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Become an Authority and Increase your Search Rank


19. November 2009 11:44

Arrow pointing upwards

Authority in the business world is a powerful tool, it demands respect, trust and admiration.
Authority also plays a big part in online marketing since Google’s PageRank® algorithm determines websites’ authority and ranks them accordingly.

If people think your website is important enough to link to then so will search engines.  The more authority you gain from people linking to you from their website/blog/social bookmarking page etc the greater your rank will become in search engines such as Google.

In order to to become an authority that others link to online you need a website with indispensable content that demonstrates your expertise, rather than a website that simply claims expertise.

Become an authority by learning all you can about your niche and sharing your knowledge online.

Authority is all about perception, perceived authority can outrank actual authority because what other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.

Rules for Building Authority Online

  1. Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – what sets you apart from everyone else?
  2. Get a professional website design and branding
  3. Make friends with influential people in your industryuse social networking sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn as well as traditional networking events
  4. Don’t sell to people… Educate them and demonstrate your knowledge to build trust and authority
  5. Create indispensable content that other people will want to share with their peers
  6. Grab people’s attention - write killer headlines and stand-firsts
  7. Build a subscriber base – get people listening to what you have to say
  8. Learn the basics of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Picture used under Creative Commons from PaperThinSerge

Organic SEO Takes Time and Effort


9. August 2009 18:48

Like an old tree that takes time to mature, so does an SEO campaignIf you require your website to attract new customers from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing then read on.

Search Engine Optimisation is important and should play a key role in defining the content and structure of your website before you even consider hiring a web developer, but SEO doesn't stop when the website goes live, a search engine friendly website is only part of the optimisation process.

SEO is a continual process and can be broken up into two categories, off-page optimisation and on-page optimisation.  On-page optimisation ensures your website is search engine friendly and optimised for your target keywords and phrases, but a search engine friendly website alone is rarely enough to drive traffic to your site unless your business is a very niche market.  To improve your search engine ranking you will need to perform some off-page optimisation to establish your website's reputation and authority.

Off-page Optimisation

Off-page optimisation is the process of building reputation for your website content which in turn aims to increase your ranking in search engines for your target keywords and phrases.  Reputation on the web is measured in backlinks to your website.  Google calculates your website's reputation with its PageRank algorithm and the other main search engines use similar ranking methods.

Link Building

There are a number of methods and strategies involved in gaining reputation, but unfortunately most of them require time and effort to acquire.  These include:

  • Creating link bait with a blog (creating content other people want to link to)
  • Reciprocal linking (swapping links with other websites)
  • Purchasing links - buying links is a violation of Google's webmaster guidelines
  • Asking similar/complementary organisations for a link to your website
  • Promoting via social networking sites (e.g. social bookmarking sites like delicious.com, and social media sites like digg.com)
  • Forum posting
  • Press releases
  • Directory listings

Not all Backlinks are Equal

The best links you can get to your website are links from authority websites whose sector/business/topic closely relates to your website. If you are building links just to build PageRank you are going about the process in the wrong way, build links that ultimately help humans find your site from related websites.  If you do this you won't go too far wrong, just beware that Google does not like the link building process as it undermines the PageRank system.  So please read Google's Webmaster Guidelines and stick to them.

Aim for quality links over quantity, and remember SEO requires time and patience.  Don't expect miracles over night.  If you can't wait for the fruits of your SEO to take effect you should consider pay-per-click advertising as an interim solution.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Scudsone.

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10 Reasons to Start a Business Blog


26. June 2009 15:08

If you are unsure whether your company should be blogging on your corporate website here are ten reasons why you should consider it.  You might also want to read our overview of blogging to understand what all the fuss is about.

  1. A blog is an inexpensive marketing tool.
  2. They allow you to talk to your customers in an informal way.
  3. A blog is a good way to inform and educate visitors about your products and services.
  4. A blog can make your company seem more approachable.
  5. Having a blog on your business website can help its search engine ranking overall.
  6. A blog can help you generate sales leads.
  7. You can start a two-way conversation with your customers and show that you listen to what your customers have to say.
  8. Your customers comments can help you develop products and services that better match their needs.
  9. A blog lets you communicate your company's expertise within your sector/industry.
  10. Positive comments left on your blog from happy customers act as recommendations for your product or service.

What is Web Analytics?


19. June 2009 15:05

Web analytics is a term used to describe the processes involved in recording and analysing how visitors use and discover your website.

Here is the official definition according to the Web Analytics Association:

“Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.”

What kind of statistics will web analytics show me?

  • Geographical location of visitors to the website
  • How they found the website
  • If they found the website from a search engine, what keywords they searched for
  • How the visitors navigate through the website
  • What the most popular pages on the website are
  • The average time a visitor spends on the website
  • The effectiveness of your marketing campaigns
  • How many pages the average visitor browses
  • and many more…

Google Analytics – web analytics from Google

There are numerous web analytics software vendors, however if you intend to use Google Adwords pay-per-click advertising, Google Analytics will draw information from your Google Adwords campaigns and let you analyse how well your visitors are converting, so it makes sense to use Google’s analytics offering.

Google Analytics is a free but powerful web analytics tool.  Google describes it as “Enterprise-class”, but don’t let that put you off.  Even though Google Analytics has a lot of advanced features, it’s quite easy to just stick to the basics and get just the information you need right at your finger tips.

Google Analytics Dashboard

You can even customise reports to show only the data you are interested in and have them emailed to you or a colleague on a regular basis!

What’s more our Search Engine Marketer has passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification, so we are well placed to help you make the most of Google Analytics.

What are SEM and SEO and do I need them?


15. June 2009 15:04

In the screenshot below is a results page from a Google search, often referred to in the industry as a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).  The blue highlighted region indicates the “natural” or “organic” search results, whereas the red highlighted area refers to the sponsored adverts.

PPC stands for Pay per click, which is another name for the sponsored adverts which appear on the search results page. As the term suggests you pay only when a user clicks on your advert.

To get your website featured in the sponsored adverts region, you will need to sign-up for Google Adwords and start a PPC campaign.  In as little as 15 minutes your adverts will go live on Google and you will start attracting visitors to your website!

 

Google SERPS - indicating PPC and Organic listings

To get your website featured in the organic listings Google will need to find your website and index it in its database. Your website’s ranking in a search engine will be based on many factors too complicated to cover here, but in order to improve your organic ranking it helps to have a search engine friendly or optimised website and promote your website using recognised SEO techniques.

SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation the activities carried out to generate qualified traffic to a website in order to appear in the “organic” or “natural” results.

What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

The term SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing and is used to describe all the activities that encompass the promotion of a website using search engines.  SEM can mean either SEO and PPC combined or one or the other.