Has your website been hit by birds and bears? i.e. penguins, pandas and hummingbirds

Recent updates to Google’s algorithms have hit internet companies as big as Ebay  so don’t feel too depressed if you’re website has seen a drop in traffic of late as you’re definitely not the only one.     The most recent updates seem to have hit sites that haven’t bothered much with good content but relied on poor quality back links to boost their website traffic.   I’m afraid the Colchester SEO Company has never gone in for that sort of SEO and prefers to optimise clients’ sites based on good SEO practices across the board combined with superb well written keyword enhanced content.  This might be a little slower but it’s cost effective, results in steady visitor growth to your site,  with an ongoing improvement in ranking and gets you the right sort of customers with no fear  of your website being demoted to page 14 on Google because you didn’t do things properly.

In the last few months we have seen a steady increase in clients whose websites have serious issues, from keyword stuffing and masses of  mirror content to lots of poor quality back links.  Many of these sites don’t even have the basics of good SEO in place and their placing on Google has plummeted losing them valuable business.    Content is easy to deal with and the mainstay of good SEO these days but getting rid of back links that have made Google down-grade your site can prove fiddly and costly.  We do have a way round it though, which is both cost effective, quick and efficient.  So if you’ve seen you’re website traffic plummet and you’re not sure what to do about it, then give as a call on 01206 530010 or email sue@thecolchesterseocompany to find out more.

 

10 things you should know about SEO – part 2

SEO and Internet Marketing at the Colchester SEO Company, Essex
Not optimising your website is like printing promotional leaflets and leaving them on your sideboard

Here’s the second part of the ten points to help you get a better understanding of SEO.

6. Your keywords actually matter

You can’t pick keywords out of nowhere and choose them to be the ones you’d like to rank for. Some keywords are worthless and this is worth remembering when you hear those magic words “we can get you to page one of Google for your search terms”.  Your search terms might not be the right search terms and generally you pay an SEO company to find the right search terms for your products but make sure they don’t use uncompetitive ones as it’s easy to get you to page one for those but you won’t get much business from them.

If you haven’t properly researched your keywords then there’s a good chance that some of them, or even all of them, might be word or phrases that nobody’s searching for.  Equally some of them might be so competitive they are unachievable or won’t convert and deliver a return on investment for you, which is what you are ideally after.  Ranking means nothing unless the keywords you use convert into customers. The worst case scenario though, is that you haven’t even thought about keywords on your website.

7. [Click Here] is never good anchor text

This is something I see a lot on websites.  If you know what the terms or keywords that will convert for you are, use them. “Click here” is not SEO friendly anchor text.

8. Your rankings don’t tell the whole story

Where you appear on the page i.e. your ranking on a search engine is important.  It is quite often what you are paying your SEO consultant for.  Saying that, there are other measurements of your website’s performance that you might want to look at as well.

Such as:

  • Increased Conversions
  • Time Spent on Site
  • Visibility
  • Brand Sentiment

You should be able to see the whole picture not just one tiny viewpoint.

9. It’s not all about you

Sorting out the search engine optimisation on your website is more about your customer than it is about you.  You are making it easier for you customer to fulfill their objectives and aims. Give them benefit driven text as well, which tells your prospective clients what you can do for them rather than telling them all about you and you should get a better conversion rate.

10. In 2012, it’s not whether you’ll invest in SEO, it’s how

If you have a website then you need to think about SEO.  So many companies view their website as a holding page or pages where you can find their address and telephone number.  Your website is or in many cases could be an amazing marketing tool that drives leads to your company and converts them into customers. So now’s the time to start thinking about how SEO can bring you more clients.

For further information on SEO or keyword copywriting please email sue@thecolchesterseocompany.co.uk or telephone Sue on 01206 530010 or

 

10 things you should know about SEO

 

SEO and Internet Marketing at the Colchester SEO Company, Essex
Not optimising your website is like printing promotional leaflets and leaving them on your sideboard

The first five

I’m going to do this in two parts to make it a bit easier to swallow.

It doesn’t take long to realise that in the world of Search Engine Optimisation there are a lot of people who know a little about it and few people who know a lot about it but how do you find out what’s what?  Here are the first five of ten pointers that will help provide you with the basics when it comes to SEO.

