A while back I posted an article about folders and subdomains, which is best? 1) I use GoDaddy. I simply want to learn how to connect a SubDomain to a Page. So just as an example, every time someone clicks […]
From time to time we post videos from the Google Webmaster help feed on youtube. Usually, it’s @MattCutts (head of web spam @ google) talking about something important to SEO. Today, Matt having completed 500 videos, Matt has opened up the questioning […]
A few times I have looked at explaining just How Search Engines Works, but I feel I’ve been out-done by Google. Google recently released this awesome interactive infographic, it means you can learn some great facts about search and how […]
One of the regular question I get asked at Search Conferences is one which @MattCutts answered in a recent Webmaster Video. “If a site linking to mine gets caught selling links, what happens to my site?” For example (this is […]
Hello Dear Reader, I don’t often feel the want to ask you to help me promote SEOAndy beyond tweeting and comments (which you are amazing at). And I won’t be breaking that trend, so this post will be here for […]
Google is easy to search, type in a word and hit search. But what if you want to look for something in detail, say you want to look for an exact phrase within a word document, how do you do […]
Earlier this week Facebook launched a new tool, Facebook Graph Search. The tool which enables you to semantically search facebook is a long awaited device for easily finding more information about all of your friends, as well as individual friends. […]
So it’s nearly Christmas and time for a break from all that hard work. Today I stumbled across this nice little slideshow entitled “36 faces of facebook” I found it quite novel and utterly true. Which face are you, which […]
As you probably guess I, as an SEO, am addicted to analytics and what they can show. One of the best things to come from my analytics reviews of SEOAndy is that I get to see just which blogs have […]
I often get asked what blogs I read, what resources I use and in general how i keep upto date with the ever changing state of the web. In this post I want to share a few of my favorite […]
From time to time I post things that are a bit more fun than my bigger posts. Today I want to share the below infographic, it reminds me of the pokemon card game amongst others, but also taking a read […]
Over the past few years here at SEOAndy we’ve attempted to cover some of the most important aspects of SEO in some depth. In the beginning we covered the basics of SEO, but we’ve never revisited that, and thats because […]
There are so many questions surrounding SEO, the Penguin update, Google penalisations, etc. etc., and some of them just need to be set straight. Having said this, setting anything straight when it comes to SEO is a bit of an […]
Jesse Desjardins, @Jessedee , back in 2010 posted this superb presentation explaining how you too can perform on social media like the monster that is Lady Gaga. So are you using Twitter like the genius @ladygaga ? Let us know […]
Each year Google does a halloween doodle, heres last years
Many of you will have noticed that some search results on Google now have faces next to the results. This photo / face is the claimed “author” of that page or post. It is really easy to claim authorship over […]
Take this simple quiz to find out how effective your website content is and how likely it is to rank well. The higher your score the better, Good Luck, don’t forget to share this quiz [mtouchquiz id=1]
You don’t need to, do you? I mean every other day companies are emailing us or calling us up telling us they could put us at the top of Google, so why waste time looking for someone when they serve […]
This is a question I get asked a fair amount and there unfortunately isn’t a definitive answer. The reason there is no solid answer is that as always not all websites are created equal. Lets first look at where the question comes […]
Digg was arguably the most successful social bookmarking tool of it’s day. It had millions of users voting up and down stories – it was pretty awesome. If you didn’t know what Digg was it’s a bit late now as Digg […]
Well at least for now the winner of the battle within search engines for which has more effect on ranking is links. The source of this information to me is both through talking to other people in the industry and […]
SEO Tips are easy to come across, just Google it, there are millions of pages offering them. But you will notice that many of the tips on offer from SEO Blogs are the same old things again and again. Today […]
Its now a week since Sam Applegate (@seosammo) posted a video mash up of Google head of Web Spam Matt Cutts (@mattcutts). In the video we finally discover the secrets of how to get to number one in Google search rankings, and […]
Search Engine submission is the means by which you can tell a search engine that your webpage / website exists and to please go and crawl the site. Here is the Google URL Submission page and Bing’s submission page. In […]
I was going to spend some time explaining how to set up your Social Media profile on Google+. However, @google have already taken care of that in this handy little video. Also check out this tutorial: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/profile/ And then circle […]
Being sandboxed that new website? Maybe it’s because you are not a brand, and @google isn’t a fan of non-branded websites (apparently). Our friends at SEOBook took a look into the trend and here is the result. < p style=”text-align: […]
I stumbled across this great SEO infographic just the other day and realised it answered many of the questions I get asked everyday by business owners and website administrators. If you like what you see do please share it with […]
SEO is a never ending journey and there is always something new to learn, not least because SEO is always evolving thanks to Google continually pushing the boundaries of search. With that in mind in addtion to reading SEO Andy […]
Big Ideas are Easier than Little Ones – big ideas inspire people, it means you can build a team. Think bold and attract greatness, think small and it could just be you still next year!
