Archive for the ‘search engine optimisation’ Category
A prospective client recently asked me ‘what do the search engines look for?’ A simple question you might say, but it’s deceptively simple and I spent quite some time thinking about how best to answer.
The difficulty was that they just wanted a top-10 list. And whilst choosing ten factors out of the hundred plus that we know about (check out this list of google ranking factors, or this one from Brian Dean at Backlinko) could be potentially misleading, I didn’t want to overload them with too much detail.
WordPress is a great blogging platform. It’s free in its basic form although integrating into your website, as we’ve done at Cicada, may incur a fee. And there are loads of free plugins to enhance it for analytics, social, and anti-spam functionality to name just a few.
The more I use WordPress the more I’m discovering other great ways to enhance it and to find solutions to some of its shortcomings. One shortcoming I want to talk about today is this: whenever you create or use a category or tag in your blog, you provide multiple pathways for people to find your post. This is good. However, an effect of this is that you are creating multiple URLs for a single post. So you could find this article about Econsultancy’s Internet Marketing Strategy briefing over here or here or here or here.
Google is generally very good at delivering search results that are relevant to your query. But did you know there are ways to provide more specific instructions on what you want? Some of these work on Bing and Yahoo too, though I have to confess I’ve not tried all of them out on those search engines…
Advanced queries for mining deep information on the web are known as ‘google hacks’. And since I’ve been using them more and more recently I thought it would be helpful to share some of my favourites.
Starting with the basics:
1. Exact match searching on google
Placing double inverted commas “like this” around your search string returns an exact match search result.
One of the best SEO books I’ve read in recent years is “50 ways to make Google love your website” by Steve Johnston and Liam McGee and it’s available from Amazon UK here. Cheesy name I know but don’t be fooled by it: if you’re interested in SEO then get this book.
The thing I use most often from this book is the keyword research tool. In this post I’ll explain how the tool works and give it to you to download as a ready-made Excel spreadsheet.
When disaster strikes across the globe, the internet can become a very competitive place. Charities often put increased effort into gaining exposure and support for their related interests, and the search engine results pages can get clogged up with authoritative news pages and multi-media content.
This climate can make it difficult for a charity to gain the exposure they need, so here are six things you can do to make sure your charity website is doing as well as possible in the search engine results:
OK, here’s the story: in August 2010 we project managed the creation and launch of the website for First Line’s new telecoms business called, logically, First Line Telecoms. To keep costs and complexity down, we based the site design on the IT support site, changing just the colour scheme and of course, creating new content.
Now, telecoms is quite a technical business and is absolutely littered with acronyms. Since the First Line offer is aimed at non-technical as well as technical audiences and is based around great service as well as technology, we thought it would be helpful to create content in plain english. Easier said than done! We quickly found that online, there’s precious little telecoms content written in plain english.
Our next port of call was to spend quite some time hassling colleagues, getting them to explain the concepts so we could write about them in language that non-experts would find meaningful and helpful.
We’ve just come up for air after reviewing a website for a large international charity. It’s been an interesting piece of work for many reasons, not least of which because we found ourselves looking at SEO reviews by other providers. What this showed is that there is definately more than one answer to the question “what is SEO?”
Let me explain: (more…)
As part of a wider project we’ve been helping an international charity connect its web strategy to its organisational strategy. Stuff we’ve done includes:
- advising on how a website’s performance could be measured
- setting up the website and Google Analytics (‘GA’) so the site’s performance can be measured
- producing the first set of measures, so that the charity knows how well it’s doing online, and has a baseline against which to assess future improvement
Within this we’ve been helping the charity get answers to questions such as:
- What percentage of job seekers visiting our website actually complete the online job-application process?
- What proportion of people trying to make donations through the website succeed?
- How often do people download whitepapers, and other PDF documents, and which ones are most popular?
- How often do people send an email to the charity via one of the ‘email us’ links on the site?
- How many people go directly from the website to the FaceBook and Twitter pages?
Search Engine Optimisation, or ‘SEO’, is an online marketing activity that aims to get your website nearer to the top of the results pages on search engines such as Google.
It’s important because the higher your site appears in the search results, the more visitors it’s likely to receive from that search engine.
So how do you optimise a website for Google?
The first thing to say is that since, according to Experian Hitwise, over 70% of all search traffic (USA) goes via Google, everybody in the world wants to know the answer to that. It’s the ’64 million dollar question’ of the online world and Google keeps the exact answer to it a closely guarded secret.