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.

Read more:

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.


Read more:

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.

Read more:


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.

Read more:



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.

Read more:

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.

– See more at:


Making The Most Of Your Search Marketing Strategy

Business owners know that in order to be successful, advertising and marketing is essential. It does not matter what goods or services you offer, if customers don’t know about you, then your business will not thrive. Since we now live in a technological age, marketing is more important than ever before and just having a website is not enough, you have to be found on the search engines so that you can grow your customer base. This means that you will need to target niche keywords that potential customers are using to search for the services or goods that you supply.

Many businesses will try to save money and do a bit of search marketing themselves, they might take part in beginner’s class or buy a book or DVD to give them a bit of insight into search marketing. What these people might not realise or understand, is that this type of marketing takes in a number of different strategies. It is therefore advisable to engage a specialist SEO company who can undertake the work and make sure that it is done properly and within the rules of the search engines.

Doing search marketing takes time, effort and a certain level of skill in order to achieve results that will drive more quality traffic to the site. By hiring an internet marketing firm, you will be buying the services and expertise of people who really know what they are doing. It will save you time and money in the long run. Remember that marketing is just one aspect of running your business and you will be better served spending your valuable time on other areas where your own expertise can be harnessed.

Another benefit of using an online marketing firm is that you could well have an advantage over the competition, particularly if they are not doing much marketing or are doing it themselves. A new business or one that needs a bit of a boost will certainly make advances in their rankings by making use of expert services. There will be a range of services on offer and although you will be spending money on these, you will reap the rewards and start making money when the website starts converting traffic.

Remember that you also need to ensure that your website is accessible from mobile devices. This is important because it is a fact that more and more searches are being made from mobiles and you do not want to miss out on high levels of potential customers. Even if your site is just for information about your business, it is still important that you make sure that prospective clients can visit your website from their device. So, talk to us today about how we can help you with your search marketing campaign and what you would like to achieve.



The last few years, search engines such as Google, Bing, and even Apple, have been upgrading their algorithms and machine learning processes to account for the end-user’s experience. But, since their algorithms are built upon the work completed by automated crawling bots (pieces of software that manually scour the internet), it has always been difficult for them to truly simulate the actions of a flesh and blood user. And it’s not feasible for them to create an algorithm that’s based on the anecdotal feedback of an army of individual users that submit their findings.

Instead the search engines have started to write logic and incorporate machine learning algorithms that based on vast troves of user behavior metrics, to their best estimation, is what a user experience should be on a website. Some of the criteria they are now measuring are site speed, mobile optimization, site structure, content, and dozens of other signals that should give the algorithm an idea of whether or not search engine users are getting what they expect from a website.

So, what does this mean for companies, marketers, and website owners when it comes to their SEO?

Basically what I, and dozens of other SEO industry experts, have been writing about for years has now come to fruition. We’ve exited the era of search engine optimization (SEO), and have now entered the new age of search experience optimization (also… SEO).

And this is great news for anyone that performs digital marketing correctly. It means that “gaming” the system has become less and less viable, and that groups who rely on black hat techniques are seeing their efforts become less effective.

So, how should websites be optimized for the search engines now that user experience plays such a big role?

Ask Questions, Provide Answers

Previously, marketers used to obsess over ideas like keyword density, meta descriptions, and link profiles. They had everything down to percentages and numbers and it all made sense when it was placed into an excel sheet. But how on earth was a website that was built from data on an excel sheet supposed to appeal to a human being?

That’s the problem the search engines set out to fix. And you need to accommodate the changes they’ve made.

Specifically, you need to think about your website visitors at every stage of your web design and marketing process. And this can be done easily with a series of question and answer audits you can ask yourself as you’re creating your marketing campaign.

For instance, if you’re designing a web page and you’re wondering how to make it appear in the Google search results, you should start by asking what your customers are typing into the search engine. This sounds rudimentary, but think it through for a moment. Previously marketers would optimize for terms such as “snow tires” or “weight loss products”. But search habits have become more semantic and people are no longer typing in general terms, but rather they’re asking questions.

Thus, the search term “snow tires” has evolved into, “what are the best snow tires for a 2008 Ford F150?”

And it’s the companies that are answering the questions for their customers that are starting to win in the search engine rankings. So, stop fretting over how many times you mention the keyword in the content you’re writing on the page, and instead start asking yourself what your customers need help with.