Say No Often – don’t let your customers dictate what you do, listen to them but dont be dragged around by them. Work done in your own time and that are your own ideas (yes built on others) will always be better than that which you are forced to do.
Under Price, Over Simplify – make something cheaper and simpler, that is what will disrupt and expand a given market or niche. Focus on what is important and don’t over complicate your idea – simple will win through.
It’s Your Community – these are those who engage with you or simply visit your website. Don’t forget them, always care for them and talk to and with them. Find out why they are using your site and product and how they use it – you can make things better. The more you care for a community the larger it grows – the best example is facebook, you as a customer are number one just like half a billion other people!
Don’t go too far too fast – think of growing 10% a year not 100%, continual growth and iteration of products and service will last decades. Overnight booming will lead to a crash in your business in the next few nights, so keep your eye on stars but get there gradually and you will still be here when your competition have gone.
What non-intuitive have worked for your small business?
The Perfect Meta Description is something I’ve mentioned in a previous post, if you’ve not read that I advise you read it first. Following on from that I wanted to give you some simple ideas about how to create a killer meta description that will increase your click-through’s from search results pages (SERPs).
It’s an Elevator Pitch
Forget the 60 seconds you are used to in the lift, you’ve got 20 or 30 seconds (if you are really lucky) to pitch your idea, page and selling point. In that time you have about a tweet’s worth of content to explain everything, consider everything carefully – you’ve hours to figure out what will say in those few important seconds to make it perfect!
Never Repeat a Description
This is less about your mindset and more about search engines (and users of course). Basically neither like to see the same thing repeated, they like something unique and if it’s not unique they wont like you – as such you may not rank for those pages with the same description and users are less likely to click-through … meta descriptions (like page content) need to be unique.
This is even more important in today’s post panda world.
Don’t use HTML
I can never make this point too much, whether its a hyphen (-), plus (+) or quotation mark (“) or any other not alphanumeric don’t use it. Search engines will throw it up as a HTML code most of the time, it will not use them as you wish for any rankings and depending on your character code (on site) you may encounter other issues. This warning is for all meta tags.
Keyword Rich and Relevance
No doubt you have a keyword strategy, for e-commerce sites it could just be brand names and category names (broad but can work) for others like this blog it’s more defined. Your meta tag should be keyword rich yet highly relevant and still pull your audience in. It is a sales pitch so don’t have 15 key words … it won’t rank it will look ugly and people won’t click it. One sentence, max 2 key words and a nice sell.
Oh and check your spellings.
Craft Your Meta Description
Research what others would say about similar pages, do searches for the phrase you want to be found for, think about the 4 points above and craft your meta description. It’s not easy but with practice it will be quicker and you may not need to do 20 searches for what you want to be found for, usually your competition will be predictable – so think outside the box! If you copy what they say it won’t work… this is your sell and must be crafted to go with your content, a continuous tone is required.
Iterate Your Carefully Crafted Description
One thing people forget is that you can always update your meta tags. Google won’t always re-index them in a few days (like it may a new page) but it will eventually. So if you’ve a product page or 1000 of them update them on a regular basis. Meta tags can be living things, you just have to remember they are there and that these are the things which will get you an audience that will buy from you. Practice makes perfect.
Having spotted this easter egg yesterday I wanted to share it with the world today.
One of Google’s little known tools is it’s ability to draw a graph from a search, but its quite a nice little utility if a tad odd to be used within search.
Anyway @Google and @andykinsey love you lots, so copy and paste the below in to google and hit .
sqrt(cos(x))cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5
Have you spotted any other St Valentines Easter Lovies? <3
Happy Valentines, Love Andy xxx
I received an email a few weeks ago from a regular reader of SEOAndy. The email asked the question posed in the title of this article: What is the best title and description for my site?.
The answer I gave back was rather brief and included a link to an old post I wrote about meta tags. But when I read that article I saw a need to update it, and to answer this question a little better – and this article is for the later.
Search engines automatically decide on your SERP listing title and description from that based on your page or within the DMOZ directory if you have a listing there. The title in general will be that you supply as the browser title (inside the
To get the best results there are 3 vital steps:
Create the Perfect Descriptive Page Title
The premise is simple, the achievement vital, the work can be tricky. The site title is the first thing a person will see when they find your snippet on the SERP’s, so it is vital to get it right. It is also the thing that will generally appear on social media and in browsing history, so get it right and you could go viral and be the first site a person returns to if they are researching say web design.Things to avoid: using “home” and non descriptive titles, keyword stuffing (foo, foo foo – gets you no where), using over 60 characters and avoid the same title on each page.Good things to do: brand your title (eg “page focus // brand name”), make each title unique, make each title relevant to the page content and be descriptive + concise.
