The Importance Of Local SEO

In the modern world, consumers are now looking online before purchasing goods and services from businesses. This is driven by the fact that smart phones have become common and wi-fi is freely available in most developed parts of the world. As a result, more people look for businesses online before purchasing from them. Therefore, if you are a business owner, it is essential that you have an online presence and that you use SEO in order to get your website ranking highly in Google and other search engines. This is important because the businesses and websites that rank highly in Google get more relevant traffic to their website which can result in more customers and sales.


For example, if you have a business that sells car accessories in Gloucester, then your website should be optimized for keywords such as “car accessories in Gloucester”, “car accessory stores in Gloucestershire”, “Gloucestershire car accessories” etc. If you SEO optimize your website for keywords like these and you rank in the top 5 search engine results, your site will naturally get most of the traffic for those keywords. This means that you will naturally get people who are interested in buying car accessories to look at your website and business, which you can then convert into customers.


It is important to remember that having an SEO optimized site that ranks highly in Google and other search engines is not enough. You also need to ensure that your website is built to convert visitors into customers. So, you should have a site with high quality copywriting that thoroughly explains your business, your services and what you can do for a possible customer. You should make sure to have real testimonials and use lots of actual pictures of your business as well as videos throughout your site to help possible customers further understand your business so that you can gain their trust.


In addition to creating a business website, you should also create a blog as well as various social media business pages. More consumers are looking towards Facebook business pages, Twitter accounts and LinkedIn profiles for information, so make sure that you create and constantly update these pages. You should have at least one social media manager to manage these pages and reply to people who comment in a timely and appropriate manner. Your social media presence and the content that you post will form your brand and business image, so make sure that you create an impressionable one.


As you can see, having an active online presence and SEO optimized website are absolutely essential for business success in 2016 and beyond. With that said, SEO does take time to work, so be patient and you will soon have more customers and business than ever before. Remember that search engine optimization is not a sprint, it is a longer race and one that might take a very winding road before you reach your goals.



All small businesses should have an online presence. It’s essential for local consumers to be able to find local products and services online.

Having a well optimised website is the first step, but it’s certainly not the last. SEO (search engine optimisation) enables you to put your website in front of hundreds or even thousands of potential customers online.

However, when it comes to search engines like Google, small businesses have to compete against much larger organisations with bigger budgets and more established brands.

So how do you level the playing field and ensure local consumers are able to find you online?

Welcome to local SEO

Local SEO, or local search optimisation, helps small businesses attract local consumers online.

If you search for products or services online, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo display not only traditional organic results, but also local results, which show businesses and maps in your area.

To do this, search engines will identify your current location via your IP Address and return the most relevant businesses within your immediate area.

Local Search Results

Local search results are probably already familiar to you. Google, Bing and Yahoo all return local results, and all have slight variations on the style and number of results featured. But for now, let’s look at Google:


Google’s local search results are known as the ‘local pack’, and also referred to as the ‘snack pack’ or ‘3-pack’. Although the display is likely to change over time, there are some elements that remain a constant:

  • Map – shows the local area with highlighted local businesses
  • Local businesses listings – Google shows three but we expect this to become two
  • Local business info – address and contact information, reviews, website, directions
  • Link to ‘more places’ – This directs to a ‘local finder’ page where more local businesses can be found

Google recently announced that they intend to replace one of the three local business listings with a paid result. This is huge news for local SEO, and with less space in the local pack it means that many local businesses will have to ‘pay to play’ going forward.

However, this doesn’t mean that ranking is impossible – it’s just a little harder. Even if you don’t rank in the pack, you can still feature in the ‘local finder’ page, which lists many more local businesses.


How to feature in local search results

So how do you go about getting your business listed in the local pack?

Luckily for us, every year a bunch of local SEO experts contribute to a study called the Local Search Ranking Factors. From this study we are able to identify the top factors that Google considers when ranking local businesses.

Overall Local Ranking Factors:

  1. On-page SEO – 20.3%
  2. Links – 20.0%
  3. Google My Business – 14.7%
  4. Citations – 13.6%
  5. Behavioural signals – 9.5%
  6. Reviews – 8.4%
  7. Personalisation – 8.5%
  8. Social – 5.0%

Let’s take a look at each of these factors and discuss what you can do to optimise and improve each ranking factor for your business.

On-page SEO

80% of local SEOs say on-page SEO has a high / very high impact on search rankings. Having great on-page SEO means optimising all the elements on any given web page. This means optimising title and description tags, creating compelling content, having detailed service or product information and providing reviews and testimonials. Only once your own website is well-optimised for search engines should you then start to focus on external factors.


External backlinks are growing in importance for local SEO. Do you have relevant and authoritative websites linking to your content? Whilst the most valuable links are often difficult for small businesses to attract, earning links from your community like local authorities, clubs, associations and events is much easier and can be just as effective.

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Getting More From Your SEO Strategy

Most people use Google as their preferred search engine, it is estimated that around three quarters of searches are done using Google. Getting your website to retain a prominent position on the search engines is a huge challenge and they know this, with Google in particular, making use of its algorithms to sort the wheat from the chaff – at least that’s the theory! For the most part, it has worked in clearing out the lesser quality sites and has evolved to try to understand what the searcher is looking for, it tries to provide the right answer every time.

It is getting sites ranked highly on the search engines that is the goal of SEO, but there is no one clear path to success, there are many different ways and combination of tactics that will work. This is why there is no guaranteed method and nobody will say ‘this works every time’ because the method they have used might work several times but then not work for the next attempt. For most, it is a case of trial and error, using strategies that have worked in the past and ensuring that content is high quality and is updated on a regular basis. It is a good idea to make sure that any images or videos on your site are properly optimized as well, this can give your site a huge boost so should not be neglected.

Regular maintenance of your website should also be carried out. This is to make sure that there are no broken links, that all images and videos are viewable and that your new content is in the right place. Check the site map so that you can see that all the pages that should be there, are. If you have a blog page, make sure that the individual pieces of content have titles that contain relevant keywords and are descriptive regarding the piece. This is how the search engines find and sort the information on websites so that they can then categorize it and provide it when a search for those particular keywords are searched for.

