.

How-do-I-make-homemade-dog-treats-search-results

For example for the search term ‘dog treats’ there are 112,000,000 results. But for ‘how do I make homemade dog treats’ there are 40,000,000 results. While 40 million is still a lot of results, it’s much less than 112 million results.

Generally, the longer the search term you want to rank for is the less competition there will be.

 

Long tail searches provide more accurate search results for users

Short tail keyphrases can be quite vague. Whereas long tail keyphrases are more specific. Meaning you get results which are more accurate and much closer to what you were searching for.

Keeping with the dog treat example. If you search for ‘dog treats’, you get a list of fairly big well known retailers selling dog treats. If you search for ‘how do I make homemade dog treats’ you get a list of articles which tell you how to make homemade dog treats.

This means the search results answer your problem or question much better than a vague short tailed search term.

Studies have also found that people using long tail search terms have higher conversion rates than those using short tail search terms, which makes sense because long tail phrases are more specific meaning that person knows what they’re looking and is closer to converting.

 

Long tail searches are more conversational and natural

Being able to use a search term which is quite conversational is easy and natural for us to do. It also means search engines are much easier to use for people who don’t use the internet all that often or are new to it.

More conversational search terms are even more important since Google has released Voice Search which means people will ‘talk’ to Google in a conversational manner and ask things like ‘how do I made homemade dog treats’ rather than ‘homemade dog treats recipes’.

 

Long tail search terms with well with content marketing

Long tail search phrases work well with content marketing, especially if you’re creating titles which are quite conversation or are a question themselves.

For example, we know that for us our most popular blog post are how tos and people search for things like ‘how business use hashtags in Facebook’ which we know links to our blog post we recently posted about how businesses can use Facebook hashtags.

 

Long tail search terms help you

Up until recently you could figure out what your most popular type of content was and what people were searching for to reach your website by looking at the organic search terms in Google Analytics. Google have recently put a stop to this to protect users, which means all search terms will now show up as ‘not provided’.

To find out what your most popular content or pages are look at how many visits each page gets.

For example, if your website sells gardening gifts and one of your most visited pages is a pink gardening set, you know that your visitors are interested in gardening gifts which appeal to women and may be buying for their wife, girlfriend, mother or sister.

 

Long tail search terms will help you rank well for short tail search terms

Search engines, Google especially, are doing their very best to provide users with the best answers to their searches and are doing so by encouraging them to be more specific, conversational and use long tail search terms. If you aim to rank well for long tail search terms it will also help you rank well for short tail search terms.

Sticking with the dog treat example, imagine you create content such as;

  • How do I make homemade dog treats
  • Why are organic dog treats are better for your dog
  • How many dog treats should I give my dog a day
  • Dog treats for dogs with food allergies
  • Dog treats for dogs on a diet

As you can see all of the above points have ‘dog treats’ in the title which is a short tail search term in itself, so it will benefit your short tail rankings.

 

You don’t need to focus on just long tail or just short tail; it’s possible to do both, especially if your long tail phrases contain a short tail phrase. It’s important not to rule long tail phrases out because they get less searches; yes, they do get less searches but people using long tail searches know what they’re looking for and are more likely to convert.

 

Contact Us

If you’re a business based in Burntwood, Lichfield, Cannock, Staffordshire or the West Midlandsand need help creating opportunities to sell by improving your websites SEO and search rankings, get in touch to find out how we can help you. Call us on 01543 495 752 or email us at contact@themarketingpeople.com. In the meantime, why not check out more of our SEO blogs here. 

Why Small Businesses Need To Carry Out SEO Too.

why small businesses need to carry out seo too

why small businesses need to carry out seo too

In a digital age where people are always looking to save money and time. Their search for a product, service or an event will usually begin online.

If you own a small business, the chances are your business won’t be as well known or have the same kind of reputation as a big business. This means you need your website to be appearing right at the top of search results, preferably 1st.

Even with a fraction of the budget available to a large business. A small business can still outrank big well-known websites and steal that coveted number 1 ranking.

 

SEO in a Nutshell

If you know what SEO is, feel free to scroll down. If not, the concept is pretty simple and the chances are you’ve read about it or thought about it and just not realised that it was SEO.

In a nutshell: SEO is a strategy which consists of multiple techniques which all work together to optimise your website for search engines. Making it easier for your target audience to find.

 

How Can SEO Benefit Small Businesses?

Ideally every business wants to show up number one on the first page of results, and if done correctly SEO will help you reach that goal.

A study carried out by Chikita found that only 6% of people click through to the second page of results. This emphasises just how important it is to get your website showing up on the first page of search results.

The more traffic your website gets, the more leads you’ll generate which in turn will hopefully lead to more sales.

If carried out properly, SEO can even help small businesses rank above big websites. And competitors which you may think it’s impossible to beat.

