Handy Checklist for Blogging

Coming up with an idea and creating a great blog around it isn’t easy, we all know this. But what if I told you that you can almost forget about the technical SEO for the implementation if you simply follow […]

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In this article I want to share two Google Penalty Checking Tools – I don’t often write recommendations to tools or services, but these two tools combined are great for anyone who things they may have been effected by a […]

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London 2012 or Russia 2014? Neither the SEO Olympic Games happens every single moment of each day, 365 days a year! Below are some olympic quality SEO tips and advice for ways you can optimise your website continually and get […]

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Last year was a year of much change in the world of SEO, there was much uproar (as always) about search engine updates and much talk about the future of SEO as a whole. Many of my predictions came true […]

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SEO does not take place in a vacuum. For any set of keywords that are worth optimizing for, there are certain to be other businesses in pursuit of a higher ranking for them. Businesses are also in a constant battle […]

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Whether you design and create your own masterpieces or you are selling on others works (maybe you are a gallery store), selling jewellery online isn’t easy. There is a fair amount of competition out there, including ebay, etsy, folksy and […]

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What is Black Hat SEO? – SEO Infographic

< p style=”text-align: left;”>Ever wondered when your SEO says “that’s black hat” or something like that what they meant? < p style=”text-align: left;”>The seo infographic below explains in some detail just a few known Black Hat techniques. Be warned that […]

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When I wrote about How to use Pinterest to market your brandI looked at Pinterest from the view point of someone wondering why they should use Pinterest for marketing at all.

Today I want to take another view point, that is of someone who is already using Pinterest but wants to optimise Pinterest for both click through’s (to their own website) and optimise for search in general.

5 Ways to Optimise Your Pinterest Product Posts optimisation

Pinterest is an addictive tool, it pulls you in by showing your pretty things and lets you share them with your friends. It lets you upload your own work and work you’ve found and you feel good when someone clicks like or re-pins your post … because you feel good you go back and do some more Pinteresting things.

Pinterest is an amazing utility tool for any business, but it is a fantastic small business SEO tool. Whack a product on that looks amazing, add a keyword loved description and a price tag and with a click or two you’ve not only a buyer but someone who has shared your item with their friends and possibly even more buyers! But that description, that price, that link are all key to the small business SEO and it’s where the bigger companies will miss out – they may upload every product but they won’t upload a great description showing a passion and they probably won’t include the price and they probably won’t be shared … boo hoo  for them… lets get to work, lets Optimise Your Pinterest Product Posts.

How to Search Optimise Your Pinterest Posts

Link Well
Linking well comes naturally to Pinterest, you add a pin via a URL and it will automatically link to that location – job done. But if you upload manually, remember to add a link, it can be as deep (as many layers down and long) as you wish and Pinterest will only show the first part of the link
(eg andykinsey.co.uk/my-work will become andykinsey.co.uk) …
and yes if you are an affiliate linker this means you can use affiliate links

Be Descriptive
Pinterest search is based on your description of a product and the keywords it see’s you using (for both e product and the board it’s on, thus pinning to an appropriately named board is always good). Also Pinterest is open, to some extent, to search engines, so make sure that you remember content is king. Write about your product and show your passion for the subject at hand.
Tip: Include your price (eg £5) and it will appear as a ribbon across your image everywhere, and it will appear in the gift sections of the site.

Organise Your Pin Boards
It sounds odd, if I hadn’t mentioned it above, but you need to really organise your pins. Don’t just upload a product photo and description and attach it to any board (say a Baby Clothing into a Landscape Photography board, i’ve seen it!). Think about what you are doing and why. If you organise well your products are more likely to be found both in search and by people just surfing pinterest.
(also you boards are categorised to make them easier to find so don’t mess around with it).
Tip: If you notice it’s in the wrong category or you’ve forgotten some detail you can edit pins, hover over the image and in the top left you will see edit.

