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  • Caroline Phillips
  • November 20, 2020 07:21:37 PM
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A Little About Us

Alba SEO Services is a local SEO company in Edinburgh offer search engine optimisation, social media, web design and PPC marketing. What makes Alba SEO Services unique is the focus on building good customer relationships, treating our client’s websites as if they were our own and getting the best results based on our years of experience. Our results speak for themselves. Many of our clients are at the top of their desired search or on the first page for that search. It is a failure for us if we cannot get a website onto the first page of Google or Bing.

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The Do’s and Don’ts to Excel as a Business on Instagram

To be successful on Instagram, there are a few golden rules that you should follow. While Instagram thrives on creativity and unique content, these general guidelines will make sure that you are well on your way to having a successful and meaningful social media account. DO engage with followers One of the biggest musts on... Read more The post The Do’s and Don’ts to Excel as a Business on Instagram appeared first on Alba SEO...

dos and don'ts success instagram

To be successful on Instagram, there are a few golden rules that you should follow. While Instagram thrives on creativity and unique content, these general guidelines will make sure that you are well on your way to having a successful and meaningful social media account.

DO engage with followers

One of the biggest musts on Instagram is engaging with your followers. Especially as a business, you want to use your Instagram to attract new clients and keep your current ones interested. It’s all good posting exciting content and creating a beautiful page, but without engagement, this following might be of little worth.

Likes and follows are the main type of engagement but tags, comments and messages can be even more beneficial. Starting a conversation with your audience is a great way to show your personality as a business and gain your follower’s trust. Try following, liking and commenting on the accounts and content you like and always make sure to reply to comments and messages from your followers.

DON’T post aimlessly

Alternatively, one of the biggest downfalls for many Instagram users is that they post content without a goal or aim. As a business, you need to know who your target audience is and what you are targeting. Think about who uses or needs your product and whether they use Instagram. Once you reach 100 followers, you can use Instagram insights to investigate your following, which will provide further insight into your audience and whether you are attracting the right people.

Making sure that you are also producing interesting, useful and relevant posts is really important as this will naturally grow your following as your content is of value to your followers. Producing meaningful content will also likely increase your engagement as your followers will respond to it.

DO schedule your posts

Make use of the Instagram insights, they’re there to help you! Spend a little time investigating when the majority of your followers are active online and schedule your posts accordingly. Why not try a scheduling app, like Buffer or Later, to make sure you stick to your schedule and to make posting easier. If you post at a time that is popular with your followers, you’re more likely to see increased engagement and have more of an opportunity to interact with your followers. So, pay attention to these times, make use of them and reap the rewards.

DON’T overdo it

While you want to post regularly, interact with others and try to get your account noticed, overdoing these things can also be detrimental to your account. If you stick to a schedule and don’t bombard your feed with posts then you will be fine. You can look at similar accounts to yourself to gauge how often they are posting and find a schedule that will keep your followers updated without taking over the homepage.

In the same way that we said you should engage with your followers and other accounts, you do not want to spam anyone. It’s good to like and comment on the posts you find interesting but being a serial liker can get you penalized by Instagram. The same goes for following, as a mass follow or unfollow can seem suspicious to Instagram. To be safe, use Instagram like the average human and your account won’t be flagged as a bot.

DO utilise your hashtags

There are up to 30 hashtags available for you to use on each post. While they may not look the prettiest, they are very useful and can help get your post noticed by new users. If you research your hashtags and use ones that are relevant to your target audience, you will be able to grab the attention of viewers searching for the particular thing you are offering. Also, you can attempt to hide your hashtags by spacing them well below your post’s description or planting them in the comments. Don’t be afraid to use as many as you feel are relevant! The more you use, the higher chance you have of someone spotting your post.

So, as you can see, there’s much more to Instagram than simply posting content. By trying all of the DO’s and avoiding all of the DON’Ts, you will hopefully be creating a valuable online platform that is good for both your business and customers.

The post The Do’s and Don’ts to Excel as a Business on Instagram appeared first on Alba SEO Services.


Why Businesses Need a Strong Online Presence More than Ever

For many businesses, the pandemic has been a huge shock. But those businesses that already had strong online presences may have found it easier to adapt. Suddenly, with the arrival of COVID-19, more people are going online than ever before to find and buy products and services. And the businesses that are more visible online... Read more The post Why Businesses Need a Strong Online Presence More than Ever appeared first on Alba SEO...