Gardening Delights topiary

Example:

One of our clients, a web based business called Gardening Delights, who specialise in selling sustainable and eco-friendly products, has a range of topiary animals and shapes. Despite topiary not being their speciality, they keywords used on their website and the websites reputation allows them to rank 1st in Google for terms such as ‘topiary frames’, above Amazon and website who specialise in topiary products.

As well as helping you to rank higher in search engines, carrying out SEO will help you improve your website on a whole.

Part of your SEO will no doubt include editing your websites copy to include keywords and keyphrases you want to rank for. It will also include fixing any technical issues on your website, such as creating redirects.

Both of the above will benefit anyone visiting your website. As your website will provide them with a better user journey, and will also contain information they’ll be looking for.

 

Contact Us

Are you a small business based in Burntwood, Lichfield, Cannock, Staffordshire or the West Midlands? Are you struggling to get found in search engines? If so, give us a call on 01543 495 752 or if you’d prefer, drop us an email at contact@themarketingpeople.com. Let’s talk about how our monthly SEO contracts could help your business rank higher in search engines. In the meantime, why not check out more of our SEO blogs?

41 SEO Terms You Need To Know

41 seo terms you need to know

41 seo terms you need to know

Is one of your goals for the year ahead to learn and understand more about SEO? Or perhaps you’ve forgotten what a few acronyms or words mean.

If so, take a look at our new and improved SEO Jargon Buster!

301 Redirect

– If your website moves domains or people can access your website from various URLs, a 301 redirect is carried out to ensure that people aren’t greeted with a 301 error, they are taken to a page on the new website.

404 Error

– This message normally appears when a web page no longer exists or has moved to a different URL. The error can be resolved by using a 404 redirect which will send users to another page.

Algorithm

– This is a formula or process a search engine, program or computer follows to solve a problem and come up with a result. In SEO terms, search engines use algorithms to decide where a page should rank in search results.

Alt text

– This is used to describe an image, for example an image of a red ball would have the alt text ‘red ball’. Alt text will show up in place of an image if it can’t be viewed. Alt text can also help with SEO.

Analytics

– In SEO terms, this is a collection of data showing how users interact with a website. For example, what search terms they used to read the website, how long they spent on the website and which pages they viewed.

Anchor Text

 – This is the clickable text in a hyperlink; “Find out about our marketing consultancy services.” ‘Marketing consultancy’ is the anchor text.

Authority links

– These are links from an authoritative website, such as BBC, Gov.uk etc.

Backlink

– This is a link coming into a website from an external website. An example of this might be someone might link to your website on their blog.

Black Hat SEO

– These are SEO techniques which don’t comply with best practice guideless. Black hat SEO techniques trick search engines into giving a website a higher page ranking than it deserves, quite often these techniques can backfire and damage search rankings.

Bounce Rate –

A ‘bounce’ in website terms is when someone visits your website and leaves before visiting another page, so the bounce rate is the percentage of people who only visiting one page on your website.

Canonical URL

– This is the ‘correct’ URL for a page and is used when there are multiple ways to get to a page.

CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computer and Humans Apart

– A ‘test’ which is used to determine whether a user is a computer or a human.

You often see these when you try to create an account or leave a comment on a website. You will then be shown a box with a random selection of letters, a word or numbers. A human can fill out a CAPTCHA form (usually!), however a computer program that may be trying to spam the website would struggle.

CMS – Content Management System

– A system, such as WordPress and Concrete5, which allows website owners to manage copy and pages on their website, without the need for them to understand or know how to code a website.

Conversion

– When a user or customer does what you want them to do. If you have a call to action on your website, such as download a brochure, the conversion is when a user downloads the brochure.

CPC – Cost Per Click

– In a Pay Per Click advertising model, this is the cost to the advertiser each time someone clicks on one of their adverts.

Ecommerce

– Buying or selling products or services on the internet.

Grey Hat SEO –

There are search engine optimisation techniques which bend best practice results, rather than completely breaking them.

Hits

– This is a request for something on a web page to load, such as the page itself or an image. Hits are not a good indication of how much traffic your website has had, since each image counts as a ‘hit’. So if you had a website with 10 images and it was loaded twice, you’d see 20 hits.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language –

This is a ‘language’ used to tells browsers how a website should look and how to display it.

Link Building

– One way of improving your website’s SEO is to increase the number of links coming in to your website, so you may carry out link building. This can be done by writing guest blog posts for other websites or commenting on other websites.

Linking C-Blocks

– This refers to IP addresses and is used by search engines to determine whether websites linking to each other are related. For example, if websites on the same server are linking to each other, the links are not natural and will probably have been set up by the same person.

Long Tail Keyphrases

– Long tail keyphrases are made up of a few words. It’s much easier to try and get a higher ranking for a long tail keyphrase than it is a short tail keyphrase.