Use Common Tagging Conventions
Pinterest as with Facebook, Google+ and Twitter use tagging conventions, such as the # Hashtag and @ namespace.
The hashtag (#) will pin that product to that keyword in a search (you can use lots or none or just one, hint hint). Using the hashtag will greatly increase the likely hood of you being found the the Pinterest search, though it is unclear of any impact in general search.
The namespace (@) will connect your post to another person you are following, you only have to follow one of their pin-boards to do this. If your product is designed by this person it’s a great way of saying “hi look we posted you information here” and they will hopefully re-pin and gain you lots of traffic, if not a credit shows some authority for your give product and subject matter.

Promote Your Pins Well
This is pretty standard convention on the web, if you blog or post photos etc but I just want to reiterate the importance of sharing what you post. Ok you’ve shared something on Pinterest but unless it gets some interest there it may not be found else where. So you should share it on Twitter, on Facebook and Google+ … drive traffic to your post get a conversation started on any platform about it and immediately people will go and visit your Pinterest post. Pinterest has a huge click-through rate so use it to turn potential into real customers. Which brings me onto 5a) link to pinterest on your website just like any other social media account and get people to follow you. Look its over there in my sidebar (oh and now below this point).

5 Ways to Optimise Your Pinterest Product Posts optimisation
These are my top tips for optimising your pinterest for search. If you have any tips leave a comment below.

Also leave a comment below telling us why you use Pinterest & tell us your username on pinterest so we can follow you 5 Ways to Optimise Your Pinterest Product Posts optimisation


It’s hard to believe that Stumble Upon one of the first real social bookmarking sites is still so popular. But statistics show that with a Facebook almost 400X that of Facebook and Twitter, Stubmle Upon is here to stay!

Most people thought that Facebook links have longevity, they don’t – they have a few hours of virility but little in terms of life. Where as Stumble actually has a longevity of not just hours but days and weeks (months in some cases). From this study it looks like maybe we should all be using Stumble Upon a little more!

Stumble It, A Half Life almost 400X of Facebook? optimisation

Back in 2005 social media was the new buzzword, MySpace was doing the rounds and so was Bebo, each taking on the world and sharing things with friends. There was whispers about this new network called Facebook!

Fast forward a few years and MySpace and Bebo suffered a huge downfall following the rise of Facebook, with all its wonderful apps and ability to seemlessly connect you without too much effort. Basically they won because the concentration was not on your wall or your profile but on the aggregation of feeds which you wanted to see – allowing you to engage and see the world. Well that’s the simplified version, that plus Facebook knows how to use the data it collects and does it amazingly well… Google say they know what you want before you do, if thats the case Facebook knows what you want, need and puts it in front of you before you’ve even thought about wanting it. 

If you are interested in the new rise of MySpace as a music based service, check out my article on TechDrink – Myspace vs Spotify.

So with the meteoric growth of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ the question is why do people share so much about themselves? Why do businesses sink so much time and effort into social media? plus many other questions.

To answer this I was about to write a nice long article about Why Social Media is NOT a Waste of Time, but instead I stumbled across this lovely infographic which tells the story. This infographic is based on Nielsen research results in america only, but it applies across the world especially in the UK where the statistics shown are broadly similar.

Why Social Media is NOT a Waste of Time optimisation

 

One of my favourite tools for doing basic SEO testing of a website is Hubspot Website Marketing Grader, they also have some other neat tools. So today reading their marketing blog I was excited to come across what is possibly the worlds longest infographic about the history of marketing. A subject I intent to delve into in the next month or two with posts including about how Gutenberg invented moveable type which changed the world.

As you will see simple things allowed marketing to evolve, you will begin to understand marketing is a journey and not a destination and that the goal posts will and do move often – don’t be scared.

A History of Marketing and SEO [infographic] optimisation

 

I love Pandas, and a recent visit to @edinburghzoo did nothing but make me love them even more! And well erm, unlike most SEO’s I love the Panda Updates from Google!