Create a Great Description
Again this is very important and can be tricky to get just right. This is your “big sell” within the SERP, you’ve done the hard bit getting some attention, now get that traffic flowing with a great meta description. Again this will appear on social media such as , and digg, so pitch it perfectly.Things to avoid:keyword stuffing, not being relevant to your content (do this and google will just use your content), generation by a machine and do not use the same thing on each page.Good things to do: be concise and focused on your content, use it as a prime selling space, describe a product, include facts about the product (if a book the author name and ISBN may be a good start), ensure each meta description is unique to the page, include a call to action (eg “buy online today”), review descriptions at least 3 times a year for well used pages, ensure EVERY page has a description that is between 100 characters and 160 chars.
Block DMOZ snippets being used
This is a step most people and seo’s forget, blocking DMOZ from being used on your SERP snippet can be key to success. If you don’t have a description for each page these maybe used and they can often be old and out of your control, so block them and keep control and keep up to date.To block DMOZ or other directories being used for search listings simply add the below to your head section of code.
Warning: using this tag after the search engine has already listed a directory title or description may mean it can take 3 months before it will update your search listing snippet. So block them early.
Going Further with Titles and Descriptions
One of the sources for information in this article is Google, and specifically the video below in which @MattCutts (head of google’s web spam fighting team) talks about this subject. Its a great watch and if you have time do take a look.
If you think you have the perfect page title or the most engaging meta description leave a comment below or tweet @andykinsey.
I recently spoke to a group of SEO’s and Marketer’s about an article I wrote last year predicting the SEO trends of 2012. There were many questions asked about why I thought things would happen and how we can best leverage what we know and predict. Today I wanted to share a few of those questions and answer them in public.
If you have a question about my predictions for SEO in 2012 and beyond leave a comment below this article.
Personalised Search is moving to the main stream, how can we best use this to our advantage as marketers?
One of the things as Marketers of the Digital Age which we have come to realise is that search was always going to become social, ever since the birth of twitter the writing was on the wall. Today we are in a world where Google is showing some Google+ pages next to search results, and certainly profiles within it’s “suggestion” boxes. A world where and Bing are so tightly integrated it is hard to find a search where they are not personalising using facebook.
How can we best use this knowledge? Well that is a little more tricky. To answer it you need to consider what you do everyday as a searcher and marketer. You search using Google… it knows your IP, so it knows your location… search will be localised to that … you let Google keep your search history, instantly pages you’ve visited will move up the rankings … its personalised. Actually, it is quite hard with any search engine to not get some kind of personalised search results. The answer is, you have to keep doing what you are doing – optimise completely for your local market, keep blogging away and use social media like there is no tomorrow. Talk to people on twitter and facebook and don’t spam them with just links. Use Google+ as a means to say what you are doing but have in-depth posts on there and always always optimise your “about sections” (on all social media) – here is mine for .
The Panda Update really hurt some of our websites, how can we best work towards recovery for those websites we are struggling with and will it happen again?
Lets be honest Panda wasn’t nice, it kicked you when you had written potentially thousands of articles and press releases and spread them far & wide. No, really I am kidding. Google Panda kicked you for creating low quality content which you spread across the web, you treated the web like it was your bedroom back when you were a teen, you messed it up and left it for someone to clean up… well now your parent is ignoring it and letting you find how to improve – deal with it.
The solution is to a) focus internally, make the best content possible and put it on your site. b) use only quality websites to promote your own, this means no more writing for craparticles.com but for quality and relevant blogs and article websites for your industry. c) use social media to talk to people and show you are a real company and not just some marketing robot that eats bits for lunch!
Panda the Sequel? mmm not quite but there will be another update quite soon from Google which will do 3 things … 1) lower what a domain name is worth – its already happening but you can expect even less weight to be given to your domain name … why? simply because search engines know there are only so many domains and a lot of “exact match” domains are spam-filled so it doesn’t like them and will stop ranking them just because they have a nice name. 2) Link Farms will be next to worthless … search engines will stop giving any weight to websites dedicated to link building … will this include directories like the yellow pages? who knows – but the value of the yellow pages isn’t in its link power but in the traffic it sends from visitors. 3) social will play an even larger role outside of personalised search. this means if there is a lot of talk about something on twitter, facebook, digg or elsewhere and the same link is always posted (such as say micheal jacksons death and a BBC news article) this link will hold it’s juice for longer than a few days. Essentially a larger proportion of results will be based on social directly.
SEO has become harder this year, is there anything we can do to beat the competitors?
Someone had to ask this, it was inevitable. The answer is simple. SEO did not become harder in 2011 any more than it did in 2010 or 2009 … nor did it die off nor will it for the foreseeable future.
The fact is each year things change, it is how we as SEO professionals deal with this change that counts. We need to evolve our best practice for link building, we need to stop putting thousands or articles up for just one stupid link which is worthless, we need to stop using copywriters (sorry for this) from India and the likes writing crap and worthless content for websites. We need to refocus our energies and understand how best to spend our time, effort and monies to get the best return on investment. If you don’t change, and change now, then you will find this year harder – just as you did last year and the year before. Change in the world of digital media is a constant, everything changes (CRT to LCD, Landline to Mobile) evolution is faster in technology than any other industry, get used to it or get out.
