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SEO | direct-to-market

Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Bracknell Business Directory – GotBracknell – pre-launch Announcement (PRESS RELEASE)

A new Bracknell Business DirectoryGotBracknell – was ‘leaked’ to listeners on Radio Bracknell Forest yesterday morning.

Andrew Pearce, who presents the internet radio station’s weekly Business Briefing, told listeners that his company has been working quietly in the background on this project for some time now and gave them all an opportunity to get a free entry in, and ‘backlink’ from, this local business directory.

Andrew Pearce, who runs the locally-based firm Direct-to-Market (a direct-response marketing consultancy that focuses heavily on internet-marketing strategies and technologies) often advises in the show about how businesses can better leverage the internet to assist with their local marketing efforts. Listeners are also able to email questions to the radio station to be answered on-air.

In last week’s Business Briefing, Mr Pearce explained about the importance of topically and geographically relevant inbound links – known as back-links – to a business website and promised all loyal listeners the opportunity to get a valuable backlink that is both geographically and topically relevant for free.

In yesterday’s Business Briefing (to be repeated later this week) he invited all listeners to visit the GotBracknell website and create up to 5 entries for themselves, each with a backlink that would normally cost £30, for free. He went on to explain that at present the website is still in development and not being actively promoted, and that if Radio Bracknell Forest listeners were to “skip through” the payment process without paying, then Direct-to-Market’s administration staff would manually approve any entries made pre-launch.

In addition to a comprehensive Bracknell business directory the GotBracknell website also features free classified advertisements for local people, whether business owners or private, and topical news derived straight from Radio Bracknell Forest’s news team. The aim is for the Got Bracknell website portal to become “the place to go” for local people, and in this way Andrew Pearce hopes to give something back to the community in which he lives.

The website will launch formally in the near future, and while basic business directory entries will remain free those that include a URL (for a powerful backlink) will become subject to a fee, so anybody wanting a free entry to assist their business is advised to visit the Got Bracknell website sooner rather than later.

You can find the Bracknell business portal website, Got Bracknell, at: http://www.GotBracknell.co.uk

You can find Andrew Pearce at: http://www.Direct-to-Market.co.uk

Radio Bracknell Forest is at http://www.RadioBracknell.com

Getting Your Webpage Found by the Search Engines

A Radio Bracknell listener wrote in asking for advice, saying that he has a “hidden webpage” on his website and wants to ensure that it is found by the search engines. I dug a little deeper and answered the question during yesterday’s “Business In Berkshire” radio slot.

It transpires that the listener’s webpage isn’t so much “hidden”, as simply “not obvious” but it does contain information that he wants the search engines to find, and hopefully add to their index.

The first thing for me to say here is that search engines (like the “bots”, “spiders” and “crawlers” that roam the web doing their work for them) aren’t miracle workers, they are simply algorithms running on a big server somewhere. Or to put it another way, if you want them to help you (by crawling and indexing your web page) it’s a good idea to help them by making that page reasonably easy to find! If it’s a really important page to you, include a link to it on your homepage. If it’s not that important, then put a link to it on a second or third level page or similar, but consider that if you can’t find it through the navigation structure you provide there’s a good chance that the search engines won’t either.

You can go further than that though and provide a sitemap to help the search engines too. Don’t mistake this for a sitemap designed to help human visitors because it isn’t, the one I’m talking about is really designed to help search engines. By convention it’s called sitemap.xml and sits in the root directory of your website, i.e. the same directory as your homepage. If you want to read all about sitemaps here’s a useful URL: http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.php

But what if you don’t want the search engines to crawl a certain area of your website? One way is to create a file called robots.txt and put that in the root directory of your website, alongside your sitemap.xml and homepage. Using robots.txt you can manually specify certain directories and even files that you do or do not want to be crawled. You can learn more about robots.txt here: http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html This will work well for the ‘respectable’ search engines.

The only problem however is that following robots.txt is optional, not mandatory, and if there’s a spider out there that fancies ignoring it then it can and will. Indeed, some rogue spiders may even look for things that are expressly disallowed and then try to find ways to crawl them on the basis they may be more interesting to them! If you have sensitive data you need to take steps to protect it, and that is outside the scope of this article. Phone me though, and I’ll try to help.