No seriously its removed so much crap from the web and ranking factors that actually life feels a little freeier, its like a things are simpler. There is less ability for black hats to work their so called magic with craptastic articles posted across the web.

Lets just put it this way, Google Panda Updates are cute!

With thanks to Single Grain for use of this infographic.

If you are struggling with Google Panda Updates killing you SEO efforts, book your seo consultancy slot today.

Selling online is not easy normally, and even less so in this economic down turn. But with the use of 10 simple seo secrets to online selling you can not just improve your online sales by a few percent but by a huge amount.

It’s About The Product!
Just because you spent hundreds or thousands on a nice shiney new ecommerce website doesn’t mean that your potential customers are interested in it. Your visitors are there for one thing your product, so sell it … stop faffing with adding new features and cluttering the product pages, nice simple descriptive content with an awesome picture – it will sell.

Get Marketing
This website is dedicated to marketing websites and companies. Think about how your customers find your website and products, generally it will be a search – what search terms do they use and can you leverage this knowledge such as to obtain more visitors for them (and duplicate the success for other search terms).

Market Offline, Even if You Only Sell Online!
Sounds a bit odd but think about it, everyone knows Amazon and Ebay … but why? they do a lot of offline marketing. Other stores such as K&Co (formerly kays) and Very sell online only but are known through offline marketing from bill boards to tv ads. If you can’t afford those don’t worry, get yourself some amazing business cards design and then get those business cards printed professionally. Get yourself some stationary and use it well, if you send something out have a leaflet about your company (it will likely sit on a coffee table for a few weeks constantly reminding people of your brand).

Build Trust in Your Brand
It is hard to be the best, and being the best makes people buy from you, its why brands get to the top of a market like nike when there other perfectly good trainer manufacturers like hi-tec. Building trust is not easy but you can start with an “about us” page, have you contact details on there including a physical page if you are selling products. Join social networks and have conversations, don’t just sell but talk to people. Join ISIS, TrustUK, SafeBuy and also join a review website such as TrustPilot (such reviews will appear on your Google Places page and Shopping Items).

Use Proven Technology
If you are a start-up don’t be tempted to build your own store, this is not the easiest or most affordable route. Use something that is available to the market and can be used off the shelf or with customised themes, if you are wanting more affordable use Open Source script like PrestaShop (its free), going up market consider Shopify (pay monthly) or if you want control on your desktop maybe try Actinic (one off payment).

Don’t Forget Old Customers
Customers become loyal and return only when you talk to them, give them amazing service and don’t forget them. If you haven’t set up a mailing list do so, its your doorway to their inbox. You can send them newsletters with amazing special offers and the latest news about all your amazing products. If you customers don’t get contacted within 3 months of purchase you are as good as forgotten.

Sell Sell Sell
Your website is about selling products so sell. From the first second a visitor arrives it is your job to make them convert into a sale. Use banners use text make your best sellers sell. Don’t ask them to register for the sake of it, don’t ask them for an email to sign up to a newsletter to see your content – people will just hit back at the first barrier and that is a lost sale. Remove barriers and make it easy.

Make it work for sales not for looks
One of the most annoying things across the web is that people make websites that look nice but don’t work. Many times I see ecommerce websites or even just information websites which yes look spectacular but thats it, they don’t convert and don’t make the company any money – indeed the look good in web design galleries but just cost money to run. Make a site that works for you not for your designer. If you can do both, great.

Selecting a Payment Provider
Choose a payment provider which people know and trust, paypal for instance is instantly known and trusted (just one button and everyone knows they can trust it, for example Piano Tuition Hyde’s Gift Voucher section). Once you have one see how it works then add another and see if conversions increase, try SagePay and Google Checkout amongst others. Also if you use an on-site checkout integrated to your site ensure you have a SSL certificate.