If you are an expert in your field, make use of this gift, get yourself known as an expert through forums, social media platforms and professional sites. This can give your own website a lot of kudos and will increase the credibility and authority of it. Another benefit of gaining such status, is that other website owners will be delighted to be linked with yours, so choose these carefully so that you are increasing your own site’s authority and not just theirs.

Successful SEO has many threads that must meet and weave together in order to create a strong fabric that does not infringe any rules that the search engines set. The key is finding the threads that work for your site and weaving them together so that you rise up the rankings and stay there.


Perhaps you believe that you already found the easy stuff, the “low-hanging fruit,” as it were: good keywords for your niche, optimized titles and body copy, an XML sitemap. Nevertheless, you can’t seem to break past your competitors in the Google SERPs for your most coveted keywords.

You may not have the time or resources right now to do an expensive site overhaul or to even commit to SEO long-term. You may only want a few simple tweaks that will help move the needle.

Well, look no further. You are in luck, because you won’t need years of SEO training for the following hacks. And these hacks also won’t cost you a lot of time or money to implement. You won’t even need to change significant parts of your site. Intrigued? Then let’s continue.

1. Distribute your home page’s link authority to your most important pages

Your home page naturally attracts more links than any other page of your site. A crucial part of your SEO strategy should be ensuring that link authority gets effectively directed from your home page to your most important subpages. While Google can render JavaScript and AJAX better than ever, your safest bet is plain HTML links.

You’ve probably already ensured that your most important category pages are included in the top nav. But how about including links to your most important products (or the ones that you most want to rank) in the body of the home page? If you don’t have product pages, then feature things like articles and landing pages in the body. Links in the body of a page will typically pass more link authority than navigational links, especially footer links.

Creating clear, prominent links is useful from a user experience standpoint as well, because it ensures people can easily find your best stuff quickly.

2. Stop using such huge images

At least half of the sites I audit have issues with very large images on the home page. Often, designers or content creators don’t consider the file size or resolution of an image before adding it to a page. They won’t reduce an image to the maximum size needed on the page, nor will they save it at an appropriate resolution.

A 600 dpi image that was “resized” to be tiny using the width and height attributes in an IMG tag isn’t merely lazy, it’s an affront to website visitors. A huge image (I’ve seen single images as large as 6 MB on a home page) can substantially slow down the time it takes for the page to load, hurting both your rankings and the user experience (and consequently, the site’s conversion rate).

It is incredibly easy to optimize that image to a more reasonable size and then re-upload it. This is probably the number one “quick hack” for improving your site speed.

Use a tool like WebPageTest to check the file sizes of all the elements on a page. (Or you can use the Developer Tools built into the Chrome browser if you’re a geek like me.) Check your images, and have your designers optimize them. Train the people who create and upload your content to get into the habit of checking image sizes before they publish anything.

3. Check that people aren’t linking to pages that 404

Look for URLs that are returning a 404 on your site and have external links pointed at them. Google Search Console gives you the ability to check the 404 pages on your site and see whether they are being linked to (and from where). If you have a externally linked page which returns a 404, prioritize fixing it ASAP, as you are squandering link authority every minute that remains unfixed. Recovering that link equity and/or traffic is a very easy “quick win.”

To do this in Google Search Console, go to Crawl > Crawl Errors > Not Found and click on each URL returning a 404. Google will usually sort the errors by the most to least important and the most important include the ones with external links. After clicking on a URL, select the “Linked From” tab and it will show you the URLs linking to the page in question. Make sure these 404 URLs are 301 redirected to the next most relevant URL on your site.

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Factors To Consider When Hiring A Search Engine Marketing Company

When people go online to find information, they almost always start by firing up their favourite search engine and typing in what they are looking for. The search engines, in turn, show a list of results that are related to the user’s query. These results are ordered by how relevant they are to the query, as well as a number of other factors. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing certain components of a website so that it will show up higher in the search results.

SEO is big business. In fact, there are companies that do nothing else but help businesses and website owners optimize their sites. It makes sense when you think about it. After all, if you are able to achieve a top listing with your site, you can get practically unlimited free traffic to your pages. This can dramatically boost your bottom line by allowing you to get more leads or sales.

Unfortunately, not all search engine marketing companies are created equal. The process of optimizing a website is rather complex. Even more important, however, is the fact that the variables that search engines look at when ranking websites are constantly changing. A good SEO agency needs to be up to date with all of the latest optimization techniques if they want to help their clients get results. This is especially important when you consider that certain optimization techniques that worked in the past such as link building can now get your site penalized in the search results.

Because of that, it is important to thoroughly vet any search engine marketing companies that you are planning on hiring to work on your website. A good place to start is by asking for a list of sites that they have worked on in the past. This can help you see firsthand how these sites are currently ranking in the search results. If the sites aren’t showing up on the first page for keywords that are related to the products or services that they offer, you should probably keep looking into you find a company that is more qualified.

You also need to be sure that the company you hire to work on your site provides excellent communication. They should not only keep you up to date with the changes that they are making to your site, but also with how your site’s ranking is changing over time. This can help you make sure that your money is being well spent.

Finally, you need to choose a company that is realistic about their expectations. If a company promises to get your site to the number one spot in the search engines, you should choose a different search engine marketing company instead. It is not possible to know for sure whether or not a site will ever achieve a top listing. Instead, they should clearly outline their overall optimization strategy for you, explaining how each step that they are going to take will benefit your site rather than making promises that they can’t keep.


If your website doesn’t show up on the first page of search results on Google, Bing or Yahoo, your potential customers might not even know you exist. Better search engine visibility can be critical to boosting visits to your website, which can lead to increased brand awareness and higher sales and profits.

But what if you lack the time and technical expertise to improve your site’s search engine ranking? It might make sense to hire an experienced, reliable search engine optimization (SEO) consultant.

Here are 10 essential questions to ask when considering prospective SEO consultants:

1. May I have a list of current and past clients?
A reputable SEO consultant should be open to sharing a brief list of current and former clients and his or her contact information, says Vanessa Fox, author of Marketing in the Age of Google (Wiley, 2012) and founder of Nine By Blue, a Seattle-based SEO software provider.

