5 Reasons Small Businesses Need Content Marketing

small business content marketing

Small businesses are always trying to get the attention of potential customers. To avoid getting caught up in the clutter, customers install ad-blockers to browse websites without any ads, customise their social media feeds and subscribe to ad-free digital radio. For savvy digital marketers who don’t want to be ignored or skipped, they have to create messages that customers want to see.

Customers will listen if they are given information instead of a sales pitch. They will see the brand and the message not as an interruption, but an important provider of information. This is called content marketing. It is all about creating and providing valuable and relevant information to one’s target audience. The main goal is for the content to encourage customers to do business with the company.

Here’s how content marketing can help businesses of any size.

Increase Brand Awareness

You need to be consistent. Providing fresh content regularly can create a lot of opportunities for your target audience to see your brand. Since your brand becomes more familiar to them, you will be the first one that will come to their mind when they need your service.

Build Your Reputation

Content marketing helps you build your reputation as a trusted expert in your industry. For instance, even if there are a lot of plumbers in your area but you are the only one who provides information about plumbing solutions, problems and maintenance, your brand will be known as the expert. You are showing your expertise, so potential customers don’t need to look for or question your proficiency. As you are helping customers without asking for any payment, you will also become known as someone trustworthy.

Get More Customers

Publishing fresh content regularly on various topics allows you to drive more traffic to your website through traditional media, search social media and more. This eventually leads to foot traffic, phone calls and orders. Remember that digital banner ads, social media accounts, search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising won’t work if you don’t have content to promote. These avenues need something to link to and discuss. Posting fresh, relevant content gives customers a reason to visit your site or click your clink. You can grab the attention of more people and repeat visitors by covering seasonal and timely topics. This will also improve your ranking in search engines and increase your chances of getting found by potential customers before your competitors.

Keep Your Website Interesting and Fresh

Customers search the internet to find the information they need. A stagnant and out-of-date website is less professional and interesting than one that updates content regularly. Customers might check out your social media presence and website more than once before making a decision. When they return, finding something relevant and fresh makes their visit more interesting. It also shows that you are a professional organisation.

Convince Customers to Hire or Buy from You

Content marketing can help you encourage customers to take action. It is only natural for customers to procrastinate when they need to spend time or spend money to get something. However, once they get a clear answer to their questions, they could finally be encouraged to hire your service or buy from you. Provide content that will help them make a decision and ultimately choose you over your competitors.

Posted in Content Marketing

5 Simple Ways to Lower Your CPC in AdWords

lower cpc adwordsWhen it comes to pay per click advertising, finding different ways to lower your CPC (cost per click) for the keywords you’re bidding on is crucial. If your cost per click is less, then surely your cost per conversion will be lower?

The answer to this is – yes!

So how you can reduce your CPC? In the beginning, simply lowering your bids isn’t likely to do the trick, so what you do to lower your CPC while still saying competitive?

Here are 5 simple ways you can lower your CPC in AdWords.

#1 – Improve Relevancy

Talking about “relevancy” in regards to PPC is like talking saying “content is king” when it comes to SEO – you’re sick of hearing it!

Though this might be the case, the best PPC campaigns are ones that are incredibly granular. This often means having single keyword ad groups (but you’re allowed different match types) that have incredibly relevant ads to target that one specific keyword. These single keyword ad groups then have landing pages that are specifically optimised for that keyword, which improves landing page relevancy.

Now this sounds like a lot of work (it is!) so I’d recommend that you start small and see the amazing results that single keyword ad groups will have for your campaign. Start with your top 5 keywords and go from there.

There’s more about single keyword ad groups and their benefits further down in this post, so keep reading!

#2 – Improve Quality Score

If you’ve followed along and implemented the tip above, then you’ll be glad to know that improving relevancy helps you get a higher quality score.

When you create highly relevant ads, your CTR (click through rate) will go up, and when your CTR goes up, your quality score goes up, and when your quality score goes up, your ad rank goes up and that lower CPC you’ve been dreaming of can now become reality.

#3 – Testing

One of the best things about PPC is that it’s fast. In an industry with a lot of search volume we’re able to see the results of our tweaks very quickly and are then able to decide what to do going forward. This means that it’s incredibly important to be frequently creating new ads to go up against your best ads.

What do I mean by that?

Don’t settle for a CTR of 7%, try to improve it and get 10%! Even if you manage to get 10/10 for quality score, there are always better call to actions to use, so test them all!

#4 – Lower Your Maximum Bid

Lowering your keyword bids is obviously the simplest way to lower your CPC. By lowering your bid, you are giving Google a lower maximum amount that you’re willing to pay for each click.

If you’ve done steps 1-3 and have improved your quality score by improving your ad relevancy and have seen that your ad rank is also going up, but you’re still paying the same cost per click, you might just have to consider gradually lowering your bids.

You might wonder why you’re still paying the same amount even after the improvements you’ve made, and I often wonder this myself. Why do I think it happens? Well, while Google is a free to use search engine, they still have shareholders and have to make money somehow!

So lower your bids (slowly!) and make sure that you keep an eye on what position your ad shows in. You’ll be surprised by how low you’re able to go and not take a hit in ad position.

Sometimes a lower ad position can also be a good thing. I often find that lower ad positions (not too low so they don’t get clicks, though) often have a better conversion rate. My theory on this is that the searcher has taken more time to find your ad, read the ad copy and found that it’s more relevant to what they’re looking for than the results above. They obviously haven’t just blindly clicked the first result they’ve seen. 

#5 – Keep on Top of Negative Keywords

We’ve audited and worked on many PPC campaigns that people have set up themselves or have had a PPC agency work on, and one thing we often notice is that the search terms report gets neglected.

The search terms report shows you all of the keywords that have been searched that your ads have shown for. You should regularly go through this and add any keywords that aren’t converting well enough to your negative keyword list.

As well as improving the relevancy of your ad groups and campaigns, this will mean you’ll not have to carry on paying for keywords you don’t want to pay for!

You can access the search terms report by going into ‘Keywords’ and then selecting the ‘Search Terms’ tab.

adwords search terms report

 

What do you do to lower your CPC?

Posted in AdWords, PPC

6 Unique Ways to Do Keyword Research

keyword research guide

You probably already know it; targeting keywords and phrases in content will lead to a long term growth in organic search traffic. That’s why all good content marketing campaigns start with the same thing – keyword research.

The problem is, most internet marketers do keyword research completely wrong.

When most people think of keyword research they usually have this image in their head:

google keyword suggestions

The problem with this is that nearly all internet marketers do this while doing keyword research and will be using the exact same keywords that you are. This means that unless you’re insanely lucky, you won’t find anything that is near being a low competition keyword.

I’ve got great news for you though – the Google keyword planner only shows a limited amount of keywords that you can target.

Today i’m going to show you a new way to do keyword research. Actually, I’m going to show you 6 new ways to do keyword research.

1. Udemy

Most often when you do internet marketing it is to sell something and a lot of times that something is knowledge and information.

The problem these days is that hardly anyone wants to pay for information and due to the vast amounts of resources on the internet people expect it for free.

You’ll notice that I haven’t said that everyone wants something for free, though, because thee are still lots of people that know that paying for high quality information and training is well worth the cost of it. They understand that by paying for it, they’re often able to speed up the learning process and not have to go through the same re-hashed content on blog after blog.

These types of people normally visit the following places online:

  • Blogs – they follow and read content by influencers in their industry and will often buy training directly from them.
  • Educational Marketplaces – Sites like Udemy have grown massively in a short space of time due to the huge demand for high quality training online.
  • E-Commerce Stores – they buy audiobooks, books and courses from e-commerce stores such as Amazon.