Use a Great Hosting Company
A great hosting company means a faster website loading and not slowing down when lots of people visit at the same time. It doesn’t have to cost the world and you certainly dont need to be an expert. Look around get the best you can, if you need help ask your friendly website designer

The pace of innovation over the past decade or so has been amazing. Do you recall 1999? Sure you do, when Google didn’t rule the world and Lycos or Altavista was the search engine of choice? Think of the mobile phone you had, did you even have one? If you did no doubt it was just about able to take a call every few hours without the battery dieing or without signal dropping. Today we live in a world of slim phones, that are (almost) always connected to the network, we can text, speak, take video calls, and (importantly for this post) access the internet.

In the past few years alone the Mobile web has grown so much that for many sites the amount of traffic they receive from mobile is over 10% (for seoandy this is about 15%). This growth looks set to continue as tablet computers (finally) take off and become common place.

With this in mind, you will no doubt understand why SEO for the Mobile Web is important. So lets take a look at 5 steps to getting started with Mobile SEO. There are many many ways to invest in your future on a mobile platform, below are my tips to give you a solid grounding in Mobile SEO – these are the basics, you should build on them.

Get Started with Mobile SEO

Who Are Your Audience?
SEO is all about knowing your audience, knowing who they are and what they want from your site. Mobile SEO is even more so about this, you have to know them well enough to know what they want to see first and how best to get visitors to perform an action. In essence prioritize your content on a page for your audience, if you are a shop users may want to see an image or the features of a product first and not the price…
Try different layouts using A/B Testing to see which works best for you.

Don’t Forget Your Basic SEO Techniques
As always Basic SEO will give longevity to your optimisation. Getting the basics correct should always be your priority when making changes to your website. If you ignore the basics rankings both mobile and web will lower over time and not increase over time. So, now KISS ME STUPID!

Be The Mobile Bot!
Sounds a bit like soul searching but it’s not. When search engines index your website they will do it using a “bot” one for web, one for images and one for mobile (in Google’s case). If you login to Google Webmaster Tools you will find you can load a certain page using each bot. Therefore you can see what Google will see and optimise for that bot. Have a play and make the bot work for you, not hinder you.

Don’t Forget I Need A KISS!
Keep It Simple Stupid – basically strip any content from a mobile web page that you can. If you have a menu the size of the amazon river forget it, take your main links and have them display. If you’ve great chunks of text split it into pages. In essence keep it simple and don’t put too much on a single mobile web page. This will also be nicer for your visitors because the page will load a little faster.

Set Mobile Specific Goals
Mobile is not “the web” and it is not an “app”. It is important to treat mobile, as it is, as a separate channel. Set targets for your mobile users, it maybe that you want mobile customers to call you (as they are on a phone) or to visit your store (linking to a Google map maybe) … It could also be to buy something, this is a much harder experience to achieve on a mobile so consider instead having a “send this to email” form, so that someone can buy it when they are next on a computer. Other targets are metrics from analytics, pages visited, time on site, top landing pages, are all great targets you can set and achieve.

If you follow these 5 easy steps to Mobile SEO success you will be onto a winner. Don’t forget though that the bed rock of all of these tips is Simple SEO, don’t overcomplicate things – think logically and you will win.

Update: want to see how these predictions played out? check out this update post.

Search Engine Optimisation is a fickle business, I hear moans all the time from “seo experts” and website owners that Google did this and Bing did that and subsequently they have no visitors … oh this is the hardest year ever to be an SEO … etc.

Whilst not denying this year and the previous few years have been challenging for our industry I do wonder if these people expected an easy ride to high rankings … or if more likely, they had no idea what was going to happen.

This post is about just that, predicting what will have and what to expect over the next 6 to 12 months. Both in terms of SEO, Social Media and other wise, this post is about what I think will change / occur over this period. At the end, let me know what you think of my list of trends for SEO in 2012.