1.SEO should come first not last

If you get your website redesigned but nobody thinks about the SEO until it’s finished, then you’ve done it back to front and it might cost you a lot more than if you did it the right way round. The time to think about SEO is before you redesign your website.  SEO is not salt and pepper that you can throw on your website afterwards to liven things up. Although saying that it is possible to do it that way round but it’s often more costly because you might then have to make structural changes to the website that you have already paid to be designed and built.  SEO should come first not later.

2.SEO is a long term investment, but it brings long term health to your website and that results in more business for you.

Search Engine Optimisation is not a short term fix.  You won’t see results tomorrow but if you do it right your site will get better and better with time, which means your business gets better with time.  A reputable and trustworthy SEO Consultant will help you set achievable long term goals and targets for your site but won’t tell you that you will be at the top of page one of Google tomorrow or next week.

3.SEO does not equal shiny Meta tags

It is a bit of a myth that SEO is all about re-doing Meta tags or building back links or even both together.  They are just part of the process but there is a long list of areas that need to be assessed and if you have an audit of your site you will be able to see this.  Keywords alone don’t cut the mustard, neither do back links on their own.   Your website needs to be assessed and dealt with in its entirety to get maximum benefits from SEO.  Beware of anyone who tells you that by doing just one thing you can get better ranking.  Google is wise to the shortcuts some people take.

4.Not everything you read on the internet is true.

It’s always best to treat what you read on the internet like anything else you hear/see/read about. This applies to some of what you might read about SEO. By all means read it, check it out and try it out before you decide it’s true but do your research and don’t believe the first thing you read without verifying it.

5.SEO is marketing not IT

SEO should be part of your entire business process and as such your IT department and developers will be involved in it but isn’t generally a job for your IT department and is definitely more of a marketing process.  It’s about bringing customers to you so it’s a major part of your marketing campaign.  Or if it isn’t then it should be.

The next five pointers will follow shortly. 

If you require any further information about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or internet marketing please call Sue on 01206 530010 or email sue@thecolchesterseocompany.co.uk

 

 

 

Posted in SEO

Do you need strong organic SEO to get the best out of your adwords campaigns?

 

SEO and Google Adwords at The Colchester SEO Company, Essex
Susan Kovbasyuk, proprietor of The Colchester SEO Company, Essex

Lots of companies seem to take an either/or approach to organic SEO and adwords campaigns and I have to say this is a bit of a mistake as they can work very effectively together.  Also using adwords can sometimes help to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of keywords quickly and with a low outlay.

The type of website you have is important and informational sites benefit more from good strong organic SEO and may not even need to go down the adwords route, except for a boost to certain areas or for specialised long tail search terms.   E-commerce
sites benefit best from good organic SEO and adwords combined but many only go in for the latter as they see this as the most effective.

It’s a little know fact that adwords campaigns on poorly optimised sites cost more and are also less effective because the ads for these sites get shown less than ads from well optimised sites.

Google places high importance on text relevance on the page you are sending traffic to on adwords campaigns as well, so if your page has little or no relevant text your ad might not even get approved and shown.   Some  e-commerce sites have very little static text and consequently get penalised by Google for relevancy which impacts on the cost and success of their ads.   I suppose it’s perceived that the adwords campaign will compensate for all these deficiencies but that’s not actually the case.

You get much better and more cost effective results from your adwords campaigns if you pay as much attention to the organic SEO on your site as you do to your adwords campaigns.

If you want further information on how to get the best out of your website using both organic SEO and adwords then please contact
sue@thecolchesterseocompany.co.uk

How high is your bounce rate?

Almost every time I assess a client’s website I hear the same question.  What does bounce rate mean?  So time to explain.

On your Google Analytics report you will always see the bounce rate as a percentage and it’s actually the percentage of single page visits where your visitor arrived on a landing page and left from that page.   In short it’s a measure of relevance and quality and if you have a high bounce rate it suggests that visitors are not finding what they are expecting to find i.e. the page they landed on is not relevant and there was nothing else to attract their attention so they left.