For this method we’re going to look at the educational marketplaces (Udemy in particular).

First you’re going to have to go over to Udemy. Once you’re there you’ll see a navigation bar on the left that will show different course categories:

udemy course categories

For the purpose of this example, I’ll pretend that I’m writing content for a personal development blog, so will choose the “Personal Development” category from the list above.

Once you’ve selected your category you’ll be shown a list of different courses within the category. You’ll also be given the option to narrow your choice down further with course sub-categories:

udemy course subcategories

What you now want to do is view the most popular courses in the category. To do this you have to select “All Courses” and then sort by popularity:

udemy popular courses

You’ll also notice on the side that you’ll have a lot of other filtering options available.

The option I find that is most useful is the “Level” option which shows how difficult the course is. This means that if you’re creating content for beginners, then you’d want to look at the courses that are the most popular beginner courses.

On the flip-side, if you’re creating content for experts, you’d want to select the “Expert” filter option. This is because audiences generally tend to use different keywords to search depending on how knowledgable they are of a subject.

Once you’ve managed to filter down to the top courses that are suitable to your audience you’ll be able to find some keywords.

Here’s the start of the information about the course I decided to use for my example. What you want to do is read through the description and pick out phrases that you think people will search for. Some courses make this incredibly easy for you and the trainer will have already bolded the keywords for you!

Unfortunately the one I chose didn’t, so I had to pick them myself.

udemy course description

At this stage you’ll want to start recording your keywords. I’d recommend just using a spreadsheet for this.

It’s also important to note that you don’t need to copy the phrases down exactly as they’re put. For example, I doubt anyone is searching for “improve their levels of confidence and self-esteem”, but it’s highly likely that people are searching for things such as “improve confidence”, “improve self-esteem”, “how to improve confidence”, etc.

Once you’ve taken keywords from the course description, you’ll also find the course curriculum if you scroll down. This is usually a goldmine for keywords, too.

From what we’ve seen so far from this course, I’d add the following to my keyword spreadsheet:

  • Building confidence
  • Developing a powerful mindset
  • Developing an elevator pitch
  • Improve confidence
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Maintaining confidence
  • Strategies for maintaining confidence
  • How to deal with stressful situations
  • Social interaction exercises

Another great way to get keywords from Udemy is by using the search bar. Udemy provides suggestions when you type your industry in:

udemy search bar

This is a great way to get keywords, as they’re listed from most searched to least.

2. Steal Your Competitor’s Keywords

Big sites in your industry more than likely create huge amounts of content that targets keywords that they don’t even realise they’re targeting.

This can be anything from having them in a title or scattered a few times throughout the content.

You normally can’t compete with sites like these for the keywords that they want to target, but you can normally try to overtake them for the ones they aren’t intentionally targeting.

If you take these keywords and create content based around them, you’ll have content that is more targeted for those keywords than the site you’re competing against and will then have a better chance of ranking higher for it.

This method is a bit more difficult than others, but can be a great source of keywords.

Here’s a couple of ways you can do it.

Method 1: Google AdWords Keyword Planner

The first way we’re going to do this is by using Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner tool. Go over to the tool and select “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”. Once you’ve done this you then have to put in your competitor’s site or landing page into the box that says “Your landing page”. You then have to click “Get ideas”.

google keyword planner landing page

You’ll then be shown hundreds of keywords and phrases that are associated with the site/landing page that you have entered in order of relevance.

A quick look through these should give you some good ideas of things to create sites or content around.

Method 2: Ahrefs Organic Keywords

Another way you can do this is by using Ahrefs. Ahrefs is a fantastic tool that was traditionally used to find the backlinks of a site, but has grown massively in recent years to become a complete SEO tool.

Ahrefs is a paid tool, but is well worth it.

We’re going to use Ahrefs to find out what keywords a site is ranking for. You first have to put the competing site/landing page into the URL bar and click “Explore”. You then have to click “Organic Keywords” in the sidebar on the left.

ahrefs url bar

You will then be shown thousands of keywords that the site or landing page is ranking for and in a variety of different countries.

You will then be able to export these keywords and find ideas for content. A great way to find long-tail keywords is to filter by “Words”. I like to set it so that it shows phrases that are 4 words or more:

ahrefs words filtering

You can also use other tools such as SEMrush for this task, but I find that Ahrefs has much more data available at the moment.

3. FAQFox

The best way to find keywords and content topics is to find out what sort of questions your ideal audience is looking for. You’re the expert on the topic after all, so the chances are you can probably answer those questions.

Years ago this would be a manual task and would involve finding industry forums where people ask questions, but now there’s a great tool to enable you to do this with little work. That tool is FAQFox.

Based on what keyword or topic you enter, FAQFox will find a list of threads on forums related to what you put in.

You first have to enter a keyword in the box. You can then enter your own forum list or select a category. I find picking a category works best as it will then choose forums that the tool knows it can scrape for data. If you can’t find an appropriate category, use “Generic”.

faqfox search

Once you have clicked “Start Searching” the tool will go out and find hundreds of threads related to your keywords. You can then go through them and pick the questions.

faqfox search results

From the list above, I would note down the following:

  • Best way to monetise photography
  • What is GEO targeting in SEO
  • Yext vs. Moz Local
  • What are the biggest content marketing strategy mistakes
  • How to run a high performing growth marketing team

From this I would then be able to brainstorm content and title ideas.

4. Quora

Quora is a Q&A website where questions are asked and resolved by its’ community of users.

There are many sites like Quora, such as Yahoo Answers, Stack Exchange and Answers, but Quora is probably the largest and most useful.

One of the main reasons why Quora is so good for keyword research is because it has algorithms that display the most popular content in your industry both past and present.

The first thing you need to do is go to Quora and enter your industry into the search bar and select the topic.

quora topic search

Once you’ve selected your topic, you can then select “Feed”.

Once you’re on the feed you’ll probably already start to get a few ideas.

5. Reddit

Reddit…the self-proclaimed front page of the Internet. Pretty much the whole of the Internet hangs out on Reddit. The main page of Reddit aggregates the most popular content from the site, but that isn’t what we’re going to be looking at today. We’re going to be looking at subreddits. You can find subreddits for pretty much anything and they’re a great source of traffic (and keywords!).

To find subreddits, we’re going to use the subreddit search feature and enter in our industry. This will then show you the subreddits that are relevant to what you have searched and what we’re going to use to find keywords and content ideas.

subreddit search

Once you’ve found a subreddit on your topic, it shouldn’t be too hard to find keywords and content ideas. To speed up the process, you can arrange the subreddit to show the top topics for certain periods of time by clicking “Top”.

reddit subreddit topics

6. Wikipedia

The world’s largest information website is also one of the best sources of keywords.

No matter what your industry, there will be a Wikipedia entry (or 20!) on it.

The beauty of Wikipedia is that it’s incredibly simple to use. You don’t need to develop any new skills, pay a subscription or buy any new software. All you’re going to need for this is an Internet connection and somewhere to note down keywords!

I’m going to show you a few ways how you can use Wikipedia for keyword research.

Method 1: Wikipedia Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

First you need to use Google and search for your topic with “wikipedia” in the search.

google wikipedia search

In the results page alone there are some valuable keywords. Check out the page titles and meta descriptions for keyword ideas.