18 Trends Which Will Change SEO in 2012 optimisation

Trends of SEO in 2012

Humans Make Search Rankings – in 2012 a lot of people will be upset at the end of an era of link buying, swapping and baiting. Search Engines will look more and more to humans for ranking, both in the short and long terms – this means both social media and using more human relevancy quality testers (aka someone decides which category a page belongs to or if it’s spam). Google is already using such factors for more “real-time” search, this is the short term aspect to some extent, so expect to see links with long term longevity on social networks rank higher and web page links plus pagerank matter less and less.
Authority in the Hands of the People!.

Quality NOT Quantity – almost all search engines have been known to at some point use quantity of pages to mean the quality is high. Most now do not, and with Google Panda 2 even more focus is on the quality and freshness of the content. This matches in with point one of social longevity being the key, as it means the quality must be pretty good.

SEO’s are no longer just SEO’s! – this is a prediction I made in conversation last year, and I was right, 2011 did see the expansion of what it meant to be an SEO engineer. 2012 will see a different transformation, though along the same lines. In 2012 SEO’s will become more SMO’s (social media optimisers), with a broader focus not just on the on-page factors of SEO but also the off-site marketing with social integration at it’s heart.

SEO’s will realise CRO’s are better – those optimising for traffic will be upset when they get the firing from customers because for all the traffic they can drive they don’t get conversions. Conversions in 2012 will be more important, if traffic doesn’t convert you won’t get paid as an SEO … so become a CRO (conversion rate optimiser) and keep your clients happy – don’t just drive traffic, drive conversions.

Even More Confusion! – 2011 saw lots of great SEO’s crawl around on their knees picking up the pieces in confusion. Lots of this year’s search updates (especially by Google) have stumped a fair few SEO’s – this is where their claim it has been the hardest year yet for SEO’s has come from. Well the bad news is, for those confused at least, it is only going to get worse for you in 2012. With Google now holding keys to a great social network you can expect more undercover changes in rankings and more personalisation of search, making the job of the “old style seo” much harder. Sorry you guys, get with the times.

Speech Search will be Normalised – with the iPhone now having Siri and Google long having it’s own system (which incidentally I believe is far superior if they would only leverage the power of it) searching using voice will become everyday. No longer will you get an odd look for saying “Search Cats Homes” randomly to your phone. I also foresee a better QR tagging system coming along, and I don’t mean Microsoft Tag! I mean something a little more intuitive and easier to use … maybe it will be nicer barcodes or maybe something else, rumours are many so watch out for that.

Mobile Search will be Huge! – whether it’s through talking to your phone, using social networks or tapping a search into your phone, in 2012 you can expect a huge expansion in the mobile search market. No longer is digital marketing for those who have a computer or tablet … mobile search is here to stay and this will likely get to be the biggest search medium in 2012 (I believe).

It’s not yet Telepathy but it’s close – As both Bing and Google grow further in 2012, their links with social networks (google having its own and bing having large facebook integration) along with search histories, social profiles linked to a signed in user etc you can expect search to become much more personalised. By the end of the year I’d expect to see a lot more people worrying about personal privacy, but more website owners concerned with the fact they can’t be found on social networks … these websites will drop like stones as search becomes more personalised and timely.

Trends of Social Media in 2012

Facebook continues to push but falters – in 2012 you can expect to see more privacy issues around Facebook and what it is doing. You can expect facebook to feel more like a gated community with more people having less friends, rather than the previous attitude of more friends is better. You can also expect people to have dual profiles if they are “personalities” or in essence are a business. (see Leo Laporte as a great example of a public and non-public profile. If you are interested in this kind of thing I recommend reading Public Parts, a book by Jeff Jarvis which is about living life in public and how to do it.) But because Facebook continues to push and has more issues, plus the growth of other social networks it will falter and on top of loosing 6m users in the US in 2011 it will see 2 or 3 times this in 2012. Oh and this subscribe to follow thing they have will become a part of history.