Meta Title

– Brief description of the page which shows up in search engines and at the top of browsers.

Meta Description – Tells search engines what the page is about and will show up in search results, which means it needs to be interesting and informative to get people to click on it.

Meta Keywords

– They were used to list keywords used on the page.Meta keywords are no longer used and can harm your search rankings.

Onsite SEO

– Any search engine optimisation work which is carried out on your website which will improve its SEO. This can be things such as making sure pages all have meta descriptions, using keywords in your copy and alt text.

Offsite SEO

– Any SEO work which is not carried out on your website, which will improve your website’s SEO. This can include gaining backlinks from other websites and directory listings.

Online Directory

– Like an online Yellow Pages, examples include Dmoz and Yell.com. Submitting your business and website to high quality directories, such as Dmoz and Yahoo Directory can help with SEO.

Pagerank (also known as PR)

– How relevant a search engine considers your page to be in relation to keywords searched.

Pageview – This is the number of times a page has been viewed, however this doesn’t show how many people have viewed your website as the same person could view the page more than once.

PPC – Pay Per Click

– An advertising pricing model, where the advertiser will pay for each click their advert receives, regardless of whether the person who clicks on it purchases or converts.

Reciprocal Link

– When two websites link to each other, they are using reciprocal links. This used to be a good method of link building, however it has very little benefit nowadays.

RSS Feed – Really Simple Syndication

– RSS feeds are used to ensure that anyone who subscribes to your blog or website, is sent your latest blog post or content. You can choose to send the entire blog post or just a small snippet of it to the RSS feeder, to encourage people to view it directly from your website.

SE – Search Engine

– Examples; Google, Yahoo, Bing.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

– A strategy used to improve a websites search engine rankings and making it easier to find. The better a website’s SEO is, the higher the rankings are, which can result in more traffic.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

– This is a marketing strategy which simply uses search engines to promote a business. SEM usually uses paid advertisements, such as Google AdWords.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

– When a user types something into a search engine, they will be shown a results page which lists web pages which are relevant to the keywords used in the search.

Unique Visitor –

This is how many unique visitors your website has had. You might have had 20 visits but only 4 unique visitors. This can show you how many people have returned to your website.

URL– Uniform Resource Locator

– This is address used to find a website or document on the internet, for example www.google.com.

White Hat

– These are search engine optimisation techniques which are within best practice guides and rightfully earn a website a page ranking, rather than tricking a search engine into giving it a higher page ranking. This is the right way to go about search engine optimisation.

 

If you need help improving your search rankings or making your website more SEO friendly, we can help. Check out our SEO blogs for more useful info, or get in touch with us to find out more and let’s have a chat about your website’s SEO and what we can do for you. You can call us on 01543 495 752 or email us on contact@themarketingpeople.com

What is Inbound Marketing? Why and how you should be using it.

What is inbound marketing? Why and how you should be using it

What is inbound marketing? Why and how you should be using it

What is Inbound Marketing….Have you ever become tired of cold calling or maybe wish you could gain leads people contacting you?

What is inbound marketing?

Quite simply, inbound marketing let customers find you.

Outbound marketing is where you reach out to people.

It’s been suggested that people defy outbound marketing methods by simply ignoring them. By using inbound marketing, you’re offering the reader something of interest, especially relevant to something maybe they had specifically searched for.

Why should you be using it?

First of all, inbound marketing relies on people finding you rather than the other way around. So the chances are that anyone who is visiting your website, blog, Facebook or Linked in profile article, already has an interest in what you do or sell.

This is more likely to engage a customer rather than just reaching out to anyone and everyone.

How to use it.

If you’re already carrying out Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), creating content and using social media, you’re already using inbound marketing.

If not, here are a couple of tips to help you out;

SEO; will make it easier for people to find your website. If you haven’t carried out any SEO on your website yet, Google have recently released a video explaining a few basic and essential SEO tips.

You can check whether all your hard work on SEO is paying off by using tools such as SEOmoz which will provide you with information such as your page rank or how well you rank for keywords or key-phrases.

Content creation; Writing blog posts, taking photo’s, creating videos or info-graphics are just a few examples of content creation.

The best ways to encourage people to visit your website is to create something useful and informative. Something that will help answer a question for them, for example, we find that our ‘how to’ blog posts are the most popular.

Social media; When you’ve created your content you can share it by posting a link on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or upload an image to Pinterest. Don’t forget to provide a link back to your website.

An article on emarketer explains that a ‘significant percentage’ of Facebook and Twitter users are reading news or content that they wouldn’t read elsewhere.  This proves how powerful social media is as a marketing tool and provides a fantastic springboard for your inbound marketing. It hands you the key to a gateway, beyond which are thousands of interested customers.

Are there any disadvantages to using it?

