With careful planning, Peak District SEO can help you outrank your competitors. We look at your site as a whole, analyse traffic data and search data to see which phrases your site is visible for. We target valuable phrases and improve how your website ranks for those phrases.
These graphics show improvements for keyword visibility for 2 clients over a 90 day period.
Growth charts can often be misleading when showing growth over small periods of time. Showing traffic growth in a week or even a month doesn’t really demonstrate anything. Such charts could just be illustrating seasonal trends or the results of online or offline promotion. This is why we always try to use a minimum of a 90 day period.
Client 1 (Auto Parts) This client had 2 main competitors, both ranked well in their niche. After carrying out careful keyword research, followed by an on-page SEO campaign, we were able to significantly dominate the competition in terms of keyword visibility.
The client is positioned in a niche that is increasingly competitive. However, strong brand recognition makes them a market leader. ( Graphic shows visibility over a 90 day period).
Client 2 – (Financial Services)
Client 2 also operates in a heavily saturated market. Rankings fluctuate for very competitive phrases. We raised their visibility by revising the titles and meta descriptions across the site and by improving the Internal linking on product pages and categories. ( Graphic shows visibility over a 90 day period).
Keyword visibility is just part of SEO. Your site may rank highly for a number of phrases, but we also have to consider whether your site is actually offering visitors what they want once they arrive on site.
Peak District SEO are a Derbyshire SEO company, based in Matlock. We also offer site audits, technical SEO, Competitor research as part of our SEO contracts. Want to know what our customers think of us? See our Google reviews
Building A Better Web – How We Can Do It – Phil Gregory: Peak District SEO
After 21 years of working in the web industry, I have seen a fair few websites. One common theme is that they could always be done much better.
Its been three years since I launched my own SEO company and throughout that time I have been thinking about how I can work more closely with other web professionals to build a best practice document. I want to create a framework that will revolutionise our working relationships and dramatically improve client happiness and retention.
Working as SEOs, we often get businesses asking us to improve the visibility of their existing websites on Google. The very fact that these websites are already built and are live online presents us with at least 2 clear challenges.
Can we improve this website to the level that the customer expects, within the budget?
How to liaise with the existing web developer/designers and web hosts.
It’s point two that I want to look at in this post.
Web designers and Web developers are sometimes the same person or sometimes a group of people within an agency, multiple agencies or separate freelancers.
What this generally means is that not all 3rd parties involved in the creation of websites are governed by the same set of expectations, either from peers, bosses or clients. Each individual company has its own motivations for working in the way that they work. Very often, decisions are taken for financial reasons. Other times there is simply a disconnect between what web teams, marketing teams, hosting teams and even clients want.
So how do we bring all the different web professionals together under a best practice umbrella?
Having worked inside an agency, I know very well that collaboration can sometimes be tricky even in one company. There are different personalities at play, and an informal approach, ie ‘asking’ or ‘telling’ other people to do things doesn’t always work out. Tact and diplomacy will carry you so far but without a formal structure that everyone accepts, it’s hard to see where processes breakdown.
Someone has to step up and create a best practice document that is agreed upon by all and then regularly review that document to ensure it stays relevant.
So I’m making a start. Over the month of July 2020, I will be reaching out to industry professionals to get their advice on how they work. I’m asking a simple set of questions to web professionals with the aim of creating a best practice framework to ensure better communication and collaboration leading to more effective working practices.
Web Designers & Developers
Designers & Devs, could you please help me out with this short questionnaire? Complete the survey. Afterwards, I may follow up with more specific questions.
I will be creating a questionnaire For SEOS and Web hosts shortly – Watch this space.
Why are you doing this Phil? Designers and Developers, SEOs and Web Hosts, we all need to work together to provide the best websites possible for our clients.
The most important outcome of this project should be happy customers.
SEO For Small Business, Is it Worth Hiring An SEO Company?
The easy answer to the “do I need SEO for my small business question is ‘YES.’ Writing as an owner of an SEO company, it’s probably the answer you’d expect me to give. Well, Sorry for being predictable. Let me try to answer the question another way.
If we break down the question into two parts examining the “small business” part. We can come to some different conclusions, but only by considering even more questions.
Q1) How do we define a small business?
According to the FSB, “There were 5.8 million small businesses in the UK at the start of 2019”. SMEs (small to medium enterprises) account for 99.9% of the business population. So using that definition most businesses can be defined as small businesses.
However, you don’t need to be an economist to know that there is a vast difference in the size, turnover and profits of these varying small businesses.
There are small businesses who make tens of millions of pounds in profit each year, and others who barely make a few thousand in profit, so perhaps a better question might be:
Is SEO an affordable marketing strategy for my business?
Even then… you need to consider what proportion of your whole marketing budget will be spent on SEO.
Firstly, you really should work out what your marketing budget is, and how much of that is to be spent online.
Many companies don’t work out what their digital marketing budget will be before purchasing. Subsequently, they don’t buy the correct marketing package. They just wing it, convincing themselves that marketing is an expense they could do without.
Let’s say a business makes £100,000 per year. The agree average marketing spend to maintain their existing position is 5%.
That means that the business has to spend 5k on marketing per year, just to maintain its current position. With more and more companies getting online and investing in marketing each year, who can afford to stand still? Those who want to get ahead will want to do much more than standstill.
Let’s Leap Forward Let’s just work on the basics, let’s assume that you’ve done your sums and you KNOW you want to invest in SEO only…just for the sake of this article.
Once you’ve decided on your budget, you’ll be faced with a number of different contract options.
1) The “One-off” fee, and walk. These things really annoy me. As an SEO, I know that it’s simply not enough to fix a website up to have a good technical SEO score and build a few links, then submit the bill and walk away.
It’s akin to a car mechanic fixing your car once, valeting it…and then saying thanks and goodbye. The car won’t say issue free forever, it won’t stay clean for long if it’s being used. The same applies to a website. You can’t just fix it and then leave it. It needs constant monitoring, tweaking, testing, content creation, best practice merchandising and promotion.
2) The fix with SEO training. Another option that makes me roll my eyes: – So, an SEO company applies to option 1, then they “train” you to fix and maintain your own site. Usually, they charge a hefty fee for the training which usually amounts to no more than a weeks training at most. Can you learn to become a carpenter in a week, an accountant, or a chef? No, You can’t become an SEO in a week either. So at best you get a set of vaguely remembered technical lessons and a pile of handouts which date faster than your haircut.
More often than not, the client has to force/encourage some fairly disinterested member of staff into maintaining the product descriptions, blogs and Social media. This rarely works out well because…the staff aren’t that bothered.
They have no burning desire to do SEO or be an SEO. They don’t read SEO blogs and podcasts and spend hours pouring over datasets making notes and building test sites to see what works.
Secondly, they usually have very little experience. All of those things applied over time leads to half optimised sites, sites with literally thousands of on-page errors and a general inconsistency in the marketing of the website. What happens when they leave their post for pastures new, is there a succession plan or is the business owner going to have to fork out for a new round of training?
3) Hire an in-house SEO Seems like a good option. Hire someone in-house and they will be an employee, you can mould them to your business ethos and the SEO will get taken care of. All seems legit, right?
Yes, if you’re prepared to pay them properly, and offer them significant benefits to remain with the company. A decent SEO will cost at least £25k PA. Yes, you can hire kids for less, but you’ll be sacrificing knowledge and experience to save money.
If you are looking at hiring a top-quality SEO you’ll need to pay them upwards of £35k PA, and that’s way more than you’ll be paying an agency.
3) Agency Retainers The agency or retained model is the one that most serious businesses go for. Even within this model, there are differences, in terms of pricing and payment models. You’ll save money in the long run because you’re not their only client.
A good agency will book the right number of hours you need. This will fit both your needs and your budget. Over time you’ll start to see meaningful returns on investment. * the more time you book, the more impact you can expect.
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SEO For Small Business – What should I get for the money?
1) An off-site advisor /s who should create a clear overview of the problems faced by your website, including its errors, architecture issues, keyword rankings, link profile, and competitors.
2) A plan of how to fix the issues faced along with approximate timescales. The level of detail you get will all depend on the type of SEO package you buy. In general, it follows that the more you’re paying the more detail and attention you’ll get.
3) Regular site maintenance. Once the site errors have been identified and actioned, the SEO team will constantly monitor these issues and ensure that they don’t keep cropping up. A fun analogy would be, “digital what-a-mole”
4) Reassurance and expectation management. Really? Yes really. We have client s who pay small monthly sums, and those who pay thousands of pounds. Each one has different needs and expectations. Clients need to be reassured that the work is going well, notified of blockers if it isn’t, and they also need to have their expectations managed.
Some client’s who’ve heard of SEO might expect dramatic overnight changes in their site’s performance, before the end of the first couple of months. In most cases, that simply isn’t realistic. Customers who pay small fees need to understand that SEO is benefiting them, but the real benefit of the results will come along much more slowly than for those who are investing more, and on multiple platforms.
5) Trust. You shouldn’t be choosing an SEO company based just on cost. At the end of the day, you need people who communicate, you need a team who is prepared will come and visit your premises or at least meet with you regularly via video conferencing. You need to have a good rapport.
They have to understand your business goals, your best selling lines and be confident enough to push through the changes needed to help you realise those objectives.
The Pitch – Why Hire Peak District SEO?
Peak District SEO work on retainer. You pay monthly at a rate you can afford. The SEO package you select is flexible based on a combination of your needs and your budget. * Plus our prices are somewhere in the middle.
We have over 20 years of experience of SEO on websites both B2B and B2C.
In addition, we have worked on a wide number of platforms from bespoke builds and CMS’s to WordPress, Woocommerce, Shopify, Opencart, Prestashop and Magento.
The customer is at the heart of what we do. We try to listen and steer rather than dictate.
Ever hear the old adage “Pay peanuts, get monkeys”, it’s one I use a lot and generally it’s true. when it comes to your websites.
Your website, particularly if it’s a business website, is a vital part of your company’s marketing strategy. How much are you willing to pay per month to ensure that it stays live and is fast, responsive and constantly up? Surely more than a few quid each month?
There are lot’s of web hosting deals out there, some are priced at a level that’s too good to be true, other’s seem exorbitant. Try to find a happy medium.
Access To Your Files Is important for SEO
Being denied access to your website files is a major bugbear for me. It prevents me from doing my job and prevents the client from moving their websites forward.
My day to day job is running an expanding SEO company, so I need access to my clients’ web hosting on a pretty regular basis.
New clients are asked to give me access to their server when onboarding. I always ask for this level of access so that I can be sure of being able to add or update important files on their website whenever I need to do so.
Files and SEO will need access to:
Robots.txt This is a file which tells web crawlers which pages to crawl and which to ignore. sometimes I’ll need to create this file for clients, sometimes make changes like ensuring the Sitemaps are declared or that certain pages are blocked from crawling.
XML Sitemaps Sitemaps are lists of all the pages within a website. Search engine crawlers use the sitemap, to ensure they can crawl and add each page to the search index. Most CMS systems today auto-generate an XML sitemap. However, there are instances where the sitemaps need to be manually generated or fixed. I need to ensure that any website I’m working on has an up to date sitemap.
.htaccess The .htaccess file is a configuration file supported by several web servers, used for directives of site-access issues, such as URL redirection, URL shortening, access control, and more.During the course of an SEO project, I’m likely to need access to all of these files at least once during the lifetime of a project. If I need access to these files, the likelihood is that the developers also need access to such files too. It’s essential that when you buy web hosting you have full access to every file on your website, they are your files, your property and nobody has the right to deny you access to them.
Web Hosting – Uptime vs downtime
In all honesty, as I said at the start of this article, I’m not an expert on servers. That said, what I do know is that any business owner wants to ensure their website is live for the vast majority of every day throughout the year.
Most web hosts will offer you this utopia when trying to get you to sign up but you should look very closely at the figures that they have on offer.
A company offering 99% uptime might sound like a great deal, but in fact, that one per cent downtime means you can expect your website to be down for 7.3 hours in a month.
99.9% uptime means 43.8 minutes per month of downtime. This is more acceptable for a small business, and particularly one that isn’t an ecommerce site. This could well be acceptable is your website only ever went down in the middle of the might for a minute each day. The reality could be worse.
99.990% uptime is much better, offering 4 minutes 38 second of downtime in a month.
Regular Website Backups
You most definitely need to ensure that your hosting service includes automatic backups. In the past, I’ve been stung with web hosting that only offered manual backups.
This means the onus is on the website owner to make manual backups and store them. Ideally, you need a minimum of daily backups. This way, if data is compromised in any way you won’t have lost too much or have to spend multiple hours replacing lost content.
It’s important to remember that there are full website backups and database backups, you need to know which sort you need and what you’re paying for.
In both cases, you probably need to negotiate that your web host backs up both the website files and the database (if you have one) to a separate location so that you can check that it’s a complete backup and also perform a manual backup if necessary.
Your Website, Your Files
My final recommendation for web hosting goes back to access. The vast majority of website owners are not technical people.
They own a website but don’t necessarily understand or want to know about all its components. They just need it to work. This is an easy trap to fall into though. you never know when you may need to access your files or give a third party quick access.
If you have a client login to your host’s control panel you should be able to examine and manage all aspects of our website’s hosting from there. Some of the key things you can do with access to a hosting control panel are
Add, edit, delete files
Change the website’s URL
Make changes to A records
Create and manage email accounts
Add a blog or ecommerce application
Whilst not essential to have such access, these control panels are now standard offering when purchasing web hosting, it would be a shame not to make yourself as familiar with it as possible.
That way, if you need to, you’ll be able to take the appropriate action. Don’t leave this in the hands of your web-host or web developer. Whilst the vast majority of web hosts are legitimate business people, some are unscrupulous corner cutters. Why take a chance?
My main motivation in writing this blog post was to help small businesses who are looking for web hosting. I’ve come across some unbelievably dodgy web hosts in my time. Their behaviour was annoying at best and infuriating at worst.
How to Recognise Bad Web Hosting?
You are denied access to your own files.
Your site is hosted on shared servers that don’t offer individual logins and security to each website.
Your site is WordPress (or similar) but the owner is denied an administrator permissions.If you’re in a situation like this, demand changes or get out of the contract.Speak to us for advice on getting the right package for your business.My parting message is this: Your website belongs to YOU. Not to the web host.You should choose a host who accepts this and gives you the maximum level of assistance to get the most out of your website.
Benefits of Keeping a Work Diary: Phil Gregory, Peak District SEO.
I have kept a work diary for a long time, though I’ll admit, not always consistently. It all started years ago after my friends’ grandma gave me a copy of Samuel Pepys Diary. I was in my early 20s and was fascinated with the book. A personal diary that was written hundreds of years ago which painted such a vivid and relatable picture of a mans’ life.