Google+ will stay small – as a Google fanboy it hurts me to say that although not another complete failure by Google, Google+ will stay pretty small … it will grow yes but I would suggest to a maximum of 2% of the social networks area (currently at about 0.5%). The only thing which could change this prediction would be a change in the network for businesses which would make it more appealing for them to be on there, the brand pages are currently (and for the foreseeable future) the same as normal profiles, there are no vanity urls (they will come in 2012) but regardless I suspect G+ is set to stay small… for now.

Linking Social Networks will begin to die (again) - It started in 2012 as delicious and other such networks began to get smaller. Digg and Reddit are main-stayers in the arena and wills survive 2012 but other such networks like Slash.Dot may well die off completely. This will also happen to networks such as Quora. I say they will die, before they do they will get swallowed by a bigger fish, for all its worth.

Trends of Blogging in 2012

An End to Corporate Blogging? – no quite. Corporate Blogging will cease being a portal simply to tell the world (or not) about boring corporate crap. It will become an area of sharing news and behind the scenes info. It will become a more open area where companies aren’t scared that if they say something a competitor will thieve an idea! A more open attitude will also begin to appear between companies sharing research and data (that isn’t commercially sensitive), such as pre-trial drug information from pharmaceutical companies.

Mini Blogs Go BOOM – 2010 and 2011 has seen a huge growth in smaller “micro blogs” thanks to tumblr and other such networks. In 2012 this trend will continue as more “normal” people begin to share things in public, not just using facebook (soon to be close gated).

Companies Scrap Blogging – many companies in 2012 will cease to blog on a daily or weekly basis, favouring to spend time and money more on social networking. (if you want to know where to spend your time in social networking for business read our recent post on this). This will be the beginning of the middle bit (yes its already started) of the end of the blogging world as we know it.

More Blogs will Go Video / Audio – In what maybe an odd thing to say for someone typing this article, more blogs will turn to multimedia in 2012. We will see more networks spring up, like the TWiT.TV network. Indeed, this very site will be taking to video-blogging / netcasting / podcasting in early 2012 as we continue to grow. We will also see a huge growth in the YouTube like services, but we’ll also see some audio based start-ups go big like AudioBoo. It will be an exciting time to be in the world of multimedia and blogging.

Trends of Search Analytics in 2012

Bye Bye Referrer Keywords – Google has already begun hiding keywords from Google Analytics. This is a trend that will boom across platforms in 2012, which will move the focus away from “ranking for keywords” towards “ranking for relevance and conversion” … aka more of a concentration on quality and conversion.

Rankings Die … but Slowly – as mentioned earlier in passing, Rankings will begin to die as Search Moves to be more “now” and “social”. This means because of our human way of being lazy it will begin to get harder to get none personalised results. Already +1′s are moving up search pages, latest news / blogs appear higher up, even if they are less relevant. In 2012 this will happen more and more, until eventually Search Rankings become relative to a person – this will add to the effect of concentration on conversion.

RealTime Analytics Takes Off (at last) – for years many competitors to Google Analytics have offered RealTime results, 2011 saw Google catch up somewhat. In 2012 you cane expect lots more features to be made realtime by Google as rankings matter less and keywords mean less. Will we see realtime rankings for “white searches” I doubt that, but we will get more data than ever before, and it will still be free (unlike most competitors).

Can you think of any more trends for 2012 that I have missed off the list? And what do you think of this list, will my prediction come true or not?

Lets you and I take a imaginary trip, on this trip you are the owner of a small business with an e-commerce website looking  to improve and maintain the growth of website traffic and ultimately revenue. You want to really push the company forward but are unsure where to start with optimising your website to put it in front of potential customers and then convert them.

10 Steps to Optimising Your Website optimisation

The Building Blocks of a Successful SEO Campaign

This post is a 10 point list of steps, with which you can start to optimise your website and make a real difference. Do note however this is just a simple guide, something for you to really build on and make your own – as all websites are different. If you have any additional points for the list or general feedback, leave a comment.

