PostHeaderIcon Google Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird is the new Google algorithm released to celebrate Google’s 15th birthday on 27th Sept.  It was rolled out around the end of August but they only announced it the day before their birthday.  Of course no one knows the full details of the algorithm but the rumors are going wild.

Hummingbird Google is trying to provide more accurate answers to search queries. It is aiming to really understand the intent of a query and provide more accurate answers.

Hummingbird will more indepthly consider question keyphrases such as “how” “when” “why” and “what” with the addition of content keywords.  So Hummingbird is trying to get more emphasis on the answers to these questions.  If you think about how smartphone use is growing and voice based search is increasing this is to help this area.  When using voice based search we are more likely to use natural language such as “how” “when” “why” and “what” and google is trying to return more relevant results.  This should benefit small and niche website providers to gain a higher page ranking when a precise and complex search phrase is used.

SMO – Social media optimization/optimisation
There is evidence that Google and other search engines look to these social platforms to help find relevant content.  It is thought that social signals such as sharing content is a great indication of valuable information on the web.  Social media optimisation is about getting people to converse, share and review via social platforms and then acting on the results which of course lead to potential sales.   #hashtag

Google authorship
Google wants to find content that is relevant and trusted and this means having authority.  Google’s Authorship markup is where you link your content to you Google + profile. Once Google authorship is established you will gain goodwill from your content when they are linked to and shared from other eputable sources with authority. This will allow your reputation and authority to grow within your relevant subject.

I will update this post with more info when I have more time and more evidence.

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PostHeaderIcon Google Authorship

The more authoritative you are in your chosen field and the better you will rank in Google. When you become a true authority in your chosen field you will gain great benefits including better SERPS, better conversions and portray an authority on your subject in the eyes of Google.

Google+ Account

You first need to set up a Google+ account. This is Google’s version of Facebook. You should register with your name and fill in the details of your website and any blogs you write for including any other sites that you publish to. You need to ensure you upload a photograph on your profile because this will show up in search results next to any page that you publish.

Google + page linked to website

To get credit from any content that is published on websites other than your own you need to add a byline that matches your Google+ profile name using the rel=”author” tag within the link. This will tell Google that you are author.

<a href=”[put your google+ profile_url here]?rel=author”>Google</a>

You can test it is working by putting your url in the box found here:
http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

The difference between rel=author vs rel=publisher is publisher is company related, author is person related.

For more help and advice visit this page:

http://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/authorship/

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PostHeaderIcon What is Link Bait?

Link bait is an extremely powerful form of marketing which can increase brand awareness. Link bait is something you give away that makes other websites owners want to link to you without you having to ask them. Generally it’s your content, your website or features on your site. If your website is the best in its niche with lots of interesting content, people will want to link to you. But as simple as these sounds it’s also very difficult.

If you sell products, offering them to people for free is a great form of link bait. There is a saying “the more you give; the more you get” which is true.  Having worked in SEO for 7 years I can vouch for this. The more you do for your business and website, the more you interact socially,  the more you will receive.  Facebook and all social media are powerful and great tools for business.  I often hear clients saying “I hate Facebook” or “I haven’t the time for twitter”, this is like saying “I don’t want to live in the 21st century”… but you want what it can bring ie, traffic and sales.  I am not going into the stats of how many people use social media these days, but its a lot.  So if you want to reach an audience you have to at least partake!

A good example is something I did with the Good Night Snoring Ring. I have been offering it free to people in the hope that it works for them and they write a review about it.  One happy receiver of this free ring happened to be an ex BBC journalist and she wrote a great review about the snoring ring. This was then was picked up by several newspapers and went viral. Here are some sites that picked up on the story:

Daily Mail
Telegraph
Hindustan Times

It wasn’t just newspapers, bloggers and many other sites around the world have picked up on the story are spreading it around via social media.

http://news.asiantown.net/r/29277/-50-Anti-snore-ring-that-gives-partner-silent-nights.html
http://uk.top99news.com/2013/04/05/cure-for-snoring-anti-snore-ring-thats-given-former-bbc-journalist-rosie-millard-silent-nights
http://health-fitness-solutions.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-anti-snoring-ring.html
http://pinterest.com/diamondwolfwolf/pins/?filter=likes
http://www.cleverskincare.com/a-good-night-s-sleep/good-night-anti-snoring-ring-1.html
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/130405/lifestyle-health-and-well-being/article/now-acupressure-ring-can-cure-snoring
http://lewrockwell.com/spl5/anti-snoring-ring.html
http://www.shoppersbase.com/35816/put-a-ring-on-it-if-you-want-to-stop-snoring
http://www.onenewspage.co.uk/n/Front+Page/74vspn0mo/Anti-snore-ring-that-given-Rosie-silent.htm
http://uk.top99news.com/2013/04/05/cure-for-snoring-anti-snore-ring-thats-given-former-bbc-journalist-rosie-millard-silent-nights

The list goes on and on.. many other sites which have rss feeds also previewed the news..

