Category Archives: On Page SEO

The 360* Approach to Online Marketing

online marketing
One of the main pitfalls businesses often fall in to during their online marketing campaign is the concept of relying too heavily on one aspect of the spectrum.

Too frequently a business relies on a singular approach, it’s these businesses that are often hit by changes in Google’s algorithm. Similarly those who rely too heavily on paid search may be missing out on the benefits of an effective SEO strategy, often all you need to undertake a successful SEO campaign is patience and the relevant expertise rather than significant monetary investment.

The more efficiently all aspects of your online marketing strategy work together the more focus Google will place on the content you share and in turn the higher your pages will rank within Google’s SERPs.

A good place to start is with an audit of your website which can illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of your site. From there, you can re-evaluate your selection of keywords as well as your overall content strategy, you can also take a look at which aspects of SMM would suit your business.

It’s important to question whether your content strategy is working effectively, so it’s a good idea to measure the engagement of your blogs, tweets etc.. How many comments, shares and likes are you receiving on a regular basis.

Google Analytics is a great tool to use to measure the strength of your online presence.

What your business focuses on largely depends on your goals and the nature of your presence but as a general rule it’s a good idea to take a holistic approach that includes as many features as possible.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):

Keyword Research

On-Page & Off-Page SEO

Link Building

Social Media Marketing (SMM):

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Linkedin

Pinterest

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Google Adwords

Facebook Paid Advertising

Linkedin Paid Advertising

Stumbleupon Paid Advertising

Online Press Releases:

Copywriting

Distribution

If your business is neglecting any of these major aspects then it may be time to revise your online marketing strategy.

Even Big Businesses Can be Punished by Google

google

Interflora suffers a major setback ahead of Mother’s Day

Last week it was revealed that Interflora, the UK’s longest serving flower delivery network had been punished by Google for breaching the Search Engine’s SEO guidelines (The Webmaster Guidelines).

This was big news in the marketing and search engine optimisation community, as this was a clear demonstration of a major business being reprimanded by the search engine’s latest updates.

It’s unusual for such a high-profile brand to be penalised so severely but Google clearly felt the need to make an example to signify that no business is immune from punishment if it follows the more underhand tactics of SEO.

These tactics are colloquially known as ‘black hat SEO’, Google has realised that Interflora is guilty of these kind of tactics, a large number of regional newspaper websites were found to have the wrong kind of links to the Interflora homepage.

These links were designed to improve the site’s PageRank, the links were intended to boost Interflora’s position on Google. Links within advertorials that are paid for are not meant to increase PageRank which is what the business was guilty of doing.

The newspapers who took part in these links were also punished.

Google has taken serious action against the retailer by removing the websites from many of its SERPs, it’s worth mentioning that this is likely to be a temporary measure, but the story becomes far more significant given the timing as Mother’s Day is fast approaching, one of the key dates for florists everywhere.

Interflora will no longer feature on Google’s front page which will have a big impact on its sales leading up to the 10th of March.

On the 4th of March Interflora did feature for some keywords on Google’s SERPs but only on its second page which is hardly impressive for a business of its standard it’s therefore likely to lose out to its competitors.

Google did not comment specifically on the story but did recently release a statement explaining its standpoint on underhand SEO tactics.

Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam at Google:

“Google has said for years that selling links that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines…Google does take action on such violations”

Indeed Google has sent out a clear message to all businesses, whatever the stature, this is a keen reminder of how vulnerable businesses are against restrictions imposed by the search engine.

A guest post by Bright Future Software, check out the site for all your outsourcing needs.

Have You Been Hit By The Latest Google Update?

Google Update

Millions of websites have been hit by Google’s latest update, the SEO industry continuously faces this kind of setback on a regular basis. For businesses this kind of algorithm update is of a similar scale to the Wall Street Crash or the current Global Recession as far as their online presence is concerned.

Businesses are seeing their online stock plummeting as many websites disappear from Google’s front page in to obscurity.