Pepys Diary is a great read. It illustrates the actual work that Pepys was doing for the English Navy board in the 1660s. Not only that, it reveals the intricacies of his working relationships.
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A Work Journal is a Good Habit.
We all have habits and one of the secrets to running a good business is standardisation and the adoption of standard systems. By making notes of your working week you can begin to see patterns. Also, it provides a great reminder of your successes and mistakes.
Running your own business can be a hectic process, and to stay focussed many of us keep pushing forward, never looking back. Whilst it’s certainly positive to keep moving forward, we must learn from our mistakes, and revisit techniques that worked well for us.
A Powerful Written Legacy
Whether your business was set up to create a job and income for yourself, or whether you had loftier ideas about growing it into a local, national or International brand.
A written journal will leave a legacy of the businesses progression, as well as a record of your own personal and professional development. Of course, it all depends on how honest you are when writing it.
Benefits of Keeping A Work Diary
A record of progress / Show your wins and losses
Helps you to improve and refine your skills and methods
Nurtures self-discipline and builds self-confidence
Helps with Goal Setting and Job performance
Reminds you of what makes you happy in your work
Reminds you of what makes you angry about your work
Mental health benefits of self-reflection
Stimulates Creativity Development
Time Management If you use your diary to set the next day’s tasks it can help you to see whether you are managing your time well, perhaps you’re biting off more than you can chew, or maybe you’re coasting?
A record of progress It’s all too easy to sail along, nose to the grindstone. The days, weeks and months pass by and we forget the work we’ve done, we forget our epic wins, and also our massive cockups. By writing these things down, you can set target and goals to replicate the wins and avoid the failures.
Helps you to improve and refine your skills and methods Some working practices take time to stick. if you record what happens in your work life you’ll see patterns start to emerge, you’ll be able to refine what you do leading you away from failure and towards success every time.
Nurtures self-discipline and builds self-confidence By being regular with your diary, you force yourself to create a record. Almost like a social media schedule or a blog schedule, you force yourself to improve. As you improve you’ll become confident that you can consistently deliver on a difficult target.
Helps with Goal Setting The very act of creating the diary is hitting a target. Your increased self-confidence becomes a transferable skill that you carry forward into other areas of your work. Remember it’s impossible to hit your goals if you’re not setting them.
Reminds you of what makes you happy in your work This is really important. If you can identify the things that made you happy, included and proud in your work, then you can take steps to make sure that those feelings occur more often.
Reminds you of what makes you angry about your work This is equally important. If you can identify the things that made you cross, excluded and deflated about your work, then you can take steps to make sure that those feelings occur less often. It’s about avoiding the negativity.
Mental health benefits We all get caught up in little dramas. It’s what makes us human. Being able to look back at what happened, after the fact can help us get things in perspective. Like, “oh jeez, why was I so upset about that thing”, or “ooh, they were really mean to me there, and I didn’t see it at the time”.
Looking back on a work diary can help you to realise that your place of work, colleagues, rules are totally terrible, or it can hold the mirror up and show that YOU were totally terrible. Either way, it helps you to grow.
Stimulates Creativity This is a nice side effect, because the more we write the more creative we become, our speed, lucid thinking and creative language expands. Furthermore, you’re creating some fantastic content for your blog, social media, presentations and white papers.
It’s a win-win situation.
Ways To Keep Your Work Diary
There are plenty of ways to keep your work diary.
Traditional note pad. This is easy but not recommended. If you leave it lying around or drops from your bag, people may look at it. That could create issues if you’ve been more candid than tactful.
Digital Journaling I personally find this is the easiest way to keep a work diary. It can be done on your laptop, phone or tablet. Use the cloud to sync your files and you can update the diary from anywhere and on any device.
As A Blog / Vlog As a blog/vlog, your diary can be used for the good of the team or the whole company. Obviously, it will need some additional thought and editing if other people are going to be reading / Watching it.
Audio notes Audio notes are simply the new dictaphone. The added benefit of audio notes is that they will help to add another dimension when listening back to them. You’ll be able to better gauge your mood by the tone of your voice.
Note: Think about who might hear your recordings. Audio files are incriminating evidence, so if you’re being negative, having a pop at the boss, customers or workmates make sure your device has a strong passcode.
Sketches If you’re artistic you could always illustrate your diary with sketches. Satire is a great way, to sum up, annoying or humorous moments in your work life. Again, beware, not everyone will share your sense of humour, and be kind with the drawings, nobody likes a bully.
If you have a website you may have heard a lot of talk about security and in particular, the need for an SSL certificate or “having a security certificate”.
Most people, in all honesty, don’t even know what an SSL certificate is. I’ll try to explain without getting too techy.
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What is SSL
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. The (SSL) creates a secure connection between the visitors on your site and the server that does the processing of interactions on your website, such as product sales, or form submissions.
SSL uses a cryptographic system that encrypts your users’ personal data from malicious activity. If you’re selling goods and services online, where people need to input their credit card details or any personal information, it is essential that your website is secure.
SSL certificates make it known that your site is secure and therefore, trustworthy.
Online shopping has increased dramatically in recent years and as web users become more tech-savvy, they know that shopping on sites with a SSL certificate is more likely to mean a more safe, secure transaction.
Sensible online shoppers won’t risk submitting their personal financial information on a non-secure website site. Would you input your personal details to a site if it was marked in the browser as being un-secure?
Why Your Website Needs An SSL Certificate
Encryption of sensitive information
Authentication of the transactions path to the proper party
Gain consumer trust (trusted websites sell more!)
Protect against phishing scams
Google ranks secure sites higher
My suggestion, as a site owner, is to make the investment. Not only will it improve sales/trust, but it will also, mitigate the potential grief from stolen customer data.
Furthermore, your website is a part of your business, something that you made a significant investment in. Therefore, if it’s not performing as it should, because it’s been demoted in the listings by Google, then surely that’s an urgent action point? Need more info on this?
The address bar on Google Chrome notifies users of an insecure website. That’s not going to inspire trust, and subsequently, you may notice your leads dry up.
Different Types of Certificate Are Available
There are lots of different companies providing SSL Certificates, and there are different levels of encryption available. If you get an EV certificate, you will also get a green address bar that further denotes trust. * Green may not be active since 2018 via Google Chrome. The stronger certificates still look slightly different though. (see below)
This is preferable if you sell products online.
Choose wisely, because winning customer trust is really important. Once they’re gone, you may never get them back. Peak District SEO can advise you about making your website secure.
Peak District SEO helps businesses to unify their Google tools. This blog will highlight some of the most useful tools and why you should use them all together under one login to maximise their potential.
Google provides a huge raft of free software, that can be useful for business. The ones I’ll mention today are:
Google Docs /Drive
Google Tag Manager
Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools)
Google My Business ( formerly part of maps, and Google+)
Google Ads (formerly Adwords)
It’s important to get these tools working together as seamlessly as possible
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If you need an email with a smart filtering system? Gmail by Google is a free web-based email.
why use webmail, well my question is why would you fill up hour hard drive with a mail app, and worse, risk losing all your email when the app breaks or your computer dies?
Gmail has many useful features, such as the ability to filter messages using labels and filters which enable messages to skip the inbox or drop into specific folders for easy archiving.
Additionally, you can import other POP email addresses into Gmail, making it easy to manage your ‘work email from your mobile phone, or home computer.
You can also easily send email from your branded email addresses through the Gmail interface. Which is really handy.
The great thing here is that your email is all in the cloud, not on your laptop, clogging it up and making it go slow.
How many times have you lost all your past emails because your laptop broke or your email software broke? That will never happen with Gmail.
Why use Gmail though? There are other email packages.
The use of your Gmail email address just makes things simple. Having to log in and out of multiple different accounts can be time-consuming and confusing, worse, it can lead to mistakes.
Try to use ONE Gmail account associated with all of the above tools.
Something like ‘YOURBUSINESS@gmail.com, this Gmail account can be used as the universal sign-in for all the tools, making life so much simpler, especially when you need to connect one app to another.
No matter which application you need to check, ad spend or which keywords brought visitors to your website, you can use the same account to access them all.
*If you have a large business with the need for multiple Gmail accounts, we advise you look at Gsuite
It’s not rocket science There are many reasons why a company might have many logins for their Google apps. We see huge amounts of businesses with their analytics, Google Ads, email and Google My Business etc all under different logins and to be frank, It’s a nightmare to manage.
Google Drive or Docs as it was formerly known, is a great set of free to use applications. It’s like your standard office software, but FREE!
Google gives you 15 gigabytes of storage for free to use on files such as documents and Sheets. If you need more you can buy it for a small monthly fee. You can share documents via email or by granting collaborative access to other members of your team.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times people say to me “I’ll send the files..have you got Word”, or “Have you got Excel?“
The answer is no, I don’t have either, I don’t need them
Microsoft Office apps obviously have their merits, but the vast majority of their functions can be carried out by other FREE applications.
Google Docs and Google Sheets are, in my opinion, every bit as good as the Microsoft counterparts.
Granted, there are differences, but there are also hundreds of tutorials online showing you how to effectively use the apps.
Why Unify Your Google Apps? Most days I export CSV files from Google Ads or Analytics right into a Google Sheet. Then export the results out as a PDF and email it using Gmail.
Of course all that’s made much easier if you’re using a unified login.
Google Analytics is, in my opinion, the most powerful free tool that you can use to monitor your website performance.
Analytics lets you collect data about your audience such as:
Demographics – Learn more about your audience, including their location and language and whether they had visited your site before.
Devices Used – Find out what browsers, operating systems, and networks your visitors are using to view your website.
Mobile devices – Want to gauge the effectiveness of your website for mobile users? GA gives you the opportunity to see what devices they use and whether they leave quickly, engage, enquire or buy from you via a mobile device?
Traffic Sources – Analyse what websites, keywords, search engines, and other referrers send traffic to your website.
Social Media Traffic – See what social networks send you traffic. The reports will help you to increase engagement across all your platforms.
Top pages – Learn which pages are your top entry and exit pages. This will help you tailor your content towards what your audience is looking for.
Conversion Tracking – Set up goals in Google Analytics to find out which visitors complete conversions such as purchasing a product or signing up for a mailing list.
Why Unify? Google Analytics integrates well with Adwords, Search Console and Tag manager as well as a few others. It really is the necessary Google app.
Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is one of those applications that you never even knew you needed until you use it.
I blame Google for this because they have never really adequately engaged with the general business community to demonstrate this app or how easy it is to set up and use.
It seems complicated at first, but really it isn’t. I think it would benefit from in-app, step by step prompts to help novice users get the best from it but, truly, it opens up a world of possibilities for tracking data.
I use it to track website visitors, phone call clicks, email clicks, form submissions, file downloads and more. I’d urge any company who sells online, particularly ecommerce businesses to find out more about GTM.
Why Unify? Tag manager gives you extra options with your analytics data allowing business owners to track website interactions without the need to be a coder.
Search Console (Formerly Webmaster Tools)
Google Search Console is another app that many website owners have never heard of. It used to be called ‘Webmaster tools’.
Google Search Console helps you, monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results. This app helps you understand and improve how Google sees your website. It’s not the same as analytics, but there is some crossover.
Search Console offers tools and reports on:
Provides crawl information
Informs you of indexing problems and lets you request re-indexing of new or updated content.
Search traffic data for your site, showing which search queries show your site and when searchers click through to your site for those queries.
Shows you a selection of sites that link to your website..which can be useful, but not comprehensive.
Troubleshoot issues for mobile usability, and other Search features.
Why Unify? Verify your link to the business through Analytics or Tag manager, and send date from GSC directly to analytics too.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. GMB allows you to add and update information about your business.
This information shows on the right-hand side of the SERPS and also in the local pack
GMB allows you to:
– Place a map marker and address – Gather reviews your business may have had. – Show photographs and video of your premises – List your opening hours – List your social media accounts – make mini posts highlighting blogs, products and events that appear on the search results
Why Unify? Having quick easy access to your GMB helps you keep on top of the first impression people get when they type the name of your business into Google.
If you’re not getting enough traction with organic search traffic, adding paid search campaigns using Google Ad can help. Bear in mind the benefits can be temporary because when the budget runs out, so does the traffic.
Create campaigns, segment them into groups and test multiple ad versions.
target ads using the right keywords and you could gain a considerable amount of qualified traffic. that said, if you build the campaigns wrong, you will waste a lot of money.
Reasons to unify AdWords. You can connect your Google Ads to Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager. You can import conversion settings from Analytics, into Adwords and vice versa, for clearer data sharing.
Need Help Unifying your Google Tools?
If you need help to unify your Google tools Get in touch today. We can assist you to really make the most of your Google marketing tools.
OpenCart SEO For Wine Merchant – Case Study: Peak District SEO
In 2018 Peak District SEO was engaged by a small wine merchant to try to raise their visibility. We were informed from the start that they had a limited budget and limited manpower resource in terms of in-house support for Social Media and blogs.
Investigation told us that whilst these limitations could threaten the long term sustainability of the project, there was some growth to be had. This proved to be the case.
In the end, we managed to take a small set of keywords onto page one as per the remit. We dominated the competition and could have done even better with more resources.
Here’s what the customer had to say.
“Excellent experience with Phil, he has helped my business grow tremendously. Always full of useful tips and tricks as well. Fully recommended!”
The site was built on OpenCart and was already live. However, the business owner needed help to measure the effectiveness of the website.
How Did Peak District SEO Help?
Firstly we carried out a full audit of the website. We ascertained that the site was a basic Opencart build, customised with CSS to improve the layout and design, but it needed haster web hosting, SSL certificate and a few custom fixes.
Once work was completed we’d significantly improved the site health scores.
The site had minimal plugins or extension modules. It had not been built to SEO specs, just the customer design spec. The web developer spoke with us and asked if we could partner up to assist the client.
After doing an initial website audit, we made a raft of recommendations which included:
OpenCart Modules added We advised the developers to install a number of Opencart modules to add additional functionality. This added a way to track ecommerce functionality in a quick, easy manner. It’s amazing how many websites we see, even ecommerce websites that do not have Google Analytics or eCommerce tracking set up, and of course, it’s a vital tool in beginning to assess website performance.
Canonical URL created
As with many eCommerce sites, there were often products that had a wide range of small variations. To ensure against google indexing the wrong variation, we set up canonical tags which point Google to the correct or “main Product” as opposed to the differing and fluctuating variations.
SSL Certificate installed
We made sure that the website had an SSL certificate. In it’s simplest terms, this means having a web address that reads https, this is also an often overlooked feature that we see all too often in websites. If you are selling online, you need to have a secure website. People need to feel sure that when they enter their personal, private information online that it is securely encrypted.
An eCommerce site without an SSL certificate can soon become a lame duck. Especially as Google Chrome now marks sites without one as ‘Not secure’.
