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Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

We’ve all heard the term Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and if you already have a website, the chances are that you have been targeted by companies offering or providing SEO services and promising you the earth, at some point or other. So what exactly is it and why is it important?

In basic terms, SEO is the process of making your website more visible within the ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ listings provided by search engines. These are the un-paid listings that make up the bulk of the results you see when you search for a word or term. The reason why ranking high or being visible in the results that the search engines show for a given word, phrase or term is important is the same reason that you would pay for a shop in the centre of town as opposed to paying for a back street location – footfall. Irrespective of how cheap your products are, irrespective of how good your website looks or that you have fantastic customer service facilities … if the public do not know you are there, you just won’t get the custom. So, being sat on page 100 is a lot less attractive than sitting pretty at number one on page one – and there a lot of companies that will say that they can change your ranking status for the better … at a price of course!

The main search engine that we are all concerned about is Google, simply because that is the search engine that most of us use – but it’s not the only one out there and it does have competition. Other search engines may well work slightly different and put emphasis on things that Google doesn’t … meaning that to be successful in them – you may well need to take a more comprehensive approach, an approach that will work for multiple environments.

SEO Basics

SEO Advice

Search Engine Optimisation - not everything is what it seems, be careful!

Trying to con or manipulate the search engines means trouble from the very beginning, so don’t do it – put your efforts instead into understanding how they work and what they want to promote to their customers. There are ways and means to manipulate search engines for sure, but our advice is simply – construct your website in a way that is attractive to them and you won’t go far wrong. If your targeted search engine says it’s going to promote websites that show fresh content above other websites … start writing. We don’t mean start writing ‘key word rich’ dribble either, write content that is unique, opinionated if you like – but write content that others may find a good read. You may have come across the term ‘content is king’ and in terms of Search Engine Optimisation – it’s true, there is no better way of promoting your website.

Of course, there is a lot more to optimising your website than inserting a new article every now and again, but it’s a good place to start. The way your page is constructed is equally important as is the way the actual website is linked together and interacts with the outside world. Where you place your text and contextual emphasis has an effect, the ratio of text and images also has an effect as does page loading speeds – there really is a lot to consider when trying to work out the perfect solution. We suggest, start with the basics and do them well. We would recommend then to optimise each page individually so the page stands strong on its own - look at relevancy, what is the page about? How does this link with what the overall website is about and the message it is trying to put across. There are lots of methods and ‘tricks of the trade’ that some companies will employ in order to promote your website – and some of them have nothing to do with optimising your website either, so be very careful on who you choose when its time to commence battle with the search engines.

SEO - Our 8 Steps To A Healthy Website

Saxon Websites has the experience to optimise your website correctly and safely

If you ask some people about SEO they’ll smile, give you a knowing wink and mention the phrase ‘trade secrets’ – trying to propagate that air of mystery and wrap the subject up in a bubble of intrigue. There is no big secret to getting your website ranked highly in the search engines despite what some would have you think – most of it is common sense mixed with a bit of subject knowledge that you can readily obtain with a bit of research. Here are the 8 steps that we undertake for our clients as part of our service … and given a bit of time to work will provide the results. We are not suggesting that following these steps will get your website promoted overnight to a number one position – what we are saying is that by following these steps, you will be following proven ‘best practice’ methodology and the results you seek will be forthcoming reflecting on how well and how complete the steps have been accomplished.

1. We will firstly undertake a keyword analysis for you and draw comparisons with who you perceive to be your competition. A way forward will be mutually agreed upon identifying the keywords and phrases that will be targeted in order to get customers knocking at your door – the right type of customers naturally. We will put forward a plan on how we are going to get the results for each keyword or phrase and allocate a realistic time frame with benchmarks in order to assess progression towards our final goals.

2. Secondly, Saxon Websites will assess your website and go about restructuring the page layout and incorporate some tools in order to get the site to perform as a unit – to get the website to work as one in the eyes of the Search Engines.

3. Thirdly, we will work with you to incorporate the right type of content into the website and ensure that keywords and targeted phrases are properly emphasised and not perceived as spam in the eyes of the Search Engine spiders or your customers.

4. After we have addressed and rectified any internal issues that your website may have, we will start approaching the wider world and get your site some votes of confidence by getting you included in directories and building associations with like-minded websites. Depending on the type of website you have, it may be prudent here to incorporate things like Facebook, Google Plus One and Twitter (not always necessary).

5. You will notice that up to now, we haven't even told the Search Engines that you exist, mainly because we don't want to call them to inspect an unfinished website – it's a lot better to let them see a finished product rather than one still under construction. We will take a look at how your website is viewed by the main engines and clear away any bad associations or penalties your website may have accidently gained (often without your knowledge).

6. Now we will submit your optimised website to the Search Engines, and not just Google either. Are you aware that there are hundreds of Search Engines out there? We are – and they all help.

7. After we have told the Search Engines where you are and supplied them with valid sitemaps and the like … we get to work with lots of analysis. Saxon Websites will highlight areas to be improved upon and monitor how your competition is reacting to your presence, proffering timely solutions as a potential problem arises.

8. Our commitment to our clients doesn't just end when we have achieved our goals. Saxon Websites will put in place a program for you to follow in order to maintain the momentum that we have created, designed to keep your website both attractive to the Search Engines and appealing to your customers.

Pigeon Update

Noticed any changes in local rankings?

Get up to speed with Google's Pigeon Update

Google recently rolled out its latest algorithm change, being dubbed the ‘Pigeon Update’ by leading SEO Gurus and Webmasters. There aren’t too many details yet but Google have confirmed that it was introduced on July 24th for US English search results – and Webmasters are already reporting considerable changes in their local rankings. So, what do we know about the ‘Pigeon Update’, how is likely to affect your rankings and more importantly … what can you do to adapt. Google have said that this is not a ‘penalty-based’ update like ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’ (introduced to clear out some of the low-quality content sites from SERPs), but is a core change to the local search ranking algorithm which will result in providing more useful, relevant and accurate local search results.

 
Local listing packs disappear
A typical local listings pack

If your website has encountered a traffic drop recently, it may well be due to the disappearance of certain of your local listings. One of the key changes seen after the update is a drastically lower number of queries that now include a local listing pack on their SERPs. According to SERP feature graph by MOZ Cast, this number falls from 12,1% of queries on July 23rd to only 3,3% on July 27th. If this has affected your site, in the short run you may need to cover the traffic losses with a PPC campaign (can become very costly if you are not experienced), and in the long run — focus on getting Web search listings for those keywords.

Greater emphasis on website authority
The new local search algorithm is said to be more tied with the traditional Web search ranking signals. Simply speaking, this may mean that local rankings will now be more determined by domain authority, ‘back links’ and all kinds of other SEO ranking factors. If your website has taken a hit over the last month or so, this may have been the cause. In this case, it means that your site’s general SEO characteristics are not as good as your competitors and to get it fixed you’ll need to research your ‘back links’, content and other SEO characteristics and bring them up to speed.

Use Local directories such as Yelp and Scoot
These directories seem to have had a boost since Google introduced its’ Pigeon Update. As these listings get more exposure, your listings fall in SERPs, so …get signed up for as many free, relevant and respectable directories as possible and get exposure through them.

Local carousel remains a way to gain extra exposure
Unlike the usual local listing packs, local carousel results appear to have remained unaffected by the update and show up with almost the same frequency as before. This means they can still be a great way to gain extra exposure for some local keywords. Carousel results put a heavy emphasis on your listing's image and profile rating - so, make sure to put a nice, high-quality and attractive photo in your Google+ business profile and encourage your customers to review your business.

If your Google rankings aren’t as good as they should be or, if your website has taken a fall recently in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) – give us a call at Saxon Websites. We have a number of SEO packages that can get you right back on track and they are all tailored to a businesses individual requirements. Call 02476 610917 today and strike whilst the iron’s hot!

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Topic: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
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Tim Kershaw (Manchester, UK) says...
OK, very informative. This may explain a lot - my website was doing great up to about 6 weeks ago, but enquiries appear to have dried up recently. Am going to look into this - where can I get some info on your SEO packages?
Admin:
Glad you found the info useful Tim. Unfortunately our on site price lists are being re-configured at the moment. Give me a call and we'll have a chat about what's best for you heh?
Dave McAlister
15th September 2014 11:42am
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