Link bait helps you because it creates more links to your site, which helps you to rank high in the search engines.  This sends potential customers to your website. SEO is not just about ranking top for every chosen keyword it’s about reaching more people and link bait does just this.

So on your website, give breaking news, write how-to guides, add photographs, give give give.. Love your website, and people will love to share it.  If you want some ideas for your own business give me a call on 01952 401849.

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PostHeaderIcon SEO for Dummies

I have just created a page titled SEO for Dummies on my freelance website.  I have tried to describe SEO in simple terms for those that just can’t get their head around it.  I will be adding to this page over time so that everything is covered.

So if you want to understand SEO in Laymans terms head over to that page.  If you still don’t get some of it, give me a call as I offer free advice.

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PostHeaderIcon How to be a Successful SEO Freelancer

Being a successful SEO freelancer is easy if you love SEO and are prepared to work hard. Also it helps if you’re good at it and understand the fundaments of how search engines work.  There are far too many SEO’s that don’t really know what they are doing.  I would class myself as a successful SEO freelancer.

How to be successful?

It’s like any business.  To be successful in business you have to be organised, disciplined, focused, and consistent.  And of course provide a great service.  Perseverance helps but if you’re passionate about your business and work hard, only success will be achieved.

How I did it
After graduating from University I worked for an SEO company.  I was there for 2 years and this was enough to learn about and get good at it. I worked hard and learned so much. A few months before I left I set up my freelance website and optimised it for the keywords ‘SEO Freelance’.   It soon hit the top spot and I was getting enquiries.  Within a year of setting up that website and two months after doing if full time for myself,  I had enough clients to live a very comfortable life.

My Business Plan

When I say business plan I don’t mean page after page of waffle on objectives and keys to success etc. This would be necessary when starting up a business where funding is needed.  There is no funding needed to become and Freelance SEO.  My business plan was simple.  I just told myself to make sure I did a great job on every website/client I work for.  This I did and continue to do.  If you do something well you will get talked about and easily get work.   Lots of work has come through referrals and of course in this game, it helps being number one in Google.  This means I never have to chase work.  I did have plans to do networking and get into talking at conferences but I have never had the chance.  Work snowballed and I now have a waiting list and can pick and choose clients.  If I needed the ego boost I could get offices and stuff, but I don’t.

Out Source
Once you get a few clients your admin and booking keeping will double.  This is the time to outsource.  Outsourcing the actual SEO I wouldn’t recommend.  I have always done the actual SEO for my clients.  I sometimes outsource content writing, but that is about it.  I go through websites and optimise them myself and source the links myself.

For a while it will be tough as you will get lots of little jobs which are only a couple of hours a week and more trouble than they are worth.  But if you persist you will soon get bigger brands knocking on your door.

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PostHeaderIcon Official SEO for SEA LIFE

I am pleased to announce I am now the official SEO for http://www.visitsealife.com.  Sealife is run by Merlin Entertainment Ltd and they have approached me to help them with their online presence.

Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd is a British operator of some of the top amusement parks and attractions in the UK.  It is the largest company in Europe and globally the second largest after Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

This is very exciting for me as it’s the first corporate site I have worked and could lead to more work within the company.  I am also keen because I love wildlife and the subject is of interest to me.  They do a lot of conservation work and run a few Seal Sanctuaries in the UK.  They have a Gweek seal sanctuary, and Oban Seal Sanctuary and a Hunstanton Seal Sanctuary.  It’s good to know that my work will also benefit the wildlife in our country.

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PostHeaderIcon Long time no post!

Wow!  Its been a mad year!  I can’t believe I haven’t posted on this blog for a year.  Well I can, I have been very busy and had a lot to deal with.  This is NOT how to promote a website!   Search engines love new and informative content, so by not blogging for a year I haven’t helped myself.  I have never really promoted myself or my websites as I have never had time.  I spend all of my time working on my clients websites and everything else that comes with being self employed.  But still this is no excuse, I should make time and I will try to from now on..