From looking at the results pages in this example, I would note down the following:

  • Gas stove
  • Gas kitchen stove
  • Natural gas stove
  • Alsatian stove
  • Gas heat exchanger
  • Portable stove
  • Portable gas stove
  • Gas cartridge stoves
  • Pressurised burner stoves

Method 2: Wikipedia Search

Now we’re going to use Wikipedias own search to find keywords. For this example I’m going to pretend that I’m researching keyword and content ideas for accounting software.

The screenshot below shows what comes up when I search for “accounting software” in wikipedia.

wikipedia search

The opening paragraph of any Wikipedia entry is always a great place for finding keywords. When i look at the first paragraph for “accounting software” I see the following keywords:

  • Application software
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Payroll
  • Trial balance
  • Accounting information system
  • Online accounting software

Once you have made a list of keywords from the first paragraph, you can then use additional words to make more long tail keywords:

  • Software for payroll
  • Accounts payable online software
  • Best payroll accounting information system

Method 3: Wikipedia Contents Section

Most topics on Wikipedia have a table of contents that is a great resource for finding keywords. You can essentially use the contents section as a list of keywords in itself.

The screenshot below shows the table of contents for the “accounting software” Wikipedia entry:

wikipedia table of contents

The beauty of the table of contents comes when you drill down to the different sections. For this example I’ll select “Horizontal Market”.

wikipedia toc drill down

I’ve underlined the potential keywords that I see and would note down the following:

  • Construction accounting software
  • Medical accounting software
  • Nonprofit accounting software
  • Retail accounting software
  • Real estate accounting software

I would then be able to brainstorm content ideas, such as:

  • The Best Accounting Software for the Construction Industry
  • The Best Accounting Software for Retailers
  • 6 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Nonprofit Accounting Software

Conclusion

Hopefully you now understand that there is a lot more to keyword research than simply typing in a keyword into Google’s keyword planner and exporting the results.

Finding less competitive keywords with traffic is a difficult task and will take some time to master, but will make your life much easier down the road.

You’ll be able to get traffic from search engines much faster and with a lot less effort (need less backlinks potentially!).

The 6 keyword research methods in this article will help you find these types of keywords and create a great content strategy around them.

If you have any other great keyword research strategies that you’d like to share, please leave a comment!

Posted in Content Marketing, Keyword Research, Search Engine Optimisation

The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Law Firms

seo for law firms

I’m not going to lie to you – we want you as a client.

With that said, I’m not going to cold call you or spam you like other SEO companies do. I’m going to win you over by showing you the exact blueprint to ranking your law firm’s website.

This is the same step-by-step guide we have used to rank the websites of other solicitors and law firms.

Now I know you’re probably not going to read all of this post due to the fact that I know that our other clients that are solicitors barely have time to read emails, never mind an SEO guide for solicitors.

So you might ask yourself why I’ve spent tens of hours writing it, as I could’ve written a lesser quality post like every other “SEO Expert” in an hour or so.

Well, we’re not like every other SEO services provider and the only way to prove that is to actually show you.

I’m making this post our sales pitch!

1. How to Track the ROI of SEO

This section is normally at the end of guides but it is so important that it needs to be put first.

We’ve said it before – marketing efforts are completely lost without proper analytics. To get this you need to use two tools:

  1. Google Webmaster Tools
  2. Google Analytics

If you don’t have these set up already, do it now. There are plenty of resources available online for doing this.

In this section of the guide I’m going to show you 3 reports you can use to gauge the ROI of your SEO campaign.

1. Analysing Organic Traffic

Tool Used: Google Analytics
How to find the report: Go to Audience > Mobile > Overview and select the Organic Traffic segment.
What this tells you: 
This kills two birds with one stone as it tells you the amount of visitors you are getting via organic search and also what type of device they are using. It also tells you bounce rate, time on site and goal completion.
Why you need it: 
If your organic traffic isn’t increasing then your SEO campaign isn’t working!

google analytics organic traffic segment

2. Analysing Organic Impressions and Queries

Tool Used: Google Webmaster Tools
How to find the report: Go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics
What this tells you: Every time your website shows up in a search on Google (this shows up as an Impression) and the keywords (Queries) that your website is showing up for.
Why you need it: This allows you to check that your website is showing up for the right keywords and also allows you to make sure your impressions (and clicks) are increasing.

google webmaster tools search analytics

3. Analysing the Value of your SEO

To truly analyse the value of your SEO you need to be tracking goals.

In the steps below we’re going to set it up to track form submissions and will assume that the contact form on your website takes visitors to a “Thank You” page.

  1. Click on the “Admin” tab in Google Analytics.
  2. Under “View” click “Goals”.
  3. Click “New Goal”.
  4. Give the goal a name – you can just use “Contact Form”.
  5. Under “Type” select “Destination”.
  6. Click “Continue”.
  7. In “Destination” select “Equal to”.
  8. In the space available enter the exact URL of your “Thank You” page (i.e if your site is www.example.com/thank-you/ you should just type /thank-you/)
  9. Click ‘Verify Goal” and if you have set this up correctly it should show a conversion %.
  10. Click “Save”.

This will now allow you to see how many form-fills you get on your website and where they are coming from (organic search, social media, PPC, etc)

2. Selecting Keywords of High Value

Great keyword research enables you to really take control of your rankings, traffic and leads. Without great keyword research you’re operating in the dark.

I always find it’s easier to illustrate this by example. For example, let’s imagine I’m doing research for a Manchester based solicitor.

Step One:

Come up with a list of initial keywords based on the business. For example:

  1. Manchester Solicitor
  2. Solicitor Manchester
  3. Divorce Solicitor Manchester
  4. Manchester Divorce Solicitor

Step Two:

Google has a tool that’s available for free that shows the average monthly search volume for keywords that you enter.

To access this, you have to sign in to AdWords (if you don’t have an AdWords account you can create one for free – https://adwords.google.com) and select “Tools” and then “Keyword Planner”.

google adwords keyword planner

When you’re on the Keyword Planner you then have to select “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”, input your keywords and then click “Get ideas”.

google keyword planner enter keywords

Step Three:

The resulting screen will bring up hundreds of keywords ideas that can be used and how many times per month on average they are searched. Click the “Download” button.

google keyword planner download

Step Four:

Open the data you have just downloaded in Excel (or any other software you have that can open CSV files) and remove columns A, C, E, G, H, I, J, K and L.

You should now have a file that looks like this:

keyword selection file

Because the keyword planner has given us hundreds of keyword ideas, we’re going to filter them to find only the most relevant ones. For this example we’re going to use a divorce solicitor, so I’m going to filter column A to only show me keyword ideas with “divorce” in them.

keyword research in numbers

Step Five:

We now need to organise the keywords by what the person’s intent is that is searching. Let’s take a look at the first 8 keywords in the table that I have:

keyword selection table

  1. divorce solicitor manchester
  2. manchester divorce solicitor
  3. divorce lawyers manchester
  4. divorce lawyer manchester
  5. divorce manchester
  6. divorce solicitors in manchester
  7. divorce lawyers in manchester
  8. divorce law

While all of these keywords are potential valuable to the website, some queries are informational and some have purchase intent.

You now need to separate the keywords that drive traffic from the ones that drive leads.

We do this by adding another column in the spreadsheet labelled “Intent” and tag each keyword with either “Purchase” or “Info”.

keyword selection table with intent

You now need to sort your keyword list by the number of monthly searches from high to low. The most relevant keyword with the highest search volume is going to be your main keyword. Later in this guide I’ll show you how to leverage it.

