Search Engine Optimization; what you do

I wanted to put together a list of do’s and don’ts for you to read and, while I was writing my list, I came across a similar article from a chap called Kuldeep Singh that I have encoporated into Bath Marketing Consultancy’s list. 

1. Original content – Search engines love websites with original (and relevant) content, which will also naturally draw incoming links and visitors as well. “Original” content can be anything from product reviews to your own articles and/or news and Blogs. 

2. Add more content regularly – How often a website is updated can have a big impact on your search engine ranking. Most search engines prefer fresh content.

3. Research your keywords – You need to research which keywords you want to target before you even start making your website. These are the keywords that you will be targeting in backlinks when possible and your main page will revolve around these keywords. You can conduct your research using Google and the other search engines and then write your website content accordingly.

4. Create a sitemap – Sitemaps are a definitely plus (and can be created for free) as they help search engines walk your website as you have mapped everything out. It can also greatly help visitors find what they are looking for on your website. Be sure to link to your sitemap from your main page.

5. Use HTML – While this may sound obvious, there are sites out there created entirely in flash or javascript which is a definite no no for SEO. While some search engines can read part of javascript, by not using regular html link between pages, your site may not even get seen by search engines.

6. W3C compliant – Making your web pages complies with the World Wide Web Consortium’s standards is always a good idea. It is impossible to know exactly how the search engine spiders read a web page, so it is impossible to know how it will handle non-standard code. You can bet, though, that it has been tested to handle html code that follows the standard.

7. Webpage title tag – Be sure to put your target keywords in your title tag – the writing at the very top of your page.

8. Build backlinks at a normal pace – NEVER use one of those link farm programs where every member automatically shows links to all the other members. Search engines will see you one day literally showing thousands of backlinks instantly and this could get you penalized or banned which has actually happened to a client of mine before he came to Bath Marketing Consultancy.

If you are a regular reader of The Marketing Expert you will know that I have written many articles on SEO and how to get the best from your website, but, I think it is worth pointing out that I practice what i preach


Keep Sight of the Bigger Picture in SEO

Having a website that ranks in the top 5 or 10 search positions for competitive search terms can be very lucrative especially as a single marketing initiative. As such, there are numerous highly successful organisations who market this one thing: rank pages in the top 10 for various competitive search terms. Yet for most companies, the huge effort that it can take to achieve a top position is not worthwhile unless there are secondary marketing goals.

Secondary goals may be to actually sell your goods/services, or get people to register on you site etc.  A very important distinction that you should always keep in mind is that some search terms may be highly converting (get the users to do what the webmaster wants them to do) and some search terms that seem like they should convert, do not.

So…..sometimes a customer “sign up” following a specific term might be the best way of converting a browser to a customer as you will then have the email address to run dedicated emarketing. 
Get your SEO ducks in a row!

Either way, my suggestion is to make sure that your site will actually be capable of ranking in a top10 position for some searches; maybe look at regional terms initially (feel free to do a search for marketing company bath and see who dominates the first page of Google – me!), but……… warned, there are many things you can do to influence where your website appears so be sure to tick as many of the SEO boxes as possible and do not expect to be there within weeks of going live. 

Videos for even better SEO

Traditional search engine optimization has mostly been centered on actual written content.  Yet more and more the content on the Web is in video form rather than written in text.  What some people do is make videos and maintain their own channel on YouTube that mirrors their on-site content strategy. That way they can embed the video into their blog with their written text and this can result in a better browser experience and more engagement sites’ brand.

Use your phone if need be!
From a blog, browsers can usually click on the video channel and then see other related videos in your channel, leading them to spend more time viewing content from your brand or site. This longer engagement of the user with your site can often lead directly to higher levels of conversion.

There is also a strong argument that having a mixture of text, photos and videos on your page makes the page appear more “interesting” in the eyes of search engines which see it as you offering more content to your users, and rank you higher since they perceive that as potentially being a higher quality page.

Social Media for SEO

Social media was not originally a part of SEO, but that is changing. Google is now sending out its bots to crawl for “tweets” and “posts” and also developing other ways to determine whether a site is strong in social media and then using this information as a factor in determining the overall quality of the site.

Just as links are a sign of popularity among websites, social bookmarks are sometimes signs of whether people approve the content or not.

The important factors in considering using social media for SEO is relevance and quality. I feel that the importance of social media is growing and in order to maintain search quality, search engines will need to pay attention to the social side of the Web so having a large social reach will likely reflect positively on SEO results.