It’s been nearly a year since the initial update was first announce in 2012,

Many web pages suffer a significant dip in traffic and as a result a loss of revenue.

Any mention of Google’s Penguin or Panda update leaves businesses and SEO enthusiasts in a state of panic. For those who work in the SEO industry there is a genuine concern that they’ll risk losing business or even their own jobs, businesses who outsource their online marketing and SEO needs often lose faith in the industry due to its sheer unpredictability.

Google Update

Why are these updates happening?

Google is forever developing and modifying its own algorithm in order to determine the best content for its users. These updates tend to prosecute ‘black hat’ SEO strategies, which are the name given to the more underhand tactics used, keyword stuffing, cloaking and duplicate content for example.

It can be tempting for businesses to use these kind of tactics, as they do bring short-term results but ultimately you’re likely to end up being heavily penalised by search engines for attempting to fool the system.

What Does Google Want?

Google ultimately wants to rank high quality, relevant and unique pages for its users, that will always be the intention of any future update.

SEO strategies often suffer when they rely solely on a singular tactic, the industry is always subject to change which is why effective strategies must always rely on a 360° degree approach that fundamentally focuses on content.

For websites to safeguard themselves against future changes in Google’s algorithm it’s essential to focus on a holistic approach to SEO based on a wide variety of tactics. Relying too heavily on one aspect effectively means putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak

Content is King.

As far as SEO is concerned, content will always be the main focus, where other areas are subject to continuous change, in many ways content is the only aspect of SEO that can be relied upon. Google will continue to attempt to improve user experience so ultimately you’ll have to ask the question of whether your site offers enough to rank.

The 3 Ultimate On-Page SEO Tips

on-page SEO

On-Page SEO (as opposed to Off Page SEO) is the process of making your website more relevant to search engines.

Every SEO strategy is different depending on the website but the fundamental idea is to make your website as relevant and search engine friendly as possible. Failing to optimise your site correctly means you have less of a chance of becoming visible via Google or any other search engine.

Google is always changing the way it ranks websites, take a look at the recent Penguin and Panda updates for example, so making sure your SEO strategy is up to date is essential. What might be considered essential at one point may become outdated very quickly such as is the nature of SEO.

So what does Google really want?

Google wants content that’s informative to the given subject and most importantly, unique.

This should be the focus of any SEO strategy but as far as On-Page SEO is concerned there are a number of quick fixes you can use that are consistent and necessary to improve your search engine rankings.

1. Meta Titles & Descriptions

Make sure your Meta Titles and Descriptions are up to scratch, these should inform both the user and the search engine of what your specific page is about and how relevant it is to the subject. The format for writing Meta Titles and Descriptions is relatively simple, make sure they target a primary keyword and a secondary keyword, capitalise the primary keyword in the title and make sure they don’t exceed the character limit.

Maximum 70 for the title and 140 for the Meta Description.

A useful guide for more info; ““Your Guide to Optimised Meta Titles”
2. Make your inner pages accessible

What we mean here is to make sure your site can be easily navigated by the user, by using a useful tool such as Google Analytics you can analyse how clickable your website is, how long users spend on each page and how they exit your website. Your goal should be that your traffic should click through from page to page on your website rather than accessing a single page and exiting quickly.

This can be done through internal linking, such as a link pointing to a another helpful article on your site, like this > “Click Here
3. Make sure EVERY page on your site is unique

As previously mentioned in this post, Google’s ultimate intention is to make the most interesting, informative and unique information visible to the public as quickly as possible. Your search rankings can be penalised for re-using your own or any other information on the web without permission.

www.copyscape.com is a useful website that can help you counteract plagiarism on your website.

So there we have 3 hand picked on-page SEO tips to use at your convenience, feel free to use them!

Your Guide to Optimised Meta Titles

meta titles

For many of you reading this post your first question will be;

What is a Meta Title?

A Meta Title shows the name of a web page, the title will usually be displayed at the top of your browser and informs the reader about what exactly they’re looking at. More importantly however these titles are read, by search engines.