These references can help you gauge how effective the candidate is, as well as verify that the person did indeed work on specific SEO campaigns. Clients may not provide specific analytics, Fox says, but they should be able to at least tell you if they saw a positive impact on their search ranking, especially in conversions and in gaining an audience, as a direct result of the consultant’s efforts.

2. How will you improve my search engine rankings?
Steer clear of SEO consultants who won’t freely discuss their methods in detail, cautions Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, a Seattle-based internet marketing software company and co-author of The Art of SEO (O’Reilly, 2012). They should explain the strategies they would use to drive up your website’s search engine ranking, as well as estimate how long it could realistically take to achieve the SEO campaign goals you agree on.

Make sure the candidate’s proposal includes an initial technical review of your website to weed out any problems that could lower your search engine ranking, including broken links and error pages. Consultants also should provide “on page” optimization, a process to make your website as search engine friendly as possible. It involves improving your website’s URL and internal linking structure, along with developing web page titles, headings and tags.

Also, ask consultants if they provide “off page” SEO strategies to raise awareness of your content on other websites, often via blogs, social media platforms and press releases.

3. Do you adhere to search engines’ webmaster guidelines?
You want a consultant who strictly abides by Google’s publicly posted webmaster best practices, which specifically prohibit 12 common SEO tricks, including automatically generating spammy content and adding bogus hidden text and links. If a candidate doesn’t follow those guidelines, your website could be relegated to a dismally low search results ranking. Or, worse yet, Google could ban it from search results altogether.

Bing and Yahoo also post webmaster best practices that consultants should confirm they follow.

4. Can you guarantee my website will achieve a number-one ranking on Google, Bing and Yahoo?
If the candidate answers yes, Fox warns, “Turn and run in the other direction as fast as you can.” Although it’s impossible to guarantee a number-one ranking on any search engine, she says, some unethical SEO consultants do make such bogus guarantees.

Consider it a red flag if the candidate claims to have an insider relationship with Google or any other search engine that will get you priority search results rankings. Only Google, Bing and Yahoo can control how high or low websites appear in their search results.

5. Are you experienced at improving local search results?
Appearing in the top local search engine results is especially important to small brick-and-mortar businesses trying to attract nearby customers, Rand says. You’ll want a consultant who has expertise in local SEO techniques.

If your website is optimized for what’s known as “local SEO,” it should appear when someone nearby is searching for keywords that are relevant to your business. To achieve that, a consultant should add your business’s city and state to your website’s title tags and meta descriptions, and get your site listed on Bing, Google and Yahoo’s local listings, which are online directories of businesses that cater to a specific geographical area.

6. Will you share with me all changes you make to my site?
Search engine optimization will most likely require a number of changes to your existing web page coding. It’s important to know exactly what adjustments the consultant plans to make and on how many web pages. If you would like the candidate to get your permission before accessing and altering your website code, be sure to say so.


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Backlinks Are As Important As Ever

Linking has become a bit of a dirty work in SEO however, it can still be a valuable part of your online marketing strategy. If you do wish to make use of linking, you must be careful about which sites yours has links with. It is essential that any backlinks are relevant and niche specific, this means that high quality authority sites are the most desirable to link to. It’s not easy to get links to these sites but if you can, it will raise the ‘value’ of your website in the eyes of the search engines.

In the past, it was common practice to buy links and to use link farms to get lots of backlinks to a website. This is known to be very bad practice and will get your site in penalty faster than you can say ‘backlink’, so do not even consider this as a way of obtaining links. Linking needs to be done naturally and one of the best ways of doing this, is to have a blog that you update regularly with interesting and useful articles. The information contained within will then be noticed by people who will read it, share it, like and recommend it to their friends. The links gained here are very valuable over time because they tell the search engines that real people are visiting your site, that they like it and that they want to share it. These links are natural and will take time to cultivate so any time spent creating the content is time well spent, this is an investment in your site and this is how you should look at it. Quality attracts quality and once you have a good number of high quality articles that show you as an authority in your field, you should start reaping the rewards of your hard work and investment by attracting backlinks to authority sites.

It is very useful to promote yourself as an authority in your niche, by using professional sites like LinkedIn and Google+, you can really make yourself known. This can really help raise the profile of your business blog and website which in the grand scheme of things, is the goal. Having a prominent online profile and a high authority rating will do wonders for your business on the internet.

Social media links have been thought not to be very valuable however, more and more people use at least one social media platform and what they like, share, watch and recommend is in fact highly useful to your linking strategy. The more views, likes, shares and recommends you get, the better as these will raise your site’s profile which in turn leads to more traffic, which in turn leads to more sales, and that is the bottom line, increasing sales.

It can be hard to keep up with all the changes that seem to constantly occur with the search engines, the one constant though, is to keep your SEO natural, do things slowly and carefully so that the search engines notice your site for all the right reasons.



Creating compelling, customer-centric content isn’t enough to win rankings and shoppers. Without a strong internal linking structure, even the best content will still fail to perform in natural search.

The three strongest factors that Google uses to determine which pages will be ranked on page one are content, links, and Google’s proprietary machine-learning artificial intelligence system called RankBrain, part of its Hummingbird search algorithm.

Content for search engine optimization boils down to words that send signals of relevance to search engines. When combined with the signals of authority that internal and external links send to search engines, these two make up the first and second most important factors that Google uses to rank content for search results.

The third most important ranking factor, RankBrain, is out of our control to change. But while we can’t hope to impact the way that RankBrain functions, we can directly influence the content and internal linking structures within our own sites.

The three strongest factors that Google uses to determine which pages will be ranked on page one are content, links, and Google’s proprietary machine-learning artificial intelligence system…

Content Is King

First, you need to actually create great content. Search engine optimization professionals have been espousing the need for customer-centric content since the beginning of SEO. Some less reputable SEO professionals will settle for any mash up of words that contain keywords. Yuck.

