Search Engine Optimisation, also known as SEO, is the techy way of describing how to make the most of a website’s online visibility. Imagine you have purchased a house that was in desperate need of repair. How would you go about getting it to look it’s best?
There are various things that you could do. You could: replace the windows, build an extension, re-plaster the walls inside out and landscape the garden. After completing these jobs, the house would serve better as a home. It would also be more comfortable and functional. That’s what SEO is. It’s a way of making the purpose of a website work better and be found by people looking for it.
If you have a website, blog or online store, SEO can help your business grow and get your business found online. SEO techniques vary. It’s a good idea to make sure that you put in place the basic strategies and check them regularly. The process of optimisation is not a one-time process. It requires regular maintenance and fine tuning alongside continuous testing and monitoring.
SEO can increase the quality of a website by making it user friendly, faster and easier to navigate. In today’s competitive market, undertaking SEO is more important than ever. Search engines serve millions of users per day. They look for answers to questions and solutions to their problems. The job of a search engine is to come up with the best options for its users. When applied correctly, good SEO will bring in online traffic and grow your customer base.
The following is a list of some SEO techniques that you can apply to your site:
- Your competitors are doing it
If your competitors appear above you in organic search, it’s likely that they are applying SEO techniques. If it can work for them, it can work for you too. Invest time doing it yourself or employing someone to do it for you.
Backlinking is a key feature of Search Engine Optimisation. Also known as ‘incoming links’ and ‘inbound links’. This is when a link from an external website is directed towards yours. Websites that link to a variety of authoritative sites will rank higher in search engine results pages compared to those who have links to sites that are not as powerful. Getting it right is key.
If you have inbound links on your site that don't relate to the content on the page, they will be considered irrelevant. Your website could be penalised. The higher the relevancy of inbound links, the greater their quality.
- Internal linking
Linking to related articles, or pages, on your own website helps search engines better understand the importance and topical focus of each page. Creating links this way assists Google in determining the relevancy of your website. The more people like and share your content, the more visibility you’ll receive from these social media channels. As you develop quality backlinks, it will help to boost and sustain your rankings over the long term.
- Back end SEO
Complete the page title, page description and meta keywords for each page of your website. Search engine algorithms select websites with keywords that match the users search terms.
- Page titles
Keyword-based titles help establish page theme and direction for your keywords. Choose a title that reads naturally and effectively. Make sure it communicates the topic of the page’s content.
- Meta tags
Meta description tags can influence click-throughs but aren't used for rankings. Meta tags contain keywords or phrases alerting search engines of a website's content.
- Place strategic search phrases on pages
Integrate selected keywords into your website's content. Make sure the tone sounds natural. Doing this will help the search engines quickly determine what the page is about.
- Sign up your websites to online directories
Find directories where you can list your business for free. This method will get links to your website quickly and naturally. It also helps get your site indexed by the search engines. Start with directories such as yelp, Yellow Pages and Thomson Local.
It’s important to continually review the movement of your website. Where does it sit alongside your competitors? You will achieve good results if you consistently undertake these SEO principles. A common mistake is to focus on the quantity, rather than the quality, of backlinks. If you’ve ranked for a particular keyword, there is no need to build excessive backlinks to that page. Google can detect if a site is gaining links at an unreasonable pace. Building links too fast is like waving a red flag that can potentially get your website closed down. If you want to maintain your keyword ranking, try to expand your inbound links to the various pages on your site. This strategy will diversify your backlinking profile and increase your website authority.
If this sounds confusing, fear not. The team at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing, would love to help fix your website with some SEO TLC. Give us a call on 01708 578 015
Last week, 13 July, Christine Huntingford from Perfect Layout Digital Marketing was invited to give a presentation at the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) breakfast meeting, where members and visitors attended. She thought long and hard about what to talk to them about and decided to make it an interactive session with the participants and let them know in 10 minutes, after a few simple checks, whether their website was working well for their business and whether their website and digital marketing need some real Tender Loving Care (TLC).
Firstly, to get a sense of their initial thoughts she asked the following questions:
This gave everyone a moment to reflect not only if were they genuinely happy with their current service, but also to validate if this was a way in which they were bringing in customers.
Now we know its all very easy to think that everything is fine with our website, but how do we really know? Well, these next simple tasks can reveal whether your website is working for you. You can do this for your site at any time.
Open your search browser for the internet and look for your business, by type and location. Please don’t type in your company name but instead type in say ‘Accountants in Romford’.
Is your company is listed on page one?
If it is that’s great news. Potential customers have a chance of finding you and calling up your business.
For those of you that didn’t appear on page one, you may need to think about how to improve the content of your website to help you to be found.
