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What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the volume of traffic to a website from search engines via what is known as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ search results.

Natural search results are the normal list of search results that you see when you type a phrase into a search engine.

It is called natural to differentiate it from paid for, sponsored or advertisement links.

Many people  believe that the goal of SEO is to solely to achieve high ranking for keyword phrases in the major search engines.

At Scoosh we believe this is the wrong approach to take, when considering Search Engine Optimisation, your website and your business.

What is the true goal of SEO?

Scoosh believe any business must match its website goals with its business goals.

In simple terms, most businesses could be described as having the goal of selling a product or service to make profit.

The goal is therefore to generate revenue.

This should also be the goal of your website.

What  would you rather have from the following example?

A. 1,000 visitors to your website. (Who visit and leave, without any interaction with your business)

or

B. 100 visitors who place an order or contact you about your product or service.

We assume that you would prefer  answer B.

Targeted visitors are more likely to buy what you have to sell.

What you are actually looking for from your website is called qualified traffic.

Surely the number of hits I receive is important?

Well yes and no.

There is  old cliché in business ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity‘.

This can be modified for your business online:-

Hits just for the sake of it is ‘vanity‘, qualified traffic is ‘sanity‘.

What should I do?

Your goal is not to rank for what seems like a popular search term, but to find those search terms that will increase the likelihood of making a sale, generating a lead, completing a form, or making the phone ring.

Find the search terms that lead to sales and you will be well on your way to generating business on line.

(Look in your statistics) It does not matter, at this stage of they if they have a poor ranking.

Once found, begin working on improving the ranking in the search engines.

The result is increased sales.

Scoosh SEO Takeaway

Many businesses boast about the number of hits their websites receive.

It is more productive and beneficial to your business if your website has some real business goals and the most basic goal of any SEO or Web Marketing Campaign is to convert website traffic into paying customers.

Come on Tigger Stop Bouncing!

They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

Bouncing may be great for Tigger – and who can blame him – but not for business.

Google defines ‘Bounce Rate’ as

the percentage of single page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page

Google defines this further as a method to measure ‘visit quality’; a high bounce rate indicates that your pages may not be relevant to your visitors. Visitors are effectively ‘bouncing away’ from your website.

Essentially the more visitors stay on your site the more likely you are to convert them into customers.

By using Google Analytics you can view your websites’ bounce rate and take effective action.

Some simple tips from Scoosh on how to decrease your bounce rate.

Make simple and clear ‘calls to action’

Sometimes you can be so close to your websites that you (and maybe only you!) know where all your links and calls to action are.

Check your website regularly and have work colleagues, friends or family, navigate through your site to test it.

You may be surprised to find that they do not find it as easy to use as you do. Listen to their views and make changes accordingly.

Google Analytics has a great tool – Visitors Flow Report – that represents graphically the journey that visitors make through your website.

Visitors Flow Report from Google

You will find the Visitors Flow report in Google Analytics. You can also learn more about how to analyse your data with Visitors Flow

Remember, visitors scan, they don’t read

When we view a web page (e.g. BBC, The Times), we don’t read it like reading a book, but ‘scan it’ for interesting text, headlines or pictures that grab our attention – then we delve deeper.

At Scoosh, we often receive copy from clients that runs to pages and pages, we always recommend that it is edited and reduced, and many times separated into smaller, well linked pages.

We suggest good headlines, ‘pull quotes’ and items that will draw the readers attention.

Keep things simple, with clear headings to attract interest, relevant pull quotes, pictures and don’t forget to use ‘white space’

Help I can’t find it?

It may be obvious to you where everything is, but not to a visitor. Give them a search box to stop them getting frustrated and ‘bouncing’. Put it at the top of the website so that it can be found easily, this is especially useful for smartphone users with smaller screens.

Write great headlines that grab attention

Visitors to a page scan headlines, so consider what the headline is first. If a visitor’s attention is grabbed by a headline they will read further.

Does the size of a website effect Google ranking?

We are asked this question a lot and usually reply by saying that there are a lot of factors that make up a sites Google ranking.

If you have a website of 1,000 pages but no one is linking to it then it is probably safe to say that, it will not be as well ranked as a much smaller website (say 50 pages) that has more inbound links to it.

The fact that a website has a lot of pages, is of itself not enough to achieve a high google ranking.

A good rule of thumb is to always go with quality rather then quantity of the content and therefore the pages.

You can keep up to date with all things Google here

Duplicate content on a website harms your website’s ranking in Google (and other Search Engines)

Search Engines ‘don’t like’ web pages that duplicate large amounts of content on the same website. There is every possibility that you have not intentionally created duplicate content on your website, but the way that your website has been configured can result in Google perceiving the content as duplicated.

