I’ve got 9 years website marketing experience and delivering in house SEO training courses. I also work as a freelancer whereby people can hire me by the hour to solve a Google Analytics problem, or simply to discuss why they are not ranking in search engines.
Before I can do need to ask for a show of hands. Who in the room has heard of SEO?
5 years ago I would have expected only one person to know exactly what search engine optimisation is so it’s encouraging to see how industry interest has spread.
My background is that I have 20 years of sales and marketing experience. I used to work for the ADMAG and Weston Somerset Mercury. I was Territory Manager and lead a small team, teaching people how to write enticing adverts for the newspaper.
The more successful the adverts were, the more local businesses spent on advertising.
In the year 2000 I started a new hobby as a DJ, playing vinyls in nightclubs and bars around the world, Amsterdam, Ibiza even Australia. So, when I left the newspaper I made money working from home on eBay selling DJ 12” vinyl records.
This is when my online marketing skills started even before I knew it.
I’m going to illustrate this by using Michael Jackson.
Other people on eBay would sell Michael Jackson – Billie Jean by calling their listing simply ‘Michael Jackson – Billie Jean’
My listing title was is completely different as I would add extra keywords to my title and description
The amount of traffic specifically searching for Billie Jean would be much lower than people searching for the generic term funky house for 12 inch vinyl record.
Therefore my listings covered all bases.
I benefited from having specific targeted traffic for Michael Jackson fans, but I also reached a broader audience of people searching generally for house music records.
This is your first search engine tip that you can take away with you today.
Let me use the eBay principle and apply it to your website.
TRIM NATION – Hairdresser in Bristol.
There is a fictitious hairdresser in Bristol called TRIM NATION.
People searching Google for TRIM NATION will always find the website.
A bit like people searching eBay for Michael Jackson and Billie Jean will always bring up my listing.
The point of SEO is to attract visitors to your site that are not aware of your brand name.
What we need to do for TRIM NATION is to attract traffic from broader keywords, so together we are going to rewrite the homepage as I often find the title of the website will be headline text saying ‘Welcome to TRIM NATION’.
QUESTION: Can I have a show of hand from people who know what a H1 and H2 tag is on a webpage? Link to further reading about SEO and Headers.
I would rewrite the homepage headline (or H1 header) to read something like
If you notice I did not use the brand name on purpose. Usually your website is your brand name additionally you will have your logo and banner also saying your brand name.
Write a lot of content – no one wants to read a newspaper with no text, Google is the same so write 300 words or more for each page.
But there’s always one that I will always get asked.
The most popular question is “How long will it take for my website to be Google page 1?”
The answer is the same for everybody – There is not one SEO company in the world that can predict how soon your website will hit Google page 1 as there are over 220 points in Google’s algorithm that define how well a website would rank better than it’s competitors.
I’ll list off my top 5 Google tips for SEO
I’ve been around before Google was mainstream. Back in 1990’s when everybody was using Yahoo and Ask Jeeves, Google first came onto the scene in 1998.
Oh, a sidenote – before Google was called Google was named Backrub. This was because their algorithm checked backlinks to estimate the importance of the site.
Back in the 1990’s the more backlinks you had the quicker you would get to Google page 1.
When this was realised by search marketers there followed an explosion in the few years after this which led to the overnight success of SEO … and ultimately its failure.
Google realised that search marketers were manipulating their results. Companies were buying hundreds, if not thousands of backlinks, overnight their website would jump up in Google, increasing their traffic – and also increasing their revenue.
Schemes like link farms and link wheels were used. People used to swap backlinks just to get further in Google no matter whether it was relevant or not. British Hairdressing websites were linking out to chicken farms in Russia. Chinese hairdressers were linking back to airport taxi companies in Bristol.
And then you can throw into this mix the repetition of key words. Google loved keywords and the keywords meta tag. Now Google completely ignores the meta tag and has done since 2009.
Repeating keywords over and over gives the visitor a poor experience, so the trick before then was to hide keywords as white text on a white background. Companies building websites with white space at the bottom and then using white text invisible to visitors, but visible to Google.
Trim Nation could have done something like [white text white background] hairdresser in Bristol, ladies hairdresser in Bristol, hairstylist Bristol, haircut Bristol, and would have been pushed up in Google rankings.
SEO has evolved. The most influential factors ranking every website is now volume of content, keyword relevance, backlinks and geographical location.
Google’s mapping system shows people in Somerset searching for ‘SEO training’ my website. People searching in Leeds would not have my website returned to them in search results.
I’m number 1 in Google for ‘SEO Weston super Mare’, but if you search for ‘SEO Bristol’, even though I have the keywords ‘Bristol’ on my website I do not rank for this search term.
The evolution of Google has led to the evolution of search marketing. No longer are backlinks a primary factor of ranking – since 2012 websites have actively been penalised by Google for having poor quality irrelevant backlinks. Websites dropped overnight after the Google change in algorithm, and CEO’s all over the globe started to panic, what’s the new magic trick.
So let’s go back to our fictitious hairdresser Trim Nation.
The website will have images of hairstyles on most pages. Very similar to a wedding photography website which will be heavily image led. This is difficult for search engines to rank as they cannot read images.
When you download a photo onto your computer its default name is usually something similar to DC001098 – renaming all of your images to include your keywords helps search engines attach importance and relevance to your website. These are called alt tags ALTERNATIVE
Trim nation would have a male hair stylist model images renamed
So now Trim Nation has an optimised title header, images and descriptive text. What can we do next?
Most websites are now on Google places, which used to be called Google maps, nowadays referred to as a Google plus page.
On your Google plus page are you backlinking to your website?
Are the images that you have uploaded named to include your geographical and relevant keywords?
Why would you want to have a YouTube channel? Google owns YouTube.
Filling the ‘About Us’ section of your YouTube channel and backlink to your website.
Your company images can be easily be turned into a YouTube video for your channel.
Using the YouTube software upload your images and company logo and make a slideshow video.
YouTube videos show up in the search results, so you can double your exposure by working on your website to show up, and also your YouTube video.
Think carefully about naming the title of your video. Remember the Michael Jackson eBay theory.
What else does Google give us for free that would help our website?
Has anybody heard of blogger.com, also called Google blogspot?
Sign in with your normal Google account and create your first blog.
Get as many Google backlinks as you can by using their products.
The other advantage of Google blogger is that its link to your Google+ profile.
Google+ is a social media platform that’s like Facebook for people that you don’t know.
Like Twitter you can find new people and interests, and promote yourself by by using #hashtags in your posts.
This is a great use of social media. YouTube is also classed as social media, and it has great benefits of SEO, as videos will often be presented in Google search results when you are looking for keywords, I hope you have noticed this?
Using Video SEO, Google products such as Blogger and social media for backlinking, together with an on-page relevance of keywords, page titles, headers and image Alt tags, your website will improve in Google rankings.
WordPress websites are great for SEO when you blog once a month, using your keywords in tags and categories, it’s a very powerful platform.
Even if you don’t use Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube, by creating an account, verifying with your website and adding your homepage URL to your profile these will show up in Google Search Console.
Different people blog about different things, a plasterer will send me before and after photos, a wedding entertainment company will send me photos of people having fun and a write up of the night, a chiropractor or dentist will share industry relevent news articles for me to publish.
There’s always something to write about.
Send me a message if you wanted to find out more about SEO training or to hire me as a freelancer. Let’s meet for a coffee and a chat.
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