Is the Game Over for SEO, as Social Media platforms take over will be as an industry be left for dead? How can we prevent the death of SEO?
One of my favourite quotes, and I’ve mentioned this before is from Mark Twain.
The News of My Death is Greatly Over Exaggerated
A few years back Jason Calacanis of This Week in Startups announced SEO was Dead. It caught so much attention, as he had intended, that in itself it helped his marketing and SEO. Funny hey? Not really, quite clearly a ploy by a very very clever marketer and entrepreneur.
So just as with Jason’s proclamation, it is with so your own… SEO is not dead and it won’t be in 5 years. The truth is 5 years in search is a long time, 1 year is a long time. Sometimes a day can seem like an eternity as updates are rolled out. No body can see that far in advance (except me? no joke i can’t) but I can give you a guess of what I think will happen further to my seo predictions for 2012.
1) SEO will become less important as more content is gathered by social platforms which will have grown and grown and become the hub for businesses. 2) corporate websites will become selling platforms, which SEO’s must still optimise for both search and mobile / apps. 3) monkies will become tigers 4) SMO will become the “big boy” in the park as the world optimises its social pages. 5) Hubs will form away from facebook and twitter, such as behance, which will be industry based social networks – this is where online business will live (not on their corporate website). 6) Facebook will suffer the fate of MySpace and be dieing a slow death as a competitor takes over the market.
At this point I want to leave the questions, I will post some more questions in the coming weeks – and update my predictions blog as to say whether it was right or wrong (some items have already been proven!).
If you have any questions please leave a comment below.
WordPress is by far an away the most popular of Blogging Platforms and come to think of it Content Management Systems (CMS) overall. Say “wordpress” to any website owner and they will usually turn around saying oh that’s for blogging – this means for the most part as an unscientific metric that wordpress is quite popular and well known. Indeed it has almost 13 million downloads to its name.
But why do people use wordpress?
Well there are many reasons people use wordpress. Many like the idea of a powerful platform that is updated, active and easy to use – and you can host it on your own server. So it is safe, secure and user friendly.
So what are the main benefits of using WordPress?
As a website designer I tend to use WordPress a fair amount as a CMS for my clients. It requires no training, which is awesome – all someone needs is to know how to use a word processor and they are in. Another awesome thing is that WordPress is Open Source and Free. Plus as I’ve already mentioned it is updated on a regular basis by a huge team, so we know it is safe. The websites that can be produced using WordPress are not just blogs (even though WordPress is well known for that ability), it can produce high quality and SEO friendly websites.
WordPress is a template based system, this means your can download and install a “theme” no coder required, which makes WordPress a fairly cheap option for small businesses. If you do have a developer to hand WordPress can be highly flexible, indeed it can do almost anything you ask of it if you know how. Also, because you are coding for Wordpres you know that even when the system is updated your theme will still work – unless it was about 2 years ago and then some things may break. Another great advantage is that because it is just a template, it can easily be passed from one developer to another without too much fuss.
Are there any downsides?
Yes, as always you are in the hands of the developers of the system. It is not 100% safe, nothing ever is. But with such a large team developing WordPress you can be pretty sure you are safe as can be. WordPress can deal with huge amounts of data, but if you have high traffic and huge amounts of data it can bog your server down … it scales to some extent but as with most systems will start to struggle eventually.
WordPress is a powerful and trusted blogging platform and CMS. Without it many websites would not exist today. It is a the perfect solution for small businesses looking for a website. The advantages of the system outweigh the problems that may occur, WordPress feels like a friend who has earned my trust over the years. If you haven’t tried it go to wordpress.com and sign up for a free account and start playing around.
Google has for sometime been telling the world the load speed of a page is being (to some extent) taken into consideration when ranking a webpage. This make sense, when you take the idea of search engines wanting to make people happy, people are happy online when things appear very quickly and they don’t have to wait 20 minutes for a page to load.
So if you are like me, then you will no doubt have been tracking your pageload speed with a huge number of add-on’s to a browser. It gets some what annoyingly hard to use when you’ve 500 other SEO plugin’s for a browser running. So when a few weeks ago Google announced Page Speed was now available without this plugin I am sorry to say I got … giddy.
The online version is nice and easy to use, simply go to the webpage (link below) enter your webpage address and hit enter. Sit back wait a few seconds and the results of the test will appear along with advice telling you what you could do better and how. Even better than this it is categorised into lovely sections telling you which is most important, quite important and not important etc.
You can also now track this in Google Analytics, if you pair up your analytics account with your Google Webmasters account. There are also some other nifty graphs and stats available through doing this. Dig around and have a play.
Whether you are a new business or old business, this is your chance to win a new website.
Actually it is more than just a website, there is much more and you can see the whole package here.