No one wants to read what I call “SEO content” because it has no value to the consumer. And Google — as well as Bing and other modern search engines — absolutely do know the difference. Poorly written, keyword-overstuffed, duplicative, solely SEO-centric content will not improve natural search performance. Plus, it’s unpleasant for shoppers to read and does nothing to improve your brand perception.

If you’re hesitant to put it on a page that shoppers will see and buy from, or reluctant to link to it on your site, that’s a good sign that it’s the bad kind of SEO content.

“Great content” is useful and desirable to your shoppers. Depending on your industry, your specific area of product offerings, great content may describe products that need to be used together to work effectively, a list of critical products everyone should own, or a how-to piece that helps a shopper figure out what to buy or how to use a product.

Great content usually has some sort of visual component like checklists, pictures, illustrations, or video that aids in shopper digestion. But to influence SEO performance, great content needs to have some textual, descriptive explanation to go along with the visual aids to describe what the content is about, using keywords — the words that real shoppers use when they talk about the products.

Great content takes planning and effort to create. Yes, it can be hard, especially if you have a blog and are releasing great new content on a regular basis. Think of your customers’ questions, check social media, ask customer support, dig into keyword research data, or get ideas from reputable sources, such as our monthly “5 Content Marketing Ideas” list to make it easier to create useful content.

Links Are Gold

Great content is linked to, and in turn links out to the rest of the site as a valuable resource. When content lacks links, no matter how great that content is, it lacks the authority signals that Google requires to rank pages in search results.

Links from other sites — external links — are the most valuable because they send the strongest signals to search engines that your content is authoritative. However, external links take time to acquire and are harder to influence. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t work with the rest of the marketing department on a strong content marketing strategy. You should. But it takes time, skill, and luck for those efforts to mature into links.

Great content is linked to, and in turn links out to the rest of the site as a valuable resource.

Internal links — the links you build on your own site to cross-link pages — are easier to achieve and manage over time. They’re also important indicators of value to search engines because the pages that are linked to most frequently from other pages are deemed most valuable to searchers.

Said another way, if you want something to rank, you need to link to it from as many pages on the site as makes sense from a shopper’s experience standpoint.

And if you want great content to rank, or pass its value to ecommerce pages so that the ecommerce pages can rank, it also needs to be linked to in ways that send authority signals and adds value for your shoppers.

Blogs are good examples. They can be excellent for ecommerce SEO if they are regularly updated with compelling content and interlinked strongly with the ecommerce site. Nearly all of the sites I’ve worked with that have blogs lament their poor performance, but nearly all of them use their blogs poorly for SEO. They only link one way.

Ecommerce instinct is to keep the ecommerce pages pure, and link to them from any resource, tips, trends, or blog pages. That’s a one-way linking arrangement that is meant to feed authoritative value from the content through the links to the ecommerce pages.
What they don’t realize is that the content pages need to have value before they can pass value.

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How To Use Video As Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

Website owners are constantly being told to pay attention to their content and its quality. This is very good advice and the whole point of the search engine algorithms is to weed out the thin or poor sites so that the results were improved and contained more of what people were searching for. There are other ways of adding quality content to your site, have you considered using video to enhance your site? It will also help with your SEO efforts and is a great way of engaging with your visitors and increasing traffic.

Don’t be fooled though, you can’t just film any old video and stick it up on your site or on one of the social video platforms, it has to have value, it must provide something to the viewer. Now whether that is by offering information or if you want to entertain, it does not matter, it is the quality that counts. The type of business you own will also dictate to a certain extent what sort of video you post, so spend some time planning the purpose of your video and the message you want to convey. Only then should you start to prepare it.

Videos are indexed by the search engines which is why they are very useful for SEO purposes. When you are creating your videos be aware of how you might optimize them so that they are beneficial to your online profile. Uploading your video onto Vimeo or YouTube is not enough to attract viewers, millions of videos are uploaded every week so what makes yours different or special? You need your video to be found on these platforms and here are a few tips to help you achieve that.
Make sure that you use titles, descriptions and tags that use your keywords and key phrases.
Create a channel for your videos and make sure that you have clickable links that take visitors to your website. It is not enough to include your URL on the video, you need to make it easy for interested viewers to get to your site and they are not likely to remember some convoluted URL.

It is almost impossible to predict what will be a hit and what will not, so when you are preparing your video, you will need to produce an excellent script that is unique and interesting. You do not need to be or to hire a professional to film your video, there are many excellent cameras on the market and if you use a proper stand, you won’t suffer ‘video wobble’.
Your videos needn’t be stiff corporate types, you can add a bit of fun or humour, but only when and where appropriate. ‘How to’ videos are always popular, people always want to know how to do things well and if you can convey this, you will increase the number of views.
Reviews of your products or services can also be useful, this can be a good opportunity to include members of staff who wish to be involved.
Whatever you wish to include in your videos, do make sure you have prepared properly so that you come across as knowledgeable, professional and interesting. Anything missing will turn viewers away and they may leave the ‘thumbs down’ feedback and that will not help your cause, it will only damage your reputation.


SEO is all about your ability to be visible. You need to make sure that people can actually see your content, and video is the way to do it. With the right video, you’re taking advantage of the most powerful piece of content in the world. Studies show that video has the highest conversion rates around.

This guide is going to show you six ways in which you can use video content to enhance your visibility.

Social Media Promotion

To begin with, post a video on your social media channels. Unlike with copywriting SEO, you can cram thousands of words into something that takes mere seconds to consume. Sharing great videos through social media will lead to more engagement.

Google also sees social media as the best reflection of genuine popularity, so if you can make it here you’re sure to fly up the search rankings.

Video Transcripts

There’s so much more to video than the actual video itself. Every video you post enables you to add a text-based transcript in the description. This will further increase findability and provides ample opportunity to add some keywords. It’s perfectly valid to post a transcript of the entire video.

YouTube Hosting

This deserves a section all its own because it happens to be so important. YouTube is the second largest search engine, by queries, in the world. And it’s owned by Google. That means the results of YouTube are integrated with the Google search engine.

You’re going to get a lot of search engine juice by opting to create a video and host it on YouTube.


