Small Business Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Simple Hints and Tips

Written by Paul Naybour on . Posted in SEO Tips

Search Engine Optimisation by DIY is it possible for small businesses?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) companies can charge tens of thousands of pounds to help get you web site optimised and help you get that all important first page ranking. This is far beyond the reach on many start up or small businesses. They keep the tricks of the trade very secret. In fact the steps to good SEO are very simple. At Parallel Project Training we have been doing our own SEO since launching in October 2009, and in a very short time we get good first page results for some of our specific key words such as “APMP Distance Learning“APMP Study Guide” and “APM Project Management Training” ranking with companies with multi-million pound turnovers and major SEO budget. Without spending a fortune, just by creating an interactive and interesting site and some simple SEO tips.

Step by Step Guide to Small Business Search Engine Optimisation?

The six steps to successful small business SEO:
  1. Select your keywords with care.
  2. Design you website to clearly align with your keywords. (Other way around? “Design your keywords to clearly align with your website/business.”)
  3. Create good, dynamic content and keep it fresh. Perhaps consider adding a blog.
  4. Create back links by writing relevant articles, publishing press releases, joining relevant forums, commenting on blogs in relevant areas, publishing videos on YouTube and podcasts on iTunes. Pay to join some of the key directories.
  5. Build community customers who interact with your website using social media tools and use e-mail to keep them engaged.
Finally check out some of the high ranking back links your larger competitors are using. You won’t beat them this way but you may get some good hints and tips. Much of this work can be done by hand or by using free web tools. However I have found Web CEO is ideal for the small business. It takes you through each step and can keep records of you ranking and back link trends. The basic version as used by SEO companies if free version is ideal for a small business, http://www.webceo.com/

Tip number 1) Select your keywords to find you niche.

On one hand there is no point spending lots of time building a website if no-one visits it to see your work. On the other hand there is no point trying to get to the top of Google for really common search terms such as “holidays” if for example you are a small travel agency. So you are trying to find a niche that balance two things:
  1. Number of searches for your keyword(s) in a month (the more searches the better).
  2. Number of competing web sites (the less sites the better).
Many tools combine these to give a Key Word Effectiveness Index by dividing the number of searches by the competing sites. One of the best comes from Google Key Word Research Tool The higher KWE the easier it will be to get a good ranking and good traffic. e.g
Key Words Global Searches per month Number of competing sites KWE
sharm el sheikh holidays 418,300 1,200,000 83
Holidays 1,655,700 121,000,000 26
tenerife holidays 418,300 2,300,000 160
ski holidays 237,300 11,700,000 7
direct holidays 242,900 2,600,000 5
  This means it will be much easier to build a site which gets good traffic and has less competition if you focus on “Tenerife holidays” first, always assuming you sell Tenerife holidays. Even so you will have to compete with another 2 million sites, so it is well worth while spending some time finding the key words that relate to you business and have a reasonable amount of traffic but are not too competitive maybe “Tenerife walking holidays” for example. If you are a local business, then make sure you include your geographic location in the key words.

Tip 2: Design your site to communicate clearly to the search engines and your visitors what your site is about.

A number of key elements help the search engines understand what your web page is all about and your key words need to be included in these sections. Important elements are: Domain Name has a really important factor on search ranking. Consider setting up a site with the key words in the domain name e.g. www.tenerife-walking-holidays.com Meta Tags are descriptions in the header of the page which are not shown on the page but help the search engines to understand the pages contents. To see them in Internet Explorer, simply “right click” on the page and click “view source”. Most content management systems have fields where you can set the title for each page. These include:
  1. The page title
    This is the text that appears in the title tab for your page. It is also the title that Google will pick up so make it meaning full and ensure it contains your key words e.g. The key words have more importance if they come first but make it sensible and standalone summary of your page theme.
  2. Meta Descriptions
    These are labels that Google uses to understand you pages. They include the title, description and meta key words. The title and meta description are the most important and you key words should appear early and possibly several times in the description.
  3. Header
    Like headers in a word document then the headers on a web page tell Google and visitors what the site is all about. So you should make sure you key works are well represented in the headings (H1) and subheading used on you web page.
  4. Image Labels
    Images that you used on the web page have labels which are buried in the code. You can see these if you point at the image before you click on them. Again, your keywords should be shown in these image descriptions.

Tip 3 Create good content and keep it dynamic (add a blog to your site an keep it fresh)

Goggle loves websites which are frequently updated and have fresh engaging content. One way the achieve this is to set up a blog to post news and updated information about your company. A discussion forum can also generate lots of live content. Blogs are easy to establish and generating one post a week will significantly improve the quality of your site. It is easy to integrate a blog with you twitter account so that you can alert a community of new posts.

Tip 4 Create back links by writing relevant article, publishing press releases, joining relevant forums, commenting on blogs in relevant areas, and pay to join some of the key directories.