Google Tools Unified
We set up analytics properly integrating it with Google Tag Manager for greater user behaviour tracking. In addition, we ensured that the Search Console was set up and connected to Analytics. This sharing of data between Google apps can help you to improve your site and quickly respond to errors.
See our article on Google account unification to learn more.
Custom fields written Sometimes the CMS you are using just doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t have the necessary features to do what you need it to do. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using WordPress, Magento, OpenCart, Shopify or another system, sometimes we need extra features.
In this instance, we needed extra text fields. The openCart installation didn’t provide a suitable opportunity to add longer product descriptions. We had two options that would solve the issue.
1) Install an open cart module. 2) Write a bespoke code addition.
Website Hosting Migration The website hosting for this client was slow and causing problems. In addition, it was preventing web crawling from a number of SEO crawlers, making it more difficult to regularly and accurately asses the site health.
In such cases. We always liaise with the customer asking them to speak to the host. Occasionally they ask us to step in with technical data.
In this instance we spoke to the host several times about the issue without a positive resolution, subsequently, we recommended that the client with hosting providers. We hate dodgy web hosts, as you’ll see if you read our guest post for Green Frog Computing.
Layout changes Whether you are the site owner, the designer of the copywriter, when you work closely on a site, you need other people to look at it and critique it too. Why? Because humans miss things that are staring them in the face.
In this instance, we noticed that the product filters weren’t functioning correctly. Whenever the key category links were clicked, the sidebar on that page was meant to show an open filter of the types of wine available. That wasn’t happening, instead, the site was showing the same filter on all pages.
A quick recommendation to the developers and this was fixed, allowing greater access to products by users.
Technical SEO We identified a wide range of technical SEO issues such as multiple versions of the site, lack of canonicals, no SSL certificate, non-mobile friendly elements and load speed issues. Some issues could be fixed by ourselves and others were passed to the web developer to fix.
On page SEO On-page SEO is our bread and butter. We fixed numerous issues such as thin content, lack of proper headings, image naming and labelling, internal and external linking and quality of the copy.
Google Ads We advised the company to run some Google ads for specific products. The ads had mixed results in terms of actual direct sales, however, they did help to increase brand awareness. When implemented correctly alongside Organic SEO you can see great growth for your business.
Social Media Marketing The company were not really active on Social Media. This was mostly due to staffing issues. We advised them to look at automating Social media posting and to increase their visibility on specific platforms. Only some of the recommendations were implemented.
The project was mostly successful. Like so many it was hampered by factors beyond our control, issues such as manpower and web hosting reduced the potential impact of the project.
However, the site is still in a strong position in its local niche, and with continual applied best practice, should dominate completely within a year or so.
Do you sell Alcohol or Spirits online? Want to increase your website’s performance?
If you sell alcohol or wine online. Why not speak to Peak District SEO? You can expect a Free website review, which includes a PDF summary of your site as well as a user testing video that looks at what works well and what’s not working so well. Get in touch today!
We recognise the need to increase the visibility of business websites all across the East Midlands and especially in Derby. We want to provide an effective and affordable service for small to medium-sized businesses to grow their audience and influence, leading to more leads and more sales.
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Why Peak District SEO For A Derby Business?
Location. Derby is just down the road for us, and we’re happy to travel. Matlock is less than an hours drive from Derby, we can be with you in around an hour.
Just because we are based in the Peak District doesn’t mean that we only serve Peak District businesses. On the contrary, we have customers from all over the UK.
We work with businesses in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Ripley, Nottingham, Stockport, Oxford, Southampton to name just a few. Oh, and don’t forget the Peak Districts large towns, Matlock and Buxton.
Experience. We have over 20 years of experience in SEO and digital marketing.
Customer Service. We have a friendly approachable service that puts the customer at the heart of what we do.
Price. We realise that you might prefer to use a Derby-based SEO company but we are a small company, we don’t have the overheads of a big city agency, so we feel sure that you’ll find our prices agreeable.
Results Our results speak for themselves. We have a full portfolio of customers with others waiting to be served. Our clients stay with us for longer because, when they implement our recommendations, they experience growth and SEO success.
What Kind of Businesses Benefit From SEO?
Well, all kinds, we accept clients from a wide range of sectors. From ecommerce clients to trades.
We’ve helped businesses like tree surgeons, osteopaths, online retailers, solicitors, tourist boards, car hire rentals, scientists and charities.
Every client is different, we assess all clients based on need. We never oversell and work hard to be as transparent about work carried out as we can be.
If we don’t think we can help you, we won’t try to sign you up. We’ll simply make recommendations for you to get you to where you need to be.
Get In Touch Today To Find Out More!
Interested? All you have to do is getting in touch and request a Free Website Audit. this will tell you the general health of your website and give you an overview of what needs to be done. From there we’ll follow up and discuss next steps. Get in touch today.
SEO Spam, we all get it, nobody wants it. So what’s the motivation behind it? Peak District SEO owner Phil, asks why these so-called SEOs send these emails.
SEO Spam, we all get it, nobody wants it. So what’s the motivation behind it? Every single day I get an email from a so-called SEOs offering me SEO services. Every single day I consigne the emails to the spam bin before clearing them out.
The standard format goes something like:
Now, I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of people who get up of their backsides and hustle up some cash. I really do. However, this is not the way to do it, in my opinion.
I’m sure that somewhere, someone is replying to these emails and getting completely ripped off. Probably having their personal data and credit card details stolen too.
Or, perhaps, in some magical, Unicorn land, these people are REAL SEOs with amazing skills and they really are getting websites to number one on google for 20 chosen keywords. I doubt that very much though.
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Let it be stated here for the record, that there are levels of professionalism. Personally, I do not like too much formality. I prefer a friendly more personal way of doing business. That said, the basics have to be inplace before things can happen.
Imagine, sitting in your work office and suddenly someone barged in and hit you with a sales pitch, in broken English. Would you go for it? Unlikely, so why do people try it via email?
Do Some Research
Do some basic research on the client you are emailing. Most of the emails I get tell me I’m not ranking for my “chosen keywords”. At least look who you are emailing, at least check the keyword positions.
Sort Your Email Address Out
However, emailing people from a Yahoo email address is probably only acceptable if you’re over 65 or under 16. If you don’t have your own website domain and associated email address, then why would I trust you to look after my website?
Sort Your Pitch Out
Pitching is hard. Even if you’re good at it. Even if you close a deal 99% of all pitches, it takes work and a proper formula. Which is why, every morning when I open my emails and sigh as I see the SEO spam, I think
“Perhaps today one will be ok, maybe today, I’ll be impressed by the pitch.”
I never am.
Sort Your Grammar Out
Let’s not be prudish about grammar here.
We all make grammar mistakes here and there. Most of us have published grammatical mistakes. Let’s be honest about it.
I’ve found them in books, newspapers, the BBC website etc. It happens, let’s accept it, It’s not the end of the world. It’s a human error, and a fairly low level one in my book. However, If you want to win trust, I should think that your pitch has to be pretty much error-free.
The person who sent this morning’s email didn’t have an English surname and the content of her email reflects that English probably isn’t her first language.
If I were a non-English person, sending emails to businesses based in England, the first thing I’d do is get somebody who is fluent in English to check the content.
Or, imagine this crazy idea, I’d use a spellchecker. Or maybe Grammarly. You could avoid glaring errors like this:
Don’t Be Conned By Speculative SEO Emails.
The idealistic part of my personality likes to imagine that the person behind each email is a poor, but plucky SEO, in a developing country, just hoping and praying for that big break. We all need a break to get started right?
If this is the case though, they need to get a proper email address, and a website so that prospective customers can read case studies, see reviews, and blogs etc.
Band together to form a co-operative but do it. The opportunity will come.
The cynical side of my personality thinks that it’s probably just some huge organised crime ring, autogenerating emails and senders addresses. They are sending out thousands, no millions of emails each day.
They are praying on the cash strapped, a non-techy, website owner who thinks $20 a day for SEO is about right. Subsequently, these criminals, are making a lot of money, even if just 1% of people respond to their pitch.
Nobody wins with this approach. If the spammers are genuine SEO practitioners, they just have to up their game. If they are organised criminals, they could still improve their tactic, thankfully, for now, the emails are pretty lame, and most of us are safe.
Either way, the only kind thing to do is to add the email to our spam bin. It seems a bit fruitless, as they keep coming. However, the more we mark as spam, the harder it is for them to continue in the same manner.
Do not respond to them directly. You are putting your personal details at risk.
Just add them to the spam bin and move on. There’ll be another two or three to read by the end of the week.
If you haven’t made a list already, Peak District SEO have written up a few that you should certainly consider.
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1) Get A Website Audit.
If your website isn’t performing as you’d hoped it would, then something is clearly wrong. Whether that be the website or your expectations of it.
You’ll never know until you check, so get your website audited as soon as possible.
There are a range of audits on the market, from simple website reviews to full-blown technical audits. Free audits provide a summary of what’s wrong with your site. They tend to outline errors with your technical SEO and focus on basics such as page speed, mobile friendliness and security.
Paid audits vary dramatically in pricing and focus. They can look at everything or just one specific part of your marketing.
Be sure you are clear about what sort of information you’ll be getting when you commission a pad audit. The end result should be a clear set of instructions of what issues your site faces and steps that should be taken to fix the issues. It should include technical, on-page, organic, links, paid and social media summaries.
Speaking to an SEO company, or even two or three will give you a good idea about how long work on the site will take and what improvements you can expect to gain. There may be some quick wins but real growth takes time so prepare to manage your expectations.
Why local? Of course, your SEO company can be anywhere in the UK, or indeed the world, but I’d advise choosing a company who are prepared to come and meet you.
A company who is in 40-50 mile radius is likely to be more able to come and visit you than a company at the other end of the country.
Of course, meetings can be done via Skype, but there’s nothing like meeting the people you’re going to be working with. Even though I’m a massive advocate of digital technology, there’s a lot to be said for face to face interaction.
Even if you don’t book SEO just yet, at least you have an idea of what it will cost you, and who you’d like to use.
3) Ditch The Oldschool Ads. Try Online Ads
It’s easy to hang on to old techniques, but ask yourselves, how much benefit it’s actually bringing you?
For example, when you run that £200 ad in the local paper or that £500 radio ad
How is it improving your online presence?
How many people saw the ad?
How many people called or visited your website after seeing the ad?
How much profit did you make from the customers you got from the ad
Was the ad profitable?
This is all information that you cannot possibly know. You can guess, but how accurate is guessing?
By focusing more on online marketing in 2019, you can cut costs, and improve accuracy. By tracking how many visitors you gained and where they come from you can improve your marketing strategy.
It might be that the majority of customers come from a certain geographical region, or are a certain age group, it might be that they have similar interests.
All this information is ready and waiting for you when you use Google Analytics and other website tracking tools.
Getting your Social media profiles sorted out can be a bit of a nightmare, particularly if you’ve never used Social media or if you’ve previously had someone else managing it for you.
Here are some Social Media tips you should definitely do in 2019
A) Reserve your profiles. Take 30 minutes to secure your brand profiles on all the major social platforms. Why? Because you never know when you might need them. Secondly, it prevents companies with similar names taking the names that would suit your business.
One thing I see a lot of is duplicated social media accounts. It happens when multiple people have been managing accounts, and the previous manager didn’t leave a note of the username and password. This is bad!
It’s effectively splitting your audience. Just have one page per brand.
If you run multiple businesses, you need one page per business.
Do a search for your brand name on Facebook, Twitter etc. If you find a duplicate page for your business, look at the one with the most following and engagement. Claim it and make that your page. Shut down the others ASAP.
If you don’t have access to the duplicate accounts, talk to Facebook support or Twitter support about gaining access or getting them removed. It’s worth the hassle to unify your brand.
5 ) Review Your Website Hosting.
Go and speak to your web host.
Can access your files? If you can’t ask why not. You should always be able to access your files either via FTP or a web-based control panel. If you can’t access your files, how can you or your web developer or SEO edit the files?
Avoid the hidden cost of getting bills from your host every time you make a small change.
Often shared hosting is insecure, hosts who deny access to your website files are probably hosting multiple websites on the same server, which is a security risk for your site.
Don’t accept it! Consider switching hosts if you can’t get what you want.
6) Create Fresh Content, Regularly.
Creating engaging and fresh content is tough. You have to do it if you want to stay competitive.
Google loves fresh content, your users and customers will love your fresh content too, especially if it helps them.
Make a content calendar, to plan out the content you’ll deliver over the year. If you can write 2 articles per month, that’s 24 new pages on your website, each year and that will help to raise your visibility on Google and Bing.
Plan your content
Pay attention to key dates, Christmas, Halloween etc
Assign someone to do the writing
Assign someone to create the supporting media, photos, PDFs or video
Set Deadlines for publishing
Review the results monthly
Talk to an expert to get help with this. Advice is free.
I hope that helps just a little.
You might be thinking, what are your goals, Phil? Well, my goals in 2019 are to improve client reports and hire some staff.
Reporting Each month Peak District SEO serves over 20 customers with SEO services. Getting business websites more visibility is what we do, but I want to focus on building a reporting system that demonstrates our progress in a way that non-tech CEOS and managers can understand.
Overly complex reports than nobody reals or understands are a wasted resource. Simplicity is key.
Staff The business grew rapidly in 2018, faster than expected actually. So this year I’m looking for some staff.
I need to spend my time focusing on serving customers and growing the business. If you know an experienced, SEO seeking freelance work, let me know.
Phil Gregory is the founder of Peak District SEO a Digital Marketing company serving small to medium-sized businesses in the UK.
Follow us on Twitter: @peakdistrictseo Instagram: @peakdistrictseo or Like our Facebook Page: https://facebook.com/peakdistrictseo
Just as I was launching Peak District SEO, I was doing some work as a freelancer for another agency. I needed the money whilst my business was getting started.
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A prominent PPI company needed SEO to raise their visibility with the impending deadline for new PPI claims coming up. The niche was extremely competitive and the owner was keen to compete with other key players.
The campaign had been managed by a number of other freelancers before it came to me, they’d had mixed success.
When I was handed the project, I made some basic changes to the process of optimisations which had a positive effect. I simply introduced a focus of a basic checklist, concentrating on SEO basics, such as copy length, image naming conventions, canonical URLs and formulaic Meta data.
The image above shows a 30-day snippet during my work period. When competitive terms such as these get into the top 5 positions on the SERP it can be difficult to maintain upward movement.
In addition to pulling up the page 1 rankings, I also managed to significantly increase the average ranking position of all the keywords tracked.
The overall visibility of the site was increased by almost 100% in inside 3 months. In fact, by the 4th month, the client had overtaken all their other competitors.
Disclaimer *I do not claim that all the improvements were exclusively a result of my work alone.
The SEO work was part of a retained package and work by copywriters and PR people whose work definitely assisted the growth. My SEO strategy simply was the missing ingredient needed to deliver growth.
