A complete beginners guide to SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation and in short, it’s a way of helping your website come up higher on the rankings when a person searches for products or services that you offer on sites like Google, Bing or Yahoo (which are known as search engines).

You probably already knew that, but what you and many other people don’t know is what you’re getting when you buy SEO services from an agency and how you can measure its success. Look on a typical website for an SEO agency and the offerings are fairly fuzzy. There’ll be somewhere between 3 and 5 packages with fantastical names like “supercharger” or “turbo boost” but try and find out what that actually means in real terms and you might be hard-pushed to find the answer.

So to celebrate the launch of our very own SEO services, we’d like to give you the knowledge to make an informed choice about (i) whether SEO should be a priority for you (ii) what’s included in your SEO services and (iii) how you measure if your SEO services are working.

Let’s begin…

is it onsite or offsite?

Typically, SEO services are categorised into onsite and offsite services. Onsite services are any services that are done directly on your website. This could be improvements to your content or to the page titles and background data (known as metadata) which Google and other search engines see when they’re looking for the right page.

Offsite refers to any SEO work that does not take place on your website. This is typically focused around getting links to your website placed on other websites.

what’s the first step?

The first step with any SEO service is to complete an SEO audit. This allows an SEO agency (and the client) to understand the current state of the website and where there is room for improvements. The audit will look at the overall structure as well as the optimisation of pages, content and images.

what’s next?

Well, now we’re on to the Keyword and Competitor Analysis phase. Here, an agency will be taking the search terms that you would like to be found under, and analyse the online world to understand how many other organisations are competing for the same terms. From this, your agency will be able to produce recommendations for search terms that can be successful within your budget.

do you know how much traffic is currently visiting your website?  

Website traffic report from your SEO agency

The ultimate aim of the game with SEO is to increase the number of visitors that naturally find you through a search on Google (or Yahoo or Bing). It goes without saying then – that a good way of measuring the success of your SEO is to understand the volume of traffic that is coming to your website now, so that when you start the SEO service you’ve got a baseline to compare it to.

Install Google Analytics as a priority.  Your SEO agency should also provide you with a report before they being any activities which details your current Google ranking.

seo – the core offering

So we’ve talked about what happens before your SEO service begins. But if you choose to move forward with an SEO service – what is actually getting done? Here’s a very brief overview:

  1. Your website will be optimised. This means the content, the page titles, the headers, the images, the background data and many more things besides… they’ll all be optimised to help your website become more visible on search engines.
  2. Your agency will start building links to your website on other websites (known as backlinks). This sounds a bit odd I know, but (very generally) the more links that point to your website – the higher your website will rank (it’s a lot more complex than that in reality). All websites across the world are graded and a link from a higher “grade” website has more weighting than a “lower grade” website. The types of links and the speed at which the links appear also have an impact on your ranking and this is where a good SEO agency can differentiate itself from a mediocre or a plain useless one.

IMPORTANT –  A word of advice here. Don’t be tempted to spend your days posting links to your website on hundreds of other random websites in the hope of improving your SEO. Likewise, don’t employ the services of any individual or company who promises to provide “backlinks” cheaply for you. Links added in the wrong way or on the wrong sites can actually damage your SEO and you could even be blacklisted from Google itself. That’s an expensive mistake to make!

  • Back to the core offering – the final part of a standard SEO package is regular, high quality content. For your website to remain relevant and improve it’s ranking, you or your agency will need to write and publish a new blog post or article on a regular basis (as a minimum every 2 weeks). The content will need to be optimised for your chosen search terms and distributed wherever possible.

what about social media?

Social media plays an important roSocial media plays an important role in SEOle in your SEO although it’s not generally seen as part of the core offering.

Social media is a great way to distribute your regular content to a wider audience. Not only will that drive more people to your website, but your target audience may like your content so much, they decide to host a link to it on their own website, helping to further improve your website ranking.

If you’re going to use an SEO agency for your social media as well, ask for examples of their work. Not all SEO agencies are good at social media so you may need to pass that responsibility to another agency or (and a much better option) find an agency that is good at both (like us!) .

and finally…

Who could forget the all-important reporting and analytics. How will you measure the success of your SEO? Well, traditionally your SEO agency will provide you with a regular report detailing their activities and the effects this has had on your ranking and you’ll also have Google Analytics installed so you can compare the number of website visitors now to when you first started.

Here at businesshands, we provide you with your own log-in to our SEO monitoring platform so you can take a peak and monitor progress whenever you choose, without having to take someone else’s word for it.