Video alone leads to better engagement. The video description is, once again, vital for improving the strength of your SEO campaign. At the end of your description, you can link back to your website, add authority links, and provide resources for people who want to find out more information.

This is the modern version of backlinking done in a way that provides value without getting your site penalized.


To get ready for mobile you need to provide content in a way that people want to consume. They don’t have time to read through long pieces of text. What they need is content they can consume on the go. And that’s where videos come in. It’s the one form of content that sends a strong message in a short space of time.

If you want to improve your mobile SEO, video is the only option.

Social Signals

Social signals are different from conventional social media. These are the collective signals Google gets from your video. If the same video is popular on multiple sites, including your own, this sends the message to Google that your site should be boosted up the search rankings.

These signals are all about engagement. Any form of engagement counts towards this, so ask for likes, shares, and comments.

How do you actually campaign for more social signals, though?

It’s as simple as inserting a call to action. Ask for people to interact with your video. Leave a question at the end of it, or accompany the whole production with a caption. You’ll be surprised at the difference this small change can make.





SEO Boosting For A Local Business

These days, not having a website for your small business is unthinkable especially if you are looking to grow your company. Even small local businesses have an online presence and it can be hugely beneficial to harness the power of a well constructed and executed marketing strategy to boost the online profile. Obtaining a high position in the search engine rankings is the goal of many businesses but achieving it can be fraught with difficulties. Being in control of your own content is key and there is so much you can do to ensure that it has a very positive effect on your brand, even if all you want is to promote yourself to a local audience.

A good way to start is to have a domain name that includes your business name, perhaps the type of business and where it is located. Use common sense, do not have a domain name that is so long it take ages to type in or that could be confusing, if possible, short and snappy. When setting up your site, make sure that you include a map showing your location so that people can find you easily. You might like to include information such as parking or public transport links, this can make it an easier decision for prospective customers to visit you if they know they can get there easily.

Making use of local business directories is essential but do ensure that you choose sites that are relevant to your niche, do not be tempted to add your business to a directory that specialises in particular businesses that have got nothing in common with yours. Spend some time choosing carefully and then when your business is listed, update the details when necessary and delete any duplicate pages. Ensure that all details are correct, so your company’s name, address and telephone number, also, your website URL and email address need to be accurate. Mistakes here could be very costly indeed.

Make use of social media to enhance your brand and also to interact with people. Many local businesses have used several social media platforms very successfully to obtain new customers, so think about the social media your existing customers use and harness that power. Twitter, Facebook Pinterest and so on can be a great friend to local business. You might be able to offer discounts or coupons to people who wish to do business with you on a particular day or time, depending on the type of business you run. For example, if you run a cafe, you might want to provide an offer during a known quiet time of the day, this could increase custom by a significant amount and you won’t have that ‘dead’ time.

Whilst we are talking about social media, encourage and respond to reviews left online. People are interested in reviews and how you respond can make a big difference to whether they choose to use your services or buy from you. So, if you get a negative review, try to turn it into a positive, why was the customer dissatisfied, how could your company have done better, is there anything that would make up for the shortcomings? It is actually very important to be proactive when it comes to reviews, if someone is particularly glowing, thank them.

Make use of media coverage that includes your local business, this can result in a positive impact on your business standing and the search results. If your business is involved with any local events or charitable functions, make sure the press knows about the event so that it is covered. Press releases are another string to your bow, use these when you have important news to share. Any PR efforts can result in a higher ranking as well as boosting your company’s reputation.


A game-changer is about to hit the social marketing world. Well-known blogs are claiming that beacons are going to be a revolutionary way for customers to search. In fact, Search Engine Watch is even calling 2020 “The Year of the Beacon.” They are predicting this is going to be a major change in searching function and capability, so it is definitely important for us to start talking about how this might impact SEO strategy. It got me thinking: Are beacons going to be as influential as they sound?

What are Beacons? Before we start talking about how Beacons are going to change SEO in the coming years, we might want to address what they are and how they work. Beacons are small, Bluetooth-enabled hardware devices that are installed in physical locations. Beacons can be used by any brand, business, or institution to set up notifications for those who “op in” and want to be alerted by that institution directly on their phone (via Bluetooth).

What do beacons cost? Beacons are low-cost and can be purchased for as low as $30, which is really great for businesses looking to implement them into their marketing strategy. They are also small and can easily fit on a counter/desk or can be mounted on a wall.

Where can Beacons be used? The possibilities of where Beacons can be used are endless, but some examples include retail stores, airports, events, restaurants, festivals, and even entire cities. The sky is the limit with purpose and location, but the important aspect is that they are tied to a physical locale. They silently broadcast a message to any Bluetooth-enabled devices in their proximity. One of our past articles said it perfectly when they claimed that Beacons are like “a lighthouse with text.”

How might a business use a Beacon? Let’s take, for example, a store that is having a sale. If a customer with a Bluetooth enabled device were to walk past the store, they could receive a notification about the promotion with the details. This is kind of like an advertisement that directly pops up on the consumer’s phone. This sounds like a pretty great way to gain access to passers-by or market to customers in your immediate location, right? Well, the truth is that there are some obstacles that need to be overcome before this takes off, but more on that later.

Let’s turn to how Beacons can directly impact your online marketing and SEO strategy.

How Beacons Could Impact Your SEO Strategy

  1. More Ratings: People seem to like the concept of Beacons and have rated the app highly. Since many businesses have not implemented Beacons yet, you could be one of the first, and this could bode well for things like business ratings, which of course, positively impacts your SEO.
  2. Website Landing: Since Beacons give you the ability to reach out via Bluetooth, they also give you the opportunity for more people to land on your website or content-related pages. This boost in new visitors will certainly increase your landings and help your overall standing with Google.


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Don’t Make SEO Overcomplicated

We are always saying that there are many facets to online marketing and SEO and why it is important to consider each one carefully before putting together a campaign that will have the potential to send your business into the stratosphere. So, here are my top tips for what you need to know about SEO before you begin.

