A blog about SEO and social media aimed at small businesses.
The search industry has been widely recognised as a developing and ever-changing field, and as a result of these changes, more and more questions are being raised. Whether you have one years’ experience or ten, there is a good chance you’ve been asked some pretty common, and at times some downright bizarre, questions in the... Read more The post 16 SEO FAQS For Businesses appeared first on Alba SEO...
The search industry has been widely recognised as a developing and ever-changing field, and as a result of these changes, more and more questions are being raised.
Whether you have one years’ experience or ten, there is a good chance you’ve been asked some pretty common, and at times some downright bizarre, questions in the past.
At Alba SEO Services, we receive a large number of questions on a regular basis and so we decided to put the most common questions into simple FAQS. Let us know if you have any others?
Keywords are important as they provide relevance signals to the search engines. If your web page is relevant then it has more of a chance of being one of the search results for a particular query. For example, if you were a locksmith from Edinburgh and you had the term “Locksmith Edinburgh” on your website, then people searching for this keyword may find your website as one of the search results. Google is becoming more sophisticated with updates including Rank Brain and BERT, so stuffing your website full of the one keyword is not recommended as it looks and is spammy.
Choosing the right keywords is important. It’s not a matter of plugging in a potential keyword into ahrefs or SEMrush and choosing the biggest volume. Choosing the right keywords should be based on user intent – what are visitors looking to do? Find information, buy a product or research a product? Once you understand what your visitors want, you can then craft your keywords accordingly using tools and trawling through search results for ideas.
A backlink is a vote for a website from another website. Physically it is an HTML link that when clicked takes you to another website. In the locksmith example above, if a fellow locksmith (a) were to link to another locksmith (b), this would be a vote for locksmith (b). This is incredibly important as the more backlinks a website has, the better is its credibility and ability to rank. However, the quality and relevance of a backlink is king. So a bunch of low quality links from a link seller is not going to work.
A backlink from a very important website is more powerful than loads of backlinks from low quality sites. Websites with lots of traffic are usually a good bet to be credible and authoritative.
There are lots of possibilities to get backlinks. From other business owners, local directories, Chambers of Commerce/Networking sites, writing an article which appears on a website, from your social media profiles and lots of other ways too.
There are lots of tools e.g. Ahrefs, Majestic SEO but search console will provide you with a list of backlinks that Google has found on your website.
No! It’s important to have a natural backlink profile which includes nofollow backlinks. A ‘Nofollow’ attribute means that the link does not pass any PageRank. Whist these won’t help your website to rank per se, having 100% ‘Dofollow’ backlinks looks very odd to Google and would raise red flags.
I’d say that links are more important but in order to get the links you need to build some content. For example a good blog article might generate backlinks as other websites want to link to it. So it is sometimes a chicken and egg situation depending on the industry.
You need to have both in place. In this agency we always start with the onsite SEO in the form of an SEO audit. Without the foundations of good onsite SEO, any backlink effect will be less noticeable. Time and time again, we see this is the case.
Yes you can – up to a point. For example, Yoast is a plugin which is highly recommended to improve your on-site SEO (for WordPress websites only). If you follow a lot of its recommendations you will do well. The skill is knowing where to spend time and what really matters. This is something which can be learned over time. Most business owners don’t have the time to learn and outsource it to SEO companies like ours.
The single best thing that you can do in my opinion is to ensure that your Google My Business page is complete with lots of reviews, photos and accurate information. This is so important for ranking on Google Maps. Having a presence of Google Maps will lead to more traffic to your website guaranteed.
Yes it is very important. Specifically it is important that your mobile site loads very fast. Page speed is a ranking signal and a poor loading time is bad for visitors to your website and they may leave or spend less time on your website. Google likes fast websites. Make sure your website loads fast!
Never! It is not something that anyone can guarantee. SEO companies using shady practices might get your website ranking sooner than would be expected but you then run the risk of being penalised by Google and landing a penalty. Choose an SEO consultant who can show you examples of their work, who takes the time to understand your business and is always transparent in their work processes.
It really depends on a lot of variables. A long established business which has many natural backlinks already but a poor on-site SEO profile would rank faster once an audit is performed compared to a new business. The variables are the Content Management System being used, the age of the business and website, the size of the website, the on-site SEO, the number of backlinks, whether social media is part of the marketing, whether there is new content being created. Lots of variables but in general, within 3-6 months there would be a positive change and after a year, there will be good success.