Embrace Mobile

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you may be shocked to hear that most people use smart phones and that smart phone searches now account for a more search volume than desktop searches. However, if you’ve been living in the world with the rest of us, this isn’t too surprising. So, if everyone is using mobile devices to browse the web, shouldn’t you likewise be optimizing your site for mobile traffic?

Read more:

Why Links DO Matter for SEO

There has been no end of talk about the death of SEO and of how it is now impossible to do anything that will make any difference to the rankings a site gets for any given term. Those who espouse this opinion go to great lengths to tell that trying to ‘influence Google’ into giving a site better rankings and hence exposure, is just a waste of time and money…

Now, if they were to say that ‘trying to trick Google was a waste of time‘ then I would agree, well at least for the most part, as today Google has far more sophisticated tools to ‘decide’ whether a page is any good or not, that is to say that the page:-

  • Answers the viewers question
  • Provides useful information on the topic (relating to the search term)
  • Assists by providing details of where help may be found
  • Looks at the problem / issue a different way (one that could be said to be interesting)
  • Sells the person the goods / services they want
  • Is funny or educational
  • Is in someway a useful resource for the viewer.

How it does all of the above is a well kept secret, but while we do not know 100% what does work, we know a lot about the things that do not work. This include building links the in the wrong manner (basically too many ‘money keywords’, or building them too quickly) or by having copied or ‘thin’ content.


But, returning to matters that we do know help rankings, let us look again at links. I have been told many times that links do not matter, and however I much that I protest that this is not true, those that hold this view will not be moved. I think that in some cases the persons concerned have been dealt a bad blow by another SEO company that took their money and then built either the wrong links or simply not enough to make any diffference, but whatever they will not move from their stance, and that after all is their right.

For my part all I can do is to prove to them that links, when built in the right way, and when part of an orchestrated plan (which includes having good quality, original content on the site) DO ASSIST in getting better rankings.

The best way of showing how links have improved matters is by looking at an example, and what better example to show than one relating to Serendipity’s own site..


The term ‘seo west midands’ was in part chosen as an agency that I used to work with had a first page ranking for the term, and I wanted, for purely personal reasons, to get a better one than them. For one I thought that our site was far more relevant to the subject (they are a design agency with an SEO bolt on, while we at Serendipity do nothing else than SEO / Marketing), but also that our site contains huge amounts of info on SEO whilst their blog, for example, has only 3 posts in the last 5 months…

The question that first has to be asked is why was Google giving us such a poor rank for this term in the first place? All the information available to them should have made our site a better choice, but no, we were left on the second or third page of results. That is until we started creating links…

the effect of building links

Here we can see how the addition of links to the SEO ‘recipe’ for the SOM site made all the difference, suddenly the site was catapulted over the top of my rival, staying there consistently since.

Now, here is a bit of a rub, in that any ranking reporting system you use is only gives one ‘view’ of reality, and the fact is that Google will display it’s results in many different ways, for all sorts of different reasons. So it was  not much of a surprise when another system that I use showed us just below my rival.

This system, which we use to check out the competition for any given term when running our free SEO Health Checks, provides a lot of useful data:-

seo west midlands data


As can be seen, here the SOM site is still on the first page, but lower than reported on the other system, but what is more interesting is that the data shows quite a few patterns.

The first is that overall, the sites with the higher TRUST FLOW are ranked higher than the others (there is always an exception to every rule, sometimes the sites in question quickly disappearing as Google ‘gets it’s act together), whilst also showing that pages which have links to them are liked better by Google. On the latter point it must be said that if a domain is very strong, that each of it’s pages have a better chance of getting a rank, even when the page has no links pointing directly to it, the rank for being a good example.

What does all this prove? Simply that LINKS DO MATTER and that if they are created to a page on a site that contains relevant useful information, that a better rank on Google is 9 out of 10 times achieved.

I will be adding more on this subject later in 2016 as we have another test in process at the moment. The aim here is to get better rankings for some other local SEO terms. Before we started the process our ranks for these terms were to all intense and purposes nil, so we have added a new page to the site, especially for these terms and are in the process of building links to the site and page to support the drive. The first results (really a benchmark BEFORE the links have any effect) is shown below:-

keyword rankings 140216

Please look out for more posts on the subject of Linking and SEO

Understanding The Basics Of SEO

It is true that many people find SEO confusing and overwhelming particularly as the ‘rules’ keep changing. There are however, a few SEO tasks that you can do that will not hurt your rankings and that will in fact help them. There is no point in wasting your time doing things that aren’t going to do any good or that could in fact harm your position in organic search.