Why do they matter?

The Meta title is very important as far as your search engine rankings are concerned, as an SEO strategy it’s important that they’re written with search engine robots in mind. They of course have to make sense for the reader but the wording should be based on the relevant keywords your website should be targeting, as well as its relevance to your content. You could argue then, that Meta Titles are actually more important for search engines than for the users who visit your site.

Essentially then you have to keep the balance between being readable for search engines and making sense for your average visitor, with that in mind here are 5 mistakes you should really avoid.

  1. Stuffing too many keywords in to the titles, this can be seen as Spamming.
  2. Branding all your Meta Titles the same on every page.
  3. Naming all your pages with your Business Name or Brand.
  4. Making the titles too long, Search Engines stop reading your titles after 70-75 characters, limit your title to 70 characters including spaces and punctuation.
  5. Failing to capitalise any part of the keywords you’re targeting.

Keyword Research is a fundamental aspect of writing efficient Meta Titles, so it’s vital to do this before you even contemplate optimising your titles, for a useful guide check out our “Keyword Research, The Fundamentals

A good format to use would be…

Primary Keyword> Info/ Incentive> Secondary Keyword> Business Name (if you have room)

Examples: Good vs Bad

  • Tips on GROWING FLOWERS, from Gardening Experts, How To Grow Flowers
  • flowers

Try and repeat the keywords no more than twice, the keywords should be relevant to your content, limit the use of punctuation to save space and don’t forget to use capitals to draw attention to the keyword.

A good Meta Title will help Search Engines understand the focus of your page, by repeating the a keyword phrase that would be found throughout the content. It should be informative yet concise, try and make the most of the 70 characters you’re given.

So there you have it, check out the many other guides on our blog for more Online Marketing info!

Your Basic SEO Guide

On Page SEO : Your Basic SEO Guide for Better Results

If you want your site to rank higher in search engines so that you can gain free organic search traffic, this is the guide for you. This guide is a basic best practice guide to On-Page-SEO; the 20% that makes the 80% difference. Whether you’re a relative SEO novice or have some experience already, this guide should prove extremely useful in gaining an insight in to the subject. By following these steps you’ll be able to ensure you’re on your way to having a well optimised and effective website. This will give your Off-Page-SEO link building campaign the best opportunity to boost your site’s online marketing potential.

The fundamentals:

  • The largest search engine for online traffic is Google, with around 70% of the market share.
  • Optimising a website for Google will naturally also help your site to rank in other websites such as Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, it is evident however that Google should be your first priority.
  • Search engines rank Pages not Sites – although the overall authority of a site has an influence on whether or not the page will rank.
  • ONE web page should target ONE keyword at a time. It’s important not to fall in to the trap of trying to optimise a singular page for numerous keywords, particularly if these keywords are not closely related.
  • Targeting numerous keywords at a time will not act as an effective method and is more likely to discourage the search engine to rank your site highly.
  • One and two word keyphrases usually have more potential traffic – but are much more competitive, and less targeted.
  • Web pages are made up of both text and images. Search engines are more likely to focus on text, although users are more likely to enjoy images and graphics. The secret is to appeal to both simultaneously.

Keyword research :

The first stage in any SEO campaign should ideally be keyword research. This may seem like an obvious way to start, surprisingly many enterprises skip or rush this critical stage of the process and lose out as a result.

 

There are various keyword research techniques that can be used to compile data to help you identify and assess potential target keywords in order to make an informed and strategically sound decision on which keywords you are going to target.

 

The 3 key factors in keyword selection are:

Search volume– the higher the volume of searches the more traffic it will generate.

The quality and relevance of the keyword– It is essential to consider the quality and relevance of potential keywords, and also the commercial intention of surfers searching using these keywords.

Competition– keywords should have an adequate level of competition.

 

Here are some Recommended Tools –

Free tool → Google Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/keywordtool)

Paid tool → Wordtracker.com (http://www.wordtracker.com)

Page Title Optimisation :

You should add a customised page title (AKA ‘meta title’) to each individual page of your website, based onyour chosen target keyword for that particular page. The title of the page has relevance and must be customised to please both users and search engines.