If you would like to win all you need to do is use Twitter or Facebook!
Simply Tweet the text below and follow @andykinsey or like our facebook group (in the sidebar)
Psst! by retweet we mean copy and paste
Tweet Text “I want to win a #FREE website from @andykinsey http://j.mp/akfreeweb (RT to enter)”
This is a competition by Andy Kinsey Designs (the creators of this site), you can get top tips on increasing your chances of winning by visiting the link in the tweet!
But also as a SEOAndy reader you can enter in another way! Simply link to andykinsey.co.uk or seoandy.net from your website and leave us a comment on this post. You can enter on as many websites as you want to, so go for gold and stick a link on all of your websites
I want to share a quick story with you about the Myth of the Landing Page. I want to dispel the myth that you only need to SEO your homepage and landing pages.
Each month I receive a number of emails from small business owners saying that they have optimised their landing pages but they still are not converting customers, what do they do. (When I say they above I mean either that company or an SEO they may have hired)
My response is usually something along the lines of the following
Although optimising a homepage and set of landing pages will draw extra traffic, this does not mean it will convert. Even if your calls to action are amazing they still may not convert.
The reason for this is that the other parts of your site (say product pages) are not what the customer is expecting or more likely put the customer off with a naff design.
Therefore it is no good to simply optimise these pages. You should be optimising all of your pages (if possible) not just one or two pages to get a few visitors.
This is a scarily popular myth amongst small business owners in particular who are looking to quickly enhance rankings and visitor numbers themselves (doing DIY SEO).
DIY SEO is fantastic, cheaper than getting a professional (in most cases) and can achieve spectacular results … it can also be disastrous. Concentrating on too few pages can seriously damage rankings across the site and won’t help conversion rates. The site must be optimised overall not just in part.
You may also be interested in reading 15 myths of seo that just won’t die.
Every once in a while a person dies who is so important to a particular industry that we are all forced to stop and think about that person, what they achieved and what their legacy will be. For me, most of this is summed up in that has been released this week written by Walter Issacson a friend of Steve’s and it really is amazing.
As the title of the post would suggest, this post is about the legacy of Steve Jobs. No matter my opinions on himself or Apple, I feel their is a great deal we as businesses (regardless of size) can learn from this man. So without further a-do here are the lessons I think we can all learn from Steven Paul Jobs.
Customers Know More Than "Experts"
But this doesn’t mean they know how to tell you what they want. Steve ignored advice from experts for many years on how to do things, in essence because they thought rigidly and thought inside the box! Customers though, do know what they want, but no amount of customer surveys or testing can get this kind of information (we all want something else) – so be bold and take a leap of faith, do what YOU think is best.
Thinking Beyond This Launch
A big part of what Steve did with Apple was be part of the “next curve”. This means he maybe working on a project now or launching it, but his concern isn’t this project it is the next one or the one after. This meant Apple was ahead of the market, take the iPhone for example it was so far ahead of it’s competitors it was almost scary looking back. Steve thought beyond the current and this was a big part of his success story.
Demanding Perfection of Everything
Steve was well known for his high expectations of everything. From the design and colour of his warehouses to the standard of coding produced for Apple’s software. Steve would instil a level of fear in people so high many have broke, but this fear can be good. It may have meant Steve was a jerk sometimes but fear can drive productivity and perfection, Steve knew and used this to his advantage. Demand nothing less than perfection.
Changing Your Mind Is Intelligent
One of the funnier things Steve did was appear to “mis-direct” information. Take the iPad, Steve claimed for years nobody wanted something this size etc and then he did it. In the there is mention by Steve that he “cracked” the secret to an Apple TV! We know the prototypes exist, yet Steve always said it was just a hobby and it was unlikely they would go down that route. What I am saying is that even the guys at the top change their minds, and that is because things change as times goes on. Which is why #2 is so important.
Value is Different to Price
Think about Apple and Acer. Which one instils a greater value? Most people would say Apple, but why? The answer is that Apple has a heightened sense of customer service, quality and overall greatness to its products – these all increase the value of a product to potential consumers and why people will buy again and again from Apple. Price is not everything. If it was, nobody would buy from Apple – they just aren’t cheap products.
Real Companies Must Ship!
One of the things, looking back at his Apple career since 2001 (when the first iPod arrived), I notice about Steve is that he knew when a product was great and he knew how to ship. Steve did not mess around with design for messing around’s sake, because of his demand for perfection things may not always quite have been that but they were great enough to ship and launch. Steve knew time was of the essence if Apple was to be ahead of the market competitors. Steve, was a real CEO and knew how to ship!
Real Companies Take Risks
It sounds dumb, banks will tell you not too, so will your family and friends and business advisor’s. But taking a risk, a leap of faith, in business can set you apart. Whether you take a risk on launching something early or hiring someone without the qualifications but the right ideas and confidence – a risk is a risk. In life if you are confident you can succeed with risks, Steve was confident and took risks, he didn’t know if a product would be successful but boy did he believe it would be and he made it successful. Risks make your business different, take a risk today.