If you need help in this area, get in touch with me! Email:

Build quality, inbound links

This might sound obvious, but by continuously building links into your site your rank in Google will be infinitely improved. However, be very aware of using black hat link building as this is a sure fire way to get your website black listed so, to make your links as successful as possible, your link creation should look natural to create the appearance that you earned these links.

Try and make the links that come into your site look natural and in Bath Marketing Consultancy’s opinion, avoid reciprocal links (a situation where you link to a site that also links to you) as that looks unnatural to Google and these links tend to cancel each other out.

Strong links really help SEO.

When discussing link building into your site, there is also the practice of asking for links. It is a common (but not attractive) SEO practice and is necessary to some degree. What you do is identify and then email a few hundred respectable and highly reputable sites in your niche and politely ask if they would link to you. Depending on the quality of your site you are likely to have a c5% success rate. This rate will be significantly lower if you have a new, recently launched, or a somewhat non-professional looking site.

However, if the sites you email are reputable, the very few links you will get will go a very long way in helping you grow trust in the eyes of search engines. Often, a few great links is better than thousands of low-quality links and if the quality of your site and product is high people will take notice and be more willing to link to you.

Create Content for SEO

Having quality content is a fundamental requirement for all websites if you want them to perform organically within search engines. There are probably 3 main considerations when looking at the wording you use that will influence SEO-driven content:

1) You must be as prolific as possible in your content creation.
2) You must balance the speed with which you create content with the highest possible quality of that content as possible.
3) You must also have an effective promotion strategy beyond onpage SEO + possibly some sort of link-building strategy for the content you produce.

Write original content.
In Bath Marketing Consultancy’s opinion, try to write content that is likely to attract links on its own and make sure that the content is written to a high level of literacy and is at least 300 words per page (more is often better). Also, if there are pages within your site where the content is written by someone else within your organisation, if possible, give them access to that page so that they can control the relevancy of that page.

By applying these initiatives, you will have the high quality content you wrote yourself and another part of the site that is kept fresh by other users.

Always try and make your content original and compelling and be warned, if you copy content from someone else, search engines will eventually detect that and will penalize you by removing your pages from the search engine rankings all together.
If you need help, engage a dedicated copywriter like The Copysmith in Bath….(or talk to a marketing company with a good track record in SEO about your online marketing requirements!)

Long-term authority is the name of the game!

Once launched, a new website is unlikely to see much SEO traffic to start with, so Bath Marketing Consultancy’s suggestion is to focus on making long-term plans to get your website onto the radars that you want to be on. I have identified the need for your website to build “trust” and to ensure that your expectations of organic dominance be realistic, so below is an idea about the long term strategies you could consider.

I know I am in charge

One great strategy is to become an authority in some niche area. If you do this, you will earn links when other webmasters will need to link to credible sources and they will quite possibly link to you. When search engines see many consistent, new (quality) links into a website, the search engines begin to think that this site has authority and having authority is one of the biggest single determining factors in the rankings of pages within search results.

Unfortunately, if you are like a lot of websites, you don’t and won’t have real authority so it is up to you to make this into a non-problem. It is possible to mimic authority by providing a widget or an embed tag that lives on other sites. Since every time someone uses your widget that is hosted on your site, it also creates a link to your site, over time this will create an appearance of authority when many sites link to you just by using your widget.

However, a widget is not an easy thing to do so another way is to position your site as an expert in its field thus encouraging sites to link to you for reference purposes. For example, I have a client who operates in a very niche market and I suggested he get in touch with other (more established) site owners within his sector asking them to link to his site as the content he had written would support their site. In addition, I encouraged him to leave comments wherever possible on relevant Blogs and/or sites demonstrating his credibility within the sector. 

Sure enough, this process resulted in his website becoming more and more credible in its field and hence its position within Google has started to increase.

My next post will be on creating content for your website…..

Focus on Building Trust to increase your rankings

It’s a lot to do with trust!

Following on from my previous post, new websites are given a little bit of trust by search engines, but simply not enough to rank for any significant terms. Trust has to be built and, once built, your website will start to climb the rankings within Google and its friends.

There are a number of ways to make a search engine view your site as what I would call “trustworthy.” One such way is to get into the habit of updating your site regularly with good quality, relevant content. By consistently creating good quality and new content, your website may well be good enough to earn links on its own.