NOTE: Just for fun I totalled up how much it would cost to drive traffic to your site with these keywords using Google pay per click ads and found that it would cost £66,674.08 per month! An SEO campaign with us won’t cost anywhere near that.

3. Analysing your Competition

Here’s my competitive analysis for Solicitor SEO:

It’s incredibly competitive.

You have the absolute perfect situation for internet marketing

High value services + high demand online = a lot of competition

It’s really hard to rank a law firm’s website because any law firm’s with half a brain are investing in SEO.

The only way you’re going to rank is to be better than your competition.

Step One:

First, we’re going to need a couple of tools:

  1. Majestic Toolbar
  2. Moz Toolbar

These browser plugins enable you to analyse the backlinks of your competitors (backlinks are still Google’s biggest ranking factor)

Moz Bar: The Moz bar will show you 2 statistics in the search engine results page:

  1. Page Authority (PA) – Calculated based on how many websites are linking to the page. The higher this number is, the harder it will be to rank above it.
  2. Domain Authority (DA) – Calculated based on how many websites are linking the domain. The higher this number is, the harder it will also be to rank above it.

Majestic Toolbar: The Majestic Toolbar will help us understand a lot of things:

  1. Trust Flow (TF) – Calculated based on the quality of links that are linking to the website. The higher this number is, the harder it will be to outrank.
  2. Citation Flow (CF) – Calculated based on the power of links that are linking to the website. The higher this number is, the harder it will be for you to outrank it.
  3. Anchor Text – The anchor text that is used to link to the website. This will allow us to see if the owner of the website has invested in a bad SEO campaign. The more diverse that the anchor text profile is, the harder it will be to beat.
  4. External Backlinks – The amount of backlinks that the website has.

Are you lost yet?

Here’s a quick summary of what we need to do:

  1. Find your competitors that rank for the keywords you want to rank for.
  2. Analyse the PA and DA of your competitors.
  3. Analyse the TF and CF of your competitors.
  4. Analyse the anchor text of your competitors.

Step Two:

We’re going to need to keep track of our findings, so we’re going to open the spreadsheet we made earlier of our keywords and create a new tab.

On the new sheet, add the columns “Keyword”, “URL”, “PA”, “DA”, “TF”, “CF”, “Anchor”, “BL” and “RD”.

competitor analysis table

Step Three:

Google your main keyword and record the following:

Keyword: solicitor manchester

URL: www.slatergordon.co.uk/contact-us/manchester/

PA: 42

DA: 49

competitor analysis using pa and da

Step Four:

Go to the organic result and click on the Majestic plugin’s icon.

competitor analysis using majestic toolbar icon

In the spreadsheet record the following:

Trust Flow: 34

Citation Flow: 38

Backlinks: 10

Referring Domains: 7

Note: You should always use the URL’s stats rather than domains.

competitor analysis majestic stats

Once you’ve noted these down, you need to click the URL outlined in the screenshot above in blue.

Step Five:

Scroll to the bottom of this page and you’ll find a pie chart showing the anchor text that is being used to link other websites to this one.

competitor analysis anchor text chart

This chart isn’t the best one to use due to the URL not having many backlinks (it has just 10), but there is plenty of variety being used such as Naked URLs, Keywords and also Generic anchors.

From looking at this I can see that the anchor text profile is clean and can add this to the spreadsheet.

competitor analysis table filled

Step Six:

You now need to do this for the entire first page of the search results.

It’s a lot of work and now you can start to realise why SEO services can be costly!

Here’s how my spreadsheet starts to look for “solicitor manchester”:

competitor analysis solicitor manchester

Step Seven:

There isn’t a magic way to take all of this data and create a magical formula to enable you to rank. With this being said, as an experienced SEO of over 9 years I can form an educated plan of what it will take:

  • The top results are ranking with very few backlinks – This is getting more and more common these days. Sites are ranking higher than competitors with more links due to them having less links but of a much higher quality. I’d focus on building high quality white hat links using guest blogging and outreach.

I’d estimate that it would take around 3-5 months to get a site ranking in these results with a heavy focus on getting high quality backlinks, social engagement and content.

4. Creating the Optimal Website Structure

It’s very important to have a site that’s easy to navigate and use from a rankings and user experience perspective.

This basically means that you need to have all of your content, navigation and URL structure organised properly.

This sounds incredibly easy, but can get complicated depending on what type of law firm you are:

  1. Law firm providing a single service (i.e Divorce Solicitor)
  2. Law firm providing multiple services (i.e Divorce, Criminal Law, Personal Injury, etc)
  3. Law firm with multiple locations

I’m going to break this section down for each of these types.

Law Firm Providing a Single Service

If your law firm provides only one type of service (i.e Divorce) then you should structure your site in the following way:

  • Use an exact match domain for your website URL (these are still powerful).
          • Examplewww.divorcesolicitormanchester.co.uk
          • Generally I would suggest not using exact match domains as I prefer to use branded domains as using an exact match domain can hinder your ability to rank for other thing.
  • Add service pages that drill down to your main line of work.
          • Examplewww.divorcesolicitormanchester.co.uk/our-services/divorce, www.divorcesolicitormanchester.co.uk/adultery-solicitor, etc
          • By adding in these extra pages you’re also able to target more specific searches that relate to your service.

Law Firm Providing Multiple Services

If your law firm provides multiple services then you should structure your site in the following way:

  • Use a branded domain.
        • Example www.thomsonlaw.co.uk
        • Using an exact match domain will send mixed signals to Google in this instance so it is much better to have your domain be your brand name.
  • Add pages for each service.
        • Examplewww.thomsonlaw.co.uk/our-services/divorce-solicitors, www.thomsonlaw.co.uk/our-services/personal-injury-solicitors, etc
        • This enabled you to rank for all your services, as it’s incredibly hard to get Google to rank your homepage for everything.

Law Firm with Multiple Locations

If your law firm has multiple locations then you should structure your site in the following way:

  • Add each city to the URL.
        • Examplewww.thomsonlaw.co.uk/manchester/our-services/divorce-solicitor, www.thomsonlaw.co.uk/liverpool/our-services/personal-injury-solicitor, etc.

5. Ranking in Local Search

Most of the Local SEO is already covered by the traditional SEO that is covered in this guide.

Although this is the case, there are still some specific things that need to be done to rank locally in Google.

Google+

Rather than put the information about Google+ here, we wrote an eBook dedicated to setting this up correctly (and many more things to do with local search) that you can access for free here:

http://www.searchup.co.uk/free-local-seo-ebook/

Reviews

While reviews aren’t a ranking factor, they enable you to get stars show up next to your listing, which will improve the amount of people that click through to your site massively.

The best way to get reviews? Ask your customers!

Local Citations

Local citations are incredibly important for ranking locally. These are listings on directories and other websites that display your Name, Address and Phone Number.

There are literally thousands of places you can get citations and we made a list of them here:

http://www.searchup.co.uk/local-seo-citations-guide/

It’s incredibly important to do this and to make sure that all of the information is correct about your business on all your citations, but it is also an incredibly mind numbing process building them.

Because of this, it’s far better to outsource them and we have a service for this here.

6. Creating Content That Google Loves

Hopefully you’ve managed to last this long and are still reading this guide – your SEO efforts rely on your abilities to create and distribute engaging content.

Everyone’s heard the term “content is king”.

At SearchUp we HATE it.

This buzzterm has resulted in lots of sites launching blogs full of content that provides absolutely no value to anyone and is, in fact, driving potential clients away.

Let’s put this into perspective and assume that you’re looking for an SEO service provider and search for some local agencies and go to their websites…they all look the same, don’t they?