  • For users, it must be informative as well as attractive to maximise the Click Through Rate (AKA CTR).
  • For search engines, it needs to be keyword optimised so that it’s evident what the page is about and therefore what the page should be ranking for.

Page title rules and tips –

  • Must be a maximum 66 characters including spaces. Exceeding this character limit means GoogleBot will still read the meta title, but it will not display it all in the search results, in other words it will be cut short.
  • It is advisable that you front load the page title with your target keyword or phrase – i.e. start your page title with your target keyword.
  • You can start each word in the page title with capital letters if you like, to make it stand out more for example, “This Page Title Starts With Caps”.
  • You can capitalise the keyword to make it stand out eg. TARGET KEYWORD | In Caps. However capitalising every word will be recognised as an attempt to Spam.
  • Don’t keyword stuff or over-optimise the page title. If your target keyword is a single word then include the keyword twice in the title, if it is a two or more word key-phrase then it is advisable to only include it once.

 

Here are some Recommended Tools – either Free of charge or at a cost.

Free → (1) SEO Quake Firefox Browser Add On (http://www.seoquake.com) and (2) Character Count Tool – does what it says on the tin! (http://www.charactercounttool.com)

Paid → SEO Moz (http://www.seomoz.org)

Page Description Optimisation :

You should add a customised page description (the ‘meta description’) to each page of your website, based on your chosen target keyword for that page. A good page meta description should be optimised to please both users and search engines.

  • For users, it must be informative and enticing to maximise the CTR or Click Through Rate.
  • For search engines, it needs to be keyword customised so that it is obvious what the page is about and therefore the reason the page should rank for.

Page description rules and tips –

  • Max 150 characters including spaces. If you exceed this character limit, the GoogleBot will still read the meta description, but it will not display it all in the search results (it will be cut off short).
  • It is recommended that you front load the page description with your target keyword/phrase – i.e. start your page description with your target keyword for instance. “My Target Keyword is Front Loaded in my Description. This is Because it Helps my Site to Rank Higher in Search Engines when I Front Load my Target Keyword!”
  • You can start each word in the page description with capital letters if you wish, to make it stand out more for instance, My Target Keyword is Front Loaded and I Have also Capitalised my Page Description, Except for Smaller Words Such as ‘is’, ‘and’, ‘also’ and ‘as’.
  • Do not keyword stuff or over-optimise the page description. If your target keyword is a single word then include the keyword up to 3 times in the description, if it is a two or more word key-phrase then only include it twice

Here are some tools we recommend –

Free → (1) SEO Quake Firefox Browser Add On (http://www.seoquake.com) and (2) Character Count Tool – does what it says on the tin! (http://www.charactercounttool.com)

Paid → SEO Moz (http://www.seomoz.org)

 

The Importance of TEXT Content in Search Engine Optimisation:

Search engines rely on TEXT content, and as a result cannot read images (except for image ALT tags, which should be optimised – see below).

Although the optimal number of words you should include in the body text content of each web page can vary depending on the theme and target keywords, in general you should always have a minimum 300 words of text in the body content of each page, in most instances it is advisable to aim for between 500 to 750 words.

It is important, however, to keep the text content relevant and interesting – i.e. not just text for the sake of text!

  • TIP : It’s a good idea to analyse sites that are ranked in the top 3 for the target keyword or phrase you wish to rank your page for, and discover how many words of text (on average) they have. This will act as a suitable benchmark for your website.

 

Recommended Tools –

Free → SEO Quake Firefox Browser Add On (http://www.seoquake.com)

Paid → Seo Moz (http://www.seomoz.org)

Unique Content and its value:

NEVER copy text content, either from a 3rd party website or from another page of your own website, Text content should always be unique.

Search engines actively seek duplicate content, and therefore can penalise a site which does not contain an abundance of content that is both relevant, informative and wholly unique.