Whilst before you were asked not to type in your company name into the browser, this time, do exactly that. For example, for our Company it would be, ‘Perfect Layout Digital Marketing’.
Can you see the Google My Business (GMB) listing for your business? Can you also see photos, posts and full details about your company? Do you have reviews?
If it’s a ‘yes’ for all of that, that is excellent! You are on track with taking full advantage of GMB’s latest updates and features.
If you didn’t, Perfect Layout can help you either set up a Google My Business, or help you enhance what you already have there.
Keeping the page that you had open for task 2, now scroll down the results page, do you have your business listed in external directories? Such as Yell, Thomson, Netmums, or any online directory for your sector?
If you have more than 3 external directory listings, you are doing well, these connections on external sites help give your website relevancy and demonstrate that you are an active business.
If you are not listed on any external directories, it is recommended that this strategy is employed in order to help your business get found.
Does your website have a blog section? If it does, was the last post published within the last month?
If this is you - congratulations! You are doing a good job of sharing news about your company’s activities and products to your community.
If you don’t, get in touch with Perfect Layout about the benefits of a blog, which can help your website rank better.
Being on external directories can improve your online visibility with prospective clients.
Having a blog section is an opportunity to update your community on what you are doing and makes your business more authoritative.
In the second half of the presentation we introduced an alternative strategy for phone-based businesses who don’t have the money to invest in a new website or redesign of their current website - but need to be earning more money and secure new customers.
To clarify, a phone-based business is when people would call you as their primary way of contacting you, rather than via email or walking into your business premises.
Let’s imagine the following:
Our client, a dentist, gets some enquiries from his website, but he would like more. His family is growing and they need a bigger house, but what he is currently earning isn’t quite enough to be able to move, just yet. He doesn’t have the money to rebuild his website and invest in keyword-rich content.
However, as a phone-based business, he has the option of securing potential customers through a customer generating website that’s run by a digital marketing agency. This website will generate new contacts specifically for his business by creating a new website free of charge. It will be found organically on the top pages of search engines and could bring him that extra revenue that he is looking for. From these new clients there’s a high likelihood of them becoming repeat customers, who will visit for check-ups, as well as the need for ad hoc additional treatments. Fabulous recurring revenue for years to come.
It’s a no brainer – so where's the catch? It’s simply a matter of paying a small fee to the digital marketing agency for each enquiry that comes via that website.
If this has struck a chord with you and you would like your business to build up its client base and recurring customers, give us a call today to talk about whether your niche would suit such a website.
Christine Huntingford, CEO, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing will be one of the guest speakers at the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (HCCI) breakfast meeting in July.
Many business owners are busy working ‘in’ their business and rarely take the time to work ‘on’ their business. Are you one of them?
When was the last time you really looked at your website? Does it really work for you in the way that you want it to - i.e. are you getting leads from it? Do you know how easy it is for potential customers to find you? Is your social media activity where it should be?
We all know that there is more that we can, and should, do. Often the, ‘time thief’, prevents us from taking action. But there are simple and relatively quick things that you can implement (if you haven’t already) that can make a big difference. Some elements cost you time, not money. And those that do cost money, can be scaled to what is affordable for you.
Come along on Friday 13 July to the Havering Museum in Romford and join the members and guests of the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry to hear Christine share ways for you to check if your website is easily found (or not) and things that you can implement quickly.
The meeting starts at 7:30am for networking and the speakers will be presenting between 8am and 9am. There is a further opportunity to network until 9:30am.
Guests welcome: £10 on the door.
If you have accessed your Google My Business (GMB) listing recently you may have noticed some changes. Whilst you may think, ‘here we go again, another thing to add to my to-do list’ it is worth taking the time to update your profile and ensure that everything is relevant and fresh.
If you are a small business you will know that reaching a wide customer base can be tricky. With this free-to-use profile, invest the time to make your business shine. Be one of the leaders in this change making sure that your profile is singing your praises from the rooftops.
If you haven’t created a Google My Business listing, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing recommends that you do. Not only does it show the essence of what your business has to offer, but the new features means that this platform is more attractive than before.
Why is local SEO so important?
If you are a local business, local SEO could have a huge impact on the success or failure of your business. You can use local SEO to outrank the competition. The relevant information is accessible for everyone to take advantage of and whilst many local businesses spend their time running their business, digital marketing is usually at the bottom of their list of things to do.
For companies making use of local SEO and in the case of Google My Business, taking advantage of the new features demonstrates to potential customers that they are: staying up-to-date, that they are knowledgeable and well-informed and that they are taking strides to separate themselves from the competition. The result is that it can help secure potential customers more easily. Would you like this to be you?