Grow Your Visibility Like This
Is your business in need of a visibility boost? Organic SEO is a great way to grow the visibility of your business online. If you’re serious about dominating your niche at affordable rates, get in touch with us today.
We were approached by a small fashion retailer whose ecommerce website was not performing well and had low visibility in searches. Case studies like these aim to show that with the right steps, growth can follow quickly.
In month One, we targeted the technical SEO issues that were holding the site back. In month 2 work began on fixing on-site issues focusing on brand products with margin. After a short period, less than 2 months. Their statistics are already headed in the right direction.
Traffic Increased after we began work We believe that Traffic increases can be a vanity metric. There’s no point increasing traffic without ensuring that the traffic brings qualified leads or sales. Sales monitoring was slightly trickier as the ecommerce tracking hadn’t been configured until we came on board.
Increasing visibility for ecommerce websites Whilst the figures are still pretty low at this time, the growth in this site is a testament to the strides that can be taken in a short space of time when optimisation recommendations are followed through and implemented.
Focus on Organic SEO before wasting money on paid campaigns.
Organic SEO provides the foundation to a strong, stable website that will convert traffic when you embark on paid sales campaigns. We believe Customers should only leverage paid sales campaigns once their website is fit for purpose. this will save money in the long run.
It’s great to drive traffic to product pages and make sales, but if you can rank those pages organically, you’ll save budget to market products that don’t yet rank.
If you have an ecommerce website and want to increase its visibility, drive traffic, and rank for more search terms, get in touch.
Why Derbyshire Needs SEO: Phil Gregory – Peak District SEO
Over the last year and a half, I have audited many more websites than I initially expected. I know from a few conversations with colleagues that there is more SEO work out there than most people initially think. In fact, there is so much out there it’s actually unbelievable. It’s ridiculously unquantifiable.
Derbyshire business websites need SEO because, as a very rural county, tech isn’t the biggest industry, in fact, there is still a shortage of experienced web service providers.
Something that seems obvious to me is, that there are some great Web design companies and web developers out there. However, the nature of web work is so siloed that most web design companies are at best skimping on SEO, at worst, ignoring it completely.
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Why Web designers/developers don’t do SEO
The reason web designers/developers don’t do SEO is the same reason I don’t do web design. It’s best to focus on your core service.
When I set this business up I knew from previous work I’ve done over the years that the best results come from focusing on what you do best, rather than delivering patchy results on something you have a limited grasp of. Therefore I stick to SEO, and bring in graphic design and web development experts when they are required.
Why Hire An SEO Company?
Why hire an SEO company, I hear you cry. Why not just find a company who offers a full service? Well, you can, if you can find one that offers the full service within your budget.
One issue you’ll face is making sure that whoever is doing the SEO has enough experience, and can show actual results. Otherwise, you’ll be paying a premium for someone in a Web design company to do SEO for you. And you’ve come full circle.
The budget seems to be the constraining factor for most small to medium-sized businesses though. There is a school of thought within the SEO and design company that small companies who don’t have a big budget, should be left to fend for themselves. That’s not something I subscribe to.
I focus on serving small to medium-sized businesses. Why, because I want to help regional businesses to grow with a helping hand.
Experts are Good Sure it can be a pain to hire separate people to work on your project. However, Isn’t it best to take your time and choose the right person for each task?
Choose good designers/developers
Choose a good copywriter
Choose a good SEO / PPC
Get these people in a room together and get them working together. My extensive network of professionals regularly works together on projects to deliver great marketing results.
When each one of these people is hired by you, they are not just going through the motions of their 9-5 job, they are working for their own livelihood and their own reputation.
They will all want to do a good job and deliver a quality piece of work because they all have a long-term investment in the project.
Why Derbyshire Needs SEO
Derbyshire needs SEO because the East Midlands is rising in prosperity, and with prosperity comes investment. As more and more towns in Derbyshire get better broadband, the business possibilities increase.
Cities such as Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, Stoke and Leicester all have a need for web professionals and seo services.
Companies who, up until a few years ago were investing heavily in print advertising are switching to the web because they know each one of their customers has a computer in their pocket (mobile phone). Can you afford not to be targeting these customers?
Of course, I have a vested interest to say this, but I’d strongly urge any company who sells online or who seeks high volume leads to be looking closely at their website. Is it delivering what you’d hoped?
As your competitors get online, now is the time to forge ahead, or risk being left in their wake.
Hands-on Tree Care approached us for a website refresh. Their original site was looking dated and was not bringing in enough leads each month. This site is one of several Tree Surgeons we serve.
A new WordPress theme was built from the ground up, to ensure that the website was mobile-friendly. We knew from Google Analytics data that more and more people were searching for the company using tablets and mobile phones.
The site is now mobile-friendly, it loads faster, and has improved contact details and calls to action which is generating 3x more enquiries than before.
“Phil has had such an impact on the growth and development of our small business. Phil provides one to one tailored support specific to your industry and is always available, offering ongoing support and advice, thank you for all your hard work Phil.”
Do you need a WordPress rebuild? Or just some fixes and a tune-up? If so get in touch for a free quote.
A well-known Watersports supplier came to us after experiencing a dramatic drop off in traffic and rankings. When the owners came to us, they were desperate for a turnaround.
After conducting a Website review we discovered the site needed a lot of technical SEO and on-site work. We offered the company terms and began work. Within just a few months the overall picture was very different. Since then we have grown their revenue year on year.
Example of one month ecommerce stats showing year on year growth.
If you have an ecommerce website and need growth like this, get in touch for a free quote.
The time has arrived, Peak District SEO Just hit its one year anniversary. It’s been a wild ride with both highs and lows as one might expect for a start-up SEO company.
I promised the followers of Peak District SEO that I would answer their questions via a blog and social media video.
This article will try to answersome questions about SEO and also about our first year in business.
I used social media to call for questions from people who follow our accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Questions to an SEO Company…
Will Asks: “What does Google’s latest core algorithm change mean for sites and their content?”
Well, to answer that question well I think I actually need more time. The latest Google algorithm updates the speed update and it’s not been out long enough to form any serious conclusions.
Google is planning to move the entire ranking factors from desktop computers to a mobile-first system. This makes good sense given that more and more people are using mobile devices to search for what they are looking for on Google.
In January 2018, Google announced they would be rolling out the speed update. Google informed us was only going to affect the slowest load being websites on the mobile-first search results.
Towards the end of July, we saw evidence that the speed updates have been deployed, With Webmasters and SCO professionals reporting some changes in the SERP.
Personally, I do not believe the update will cause major problems for the majority of active and well-maintained websites. I think the biggest impact is going to be on sites that have not had any attention for some time.
It is going to be more likely that those sites will not have been built with mobile devices in mind. Therefore the likelihood that they will display poorly on mobile devices is much higher.
If sites are not optimised for mobile they are likely to be ranked lower by Google.
The good news is the majority of my clients have fully mobile friendly website so I’m not expecting to encounter a huge amount of problems. To recap, Websites that can expect major issues are likely to be older sites that are hand built or built on bespoke CMS That do not focus on delivering content to mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
“In the last few years, I’ve noticed the rise in the use of the verb ‘Shop’ in place of ‘Browse’ or ‘Buy’. Do you think this is for SEO reasons when someone’s looking for a shop that sells a particular item or is language evolving to use this word more?”
I think that this is just an Americanism. The same way that we can now refer to the shopping process of any e-commerce website as the cart.
We do not use the term “shopping cart” in the UK, we call it a basket or a trolley. But in the online world, we say “add to cart”, This is just a cultural crossover. In many e-commerce platforms heavily developed using US English. Those in the IT industry tend to use a more ubiquitous version of English rather than one more particular to one region of the world.
So when we see the term “Shop Shirts today” I simply believe this is an extension of this US English. I’d do not expected to carry over into everyday language.
My personal preference would be that people didn’t use the term “shop”. There may be some SEO value to using the word “shop” because shoppers might use the query “local shirts shop” or “men’s clothes shop”.
Additionally, there may be some psychology being deployed in the sense that “shop shirts today” sounds more like a suggestion than an order like “buy shirts today”.
At any rate, this is either a fad that will go away, or we will see more and more of these “universal English” terms creeping into our daily online language.
– Shantelle Asks: “Do you feel that you faced extra challenges due to your ethnicity, and are there any ways/wisdom that you could impart to other prospective black/ethnic minority entrepreneurs?”
This is a really interesting question, and probably warrants a more detailed answer than I can give here. I try to take as many steps is possible to remove the possibility where natural biases might get in the way connecting with potential customers.
Anyone who is searching for SEO services is actually looking for someone to help them overcome website problems. I try to position my business as having the solutions such problems.
By presenting a clear idea outline of technical SEO issues faced by potential customers and then offering a clear path to the solution, with affordability and support built in demonstrates why businesses should hire me.
I find this resonates well with leads encouraging them to focus on the project goals rather than people or any perceived differences.
– Rose Asks: “What do you feel was your biggest win/best moment of success in your first year?”
Without a doubt, the biggest win of the year is just staying in business. Milestones are a good way to gauge whether or not your service is effective.
Another big win is landing larger clients. When you first start out, you tend to attract smaller clients to only pay very small fees. When you do get that larger client feels like you’ve arrived. I always temper this relation with the knowledge that once you have landed a client that is just the beginning of the relationship. You have to keep them.
Whilst larger clients pay more, they are often more demanding and expect more detail and attention. Losing large clients can be a major blow to your cash flow and reputation.
Whenever I land a bigger client, I always review my systems and policies to ensure that they will be well served. That way they’ll be leaving positive reviews and testimonials to help me bring in similar clients.
-Keith Asks: “What were the things that motivated you this year?”
Funnily enough Keith, I always tell people to ignore the naysayers but I don’t always take my own advice. In some ways, their words do stick with you. You have to use other people’s negativity to drive you on!
When people tell me I can’t or won’t achieve something. I just love making them eat their words. A couple of things someone said to me early on were
“You have the wrong approach”
and “in your first year, you’ll be lucky to make 10 grand”
These two statements have propelled me forwards during the tough times.
I simply wasn’t prepared to let those people be proved right. I knew they were wrong at the time and by completing a year in business validates that. I’m under no illusions that it’s all plain sailing from here. The work starts all over again to achieve even more in the second year.
Thanks to all who supported Peak District SEO
I’d like to thank all the people who helped and supported me and showed a little belief, you’ll never truly know what that means to me.
Thanks for reading this article, and please share it on social media if you enjoyed it. Watch this space for more updates.
Google Rankings Dropped? Learn How to Fight Back: Phil Gregory – Peak District SEO.
If you own a website the chances are at one time or another you’ll have seen your web rankings dropped for certain keywords or key phrases. Don’t panic, this can happen for a number of reasons. You may have had a penalty – or it may be competitors have simply overtaken you. Here’s how to fight back and ensure that your listings rise back up the SERPS.
One of the many questions we get asked on a regular basis is:
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“What Can I Do If My Google Rankings Dropped”?
The answer to this question is many pronged.
Did You Make Major Changes To Your Website?
If you made major changes to your website and then noticed that your rankings dropped. You need to evaluate those changes, to see what may have caused the drop.
Perhaps the new version of the site has poor page load speed, or perhaps the navigation has changed completely? If you changed the URLs, have you implemented a set of redirects to send traffic to the correct pages?
Be sure to check Google Search console Google Search Console to find out the things that are not in your favour. Simply go to Crawl section, Crawl Errors. the reports will give you an indication of what is the reason behind any sudden SEO ranking drop after making changes to your site.
Monitor The Competition
If you are trying to rank on page 1, it’s fair to expect that your competitors also have the same objective. When your rankings go up, someone elses’ are dropping. So it’s unlikely, in the never-ending contest, that you will have everything your own way.
You can experience a sudden drop in SEO traffic if some of your web pages have gone down in SERPs for specific keywords. It’s highly likely that your nearest competitors have an active SEO campaign trying to outmanoeuvre you.
Loss of Quality Backlinks
Sites gain authority in the eyes of Search engines when they acquire high-quality links from other sites. Search engines see such backlinks as an endorsement of quality content. Needless to say that the loss of such backlinks can hurt your current search engine rankings which and lead to sudden SEO traffic drops.
Your SEO agency will monitor your backlink profile by using specialist tools Yto monitor your backlinks. When they find lost backlinks they can take steps to try to get it back, in order to bring your position in SERPs back.
Search Engine Penalties
Violating the Googles policies engine policies when optimising your website, can cause a big penalty to make your site disappear from the rankings.
Which will definitely bring with it a huge traffic drop. Check Google search console to see if you have been penalised by an algorithm change or with a Manual Action which is a penalty applied by the Google staff for violating their best practice.
Manual actions are actually reasonably easy to reverse, so long as you take the appropriate action and fix the issue. the longer they remain in place the more it will hurt your website though.
Action Site Audit issues To Improve Your Web Rankings
It’s really prudent to get a full website audit. If you cannot do this in-house, hire an SEO agency or SEO freelancer to do it for you. The results of the SEO audit should reveal the general health of your website. When you look at the report that the SEO agency has produced it should highlight any urgent work will need to be carried out to help make your site rank higher.
Whilst these factors do not necessarily guarantee that your website will rank well in the search results, what they will do is ensure that your website is in the best health that it can be. You want your website to be truly competitive but for it to be competitive it has to be in good health. You can’t ignore errors and keep letting them build up. That can be a recipe for disaster.
The next thing to do is to check to see if Google and the other search engines have rolled out any large algorithm changes. If you discover that there has been an algorithm change trying to find out as much about that change as possible. It might be the case that your site has become affected because of poor quality content. Every now and then Google reviews its rules on the standard of content. Or it might simply be that Google considers your backlinks to be spammy (low quality). If this is the case, then you will need to take action. But it can be hard to understand where to start to get this fixed, Again this is where you would speak to an SEO agency to get advice and get pointed in the right direction.
Review Your Content To Get better Rankings
It’s important to remember that in 2018 there are more and more companies trying to compete for attention from users than at any other time. Therefore to guarantee first-page places you have to be on top of your game. You have to be working hard, You have to be aware of what your competitors are doing. You have to be planning your strategy so that your content beats theirs and is providing more value to your potential customers.
Sitemaps It’s prudent to review all content on your site. The easiest way to do this is to take a look at your sitemap. Are there redundant pages? If so let’s get rid of them. Perhaps some pages can be merged?
The sitemap will show all the pages on your website. If you haven’t got a sitemap yet, You should talk to us, we can get one set up for you.
Running a review of the sitemap gives us an indication of all the pages on the site. When you couple the sitemap with the information that comes out of Google Analytics, we can tell which pages are popular and which ones are not engaging your customers your customers.
If your customers are not engaging with your content, this is a good indication that you are not serving them with the information they are looking for. This can lead to a high bounce rate and search engines will see this as a negative signal, which can harm your web rankings.