 

Generate real news press releases and publish then on some of the better PR sites such as www.i-newswire.com and www.1888pressrelease.com. It can be worth paying the $49 for premium release.

Avoid the cheap link sites all over the web, you will get a bad name.

Register you company on Google maps.

Advertise and swap back links with people in your local business network.

Write and publish articles which contain your key words on the main article sites

http://www.buzzle.com/

http://ezinearticles.com/

Search for relevant blogs and comment on articles including a back link to your site.

Tip 5 Build community customers who interact with your website using social media tools and use e-mail to keep them engaged.

Building you own online community can be a very powerful way of engaging with customers. Today it is easy to build Facebook like functionally into you website so that you customers and share the areas of interest. This can be as simple as a newsletter, user forum of a fully interactive community.

One of the Best Site Map Tools from http://www.xml-sitemaps.com

Written by Tristan Whittaker on . Posted in SEO Tips

The generation and publishing of website sitemaps is quite often underestimated, yet it one of the most important things a website owner should do in order to help the navigation of both it’s users and the search engines. A sitemap is quite simply a map showing the structure of your website. There are basically two types of sitemap, one is a HTML sitemap which is readable to human visitors and helps them navigate through your website, the other is a XML Sitemap which helps the search engines navigate through the site. There are many advantages to using sitemaps, for example:
  • they help simplify website navigation for both visitors and search engines
  • they help the search engines accurately index your site content
  • they help advise the search engines how frequently your content changes and when it was last modified
Generating a sitemap is relatively straight forward, but absolutely essential for effective search engine optimisation.  One on the best tools is at http://www.xml-sitemaps.com. Here you can use their free online sitemap generator to build your sitemap by simply entering your website address and hitting the “Start” button. For larger websites with more than 500 pages, they also have an unlimited sitemap generator script available for just: $19.99. Whether you use the free or unlimited generator, this is a fantastic tool for simplifying the process of generating a high quality sitemap of your website for the search engines. The unlimited version contains may extra features well worth the small extra cost. It gives you much more control over the pages that are added to (or excluded from) your site map, automatically updates your site map for you every week, pings Google when you have a new site map and finally it will help you find and fix broken links can be a bit of a nightmare, but this tool makes it a simple task by presenting you with a link to the page that the broken link is on. Since sorting out our site maps our site has jumped three places in Google and that’s a bargain for only $19.99.

The Importance of Fresh Content to Search Engine Ranking

Written by Paul Naybour on . Posted in SEO Tips

We have just discovered the importance of fresh content to search engine ranking with one of our client sites Parallel Project Training. One small change to get fresh content on the home page has boosted our ranking from position 15 in the middle of page 2 to position 3 on the first page in Google. We already had a very active blog t which we post news and article almost every week. All we did was feed a summary of the first 50 words of these posts on the the bottom of our home page/Hey presto we had fresh content on the home page every week. Even better Google now seems to find the blog posts even faster. An easy change but a significant improvement in rankings. Another SEO tip from SBSEO

The Power Of Article Marketing For SEO

Written by Tristan Whittaker on . Posted in SEO Tips

Quality Backlinks from Articles One of the most effective ways to build high-quality backlinks is through article writing and publishing to high-ranking, “Do Follow” directories. There are plenty of other good quality directories that we would suggest using (eg. Buzzle, Suite101) and these not only give high quality backlinks but also good referrals to the site. At SBSEO we are experienced in article writing on a range of topics and can pretty much write about anything to a high standard. But as experienced SEO consultants, we can also ensure that all articles are fully utilised to gain maximum advantage within the major search engines. By this we mean establishing links in a strategic way so that, not only are they deep links with effective anchor text but there are also links between your articles to increase your website’s “authority” on the search engines. This interlinking is similar to a “link wheel” but unlike link wheels uses only good quality content. When we published articles our emphasis is firmly on providing good, useful content as experience has shown that this is the most successful way to get articles reproduced (with links in place) on relevant sites. So very quickly the number of backlinks is increased beyond simply the published article, then the reputation and authority of your site will grow naturally to further improve your rankings. Other Quality Backlinks As well as writing and publishing articles, we can setup and maintain several blogs for each client and write and distribute press releases. We would typically set up a new blog (WordPress or Blogger) each month, related to you web site as well as commenting on existing blogs. Quantity of Backlinks It is not the number of backlinks that is important but the quality of the backlinks. However, the quantity of backlinks compared to your competitors is important. So we would also build up numbers of backlinks from reliable sources such as directories, relevant forums and social media sites such as Digg to establish further high-quality backlinks. We can also ensure your site is bookmarked on a range of Social Network sites such as Delicious. We provide a professional service with regular reports and are fluent in spoken and written English so we can guarantee publication of our articles to high-quality directories.