Never Give Up
One huge lesson I learnt from Steve Jobs is never ever give up. Steve knew what he wanted and knew he could get there, obstacles are there to be hurdled not to become barriers to success. Take on the obstacles and you will win, but turn around and your whole company may fail. Stand up for your product, your business and believe in them. Have confidence and never give up.
Innovation is Vital
This speaks for itself. Think about how Apple innovated the phone market, in less than 10 years we’ve gone from bricks to smart-phones and it’s all thanks to Steve. His idea and want of innovation and perfection led to the iPhone it also led to the next generations of phones across the world. Steve knew innovation was vital, and like in #2 he was always ahead of the game.
Time is Limited
Steve Jobs died young, 56. But did you know he had been telling people for over 20 years he knew he would die young, and that he actually predicted his death would come earlier in his life. This thought and almost obsession of his of death, again revealed fully in his biography, drove him to go further and faster. He knew life was not infinite and things you can do today should not be put off until tomorrow. Take a leaf out of Steve’s book, do things now not later.
This post is the product of a recent spate of enquiries I received, in essence each wanting to know How to optimise Google Places. However, my experience is that is pretty hard to optimise, this is because Google wants all businesses to supply the same data (great) and it will then bring your result forward if it is relevant (or sometimes if it is just well reviewed). From this basic overview it is easy to see why its fairly hard to optimise, but hold tight because you can optimise your listing during it’s set up.
NB: If you have already set up your listing, use this list as a check-list for things you should have done or still need to do – it is not too late.
10 Easy Steps to Success with Google Places
Your Company Name
Google want your real company name, don’t mess around with it. However, if your business name is non-descriptive add a keyword or two to the end (eg Andy’s may become Andy’s Design Agency).
Your Company Address
This sounds a little mad, but people really do pretend to have a business somewhere it isn’t… it means that small little villages can end up full of business in online directories but not in real life. Google (and Bing) will check your address, Google send out a post card with a code for you to activate your listing.
Your Company Phone Number
Do not use a non-geographic (0800, 0845) number, use a local phone number, this adds to the trustworthy nature of your listing. If you are on the road a lot use your mobile number, but have a landline too if you can.
Choosing a Company Category
This for most should be simple but here is a tip. Think about how people search for you. Use the most common category from the search pool (eg for me this is ) as your top category. The next 4 should be the categories you think you should be coming under. A handy tip is to try and avoid repetition.
Additional Company Information
Google Places allows you to add “additional information” to your listing. These are sets of blank boxes, but use them to describe your business. For example if you sell certain brands, list your top selling brands. The more information you can supply the happier Google will be.
Company Pictures and Videos
This may sound obvious, but if you are a shop put up a front, possibly views inside your store and also sale banners – these are a selling space as well as a chance to show you are real. If you have videos on YouTube, link to them, again it all adds up in making Google happier.
A Company Account
Do not be tempted to set up a business listing in a personal account, I made this mistake once and Google really don’t like it. My advice is if you are setting up an account for a client, always create individual Google accounts for them – you can use them for YouTube etc, but never use a personal account.
Your Company Website
An often overlooked part of Google Places, mainly as it can be taken for granted, is the website address. I have found through monitoring and managing Google Places accounts that you can do all the work in the world to make a listing better but if you do not have your own website in the listing you will struggle. Make sure it is there.
Create Offers / Coupons
Without a doubt these are the most often forgotten part of Google Places. But they are very useful. In essence it should only be repeating what is already on your website, but in reality it gives you another chance to sell. If you’ve a special offer (say 10% off if you use this code, or a BOGOF type offer) use Google Places to promote it, its quick easy and simple.
Get Real Customer Reviews
I can’t emphasise enough the need for reviews to be from real customers, it is so easy to tell when they are not! And if someone spots one and tells a few people on twitter, you may suffer for it. So use an external party (not Google or your own website) to supply reviews, the likes of TrustPilot (you pay for this) and FreeIndex (this is free) show up on Google Listings and Google Shopping – make use of them.
10 is a nice number, but its about quality
If you need more help either leave a comment or pop over the for help. The Guidelines are pretty clear and give some handy advice.
It isn’t very often a marketer will send away his readership to other websites in the same niche. But I like to break the mold, some of the time – ok shush a lot of the time! Anyway here are my 5 favourite SEO Blogs, I hope you enjoy them and get something constructive from them – I know I do.
5 – SEOMoz Blog
Ok, SEOMOZ is a fairly large SEO company, they do a heck of a lot of research and offer some great seo tools for small seo businesses such as mine (try them now for free). The blog however is free (of course) and offers more advice and hints than that baby can shake a rattle at!
Ok, so look I couldn’t let this one slip by, it almost did but it really does come up with a lot of great stuff for all website designers, developers and owners. enjoy!