Build a Content Calendar To Earn Rankings For New Terms
When you work with Peak District SEO We will help you build a content calendar. Building a content calendar helps you to get organised in terms of writing new content for your website. This will enable you to publish the content that your customers are looking for.
the most honest way to Improve your search rankings is to ensure that you are providing useful information for your customers. This will be seen by search engines as engaging content and it is more likely to generate social signals and backlinks.
Without new content, your website will experience drop after drop down the search engine results pages.
Google Seach Console & Analytics To Get Answers
Google Search Console provides information about user queries on Google and that your site shows up for. It’s really important that you understand what sort of queries your site is actually showing up for. You can easily connect your Google Analytics to your Search Console and pull the search query information through for analysis.
Don’t forget that as well as yourself, Your competitors will also be employing this technique. Everyone is competing for the attention of the customer.
Avoiding a ranking drop is not truly possible, because we don’t have any control over the rules Google sets or on what level of work and investment your competitors make. This is why you can’t afford to “set and forget”. This is why you need to use an ongoing Organic SEO expert
How Good Content Helps Reduce Ranking Drops
It is not enough to just write the basic information about the product or service that you sell. Instead, your time would be better spent working to a more comprehensive strategy. Think about how you can make your site the best in its niche.
Keyword Reviews Think of all the keywords that relate to your product, then look again at that list of keywords to see how can you expand it. How might someone ask the questions differently? Think of synonyms try to use all of these ideas in the page content? Your SEO professional can take your keyword list and identify which words are going to be the most profitable for you to work with. Using these words and phrases in your copy will make your pages and articles more relevant to user searches on Google & Bing.
Adding Value Pages should have good images, not only should they illustrate your pages, they should be well optimised too. See our Images checklist for more info.
Create Downloadable Resources. Creating downloadable files such as whitepapers, or how to sheets and infographics give your customers a reason to stay on site and come back for more.
Link to Relevant Websites Link to useful and relevant sites that will help your customers gain knowledge, and see your accreditations. It’s good to link to relevant sites.
Regular Ranking Checks Check the rankings regularly. If the general trend of your standings is going up you know you’re doing the right thing. Some keywords will have climbed and some rankings dropped.
Don’t obsess about every keyword position A word of caution, don’t be fooled, rankings can be a vanity metric. Try not to fly into a panic or a rage when you notice that some keyword rankings dropped a couple of places.
I have seen sites with many, many numbers one rankings and yet they still were not getting the best enquiries that they could be. You really want qualified traffic, not just tyre kickers. So ranking #1 for every term may not always serve your business as well as ranking for just a few words that attract your perfect customer.
Monitoring your site is the best way to ensure that your rankings do not drop dramatically. If your team are not skilled SEOs you need to hire an SEO company to do this on your behalf.
Do not obsess over rankings, instead focus on giving customers what they actually need, this will lead to a higher conversion rate and more revenue for your business.
Need Help Recovering Rankings? If so get in touch for a free quote.
An outdoor activities company approached Peak District SEO for some advice, having slipped down the search rankings, despite being in business over 20 years. Their existing website was looking rather tired having been built several years ago.
The existing WordPress theme that had been used was no longer ‘WordPress approved’. The theme was causing issues with security and plugin conflicts.
After some initial technical SEO work to fix basic issues we revamped the WordPress website to bring it more in line with the sites of their direct competitors. Images were updated, the logo and blog were both refreshed.
The site is now mobile friendly, it loads faster, and has improved contact details and calls to action which is generating more enquiries.
Do you need a WordPress rebuild? Or just some WordPress seo fixes and a tune up? If so get in touch for a free quote.
KayeBooth – MD of SocialMyna – Social Media Training & Management & Consultancy.
Kaye Booth is a Derbyshire businesswoman who left her old job to set up her own social media training and management company.
We’ve been following the progress of her company SocialMyna, for a few years, and decided she’d be a great subject for an interview on the Peak District SEO blog. Interview below.
Kaye, can you tell us a little about how you came to launch SocialMyna, and what motivated you to do that?
A number of factors led me to launch SocialMyna back in 2011, a run of unsatisfying employed roles and a long-held desire to be self-employed with a successful business.
I began by working from home, like many startups, it was a case of utilising the back bedroom. I did that for about 18 months and at the time I didn’t really enjoy it. The set up wasn’t quite right and there we too many distractions.
I took up a then shared office in the Belper Business Centre. We shared with a web design company and after a year we moved to our own offices had for 3 years. Now we have modernised again coming full circle. Today I work from home again, it’s more flexible and I have the experience of setting up a proper working environment at home, where we can easily travel out to clients to deliver training.
How old were you at the time of launch and do you think there were any benefits/pitfalls of doing it when you did?
Asking a woman her age, how very dare you! (joking) I was 47 years young. For me it was the perfect time to launch my business, I feel that the life experience gained up to that time served me well. The hardest part was the self-doubt that new business owners feel about whether they are professional enough. Also as the boss of your own company you have to learn to work smarter, and not be a “busy fool”, The work you do has to add real value to the business, as opposed to just marking time for the sake of revenue generation.
Did you seek any financing to launch the business?
I had no financial backing and this was actually important to me personally as I wanted to be successful and independent. I had saved up enough money to give myself a buffer whilst getting started. Initially, I didn’t need a huge outlay, but as any business owner will tell you, it was hard at first.
Was it difficult to launch a Social media business, given that many businesses in Derbyshire are rural?
No not at all, it did take time to gain trust and build our community but the nature of social media means that I could approach anyone, anywhere.
Most of our work comes in via referral, which shows that we are doing a good job. Luckily that meant that we don’t have to spend huge sums of money on advertising as our good reputation brings in the work. Transparency is key for building trust and retaining customers. If you can demonstrate that your services are value for money, then your customers will stay and happily recommend you.
Tell us about your first client, (they can remain anonymous) and how did you land them…any other details?
Hard to remember, but our first contract client if I can recount their story is actually still a managed profile client today.
They enquired about social media training via LinkedIn and after an email response plus an impromptu cold call, simply because I was in the area they signed SocialMyna up to deliver a group training session for their MD and Sales Team.
Within a month of the training, they decided that to have a dedicated social media team who were remote was the way forward and we took over their content creation and delivery with immediate effect.
What do you love about your work? Why…what motivates you, do you have any exciting plans for the future?
I love the flexibility that my work gives me, and since growing my team of ‘Chicks’ with their support, I am able to choose how, when and where I work.
Motivation comes in many forms, client satisfaction and word of mouth recommendation make me strive to deliver a service which exceeds expectations. A supportive team motivates me to encourage their personal growth and the future looks very bright as we continue to evolve and grow as a company.
How has social media training changed since you started working in the industry and what are the big challenges that you face in 2018?
The spotlight is really on social media compared to when we set up SocialMyna back in 2011, with high profile press representation it’s important that we encourage clients to represent their businesses in a positive light.
Educating our clients about social media promotion is an important part of our daily work, platforms change and evolve so quickly these days that we need to keep an eye on these changes so that we can be at the forefront of all the new social media innovations.
What do you think is the best innovation in your sector, how has it helped or hindered your business?
The pace of change online is hard to keep up with. Platforms are constantly changing and evolving and our team has to keep up with that. We have regular online meetings to share knowledge and keep each other in the loop with regard to platform changes and new features on the various social channels.
How has collaboration with other digitals helped your business to grow?
When collaborated with the web designer form, through online networking, this gave me the confidence to know that we could offer e more complete and supported service and add that extra layer of support if needed. These days we regularly work with videographers and photographers, and SEO’s of course.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting a digital services company in 2018, what would it be?
Just to be honest and transparent, represent your business in a true light and be ready to evolve and grow to ensure that you are recognised as a responsible and trustworthy business. The killer things to watch for is that you stay humble, take it slowly and assess as you go. It’s too easy to get carried away with growth whilst forgetting to nurture your existing customers.
Onsite Search Improves Conversion Rates: – Phil Gregory
Implementing on-site search on your website will literally be the gift that keeps on giving. Looking at site search data one of the easiest ways to gauge what your customers/visitors are actually looking for on your website. this will allow you to better react and make key marketing decisions that will help your customers and your bottom line.
Correctly implemented and configured, web CMS platforms and Google Analytics can record customer searches. These days website platforms such as WordPress and Magento have some kind of internal Site search tracking built in. If your platform doesn’t, then there are usually lot’s of extensions or plugins that will add or enhance the ability to monitor what users search for.
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Why Internal Site Search Data Is Important
Learning what people search for will give you key insight into:
What your customers want.
What content customers find it hard to find
What your customers describe the product they seek.
How many people use search, and why.
Let’s split the searchers into 3 core searcher types and therefore different ways to deal with improving the customer journey for each
Default Tendency- AKA Lazy Search Monkeys
Some customers just use search as their first option. They often perform broad term searches such as ‘dresses’ or ‘men’s shoes’ etc.
There is a good chance that they are searching for something which is probably already well signposted via the main website navigation. They just choose to search.
The Well Informed Shopper
Most people don’t even notice product codes. However, Anyone who works in retail or ecommerce knows that product codes are a fantastic way to identify EXACTLY the product you seek.
Many websites have product codes, MPNs (Manufacturer Part number), barcodes or a unique code which the user might come to the site with. Especially with popular products, the EAN (International / European Article Number) is a great way to get fast product price comparisons across channels and find the best deal.
Novice Searcher & Frustrated Users
These people are the ones where your business is most at risk of losing the conversion. If users can’t find what they are looking for via the navigation, they often turn to search.
We’ve all done it right? You know what you want, you can’t find an obvious place in the navigation, the navigation is poor, the website is cluttered and you can’t be bothered to try and seek it out.
NB: These customers offer a golden opportunity. Check their searches and improve your website based on their searches.
Default Tendency Searches
Customers who use search as their first action when visiting a site can be annoying for you, because they are ignoring and bypassing your site layout, and asking a question without looking. Are you prepared for this?
Actions to take Look at the list of search terms, where a search term is broad, make sure that you redirect that term to hit a relevant category landing page. This way users will arrive at a more relevant page, helping them to narrow their search.
Product Code Searches
Some customers, particularly tradespeople, may search by product codes. Other users may have simply researched the product and are seeking just that, they may search in this way because they are single-minded and efficient types.
Actions to take Try to segment these users after checkout. Later you could email them, ask them to complete a questionnaire and offer a discount on upcoming purchases for completing it. This will help you to learn more about why they search this way.
Novice & Frustrated Searchers
If people can’t find what they are looking for quickly, there could be an issue with your navigation menus. Ask yourself:
Is the navigation clear and simple?
Are the products in the correct categories?
We often see products that are not even in a category, or they have been placed in the wrong category by accident.
Actions to take It’s worth checking the search terms for exact products and making sure that matching products are located in the correct category.
Make sure that your navigation is simple to follow. Less is more. You want your navigation to be clear and obvious. Try to avoid duplication in your menu/nav bar as this leads to customer confusion, and worse, Google confusion.
In conclusion Our research shows that taking action on the issues mentioned above have shown an uplift in conversions from 50 to 100%.
It’s easy to ignore internal search data, Many companies don’t even track it. Yet it really does offer you some low hanging fruit in terms of understanding user behaviour data.
If so then why not talk to us? Peak District SEO have plenty of experience of working on Multi-Million Pound eCommerce Websites.
Regardless of what platform your ecommerce website runs on, we can help. The majority of our experience lies with Magento, Shopify, Opencart and WooCommerce but we have worked an almost all the major ecommerce platforms and evaluate all work thoroughly before sending out quotes.
If you want to know more about what might be holding your ecommerce website back, get in touch.
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Let us Check Your Site For Errors.
Get in Touch
How is Ecommerce SEO Different To Normal SEO?
Well truthfully, it isn’t.
Ecommerce SEO still requires a mix of technical SEO, On page, off page SEO, some social media and maybe some paid marketing. Most of all it requires a whole heap of patience and hard work. The main aim is getting you more leads and sales. Visitor numbers matter but we want them to convert into customers.
“It’s no good paying for a couple of months work and expecting your sales to skyrocket. “
It’s no good paying for a couple of months work and expecting your sales to skyrocket. I mean, that could happen, but it’s likely to take a lot more work than that.
ecommerce SEO takes time because usually ecommerce sites have a lot more pages than the average brochure website. There are informational pages, Category pages and product pages, lots and lots of product pages.
Hire an affordable ecommerce seo expert
Price is always relative, but we have fixed rates. We don’t adjust the price up if we think you have money in the bank. We always offer a choice of work packages based on the amount of work that needs doing.
Nevertheless, you’ll find that Peak District SEO offer affordable rates for SEO and PPC that will allow your ecommerce business to grow year on year.
Some Common eCommerce SEO Mistakes
Titles and Descriptions The majority of companies with ecommerce websites will come unstuck at some point.
“We’ve seen businesses start doing their ecommerce merchandising with the best of intentions, fifty products in and they are completely bored”
We’ve seen businesses start doing their ecommerce merchandising with the best of intentions, fifty products in and they are completely bored. Then they start copy/pasting the same titles and descriptions on every product, you know, “just to save time”, when in fact, they are creating a nightmare for themselves further down the line.
We’ve seen sites with thousands of products that all have the same title and description, just because ‘some bright spark’ decided a plugin that offered a ‘one-click fix’ was the answer to all their problems. Ignore ‘one click fixes’, ignore claims of ‘automated solutions’, humans understand user intention, humans, understand data, humans write passionate engaging content.
Good titles and descriptions have to be thought about, and they have to be written by hand.
Fix Your Image Size Mistakes
Images make a website right? How many times have you heard that? Well to some degree, it’s true, but they can also BREAK a website. All too often we see ecommerce sites with terrible, terrible images.
Your images shouldn’t be too small or too large. They should always be named and labelled well.
Blurry images tend to be a hangover from the days when we all had to over-optimise images because we all had terribly slow internet. Whilst the UK isn’t known for its lightning internet speeds, it’s certainly good enough to handle decent quality product images on ecommerce websites, so you don’t need to OVER compress images.
*You should still compress your images. Try to remember though that your product images don’t need to have huge physical dimensions. They just need to be clear and properly illustrate the product. If your images are too big they just slow the site down and make your pages load too slowly.
Name your images properly and give them an ‘alt tag’ that reflects the product.
Then you’re going to have decent images. Even then, don’t rest on your laurels, keep an eye on the product, has it changed? Watch what your nearest competitor is doing. Are they presenting the products in a more engaging way than you? If so, you need to respond.
Create SEO Friendly URLs
It’s important to create easy to type and easy to remember URLs. Not just for customers but for search engines too.
URLs or web addresses, as many people know them, reflect the location of pages and content within your website. Having simple web addresses will help your site. The longer the URL the harder it is to remember it, the easier it is to make a mistake if typing it.