3 Ways To Use Twitter For Social Media Marketing

Written by Tristan Whittaker on . Posted in SEO Tips

TwitterTwitter is one of the current top three social networking websites at the moment, the other two being Facebook (#1) and MySpace (#2). With an estimated 75 million users and more than 50 million “tweets” a day, it’s hardly suprising many businesses are using this microblogging platform to communicate with their customers and promote their business. Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read other user messages called “tweets”. Tweets are text based posts of up to 140 characters in length, displayed on the authors profile page. By default, tweets are publicly visible are used to share stories, links, photos, promote content and break news. Twitter has therefore become a vital tool for Social Media Marketing, in fact, a comonly heard phrase nowadays is “Twitter Marketing”! Here a three quick ways you can use twitter to market your business using Twitter: 1. Sharing links on Twitter Twitter makes it incredibly quick and easy way to share links with your followers. Although limited to just 140 characters, when sharing links many Twitter applications (such as Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop) make use of URL shortening services like bit.ly to help save you characters in your tweet. Sharing links on Twitter is a great way to incourage traffic and discussion. 2. Building Your Network on Twitter Using Twitter is a great way to build your network & online community because it allows you to find and follow people with similar interests. 3. Redistributing Content on Twitter Twitter can be used to redistribute the content from your blog or website. There are many plugins and extensions that allow you to automatically tweet a link to your new content on your website or blog when it is published. Don’t forget, you can follow SBSEO on twitter @SB_SEO! Have you got any more great tips for Twitter Marketing? If so, let us know in the comments below…