They all claim to be experts, but does their blog prove it? Are they regularly providing in-depth, industry-related content?

Content fuels our business.

Assign Keywords to Content

Lets go back to our list of keywords that we labelled by intent.

You need to be using the keywords labelled as “Purchase” in your service pages and you need to be using the keywords labelled as “Info” in your blog posts.

Using Purchase Intent Keywords

This is on-page SEO 101 and I don’t want to spend too much time on it as there’s a wealth of resources already available on this topic.

You should be including these purchase intent keywords on service/sales pages in the following:

  • URL
  • Title Tag
  • H1 Tag
  • Image Name
  • Image Alt Tag
  • 2-3 times within the content (ideally keep content above 500 words per page)

Let’s look at an example:

  • URL: www.divorcesolicitormanchester.co.uk
  • Title Tag: The Number 1 Divorce Solicitor in Manchester | Thomson Law
  • H1 Tag: Rocky Relationship? Hire the Number 1 Divorce Solicitor in Manchester!
  • Image Name: divorce-solicitor-manchester-thomson-law
  • Image Alt Tag: Divorce Solicitor in Manchester Thomson Law
  • Content: 500 words about divorce solicitor services in Manchester. Aim to include 5-6 variations of keywords and synonyms throughout the content.

You should repeat this on every page that you’re using to target purchase intent keywords.

Using Keywords with Info Intent

The truth is that 99.9% of SEO companies will only ever use purchase intent keywords.

This is where they make a huge mistake. Google doesn’t just look at the words on pages – they look at brand mentions, social shares and the quality of your backlinks.

Think about it.

Why would another website link to your home page, or your service pages? It happens, but very rarely does it happen naturally.

If i know this and you know this, then Google definitely knows this.

If your website just has links going to your home page then you’re going to get hit with a spam penalty.

Informational content is what naturally generates links and social shares. This is why you NEED a blog.

Create in depth guides and case studies. Prove that you’re an expert and that you’re worth the fees you charge. Become an industry leader in your field.

7. Building Powerful Links

We covered this earlier – links are still the number 1 ranking factor.

Back in 2011 I used to be able to rank sites clicking buttons and using automated tools.

Things have changed. Google got smarter.

In competitive industries (such as law) Google ranks sites that don’t just have 1 type of link all pointing to the same page.

Link building is a hugely time consuming process and takes a lot of time, resources and effort (it’s more like blood, sweat and tears!) but when done correctly it really pays off.

Instead of putting everything about link building here, I created a guide that shows you the best link types you can get and how you can create them step-by-step. You can check that out here:

http://www.searchup.co.uk/15-link-building-techniques-that-work/

8. Conclusion

Do you still think you can do your own SEO for your law firm? Do you still want to?

SEO is getting harder by the day. With this being said, it is without doubt the best investment you can make for your law firm.

SEO is something that if you’re going to do it, do it right. We do it right – get in touch.

Posted in Local SEO, Search Engine Optimisation

15 Link Types & How to Build Them

If you know anything about SEO and how Google rank websites, you’ll know that having quality links to your website from other industry-related sites is of huge importance.

There’s lots of link opportunities for your website and I’m going to show you the ones that matter.

In this post I’m going to cover:

  • All of the link acquisition strategies that will help your website gain more organic traffic.
  • What each link looks like and how you are able to find it.
  • How you can secure that link for your website.

1. Resource Pages

As you can guess by the name, a resource page on a website is a page that links out to content that the site owner deems important for their audience.

Although this may sound like a link roundup, which is another technique discussed in this list, there are differences:

  • Link roundups take place regularly and feature content that was recently published (weekly, monthly, etc)
  • Resource pages are a static page that links out to evergreen content in the industry.

But the biggest different between getting resource page links and link roundup links is the pitch:

  • Link roundup pitches take place before a blogger creates a post.
  • Resource page pitches take place after the resource page is already in place. You ask the site owner to add a link to your content on the page.

Resource page pitches have a lower success rate generally, due to the fact that you’re asking someone to update their content (read: do some work!) whereas a link in a roundup post is you providing a link where they are actively seeking it.

What do resource page opportunities look like?

Below is an example from Smashing Magazine.

resource page link example

Other examples:

  • A solicitor may have a resource page that links to government documentation and forms that aren’t featured on their own site.
  • An internet marketing agency may link out to the various tools that they use.

How to find resource page opportunities:

It’s very important to ensure that you find relevant opportunities. It would be a waste of time pitching to a resource page about gardening if you’re an accountant and the content you would like to link to is a VAT calculator.

The example below shows a search operator that can be used. You can replace “web design” with your own phrase.

resource page link search operator

How to secure a link on the resource page:

Once you’ve found a great resource page link opportunity, you then need to look for a way to contact the person. We prefer email, but you could try via a form or social media.

Here’s the kind of email we use to land resource page links.

resource page link outreach email

Pitching for resource page links generally has a low success rate we find. This is probably because you’re asking someone to actually go out of their way and go back and edit old content to add a link.

One thing you can do is give them an incentive to add your link:

  • Offer to share the content with your own followers on social media and your email list. This is a great incentive as it means you will be driving new visitors to their website.

2. Link Roundups

A link roundup is a post on a blog that links out to the writer’s favourite pieces of content over a certain period of time (monthly is the most common).

Your job is to now find these opportunities and send them a pitch suggesting that they link to a piece of your content in their next link roundup.

Link roundups are a great way to get links in large quantities providing you’ve got something that is valuable to share.

The success of landing link roundup links depends entirely on the quality of the content that you’re submitting.

What do link roundups look like?

Below is an example from Caktus Group.

link roundup link example

How to find link roundup opportunities:

Use search operators in Google.

link roundup search operators

Use Twitter to search for them using #hashtags and keywords.

link roundup twitter

How to secure a link roundup link:

Once you’ve found a great resource page link opportunity, you then need to look for a way to contact the person. We prefer email, but you could try via a form or social media.

Here’s the kind of email we use to land link roundup links.

link roundup outreach email

When you think about it, this is an easy decision for them to make as you already know that they are looking for content to curate. You just need to put it in front of them.

3. Guest Posting

Guest posting is one of the best ways to get quality links for your website. Aside from the SEO benefits, you can expect to get a significant increase in traffic, brand exposure and the opportunity to build relationships with influencers in your industry.

The only downside to guest posting is for those of you that don’t like creating content – it requires you to create content on a regular basis.

What do guest posts look like?

Guest posts often don’t look any different than the standard blog posts you’re already used to seeing.

Here is an example of a guest post that I had published on an industry blog.

guest blog example

Within this post I was able to link to the content that I chose.

This single post helped push my SEO agency up the rankings in Google for competitive keywords, drove a lot of traffic to our site and also helped us land a client!

How to find guest post opportunities:

You can find guest post opportunities by using Google search operators. In the example below I have chosen to search for guest blogging opportunities relating to gardening.

guest blog search operators

You can use the same search operator, just swap out “gardening” for your industry. I used this example to show that you can find guest posting opportunities for ANY industry.

How to secure a guest post:

Once you’ve found a great guest post opportunity, you then need to look for a way to contact the person. We prefer email, but you could try via a form or social media.

Here is the kind of outreach email we use to land guest posts for ourselves and for clients.

guest post outreach email

This may sound obvious, but in the email you should always link to your best posts.

4. Link Reclamation

Over the span time that your website is live it is bound to lose links. While this is a natural occurrence, you are able to find links that you’ve lost and ask site owners to replace them.