URLS reflect the structure of your website. It’s really important to plan the website before building it. We can always tell the sites that haven’t been well planned because their URL structures are poorly put together.
Here are some examples and variations of poor URLS
Example 1: mygreatsite.com/products/shirts/greyshirts/mens large/flanellet-greyshirt123
This URL is just too long. Whilst it does reflect where the shirt is located and what the product is, it could be presented better. We don’t need the colour, or size in the URL and the product name could be more appealing.
Example 2: mygreatsite.com/Products/Shirts/Mens/Large/Grey/greyshirt123
This URL uses capital letters. It’s not the end of the world, but it can lead to mistakes when you are sharing the links, or if people are typing the links by hand. If someone uses lowercase instead of uppercase, the link will break and the user will see a 404. Keep URL all lowercase.
Example 3: mygreatsite.com/products/shirts/mens/calvin_klein/grey/grey_shirt_123
This URL uses underscores. Again, not the end of the world but when the URL is displayed as a link and the link is underlined (depends on the site stylesheet) you can’t see the underscore. Also when a search engine reads URLs with hyphens, it ignores them, so it will only see “calvinklein”, which may confuse it. So keep it simple and use hyphens to denote gaps between words.
We see many of these issues when looking at older ecommerce sites. In 2018 there are plugins and extensions that help your website URLs to be better optimised and present better more user and search engine friendly URLs.
Search engine and user-friendly URL example. mygreatsite.com/ck-flanelette-grey-fleck
How hard could it be? Details like the colour and size can be chosen via filters on category pages or options on the product pages.
Of course, we’ve hardly scratched the surface, but there are literally hundreds of things you can do to improve your eCommerce site, here are a few more. Alternatively, you could speak directly to us about getting your site appraised. It’s completely free and should help you to make some clear decisions about how to get started.
Building an Email Campaign for LinkedIn – James Gorski
Email campaigns on LinkedIn are officially known as LinkedIn Sponsored InMail. This article will show you how to build a successful InMail campaign. In doing so, you will learn how to build a framework, develop your content, launch your campaign, and understand some best practices as well as things to avoid when developing your InMail campaign.
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The Framework Of Your Email Campaign for LinkedIn
Building the framework of your campaign on LinkedIn is very easy, because LinkedIn shows you a string of prompts that will guide you in building out this framework. In order to access these prompts your first point to access the Campaign Manager on LinkedIn.
From here, you’re going to select the Sponsored InMail option. Continue following these prompts to set up your campaign account. Then, designate a sender for the campaign. You can choose for the sender to be yourself or someone else on your team.
Develop The Content Of Your Campaign
When creating the content for your email, make sure that the content is personal. This can be achieved easily by using %FIRSTNAME% %LAST NAME%. Using this special command will allow you to create a personalized greeting that will feature the recipient’s name.
It is best for the body of your email to have less than 500 characters because data shows that emails of this size have a significantly higher click-through-rate. You may also want to include hyperlinks within your email because this makes your email more interactive, which will increase the chances of engagement.
The body of your email should announce any offers, coupons, giveaways, terms and conditions, etc. Also, make sure to include visual elements within your email. Sponsored InMail is already set up to include a banner image of 300 x 250 pixels. If you don’t include this banner image, an ad from another brand will appear in this space.
Prepare to Launch Your Campaign
Before launching your campaign, you will want to test your campaign within your own InMail mailbox. Once you have approved your campaign through this test, you will choose a target audience using the Campaign Manager. A standard audience size that is considered to be sufficient is usually around 100,000 people.
Lastly, you will want to select a budget using the Campaign Manager. When doing so, Campaign Manager allows you to place a bid. You may want to consider researching best practices for bidding on Campaign Manager to ensure the most cost-efficient results. Once you have set your budget, you will be able to select when you want to launch your campaign. You may choose to select to have it launched right away, or at a later time.
Sponsored InMail Best Practices
Although using InMail email marketing may seem basic, there are various best practices that you can implement in order to ensure the best results for your campaign. First, make sure that your campaign is mobile optimized.
Next, make sure that you choose a sender who is relevant to the content of your email. For instance, if you’re sending an email about technology it’s ideal to have a relevant staff member as the sender, or another person in charge of technology at your company.
Don’t forget to focus on personalization, because a personalized email typically leads to higher conversion rates.
Lastly, while it may seem time-consuming to create a customized visual for the banner image, it’s worth the time to do this. This is because the banner image will help to create brand exposure in a visual way.
Things to Avoid When Creating Your Campaign
Don’t be too formal, a conversational tone is best.
Don’t be too lengthy.
Don’t select someone unqualified as the sender.
Don’t have a busy banner image. Instead, select an image that compliments your text.
Don’t ignore the mobile aspect of your email marketing experience. The majority of recipients will likely be opening your ad on their smartphones or tablets.
Don’t present your content in a way that is spammy.
Artificial Intelligence is the new buzzword in the news over the last few years. But how can we use Artificial Intelligence for SEO?
It has become a game changer in SEO and Digital marketing. Artificial Intelligence research is constantly moving forward to enhance the response rate used by digital marketers. Before looking a little deeper into the topic, let us first know what SEO is and why is it so important?
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What SEO is & How it Can Benefit From AI?
SEO is essentially a set of techniques used by digital marketers to enhance the quantity of traffic on the website and thereby increasing leads and sales. SEO, when done correctly should, over time, improve the ranking of the website.
Search engines like Google work on an algorithm that has a constant watch on the entire content of web servers. Google monitors this content by reviewing sites using software bots known as Google crawlers or ‘Googlebot’. These crawlers rank the websites according to Googles predefined parameters.
So, being more visible to web crawlers and obtaining good rankings is really important. Some things should be kept in mind before carrying out SEO.
Now, let’s discuss the applications of artificial intelligence in Search Engine Optimisation
Understand Meanings Behind Keywords
Billion of searches are going on around the world, each and every second. People want the most relevant results regardless of how they search. For example, people search queries such as:
“Which hotel has the best view of the Wye Valley, Wales?”
Search engines have become intelligent enough to understand the intent of the search and provide results with the list of hotels. Sometimes you will need more in-depth knowledge to understand the keywords, that’s where SEO companies come in with their professional strategies. For more information on this and quality SEO strategies, the guys over at OutreachMama have some good tips.
Artificial intelligence Predicting user behaviour
Artificial intelligence helps predict user behaviour. This has become possible by collecting huge amounts of data. As soon as a user opens the browser and start searching the search data get stored in databases. In this way, user behaviour can be predicted by their past searches, profession, age, gender etc.
By predicting user behaviour, A business can focus on their target customers. All businesses are looking to gain more targeted customers, as targeted customers are more likely to buy something or sign up for a service.
The more engaged customers are, the longer they stay on site, and the more likely they are to make a purchase, sign up for a service or leave reviews. all of this data creates ranking signals which improve rankings in the SERPS.
How A.I Provides Insight From Consumer Reviews
Reviews from the customers have larger relevance in SEO than you might think. This is because reviews are written by real people in normal language.
For example, a customer might write: – “this is the best restaurant in the city”. So, if someone in that same city searches for” best restaurants nearby”, the chances are, a positive review like that can help the restaurant get listed in the local search results. The power behind these local results is Artificial Intelligence. By helping to interpret the meaning of what people are searching for, it assists local business websites that match the queries. Of course, it’s more complex than that, but you get the idea?
Chatbots To Improve SEO
Customers have thousands of queries about your product or services. To answer all the queries in an effective way, artificial intelligence has come up with some solutions. Chatbots. You heard it right.
One of the most common applications of Artificial Intelligence is chatbots. Chatbots help in answering the queries of customers in an effective way. Chatbots behave in a friendly helpful manner by engaging with people. This, in turn, helps improve your conversion rate. This site has a chatbot (chat box) and most marketing websites and ecommerce websites will be deploying some sort of chat box on their site.
During working hours the chat boxes send a message to the website owners/staff that a customer needs help, it’s the digital equivalent of the bell on the shop counter. Out of hours the chatbots, depending on how sophisticated they are can either take a message or even refer customers to specific parts of the website to help customers with their queries.
Don’t miss the chatbot boat
According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025
computing giants Oracle published a survey of chief marketing officers, chief strategy officers, senior marketers, and senior sales executives from France, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the UK, 80% of the respondents said they already used chatbots or planned to use them by 2020.
Forty-two per cent of participants were really embracing automation technologies, 48% are already using automation technologies, and 40% are planning to implement automation by 2020.
Companies were wary of the use of chatbots are now feeling the pressure to integrate them into their service offering.
Improve Shopping Experiences Using Customer Data
We all know how tedious it can be to shop online. There are millions of products that are available on various shopping sites. The Artificial Intelligence in search engines and now ecommerce websites such as Amazon can gather a user’s previous data, analyse it and show recommendations based on the previous searches.
More and more companies are developing A.I that delivers recommendations. Sites which implement such software have seen a boost in their sales. Sites Personalisation software is driving in-site recommendations.
At the end of the day, we can say that using artificial Intelligence for SEO has helped Search marketers to a huge extent already In the future, it’s going to become necessary for digital marketers to learn more about Artificial Intelligence, and how to harness its data gathering power.
Website Images are an integral part of your content, whether you are an eCommerce business or a brochure site selling services the images are a key component of your sales Funnel. When done correctly, images will aid your website when done correctly.
To make sure you are getting the most from your website images we have built a simple checklist.
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Are Your Existing Website Images High Quality?
Website images are like websites themselves, they date. After a few years, they can begin to look tired, images from the early 2000’s are often too small and pixelated for today’s high-resolution screens. Photos of staff members and premises can go out of date, as fashions change and your staff members come and go.
Review your images, do it honestly, ask some team members and friends to review the images too. Get detailed feedback on the images on your website.
1) Take new photos yourself If you are a great amateur photographer this could be the way to go. It would be a good investment to buy a decent SLR camera, Some lights and a green screen or a lightbox. Again, be honest, if you can’t take photos, and you can’t use photoshop, forget it, Options 2 & 3 will serve you better.
2) Pay for Stock images There are loads of good Stock image companies out there. My advice would be to pay for a premium service such as Shutterstock. The level of photos available is far superior to most others out there. However, if you are struggling for cash, then try a free Stock image account like Pixaby or Pexels.
3) Hire a Professional To get exactly what you want, hiring a professional is by far the way to go. They will translate your vision into reality whilst providing their artistic interpretation. the photos will be of high quality and you will own the rights to them ( if you negotiate that).
Hire a professional product photographer to come into your business and photograph your products or if you only offer services, you should hire a good wedding photographer to come to your business and shoot your team in situ. These photographs will make a huge difference to the way users perceive your website.
Does Your Website Images Depict Your Goods & Services?
Working in this industry I see many websites that fail to utilise images well. It’s your job as the website owner/merchandiser to SELL your business and convince users that your products and services are the best.
Try to show your customers the benefits of owning such products, so blurry, dark, or poorly presented images won’t help you to sell.
Would the product benefit from any extra images? If you are selling a product, the more detailed images you can provide the better impression of the product you will present to the customer.
Selling cars? Provide lots of feature images. Selling software? provide screenshots of the different functions. It’s not rocket science. A good example is the Apple App store or Amazon. I’d never buy products that don’t at least try to sell the product. Most customers need to be convinced of how good the product is before they buy.
Are Your Images Compressed ?
Whether your images are coming from a digital camera or from photoshop or similar apps, they need to be compressed so that they load quickly.
Even in today’s world of super-fast broadband (jokes if you live in the UK) uncompressed images can still slow a website down significantly.
To avoid this compress your images. Image compression software squeezes images and removes and unnecessary data from the files. Good image compression software is included in Photoshop, using the save for web feature. A quick Google search will help you find alternatives if you don’t use Photoshop.
WordPress users can turn to a range of image compression plugins. My favourite two are WP-Smush and Shortpixel.
Try to avoid scaling your images. Blurry product images with a small physical size have been stretched to fill more space on a page. It’s better to create clear, high-resolution images, and then create smaller versions to use on category and product pages, rather than to try to scale an image up or down.
Scaling a small image up reduces the sharpness of an image. Scaling a large image down reduces the way it looks on the page. It will still have its large file size, which can slow down the loading time of your web page.
If you think the images need replacing, don’t hold off. When it comes to replacing the images on your website, you have three choices.
Are Your Images Named Properly?
This is a great tip. So many websites and I literally mean about 98% of all websites I ever see, do not name their images correctly. It’s such a simple tip that can help with:
Your organisation of files, both on your server and local machines
Do your images have alt tags? Alt attributes within <img> tags are used by search engines to understand the contents of your images. If you neglect alt attributes, you may miss the chance to get a better placement in search results because alt attributes allow you to rank in image search results. Not using alt attributes also negatively affects the experience of visually impaired users and those who have disabled images in their browsers.
Always use hyphens to replace spaces or underscores
Always use lowercase not uppercase letters
Use Alpha-Numerics (and hyphens) where possible
Image Formats and Physical File Sizes
Ideally, use PNG formatting or JPG. PNG files are good for logos, buttons and banners. use JPG/JPEG for photographs. GIFS (Jiffs) are good fun but shouldn’t be used for product images.
Files size is the number of bytes (information) contained in an image. Physical size refers to its dimensions, eg: with and height. Depending on the aspect ratio you have decided upon for products, we recommend somewhere between 1000 and 1500 pixels in dimensions for image uploads. This should cover any zoom requirements.
If all of that wasn’t enough, here’s a quick audio podcast we made too.
Titles and Descriptions are metadata. We often get asked about the best way to write titles and meta descriptions for web pages. Metadata helps users and search engines understand what a website is about.
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Titles are VERY important for SEO. The title is the name of the page, category page or a product page. When browsing the web you can see the title of the page on the Tab that you have open.
The image below shows how the three main web browsers display plage titles on the tab of a browser.
When displayed on a browser tab the title tag seems almost inconsequential. Perhaps this is why it is so often overlooked?
However, the title is actually far more useful when we see how it’s used in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
Here’s an example
As you can see, the title tag for Debenhams helps describe the website and what it sells. Titles, often called Meta Titles present you the website owner with a great opportunity to uniquely title each and every page on your site. This information can help influence whether web users click the listing or choose another one.
We often see websites with many pages that do not have titles at all. When a web page doesn’t have a title, it appears in the SERP as UNTITLED DOCUMENT
Here’s an example
If your website has pages without a title, these pages lose an opportunity to convey your message or advertise your products and services.
How Long Should Title Tags Be?
Title tags should be no longer than 70 characters long or 600 pixels wide. *Google increased the allowed length of both titles and meta-descriptions in 2017.
The pixels measurement should not be ignored as that relates to mobile devices. In 2018 Google is switching over to the mobile first index, meaning that it will show mobile-friendly results first.