So what’s new with the Google My Business Listing?
This is a snapshot of the most important information that a potential customer may be interested in The information section includes opening hours, reviews, address, phone number etc.
Ok, so what’s so great about the description feature? Well it’s back! And that IS exciting. When Google My Business was called Google Places, the description section about your company was available, but then they took it away. Now all businesses have the opportunity to describe the wonder of their business on GMB in 750 words or less. Make sure you spend time writing a description that will attract customers to engage with you.
In 2017, Google released a new messaging feature, which allows you to 'live message' with customers directly from the search results page. So if a customer has a quick question, when you have this function enabled they can send you a message and in an instant you can reply…talk about fabulous customer service before they have even come to you!
If your information changes, like your business location, name, or telephone number, Google will allow you to easily make updates to your dashboard. This is another feature that they once removed but has resurfaced again and it is this tool that will help you make changes more easily.
Yes Google My Business Photos has added video content as a feature. Posting videos on your listing can help encourage customers to stay on your listing for longer and therefore find out more about you. These videos can give you the edge to your competitors. Currently, video clips are limited to 30 seconds in length and they will feature next to the photo section.
If the business you own is a restaurant and your listing is categorised as a restaurant (vs a café or bistro), Google have been thinking hard about you guys. Restaurant owners can now add and edit menus on their Google My Business listing. There is now a facility that will allow you to categorise the food into sections, such as starters, mains and desserts, as well as adding descriptions and prices.
Again, this is a powerful tool that can help you stand out from the crowd. Why is your restaurant different from the others in your area, what makes you special? Do you have something unique? Do you have special offers? Remember to include as much information as you can to help you stand out and get the diners through the door.
‘Posts’ is the most exciting feature that looks to have a big impact on local businesses and their local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. The feature will allow businesses to quickly connect with customers, both new and old, in a unique and attention grabbing way.
Posts allow you to share content with people who are searching for terms related to your business. It can be seen as a cross between social media marketing and search engine optimisation. It not only allows you to increase the visibility of your business, it also offers a way in which you can give deeper information about your services and products, that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. You can also post links to your website and include call to action buttons like ‘Buy’ or ‘Learn More’. Using Posts also helps you to get more of the organic search impressions and clicks.
When you decide to include Posts on Google as part of your local SEO strategy, remember that this task will never stop. This is another beast that will need constant feeding. However, it is worth giving it a try. What have you got to lose versus how much do you have to gain?
If all of this just seems too much, help is at hand. Give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call on 01708 578015, or fill out the quick form below so we can get in touch with you.
If you complete this form, we will only contact you to ask you about GMB listings.
Google My Business (GMB) is a directory listing platform connected to the search engine Google. Because Google is one of the most popular search engines used by internet users, it’s worthwhile entering your details onto this directory so that your business can be found.
We’ve written about the importance of entering your business onto local directories before, but to recap, here are some of the benefits you can reap if you take the time to list your business:
• You don’t have to pay - many directories (including GMB) offer free listings
• Your business will begin to be more visible and as a result found more easily by search engines
• Once search engines see your various listings, they will view you as being trustworthy and more credible than someone who isn’t listed
• Your rankings when searched for will improve over those who aren’t listed
Listing your business on GMB is relatively quick and easy to do. It’s free and can be completed even if your business doesn’t have an address. You have the option of adding a brief description of your services/products (750 characters) as well uploading images relating to your business.
Unlike some directory facilities, GMB now allows you to let people have more up to the minute details of what your business is doing by posting your latest news. If your current website doesn’t have a blog – why not use this facility to offer insights into your business instead?
Reviews are also a prominent feature and this aspect is presented when your GMB shows. Don’t overlook the importance of following up with customers that have used your services and/or products and asking them for a testimonial. Nowadays it’s the norm for people to research companies they are thinking about using and reading reviews forms a big part of this decision making process. Satisfied customers and high star ratings will bring new customers your way and GMB offers you the opportunity to respond to comments that are great as well as those that could be better.
Other information that can be uploaded onto GMB includes:
Once live, a link to your business is automatically created on Google Maps and Google Search which provides two other platforms where your business can be searched for.
GMB also logs the traffic visiting your listing and provides data on:
If you like the sound of what you’ve read, but haven’t got the time to list your business, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call. Our services include listing businesses onto all different types of directories.
Whilst having a well-constructed, informative website has the obvious benefits of helping promote your business, you can’t underestimate the need to engage with your customers in other ways and on other online platforms.
Engaging on at least one social media platform like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest Google+ and Facebook is a must to get your brand known and the services in your business used by new and repeat customers. These platforms allow you to distribute your business ideas and talk about your services and/or products in a way that entertains and informs the customer.