WHY ONLINE presence

For many businesses, the pandemic has been a huge shock. But those businesses that already had strong online presences may have found it easier to adapt.

Suddenly, with the arrival of COVID-19, more people are going online than ever before to find and buy products and services. And the businesses that are more visible online are in a better position to benefit.

Benefits of a Strong Online Presence

There are several key benefits of having a strong online presence. For a start, many people now start their research for products and services online (e.g. in Google). By boosting your visibility in the search engines, you can help to ensure that they come across your business first.

Local search especially is becoming increasingly important. People use their mobile phones to search for businesses in their local areas, and if you want to be found, you need to show up in the results.

In addition, a strong online presence allows you to develop your brand voice and build relationships with your customers. For example, a strong social media presence can generate more interest in your business and encourage more people to do business with you.

When you focus on online marketing, you can also monitor your results and improve upon them. For example, some tools allow you to track which keywords you are showing up for or which ads are generating the most clicks and sales. You can then optimise your marketing so you can spend less and get better results.

Finally, perhaps the most important point of all is that the tide is turning and more people will continue to go online to seek information, products and services in the future. Whatever type of business you run, you need to make sure you are not invisible to them.

How to Get Visible Online

There are many ways to improve your online visibility. Here we’ll look at some of the most important.

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it includes a set of practices that help you to show up in Google and other search engines when someone searches for something relating to your business (e.g. plumber in Manchester).

PPC

PPC stands for Pay Per Click advertising, and it mainly refers to the ads you see in the search engines at the top of the results. You simply create ads that appear in the search results, then pay each time someone clicks on a link. It is a great way to get to the top of the search results and boost your visibility in a short space of time.

Social Media

Social media has become very important for businesses over the last decade. Having a strong presence on one or two social media platforms is a great way to build a community around your brand and generate buzz.

It is especially useful for local businesses like tour companies, plumbers, letting agents and dentists because you can use it to keep your customers updated and show a more personal side of your business.

Get Online, Get Found

The recent situation has made it apparent for businesses of all types that they need a strong online presence. But even when things go back to normal, having an online presence will continue to be important.

It takes time to build a strong online presence, and there’s a steep learning curve – so make sure you get some help. At Alba SEO, we help businesses of all sizes improve their online visibility, and we can help you too. Contact us to find out how we can help boost your business’s online presence today.

The post Why Businesses Need a Strong Online Presence More than Ever appeared first on Alba SEO Services.


Top 5 Local Directories for SEO 2020

  Updated for 2020 As search engine optimisation (SEO) consultants, we are always looking to find the best links and citations we can for our clients. Directories are one place where it can be helpful to be listed. There are some good directories and some bad ones. What do I mean by “good”? Well, these are... Read more The post Top 5 Local Directories for SEO 2020 appeared first on Alba SEO...

best local business directories 2020

 

Updated for 2020

As search engine optimisation (SEO) consultants, we are always looking to find the best links and citations we can for our clients. Directories are one place where it can be helpful to be listed. There are some good directories and some bad ones. What do I mean by “good”? Well, these are directories which are considered trustworthy by Google and Bing. If you are on them, then you appear to be legitimate. This will have a positive effect on your credibility and ultimately your local ranking. Poor directories are ones where anyone can add a link; there is no editorial process; there is poor categorisation of businesses; the listings never get updated so the directory becomes bloated with lots of extinct businesses; and it doesn’t really drive any traffic i.e. no one looks at it. It is fair to say that a lot of directories don’t get a lot of traffic, but there are some good ones which do.

Local Search

There’s lots that go into ranking in Google so just adding your website to a bunch of directories won’t magically get you onto the first page. BUT it does give you a platform on which to build from. This article gives more information about what goes into local ranking and it’s not for the faint-hearted.

RANKING FACTORS and directories

 

Best Local Directories 2020

Taking into account what I’ve said about the good, bad and the ugly of directories, here are the top directories that we suggest you add your website to. Particularly if you are a small local business. In all cases adding the right keywords, images and correct contact details is very important.

In 2020 these directories are still the top ones to go for!

1. Yelp

Yelp can drive a lot of traffic to your website and as a local business so you should be claiming your listing on it.  If it is not listed then create one for your business. Furthermore, any reviews will show up on the search results for Bing which is a bonus. So get your business listed and ask your customers for reviews if you really want to stand out from the crowd.

2.  Foursquare
Foursquare is also featuring in the search results pages for Bing. It is a high authority website and getting your business on there is important as Google will crawl and index the listings which will help with SEO. It also appears on the search results pages if you get any “tips”.

3. Yell
Yell is really easy to sign up for and once your business is listed you can add it to many categories where it will feature.  There’s link back to your website too which means that it can drive real traffic. Some directories don’t give you a live website link and so it is a bonus to get one.

4. Freeindex
Freeindex is a high authority directory with the ability to drive referrals right to your door. It can be a little involved to set up but it is important to get the right keywords and images in your listing to ensure you get the most from it.

5. Cylex
Cylex is a high end directory which also can drive real referrals to your business. It allows you to add in loads of information about your business including social profiles. They also want to ensure the information stays up to date so they prompt you every 6 months to log on and check it. The sign of a well-respected directory.

 

and here’s a bonus number 6!

6. Alba Business Directory

Yes it is our new directory but we think it is worth a mention because we think it is one of the best business directories on the block in 2020. Human reviewed (by us) and completely optimised so your business in this local directory will be working hard to get seen by customers.

 

There are plenty of directories out there (and the list here is really helpful) but it is not wise to add your website to every one you see as bulk directory submissions can look spammy. Also avoid ones which say “SEO directory” or similar. You should investigate each one to ensure that you are not going to cause your business any harm long term. You never know when the next Google algorithm update will penalise poor quality directories.

Can you add to this list?

The post Top 5 Local Directories for SEO 2020 appeared first on Alba SEO Services.


Positive Thinking through Covid 19 and How SEO Can Help

This is truly a dreadful time for businesses large and small. No one could have predicted that a previously unknown virus could cause such havoc with the world. The global economy is suffering and more locally, many small businesses in the UK are unable to function due to restrictions on travel and social distancing.  The... Read more The post Positive Thinking through Covid 19 and How SEO Can Help appeared first on Alba SEO...

Covid 19 and SEO

This is truly a dreadful time for businesses large and small. No one could have predicted that a previously unknown virus could cause such havoc with the world. The global economy is suffering and more locally, many small businesses in the UK are unable to function due to restrictions on travel and social distancing.  The reduction in income is forcing businesses to cut costs by laying staff off in order to survive the next few months. Whilst the government has promised help is on the way, it is clear that small businesses are tightening their belts and cutting expenditure where they can.  For businesses that had a marketing budget, this is now being scrutinised for potential savings. Google AdWords, social media advertising and SEO fall into this type of expenditure and it appears that many businesses have had to stop some of these marketing activities. Whilst there are merits in all the marketing channels, I’m going to focus on SEO and why stopping a campaign now may not be the right choice long term.

Should I stop SEO?

Of course I’m going to say No! But it’s not to save my own business – here are some reasons why you should continue with SEO:

  • Your competitors may still be using SEO services. This means that as time progresses, they may just get the edge on your ranking and will be in a stronger position when this situation ends (and it will). So all the hard work you’ve been doing so far gets diluted.
  • Google is continuing to modify its algorithms every day. This means that without an SEO expert monitoring the situation, your website may become less relevant through algorithmic changes.
  • People are stuck at home all day during social distancing – and no doubt spending a lot of time browsing the internet. They might be interested in new blinds or realise that they need to hire a decorator, or decide that they need a better boiler. They will be researching companies and if they can’t find you, you’ll be losing business to competitors.
  • Google and Bing let you know if there are any issues with your website through Search Console (webmaster tools). Without anyone monitoring these tools your website could be having problems and you wouldn’t know it.
  • Your competitors may be STOPPING all paid advertising. That means that if you are well placed organically you can capture the business that might normally go to paid adverts in Google.
  • If your business is Law including divorce, employment, personal law. Now, more than ever, people may need your services.
  • If you stop updating your website, Google My Business page and social media, people will lose confidence that you are still solvent and might shy away from using it.

We hope that things improve really soon, but until then, the team at Alba SEO Services are working extra hard on all our clients websites to really help them during this time.  Your success is our success!

The post Positive Thinking through Covid 19 and How SEO Can Help appeared first on Alba SEO Services.


Does Google Know You Are Open For Business?

If you want to attract customers to your business you know you have to keep it clean, tidy and welcoming.  Potential customers need to be able to look in to decide if it is a place they want to enter.  You know if you own a shop that you need to make your window display... Read more The post Does Google Know You Are Open For Business? appeared first on Alba SEO...

google business open?

If you want to attract customers to your business you know you have to keep it clean, tidy and welcoming.  Potential customers need to be able to look in to decide if it is a place they want to enter.  You know if you own a shop that you need to make your window display as interesting as possible and change it regularly to encourage passers-by to come in and browse.

Do you treat your website with the same care and attention?

Here at Alba SEO Services, we regularly get phone calls and emails from people asking why Google is no longer showing their website on Google search results.  There can be many reasons for this which is why we always carry out a full SEO audit but one reason can be that Google or Bing thinks you may now be closed for business.

 

Why would a search engine think your business is closed?

You may have a beautiful website that states where you are located, when you are open and what services you offer but when did you last update it?  Is it possible that Google thinks your business is no longer operating as no changes have been made for years?

4 easy steps to ensure the search engines know you are open for business

1.       Google My Business
Make sure you have a Google My Business listing with up-to-date information about your business. On a regular basis, use the Post functionality to post information about your services or products.  Also, make an effort to get regular reviews.

2.       Bing Places

Similar to Google My Business, Bing offers Bing Places where you can advertise your business.  It doesn’t have a post function but it does pick up and display information and reviews from TripAdvisor, Yell, Yelp and Foursquare. Therefore, current reviews show that you are open for business.

3.       Social Media

Make use of social media.  You don’t have to use every type of social media; just the ones that are used by your potential clients.  Generally, Instagram attracts a younger audience and Facebook a slightly older group.  Display links to your social media accounts on your website and vice versa.  Then, as with Google My Business post about your business, your  products and services. For instance, a local Edinburgh tour operator that offers Scotland Tours makes great use of social media.  Their  Facebook Page has a range of posts that people do interact with.  They post about new tours, discounts, special deals and fun posts about Scotland and Highland Cows. There is no doubt that this company is thriving and open for business.

4.       Website

Your website needs regular updates in the same way you would clean your shop and change the window display.  For businesses that have an e-commerce site this is easy as hopefully you will be selling new products on a regular basis.

However, what do you do if your opening hours never change and your services have been exactly the same for the past 10 years?  Your website is still factually correct but how do the search engines know that?  If they aren’t sure, then they will show another website to someone looking for your services.

The simplest way to add regular updates is to add a blog or a gallery showing recent work. It doesn’t have to be too time-consuming but it can make a massive difference to your internet presence.

An East Lothian window blinds company that sells made-to-measure blinds have very informative products pages but to keep their website fresh they have also added a helpful and informative blog. Their articles range from telling customers about who they are and what they do to ‘Why blackout blinds may be the best choice for your home’.

An Edinburgh security business that installs burglar alarms and CCTV systems also has a blog where they provide security tips and advice. Same with a health and wellbeing website which offers tips on keeping you healthy.

If you are a builder, car repair company or electrician you could show before and after photos of work you have completed.

If this all sounds too daunting or time-consuming, then please give us a call for some advice.  For a very reasonable fee we can spend a few hours a month making updates to your website.

 

 

 

The post Does Google Know You Are Open For Business? appeared first on Alba SEO Services.


16 SEO FAQS For 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...

16 SEO FAQS For 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 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?

SEO FAQS: Frequently Asked Questions

Why are keywords important?

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.

How do I pick the right keywords?

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.

What is a ‘backlink’?

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.

How do you know if a backlink is good or bad for SEO?

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.

How do I build good backlinks?

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.

How can I view the backlinks to my website?

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.

If a backlink is ‘nofollow’, should I remove or disavow it?

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.

What matters most: Building links or creating more content?

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.

Which is more important: On-site SEO or off-site SEO?

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.

Can I do on-site SEO myself?

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.

What is the best single thing I can do as a local business?

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.

Is my website page loading speed important?

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!

If an SEO company/agency is guaranteeing first place rankings, should I hire them?

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.

How long does it take to see a change in results from SEO?

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.

What are the main KPI’s that an SEO company/agency/consultant should consider?

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.

Should a business invest in SEO?

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?

The post 16 SEO FAQS For Businesses appeared first on Alba SEO Services.


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