“The mobile-first index is Google’s attempt at looking at the web and indexing and ranking the web from a mobile-first perspective. This means that if you have a mobile-friendly version of your website, instead of indexing the desktop version, Google will first index that website’s mobile version.T SearchEngineLand Feb21st 2018
Meta Descriptions are also very important but are NOT a ranking factor. We use meta descriptions to give users a further indication of what a web page is about. The same sorts of rules apply to an information page, a category page or a product page.
How Long Should Meta Descriptions Be?
The recommended length of meta descriptions changes over time. In 2018 the recommended length is 320 characters. This is a considerable increase from the previous limit of 155 characters.
Writing A Good Meta Descriptions
To write a good meta description you should mention what the page is about and who is writing it. In addition, you can mention any special features or interest points. The more compelling your meta description is, the more likely someone will click it. Provide as much information as possible in as fewer words as possible. The final part of a good Meta Description should use a call to action.
The Ultimate Beginners Guide to SEO Jargon: By Phil Gregory. Director, Peak District SEO
So you have a website, and you’ve heard that you need SEO, But what even is SEO?
A few weeks back This post appeared as a guest post over on Social Myna The Their MD, Kaye Booth, asked me to write a blog post that could explain all that tricky SEO terminology that you have been struggling to get your head around. Let’s start with some basic terms.
SEO SEO stands for search engine optimisation. That’s the process of improving a website so that it shows up higher in the search results. For example, if a person searches on Google or Bing, a well-optimised page will appear closer to the top of the listings.
SERP Serps, this stands for Search Engine Results Page. So if you hear web professionals referring to your position in the SERP, they are talking about where your website appears in the rankings.
Rankings The term ranking essentially means where a website appears in the SERP. A website that appears at the top of the list of results is considered to have the #1 Organic ranking.
Organic SEO Organic SEO is when your SEO agency works on your site with the goal of improving your rankings without using paid search methods
Paid Search Paid search, is when you pay a fee to advertise your business. the most common types of paid search are Google Adwords, Bing Ads, or Facebook Ads. There are other types of online advertising.
PPC Pay Per Click. A term applied to online advertising such as Google Adwords where you only pay when someone clicks your ad.
Local SEO Local SEO is the process of ensuring that your site ranks well in your local area. The first step to doing this is to use Google My Business (GMB). This is free to set up. You can also add your listing to regional directories of which there are literally hundreds. Take advice before starting this though, if done incorrectly, it can cause issues with local SEO.
Traffic Web traffic is the flow of visitors that come to your website. It consists of two parts, Sessions and Visitors. Sessions are the number of individual visits, Visitors are people or bots who visit your site.
Direct Traffic Direct traffic is officially described as visits that come directly to your site. For example, a user knows your brand and types your URL into the browser. Or they have your address bookmarked (in favourites) and they click a link from there.
* However, recent evidence suggests that traffic that cannot be exactly identified is attributed to being direct traffic by search engines.
Referral Traffic Referral traffic comes to your site from other websites. For example Facebook, Twitter or any sites that link to yours.
A site audit is essentially a health check carried out by SEO professionals. There are many types of Audit, some better than others. You can pay for an audit, or there are free ones. Paid audits are usually necessary for websites experiencing major issues. Free SEO audits are given as an overview of existing problems, they are usually simple and non-exhaustive.
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Website Architecture Jargon
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) this is simply the code that powers your website. When browsing a webpage, right click and choose “view source”. You will see the HTML which is a set of directives that tell your browser how to display the content on the page.
URL URL stands for (uniform resource locator). None the wiser? No, didn’t think so. Its a posh name for website address. Daniel Miessler has a more detailed explanation.
CSS or Stylesheets Your style sheet is a text document that contains a set of instructions for web browsers on how to display the contents of a web page. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) files are often standalone, but CSS commands can also be embedded inside any individual page.
Body The body is the main part of your HTML code and always appears below the HEAD section. It contains all the information on your page, such as text, images, links, etc.
Copy “Copy” is just a fancy way of saying text. If you are told your site needs more copy, you need to write more words on your web pages. If you don’t like writing copy, speak to us. Phil is a qualified Copywriter.
Terms Your SEO Team Will Mention
Now that we’ve covered the broad terms, let’s take a look at a longer list of words that your SEO company are likely to use when discussing issues they find on your website.
Authority Authority is an indication defined by the search engines that your site is or isn’t trusted. The key types of SEO related Authority in 2018 are DA (Domain authority), TF – (Trust Flow) and CF (Citation Flow).
Pagerank Page Rank is a metric used by Google to determine the authority of a website based on the number and quality of backlinks pointing at a website. Google used to have a browser toolbar which displayed your page rank score, but page rank is no longer a public metric. Google stopped updating it in 2013.
Domain Authority DA is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages.
Trust Flow TF is a score created by MAJESTIC predicting how trustworthy a page is based on how trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites.
Citation Flow is also a score created by Majestic, to predict how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it.
Duplicate Content Duplicate content is when you have very similar content on more than one page. Try not to be tempted to copy content from other websites, unless you have permission even then you should cite the source.
Canonical URLs If you have a product that has variations, for example, Men’s, Star Wars T-shirt. And that T-shirt is available in several sizes such as small, medium, large and extra large. It is a mistake to create a different product for each variation. It isn’t 4 different products, its one product with 4 variations.
SSL Certificate SSL Certificates are files that digitally bind an encrypted code to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock icon in your browser’s’ address bar and creates an https version of your website’s pages.This allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.
Alt Attribute/Tags Alt attributes are often (incorrectly) called alt tags. Whenever you have an image on your page, you have the option of adding alt attributes to it. Alts are basically just an opportunity to describe the image It’s the best practice to add these for accessibility. It’s also a great way to add relevant keywords.
Mobile Friendly This term refers to how your website looks and works on a mobile phone or tablet device. If your site works well and looks good on these devices the chances are your site is mobile friendly. If it doesn’t scale down and work well, you need to get your website redesigned.
301 / 302 Redirects Redirects are directives given to the browser to send users who request an old web address to new web address without them realising. To ensure that users don’t land on a page that no longer exists, you need to add a 301 redirect.
For example, a user requests:
https://mysite.com/products/my-ace-product but you have moved the page to https://mysite.com/my-ace-product
The redirect catches the request and sends your visitor to the new page without issuing a 404 not found page.
404 error A 404 is an error message displayed by a browser when a web address cannot be found. A few 404s don’t harm your site but too many can annoy your visitors and cost you leads and sales.
Web Analytics Analytics is a broad term for software that tracks visits to your website. You Must have some form of analytics installed to effectively monitor your site’s performance. The most popular web analytics is Google Analytics.
Search Console / Webmaster Tools If you want to promote your website you should use a set of free Webmaster tools. Google’s version is called Search Console and Bing’s is called Bing Webmaster tools.
These tools can gather information about queries to your site. Request that the site is crawled and indexed, highlight SEO shortcomings and more.
Google Tag Manager (GTM) Tag manager is Google’s latest way to simplify the addition of tracking of code to websites. Instead of adding lots of disparate pieces of code such as analytics, search console meta tag, bing webmaster tools meta tag, facebook pixel, twitter pixel, Pinterest meta tag. You can now just add the Google Tag manager container code to your site. GTM does the rest.
Crawl A Crawl is when SEO companies use software to check the content and performance level of your website. The software is called a ‘spider’ or bot.
Spiders / Bots A bot is a computer program that visits websites and gathers the code behind them, to help other companies create a database of information eg: Google, Bing or SEO Software companies.
Crawl Budget This is nothing to do with money. Search engine bots have to crawl the entire web, it’s a massive job. In simple terms, Crawl budget is how many of your pages a bot will /can crawl. Ideally, the simpler, and most logical sites are the best crawled. Sites with thousands of pages, duplications, faceted navigation may see that not all their pages are being crawled and indexed.
Index An index is a database of Web pages and their content.
If your SEO team say they will Index the page/site they mean they will crawl the site/page in order to add it to a search engine index. Indexed Pages are simply pages on a site which have been indexed.
Sitemap There are two kinds of sitemaps.
HTML Sitemap This is just a normal webpage on your site that contains a link to all the pages included on your site. It is easy to read for both human visitors and bots.
XML Sitemap Your XML Sitemap is built for web crawlers, or search engine bots. It provides an up to date list of all the pages on your site so that the crawlers can visit every link (or as many as they can) and add them to the search engine listings.
Robots.txt. Robots File The robots file is a text file that lives on your server, it tells bots which pages to index and which pages to ignore.
Blog A Blog is a piece of software that can stand alone or as a wider part of a website that serves a set of news articles. Alternatively, it can work as a knowledge base about your specific products or service.
Blog Posts Individual articles that reside within the structure of the blog.
Plugins Small pieces of software that are added to your existing blog to enhance or extend its capabilities
That’s quite enough jargon for one read, but there’s more, lot’s more. If you found this article useful, please don’t forget to share on Social Media.
I have known Stephen Boot for a long time now, he’s a quiet unassuming man who always has a cheeky smile on his face, almost as though he knows what you’re about to say next.
When I was working for Stoke on Trent Council in the early naughties Stephen was working as a web developer in Stafford. I had some small websites that I’d built and I needed hosting, I was fed up with the inflexible bigger companies, The way that you treat people is remembered for a long time. I chose Stephen to help me because he’d been so kind and informative whenever I’d visited their offices to deliver SEO training.
When I found out Stephen was setting up his own Web development company, I wanted to be supportive and help where I could. At that time, whenever anyone asked me about a reliable web hosting company, I’d refer them to Stephen. Over the years I’ve referred lots of small businesses to Sitello, and they have always worked really hard to do whatever the clients needed.
So I thought Stephen would be a great person to talk to regarding how to put together and maintain an online business.
Stephen, you’ve been in business for a while now,how long as it been?
SB: Sitello was launched at the end of 2010. It was marketed as a hosting company primarily, but at the beginning, the main income was from web design and development. I was 27 when I started the business. I had already worked in a web development company for almost 6 years, going from part-time tester to senior engineer, so I had the necessary experience and confidence to provide and support these types of services. I had built up a small amount of money and decided to go self-employed.
At this time, social media was still growing, so a lot of people still had and wanted their own website hosting. Nowadays, many small businesses simply create a Facebook page and think that’s all they need to do, so digital agencies need to be creative in showing what benefits can be had to having their own website.
PG: Yes, I encounter that a lot too, particularly with small businesses, who don’t have the technical know-how or confidence to manage a proper website. I agree that digitals need to work harder to dissuade companies from placing ‘all their eggs in one basket’, so to speak.
It must have been pretty scary launching a business in digital at that time, did you get any financial backing?
SB: I started the business out of my own pocket, with a very small amount of money. The main expenses were business insurance, hosting platform fees and accounting fees. Web hosting has very tight profit margins, so I still needed to rely on income from web design and development to pay the bills.
PG: Wasn’t it difficult to launch a web hosting business though, I’d have thought that the market was already saturated?
SB: With various web hosting reseller packages around, it’s very easy to set up your own web hosting brand. Most digital agencies have their own reseller accounts to offer customers who don’t want the hassle of finding a provider themselves, but few companies market it as their primary product.
PG: This was something that I looked into myself, when I used to design websites, certainly a great source of rolling income, but I certainly didn’t feel that I know enough about servers and such-like to ensure that my clients websites would be safe from hackers, I just didn’t want that kind of responsibility.
SB: To do this, you need to prove you have a reliable and flexible platform – something which is very difficult to find. Luckily, I had the experience to know who was the best in the industry at the time, which helped me provide products that impressed a lot of my customers.
PG: So what about your early clients, most startups struggle with the first few, how did you land them?
SB: My initial clients were small businesses I had supported from my previous employment. Other clients were friends from university and others through word-of-mouth. At this point, I had literally done zero marketing, other than mentioning what I was doing in conversations. Being self-employed meant that I spent most of my time on web development projects, so I never really spent any time on marketing.
PG: Sitello has been up and running now for 8 years, You must still enjoy your work. What in particular motivates you?
SB: There’s nothing that makes me feel more fulfilled than a customer who really values the advice or services I have provided to them.
When a customer comes to me – the experience is more than just filling in a form on a website and setting up payments. I truly try to go the extra mile to make sure that a customer gets the most out of their hosting package.
PG: That’s certainly been my experience working with you. I can’t remember one time when I was irritated or disappointed by the outcome or customer service. I’m not just saying that either, such good service is really hard to find these days.
I’m keen to understand how has web hosting has changed since you started working in the industry. I mean, what are the primary challenges that you face today compared to when you started?
SB: My very first personal website was created in 1997 and was hosted for free with a small web hosting company that is still going to this day. It was pretty clunky, but all I needed it to do is serve static HTML pages.
Domains were fairly expensive back then, so a lot of people had URLs such as http://webhost.net/~username/index.htm, which were not very memorable and were very bad for SEO. A lot of ISPs bundled free web space with their dial-up internet, but most people would not bother using it nowadays.
The first hosting reseller I used at my previous employer was a fairly large company. They are still one of the most popular web hosting platforms in the UK. However, after hosting many different customers’ websites with them, I came to find that they were impersonal, had lots of downtime with little support, and their offering was pretty inflexible.
I knew the technology should work in theory but felt frustrated that they were letting our customers down.
By the time we’d had enough of them, some more platform providers had begun to offer their own reseller packages. This meant that we had more options open to us to migrate away from the legacy platform we were lumbered with.
Most reseller packages were only suited to a particular type of website technology. Some didn’t provide Windows hosting, which a lot of our customers at the time needed. In the end, we found a provider that had great reviews and were getting a lot of publicity. We decided to change to them, and this was to be the platform that Sitello would host customer’s websites on for the next 7 years.
Eventually, the provider was sold off to a conglomerate of other large hosting companies, and their support, price and range of products were a factor that was ultimately letting me and my customers down. In 2018 I decided to migrate all my customers to a new platform, where the owners had put their heart and soul into it. With minimal disruption, I managed to move all Sitello customers over to the new platform in 30 days or less. This meant that Sitello now uses one of the most advanced hosting platforms in the world, and can offer customers what most modern websites need – free SSL certificates, low-cost domains, hosting, and no degradation in service when demand increases.
PG: What do you think is the best innovation in your sector, how has it helped your business to grow?
SB: ‘Elastic Scalable Cloud Hosting’ may be a mouthful, but it means there are now whole data centres full of servers “on tap”, ready and waiting to serve web pages as fast as Google when demand increases, no matter how small your website. Imagine a small business who puts out a local TV advert who has standard web hosting. The server would normally grind to a halt when even 10-20 people visit their website at the same time. With elastic scalable cloud hosting, this is not a problem. The website would respond as if you are the only person viewing it, and the web host doesn’t have to deal with an unhappy client when their website becomes unresponsive.
PG: So it sounds as though things are going great for you right now, tell our readers about how collaboration with other digitals helped your business to grow?