If this was how the web was based that is, consisting of duplicated content as opposed to new and unique content, the value of information on the web would be significantly decreased.

Recommended Tools –

Free →

Paid → Copyscape (http://www.copyscape.com)

Target Keyword Density:

Search engines assess how many times the target keyword or phrase is included in the body of the page as a signal of the page’s relevance. Too many keywords repeating can seem unnatural and therefore can be perceived as spam, but too few and the page lacks keyword relevance.

In general, it is advisable to aim for a target keyword/phrase density of between 2% to 4% but should still ensure that the text is natural, grammatically correct and of excellent quality.

Writing poor quality content solely in order to appeal to keyword searches will likely hinder your website, although maintaining an adequate level of keyword density is necessary.

Recommended Tools :

Free → (1) SEO Quake Firefox Browser Add On (http://www.seoquake.com) and (2) Wordle, a great visual representation of keyword density/relevancy of a web page (http://www.wordle.net) – this is a useful tool, it illustrates visually how a search engine will perceive your page and (3) the appropriately named ‘Keyword Density’ (http://www.keyworddensity.com/).

Paid → n/a

Keyword Proximity :

It has been demonstrated that the proximity of the relevant keyword or phrase within the body of your text content can have a positive effect on the search engine ranking. Try to include your target keyword/phrase at the start and also at the end of the body of the text content (i.e. first and last sentence/paragraph).

Heading Tags :

Utilising target keyword rich heading tags in your body text content on each page is a good idea. Ideally your first heading tag on the page is a <h1>. Each heading tag should be ordered <h2>, <h3>, <h4> etc. Heading tags with solid structure should create a good foundation for your page, almost like a logical table of contents. For example, <h2> is a subhead of <h1>.

It is possible to use headings as a way to signal page relevancy by including your target keyword/phrase whenever possible. This is necessary, but you should always avoid doing too much.

Heading tags rules and tips overview –

  • Never have more than one <h1> heading tag on a page!
  • Try to order heading tags in a logical order down the page. i.e. Don’t position an <h2> tag before/above an <h1>.
  • Include your target keyword/phrase in heading tags, particularly the main <h1> heading tag, and <h2> tags.

 

Here are some tools we recommend –

Free → SEO Site Checkup (http://www.seositecheckup.com/h1_h2_heading_status.php)

Paid → SEO Moz (http://www.seomoz.org)

Bold / Emphasis of First Instance of Keyword :

It has been shown that emphasis of the first instance of the target keyword on a web page can have a benefical effect on your search engine ranking. You can do this by ‘bolding’ a keyword.

From a search engine’s perspective, bolded words and phrases have more significance and are a signal of page’s relevance.

Note: It’s important to avoid bolding a keyword or a phrase numerous times on any page or this could be perceived as spam to search engines and as a result your rank will likely be demoted.

Recommended Tools –

Free →

Paid → SEO Moz (http://www.seomoz.org)

Image ALT Tags :

You can add a description ‘tag’ to any image, this is primarily used by vision impaired web users who use screen reader software. Screen reader software can ‘read’ image ALT tags, but cannot ‘read’ an image which doesn’t have ALT tags – this illustrates the importance of ALT tags as far as accessibility is concerned. ALT attributes are necessary for a page to validate as W3C compliant – and this in itself factor in a search engine’s ranking system.

Image ALT tags are descriptive – but should also include your target keyword/phrase in the ALT tag description as this can help to align and optimise the images present on the page.

Ensuring No Spam tactics! :

You should ensure your On Page SEO strategy is in line with the Google Webmaster Guidelines. You should familiarise yourself with what Google accepts (and doesn’t) for SEO.

 

Hopefully this guide has been useful, and especially a functional guide to the key elements of On-Page-SEO, a guide you can follow utilise on website immediately!

 

Use these On-Page-SEO techniques in accordance with a solid Off-Page-SEO link building strategy, if implemented correctly you will start to see your organic search traffic go through the roof!