Brighton SEO

On the train back to Coventry having  spent the day in Brighton attending the FREE SEO conference.  There have been a good selection of talks which have provided some additional resource that will be shared over the next few weeks.

It’s always good to attend events such as this in order to keep my knowledge up-to date and develop additional content that I can pass on to clients.  It’s all about being able to provide small nuggets of information that help in making small changes, helping them to take advantage of the information and make changes to there current marketing activities.

The day covered many different topics ranging from enhanced eCommerce function for Google Analytics through to Cannibalisation of content across domains and websites.   This particular session touched on some very interesting areas that addressed the issues with content within a website competing for position in SERPS (search engine listings) against each other – effectively reducing the quality of the website in SERPS because of incorrect targeting of the webpages.

The event saw a large number of delegates attending with the same goal in mind to develop in there understanding of SEO activities in order to make changes to their current marketing activities.

 

 

Understanding business objectives and there importance when marketing online

After a few weeks delivering a number of google analytics and search optimisation courses it’s becoming more apparent that the vast majority of companies launch into the online activities without actually thinking of the linkage across to business activities.

I’ve had the opportuinity this week of speaking at a mobile event in regards to email marketing and best practice.  I posed a question to the audience focusing on the need to track and measure effectiveness of email marketing.

Everyone present was busy operating email campaigns however when asked into how many could quantify the results in relation to engagement on the corresponding website, the whole room remained silent.  It’s amazing that even larger companies are lacking in these areas.

Tracking email effectiveness relies in understanding the core areas of google analytics and also being able to plane the associated activities to ensure that the email, website and relevant social media activities are all aligned and flow into each other.

Understanding analytics and also planning can be taught.  If you need more information look at our inhouse anaytics courses with a view to getting the skills you need to make onkine marketing useful.

Search Visibility for your Website, Blogs and Social Media

Over the past few weeks I’ve won a couple of contracts to deliver a mixture of ecommerce websites and brochure based sites. It’s interesting the levels of success being gained already on the search engines with very little actually focus on search engine marketing .

Over the past 10 years I’ve had the privilege of delivering lectures around social media and search engines with a view to encouraging best practice for website development projects.

Often it’s the client that then goes away and puts the search engine marketing theory into practice and every now and then you get some feedback on success. Most recently a couple of clients have shown major improvements in their sites search position through applying only the basic search engine marketing techniques such as focused page titles and content modifications.  Now that I’m responsible for the full deliver side it’s great to see the theory and practice working together.

Daisy Bank Caravan Park was launched before Christmas and already a marked increase in visitor engagement and sales has been achieved. This revenue generated has already paid for the site development.  They are now seeing better results in search and the next stage is to tweak the pages to improve the search position.

Noiseboys a professional audio website selling quality pa and sound gear has already seen after around 4 weeks very good search position. This week the results of using the Google Merchant Centre is now showing, with increased visibility in search results for purely sending Google a set of product listings.  These activities are all part of the ongoing marketing strategy.

Tranquil Touring Parks are due to release a blog this week enabling them to react faster and also increase search position.  This is part of an on-going redevelopment project of the whole online marketing activity to reduce re-work and duplication of activities.

All these projects and more show the need to create good content and page titles in order to see real tangible results in search position and search engine marketing.

Is it the end of innovation at Apple – Steve Jobs changed the world

Today saw the passing of a great innovator and man, who in the bigger scheme of things changed the way the world uses computers and also listens to music and much much more.  His unique ability to innovate and think out of the box has changed a lot of day to day activities for many of us.

It would be interesting to see how many households have a least 1 of the many Apple products that over the years he has assisted in creating and innovating.  This day is surely the end of an era and hopefully the start of a new one for Apple where they can start to move forward building on the success that they have seen over the years.  I’ve followed many links today to websites and blogs that have highlighted various quotes and speeches delivered by Steve Jobs.

A few notable ones that caught my eye:

  • The Microsoft / Apple tie up where both sides joined to develop Office for Mac and share patents on software.  This video also highlighted the 150 million dollar investment Microsoft made to Apple.  It’s surprising that if this collaboration, which on the video received boos and hisses from the assembled audience, could very well be the life saving act that saved Apple.
  • The most notable speech involved his Stamford Speech.  This given in 2005 where he highlights just 3 stories from his life all which have a very strong lesson to be learnt.  He tells of his childhood being adopted and dropping out of university and having nothing to live on returning the tops off coke bottle to get the 5 cents back to buy food, he then goes into being sacked form Apple the company he created and then returning via his involvement in PIXAR and finally he shares his feelings of being close to death when finding out about his cancer.

The Stamford speech is well worth watching. It put many questions in my mind and I will be amazed if it doesn’t for you.

Taking sticky tape and post-it notes to the next level

Two items we’ve all made use of over the years, both available from 3M – scotch tape and post-it notes. Well the next invention to hit the world is solar panels. These solar panels however are pretty different and could easily be self fit and stick to your existing windows.

It all seems pretty strange but 3M have apparently created a self adhesive film that captures energy through sunlight allowing the user to generate electricity. It’s not as powerful as a standard solar panel producing in the region of 20% of the energy from the standard solar panel, but it’s estimated at being half the cost.

A 1m square panel will generate enough energy to charge an iPhone – not amazing at the moment but with advancements will become a lot more viable in the future. It maintains visible factors of the windows it applied to, but with clear added benefits.

To read the article explaining more follow this link.

How to get good search positions for your website

How do you get good search position for your website? The workshop I ran today with Gareth Edwards of Arrowsmith Marketing looked at a number of key aspects within online marketing. Here are a few of the key points raised and discussed with the delegates.