Traffic and conversions. Rankings are important but the search page is now a mix of different types of results that ranking number 1 for a keyword might not give you the majority of traffic. It may be that a rich snippet is getting the clicks. The only way to truly measure is to monitor traffic and conversions. Most clients like to see rankings too and in this agency we do report on these as well.
I think that a business without a visible web presence will lose out. Most people search online for anything they want. If your business is found in the dead zone of page 2 you will not survive. Even investing in some on-site SEO would be beneficial to most businesses that don’t have a budget for a full campaign. In this agency we can offer SEO audits without tying a business into a full campaign.
Ready to take the next step?
Is your business struggling to get noticed in the search results on Google and Bing? It might be because you have never used SEO techniques or perhaps you have and never got any progress with it. Perhaps you never gave it time or you may have decided to fast track and buy links which... Read more The post 20 SEO Tips Your Business Can Use Today appeared first on Alba SEO...
Is your business struggling to get noticed in the search results on Google and Bing? It might be because you have never used SEO techniques or perhaps you have and never got any progress with it. Perhaps you never gave it time or you may have decided to fast track and buy links which has had a detrimental impact due to Google’s spam algorithm recognising them for what they are.
Search engine optimisation techniques do work and in fact Google even provides good information for businesses to use here. So what can you do to help your website rank a little bit better?
Google My Business (GMB) began life in 2014 and has become increasingly important to both business owners and consumers. The Map which pops up after you’ve typed in a local search, works as a point of engagement and a vehicle for transactions between businesses and their local customers. GMB is particularly useful for reaching a... Read more The post Get Started with Google My Business For Beginners! appeared first on Alba SEO...
Google My Business (GMB) began life in 2014 and has become increasingly important to both business owners and consumers. The Map which pops up after you’ve typed in a local search, works as a point of engagement and a vehicle for transactions between businesses and their local customers. GMB is particularly useful for reaching a local audience looking for services and products near to their place of work or home,
Despite this, many businesses are still not using GMB or not using it to its full potential. In fact nearly 40% of SME’s still do not have a GMB profile and of those that do, a fraction are using it to its full capability. In this blog, we explore 10 ways you can make the most of Google My Business, and become a household name in your local area! Let’s dive in…
Sound obvious, but the first step to local success is to claim your GMB listing for your business. To get listed, sign in or register at www.google.com/business/. From here you can either claim a business in a category similar to yours, or us the ‘add your business’ function. Google will need to verify your business by sending you a verification code by post (mostly), from which point you can start managing your GMB account and really getting the most out of it.
Make sure all the information you add to your listing is accurate and up to date. This includes your business name, address, hours of operation, business category and product/services information. Make sure the telephone number you display is correct and is preferably a local number. Choose the categories that best describe your business. Try to be as specific as possible – there are usually a few variations on and generic descriptions such as grocer, law firm, accountant are less likely to capture local traffic. Choosing too many categories can also be problematic and in some cases can stop your listing from showing completely. Google is continually updating the categories so be sure to check back over time and see if another category is more suitable.
Google have recently announced that they will award the top 5% of local business a ‘Local Favourite’ badge. Having this accolade will help maximize visibility for your business across Google platforms. To qualify, Google is favouring business that are best at optimising their GMB profile by keeping their information accurate and up to date and using all of its functionalities.
Google posts are a neat function that sit at the bottom of your GMB profile, Using posts, you can add something new or interesting about your business, such as special offers or new products and services you have launched. Google will let you know when the post expires and how many people have looked at it so you can see what information works and what doesn’t. By keeping posts regularly up to date, you are not only letting your customers know what you are up to, it will help keep you visible when someone searches locally for you. There’s anecdotal evidence that they might also help with local ranking.
Make sure you use every character available to you. Remember, every sentence, word, character tells the buyer more about you. More complete descriptions will also improve your search ranking in Google. Just as you’re able to better communicate who you are to customers, you’re able to tell Google the same information and they will rank you for more search queries.
Another big ranking factor is to encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB listing. Your star rating is also displayed on the map to searches so a high rating can also improve your click through rate. You should also ensure that you reply to all your reviews in Google to ensure that your customers know that you care.
Google gives you the chance to create a memorable shortened review link that you can send to your customers to get reviews. This kind of shows how important Google thinks reviews are so use the link to get some good ones!
You can add product pictures and descriptions to your GMB profile. These also show up on the panel page of Google Maps, making your business more visible. Update this information as regularly as possible to maintain your search status and get ahead of your competitors.
Business with photos receive 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t. Google wants you to add images to your GMB profile and will tell you how your images are performing compared to the competition. A recent study showed that businesses with more photos get more clicks, direction requests and views on Maps and search.