10 Steps to SEO Success

Review the Existing Website

The first part of any SEO strategy is to perform a review of the website itself. Take a look at the design, the code, internal link structure, information architecture (content strategy), use of keywords and key phrase, descriptions and navigation. Gather as much information as you can and make a fix list if things are broken or something is missing from a page (for example if our e-commerce website is huge it is possible not all product will have a description, do you decide to auto generate these from a description or write them yourself?)

Review the Analytics Data

This is possibly some of the most important information about your website there is. With it, if used correctly, you can really push your website forward in it’s market and become number 1. Review things like visitor paths, visitor entrances, which pages visitors leave on, whether they put things in your basket and then leave (why do they do this on your site?) – now look at the keywords people find you using, are there any that you could push further that do quite well but could do better. Finally in this part of your review take a look at products which are best converters, which sell most in your online store, take a look at those pages see what is good about them and how you can apply this elsewhere.

Keyword Research

10 Steps to Optimising Your Website optimisation

Target Your Keywords

Most SEO campaigns are based around keywords and key phrases, these are words you are targeting in the want to be found for. If you are selling to a niche marketing then your research will be based around that niche (speaking of the overall website) so for example CheapTents are targeting lightweight tents and waterproof clothing as they are an outdoors company. Where as Spirit Beauty are targeting the beauty industry with phrases based on well known brands. Both work well so you need to find your niche. Remember the site should target around 7 words itself (the whole site) and keywords specific to a product – this is often easier as it may be the brand name and product name plus one or two others. Each product page should be targeting a max of 5 keywords. To see how popular keywords maybe you can use tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool, but also match your words with what is already poplular on the site from your analytics review. Another tool to use would be the Google Trends tool as mentioned in a previous post.

Competitor Analysis

Something a lot of website owners forget about is what their competitors are doing, what products they sell compared to your online shop, what keywords they use, what their site looks like, how they make a customer feel etc. The competition to target online is not your real life local shops, but those stores which are appearing on the first page of Google results for your wanted keywords. If they are number one they maybe the brand, ignore these move on to shops not brands, take a look inside them and their code – how does it compare to yours and what can you do to improve your code, design or content.

Setting out a SEO Strategy

After you’ve done reviews and analysis you need to create a report for yourself and any other website stakeholders to show where your site is compared with other similar sites, what you think needs to be done and a timescale for works. A good idea is to always cut down the work over a period of months, works overnight are ok if its a revamped site but if you are keeping the site the same (assumption you aren’t changing software or template) updating over months can be more effective. It also means you can evolve your plan as you continue to research and compare.

Getting Meta

As I’ve already said above you should review both your own stores keywords and descriptions but also your own. This is where the hard work really begins as you need to ensure an appropriate length for the title, description and number of keywords. Each page really needs these meta tags, if you don’t have them your website may not perform as well as it should be doing. Take meta tags seriously and you will find yourself moving up the rankings. Oh and remember just because Google don’t use keyword tags doesn’t mean others won’t so keep them in there!

Getting the Tone Correct

One of my pet hates online is the rigid and formal tone of websites. It is so yukky that one day I will vent my anger in a blog post. However in the meantime think about how you want your brand to be seen, consider giving it a personality. SEOAndy’s personality is a person talking with you on an individual level in an informal manner, it allows for a more flowing type of content. Where as other sites may use jargon and appear to be speaking to a group. Which is best depends on your market but get it right and you will begin to convert more and get more customer recommendations to friends. Getting it wrong can spell disaster as you will just look plain dumb. Oh and don’t just copy a manufacturers descriptions, other sites do this but all e-commerce having the same description means no one will win ultimately.