Top 5 SEO Tips For WordPress

Written by Tristan Whittaker on . Posted in SEO Tips

WordpressWordPress is a fantastic blogging tool and publishing platform, but is it optimised out of the box for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? Well, despite the fact that the search engines tend to love websites built on the WordPress platform, it isn’t particularly well optimised with a default installation. In the default WordPress installation, it does not include meta tags such as meta description and meta keywords. If you want to supply search engines with specific information, relevant to your websites pages, you are going to have to add the meta tag data yourself. From my own experience with WordPress and getting WordPress based websites ranking well in the search engines, here are my Top 5 SEO Tips for WordPress: 1. Title Tags The title tag will probably always be one of the most important factors in on page search engine optimisation to achieve high rankings in the search engines. It has been shown that just “tweaking” your title tags a little can help increase the number of times your link is clicked in a search engine. The title tag should contain specific keywords or key phrases relevant to the page content. Originally WordPress placed the blog name before the post title. For example: “My WordPress Blog » Hello world!” In more recent versions of WordPress, the  post title appears before the blog title like “Hello world! » My WordPress Blog”. There has been some debate as to whether it is necessary to have your blog name tagged onto the end of your post title, some people have even reported that removing the blog title from post titles can help improve your rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPS). The main advantage of not including your blog title in the post title, is that it keeps the length of your title at a more reasonable number of characters. Where possible, I always try to keep my titles to less than 70 characters or so. Obviously, having your blog name on the end of your page title may dramatically increase the number of characters in your title. To change the way your title tags work on your blog, I would strongly suggest using one of the following WordPress plugins: All in One SEO Pack or Platinum SEO Pack. Personally, I use the Platinum SEO Pack, although both plugins are very simillar. To change your title tags with Platinum SEO Pack, simply go to your WordPress Admin page, and click the “Platinum SEO” link in the left hand sidebar. Here’s how I have set the main three title settings for this website:
Home Title: Small Business Search Engine Optimisation Post Title: %post_title% Page Title: %page_title% | %blog_title%
I would suggest you have a look at the other options this plugin provides and tweak them to your requirements. 2. Meta Tags There are three main components to meta tage: meta title, meta keywords & meta description. The meta title will be taken from your post/page title and if you are using appropriate, relevant titles, there is little need to adjust this with one of the previously mentioned plugins. When looking at the results for your query in search engines, you will see a section of  content from your page beneath the page link. By customising the meta description tag for the page, you have control over what is shown in the search engine results. Your meta description should be concise and relevant, remember, after the title (link) to your page in the SERPS, your post description needs to encourage people to click the link to your site, so make sure your meta description is appropriate to your content. This is also a good opportunity to include one or more of your keywords/keyphrases. Try to limit your meta description to less than 200 characters. *It is worth pointing out that a few months ago, Google announced that it no longer takes into account meta keywords when ranking websites. Despite this, I still think it is good practice to accuratley specify your keywords for your post or page. Platinum SEO has a nifty little option that will allows you to use categories or tags for meta keywords. This may be useful to some users, but if you only post in a few categories, you may be better specifying your meta keywords on a post specific basis. Try to be focused with your keywords, aim for 4 – 6 keywords per page, although you can specify more meta keywords if you desire. 3. Heading Tags As I have discussed in this blog post: The Importance Of Heading Tags, Heading tags are a crucial part of a well optimised page. Where possible, you should only include one H1 tag in a page (usually the title), but you may have multiple occurances of tags H2 – H6. In rare circumstances, it may be appropriate to have more than one H1 tag within a page, for example where you discuss two equally important, clearly defined topics. The H1 tag should surround the main heading/title of the page relevant to the content and should be positioned at the top of the content (not in the header or sidebar, but at the top of the main content area). For example, if you sell fruit, and you have an article or page about “Apples”, this should be in your H1 tags. If you discuss various types of apples within this page, you might use H2 or H3 tags for these sub-headings eg “Golden Delicious” or “Granny Smith”. Using Heading tags will help the search engines determine the importance of the words in your content when it crawls your site. 4. Permalinks Permalinks are URLs that point to specific blog posts and remain the same indefinitely. A permalink is what another blogger may use to link to your blog post, article or category, or how you might send a link to your blog post in an e-mail. More importantly, it is the link the search engines will use to identify your blog post, page or article. It is commonly accepted that keywords in the permalink can help contribute to a pages, posts or articles position in the search engines. Optimizing the WordPress permalink structure is one aspect of WordPress Search Engine Optimisation that most users can do to configure a more desirable, readable permalink structure. There are three basic types of WordPress permalinks: default, mod_rewrite & pathinfo. Default WordPress Permalinks The default WordPress permalink looks like:
http://exampledomain.com/?p=N
where N is the Post ID number. It works on all server environments, but it doesn’t look as nice as some of the other options. mod_rewrite WordPress Permalinks Using mod_rewrite you can produce much nicer permalinks. There are many different formats, but the most common, and most commonly used looks like
http://domainexample.com/category/post-name/
This permalink structure is sometimes referred to as “Pretty permalinks” and is most commonly used on Apache web servers with the mod_rewrite module. Pathinfo WordPress permalinks Pathinfo permalinks look very much like mod_rewrite (pretty) permalinks but they have /index.php inserted before them, for example:
http://domainexample.com/index.php/yyyy/mm/dd/post-name/
Otherwise, they are the same as the “pretty” mod_rewrite permalinks, and are similarly flexible. It’s very easy to change your WordPress permalink structure by going to Settings -> Permalinks in your Worpress admin panel. You can select one of the options using the radio buttons on the screen. To use “pretty permalinks”, you need to select the “Custom Structure” option and specify how you want the structure to be. WordPress provides numerous options for the custom structure  but the most commonly used custom structure by bloggers is:
/%category%/%postname% /
Permalinks are easy to set up and can influence how your blog is found & seen in the search engines. 5. Sitemaps The generation and plublishing of website sitemaps is quite often underestimated. There are basically two types of sitemap, one is a HTML sitemap which is readable for human visitors and helps them navigate throughout the website, the other is a XML Sitemap which helps the search engine spiders navigate through the site. There are many advantages to using sitemaps, for example: - they help simplify website navigation for both visitors and search engines - they help the search engines accuratley index your site content - they help advise the search engines how frequently your content changes and when it was last modified Sitemap generation in WordPress can be achieved easily using one of various plugins available. One of the most popular plugins for generating Google sitemaps is: Google XML Sitemaps. This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask etc to better index your blog. Usage of this plugin is nice and straight forward, simply install the plugin, then navigate to Settings -> XML-Sitemap in your WordPress admin panel and build the sitemap the first time. The plugin will automatically update your sitemap every time you publish a new post. It also worth telling Google exactly where your sitemap is, you can do this using the Google Webmaster Tools.

Clean Up Your HTML and CSS Code

Written by Tristan Whittaker on . Posted in SEO Tips

One of the biggest problems with having messy code is that your website may not be displayed as intended in different browsers as browsers can read the HTML code and CSS differently. It is therefore highly recommended that you ensure your website code is as clean and tidy as possible. Here are just a few reasons why you should clean up your HTML code:
  • Search engine spiders find it easier to crawl and index your site if the code is clean.
  • Cross browser compatibility
  • Faster page  loading times
  • Better accessibility
You may also find that your website will start to rank better in the search engines if your website complies with the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) web standards. It is important to check all your pages validate, not just your homepage! W3C The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) provide tools to help you check that the code on your site is valid & error free. The W3C is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. Here are the links to help validate your code: W3C HTMLValidator – This vaildator will give you advice on HTML errors it finds in your page and help you fix them. W3C CSS Validator - This vaildator will give you advice on CSS errors it finds in your page and help you fix them.

On-line facts

Next time you run a Google search, think about the fact that it’s just one of 2 million that Google will receive in that minute. In the same amount of time, Facebook users post 684,478 pieces of content. Crazier still, online shoppers spend an average of $272,070 every minute. That’s over $391 million every day — quite the chunk of change.

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