Archives for June 2013

The really simple guide to SEO

A simple guide to SEO

A simple guide to SEO

Search Engine Optimisation isn’t rocket science, it isn’t smoke and mirrors – no matter what some companies tell you, and it certainly isn’t something that needs to cost a fortune. It is just common sense applied to an understanding of what a search engine is and how it works.

However, due to the confusion, I thought I should write a quick and simple explanation to help provide a better understanding of what SEO is and how it’s ‘done.’

This isn’t a check-list or a how-to guide to SEO – it’s simply an explanation in normal language that will hopefully dispel some of the myths surrounding SEO.

SEO starts with analysing your customers to find your keywords and key phrases

There is a need for your services and people are looking for these services, but, what are they doing to find them? When we’re talking about SEO we’re specifically looking at on-line behaviour so we need to know what these potential customers are typing into the search engine when they’re looking for these services.

“…analyse the past behaviour of your potential customers to find out the words and phrases they’ll be using in the future.”

How do we do this? Assuming we don’t have the resources for a focus group, the fastest way is to perform a search for the words and phrases people use when they want to find your products and services. Basically, we’ll analyse the past behaviour of your potential customers to find out the words and phrases they’ll be using in the future. This list is often refined down to the few really important phrases and these are the ones we’ll focus on.

It’s important to note, however, that these words and phrases aren’t necessarily going to be the ones that receive the most number of searches – they’re the ones that will be achievable within the budget, for example, if you are selling computers wanted to compete against Dell and Amazon, you’re going have to throw a massive amount of money at it for phrases like ‘new computer’ or ‘new laptop.’ If, however, you went for some of the more niche search terms that wouldn’t return the big players, you can make sure your getting your piece of the pie for a fraction of the budget.

Optimise your on-site SEO content

There are a thousand and one things normally wrong with your average website that are getting in the way of it indexing properly within the search engines. Everything from correct meta descriptions, meta keywords, titles and a correct hierarchical use of HTML to badly written code, poorly optimised images and cheap hosting. Unfortunately, by the time we point this out to people it’s too late and the cheques been cashed, however, it normally fixable.

“[on-site SEO] is an area that most SEO companies don’t focus on either because they don’t know how to do it or they simply can’t be bothered.”

The most important onsite changes are getting the copy right. Using the keywords and phrases we found in while profiling the customers, we need to optimise the text to the correct length, the correct mark-up and the correct keyword density. This, however, is an area that most SEO companies don’t focus on either because they don’t know how to do it or they simply can’t be bothered.

A good example of this is when the most recent updates to the Google algorithm caused many sites to drop out of the rankings overnight – and there were some very high profile victims – simply because their SEO company had tried to deceive Google by ignoring good quality content, on-site SEO, and best practice one-content protocols and simply focussed on building inbound links from poor quality websites.

“The recent Google updates were great news for us and great news for our customers.”

We have only ever focused on high-quality content focussed SEO so the recent Google updates were great news for us and great news for our customers. Where other sites dropped out of the rankings, the sites we had optimised shot up the rankings.

Focus on inbound links from high quality and relevant sites for better SEO

“The volume of quality inbound links and the better quality those links are all go into the equation which says where your site should appear in relation to your competitors”

Once the on-site SEO is complete it’s time to turn our attention to the inbound links. As we’ve just seen, Google isn’t stupid and certainly won’t tolerate an attempt to deceive it. Therefore, your inbound links have to be the high quality. Publishing articles, press releases and good quality links all bring Google back to your site when they’re found and, in turn, increase Google’s opinion of how important your site is. To put it very basically, the more important your site is, the volume of quality inbound links and the better quality those links are all go into an equation which says where your site should appear in relation to your competitors. If you have poor inbound links, the opposite will happen and you can even find your site is being repressed in the results.

In summary

It’s actually amazing when you realise that the only reason there is such a huge SEO industry is because the majority of sites have just been built badly by people who don’t know what they’re doing and that no one has ever realised that sites need to be built from the visitor’s point of view.

Get this right at the start and your 90% of the way there. Good quality content, compliant code, adherence to standards and a focus on your customers is the foundation for a robust and solid website that naturally indexes really well.

More information

Seven Creative provide SEO services in Sheffield, nationally and internationally. Get in touch today for more information. Visit Seven Creative’s website for more information about the range of SEO services

Top 5 Things Your Website Must Have!

Here at Seven Creative marketing agency in Sheffield, we firmly believe that a great website and an effective marketing strategy have the power to transform a business. So, to help you out, we’ve put together 5 simple but very important things you need to do to have a successful website!

Compatibility with mobile devices

A recent study has shown that 93% of people in the UK use their mobile device to access the internet every day. In fact, more people actually log on to the internet through a mobile device than through a computer!

We come across lots of websites belonging to small to medium sized businesses that are simply not compatible with mobile devices.

As people move away from their desktops, preferring to browse the internet on the go on tablets and smart phones, your website needs work on these devices, and work well. If not, you and your business are missing out on a huge audience.

An email address and contact number on your homepage

This is an absolute MUST! An email link and a contact number must be displayed clearly on the home page of your website – if people want to contact you, don’t make them work for it, make it as easy as possible!

Email is a quick and easy way of getting in touch, and without a visible email address, you risk missing out on inquiries and sales.