Ran my the awesome Micheal Gray this is a blog site that talks about seo techniques, tips and strategy.
2 – Boagworld
Of course, I can’t skip a list of my favourite blogs without including the world that is boag. It’s got a great podcast, a great forum and awesome blog content.
1 – This Blog ahem I have a passion for seo and love my readers, so this blog is my number one tip for reading! ok maybe not!
1 – SEOOptimise
The clever people at SEOOptimise are simply great, the blog is well written informative and generally amongst the best in the world. Take a read.
So there is my list, whos on your list? leave a comment!
When writing content something we are all guilty of is “second guessing“, if you don’t understand what I mean think about this – When you blog about something you think people will want to read, you are second guessing the wants of your audience. Second guessing can be good and bad, it depends how well you know your audience.
Some great examples of having fun with second guesses come on April Fools day, one of the best this year was by outdoor sports company CheapTents who have an audience of outdoor enthusiasts – so what did they write for a blog post on April fools? Take a look for yourself, its here, pretty well matched and thought out.
Second Guessing happens when you are pushed to write a post, pushed for time or pushed because you don’t know what to write. Which ever it is, think twice and Reflect!
Reflection is a lovely word. It can mean what you see in the mirror or how you see that thing. Reflection in these sense I mean is more akin to the later, and the spiritual sense of finding ones self. When writing content reflection for most is just skim reading it again or proof reading, but that isn’t what you should be doing. You should be taking a look at your posts, its tone, its topic and then look at other blogs in your niche … are you really doing your blog justice with this post, is the question. Take a deeper look and see what you can add or detract from the post … quantity isn’t everything.
So reflect on your current writing, and then reflect with Feedback on your older works.
Feedback is a vital tool to any website designer, copy writter, blogger, journalist, web editor or otherwise (the list could go on and on). Listening to your users means you don’t always have to second guess what they want, you reflect on your content with the help of your users – this is how you can continue to improve your website, your blog, your forum posting, commenting, tweeting and generally being webby.
Go on – Second Guess, Reflect, and Listen.
With Social Media booming, the world of Personal Branding on the web has become something of a hot topic for myself when talking to some clients. Indeed, lets just say there are some interesting thoughts and experiments coming out of these discussions. Today I want us to think about Personal Branding (or public relations) and how it fits with SEO. Now, lets take a look at the strategies of each simplified:
Personal Branding / Public Relations
Building a list of journalist, writers, editors etc
Targeting each piece (if its a politician each piece is about something they have done, is happening or otherwise - basically each piece has its own little audience)
Targeting each piece to contact list (editing bits of a piece to appeal to a certain contact or audience they represent)
Send It (getting it out into the wild)
Measure success (was it published, covered by a newspaper etc)
Find a few sites in your niche
Gather a group of keywords based on your niche (eg website design)
Write Blogs / Send Emails ( focusing on the keyword / key phrase)
Measure success (was it published, visitors make it to your site etc)
Lots of questions stock piled, so I will attempt to answer as many as I can over the next few weeks and months. I can’t promise they will all be answered but I will do my best. Details on where to send your questions are below this post.
Question 1 : Mark, Birmingham
Having read a fair few SEO Blogs there are now a few I rely on for decent information. But one of these blogs called my judgement into question as they
Do you have a question about branding, marketing, seo or anything along these lines? Problem with your site you want advice on?
Leave a question below or tweet @andykinsey and In my next post I will answer the best questions.
If your anything like myself or most the people I work with, then you will probably use Google multiple times in any given day. However, unless you are some kind of geek there will be certain tricks you will have missed that could vastly speed up your search for information … and also prevent you typing 20 searches to get what you want.
So to help you out I’ve decided to make a Top 10 list of Google Tricks – now these are from my own experience the most useful, but there are many many more of this kind of thing floating around.
Exact Phrases - if your looking for an exact term or phrase simply put quotation marks around the phrase your searching for. (eg. "i'm searching for this")
Exclude a Word or Phrase - now if your searching for something but really don't want a certain word or phrase to turn up, simply place a - just before the word or phrase without a space. (eg. i want to search -this)
Search Similar Terms - if you have an exact phrase but you want to find something similar then search the term with a ~ just before it (eg. ~professional)
Site Specific Search - we all know that on site searches can be a little tricky so let google do it use site: http://example.com search term to search a site for something specific.
Search for a Document - by adding filetype:ppt you are asking google to search for a powerpoint presentation ... (eg. "professional chef" filetype:ppt) other examples are doc & xls for word documents and excel sheets respectively.
Get a Definition - want to look up a word but can't be bothered loading some software or going to find a dictionary site? simply enter define: aword and google will grab you a definition (usually from princeton).