For example a webpage url – www.mywebsite.com and a webpage mywebsite.com can be seen by google as two separate pages.

It is good practice to choose either version and use what is known as a 301 redirect to refer any ‘duplicate’ versions to the same one.

Your web developer can make these changes or contact Scoosh with any questions you have about your website and duplicate content.

Google’s Starter Guide to SEO

Google‘s Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide is an excellent document for those wishing to understand how to improve their websites’ interaction with visitors and Google’s search engine.

Many of the points covered are also useful for other search engines that you submit your website to. (e.g. YahooBing)

This SEO guide is to help you ensure that your website is optimised for both visitors and for search engines.

It is an excellent starting point for those looking to improve their websites’ performance and a great introduction to SEO.

The guide covers:-

  • SEO Basics.
  • How to optimise content and images.
  • Best practice for site structure.
  • How to ensure that Google ‘crawls’ your website.
  • How to promote your website and much more.

The guide is ideal document for those looking to get an initial grasp of SEO, and though it is published by Google, what it covers applies equally to other search engines.

If your website has slipped down the rankings or does not do well in search results, the guide is a good place to begin learning about what needs to be done.

Download Google’s Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide

How many websites link to my website?

Google recommends that you type link:yoursite.com in to Google to find this.

We are often asked why this does not show all links.

As is explained in the video, Google only shows a sample of links.

You will find a more complete list in your Analysis Tool or use  Google Search Console or Yahoo Site Explorer

Your web design company will have provide you with an analysis tool, that will allow you to see all manner of statistics on the performance of your website

Help! My website has disappeared from Google

Google

Search engine rankings are constantly moving and changing.

As your website and your competitors websites are indexed, analysed and ranked by the major search engines, they are in a constant state of flux.

Achieving a a high ranking is what we all desire, but what to do when your site starts to drop and is no longer on the top or even on the first page.

Do Nothing

The first thing you do is absolutely nothing. That’s right, nothing.

Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and the weighting of ranking factors.

Sometimes a change can occur that doesn’t have the desired effect and penalises sites that were previously well ranked. When this happens, changes may be rolled back or amended and you may find your site jumps back to its previous position. Always give it a couple of weeks or so before you start making any major changes.

When did you last SEO Audit your website?

Do an audit of your on-site SEO to make sure you have covered all the areas you can optimise.

Ensure that you are up to date and use best practices (and avoid practices that can get you penalised).

If you contact us we will send you a free audit report of your website with recommendations for improvements.

If you are new to SEO a good place to start is Google’s SEO Starter Guide

Your website doesn’t exist in a vacuum and there are thousands of websites working to take your position. If you do not maintain your websites position in Google’s rankings it will slip below other websites that do.

Make sure you are using your target keyword(s) across these areas

  • title tag
  • H tags
  • image alt tag
  • image file name
  • internal link anchor text
  • internal link alt tag
  • site map
  • first paragraph of copy
  • page URLs
  • page descriptions

Don’t be naughty

Remove any ‘black hat’ tactics you or your web designer may have used.

Read Google’s guidelines for webmasters which spell out what Google expects from a website as well as what not to do. (Contact us and we will send you a copy) If you have recently undertaken any of the following methods you may have been penalised by Google and this will explain the drop in your rankings.

  • Bought links
  • Used hidden text or hidden links
  • Introduced cloaking or underhand redirects
  • Created pages stuffed with irrelevant keywords
  • Added multiple pages, sub-domains, or domains with substantially duplicate content
  • Set up a “doorway” page created just for search engines

Watch your advertising space

This is not necessarily a ‘black hat’ technique, but if a larger proportion of your website is now allocated to advertising space rather than original copy this can affect your Google ranking.

Update your content regularly

Google likes fresh content and sites that are updated regularly. If you haven’t made any changes for a long time review your web copy, update it and investigate ways you can introduce regular content to your site e.g. articles, news, a blog, twitter etc.

There is more to life than Google

We are all ‘Googling’ and because Google dominates search it is easy to think it is the be all and end all.

Not all traffic to your website is through Google. What about direct traffic? Build a following on social media sites e.g. Twitter, Facebook. Look at websites in your business community e.g. forums or blogs.

How do I add my website to Google and other search engines?

Adding your website to a search engine is a simple process and is free.

There are thousands of search engines, but we don’t recommend that you spend all your time being listed.

Many of these websites will in time ‘index’ your website.

We recommend that you submit your website to the three search engines that are most popular in the UK.