Keywords and phrases
Without the right keywords and phrases, you may as well not bother as nobody will be able to find your site. Finding and using the correct keywords that will ensure that your website is correctly categorised by the search engines which will lead the right sort of traffic to you. Using particular keywords often isn’t enough, by using local terms or turning them into long tail keywords, you will enhance your opportunities by a substantial amount. You need to find out what people are asking and then use those questions to your advantage, make use of the data you discover so that your company benefits, don’t lose out to your competitors because you didn’t make use of what was in front of you.

A website that impresses
An impressive website does not mean that you have to have one that is all singing, all dancing. What is impressive to one person is not to another, however, most people are impressed by sites that are quick to load, can be viewed on virtually any device and that are easy to navigate. If you can answer yes to those three factors, you already have a leg up.

Quality content
This is key to success. Having unique content that is pertinent to your business niche and that is interesting and engaging will ensure visitors return. Articles that are the right length are important, if they are too short, they may not provide enough information. Too long and they may get boring. What is the correct length? Well, that’s one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions and you will need to decide for yourself how long your piece should be.

Regular updates
If you have a blog on your business website, it needs to be updated on a regular basis. You might find it difficult to update your blog every day or every week, it does not really matter how often you post updates, it’s the fact the you do post and post on a regular basis that matters. If visitors get into the habit of reading your blog, they want to find new content when they come back.

Make use of Google’s services
Google provides a toolbox of services that you can use to help you improve your ranking, so familiarise yourself with them and make use of them. This can only be advantageous to you. They also provide paid for services that you might like to use. These can be particularly useful for new sites and can really help to boost your online profile and help with branding.

Social media marketing
Although social media marketing has a limited effect on your site, it is quite important. A site that has no social signals is going to look a bit odd and by making use of social media, you can increase your business brand and online profile considerably. If you think about it, most people who access the internet have an account on at least one social media platform, they will like and share things that they like or find interesting with their friends/followers who might then take a look and like or share with their friends/followers. It’s a bit of a domino effect and you can see how something of interest can go viral.


As I was looking over reports the other day, I realized I was nearly drowning in statistics, benchmarks, KPIs, rankings, conversions, dashboards, audits and so on. You get the picture. I am all for data and tools that make my life easier, but how much is too much?

At my agency, we place a lot of significance on the data that matters to ensure that we are delivering what we are contracted to do. Yet as I was working, I realized that the more I dug through the data, shifting from tool to tool, the less time I was spending doing the work I needed to do.

With a search world crowded with options and resources, I believe it’s time to get back to the basics and simplify the process.

So how can we, as SEOs, use all of the data and great tools available to create a more streamlined and simplified approach to SEO?

Simple doesn’t mean easy

Now, simple doesn’t mean easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

Simple is about focus, consistency and results. I know that I have spent hours and hours working on tasks that, all in all, had a very limited impact on the overall goal of the campaign. So instead of focusing on the number of deliverables we can get done, we need to instead focus on delivering results.

By simplifying your SEO strategy, you will strip from it some of the “extras” that don’t really matter and begin to focus on the tasks and actions that help your site achieve its overall purpose. To help make my point, I want to share something I call the “Simplified Search Productivity Cycle.”

It all begins with goals

You can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t have a plan. Goals help us define our desired destination. Once we define what we want, we can work backward to create a strategy that will help us get there.

When deciding upon your search goals, here are a few questions you should ask:

  • What is the purpose of my site? Is it to drive leads? Sell a widget? Connect with content? Your site’s purpose is directly related to the kinds of goals you will set. Learn more about defining your site’s purpose in my last post, “The benefits of creating a purpose-driven SEO strategy.”
  • What do I want to achieve? This is where you outline what your end goal looks like. Is it revenue-based? User-based? Traffic-based? Defining what it is you want will help you determine whether or not you are succeeding.
  • How will I measure success? After you know what you want to achieve, you need to know what to measure. In order to be sure that you have a positive ROI, you have to know what numbers count. For instance, if you need to generate leads, you are going to need not just to drive traffic, but to drive traffic that will convert. It makes no sense to have thousands of visitors if none of them convert.
  • Who is my competition? Knowing what you are up against is important. Looking at your competition, what they do and how they do it can give you some ideas on how to take advantage of the holes in their search marketing strategy.

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Why The Content For Your Blog Must Be Quality And Relevant

At one time, getting as many links to your site as you could was the goal for many people doing SEO. These days however, this is not the way at all and you will find yourself in deep trouble if you do this. Linking is still important though and should not be dismissed or forgotten about but it must be done in a natural way and only with sites that are relevant to your own niche. This is where using your content to create valuable links can really boost the levels of target traffic.

Blogging can be a great way of achieving this and using your blog to promote your website is one way of doing this. Of course, it is easier said than done, most business people are busy and don’t have time to regularly ‘feed’ their blog with content that is unique and of a high standard. There is no point in churning out ‘stuff’, that simply won’t do, it won’t help you and in fact, could do a lot of damage. If you can spend a couple of hours once or twice a week to create a piece for your blog, you will be doing yourself a great favour.

If you can write posts of around 800 words, that are in depth and provide the reader with the useful information that they are looking for, you will gain a lot of followers and your posts will be shared on social media which will further boost your blog. Try to vary the subject of your content but still keep it relevant to your niche, going off the reservation isn’t a good idea when you are using your blog for SEO purposes. Remember those pesky Google algorithms don’t have a sense of humour and will look upon random subjects as irrelevant which will result in your blog tumbling down the rankings.

You can make use of links within your blog posts, linking to other posts that you have written that are on other sites, particularly if those sites are considered ‘authority’ by the search engines, can be very valuable. Making use of occasional links to other articles that are relevant to your piece and that you have enjoyed reading is also useful. Having a diverse range of links is important, it is a natural thing to do. The correct use of anchor text and keywords should be prioritised so that you get the most from these links.

There is no one SEO tactic that works by itself, you need to implement a wide ranging strategy, each piece plays its part and contributes to the overall success of the strategy. Your blog can only thrive if you have lots of visitors who enjoy what you write and will share the link on their social media platforms. However, your blog site should be one facet of your overall online marketing strategy, it should not be the only one. There are many different factors to be taken into consideration when putting together an SEO plan and this is where engaging an expert to help you will pay dividends.