Calculate This - stuck on a maths question? let google do the hard work for you as a calculator (eg. 2854 * 150)
Get the Latest Stock Pricing - check stocks by entering the ticker symbol (eg. GOOG )
This OR That? - want to find something or something else but not both? simply enter OR between the two terms. (eg searching google OR searching bing)
Get a Local Time - Google knows the time in every country simple enter "time in xyz" where xyz is a country (eg. time in Hong Kong)
May these lovely tips and tricks help you search that little bit faster
Last year I wrote a FAQ blog, which is one of the more popular blogs of last year. Since then I have collated many other questions from visitors and clients, so once again rather than repeat myself every 2 minutes, here are a few of the more common questions
Q.Does Using PHP or ASP effect SEO?
A. Short answer …. NO.
But I will explain why. Unlike what many people believe Search Engine Robot Programs (SERPs) are not effected by Server Side Coding. SSC’s such as PHP, ASP, Python and ColdFusion (amongst others), are generally used in conjunction with databases such as MYSQL. Drawing data from these databases and forming it into a static webpage.
And this is the key, the language used generates a static HTML webpage, which is what the user and the SERP will see. They do not see the complex structure behind it but rather the simple HTML it is delivered by the database.
Although used all over the net an example of php and MYSQL databases working together is this website.
Q. What is the most commonly used search engine?
A. Without a doubt the most commonly used SE is Google, though MSN Live from time to time says it is. Google has statistics to show that is has more than 300 million searches per day! and has indexed over 3 billion pages, however I believe this figure is to small by at least 10%!
Q. Other companies claim they have a “special relationship” with a search engine, does your company?
A. No. And I can promise the others do not. Yes, from time to time search engines use companies for testing purposes, but there is never a real relationship which will effect search engine results in any way, shape or form. If a company ever claims this type of relationship, I advise you cease contact as A) they are lying and B) they probably use black hat tactics.
Q. What is sandboxing? and why is it used?
A. Sandboxing is a tool of search engines, outed by google in 2004. It’s main purpose is simply to stop new “nothing” pages hitting the top ranks, i.e. before it has been fully indexed and ranked. This sandbox is normally only for a few weeks, just until enough pages are indexed to gain a full picture of the site. So why is it used? Well simply its used to remove the good from the bad, meaning ever page submitted or found has a rank and therefor the better and more reputable sites remain the top ranked.
Q. We have a password protected area, can it be indexed?
A. In short, not by an external SERP. This question is hard to answer fully. But in essence google will not search these “locked” areas, they will remain private. You can however set up your own search which will, an example is in a blog where you can lock the blog to members only which will have its own search robot.
If you have any further questions please feel free to ask them, using the comments below.
This blog has been written to hopefully help everyone who reads my blogs. Below I answer a number of FAQ’s, these are sent to me on a regular basis (normally hourly!) so I thought I would help us all a little and answer these SEO FAQ’s here and now
Q. Do I really need Search Engine Optimisation?
A. In short, yes and no. Ok, so there is no real answer, SEO is something of a hit and miss for most people, there are certain things that will help a lot, certain things that will hurt more. However, for the most part most SEO is a natural occurrance -when you write content it should flow naturally and it will naturally theme itself and this will aid your SEO, do NOT try and keyword stuff or record keyword density.
Q. What are “robots”, “spiders” and “crawlers”?
A. These are little programmes used by search engines to look at the content of your site, these are the indexing tools of SE’s. The best way to think of these is as blind users they can’t see your styling, images or anything like this, they just see your content, and some of that is sketchy!!! My advice is not to write for these programmes but rather write for your end users.
Q. Are Meta Tags important?
A. Although I understand the view of many SEO companies and individuals, my answer is still yes. Well in the main part anyway. Some tags are more important than others, but not always for SEO reasons.
Athough not strictly a meta tag, the Title Tag is one of the biggest SEO tools you will find anywhere on or off site. It should have keywords near the front not your company branding unless it is a specific page about your company!
Keywords / Phrases – no more than 10 is my general advice, and they should differ for different pages according to relevance on the page.
Description – now this is the tricky one. the description has nothing to do with SEO, you’re not ranked from it nor does it count really towards your SEO worth. However it is what most search engines show along with your page title on the search results pages, getting this right can mean a visitor and/or conversion but get it wrong and people will just ignore your site.
Q. From Launch how long till we are indexed?
A. While there is no definitive answer, it is generally accepted that within 2-12 weeks you will be indexed to some extent. However there are ways of speeding this up, and they aren’t black hat!!! …I know I said this was to save time and effort but you will need to email me to find out what this trick is, it also works for getting your site re-indexed admin*at*andykinsey.com or leave a comment below.
Q. Do AK Designs offer any guarantee on SEO work?
A. Whilst we do not offer a guarantee*, we do offer money back if we do not meet the specification we set out in our contracts with our clients. This means that if at the end of a contract or during any “milestone” during a contract we are not on target you will get a proportion of your money back, just to say sorry. We offer this because we know we can achieve what we set out in our contracts and more often than not exceed anything we and our clients originally expect.
If you have any questions please leave them as comments below and I will answer them.