Add my website to Google

Add my website to Yahoo

Add my site to Bing

Add to the above a simple Search Engine Optimisation strategy and your website will be indexed by all the major search engines. Your web pages will be found by visitors seeking out your information, products or services.

You can also market yourself on the major search engines using their paid for services.

We provide analysis and reports for all SEO work we complete and believe in full transparency with our clients.

Keyword Analysis
Competitor Analysis
SEO Analysis report
Finding & fixing all the technical errors from the website
On-page optimisation
Adding landing pages if required
Social Media Optimisation
Off page optimisation
Content Writing
Reputation management
SEO Benefits for your business:
Get relevant keywords and best keywords ranking.
Bring your website higher in Google Search.
Increase page rank.
Increase your traffic and quality back links.
Helps to increase your online sales.
Generate Sales Leads and Website Enquiries.

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There are other search engines

Sometimes we use Google so much that we forget there are alternatives.

The phrases ‘to Google’ or ‘Googling’ have become part of our every day language and ‘just Google it’ is a common response to many questions.

The following are some ‘search engines’ that take a different approach to search and can provide useful results.

Many have argued that Google has ‘pushed’ its content to us to such an extent that we are not seeing a ‘natural’ result to our questions or searches.

Duck Duck Go

Bills itself as the search engine that does not track you.

Visit Duck Duck Go

Wolfram Alpha

The ‘computational knowledge engine’, Wolfram Alpha suggest that you search for ‘what you want to calculate or know about’.

Izik (pronounced as EYE-zik)
Izik is the search engine that lets you ‘type less see more’.
Built with the mobile, tablet ipad user in mind it is an application for tablets that allows you to search, explore and discover the Web
Izik’s goal is to have the Web unfold at your fingertips in a fun and playful manner. They cite examples as ‘Type in the name of your favorite band, TV show, sports team, city, recipe – really anything – and izik will produce an image-rich page filled with quality content for you to explore.’

Content on Izik is presented in various categories to allow for minimal typing and to provide context to results.
Look up “Jennifer Lopez” and see results under the categories of Lyrics, Gossip, and Perfume.
Search for “Lincoln” and see not only movie times, but also websites organised under Reviews, History, and Cars – all accessible with a tap of your fingertip.

Rockzi

Mazoom

Mazoom bills itself as the ‘world’s first mobile content search engine, connecting users directly to mobile websites.’

Bing
Bing offers many of the features found on Google, but also offers a gateway to many of Microsoft’s other services including – Outlook.com, Office Online and MSN.

Yahoo

A search engine and a directory of websites, Yahoo has indexed millions of websites.
Facebook
Whilst primarily a Social Media platform facebook has a strong search facility and with millions of people and businesses as active users, it is very much a search alternative.

Google confirms that site speed will affect website ranking

Google has announced that how fast your site loads will have an impact on your Google ranking.

You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests

Google is encouraging site owners to consider site speed.

There is no denying that how fast a site loads does affect how a website is perceived by its audience, but now there is an even more compelling reason to start investigating how well your site is performing and to take corrective action.

Whilst site speed is becoming important ‘site relevancy’ is still viewed as being the most important factor.

Website Analysis? – Try Google Analytics

There are many great analytics tools available today.  

It can be difficult to choose or know where to start.

We recommend that you sign up for Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a great tool to start with and we recommend it for a variety of reasons including:-

  • Ease of Use
  • Ease of Setup
  • Excellent array of reports, that will supply you with everything that you will need to understand and monitor your website.
  • It’s FREE

As Google say –

Improve performance across your sites, apps, and other marketing channels. Google Analytics and related products can help you turn customer insights into actionable solutions for your business.

Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness.

Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.

Further Information

How can Google Analytics help my business?

Ask yourself the following:-

  • How many visitors did your my site receive last week following our latest promotion?
  • Which pages are the most popular on my website – with my customers? or potential customers?
  • What was the most popular search term visitors used to find my website?

If these questions have you searching for answers, you’re not alone.

Many companies simply don’t know the answer to these questions and so do not know if their website is value for money

A great starting place to get answers is web site statistics reporting and for this we recommend Google Analytics.

Google Analytics will help with the following (plus a host of other great features too):-

Which pages are most (or least) popular with my customers

Are customers coming to your web site’s home page, and then leaving?

Google Analytics offer a summary of the most visited pages on your site as well as the pages receiving the least amount of traffic.

Knowing this
information can be an enormous help in revising your site’s content in order to better meet the needs of your customers.