Facebook, is a platform that you may already be engaged in socially. Sharing your personal information, photos of your latest holiday or passing on clips of a silly video is easy to master. On the other hand, if you have or are thinking about creating a business page to promote your wares – you will have to think deeper about how to encourage people to view, like and share what you’ve posted.
I wanted to keep this blog simple and basically offer some ideas of what you can talk about week in week out to promote your business page on Facebook. This list is also good enough to use on other social media sites, so pick your theme appropriate to the platform you're using and get writing.
You have no excuse but to get into the habit of spreading your news.
The following ideas have been taken from another source that proved to be an excellent read….Enjoy creating!
Whether you’re a small start-up business or an established company looking to increase your profits being visible must be one of your primary objectives if you want to achieve this goal.
Spreading the word about what you do, the service you provide and the products you sell can be done in a variety of ways and advertising in print still a popular option. This can be accomplished through:
If you have a shop on your local high street, you will continually be advertising your brand with your logo above the door and your wares in the front window. But how many of us have a traditional shop front to be visible to passers-by?
The fact is, the way we shop is changing with an increasing number of high street shops going out of business every day. In 2016 there were a reported 15 shop closures a day across the UK and online shopping is one of the factors contributing to this outcome. With the demise of the traditional physical shop and the increase in businesses going online, the way one advertises a business has transformed. Having an online website window can offer far more sophisticated ways to reach an endless, much broader, supply of customers potentially from around the world.
Print advertising not working for you? Then try something new…
Networking is a way of getting your company advertised by business owners and being open to doing the same for someone else’s business. If directly reaching out to like-minded businesses isn’t your thing, or if talking to friends, family and strangers fills you with dread, one option (to start you off gently) is to go to a conference. They are full of people open to being spoken to, having an exchange of ideas and maybe most important of all - exchanging contact details. Who knows, you could be talking to the next Bill Gates!
The Perfect Layout team recently attended the free Mums Enterprise Roadshow event in London and we were delighted to see how many people attended. There were numerous stands offering various services and franchises and talks given by industry experts every half an hour. It provided the perfect opportunity to have a chat with other aspiring individuals who were keen to follow their passion and soak up as much information as possible. Whilst the topics were of a preliminary advisory level, looking beyond this, it was a brilliant place to do some networking and get our name known! Read more about our experience here.
Online social networking involves working from social media platforms such as, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have something interesting and unique to say about what you do, then use these methods to get your message out there.
As long as you stay within the terms and conditions of each social media platform, you will be able to attract new and repeat customers through what you say. You can also run advertising campaigns, gain followers and engage deeply with your customers and get to know them. They then ‘like’ or recommend what you’re offering, your credibility and reputation grows and so will your visibility and profits. The cost for using this method is mainly your time. You really do get out, what you put in, so make the effort (or hire someone to do it for you!) and start writing.
2 Google AdWords
If spending money on advertising is not a problem, running a Google AdWords campaign is another option to increasing your visibility. Also known as Pay-per-Click (PPC), it allows you to be seen above your competitors when a search is made using keywords related to your business. A big plus is that you can track the number of clicks people make on your advert, measure the cost and pay Google only made when a customer visits your website.
The cons of undertaking a Google AdWords campaign are that you need to really understand your business, your customers and, to a certain extent, how the internet works. For example, what words will people use when searching for your business? Choose those terms and then you can set your budget. If you have numerous search terms then your budget will need to be set accordingly. It may take a while to see a return on your investment (ROI), but over time, with some tweaking, this can be achieved.
3 List on local directories
If your business hasn’t done so already, claim your spot on online directories like Google My Business, Yahoo Local and Bing. There are many others, all free, including Thomson Local, Yell and Yelp. They all help increase your visibility when search engines like Google and Bing, crawl the internet looking for sites that your website is linked to. If your business is cited on these directories, the search engines will see this and view you as being more trustworthy and credible than someone who isn’t listed. The result – your rankings improve.
4 Blogging and Newsletters
Another way of getting your website more visible is to Blog or provide regular Newsletters for your customers. The more regularly you post, the greater your rate of online traffic will be. Depending on your type of business, this may be easier said than done. It’s important to gauge the type of things your audience may want to hear about against your ability to provide them with interesting ways to share your expertise. So, get creative and start writing about how the life of your business can add value to the life of your customers.
So, step out of your comfort zone and try one of these techniques. If you want your business to be more visible online you must develop ways of reaching your customers. If investing in social media platforms isn’t your thing, then take the time to master something else first. You’ll probably surprise yourself with your own creativity and ability at thinking outside the box. The more confident you become, the more skills you’ll attain and the more your business will benefit.