SB: It’s great to build up a network of like-minded business owners, where you can refer clients to get the best service for their budget. Peak District SEO has referred a fair few clients to Sitello over the years, which wouldn’t have known about me otherwise.
PG: Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
SB: After recently changing my hosting platform partner, I plan to expand the product range and simplify the process of finding the ideal web hosting package.
PG: One piece of advice you’d offer to anyone starting a digital services company in 2018
SB: When choosing cloud services and applications, look for companies with the best reviews for support and technical expertise, no matter what the cost. No technology is perfect, but when you have great support, you’ll be thankful when the worst happens.
How Using Pinterest Can Benefit Your Business: Phil Gregory – Peak District SEO
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What Is Pinterest?
For those who haven’t encountered Pinterest, it’s basically, an online pinboard for collecting photos and images (sometimes video). Pinterest has been an extremely popular social media platform for people of all ages and is especially popular with women.
Pinterest users browse other users boards, liking, commenting, and repinning each other’s collections.
Users can create as many boards of pins as they like, which is great for organising images and building collections.
One example of a Pinterest board might be if you like collecting pictures of Trees, you can create a board and label it Trees.” If you also like collecting vinyl records, you could create another board and call it “Vinyl.”
How Popular is Pinterest?
It literally has a massive following. In terms of having the most active monthly users, Pinterest is listed as the 6th most popular Social media platform. This is a decline in its initial popularity as Youtube continues to grow and Instagram benefits from Facebook‘s ownership. Regardless It still has a cool 2 million monthly users, and that is not to be sniffed at.
Imagine all the ways your business could benefit from having all those people see your products.
Why Use Pinterest For Business?
Online businesses get started on Pinterest because they see their website visitors, using Pinterest.
Many people use Pinterest to plan their lives, their goals and to provide inspiration. In addition, many people use it to create boards that make a statement about the things they love, such as brands, music, films, holiday destinations and more. Any marketer will tell you this information is highly useful for building a profile of your website visitors.
Businesses know that images of their brands and products are appearing on the Pinterest network. Widespread sharing of images can help spread brand awareness, drive traffic to the website, build inbound links and generate hype. What wouldn’t business be interested in harnessing some of that?
What Percentage of Pinners Actually Buy?
According to Smallbiz Trends, a massive 87% of pinners have actually bought something they say in a Pinterest collection. And what’s even better for retailers is that 55% of users say they have actually purchased items through Pinterest.
Tram Nguyen, of Pinterest, discusses how to use the Pin It button and make your website more pinnable. Stating that businesses are looking for a way to reach out to users to encourage even more brand engagement.
For example, a company who sells blinds and curtains could create collections of interior design ideas that match the products that they sell. By building boards about colour or painted walls, companies can assist their customers by helping them plan room design. If your company has taken the time to create a great set of lifestyle shots, then there is no reason why you cannot mix these shots of your products in with the inspirational ideas.
Another example might be a company who sells work clothes. By creating boards that help customers create a stylish look at work, the company can establish themselves as a company with good ideas, and more importantly a company who can be trusted.
Pinterest is great for eCommerce sites too
Shopify has partnered with Pinterest to ensure that images pinned from online stores are automatically saved as rich pins. Rich pins have five types: movie, place, article, recipe and product pins. Rich pins provide more information than a standard pin.
Statistics released by Shopify in 2017 showed that:
Pinterest was the second biggest social source of traffic to Shopify stores.
Traffic from Pinterest had the 3rd highest basket price on average.
50% of sales and visits happen after 3.5 months.
Want to know more?
If you want to know more about how you can use Social Media to improve the visibility of your brand and to help drive leads and sales then do please get it touch. You can speak to a dedicated social media manager who will either organise training dates for you or help you plan and manage your social media accounts.
If you liked this article, please feel free to share it on social media using the buttons below. Alternatively, you can link to the article on your website.
SEO in Buxton Taught Me These 10 things!: Phil Gregory 2018
After working for Stoke on Trent City Council for 10 years as an IT Trainer and Technologist, I got the chance to come home and work in Derbyshire. It was 2012 and I’d landed a job working as an SEO in Buxton.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that there aren’t any companies offering SEO in Buxton, but like any other rural town, the advent of high-speed broadband means that rural workers are no longer forced to commute into Sheffield or Manchester. Today there is an ever-growing number of creative agencies in Buxton and around the Peak District.
During my time working in Buxton, five years flew by in the blink of an eye, and in that time, I moved house twice, got through 3 cars, emptied and sold my late Aunts house. We gained and lost a few pets, not to mention a few pounds in weight.
The job was focussed on e-commerce SEO in Buxton. I learned a lot about myself and about working with other people. Here’s my list of some of the key things I’ve learned and am now mindful of in my own business.
Table of Contents
1) Rural Towns Need Better Broadband
We’ve all heard that broadband speeds in rural areas could be better. It’s definitely true in the Peak District and surrounding areas. The terrain is challenging for sure. There are many small hamlets such as Weston, Smalldale, King Sterndale and Biggin, but there seems to be a lack of real will to create a comprehensive plan to connect rural towns and villages to the 21st century.
Most homes in Buxton now have access to ADSL and Fibre is available, in some places. However, I’ve had many conversations with local business owners who say that their internet connections simply aren’t up to the job.
The Peak District and outlying towns like Buxton and Matlock may be rural but they still have a healthy population. These larger towns and villages like Tideswell, Bakewell and Baslow have thriving businesses who want to expand their online operations, and yet in many cases are still being prevented from moving forward due to poor access to the Internet.
To be fair, there are some moves being made. Derbyshire County Council has the Digital Derbyshire initiative in place, and fibre is being added to more and more areas.
Seo Companies like Peak District SEO, Web agencies like Tor Studio and Social Media Management companies like Social Myna are flourishing as more and more firms take their business online. The change of pace could be faster though. We need every house and business connected to the fibre by 2030 as a minimum goal.
2) SEO in Buxton & Towns Like it is Essential
Rural Derbyshire towns like Buxton, New Mills, Glossop, Bakewell, Matlock, Wirksworth and Ashbourne are all expanding. With that expansion comes new people with new ideas. People moving out of the cities into rural areas bring with them new, fresh ideas, not to mention investment and job creation.
Most new businesses created today have some kind of web presence. However, to be competitive in 2018, you cannot just have a web page, stick it up on the web and leave it. Nor is it sufficient to just have a Facebook page.
It’s never been more important to have your own corner of the web, branded with your own logo and colours, where you have total editorial control of how you promote your business. Yet without the help of web professionals many business websites flounder.
In the past, their best option has been to turn to the city agencies, only to recoil at the prices quoted. I get many SEO enquiries from small businesses who share this vision but simply cannot stomach the exorbitant prices charged by big city agencies.
That’s why I set up Peak District SEO. I saw that local small to medium-sized businesses really needed assistance with all topics website related.
3) There’s a Lot of Hype About SEO Prices
Let’s get something straight, SEO is expensive. Any professional service that you pay for comes with a healthy price tag. However, just because a company may be more expensive than another, doesn’t automatically make them better.
The same applies to companies whose prices are ridiculously cheap. It pays to do a little research on the companies before hiring. Make sure they can show you examples of their successes.
Whilst doing SEO in Buxton, I researched a number of so-called “leading Magento agencies” and found that the prices being charged for Website builds, SEO, PPC etc were just phenomenal. These companies were trading off their brand name and the name of the product. When we came to review the work of some of these companies, we were often shocked at its poor quality.
We all have costs to meet and all know the value of our work.
In the 1st century BC, Publilius Syrus wrote:
“Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it”.
That said, there are limits. I’m against charging companies more money just because they have a higher turnover. Nor do I believe in charging high prices just because I want to align myself with the “leading lights” of the industry. No, Peak District SEO always charge a fair price for work carried out.
I like to think of myself as a tradesman of the digital age. I don’t saw wood or build walls, I build links, and renovate websites. Furthermore, It’s my aim to align with the businesses I work with, not ones in Seatle, Rome or Monaco.
When you book work with Peak District SEO, you’ll get a fair deal, plain speaking and consistent growth. There’s no hype, no daft unattainable projections, just solid graft and a marketing colleague working for your success.
4) Derbyshire Businesses Need SEO & I.T Training
I’m not talking about those seminars held in big draughty halls where a presenter talks for an hour about digital marketing and how you should choose their company. I’m talking about one to one support that businesses need.
Over the years I have talked to many company directors about their hopes to grow their online business. These directors have all have a difference in technical know-how as to what they want, what they need and how to implement their plans.
One common theme is that companies are, in the main, not aware of all the many technical solutions that are available to aid productivity and collaboration.
Ten years of training teachers and educators across the country has taught me that even the brightest minds need support, and training from time to time.
Peak District SEO have the policy of being available to deliver whatever support and training clients need. I want clients to understand the differences between browsers, and email clients, and want them to know what types of software will help them do their jobs better.
5) Workmates Are Like Family. You Can’t Choose Them
When you work in one place for a number of years, your workmates become like family. You get to know them in a way that you never imagined that you would. You can’t choose your workmates, so try to look for their best qualities, even if there are some people you don’t seem to have much in common with.
Developers and SEOs are always locking horns regarding what makes a perfect website. I can think of numerous times that Devs have helped me with problems that are out of the realm of an SEO’s technical knowledge. Stuff like server issues and DNS issues.
I also remember times when my seo knowledge has helped the design/dev team with little on-page SEO tips saving time by building features into sites from the get-go.
Just like in a family, there extroverts and introverts. There will be times of laughter and sometimes tears, occasionally anger, and definitely plenty of frustration. When you’re feeling such frustrations, it’s good to remember that each member of the team is there because of the skills they can bring to the company as a whole. So don’t sweat the small stuff.
6) Someone Know’s More Than You – Learn From Them
In 2012, I definitely thought that I knew it all when it came to SEO.
After being in post for 6 months I realised that I still had plenty to learn. My boss had a real in-depth knowledge of software applications, introducing me to a myriad of plugins and extensions that could automate processes that I’d been doing by hand. Initially, I was sceptical of such methods, but today I’m certainly grateful for that knowledge and still use a lot of it today.
Now that I work for myself, I now know that such timidity has to go out of the window. A certain level of innovation and a fair dose of motivation is necessary. My old boss was doing what he had to do to keep all the projects moving. To add extra value to what we were delivering, he had to explore all possibilities. That is certainly a valuable lesson.
7) Learn to Let Go – Don’t Try To Be A Control Freak
I think this lesson was one of the hardest to learn. Accepting that there is only so much you can do to make a project succeed. Projects are rarely run in entirety by one person alone.
It can take a team of people to ease the burden and take up the slack sometimes. Whether that means you work tightly with developers and designers, or whether a project manager is delegating work to you, it can pay dividends to accept that you are only responsible for ‘your part’ of the project and that ‘your part’ is only part of the whole.
Even clients have to do their bit, by providing the relevant information, copy, business sector insight etc. If clients aren’t fully invested in the project as a whole and aren’t keen to contribute and engage, projects can become heavy weather. Don’t get stressed out if things aren’t moving as fast as you’d like, talk to the Manager or the PM, if they are happy then you can relax.
8) Get Qualified – Personal Growth is Essential
I talked earlier about the team and how every member of it is an essential piece of the jigsaw that makes up a well-run project. That’s very true but what about when the individuals within the team, are not happy or fulfilled.
You have enough knowledge to know how to structure the tasks into manageable chunks but it can become a case of rinse and repeat, especially when working on eCommerce SEO. If you are tasked with on-page SEO of 20,000 products, from a company that has a huge budget, and who rarely call or engage with you, it’s easy to become disillusioned.
I’d advise any SEO specialist who finds themselves in such a situation to seek out qualifications. Do your Google Exams, Bing Exams, Chartered Institute of Marketing, or copywriting. Do something that makes you feel good about your skills, something that refreshes your skill set and revives your passion for this wonderful job. If you don’t take such action, you can fall behind, then it can be a slippery slope.
It’s easy to get complacent when you have a 9-5 paid job. The bills are covered, you don’t have to pay for your desk, your computer, the lighting, heating water or ground rent. You turn up to work complete your tasks and go home. It’s certainly easy for someone in their late 30’s to early 40s to fall into such a pattern. You can soon start to question your own worth, and feel negative about the work that you are doing.
Try to stay fresh with your subject knowledge. If you feel stale in what you are doing, the chances are, others around you will have noticed that staleness. Especially your team leader or boss. If you value your job and want to save it from spiralling out of control, speak to management and get help to improve what you bring to the table. Do it now, before it’s too late.
9) Online Growth in Rural Areas Is The Future
There are many more villages and small towns in the U.K than there are cities. Throughout history, people have flocked to the cities for work, because that was where the new ideas were to found. In the 21st century, the Internet should level the playing field significantly. Businesses don’t need to be based in the City to reach a larger market because their audience can be reached online.
Similarly, workers will no longer need to commute because their work can be done from a home office, back bedroom or even the kitchen table. More and more people are working from home and more and more people are starting their own businesses.
TUC figures from 2016 show that 1.5 million people were now working from home. As computer technology, mobile phone signals and broadband speeds improve. This figure is only going to rise as s people become more independent, and self-reliant, more opportunities arise.
The Office for National Statistics reported that in 2016 there were Five Million self-employed people. I expect to see an explosion in new businesses in the coming decade as fewer people are restricted by the working constraints of the 20th century.
10) Self Determination is an Option
I began this article talking about getting an opportunity to work as an SEO in Buxton, and some of the things that 5 years in post taught me. I’d like to end by saying that long periods in one job sometimes show you that actually, a change is what you need.
After 10 years in Education, and then 5 years in an agency, I had a yearning to try my hand at running my own business. I needed to be able to make decisions and stand by my decisions instead of deferring to someone else.
My instinct was telling me that there were business opportunities available that I wanted to tackle, but such opportunities weren’t always aligned with the goals of my employer. As frustrating as that may seem, you have to respect their wishes because they are paying your wages. If you can’t handle being subordinate, it might be time to strike out on your own.
Even if you realise that you need a change, being brave enough to make that change is hard.
If there was one piece of advice I’d give to my younger self, it would be to take a leap of faith. Set up your company whilst you are young. Preferably, do it before you have a mortgage and kids, that way, if you fail, you have less to lose. That said, for the first time in years, I’m no longer scared of failure, it’s just not an option.
In its first year, Peak District SEO is doing well. Leads keep coming in and they are becoming clients. I personally feel like I have learned more in the last 6 months than I’ve learned in the last 15 years. I should have done this years ago!
I was searching for articles relating to Social Media in The Peak District and the surrounding area. It’s always good to search for your business topic and the area that you work in. Firstly, I like to make sure that I have my finger on the pulse of local digital marketing provision as well as national and international developments. Continue reading “Social Media Management Helps Businesses”
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