Never underestimate the value of high quality content. The content that you add to your site or your blog must be relevant to your niche, it would be a mistake to provide content, regardless of how good it is, about a subject that has no relevance to your business. It is important to understand what valuable content actually means. The content is deemed to be valuable when it is both engaging to the reader and relevant to the niche. This is where Google’s Panda algorithm comes into play, it is being updated to be able to search your content in order to decide how well it has been written and how relevant it is to your niche. So, writing content that is full of grammatical errors will not do you any good at all. Make sure that your punctuation and spelling are correct too, it makes it easier for the human reader to understand what you are trying to convey.

Backlinks still provide a great deal of power but only if they are carefully cultivated. It is essential that links are only created with relevant niche sites and that you use a wide range of keywords for your anchor text. Using the same ones all the time is likely to attract the wrong kind of attention, so mix it up a bit and make sure that you don’t just link to the same page all the time either.

Social signals are becoming more important to rankings these days and again, it is important to use the right ones. When visitors share your content, this provides validation that it is quality, the search engines take note of this. Google +, Twitter and Facebook appear to be influential but YouTube is also catching up, so don’t discount using video as a means of providing quality content. Make sure you provide sharing buttons on your site so that it is easy for visitors to share what they are enjoying. This is another way of obtaining natural backlinks to your site.

The main message to take away from this post is, if it looks natural, it is worth doing. The search engines like things to be natural, any unnatural looking patterns will attract attention that you do not want and could see your site slip down the organic rankings or even being penalised. Remember that SEO is a bit of a marathon, it’s not a sprint, it takes time for your strategy to start to work however, providing you have taken your time at the beginning and not tried to take unnatural looking shortcuts, you should begin to see some positive rewards.


When experts discuss SEO, or search engine optimization, most marketers and entrepreneurs get a glassy look in their eyes and quickly send their minds to the ether for a respite. The problem is that a lot of SEO is technical and quite boring, and experts will often brush over the more basic tactics that still produce great results. By focusing on some of these small, simple methods rather than trying to figure out the more technical aspects of SEO, you can quickly raise your position in search engine results. You’ll have less of a learning curve, making it easy to apply these SEO changes now and be able to continue using them.

Choose the Right Keywords

One of the biggest problems people have with SEO is choosing keywords that actually generate traffic. While you do need to select keywords that people use and have little competition, you also need to select keywords that are relevant to your content.

You also need to select a few keywords for your blog posts. The exact number that you need will be determined by the size of your site and your industry. Most small blogs, for example, only cover one or two different main keywords, while authority sites can cover hundreds. After you have selected your main keywords, you need to find several long tail keywords that relate to your main keywords. These can help serve as inspiration for your blog posts and help you target a more niche market.

Small Things Can Count the Most

When it comes to optimizing a blog post around a keyword, search engines don’t just see how many times you used the word. Every search engine takes META data into account when they choose which sites rank higher than others. This makes sense, as META data also has a great influence on how your webpage is displayed to someone searching online.

META data is comprised of several components, but for SEO purposes, you will mostly need to focus on the title and description. Having a well-formatted URL that relates to your META data is also appealing to search engines.

To get the perfect, SEO-friendly META data that will help you get more traffic:

  1. Write a unique title that relates to the content of your post. Use a long tail keyword, but make sure your title is not just the keyword. For example, “How to write a META title the easy way.”
  1. Write a short, but catchy description that encourages people to click. Include your long tail keyword and one supporting keyword in this description. For example, “Learn how to write a META title to help you get traffic fast.”
  2. Properly format your URL so that it includes a keyword and is easy to find. For example, “”

The goal of META data is to entice human readers to click on your links, but to also send signals to search engines using consistent keywords.

Avoid Recycled Content

One of the first things that people learn about SEO is that search engines can recognize plagiarized content and they don’t like it! While most of us know not to steal other people’s work, we often forget that it is easy to plagiarize ourselves. Offering the same content over and over again means you will not only bore your readers, but be placed lower in the search results as well.

If you are building your website around a single keyword, you may run out of writing ideas very quickly. If this happens, you will need to explore the topic from a different angle or buying perspective. Try to include fresh news stories about your topic. Remember, not every blog post you publish needs to contain the same keyword to help you generate traffic.

Read more: