Seo for Beginners
All web-designers in London need to optimize and rank their websites high on Google’s results page: This is so, since Google tops all other search engines on the internet in terms organic traffic generation: Ranking high on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is not difficult if Google SEO is followed.
On the other hand; ranking high in SERPs is not enough; you need to optimize your London site for human consumption; so that your website gets the traffic and conversion rate it deserves when users are convinced to click-through into your website to find specific information or product.
So; what does Google recommend for starters? Google looks for a number of signals to determine the quality score of a website/web-page before showing relevant results in the SERP; and content is among the most important ranking signal it considers.
After all; you built that website to provide a given information or product to the internet users; and not Google’s search engine: It will be needless to work hard on your SEO to rank your site high; while the content it contains is irrelevant and insufficient to those who need it.
Even if such websites with irrelevant and insufficient content ranks high due to some black hat SEO techniques; or by just effecting other ranking signals; they will always have a high bounce rate which also among the ranking factors Google considers: As users find your content useless for their needs; they click-away from your site and find another website with relevant information they need.
But; how exactly to you work on your content to get the favor from Google web crawlers??
This starters guide is broken into various parts of web-seo; both on-page and off-page SEO techniques that you need to perfect during site optimization process before embarking on extensive content marketing for high conversion rate.
A) Basic Search Engine Optimization
1. Unique and Accurate Page Titles
Web crawlers start understanding the content of your web-page right from its title: Ensure that your titles are original and accurate; stressing on the main point or idea you want to put across.
On the other hand; include researched and high ranking keywords in your titles for search engine consumption; while still making your titles catchy; having it in mind that your content is for human use.
2. Use Meta Tags and Descriptions
Meta tags and descriptions will show in the search engine results page; these are the summary of your page’s content.
Your meta tags should include the main keywords you are going to exploit on the body of your web page; so that web spiders can crawl and index your page appropriately.
On the other hand; use clear and precise description to summarize your content for the humans; so that they know what to expect on your page before actually clicking through to your content.
B) Working on Site’s Structure
1. URL Structure
The url structure of your web-page should be descriptive; including the main keywords: Web crawlers should be able to understand the content of your web-page form the url of that page; so that they serve the relevant web-pages to the internet users depending on the search query they use.
On the other hand; meaning full urls have a significant impact on the conversion rate; since humans will be able read them and understand the relevancy of the content; and consequently being converted into a visitor.
If you are using a content management system (CMS) such WordPress; ensure that you edit your permalinks to read exactly what the page is talking about.
Finally; your website URL should also include the main keyword in it; so that if you are a PC retailer, your website will include a PC retailer somewhere.
2. Site Navigation
Make it easy for your website’s visitor to navigate around: Provide links to all your pages using relevant anchor tags; so that your visitors get more information concerning relevant topics you have written about on other pages.
C) Content Optimization
1. Offer Quality and Unique Content
Having it in mind that content is king; strive to offer original and quality contents that cannot be found anywhere else.
Before creating your contents and publishing them; ensure that you do sufficient keyword research using keyword tools available on the internet such as the Google Keyword Planner found in AdWords account.
While creating your content; be sure to use your researched keywords naturally throughout the page to maintain a good flow; and also to avoid spamming the search engines.
2. Use Anchor Text
Using your keywords as anchor text; provide links to the pages within your website; with relevant topics as the anchor text.
On the other hand; if necessary, you can provide links using these keywords as anchor text linking to other relevant sites; with good reputation and quality content to offer more insight to your visitors
Avoid linking to irrelevant sites with low quality content as this will hurt your web-page ranking; or even worse the whole website ranking.
3. Optimize Page Visibility Using Images
Web crawlers are in love with images; utilize images on your web-pages so that they are fully optimized for search engine consumption.
Use image description and caption text boxes to describe what your web-page content is all about; ensuring that you include all the necessary keywords you expect to rank high for.
Use quality and large images on your web-page as these are always doing better in search engine results page.
On the other hand; be sure to use your own images; or buy from sites selling images online; or otherwise find the rights to use free images from sites like Google Images offering images and photos for free use.
4. Make Use of Headings
Separating your content into different heading has a significant impact on both search engine and human optimization.
Provide headings and sub-headings with quality and relevant keywords depending on the topic of that heading or sub-heading.
If you are using plain HyperText Markup Language (HTML); utilize in your content page the H1, H2, H3 and so on; so that emphasis is made depending on the importance of the keywords on your titles and sub-titles.
D) Optimize Your Site for Web-Crawlers
1. The Robots Exclusion Protocol (Robots.txt)
Web-designers/developers use this file to direct the web-crawlers on how they should crawl and index their web-pages.
However; using robots.txt needs sufficient web-development expertise; as it can extremely harm your web-pages visibility if not used correctly.
Ensure that you locate robot.txt files in the top-level directory of your web-server for it to function as it should; otherwise, you will compromise your site’s crawling by the search engine robots.
2. Using rel=”nofollow”
Similar to Robot.txt; using rel=”nofollow” requires extra care. This nofollow attribute is used to direct web-crawlers on which links not to follow and crawl on a web-page.
Some web-designers use this attribute to discourage spamming; or if the content of the page is not for public view.
Whichever reason you use it for, ensure that you counter-check your links so that you don’t use nofollow attribute inappropriately and prevent search engine robots from crawling your important web-pages.
E) Mobile SEO
The majority of internet users today use mobile phones and other hand-held device to access information from the internet.
You need to notify Google crawlers of the mobile version of your website so that it is optimized for the users using mobile devices to search for information through the search engine.
On the other hand; ensure that you use mobile friendly images; and give clear directives on how to use the site with mobile devices.
If you are using a CMS like WordPress; ensure that your website is responsive by using WordPress themes that are mobile optimized; and can re-size to fit on small screens as well.
F) Promote and Analyze your Site
1. Content Marketing
Now that you have satisfied Google’s SEO recommendations and most probably your site is enjoying high rankings; embark on extensive content marketing to promote your website’s contents.
For you to convert more visitors into leads, so that your site’s conversion rate remains high every time; taking your site to the top in SERP is not enough; and without effective content marketing strategy; your site’s performance will be compromised.
2. Website Analysis
Analyzing your site’s performance will assist you to calculate your return on investment (ROI); whether your SEO efforts are rewarded effectively.
There are a number of website analytic tools out there; Google Analytics being one of them with a number of features to analyze your site’s performance.
On the other hand; utilize free Google Webmaster tools to get more insight about your page visits; and a number of data that will help you evaluate your ROI.
Getting your SEO right for high Google ranks is that simple: And since Google is the biggest search engine in the internet; all major search engines such as Yahoo and Bing will like your content and rank your website higher.
SEO Marketing 6 Things to Understand
A company blog can be a valuable asset, if done the right way. Not only does it provide more online content to increase search engine optimization, it provides fodder for your social media campaigns and can position your brand as an industry expert and resource. But readers won't just magically materialize. That's according to Gene Richardson, COO of Experts Exchange, an online community of 500,000 IT professionals where they can get online tech assistance from each other, hire freelancers and take online courses. Here are his words about how to be intentional with your blog strategy.
1. Use your community to source content.
Do you have an engaged, interactive community? Capitalize on this by sourcing user-generated content for your site. Foster relationships with your most engaged visitors, members, and consumers to encourage them to develop content, feature them in member or consumer spotlights, and use them as a sounding board to gauge what content is and isn't enticing readers. Involve your community in your content to make them feel even more invested in your brand or product, positioning your blog as a great place of reference for further information on the who, what, when, where, and why of your industry.
2. Give your company experts a voice.
Utilize the people on staff whose opinions matter to your audience. Don't just reference them in press or gated content. Move their voice into the company blog to make them an accessible reference.
3. Prioritize quality over quantity.
It's great if you can produce one blog post per day, but make sure to track whether or not those daily posts are receiving any traffic. Don't publish content for its own sake. Quality content that provides obvious and immediate value--not only to your target audience but to other consumers--will pay off in the long run.
4. Encourage engagement through targeted campaigns.
Drive traffic to your blog through social engagement tactics, such as polls, Q&As, and consumer interaction prompts. Ask readers to submit success stories, product reviews, or insights into best practices. People love the opportunity to be heard, so hear them out and give them a platform.
For this to be successful, you first need to understand where your audience lives online. Attempt social pushes through channels where your consumer base isn't engaged online and you'll see no improvement in traffic. These channels are also a great place for sourcing content if you don't have a community of your own.
5. Participate in a guest blog exchange.
Do you have a great rapport with an industry partner who has different or higher blog traffic than you? Establish a plan to provide them with a current, quality blog post on a relevant industry topic in exchange for them to post on your site. This exchange will mix up the authored content and subject matter on your blog to entice your readers to check out content by a well-known source, and your content on their blog will diversify your exposure and result in an influx of traffic.
Search Engine Optimization: Backlinks & How to Create Them
In a perfect world, you would have an unlimited budget to market your business in order to find new customers and increase sales. You could buy lots of online and offline advertising, run promotions to build traffic in store and online, and launch a proactive public relations campaign to increase your product or brand's visibility and awareness. But this isn't a perfect world. Realistically, most small businesses and even many mid-sized firms have more great ideas on how to peddle their wares than available resources.
So where do you start if you are looking for more customers? Learning to generate new sales leads is an essential skill for an entrepreneur. Even if you don't consider yourself a salesperson in the classic sense of the Willy Loman character from Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman, you need to understand that the possibilities for finding new customers range from cold calling names from the phone book to buying lists of potential customers to using newer Internet techniques like search engine optimization to drive new business to your website.
The following pages will delve into how to conduct market research to understand your target audience and their needs, how to determine which lead generation techniques are best to broaden your sales horizons, and how to increase sales by following several strategies to sell additional products and/or services to existing customers.
How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales: Understand Your Target Audience
Before you can find new customers and increase sales, you need to understand who your customer is, what value proposition you offer to customers, and what your competition is currently offering in the market and where there are gaps for a new entrant. In other words, you need to do some market research -- whether that means hiring an outside firm to do the legwork or trying to do it yourself. There's an underlying disconnect between your motivation to increase sales and your customer's motivation to solve their problems.
"Attracting more customers is really about listening to their needs, not being a solution looking for a problem," says Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a strategic-marketing consulting firm whose clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as early stage and emerging businesses. "There are many existing problems out there that need to be solved that customers are willing to pay for today."
Dig Deeper: Getting to Know Your Frequent Customers
How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales: Find Out Who Your Current Customers Are
In order to develop a marketing plan to reach new customers, you need to better understand who you're already selling to. "If I'm trying to expand sales, I have to find out who my existing customers are. What are their demographics? What do they look like?" says Jerry Osteryoung, director of outreach for the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. "That means doing market research."
Market research runs the gamut from very simple qualitative research to in-depth quantitative analysis. It can be done very quickly and inexpensively by sending surveys to your existing customers using one of the many online survey tools, such as SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang. You can also get to know the target audience by looking at existing sources of information -- from the U.S. Census Bureau or other government agencies, from trade associations, or from third-party research firms. But depending on the questions you are trying to answer and your research budget, your market research can involve more extensive interviews with customers and qualitative studies on how target customers feel about your business, its products and services.
Certain products and services may appeal to one audience but not to another, so understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in your target market is critical. You can get to know your customers and segment the market any number of ways including by:
- Demographics -- statistical data on a population including income levels, age, etc.
- Psychographics -- the attitudes and tastes of a certain demographic.
- Ethnographics -- examination of particular cultures.
- Buying habits -- how, what and where customers purchase products and services.
Dig Deeper: How to Conduct Market Research
How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales: Defining the Market for Your Product
Use the information about your existing customers to develop a target audience for your business in its drive to win new customers and increase sales. "While there are core customers you are trying to reach, often there are other markets that are also important to address," Arnof-Fenn says. "Make sure you know who the gatekeepers and influencers are; they will affect the decision makers and you will most likely need to sell to them differently than to the end user." For example, parents might be the gatekeepers for products targeted to children or technology managers might hold influence over a company's decision to invest in new software.
Determine which key messages, features and benefits matter to each potential market. Tell these customers how your business can help them solve their problems. "In order to have a customer go to your online shop, you have to find a reason why these customers want to come to you," Osteryoung says. "The value proposition has to be spelled out clearly."
Next, you need to figure out where to reach these customers and whether there should be a marketing or advertising plan that goes along with that outreach.
Dig Deeper: Make 100 Phone Calls to Find Your Target Audience
How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales: Generating Sales Leads
There are a variety of age-old staple techniques and newer tools you can use to find new customers and increase sales. It's best to understand the range of choices you have in order to determine which may best help your business reach new customers. Newspaper readers may not be moved by Internet-based sales techniques. Similarly, business people who are accustomed with hiring only people they know may be better swayed by meeting you at a chamber of commerce meeting than accepting a blind invitation to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook.
"It starts with good people," says Peter Handal, chairman and CEO of Dale Carnegie Training, the sales and leadership training organization. "If you're a one-man shop, it's one thing. But if sales people are really important, you need to hire and motivate good people and you want to give them an upside, such as sales on commission. The motivation is not just money it's also helping them overcome the fear of prospecting."
Here is a rundown on the techniques available:
- Cold calling. This is telemarketing without the call center. It's a blind contact with a potential customer who isn't expecting a pitch. Customer leads can be picked up through scouring newspaper articles or items, lists of leads that are culled by a third-party, or paying attention to people or businesses moving into your turf. "People are always hesitant about cold calling or talking to someone they don't know," says Handal. "We coach people to give themselves a pep talk to get them in the mood. We suggest that they set a goal -- this is how many new people they will talk to this week."
- Networking. This can be done the old-fashioned way, by getting involved in community organizations, such as the chamber of commerce, or attending business functions, such as trade shows. Social functions -- dinner invitations, book clubs, etc. -- can also lead to potential business. "All of those kinds of things are important ways to network to find new customers," Handal says. Networking has also taken a 21st Century twist on the Internet, with the rise in popularity of such websites as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Plaxo. Many businesses find that this type of networking, making contacts through friends or former colleagues, can lead to new customers.
- Develop champions of your products. Use business contacts who have been happy with your products to help generate references and referrals. Once you have sold to them, customers can help you sell to others by offering positive testimonials and leveraging a refer-a-friend campaign created by your business. This technique also employs word-of-mouth marketing. Help customers help you by giving them the ammunition they need to tell your story to others. "Don't be afraid to ask, 'Is there someone else I can talk to and also help?" Handal says.
- Affiliate marketing. Look at non-competitive products or services that are reaching out to the same audiences to see if there are ways you can collaborate through shared outreach efforts such as newsletters, mailings (online and offline) or co-branding opportunities. You probably can uncover a handful of like-minded products or services that are talking to your customers, Arnof-Fenn says. Suggest to these business owners ways your businesses can support each other. Your customers will see joint efforts as a value-added opportunity to reinforce their choice of brands.
- Leverage your website. There are all sorts of tools these days through which you can drive potential new customers to your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) -- using keywords and other techniques to make your site appear on the first page of listings on search engines -- has become an art form. There are websites, such as Search Engine Watch, that will keep you updated about SEO techniques. In addition, there are a growing number of paid SEO consultants who can help you use all the tricks and techniques to improve your search results. You can also use a variety of blogs, chat rooms, podcasts, and webinars to generate awareness for your website and company. A website is a dynamic tool not a one-time experience. The top search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, so you must monitor your website on a regular basis to make sure your keywords are leading customers to you. Make sure you are keeping your website up to date with fresh content so your customers come back often for more.
- Advertising. Typically businesses are encouraged to spend 3 to 5 percent of their revenue on advertising, but a small business needs to make sure that advertising is effective, Osteryoung says. One way to do this is to ask your customers where they heard about you so that you can measure what is effective. In addition, you also have to carefully pick your markets for advertising to make sure you're reaching your target audience. If you're targeting an older audience, newspaper ads might be the way to go. But if it's Gen X or Y you're after, then you may be better off advertising online or on TV, Osteryoung says. "You've got to define your demographics before you develop your advertising or marketing plan."
Dig Deeper: Converting Web Traffic into Sales Leads
How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales: Sell More to Existing Customers
In order to increase sales, many businesses believe the only way is to find new customers, but a number of experts say that this strategy leaves out an obvious potential source of new sales. It's much easier to get an existing customer to buy from you than to convince a new customer to take the plunge. "They're forgetting about low hanging fruit -- their existing customer base," says Osteryoung. "If I want to expand sales, the number one place to go is the existing customer base. They already trust you."
Here's how to increase sales with your existing customer base:
- Bundle products. You can "bundle" a few products or services together for a special price to try to get an existing customer to try some of your other offerings.
- Try the "upsell." Convince your sales staff to go back to existing customers and try to sell those clients related products or services. A common example is a warranty, Osteryoung says. Think of how many times you've purchased electronics and a sales person has tried to sell you on an extended service plan. Customers sometimes take the bait.
- Offer inside information. If a customer is eyeing a product but about to put it back on the shelf, make sure you let them know that the product is going on sale the following week. If you monitor your website's online shopping cart, you may email an existing customer who didn't complete a sale and offer them a discount to complete the purchase.
- Think about customer rewards. Like the airlines have done with frequent fliers, there is no reason a small business can't reward good customers with a loyalty program. Offer a discount on their birthday or for every 10 purchases give them one for free.
- Give free samples. Offering freebies isn't necessarily going to cost you an arm and a leg, but it can increase sales by engendering good feelings among existing customers, convincing them to pass on the sample to a friend or family member, and/or convince them to buy your latest hand cream or ice cream flavor.
Dig Deeper: Tips on Creating a Customer Loyalty Program
"There's a lot you can do that doesn't require much more work," Osteryoung says. "You want to make sure you have saturation but obviously you never want to alienate the customer…. You never want to make the customer feel like you are hard selling them."
Practical principles, processes, and programs that offer people the knowledge, skills and practices they need to influence and sell to customers
Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association
Trade association for word-of-mouth marketing to attract more customers
Find New Customers
Jeff Ogden's whitepaper on How to Find New Customers and more
How to Use E-mail to Find New Customers
Strategies to use e-mail to build your business
Use an Affiliate Program to Snag New Customers
Use an affiliate program to get your existing customers to recommend your business to their circle of contacts.
How to Hire an SEO Consultant
A primer on how to hire an outside consultant to help you maximize your search engine optimization.
Drive Traffic to Your Business Blog
How to use a blog on your business website to find new customers.
The Return of Customer Loyalty
A veteran entrepreneur explains why it's more important than ever to keep the customers you already have
Teach Your Employees to Focus on Your Best Customers
Teach your employees to know who your best customers are and provide employees with techniques and tools to uncover customer preferences and make every customer interaction count.
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