Another great way to build trust is to get sites that are big and already trusted to link to your site. For example, for my website, a link from Marketing or Brand Republic would benefit me hugely as these sites are relevant to my industry and both far outperform me on a national level.

However, there are millions of trusted sites that very hugely. Links from sites that belong to universities (.edu domains), non-profits (.org domains), or large companies can carry quite a bit of trust with them. In a search engine’s mind, if a university (usually professor or student page) trusts you enough to link to you, then it is much more likely that your site can be trusted, and will likely rank higher.

In sum, to establish trust, always keep an eye on what you write and how you write it and look to better performing sites to link to you.

Bath Marketing Consultancy has got a total of 11 articles to write on the subject on Google positioning so keep your eyes peeled!

Lower Your Expectations

Organic SEO

In order for your website to be successful as a marketing tool it needs to attract traffic.This traffic usually arrives from one of three sources, namely –

1 – by typing your address directly into the browser
2 – from a link on another site another
3 – via a search engine

The latter is one of the most important aspects of online marketing and it is the new website that I am going to address for this. 

In a nutshell, new websites have very little trust, no authority, usually only a few pages and therefore, very little unique content. If need be, see this site to check where your site is –

In my experience, expectation from clients are always high as they invest in a new website and immediately want to see it perform in Google and hence offer a potential for a return on the investment.

Fact – there is absolutely no way that new sites can get high levels of traffic from SEO or rank in the top10 for high-volume and competitive searches.

Once your website is “trusted” by search engines, you can produce relevant and SEO friendly content and see your new pages in the top-10 or top-20 of Google. Unfortunately for new sites, it takes much longer to achieve high rankings in search engines. New and untrusted sites without much authority must take to heart the old “it takes six months for SEO to work” approach.
Instead of hoping for immediate results, new sites must instead focus on making long-terms plans. There must be a plan to build trust and authority in their niche, consistently create optimized content, and a great overall product to which people will find it natural and helpful to link.If you expect strong SEO traffic in the first 6 months of your site’s existence, it is not going to be easy to accomplish.

You may want to rethink your initial goals and lower the expectations from SEO until your site is trusted and has built up some authority.

The next article will focus on Trust.

Website, Blog, News…..why all 3?

A great deal has been written about the merits of creating quality “inbound” links with regards to boosting a websites performance within search engines and I wanted to clarify how I position 3 possible activities within your marketing to facilitate this.

We all know about websites, but what is a website for? In my opinion, a website is your 24/7 shop window and as such, it should contain the factual information about you and your business. i.e. what your business is called, what is does, who is involved in the business + their background, the benefits your business brings, the costs, where to find you etc etc. This information is very likely to change periodically so having some sort of content management system within your website that allows you to make these changes is a facility I would very much advocate. Not only does this facility mean that you can time proof your website, the activity within the pages (i.e. the changes you make) will get noticed by search engines and, as such, will benefit you.

My final word on a website is DON’T scrimp on yours. Take pride in it and invest time (and money) to get something that you are proud of. After all, you might “know someone who knows IT” like a friend of a friend or your son, but would you trust this person with your company?! No.

“What about a Blog? Do I need one??”…are 2 questions I regularly get?!” I have actually written a post answering these a while back. See but the content of your Blog should contain a more light hearted tone than your website. i.e It doesn’t have to be factual or contain lots of information about you or your business. In fact, it doesn’t have to be used to “sell” you or your company and, as such, I actually see a Blog as a way of demonstrating ones credibility within a sector and even a way of opening a discussion with readers. A Blog must therefore be, interesting to read and short enough to get your message across. In addition, a Blog will allow the Blog owner to create “links” to wherever they want…..such as your website i.e create quality inbound links Do this by hyperlinking certain key phrases within the copy and/or by linking images.

And finally, my suggestion is to have some sort of “news” section within your website. “Do I really need a website, a Blog AND news???”

The answer in my opinion is yes.
A news section allows the site owner to keep customers and prospects up to date with what they are up to. Yes, a news section may also well mean competitiors can see what your up to, but so what? I am personally proud of being busy and having news within your website allows continual updating (which Google and its friends can see) and it also means that you can keep people informed.

These 3 elements, if used properly, can make a big difference to your marketing and how customers and prospects “see” you and your business. Remember the world wide web is exactly that, “world wide” and means anyone can see what you write and do so use it properly!

If you need any additional advice about online marketing, please get in touch with me via my website………………………………..and feel free to see my news and blog at the same time!!