What does a link reclamation opportunity look like?

A link reclamation opportunity presents itself when a website that has previously linked to yours has removed the link.

This happens for a number of reasons:

  • They have changed the URL on their website.
  • They have migrated their website or it is down.

it’s incredibly important to understand why your link was removed.

How to find link reclamation opportunities:

To find a link reclamation opportunity you will need a tool to help you crawl the backlinks of your website. My favourite tool to use for this is Ahrefs, but Majestic, SEMRush and Moz are great as well. I mainly use Ahrefs for this as I find that their database of backlinks is much larger than its competitors.

link reclamation opportunity

In Ahrefs you have to simply enter your domain and navigate to “lost” links. You can then examine your lost links and determine if it’s a good opportunity to contact the site’s webmaster and get your link back.

How to secure a link reclamation links:

To get your link back you have to contact the site that removed the link.

link reclamation outreach email

5. Sponsored Posts

This is a bit of a “grey hat” tactic. You need to find websites that accept advertisers and pitch to them.

Instead of buying banner ads, we recommend sending a pitch and asking them if you can sponsor a post instead.

What does a sponsored post opportunity look like?

You need to work out with the publisher to be able to create a piece of content that fits in well with the rest of their site. You would also benefit from telling them that you will not pay for a post that has been tagged as a sponsored post or paid placement.

If it isn’t already happening, I can see Google looking at these sorts of tags in the future and decreasing this link type’s value.

How to find sponsored post opportunities:

You can find sponsored post opportunities by using search operators in Google.

sponsored posts search operators

How to secure a sponsored post link:

The best way to get sponsored post links is to email sites in your industry and let them know that you’re looking to buy space on their website. Just make sure that you are clear that you’re not looking for banner ads and are looking for only native placements.

sponsored posts outreach email

6. Claim Unlinked Mentions

There’s no doubt that when you start creating engaging content, using social media and doing PR activities that your website will start to get mentioned.

This is great, but what’s common is that your site will get a mention but they won’t link to you!

It’s your job to monitor these mentions, contact sites and make sure that they include a link to your site.

What does an unlinked mention opportunity look like?

Any time that a website mentions your website, brand or your name without linking out to your site.

How to find unlinked mentions:

Google Alerts: You can find unlinked mentions by using Google Alerts. You have to track “your brand” and “your name”. You’ll then be sent email alerts whenever they are mentioned.

Search Operators: You can also find unlinked mentions by using search operators.

unclaimed mentions search operator

This tells Google to search the web for your brand and to not include your website in the search. You can also play around with the search tools and select different timeframes.

unclaimed mentions search operator search tools

How to secure an unclaimed mention link:

Once you’ve found a mention of you or your brand without a link you then need to look for a way to contact the person. We prefer email, but you could try via a form or social media.

unclaimed mentions outreach email

7. Forum Commenting

At SearchUp, we use forum commenting for two things:

  • Promoting content to drive traffic.
  • Creating pillow links for brand new sites.

Aside from link opportunities, forum commenting gives you a way of driving huge amounts of traffic to your site.

Your job is to find industry-related forums to join and participate in.

What does a forum commenting opportunity look like?

We want to find an industry-related forum to join and then search for threads relating to the content we want to promote.

After you’ve found this opportunity, you just simply have to craft a message and add a link to your content.

Your forum signature also gives you the opportunity to drive a lot of traffic to your website.

How to find forum commenting opportunities:

There are many search operators you can use in Google to find forum commenting opportunities. Here’s one.

forum commenting search operator

How to secure a forum commenting link:

No pitch is needed for this type of link. You simply need to leave a relevant message and link out to your content.

8. Blog Commenting

OK, I know what you’re thinking and no, blog comments are NOT spam!

The fact is that blog commenting is one of the best growth hacking techniques that can be used to promote content and drive huge amounts of traffic to a website.

Blog commenting generally works best when you’re promoting content and not a sales page. Being too “salesy” in a blog comment is a great way to make sure that your blog comment is either never approved or is removed as spam.

When you use blog commenting to promote content it becomes a natural link and is a great opportunity for you to build an audience.

See Google’s Matt Cutts video on blog commenting.

What does a blog commenting opportunity look like?

Any website that is relevant to your industry and has a blog is a blog commenting opportunity to you. Website owners and editors aren’t going to accept terrible comments that aren’t relevant to their content, though – they know they’re only there because someone wanted to drop a link!

The only way to ensure your blog comments get accepted is to write one that is well thought out, relevant to the article and generally provides some value and observation. Once you’ve done this you can add in a link to a relevant piece of your own content.

How to find blog commenting opportunities:

We have a list of hundreds of search operators that we use to find blog commenting opportunities. Here’s an example.

blog commenting search operator

You can also use the search tools in Google to find opportunities that are in a more recent timeframe.

How to secure a blog commenting link:

There’s no pitch needed for blog commenting links. You simply have to find a relevant article to comment on, write a comment that’s around 100-500 words long and add a link in to a relevant piece of content on your site.

9. Local Blogger Outreach

If you sat down and drew a 5 mile radius around where you’re sitting right now you’d likely find hundreds of local bloggers. You just need to find them and pitch to them!

What does a local blogger outreach opportunity look like?

The majority of local bloggers cover things like local news, fashion, music, technology and any other viral news.

You just need to work on finding a connection to between your website and theirs.

local blogger outreach example

How to find local blogger outreach opportunities:

We have many search operators that we use to find these opportunities in Google.

local blogger outreach search operator

You can also look for local bloggers on social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

How to secure a local blogger link:

There are 2 different types of pitches you can send for a link like this:

  • Pitching a piece of great content on your site for them to write about (low success rate)
  • Offering them money to write a piece (incredibly high success rate)

The fact is that most bloggers aren't making any money from their blog, so when you offer it to them they jump at the chance.

10. Directory Links

Directories are huge websites which are basically business phonebooks but online. They are often very old domains and have high domain authority and because there’s so many of them, you can build a large amounts of links in a short space of time.

Directory links have gotten a bad reputation over the past few years due to them being spammed to death by SEOs. They key to building quality directory links is to manually find them and NOT outsource them to someone on Fiverr!

What does a directory link opportunity look like?

Most of the time directory link opportunities look like online phonebooks.

directory link example

How to find directory link opportunities:

We have hundreds of search operators that we use in Google to find directory link opportunities.

directory link search operator

How to secure a directory link:

Look for a place on the directory to submit a business.

11. Professional Organisations

Whatever industry your business is in, you can guarantee that there’s lots of organisations that are dedicated to it.

You just have to find and join them.

What does a professional organisation link look like?

A professional organisation link essentially looks like a profile page of your company on the organisation’s website.

How to find professional organisations:

We use many search operators to find professional organisations in Google.

professional organisations search operator

Here are some more you can use. Just replace “marketing” with your industry:

  • marketing association
  • marketing establishments
  • marketing groups
  • marketing institutes
  • marketing organisations
  • marketing professional organisations

How to secure a professional organisation links:

You just have to follow the instructions on joining the organisation.

12. Video Links

Video links are another type of pillowing links that we use. These types of links are essential in building a natural link profile and are the types of links you should always build before building contextual links to your site.

While around 99% of these links will be nofollow, we love building these types of links on video sites because these pad out your anchor text profile and also drive a lot of traffic to your website.

What does a video link opportunity look like?