Google are always adding new features and functionality to their GMB platform as it grows in status. Be sure to go back into your dashboard regularly and see if there are any new features. Make sure you use these as soon as they come online to maximise your returns!
Google my Business is a fantastic tool to help you become visible in your local area and stay one step ahead of the competition. The secret to using it successfully is to keep your profile accurate and up to date and use every service and function that is provided for you. Good luck!
The post Get Started with Google My Business For Beginners! appeared first on Alba SEO Services.
Were you hit by the recent June 2019 Google core ranking update? I hope not. Some of the big news agencies suffered with this update like the Dailymail.co.uk who lost 50% of their traffic overnight . This is catastrophic for some businesses and there have been lots of complaints suggesting that Google should give a... Read more The post Why Trust Is So Important For Google Ranking appeared first on Alba SEO...
Were you hit by the recent June 2019 Google core ranking update? I hope not. Some of the big news agencies suffered with this update like the Dailymail.co.uk who lost 50% of their traffic overnight . This is catastrophic for some businesses and there have been lots of complaints suggesting that Google should give a warning when a core update is to happen. Fortunately last week Google announced that they would pre-warn about future core updates. But what can you do to prevent your website becoming the latest victim? Google doesn’t give away much information that enables a quick fix if you have been hit but it is clear from the messages coming out from Google web HQ that there are a few things to watch out for.
John Mueller from Google has recently talked about a few things that might be important for trust (remember Google doesn’t give many specifics). Here’s what he said recently about why Google may not trust a website:
the layout looks outdated or the authors are people that nobody knows or you have stock photo images of instead of author photos
So Google is looking for some sort of author authenticity. And this ties in with the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that was released and then updated in 2018 to consider other trust signals like authorship in addition to the website itself. These signals are part of the much lauded and mystical E-A-T factors.
So what factors are important? Google has put together a document to help but here are a few things that you should be aware of and which Google considers important in website content:
These are just some trust factors to consider. During out SEO audit we cover all of these and more to ensure that your website fully complies with what Google is expecting to see via trust signals. Get in touch if you want to know more.
Are you struggling to get found on Google? Are you pulling your hair out wondering why your website is ranking in the depths of page 10 – or not even there at all? Don’t worry. Here are some things to do to help your website get found. Let’s get started with local SEO! 1.What’s it... Read more The post Local SEO – The Basics to Get You Started appeared first on Alba SEO...
Are you struggling to get found on Google? Are you pulling your hair out wondering why your website is ranking in the depths of page 10 – or not even there at all? Don’t worry. Here are some things to do to help your website get found.
1.What’s it all about?
First things first. Your website’s home page is going to be the most likely first page that Google will index and potentially show in the search results (indexing just means that Google has found it and added it to its big database). So your home page has to have some content on it that will actually tell the search engines what it is you sell or do. It needs to have the search terms that somebody might search for – so called keywords. Google is actually quite sophisticated now and is using AI to determine what words mean and how they relate to each other and what is actually a searchers intent. So in the old days, people shoved loads of keywords into a page and it worked to get the page ranking for that term. It doesn’t work like that now. In fact, doing that will make your website spammy and it probably won’t rank.
So now that you know what you have to say on your home page content, the next thing is to make sure your Meta tags are providing the right signals too.
2. Meta tags are essential.
Most Content Management Systems (CMS) will offer some way to update these important tags. So whether it is WordPress, Weebly, Wix or Squarespace etc., you will be able to update these important areas. The worst mistake it to leave them blank or with the word “Home” in it. That will tell Google nothing about your home page.
Your Title tag should be between 50-60 characters and should explain what your website sells or does. This resource has a lot of information about Meta Title tags.
Similarly, Meta descriptions should be crafted well. These aren’t used for ranking but they are important in getting people to click through to your website from the search results. Again, this resource explains it well.
3. Get it verified with Google
Add your website to Google Webmaster tools. This will help speed up Google indexing your website and can alert you to any problems it finds. Open an account with your email address.
Google provides a number of ways to verify that you actually own your website.
Once you have verified your website, you can relax as now Google knows about your website. However, it is a good idea to submit a sitemap so Google can find your most important pages. It’s also helpful to “inspect” one of your URLS to see if Google knows about it. Sounds complicated but it isn’t and you can’t do much wrong at this level.
This one is essential. Have you opened one? It is vitally important that you do so for local SEO. It will enable your business to feature on Google Maps. It’s easy to complete. Make sure you fill it all out as much as possible.