So a year has gone by and whats news?  Well Google has had is usual updates which has given the SEO community plenty to talk about.  The Panda, the Penguin update all got people talking and upset with sites dropping off the front page.   But things change, Googles algorithms will keep changing, you just have to keep trying to make your website the best it possibly can be.  So in other words don’t neglect it like I have this one!

 

 

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PostHeaderIcon Ancoris on Bloomberg TV

When Ancoris came to me in March 2011 I was very excited.  Ancoris are a specialist provider of cloud computing.  I couldn’t wait to get stuck in because this was a subject I wanted to learn more about.   I was a bit dubious about how quick I could get them on the front page of google.  Nearly every keyword they wanted to come up for had Google in it!  They wanted to come up for Google Apps UK and Google Apps Reseller and about 20 other key-phrases.  However little did I know but I had a company that was willing to be proactive and implement every bit of advice and suggestion I gave them.

Over the years I have found that some clients will only take some of my advice but not all.  Sometimes people think they know best even when they have come to me for help.   Because Ancoris  listened to my advice, did what I suggested, by May their site was 8th position on the first page of Google for their top keyword and by June up to 5th position.  They now have 7 of their keywords coming up on the front page of Google and many others not that far behind.  To be fair to Ancoris, they had done a good job of their website in the first place, it just needed optimising and some ongoing promotion.

Recently thanks to my efforts and the efforts of their PR company, the Managing Director of Ancoris, David McLeman was asked to be interviewed on Bloomberg TV.  This is proof that if you promote your website ethically you will be found by all the right people.  I am looking forward to driving more traffic to the site and helping them to grow online naturally.  I am also now a fan of cloud computing and use it for my business.

 

 

SEO Portfolio

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PostHeaderIcon CMS checklist for SEO

CMS are great for websites and for SEO but picking the wrong one can turn your ecommerce dreams into a nightmare.  There are many web companies out there charging the earth for CMS they claim to have made themselves and is the best and so on.  But very few are SEO friendly, and furthermore the best ones are free anyway and take no time at all to install.

Here are some guidelines that a CMS must adhere too, to be classed as SEO friendly.

Meta
You need the ability to add/edit a unique title and meta description to each page. Also helpful but not essential is the ability to add additional meta tags. What is bad in SEO is if each page is titled with your business name.

URLs
You  need static customisable URLS.  No dynamics if possible.

Images
You need the ability to add your own Alt Tags (alternative text) to an image and add an appropriate description of the image.

Unique Headers
You want to be able to add and edit page headers (H1, H2 tags).  Each page should have a unique H1 tag.  You want to be able to edit the header without it changing another field e.g. title.

Body Text
You need to be able to add bold/italics, bulleted lists, just all the basic word processing functions.   You also want to be able to add hyperlinks to link to other pages.  Flexibility is key.

Navigation
You should be able to easily update your site navigation so you can ensure all pages are crawlable.

Redirects
The ability to redirect pages is beneficial.

RSS facility
The ability to show your content via rss.

Sitemaps
You need the ability to create and update sitemaps.  Ideally one for the site to help people navigate , but also an XML one to help with indexing.

 

 

 

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PostHeaderIcon Content is still King

To get strong links pointing to your site you need to make your website the best it can possibly be.  Content is king and always will be.  If you learn nothing else about online marketing, remember that the content/text you place on your website and the effort you put out on SEO will determine how successful you are with online marketing. Your website needs lots of unique text rich pages with a minimum of 300 words. 

Link popularity is what you need to come up top in Google.  It is like being popular at school.  The more friends you have the more popular you are, so the more credibility you have.  The more links you have the more popular you are.  But if you had say 80 links and your competitors only have 40 it could be that some of their links are strong than yours.  It would be similar to someone having 80 friends, but the person with 40 had half a dozen famous friends like Posh and Becks or Madonna.  So it is not always about numbers but quality links.  Some of your best links could be from your competitors sites.     Finding the links is the tricky part.  Some webmasters have a fairly high standard for linking.  If your entire website looks like an advertisement you will struggle to get strong links.  There is nothing worse on a website than flashing banner ads.  And even more annoying than the actual look of them is that many site owners use adverts which are not even relevant to that market.  So as well as having an annoying banner that is putting you off reading the web page, the actual banner is totally irrelevant to you.  If you must have ads go for text ads as they blend better into the content of the site which creates ad blindness.

Website owners need to look more at their competition.  If your competitors are coming up top in Google there is a reason for it, it’s down to thier good content which gives them good inbound linking.  But you can’t get the inbound linking without good content.  This is why content is king and always will be.

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