A lot of people think the bounce rate is only important on an adwords campaign but in many ways it’s even more important on your organic searches.   You may not be aware but one of the tools Google uses to assess the cost of a click is the quality/relevance of your site on an organic level, so if you have lots of pages with a high bounce rate on your website and you are doing adwords campaigns, you might be paying a bit more for your clicks.

The good thing is that Google Analytics can tell you bounce rates on your site in general, on specific pages as well and on your adwords campaigns.  It can also tell you the number of visitors, where they are coming from, what keywords they used to get there and how long they stayed on your site.   Lots of good reasons for making sure that you sign up for Google Analytics.   It’s not much good having a website if you don’t know what it’s doing for you, is it?

Ideally your bounce rate should be under 50% but a few points over isn’t a major crisis.  You might also note that some pages have a much higher bounce rate than others, which means they might need a bit of a review.  It’s a good idea to navigate your users to other areas of your site from each page, using links, offers, new content. If there is somewhere interesting for them to go they are less likely to “bounce”.

If you require any further information on SEO, adwords or Google Analytics please feel free to contact sue@thecolchesterseocompany.co.uk.

How important are keywords on your website?

SEO, keyword rich copywriting and social media marketing in Colchester, Essex at the Colchester SEO Company

Susan Kovbasyuk, owner of the Colchester SEO Company, Colchester, Essex

For search engines, keywords are an essential element as searches are matched against them and in short, that’s how the search engines find and display your website.  Google gives a lot of attention to the keywords in the title tag but also expects those same keywords to appear in the text, headers etc to show relevance.

So, it’s very important to use the right keywords on your website for the best SEO results and it’s important where you use them and how many times you use them.  I strongly believe that this is the one of the first things you should think about when setting up your new website (or revamping your old one) and that it shouldn’t come third to design and content.  From an SEO point of view it’s not much good if the text on the pages of your website is full of words and phrases that you think sound great but nobody actually searches on.

A good example of this is was when a friend of mine set up her website to sell holidays in Greece.  The website looked gorgeous but on most of the pages there were only occasional mentions of Greece and a couple of mentions of the destinations she offered and nothing much about the types of accommodation.  The tags were even worse. There was a lot of talk about how they offered an expert service for individuals who wanted a different holiday experience etc etc.  This was great as they are selling their speciality service and it was very benefit driven copy but how were people going to  find the site in the first place.  Nobody goes to Google and types in “holiday for the independent traveller,” they type in “Villas in Greece” or “Apartments in Greece.”  So these are some of the keywords they should have been emphasising.

You can sell your product once you’ve got the visitor on your site and it’s very important that you do so as you want to convert the visitor into a customer but don’t confuse the marketing with the selling.  Marketing in the case of websites is about getting the customer onto your site, the selling begins on your site when your content makes them pick up the phone or fill in the enquiry form.   You can’t sell your service to the search engine, it’s only interested in the keywords and the keywords you want are the ones that people are searching on.   Anyone can get you to page one of Google for a search term that nobody searches on, what matters is getting your website up the rankings for searches i.e. keywords that people are typing it into Google and other search engines.

There are lots of keyword tools out there so it is possible to do the research yourself but that’s perhaps the easy bit.  You then need to use the right keywords, in the right places, in a way that sells the benefits of your product and makes the customer want to buy it.  Not as easy as it sounds, which is why a lot of companies are now turning to professionals for help.   It’s not a big investment to get your website copy keyword rich, benefit driven and well optimised but it certainly pays dividends.

If you require further information on Search Engine Optimisation, keywords, copywriting or any of the other services offered by the Colchester SEO Company contact sue@thecolchesterseocompany.co.uk.

Have you got a website that sells your products? Continued….

SEO, Social Networking, Training and Website marketing at The Colchester SEO Company, Essex

Susan Kovbasyuk, proprietor of The Colchester SEO Company, Essex

So hopefully you’ve had a good hard look at your website and maybe found it wanting, perhaps you’ve realised that it needs a little bit of “renovation”.  If that’s the case then you might want to consider getting a quote from a web designer.  Take a look at www.themapples.co.uk

If you are feeling flush, then you could consider redesigning your website entirely.  Like everything in life you pay for what you get and you’ll see a lot of adverts for cheap websites but if you really want it to look good and certainly better than your old one, then do your research and get a good “designer” i.e. someone who designs website as opposed to someone who builds them.