How customers are finding your site through the search engines

Google Analytics will show you the top search engines that customers used to find your site, and, more importantly, which keywords were used to find your site. This is a huge help in planning your search engine marketing strategy.

Tracking online/offline promotions

Imagine that you have just launched a new product or service through a large advertising campaign that includes direct mail. One of the ways you can track the effectiveness of your mailer or promotion is to include a unique web site address for prospects to learn more, such as www.yourcompany.com/promo123.

Using Google Analytics to track this lets you to monitor the number of customers visiting a specific web address to analyse the effectiveness of your campaign. Scoosh clients have used this to calculate the effectiveness of the following types of campaigns

  • Yellow pages and yell.com ad
  • Thomson local ads
  • Local and Natiional Newspaper Ads
  • Radio
  • Specialist promotions including email marketing, leafleting, direct mailers
  • Special offers in online shops

The list is endless.

Where are my website visitors coming from?

If you are marketing towards specific larger companies, you can often see their company web address listed in your reports, which can help you pinpoint where visitors are coming from to your site.

At Scoosh we include setting up Google Analytics with all website projects we develop.

Questions Google Analytics can help answer

  • Do you know how many visitors are viewing your website site each day?
  • If so, how many of those visitors are new and which ones have visited before?
  • What are those visitors doing on your site?
  • Are they leaving within seconds or are they converting into customers or prospects?
  • Do they start the buying process – but maybe not finish it?
  • Which towns or cities visit your website?
  • Which pages are popular and which are not?
  • Which devices are the most popular?  Do you have a mobile audience or a desktop audience?

Install Google Analytics on your website and find out how visitors found your site and gain insight on how to improve it.

It is a great Web Marketing tool.

How do I access Google Analytics?

Login to your Google Account here – http://www.google.com/analytics/

Further Reading on Google Analytics

Contact Scoosh today with any questions or help installing Google Analytics

Does Duplicate Content harm my website rankings
Duplicate content on a website harms your website’s ranking in Google (and other Search Engines)

Search Engines ‘don’t like’ web pages that duplicate large amounts of content on the same website.  There is every possibility that you have not intentionally created duplicate content on your website, but the way that your website has been configured can result in Google perceiving the content as duplicated.

For example a webpage url – www.mywebsite.com and a webpage mywebsite.com can be seen by google as two separate pages.

It is good practice to choose either version and use what is known as a 301 redirect to refer any ‘duplicate’ versions to the same one.

Your web developer can make these changes or contact Scoosh with any questions you have about your website and duplicate content.

How does Google rank Images?
Give search engines clues about what’s contained in your images.

Use descriptive alt tags.

The more descriptive, the better.
Instead of ‘Car Picture’ use ‘Blue 2018 Volkswagen Passat TDI.

This will help someone searching for a ‘Passat’

What is bounce rate?
Understanding how to use Google Analytics can help increase your sales and business growth. In this article we concentrate on Bounce Rate and why it is important.

Google defines ‘bounce rate’ as

the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.

Essentially, what this means, is that visitor having found your website, be that your home page or another page, has chosen to leave your site. In effect, they have bounced.

Why is Bounce Rate important

Bounce Rate is a measurement of ‘visit quality’ – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.

The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site, therefore increasing the likelihood that they may purchase your product or service.

How to Minimise Bounce Rate.

You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.

What is a ‘Good’ Bounce Rate?

This is not an exact science and there are many factors that can influence bounce rate. A good indicator would be that if your rate is 30% to 40% than that is good, if you can get less than 25% then you are doing very well.

If your rate is above 60%, then we would recommend that you investigate why and consider ways to minimise your Bounce Rate.

Why is my website not found in Google?

Often asked the most simple question is the most pertinent.

Why is my website not in Google?

The most obvious and simple reply is – Did you submit your site to Google?

But there can be many reasons why a site is not listed.

Google can and will index your site, even if you do not submit it to their search engine.

But you will probably want to have a better understanding of how your site is indexed, how often and what pages are indexed, to better find the reason why your site is not visible.

(Note: A lot of our clients have assumed that all their website pages will be automatically listed in Google – this is not the case.)

What does Google do when it visits my website?

Typically a search engine will complete these four steps:-

Discovery – it will find your website.

Crawling – it will ‘crawl’ your website following links to identify your web pages.

Analysis – the search engine will analyse your content based in its own criteria.

Decide – the search engine will ‘decide’ whether to index your site or not based on many factors.

What should I do?

There are too many reasons to list here , why a site does not show up in Google, from being blacklisted, to being so far down the ranking as to be almost non-existent.

We can help you discover why your site is not listed or why only some of your pages show up and take corrective action.

Grow your business