The terms “content marketing” and “link building” describe discrete marketing activities with distinct scope, strategies, and purposes. They are not the same thing. But that does not mean you cannot employ both in the same way that you might use email and content marketing together or use display advertising and content marketing together.

A pair of definitions will help make it clear how link building and content marketing differ.

Content marketing is the act of creating, publishing, and distributing content, like articles or videos, with the purpose of attracting, engaging, and retaining customers. When done well, content marketing is a customer-centric approach to growth and profit. It seeks to serve, help, inform, and entertain. At its core is reciprocity.

In contrast, link building is a form of search engine optimization aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of inbound links to a specific web page in an effort to improve that page’s ranking position on a search engine results’ page.

Related Activities

In spite of their differences, tactically there are similar or related activities within each.

Both a content marketing campaign and a link-building campaign might have you write an article. Both might have you post content on social media, and both a content marketing campaign and a link building campaign might have you look at customer behavior.

The difference is in the purpose, the goal, and the relationship. If you will forgive the somewhat crass analogy, the difference between content marketing and link building is something like the difference between kissing your sister or brother and kissing your husband or wife. At a tactical level, both acts are kissing, but very few folks would say that kissing your sister is exactly the same thing as kissing your wife.

When to Use Link Building

A business’s goals, capabilities, and position in the marketplace will impact how it views the interaction or relationship between these two marketing activities. How a company uses these approaches depends on what that company wishes to accomplish.

Link building, to oversimplify, is primarily interested in introductions. As a marketing tool, link building’s purpose is to influence search engine algorithms. It seeks to convince search engines that a particular page is important in the context of a relevant search. SEO practitioners know that inbound links are used in some way as a measure of page popularity or value. So encouraging a large number of good quality links will impact how well a page ranks.

Link-building tactics include the following.

  • Developing compelling and useful content.
  • Discovering directories that offer follow links.
  • Using press releases and pitches to encourage articles.
  • Guest blogging or submitting articles for publication.
  • Building relationships with bloggers and website owners.
  • Adding posts to social networks that offer follow links.
  • Contributing to forums and content communities.
  • Newsjacking — injecting your own ideas into breaking issues — in social media.
  • Developing microsites and landing pages.
  • Research to learn which words and phrases are used on search engines.

The thought is that if a web page can rank well on a search engine results page, it is likely to get a greater number of clicks, thereby introducing a relatively greater number of potential customers to your business.

It is this focus on new customer introductions that makes link building specifically and SEO more generally popular with new businesses or businesses that by nature have almost no opportunity for repeat sales. These companies need fresh customers.

When to Use Content Marketing

Content marketing focuses on lasting relationships. Remember the triple purpose of attracting, engaging, and retaining customers. Content marketing often requires research to identify needs and wants of those prospects and customers.  Then, a marketer can create content to:

  • Solve problems and help people make better decisions;
  • Entertain;.
  • Introduce people or build communities;
  • Make others money;
  • Makes other people successful.

Focusing on things that are fundamentally useful, content marketing elevates a company’s reputation, making its website a place consumers return to. Businesses that sell relatively complicated products or that have the opportunity to sell to a customer repeatedly will often favor content marketing, since it tends to keep customers coming back.

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Costly SEO Mistakes You Must Avoid

SEO can be a bit bewildering for anyone who is not an expert in this field. There are so many pitfalls that need to be avoided, the problem being that mistakes can be very costly indeed, worst case scenario is that your website is put in penalty by the search engines and will not be indexed. So, how do you go about providing your site with good quality SEO whilst avoiding the most common errors? The first thing to do, is to recognise what these mistakes are and not make them! Sounds easy doesn’t it, read on to find out more.

Duplicate content is a site killer, the easy solution is DON’T do it, even on ecommerce sites, do not have duplicate content anywhere on your site. It could take you a considerable amount of time to provide unique content particularly if you do have an ecommerce site selling items that are perhaps the same but in different sizes or colours, there are ways around this though, concise descriptions written in different ways works very well. For example, if you are selling pet accessories and you have a section for dog collars and leads, you could have ‘brand, blue and red collar and lead set in different sizes’, this could be changed to ‘sets, collar and lead, made by brand, red and blue, all sizes available’. Doing this provides unique content for your ecommerce site. For an information website, try to ensure that you have suitable content for each page so that every page on the site is different but still provides relevant information that is pertinent to the specific page, so on your ‘about us’ page, you would not have content that is talking about anything other than what your business is about.

Meta tags. This is an area that does scare the uninitiated, it can seem a bit technical and complicated however, it is something that is vital to your site. By formatting the meta descriptions and title tags, you can actually give your site a huge boost in the organic listings by ensuring your title tags and meta descriptions contain niche keywords for your business. They should reflect what is contained on each page so that visitors are taken to the right place. The purpose of meta tags is to provide the search engines with the information they need in order to index your website, so you can see why they are so important.

404 errors need swift action because they indicate that there is a problem with your site. They tend to show up when old pages are removed or replaced and still have links pointing to them. The links you create need to take visitors to active pages on your site so you need to ensure that when you do create new pages that the links point to the new page or to another live page on your site. There are lots of tools to help you with this, Google Webmaster Tools is a free one that will highlight any pages which are no longer there so that you can fix issues before they become a problem. If your site has lots of 404 errors, your site is very likely to slide down the rankings because the search engines will think it’s broken or not in use any more.

Unrelated links. Linking to sites that have got nothing to do with your business niche is a big no-no and in the past this was common practice however, with the emergence of Google’s algorithms linking has to be done very carefully. If you find your site has been linked to websites that are unsuitable, you can make use of Google’s disavow tool to disassociate yourself. Any linking should appear natural which is why it must be done carefully. Be niche specific when choosing to link with sites or directories so that you do not fall foul of the search engine algorithms.

These are just a few of the common mistakes that are made with SEO, take care not to fall into the same traps and your website will remain safe when the search engines are indexing and ranking sites in your niche.


When it comes to online marketing, SEO should be your first concern. The constant hunt for a boost can be a driving factor in a company’s success. However, there are a number of SEO mistakes that can send your campaign off to the wrong start.