So there we go. Hopefully we’ve shed some light on how SEO works and how you should work with an SEO agency. If you would like to learn more about businesshands SEO services, pick up the phone and call a member of our team on 0207 458 4788 today.

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5 Business Blogging Tips for Beginners

So you’ve finally made the decision to write some regular content for your website. You don’t know where you’re going to find the time to do it and you’ve no idea what you’re going to write about but the important thing is, you’re going to do it… the only thing is, you made that decision 3 months ago and you’ve yet to publish your first piece. Sound familiar…? Then here’s some handy blogging tips to help you on your way.

Figuring out what to write about

This is the first and biggest stumbling block. There you are, allocating a couple of hours in your diary to writing your first piece – only when you come to sit down, your mind is as blank as the screen in front of you… so what should you write about?

A good idea is to make a note during the week of any great articles you read which you think might help or influence the topic of your blog post / article. Here at businesshands – we keep a notepad file in a shared location and copy and paste the URL of any good articles into it, to review when we come to writing our own.

We’ll also write down any ideas we have during the week, no matter how random so that when it comes to the time for writing – there’s plenty of material to kick start the writing process

Be consistent – diarise your writing time

The time you can dedicate to blogging will obviously depend on your resources but it’s vital to make a commitment to blog consistently – whether that be once a month or once a week. Set reoccurring appointments in your diary and honour them as you would any other business activity.

Think of the bigger picture before you start to write

One of the great bonuses of writing regular content is that it can help with your website optimisation. That means it can improve the chances of your website showing up on the first page of Google when people search for a particular search term. Your job is to think about what those search terms might be so that you can begin to include them in your posts going forward.

Think beyond the type of company you are (i.e accountant London) and think instead of the problems you solve – for example “how to fill in a tax return”. You might want to make that a blog in it’s own right or at least have the word tax return within an article a number of times.

The truth is, if you start to think about the problems that your target audience is facing – you can build a content strategy entirely around this and that means you’ll struggle less on a weekly basis to figure out a topic for your post.

Understand the overall objective

Apart from website optimisation, the main reason for producing content is to increase the number of visitors to your website, which in turn you hope will increase enquiries and drive sales. With that in mind, simply placing a blog post on your website and waiting for someone to pop along and take a look is not a good strategy – you’ll need to promote your article or blog post. This can be done through social media, pay-per-click campaigns, email marketing and a range of other products and services. The goal is to ensure as many relevant people as possible click on the link to your content and visit your website.

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking the journey is over when a person visits your website. Once they’ve read your post… what do you want them to do? Adding a call to action in the guise of a buy-it-now button, an enquiry form, a newsletter signup box or a link through to your products and service section will help to convert your visitors into leads or maybe even customers if you’ve done the job well.

TOP TIP: Don’t just post your article once through social media. We publish our articles around 15 times over the course of 3 months using slightly different titles and imagery to engage with different people.

Make your articles visually engaging

The use of quality imagery is vital to the success of your article. Web users are fickle people and short on time. Articles with images draw 94% more views than articles without.

To add further clout – make sure you choose a short catchy headline. Remember that readers are likely to share your article if they like it and a short headline means more room for them on twitter to share their comments.

Another important aspect not to overlook is the content itself. Giant columns of unbroken text don’t make for inviting reading. Make sure your article is properly formatted and split into bite-sized paragraphs.

Measure your results

This is crucial if you’re to improve the success of your articles going forward. If you think back to your objectives, the core goals were probably website optimisation, an increase in website visitors and an increase in enquiries / sales.

RankScanner is a great free tool to monitor the performance of your website for a set of key words over time. It’s important to note that website optimisation takes time so don’t expect results in days or even weeks – think long term.

To measure the popularity of your posts you can use the in-built analytics tools included in all of the major social media platforms. They will tell you how many people have looks at your post and who has liked, favourited and reposted it.

And lastly, to measure the amount of traffic that has come to your website and the behaviour of the visitors once they arrive – the best tool by far is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool and provides invaluable information about how visitors interact with your website so you can take advantage of this in future blog posts.

Finding the time to write and creating content of high enough quality are key hurdles when it comes to the success of a blog and that’s where businesshands content marketing services can help. We offer a weekly, well researched, high quality 600-word blog post for a monthly fee of just £395 and this can be combined with our popular social media management services to give your organisation a great value, professional and productive online presence.

To learn more, contact us today on 0207 458 4788 or email info@businesshands.co.uk.

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