Often designers work in conjunction with developers to design and build websites. Developers might be able to build you a website but perhaps the design will not be quite as slick as you would like.   So look at other people’s websites, look at your competitors’ websites, there will usually be a credit for the designer so you can find the sort of thing you like this way.  Also, do some research on the internet just to get ideas and finally consider designers that friends or business colleagues recommend. Most web designers will have a portfolio of their work on their own website.

If you can’t afford a completely new website then perhaps consider a “renovation”, again you still need to do some research to find a good designer who can tidy up and improve what you already have. In some cases what you have might be impossible for a designer to “dress up” and then your only option could be a new website.  The way your website looks is really important though and a good website not only looks attractive but functions in the way you want it to and therefore needs to be built well and optimised well.  It’s a balance really between three different factors, good website design, good web development and good SEO.

So the next two points on my checklist are things you need to think about if you have now come to the conclusion that your website needs a new look.

3.  Look at the Search Engine Optimisation whilst you’re doing this.  If the designer doesn’t offer SEO services then find someone who can do the SEO in conjunction with the designer/developer.  There are now lost of designers who offer in-house SEO and this works well as everything is under one roof.   I do believe when you are getting a new website or renovating your old one, SEO should be considered at the planning stage, i.e. layout, keywords, tags etc, news updates and future social media planning if you are not already doing something there.  Think ahead, not just about what you want to do now.

4. This is a good time to think about how your website is updated and who is going to do it.  One of the things that search engines don’t like is seemingly dormant sites, where nothing changes for months on end.  If you rely on someone else to update your site, you will often find that it doesn’t happen.  So maybe you should think about a Content Management System for your website so you or a member of staff can update it in-house.

If you require fiurther information on Search Engine Optimisation, Web Design or Social Media contact  sue@thecolchesterseocompany.co.uk

Posted in SEO

Have you got a website that sells your products?

SEO, Social Networking, Training and Website marketing at The Colchester SEO Company, Essex

Susan Kovbasyuk, proprietor of The Colchester SEO Company, Essex

Even if you get lots of visitors to your site,  does it say what it should to attract customers to go that step further and contact you.   Remember, marketing is about getting customers to contact you, selling starts when they contact you.  You can’t sell to them if they don’t know you are there so your website marketing is very important.  SEO or Search Engine Optimisation should be a fundamental when it comes to marketing your website as it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to do it long-term, but you also need to remember that your website should sell to your visitors when they get to it.   So, I am going to give you  the first two points of  a  checklist to think about when you look at your website to see whether you’ve got it right or not.

You need to be honest when assessing your own website and sometimes it’s a good idea to look a your competitions’ websites as well.  You might think they look better than yours but in terms of the basics, they might actually be worse.   I worked on a website that didn’t look particularly good but at its peak, it pulled in 7,000 visitors a month as it was incredibly well optimised and organised.  Saying that it may not have converted those visitors into customers so readily as it had been written in the days when it was common practice just to brag about yourself and in general tell your web visitors how wonderful you are.  Which brings me to No.1 on the checklist.

1. Is your website full of “we”.   If so you need to change this.  You are guilty of talking about yourself and talking at your customers, a bit like the boring person at a party who talks about nothing but themselves and how good they are at everything.   We all hate people like that and we switch off so why talk to visitors to your website (who are in fact potential customers) in the same vein.  Use “You” and speak directly to your customers and about your customers, not yourself.

2. Do you talk about what you offer throughout your website without a thought for how that translates for your customers.  If so you are selling features and not benefits.   Potential customers are not so much interested in what you offer as how it will work for them.  What will they get out of it?  So sell benefits not features.   If you product is different and that difference will give benefits for your customers sell those benefits not the features.

Look out for the next 2 points on the checklist coming up soon.

If you require further information on copywriting or SEO for your website contact sue@thecolchesterseocompany.co.uk

Do I need a website the moment I set up my business?