Fortunately, this list of critical SEO mistakes might save you the trouble of rewriting all that content. Plus it gives you tips on how to fix these SEO mistakes in just a few steps.

A Poorly Designed Website

Your content can be flawless, but if you have a generic-looking website with hideous adverts and bulky design, your SEO could take a hit. Not only do your visitors leave sooner, but you’ll also have a hard time getting any attention for other websites. A stylish design can do wonders in remedying this.

If you’re struggling to come up with ways to upgrade your website, you can start with small revamps. Try removing the amount of advertisements on your website. Employ other monetizing options that can be conducted behind-the-scenes. Create crucial pages that have information that your site visitors want to know will also make your content more valuable.

Passing On SEO for Local Search

For small business owners, it’s crucial to invest in your local searching. With SEO, Google handles local searches a bit differently than the global keywords so be sure to attend to this mistake.

Including region specific keywords in your contents will help to boost your SEO in local searches. Also try putting your address on the footer of your home page. Listing your business in local directories and linking back to your website are also smart strategies to improving local searches for your business.

Ignoring On-Page SEO

While most marketers give ample consideration to off-page SEO activities and techniques, on-page SEO is often ignored. As a marketer, you have to understand that on-page SEO is equally as important as off-page SEO.

Like any other part of your content, prioritize using relevant and quality content. Also keeping your website regularly updated also adds interest and can increase traffic. Within content, using multiple keywords and publish relevant content are crucial to attracting and retaining viewers.

Avoiding Trending Keywords

The question isn’t whether you should use keywords at all, but whether you’re using the right ones. Avoiding trending keywords is the biggest SEO mistake that you could do. Harness the power of these keywords and optimize your contents for these to bring in substantial new traffic.

Unsure how to utilize trending keywords for your business? Try using other methods of finding keywords than Google Keyword Planner. Monitoring Google Trends on a regular basis also helps, as you can learn to analyze the best trends for you to use.

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Using A Blog To Promote Your Business

It is so important for all businesses to be on the lookout for ways of promoting their brand and their products and services so that their name becomes familiar and is in the public eye. Blogging can be very useful for this purpose and it not only provides publicity, it allows you to communicate with your customers.

There are many online marketing tools and blogging is only one that can be a part of a complete internet marketing strategy. You can make use of your blog to provide information about new product ranges, new services, tell customers the company news, in fact, you can use it to tell the world about anything to do with your business.

A business blog, particularly if you make your own videos, is a great way of showcasing every aspect of your company. A well written article in combination with a video will provide customers old and new, with the information they need in order to choose you to do business with. Your blog can also provide customers with offers or discounts as well as showing them how to use products. It’s a really effective method of connecting with people and demonstrating what your business is about.

Blogging can be very effective in allowing your customers to converse with you, they can comment on your blog posts which can create a more personal experience. Where customers feel valued, they are more likely to be loyal to your brand, they will recommend you to others and they will voice their opinions.

Having a strong business brand is essential to success and blogging will help to achieve this. Using your blog as a voice for your brand provides the opportunity to increase your business base as well as presenting your company to the world. The impression your company conveys is important and if you are presenting a sound business brand consistently, customers become familiar with this and this encourages trust and loyalty.

Blogging is not that hard, anyone can do it and if you can update your blog once or twice a week, that will help a great deal. Obviously, if you can update your blog more often, all the better but the reality is, most business people are too busy to write articles for their blogs. It all depends on what you want to put up, if you have lots of snippets, it might be better to put each one up on different days. Longer posts can be uploaded at any time. Try to be consistent with your posts as visitors have favourite sites to visit for new updates and they could be disappointed not to find any new information when they land on your website.

Of course, if you really don’t have time to update and maintain a blog, you could pay someone else to do it for you. There are specialist companies who will do this for you, all you have to do is to provide a bit of information regarding what you want posting and they will do the rest.


As any good SEO services provider will tell you, blogging is an important tool when it comes to marketing your business. Not only is it an effective way to communicate with your customers, but it can help with SEO on your main company website when linked to a successful blog.

To create a blog that works and gets lots of people reading it, you need to ensure that people can easily find it. This means doing your search engine marketing research and ensuring you optimise your blog posts for SEO, so that Google and other search engines rank your blog highly.

Here are nine of the best tips for perfecting your blogs for best SEO results:

Original and relevant content

Google values relevant and informative content and originality counts for a lot. If it’s already been written a thousand times before, the likelihood is that a search engine will just pass over your blog. You need fresh ideas and when writing for your blog, try and come at it from a different angle.

Utilise keywords

Keywords are incredibly important for on-page optimisation and taking the time to thoroughly research the best and most relevant keywords for your blog will pay in the long run. Make a list of words that are appropriate for your site. If you are stuck, there are plenty of free tools that can help generate relevant keywords such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool can even show you what keywords your competitors are using and provide SEO analysis.

Regular content

To optimise your blog, you must add content frequently. Google and other search engines need to know that your site is active and not dead space so creating regular blogs will help with this.

Relevant links

Building links into your blog post is a great way to enhance your SEO and also helps readers to link through to other relevant pages, either internally or externally. If you mention something that is covered on your main company website, make sure you include a link to that page. If you reference another blog or article on your page, include a link.

Optimise your theme

Make sure that your code is clean and that search engines can find it. Ensure there are no broken links or broken navigation menus. The blog site must have a fast loading speed to create a good user experience. Companies that provide SEO services will be able to offer advice about this.

Install a sitemap

This will provide readers (and therefore Google) with a full map of all blog posts, all pages and any archives. This makes it easier for readers to navigate their way around the site and find the most relevant information more easily. It also means that search engines can index your site properly.

Optimise images

We have talked a lot about words but images are also important. If you are including images with your blog posts, you must ensure that you include relevant keywords within the saved file name and always provide alternative text with a relevant description of the photo.

Build up social media profiles

If you are utilising social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for example) for your business then you must ensure you crosslink them with your blog. Promote your new blog posts across your social media platforms to drive more traffic to your site.

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