No! Like everything else, it will take time and patience. You won’t see overnight success however if you keep committed and keep working hard, eventually it will begin to pay off.

Do you use inbound marketing? If so, have you seen any success and in conclusion how long did it take to start seeing results? has anybody asked you what is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is the ideal route for a lot of companies to provide leads coming to you rather than you chasing them. It does however take a lot of work and effort, so maybe use our inbound blogs to keep you going along the way.

Finally if you live in the Burntwood, Lichfield, Cannock, Staffordshire or the West Midlands area and require some help or advice with your marketing? Why not see what we can do. Take a look at our case studies then call us on 01543 495752 to book a no obligation consultation meeting today.

SEO Jargon Buster

seo jargon buster

seo jargon buster

The acronyms and words used when talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can sometimes be confusing. We put a list together, which is in no way exhaustive, which contains the words we feel are most important to understand.

Since this post, we have completed a more up to date version of our SEO jargon buster, which includes far more terms, which you can find here.

 

301 redirect: This is a page which appears when the website at the URL searched for, has permanently moved to another URL. It will usually contain information about where the website has moved to.

Algorithms: The formula or procedure a search engine goes through to determine where a page should rank in the search results.

Alt text: Alternative text – Used to describe an image. If the image cannot be viewed, the alt text will show up instead. It can also help with search engine optimisation as search engines can ‘see’ the alt text, whereas they cannot differentiate from one image to the next.

Analytics: A collection of data containing information about the way the website is used, such as hits or total time spent on the website.

Black hat: These are search engine optimisation techniques which go against best practice guidelines and attempt to trick a search engine into giving your page a higher page rank.

CAPTCHA: Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computer and Humans Apart – This is a ‘test’ to tell humans and computers apart, mostly used for stopping bots or automated programs from spamming a website.
You will often see this when you try to create an account on a website, a box containing random letters, numbers or words will appear. It’s easy for a human to read them and type them out again, but it’s much harder for a program to do.

CMS: Content Management System – A program such as WordPress or Tumblr, which allows the creation of content without needing to do any of the coding side of content creation.

CPC: Cost Per Click – Each time a banner or advertisement is clicked on, the advertiser will be charged.

Grey hat: Search engine optimisation techniques which bend best practice rules as opposed to breaking them completely.

Hits: A request for something on a web page to load, such as the page or a graphic.
Hits are not a good indication of website traffic as things like images count for a ‘hit’. For example, if your page has six images and it’s loaded once, that would class as seven hits.

HTML: HyperText Markup Language – A language made up of a variety of tags which will determine how a website will look, such as the layout and the text colour.

Long tail: A phrase made up of keywords as opposed to search one or two keywords.
It’s much easier to have a higher ranking for long tail phrases; however this is because they’re searched for less often.

META tag: A HTML tag which contains information about what platform the website was built on and keywords which relate to the website. This information will not be displayed on the website itself.

On site SEO: This is any work carried out on a website that will help search engines find your website, such as using keywords throughout and using alt text.

Off site SEO: Links back to your website are considered recommendations by search engines, so if your page has been linked back to a search engine will think the content you have produced is high quality and useful and will therefore give you a higher page ranking.

Pagerank or PR: This is how relevant a search engine considers your page to be in relation to the keywords searched.
If you have a high page rank, then the search engine considers the page to be very relevant to the words searched. If you have a low page rank then a search engine doesn’t consider your page relevant to what has been searched.
This is why using keywords is vital for search engine optimisation.

Pageview: Quite simply, the amount of times a page has been loaded.

PPC: Pay Per Click – An advertiser will pay each time an advert or banner is clicked on which takes someone back to their website.

RSS feed: Really Simple Syndication – If an RSS Feed is set up on your blog any new posts will be sent to anyone who subscribes to your RSS Feed. New posts will show up in their RSS Reader or content aggregator.
You can send the entire post to the RSS Reader or just part of the text or a description to encourage the reader want to click through to your website to read the full post.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing – A type of internet marketing which relies on search engines to promote a company.
Search Engine Marketing is usually paid for, via things like Pay Per Click and Cost Per Click.

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation – This is improving your search engine rankings by using things such as keywords and long tail phrases throughout your website.
The better your search engine optmisation is, the higher your rankings will be, meaning more people will be visiting your website.

SE: Search Engine – Examples; Google, Yahoo, Bing.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page – The list of pages a search engine produces which are relevant to the words searched, starting with the most relevant at the top.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator – This is the address of a web page.

White hat: Search engine optimisation techniques which stick to best practice rules and don’t trick or cheat a search engine into awarding it a page ranking higher than it should be.

 

 

You can find more useful advice on how to maintain the best SEO in our blogs. Or if you need a helping hand to get you started, or run it for you, we can help. Call us today on 01543 495752 to see what we could do for your SEO.