If you need help with that journey – you know where we are.
When was the last time you went to a conference to network?
On 25 September 2017, the Mums Enterprise Roadshow event came to London. The Perfect Layout team took time out of their busy schedule to go and assess the event and see if any networking opportunities presented themselves.
Located in the London Business Design Centre close to Angel tube station, we arrived to see a queue of women already eagerly waiting to see what the day had in store for them and what new opportunities would arise. The uniqueness of this event was present early with the audience (mostly women) carrying babies on their fronts, backs and in buggies.
The atmosphere was one of anticipation and expectation (in between the background din of babies babbling) as the welcoming atmosphere embraced the almost playpen-like environment. It was refreshing to see how relaxed everyone was and feel the excitement of this day - potentially being the day that their life would change forever.
The main area was full of stalls offering women part-time and full-time opportunities of work. Flexible work that would allow them, if required, to fit around childcare. There were also franchises to be purchased for those wanting to take the plunge and truly be their own boss of something tried and tested. For those already in the throw of setting up their own business, there were companies offering outsourced services too.
The conference part of the event offered multiple tracks, where speakers changed every half an hour, talking about their areas of expertise. Many in the audience were frantically scribbling down their every word, in between offering their little ones a bite to eat or an iPad to keep them quiet.
Whilst we were there, we spoke to several interesting characters, but one in particular stood out. Her name was Poppy. A thirty-something from Hampstead Heath accompanied by her 3-year-old daughter. She was ready to go back to work, but not in her previous role as a Social Worker. She desired to have more kids in the future, but also wanted to start carving out something for her to work on now. Her dilemma was not knowing what she wanted to do. A feeling that resonates with so many of us. Do we ever truly work in an area that we love and enjoy until retirement?
She continued by saying that her passion was crocheting. She was able to crochet anything and everything. From an adult hat to baby booties for a newborn. She had sold some items through Etsy, had a Facebook page, but was at a loss as to how she could increase her visibility and actually begin making enough money so that she didn’t have to go back to work.
We told her about our business, Perfect Layout Digital Marketing. That we were a website company based in Romford, Essex, there to help small local companies across Essex and London to increase their visibility online.
We explained that having an e-commerce website was something that she should consider to really exploit her audience – which was effectively, the entire world wide web.
She would be able to display all her merchandise in categories and offer her clients a portal into what makes her company tick the way that it does. Having a website was a real must. It would allow her to have a blog and create interesting keyword rich content that would grow her followers. She was already on Facebook so we suggested that she join other social media platforms, like YouTube and Pinterest to optimise being seen. These platforms could then be linked back to her website where the full range of her merchandise could be viewed.
We also suggested that she put her business on local directories like Google My Business, Bing and Thomson Local. They were numerous other directories she could list her business on with the bonus of being all for free. The knock-on effect would be that search engines, like Google and Yahoo would see her business as being trustworthy and credible and rank her well.
Running a Google Adwords campaign was another way to be seen above competitors. It would allow you to set the budget and the keywords most likely to be searched for by your customer. As well as being seen above your competitors it works as a Pay Per Click which means that you only pay Google when a customer clicks on your advert.
Whilst these were all services that Perfect Layout were happy to do, we explained that a lot of it she would be able to do herself. Optimising her site (creating keyword rich content and backlinking to trustworthy external websites) may be something she could seek professional help with.
Poppy was a little overwhelmed at first, but grew more confident in understanding each aspect as we spoke over coffee. She was very grateful for our advice and felt empowered to know that her future could change if she decided to take the reins and explore the unknown.
But now she didn’t feel that she was quite so alone. She had the team at Perfect Layout to hold her hand and build up her knowledge about all things digital.
Perfect Layout Digital Marketing is based in Romford, Essex and helps local businesses to grow and develop their business through optimising their digital presence.
Is your website optimised for mobile?
If your website is a few years old, it might mean that your site isn’t optimised for mobile. How can you tell? Take a look at your website on a mobile device (phone or tablet). If it doesn’t automatically fit the screen and you need to expand the text in order to read the small font, then your site is not optimised for Google, which may harm your rankings.
Would you like more leads?
If your business is a little slow, think about how your website is performing. Do you get a lot of leads directly from your website or social media channels? If the answer is ‘not many’, then it could mean that your website could do with a makeover to ensure that the content on it and the keywords that you include are improved. We can help you with that.
We sit down with each and every business owner to find out how their business operates in order to find the right digital solution for them.
Our mission is to help local businesses expand and grow, if this is you, then give us a call on 01708 578 015.