You can also try to stop webpages being indexed on a per-page basis if you wish, when the bot gets there, by including a special instruction in the page’s meta-data, up in the HEAD where human’s don’t see it. It looks like this:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
Sounds complex? It can be, just like robots.txt, especially if you get it wrong, but 99% of webmasters get by without knowing about things like this.

Finally it’s important to realise that just because a spider has crawled your website (i.e. wandered around and taken a look at the contents) it doesn’t mean that it will appear in that search engine’s index (a decision made later) let alone be retrieved in the SERPs (search engine results pages – i.e. what people see after typing in their query). And this of course is what the vast majority of website owners want: to be found.

The inter-relationships here, and ways to manipulate them, are complex at best and far outside the scope of a book let alone this article, so if you need help with your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Local Optimisation get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you out.

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SEO – What it means to be in Position 1 on Page 1 of Google

OK, so your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is doing pretty well and you’re on Google’s front page, but what position are you in and does it really matter anyway?

I recently stumbled upon a blog publishing figures that, it claimed, were the results of Google’s research into users’ “click patterns” on the result sets derived from 20,000,000 search queries. Setting aside the fact that many search engines handle more search queries than this per day, so it’s a comparatively small sample in real terms, it’s still worth taking a look even if simply because it’s the only set of figures we have available and any indication is worthwhile!

The figures (below) show that, in the sample, more than 40% of people click on the first result that Google offers them.

So if there are 1,000 searches per month for a keyword or key-phrase that you are targeting, these figures suggest that on average you will get 422 clicks if you are in position 1 on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) but a much lower 119 clicks if you are in position 2, and by position 5 barely one tenth of the click-throughs in position 1! Notice too the dramatic drop in click-throughs between positions 10 and 11, i.e. the first result page versus the second.

Take a look at the numbers below to help you understand how important search engine optimisation (SEO) is to your business:

SERPS Position Percentage Click Through
1 42.25%
2 11.93%
3 8.46%
4 6.04%
5 4.87%
6 3.99%
7 3.38%
8 2.97%
9 2.96%
10 2.82%
11 0.65%
12 0.55%
13 0.51%
14 0.48%
15 0.46%
16 0.38%
17 0.35%
18 0.33%
19 0.33%
20 0.31%

So it’s clear enough that you want to move yourself as far up the SERPS as you possibly can, ideally into the first position. That much is definitely true.

But as always raw statistics can be misleading if you don’t understand how and where they were created. For example, the ratio of click-throughs to SERPS positions could vary with:

  • Geographic location in which sample was taken;
  • Time of day at which sample was taken;
  • Day of week on which sample was taken;
  • Niche in which the sample was taken (if any);
  • Niche in which the website actually sits;
  • Number of keywords in search string;
  • Etc.

The ratios may also vary between different search engines, but in this case we know they all came from Google so at least that’s a constant. But did you realise that Google naturally tends to bias click-troughs towards Position 1? Take a look at Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button sometime, that you can click as an alternative to “Google Search”, and then consider that this takes you straight to the top-ranking result without even displaying the others.

But the figures are still highly relevant because most of our own UK-based websites, and those of our UK-based clients, derive around three quarters of their search-engine traffic from Google with Yahoo and MSN/Live/Bing (or whatever MS are calling it by the time you read this!) having a roughly equal share of what remains.

Note too that even if you can’t quite make the first position on Google, perhaps only number 2 or 3, there are still things that you can do with your webpage title & description to influence your click-though rate, and if you do it well and your competitors above you don’t, you may still get more click-throughs than them.

And to get a sense of perspective, even if you’re only in 20th place with a lowly 0.31% of the traffic, if the search volume is 1,000,000 searches per month then those 3,100 clicks you’ll get will still be worth having (although there’s no denying that 400,000+ would be better still).

Above all though do bear in mind that getting people to visit your website is only part of the story, albeit a very important part, because if they go there and you then fail to either turn them into customers or at least capture their details so you can build a relationship and turn them into customers later …your efforts in getting a great search-engine ranking will have been substantially wasted.

But it doesn’t matter how well your website can convert visitors into customers if nobody goes there in the first place! So you need traffic! And one of the bays ways to get that traffic is through good SEO. If you are targeting a specific geographic area, then what you need is well-aimed search engine local optimisation.

So now you know exactly how important SEO is to your business, click the appropriate link below and let us help you get more visitors to your website:

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Local Optimisation

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