SEO, Social Networking, Training and Website marketing at The Colchester SEO Company, Essex

Susan Kovbasyuk, proprietor of The Colchester SEO Company, Essex

When you start-up a business you tend to have quite a few initial costs at a time when your income might be quite limited.  You want to get your name and your business out there but most small businesses would struggle to finance a marketing/advertising campaign when they first get going.   Also if you’ve started up in business and you have only a small amount of capital you don’t want to blow it all at once.

I went to a social networking seminar a while back and they guy said that you actually didn’t need a website if you made use of social networking and it occurred to me that it was actually true.  If you are running an e-commerce type business then you would of course need one as it’s your main selling tool but for a website not actually selling a product online you could actually wait a while.

Aside from the need element I do believe that people often “get a website” without thinking about the important aspects of who their customers are, what their keywords are and getting good benefit driven copy on their website.  We all tend to focus on the look in the mistaken belief that as long as we have a couple of pages up there with our company name and details on it and it looks nice, then people will find us and want our product.   That may have been the case years ago when there were not so many websites out there but not now.

So before you consider a website you should think very carefully about how you are going to set it up in terms of copy and keywords, title , meta and alt tags and of course who you are going to promote your products to.  This is what SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is all about.  It’s simply making your site visible to the search engines so customers can find you.    Some designers when commissioned to create a website will take this into consideration and have a reasonable amount of knowledge about it but don’t assume they all do when you commission someone to design a website for you. The amount of times I ask a client if they have had their site optimised and they say “Oh I’m sure the guy that designed it would have done that”.  A Web Designer is more often than not a web designer and only does the basics of SEO.   Some offer SEO as a subsidiary service or as part of the package but you do need to check whether you are getting this and not just assume that you are.    If it’s not included in the service then you need to consult an SEO expert preferably before you get your website designed who can work in conjunction with your designer.

Setting up a website without a thought for SEO is a bit like printing a pile of leaflets and leaving them on your sideboard.  Nobody is really going to see your website any more than they will see your leaflets.   You do have to market a website and SEO is the most effective way of marketing your website.   So I would actually suggest to most small businesses getting underway for the first time, wait on the website if you don’t have oodles of capital, as it’s really important to get it right.  There are other ways to market your business without much outlay but they will take up a bit of your time.

The first way is through a blog.  Blog sites like WordPress are becoming increasingly sophisticated and you can even set up a website on WordPress.    You can get someone to do it for you or learn to do it yourself using online tutorials or  Wordpress’s own support.  You can brand your blog just like a website and you can link back to it from a Facebook page or Twitter account.  Intertwined with other social networking and some other cost-effective marketing practices you can promote your business quite effectively until you have enough capital to go about the website the proper way.      I will fill you in further on WordPress and the other blog sites in the next blog.

If you require further information on web design or SEO for new or existing business then please contact sue@theolchesterseocompany.co.uk.

How to spot a tall SEO story

If you’re a sole trader or small business on a limited budget and your baffled about all the talk about SEO but want to  get involved in the buzz and feel that your website isn’t bringing in the visitors, do you know where to start?

I would always recommend that you read up on the subject and try to at least get to grips with the basics.  There are loads of quite simple articles online and at least if you know even the basic terms and a little bit about how it works, there is less change of you being bamboozled.   Sad to say there are a lot of people out there professing to be experts in both SEO and all things to do with Social Media but you will only know that they are real experts if you can spot some of “exaggerated claims” that will come your way.

I was in charge of SEO for a sizeable firm with a large website for many years and often had great fun with the people who phoned up telling me that could get us to the top of page one on Google (we were already there for about sixty search terms).  I would ask them how and listen to them waffle on about how they had looked at our code and it needed cleaning up (already clean) and that our site didn’t have enough back links or the right meta keywords etc, etc and then I’d start asking them questions and see how long before they rang off.  Naughty I know but I got fed up with the assumption that they could tell me anything they liked because I wouldn’t understand what they were talking about and was therefore a soft target to sell to.

Over the next few months I am going to be rolling out some useful info to help you sole traders and small businesses get a grasp of how all this works and how you can get control of your own website and do some effective marketing through it.   My website is now operational  and soon you will be able to access useful information on SEO and related matters. 

If you require any further information contact me on sue@thecolchesterseocompany.co.uk