Below is a screenshot from a video I use to promote our agency. In the video description I added a link to our website.

video links link example

How to find video link opportunities:

You can use search operators in Google to find video sharing sites. Here’s a list of some to get you started:

  • youtube.com
  • vimeo.com
  • tubetorial.com
  • ustream.tv
  • myspace.com/video
  • stupidvideos.com
  • metacafe.com
  • liveleak.com
  • flixya.com
  • grindtv.com
  • blip.tv
  • dailymotion.com
  • break.com

How to secure a video link:

To get a video link you first need to have a video to upload to the video sharing sites. Once you have uploaded the video to the sites you can add a link to your website in the description.

13. Infographics

Creating an infographic is the process of aggregating data in the form of an image. We like to use infographics in 2 ways:

  • Use the infographic to pitch as a guest post
  • Submitting them to infographic sharing sites such as visual.ly

We like to think of infographics as the link builder’s Trojan Horse. Authority sites that would normally ignore you embrace you with open arms and are willing to link to your content.

How to find infographic link opportunities:

If you’re using infographics to pitch as guest posts…

infographic guest post search operator

You can use search operators in Google to find blogs in your industry that have previously used infographics. It’s important to make sure that the infographics are as parts of blog posts and not submission sites.

If you’re using infographics as pillow links…

infographic submission search operator

You can use search operators in Google to find infographic submission sites.

How to secure an infographic link:

If you’re using infographics to pitch as guest posts…

Once you have found a website that has previously use an infographic in a blog post you have to contact them. We prefer to do this via email.

infographic guest post outreach email

If you’re using infographics as pillow links…

Simply follow the instructions on the infographic submission site.

14. Skyscraper Technique

This is a method created by Brian Dean. I’m including it here because it’s a killer method for link building that we use for clients.

The basics of the technique are:

  • Find a piece of content in your industry that has lots of great links
  • Create a better version of the content
  • Contact sites linking to the old content letting them know you created a better version

How to find skyscraper opportunities:

To find skyscraper opportunities we use Ahrefs Content Explorer and BuzzSumo to find URLs with lots of backlinks and social shares.

skyscraper technique ahrefs content explorer

You then need to check out the content and figure out if you can improve it. You could also see if there is an opportunity to turn it into an infographic.

How to secure a link using the Skyscraper Technique:

Once you have created a better version of the content, scrape the links and contact information of all the sites that link to the original content. You then need to send an outreach email to those sites informing them of the better content you have created.

skyscraper technique email outreach

15. Event and Conference Links

We’re going to admit it – these types of links take a lot of effort to get. You’ll have to either:

  • Speak at an event or conference
  • Host a meetup
  • Attend or host an event
  • Sponsor an event or conference

Although these links take a lot of effort to get, they are definitely one of the best links to get not only for link building, but for growing your business. 

Speaking at conferences, local events and getting involved in your community is a great way to grow your business. Like networking, it helps you build relationships with people and also allows you to demonstrate expertise.

What does a event and conference link look like?

When you sign up to speak at events and conferences you’re going to get links from a variety of places:

  • The host’s website
  • Sponsors and partner websites
  • Bloggers who attend the event and write about it

How to find event and conference opportunities:

You can find event and conference opportunities by using search operators in Google.

event and conference links search operator

How to secure an event and conference link:

If you’re hosting the event or conference you can create the link easily on Meetup.

If you’re looking to speak at an event or conference you’ll have to get in touch and apply for the speaking gig.

Recommended Tools

Ninja Outreach – A tool that helps to automate finding these opportunities and outreach at scale

Ahrefs Content Explorer – The whole Ahrefs suite is a must for any SEO and the Content Explorer is incredibly useful for the Skyscraper Technique

Conclusion

I hope you've been able to learn something from this list and are able to put it to action. These are techniques that we use day in – day out to help our clients rank higher in Search Engines to generate more sales, leads and ultimately make more money from their websites.

Posted in Link Building, Search Engine Optimisation

How Local SEO Works and Why it Matters to Your Business

So you’re looking for an accountant or a solicitor (or any other service) in your area? What’s the first thing you do? If you’re anything like me (and millions of other people) you’ll open your favourite web browser and head straight to Google and search for something like “Solicitor in Stoke on Trent”. You’ll then be shown a results page similar to the one below:

how local seo works

What you are seeing in the screenshot above is Local SEO in action. The businesses that are ranking in the map listing at the top, and also in the organic listings below it aren’t there by pure coincidence. Some of them may not have been intentionally trying to achieve this, but happen to have been doing the right things by chance.

The benefits to this are obvious. Not only is it nice to have your brand appear in the map listing and organic searches when someone looks for your service or industry in your area for branding purposes, but it is also great from the perspective of gaining new customers.

So how do I achieve this?

  1. Claim your Google Business listing – Creating a Google business page is as easy as visiting Google’s dedicated site for this and signing up. You will first be asked to enter the name of your business. One of two things will happen once you have done this. One is that there may already be a listing for it, and if this is the case, you must claim it. The other thing is that it won’t already be there and you will have to create the page.
  2. Categorise your business – During the creation of your business page you will be asked to enter the category of your business. You must pay careful attention to the categories you put your business in, as this has a large effect on what your business and website will show for. Once you have selected your primary category, you will be able to then pick another 9 categories for your business. Go ahead and choose ones that are relevant.
  3. Consistency is key – You must make sure that your business is listed exactly the same across the internet. Your business name, address and phone number (NAP) needs to be consisten to what is listed on your business listing and your website. This is incredibly important. If you would like tips on creating citations and where you can get them, check out our guide to citations for Local SEO.
  4. Quality AND quantity – Both the quality of citations and the quantity of citations your business has plays a large part in getting your business listed in the local map listings. Try to get your business listed on websites that are relevant in your geographical area first. You don’t even need a link to your website for citations to work.
  5. Get reviews – You may have noticed that Google often showcase reviews in the results pages. There isn’t a great deal you can do to improve these, except for providing a great service to your customers. One way to get more reviews, though, is to ask for them! Ask customers that you know have enjoyed what you have provided to leave you a review on your business listing – it will literally take them minutes. You could also add it to your email signatures and to the signatures of your staff.
  6. Website optimisation – Once you have completely optimised your local business listing, you need to make sure your website is optimised, containing geographical references where possible. This will allow you to rank better in the organic search listings.
  7. Quality inbound links – Possibly the biggest single factor for ranking is the quality of links to your website. Gaining high quality relevant links to your website is a proven way to help your website rank higher in the organic search results.
  8. Hire a quality SEO Company – While all of these steps can be taken in-house, SEO never stops. It's not something that you can set and forget as there is always work to be done due to how the search world is evolving. If you decide that you don't have time, or feel your time would be spent better on other things for your business, an SEO company will be able to achieve all of this for you and more.
Posted in Local SEO, Search Engine Optimisation

Copy Your Competitor’s Backlinks with Majestic’s Clique Hunter

One of my favourite ways to get backlinks and find link opportunities is to find out where competitors are getting their links. When link building, it’s the first thing I do as it’s a great source of opportunities. If a site is linking to your competitor then the chances are you could also get a link.

Even better than finding sites that link to one of your competitors is finding sites that link to more than one of your competitors!

There are many tools available online that can be used for this, but I find that Majestic’s Clique Hunter is the best due to the high amount of competitors you can compare and also because of how vast their link database is.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to try and find links for an Online Marketing blog.

majestic-clique-hunter-tutorial-0

Once you are logged in to your Majestic account, you have to select Tools > Compare > Clique Hunter.

majestic-clique-hunter-tutorial-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will now be shown the Clique Hunter interface. Here you are able to compare up to 10 domains or URLs. You can either manually enter them into the boxes at the top, or in the box below. You then have to click Hunt.

majestic-clique-hunter-tutorial-2

I then like to customise how the link opportunities are shown. I like to set them to be sorted first by Matches and then by Trust Flow. You then have to click Refresh.