1. Create quality content – one thing search engines are looking for is good quality content that users wish to engage with. A good page should be one that gets users to link to it or share it on a social network with other users. A good number of websites are full of dull boring content that adds no value. A lot of emphasis is now on content that is both unique and has a clear value to the person reading it. Site site content is not for your own self gratification but to get a user to contact and engage with your business

2. Analytics is an important part of your marketing strategy, whether it be to measure PPC, Search Optimisation or Link Building activities. Setting up and tracking all traffic to the website is becoming an important activity in any business serious about carrying out online marketing. The inclusion of Multiple Channel Conversions enables the website owner to fully recognise the value of all the social media and email marketing activity you carry out.

3. Plan and understand the user. This is probably the most important point we covered today. Understanding the user is key to setting up your social media activity, designing the website, selecting keywords and creating engaging content. The particular user groups will expect the message and imagery to reflect their perceptions and interests. Getting this part wrong will result in a website that targets the wrong users and ultimately generates very little in the area of conversion.

Do you make full use of google Analytics – new feature

New feature in my Google Analytics interface today. Been waiting for it to appear and it’s there now. What is it? Search Engine Optimisation. It links the search queries shown in Google Webmasters to a view within Google Analytics. What does this mean for you and me?

When you login take a look under the Traffic Sources tag in the new version of Analytics. At the bottom you’ll see a link title Search Engine Optimisation. When clicked if you have Webmasters set up then you can click through and link the two tools together.

This then pulls through the webmaster data relating to search queries and ranking positions into the Analytics interface, providing a full view of how the site is performing within the search engine and then access to the metrics relating to conversions.

Picture this, I was working with a client today and we viewed this report and saw that they had 200 impressions for the keyword phrase ‘disabled clothing’. Of this 35 people clicked through to the website. By reviewing the search engine keywords report it would be then be possible to pull a report showing the conversion and sales relating to this traffic.

What is good is that when you use this search phrase in Google the site appears number one, achieved through, good page titles and site content.

Focus on these areas and start seeing your site improve in the search results.

How long will you live, will you make a hundred?

This morning I attended the Lord Digby Jones breakfast meeting at the NEC, Birmingham.  Harvey Nash have hosted the event for the last few years and generally it’s an opporutinity to mix with a few fellow minded people and also hear from Lord Jones.  If you ever get the opportuinity to hear him speak it’s well worth it, even if you don’t fully agree with views on certain issues.

He touched on public sector pensions and the changes that will inevitably appear in that arena.  An intersting point was made regards the age you’ll live to.

Apparently a child born today has a 1:4 chance of living to a least 100 years of age.  If the said child then goes to work within the public sector under the current system, they would receive their pension for a longer period than they had worked.  Whether you agree with the changes to public sector pensions and the point at which you take one it’s irrelevant.  Think about taking your pension for longer than you’ve worked.  Years ago people died a lot earlier meaning there was a lot less drain on the pensions pot – how things have changed.

He also made a few comments around teaching and taxation but I’ll leave them for another time, once I’ve figured them out in my head.

 

3 Tips to Understand your Competition – gain an advantage through search

One of the biggest questions I get asked is, How do I compare to other people in my business area?  It’s a hard question to answer unless you happen to deliver services for a number of organisations within a specific sector.  This would then pose a question of ethics as to whether you shared this information with you client.  The main point is to ensure that your taking note of what your competition is up to by carrying out a number of standard tests.

Checking out your competitors – How to do it……

1. Identify the people within your target market.

You have a number of keywords that you would wish to position for within the search engines.  The starting point is to carryout a search in Google for the indentified keywords and record the top 10 results and rank these against some of the suggested factors;

  • Size of Business.
  • Position within the market – are they an A / B player (e.g – lots of budget and people available for SEO services) – is it possible to take over their position within the index.

2. Analyse the Competitor sites

Take the list of competitors and look at their websites and identify the Page Titles and Descriptions being used within the site.  In addition look at the sites they are mentioned on within the search indexs and any inbound links to the site.  These are standard queries within the search engines and they are shown below.

  • List Pages & Description for the site.  The following command in Google:  site:www.domainname.com
  • Identify Links within the Google index & Yahoo.  link:www.domainname.com
  • Find sites that talk about the website.  When running take out your own website.  “www.domainname.com” -site:www.domainname.com

Replace www.domainname.com with your specific domain name.

3.  Record the figures and track over time

Make sure you have a plan and data to work from.  As you put time in it’s important to ensure that you’re improving the site and moving it forward.  Targeting key search positions is a goal, however remember that search listings are localised to the users location and search history will heavily influence a users search from their local machine.

Are you creating duplicate content without knowing……

Canonicalisation is a very long word that can be causing issues within your website and you may not be aware of it. When you register a domain name you are registering the domain without any additional parts such as www. or mail. These are in reality a sub-domain of the domain name.

Canonicalisation typically can be seen with a website when it can be fully navigated as both the www version of the domain name and also the non-www version of the domain. The search engine effectively has the ability to create 2 version of the same site, seeing them as being different (or actually a duplication of the content). Again I’ll suggest you take a look at what Matt Cutts has to say from a post way back in 2006.

It may not be causing an issue but it only take a few links to your non-www version of your website and the process can start. Google are doing a lot of work around assisting with removing canonical issues within a website by providing tools within the Google Webmasters Toolset to help you identify issues within your websites beyond just the non-www and www versions, caused by e-commerce / CMS solutions.

I would suggest you check the domain for the site and also whilst your doing this, make sure that any additional domain names pointing into your website also get pointed correctly to the right domain, as again this will cause issues with duplication.

If you think you have a problem then contact me and I can check to see if this is the case and look at working with you to put the correct types of redirects in place to remove the duplication.