5. Get Listing!
For local SEO, adding your website to the main directories such as Yelp, Yell, Thomson Local, Freeindex is very important. There are plenty more directories but by adding your website to the main ones you are providing Google with a way to check your authenticity. It’s also a good idea to open up some social profiles for your business too. Don’t forget to add your website link to these!
6. Increase your local presence
Get other businesses to link to you in order to get your presence known locally and to provide a back link to your website. If you are in a business network group, ask to get your website onto their main network hub. Ask other local businesses if they can add your website link. Do you sponsor anything locally? Like a football team or rugby team? Ask them to add you to their website as a favour.
These will all help your website stand a better chance of getting found locally. As an SEO agency we specialise in local SEO and there are lots of tweaks that you can do to feature higher. But these pointers above will definitely help you get on track. Good luck!
A survey by Alba SEO We wanted to find out more about what SME’s thought of digital marketing (not just SEO) and so we launched a survey to find out. We posted the survey in a range of platforms where we thought we’d get the best response. This included LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and by using... Read more The post SME Digital Marketing Trends in the UK in 2019 appeared first on Alba SEO...
We wanted to find out more about what SME’s thought of digital marketing (not just SEO) and so we launched a survey to find out. We posted the survey in a range of platforms where we thought we’d get the best response. This included LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and by using our network of fellow business professionals. None of our clients were used in this survey for obvious reasons. We got a good response to the survey and so we thank everyone who completed this for us. You can read the results below.
Back in November 2018, we asked over 20 UK based SMEs how they approached their digital marketing. We were particularly interested in comparing the effectiveness of digital marketing and traditional offline methods, as well as discovering the kind of returns smaller businesses are getting and if their investment was worth the spend.
We also wanted to explore the digital marketing tools and approaches smaller businesses were using and which of these had the greatest impact. We asked business what they believed were the advantages of promoting their business online, as well as the potential drawbacks.
1.2 Key findings
The proliferation of online channels to market has opened up a host of opportunities for smaller businesses. Digital marketing has not only made ‘marketing’ more affordable, it is delivering a more substantial return on investment, as well as opening up new international markets that were once out of reach.
Of course this isn’t unique to small companies. The digital marketing space has grown exponentially for businesses and organisations of all sizes, as consumers and stakeholders continue to seek information, products and services online. However, the online effect has been particularly beneficial to SMEs, because it has enabled smaller businesses to compete with larger competitors on a relatively level playing field.
Social media has become the king of internet marketing – it is cheap, relatively easy to pick up and opens up a unique two way channel of communication between supplier and consumer. However, according to the businesses we asked, when it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, SEO delivers. Though trickier to master, SEO is a must have in the marketing tool box for businesses wishing to improve their online visibility and boost their search ranking. Again, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but does require a degree of long term maintenance.
The beauty of digital marketing for many smaller companies is you can do the basics yourself, not only the activities, but also setting your own Key Performance Indicators and measuring success – this level of control and self-determination is a real draw for businesses of all sizes and this sentiment is clearly reflected by the people who took our survey.
However, our research also revealed some obvious drawbacks. Some of our respondents were worried about the time commitment required. The internet’s insatiable appetite for new content puts a time burden on many smaller companies who do not have the time resource. The sophistication of the digital marketing toolbox and the speed at which these techniques and tools are evolving, is also a concern for SME’s who struggle to keep up with the pace of change.
Despite these difficulties, in 2019 we will see digital marketing continue to grow. Mobile will take centre stage as the preferred channel to market for many consumer facing businesses, and we will no doubt see leading social media channels offer a more sophisticated marketing toolbox for the promotion of products and services through their channels. For smaller businesses, automation will help negate the time resource issue, with a host of new tools and widgets to help managers deliver sophisticated campaigns while keeping their marketing channels filled with regular, engaging content.
1. What does your business do?
SME’s from a variety of sectors took our survey. These included:
2. Do you sell products/services through your website?
3. Do you do most of your marketing online or offline?
4. If you do online marketing, what activities do you focus on?
5. What forms of online marketing has been most successful?
6. How much do you spend a year on marketing as a whole?
7. How much do you spend a year on digital marketing?
8. Do you do your own online marketing or do you do it yourself?
9. Is online marketing essential for the success of your business?
10. Are you seeing a good return on your investment from your online marketing?
11. As a proportion of your total annual revenue, how much does online marketing contribute?
12. What do you find most challenging about online marketing?
13. What are the main benefits of online marketing?
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