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You will now be shown the results of the analysis. What this is showing you is where these sites have got links in common. The great thing about this is that if these websites are linking to multiple competitors of yours, the chances are that you’ll also be able to get a link from them as well.

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You can either sit there and go through the results looking for link opportunities using the Majestic website, or you can download the data by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking Download Data.

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You will be given the option to download the data as an Excel file, CSV or TSV.

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I often like to analyse the data on the Majestic site as it allows me to see the actual link and not just the domain. This then lets me easily see how they have got the link, be it a Guest Post, Forum Post, Infographic, Niche-relevant directory or something else.

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From checking out the backlinks, it seems these are Guest Posts, so what I would now do is take a look on the website to see if there is anywhere that you can submit Guest Post ideas.

From doing a bit of searching around on the website, I was able to find a page where you can apply to become a contributor.

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So there we have it – one of my favourite ways to find new link opportunities. It’s not rocket science, but it is time-consuming!

Posted in Search Engine Optimisation

How to Test if Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

It’s no secret that mobile browsing is on the rise. Google have made a lot of algorithm changes in recent years to accommodate this and to ensure that people searching from a mobile device get the best results possible.

On 21/04/2015, Google will be rolling out yet another mobile-friendly algorithm update and have been quoted as saying it will have a “significant impact”. Google’s very own Zineb Ait Bahajji said at the Search Marketing Expo in Munich that it will have more of an impact on Google’s search results than the Google Panda and Google Penguin updates have.

With this in mind, there has never been a better time to test whether your website is mobile-friendly. Below, I have listed two ways which can be used to test this, using Google’s very own technology.

Search for your website on a mobile device

Google introduced a feature within the results page that displays whether a website is mobile-friendly or not. This means that one way to test if your website is mobile-friendly or not is to search for it. One way is to use the following search string in Google on a mobile device:

site:yourdomain.com

SearchUp mobile friendly test

Google Webmaster Tools

One of the best ways to test if Google considers your website to be mobile-friendly is to use the Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Friendly Test.

All you have to do is enter your website URL and click ‘Analyze’.

google webmaster tools mobile friendly test

The results will then come back and will let you know if your page is mobile-friendly or not.

google webmater tools mobile friendly test result

I hope that you have found this post useful in helping you find out if your website and its pages are mobile-friendly. At SearchUp, we have always recommended a mobile-friendly website. Why wouldn't we? Usability is key and it's no secret that mobile browsing is huge. Google emphasise that you need to build websites for users, not search engine crawlers.

Posted in Search Engine Optimisation

Warning Signs of a Bad SEO Company

warning-signs-of-a-bad-seo-company

In all industries there are good and bad companies. With this in mind, the Search Engine Optimisation field is no different. With this post I hope I am able to educate you if you are daunted by the task of hiring someone to look after the Search Engine Optimisation aspect of your website. I’m hoping to tell you some things to look for which will enable you to avoid a costly mistake and hire the right company for you. This post hopes to be a great resource if you are thinking of hiring someone, or already hire someone and are not happy with the results you are getting.

Hiring a company to look after this aspect of your website that is incompetent can cause harm to your online presence. The use of Black-Hat and “spammy” techniques is a huge issue in this industry and can cause your website to be penalised by search engines.

So how can you sort out the good from the bad? I’ve compiled a list of what you should look out for and avoid when hiring an SEO company.

The price is too low – This is a common issue within the SEO industry and is diluting it further. A low price quote is extremely likely to buy low quality work. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is! A company that carries out high quality SEO work does not need to provide services at an extremely low price, and will be unable to carry out the vast amount of work required for proper SEO. If you are paying £200 a month or so, what are you actually getting for your money? Not many hours of solid SEO work, that’s for sure.

They offer fixed price packages – This is one of my biggest issues in this list. A lot of SEO companies offer set-priced SEO packages, such as Bronze, Silver and Gold. I really do not understand how this sort of pricing module can be offered. The simple reason for this is that different keywords, key phrase, etc, all have different levels of competition. Some require a lot of work to rank higher and some require little work. A lot of analysis has to be done before a price can be quoted. Having fixed price SEO packages is like getting a builder to give you a price on extending your property without actually setting foot on your property!

They guarantee number 1 rankings – Simply put, no company can guarantee that you will top the rankings for any given keywords or phrases in any given industry. The same can be said if an SEO company guarantees any sort of ranking in a particular amount of time. Ranking is not done on a daily basis by search engines. It is done periodically and it can take weeks or months to improve rankings. Search Engines are also always changing their algorithms, so what works today may not work tomorrow.

They confuse you with technical jargon – If an SEO company talks to you about what they are doing, but can’t explain it in a way that you are unable to understand, then they are not a match for you. One of the key values you should look for in an SEO company is their ability to break down and explain what they are doing to you. Communication is key.

They propose a price-per-link payment – Linkbuilding is about quality, not quantity. The best links result from great content and the value it offers to web users. Building huge amounts of poor quality backlinks is likely to get your website penalised by the search engines. The best way to get a lot of links is to provide quality content and then market it.

They have insider algorithm information – They really don’t. Experts, like myself, have learned certain aspects of search engine algorithms based on many hours spent testing techniques and working on different websites in different industries for clients. One thing you can be sure of is that they aren’t getting any special treatment and aren’t receiving information from Google, Bing or Yahoo on how things work. The main reason for this is that search engine company employees sign confidentiality agreements which could see them end up in prison if they divulge information!

Posted in Search Engine Optimisation, Uncategorized

Why you need Search Engine Optimisation

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Search Engine Optimisation, often referred to as SEO, is the process of improving your website's visibility in all of the main Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc). This is achieved through a lengthy process which includes:

  • Website Audit
  • Goal Setting
  • Keyword Research
  • Competitor Analysis & Research
  • Index Inclusion & Coverage
  • On-Page Optimisation
  • Off-Page Optimisation
  • Link Building
  • Social Media Optimisation

And much more..

Why do I need Search Engine Optimisation?

Generally, websites that appear higher in the organic Search Engine results will get more people to click on them, which will improve their traffic. The benefits to this are obvious and generally all lead to the fact that you will potentially get a lot more business. The goal of SEO if to get your website and company on to page one of all of the major Search Engines and hopefully get it to position one for the key words or phrases you would like to target. This can be a hard feat to achieve depending on how competitive the market that you are operating in is.

Another reason as to why you need SEO is because your competitors are already using it. If you enter the keywords or key phrases you would like to rank for in the major search engines and find that your competitors are above you, then you need SEO. A solid search strategy can enable you to dominate not only local search, but national and even international.

Organic search is a HUGE bargain. From doing my own research for clients, I found that to get the same kind of traffic from other sources, such as PPC (Pay-Per-Click), it would cost up to fifteen times more than the amount the client has been charged!

Another great reason as to why you need a solid search strategy is because people want to find YOU, not the other way round. Search isn’t an annoying cold call that interrupts you just as you’re about the eat dinner, search isn’t an incredibly annoying advert that interrupts your favourite TV show and search certainly isn’t a spam email that fills your inbox. Searchers come to you and they are looking for information, looking to learn and are more often than not, ready to buy. These reasons make traffic from search engines far more targeted and qualified than traffic from most other available sources.

Posted in Search Engine Optimisation