SEO for Images

Images are a vital part of your e-commerce website, currently you have some good and some bad pictures. Some a blurry and others are fantastic. It’s time to get rid of the blurry and replace them, even just with the manufacturers images will do. Ensure they each have ALT text and a meaningful file name, such tweaks can mean you will be targeting keywords again and may get more hits via google images etc. It also means its much easier to find and less confusing for you. A tip is to ask you developer to automatically program alt text such that you can do it manually or automatically. So if you don’t add some ALT text it reverts of “product name” > “shop name” … such defaulting makes life easier and means you can optimise later.

Making the Most of your Call To Action

10 Steps to Optimising Your Website optimisation

Calling Users to Action

Earlier you performed an analysis on your website, this hopefully included your calls to action. These are the buttons that say “buy now” or your sales pitch ads. Taking a look through your analytics and you should see which perform best and which worst. Compare the two and see where you can improve your conversion rate. It could be as simple as making a button bigger, but it could also be that you need to redesign a particular area. For example Walk and Ramble used to have multiple products on a page, pretty bad for seo, they now have a single product per page layout which makes information nicer to read and less confusing. Such a design change could really be boosting their sales!

Do it again!

The most important tip is this. Your on-site optimisation for your e-commerce website, which is what all of this is about,  should never end. Your site needs to be an evolutionary site, constantly tweaking and changing to make the user experience better and the search engine rankings too. Reports go stale after a few months so do a new set or alternatively iterate your reports too!

I really do hope that this post as helped set you and your imaginary shop in the right direction. If you’ve any times, suggestions or questions leave a comment below.

Other posts you may be interested in are:
8 Ways to Increase Your Online Visibility
Boosting E-Commerce Sales with Google Places 
Feedback, Reflection and Guessing

Trends are something that can and do make a huge difference to our every day lives.

Each year more and more retailers take advantage of trends, to the extent that we now are seeing (and sometimes complaining) about the continual seasonal products stacked on the shelves of supermarkets. For example in early September, John Lewis stores were stocking Halloween items, in early October this was joined by Christmas Gifts.

But the one thing both big name brands like John Lewis and small businesses are failing to latch onto is that trends also effect the online world. Indeed, they arguably are more pronounced online than offline. Oh, and don’t be fooled by me talking about retail here, trends effect everything online from offering design services (which to some extent fall in line with the financial year) to charity websites (which are more popular at Christmas in most cases).

Given that trends effect the online as well as offline world,
how can we use trends in search engine optimisation terms? 

Well there are two or three tools offered by Google, they perform basically the same task and so I won’t go through them all. The tool I am going to suggest using is the more basic of the tools but can offer the best results, it’s called Google Trends. You simply enter the keyword or key phrase you want to research and find out the trend for. In the case below I searched for “gift ideas”.

How You Can Take Advantage of Seasonal Trend SEO optimisation

Image: Google Trends

As you can see there are a series of spikes, representing the height of the trend for that term being searched, appearing on websites and in the news (below). As you may expect the big hit time for this term is late in the year around Christmas. But note there are a few other spikes, you can zoom in on this data and find out when the spikes occur and use them to plan your marketing and SEO strategy. You can from your research grow your strategy around Seasonal Trending. So for example in the low points you could focus on driving your content towards say “gift ideas” (as you may do all year) but then as peak times arrive join it with a PPC campaign or online advertising. You may also opt at times a few weeks before a peak to change url’s for that particular part of the trend so instead of “birthday gift ideas” you would change to “Christmas gift ideas” in October or November.

A rule of thumb is you should do this as soon as, if not before, the big shops in real life put out their stock. They’ve done much more research than you are ever likely too, so use their knowledge to your own advantage to beat them.

In essence the data which you can glimpse, and it is only a glimpse of the data you will really need for larger websites, will be invaluable to you and your company. Using Seasons Trend SEO should be a vital tool for you, your website and also effect your offline marketing strategy. If you are not already using Seasonal Trend SEO, have a play today with Google Trends.

Google.com/Trends