It is also incredibly important to have a phone number listed on your homepage. Some questions are better answered by phone, and some people prefer to speak to an actual person as opposed to emailing.

Obvious contact details also go some way in establishing the reputability of your company, and can make visitor feel more comfortable. A visitor to a site without a phone number, for example, may even question your legitimacy.

A built in inquiry form 

A form-fill option on your website is the perfect way to allow consumers to request information. Information inquiry forms should be built into your site, connected to a CRM, an email system, and an ecommerce system. That way, the lead is not just being collected, it’s also being prepared for the business owner to communicate with and generate business via that lead.

Social-media-management-sheffieldLinks to your social media accounts

On 13 June 2013, the Office of National Statistics reported that the UK has the second highest proportion of social networkers in the EU, and 57% of internet users said that they used “social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter“.

So, by not using social media channels to market your business, you’re missing out on a huge captive audience and a very powerful marketing tool. You also run the risk of falling behind your competitors.

Social media buttons should also be displayed clearly on the homepage of your website, so that visitors have the option of connecting with you on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Effective search engine optimisation

As you’ll know by now, having a website is absolutely essential. But what’s the point of having a website if no one can find it? Search engines are used every day to find websites, and naturally, those that rank higher in the searches get visited more often.

Effective search engine optimisation will increase your website’s ranking in Google, therefore driving more traffic to your site, and resulting in more leads.

As a web design and SEO company in Sheffield, we know how important it is to have all of these points in place. If you are worried that your website isn’t up to scratch, is struggling in the search engines, or you are missing any of the above, don’t panic – we can help.

Get in touch via our website, call us on 0114 383 0711, or send us an email to info@sevencreative.co.uk.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Here at Seven Creative web design Sheffield, we are big fans of blogging for business. It’s a great way of boosting your online presence and getting your business noticed. So how can a blog help your business?

1. Increase your web presence

A blog is a great way of getting noticed online. Interesting content will attract people’s attention and encourage them to share it!

2. Be an expert in your field

Business blogs are a fantastic way of sharing your expertise and your knowledge. The more useful, relevant information you share in your blog posts, the more credibility you will gain.

sheffield-blogging-for-business3. Build relationships with customers

Writing a blog is the perfect way to engage with existing customers and potential clients online.   Publishing interesting blog articles are a great way of communicating, building dialogue and providing a platform for customers to contact you.

4. Search engine optimisation and blogging

Blogs can also be used as an effective search engine optimisation tool because articles can be used as a tool to drive traffic to your main website.  By making sure that your blog posts are rich in key words and popular search terms, your blog can increase your SEO efforts AND provide readers with valuable content.

5. Advertise your products or services

A blog that is used primarily for advertising isn’t the best way to approach blogging for your business. People will get fed up if they constantly feel like they are being sold to. But a little bit of self promotion in the right context is acceptable, and can benefit the reader if your products or services provide a solution to the problem, or answer to the question they have been looking for.

If you would like a blog for your business, but don’t have the time to dedicate to it, or the skills to set it up yourself, Seven Creative web design in Sheffield can help. And if you’re stuck for original, interesting content, we can take care of that too by writing the articles for you, as often as you like! For more information, contact Seven Creative on 0114 383 0711 or visit our website for more information.

Find Out For Free if Your Website Should Be Ranking Higher in Google

Find out for free during June ’13 if your website is working as well as it could be. Call us on 0114 383 0711

Find out for free during June ’13 if your website is working as well as it could be. Call us on 0114 383 0711

“Why am I not on page one of Google?”

So you’ve got your website, you may have even paid for extra SEO services, but if you’ve ever thought to yourself: “I wonder if my site could be doing better in Google?” or “I wonder if there are any problems with my site that might be stopping it from indexing properly?” – then good news! If you’re based in the UK and are one of the first 10 respondents to this post, we’ll provide you with a completely free report on how your website is performing in relation to its potential.

“Your free website evaluation”

Basically, we’ll analyse those often invisible aspects of your site that can mean the difference between page one of Google or page ten. Everything from whether your inbound links are beneficial or detrimental to your site; whether your content and images are optimised; whether your site is converting visitors efficiently; what your competitors are doing better than you; what your keywords and phrases are; and much more.

“Small tweaks to your site may be all that is required to get you up the rankings in Google”

Often, just a few simple tweaks is all it takes to get up the search engine rankings. This might be, for example, removing a few bad inbound links or getting the density of your key-phrases right through SEO copywriting services. Whatever the reason your site might not be indexing as well as it could be, we’ll find out for you and let you know the steps you need to take to fix the problems.

“Don’t delay!”

Simply fill in the required details below, press send, and we’ll get back to you a few days later with our findings. If you’d prefer to speak to us in person, drop in for a coffee or call us on 0114 383 0711

Remember, this is completely free but only during June 2013 for the first 10 UK based respondents, so get in touch now!

Apply for your free web evaluation from Seven Creative

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Make Your Website Work For You With SEO

SEO services Sheffield from Seven Creative

SEO services Sheffield from Seven Creative

You might not want to hear it, but simply having a website often isn’t enough these days. The World Wide Web contains nearly 15 billion web sites and this number is growing by the second. With competition like this, if you’re not in the top positions for the right search terms, it’s really hard for potential customers to find you.

With so much competition on the digital high street, Search Engine Optimisation is often needed to make sure that your website is actually being seen, and more importantly, seen by the right people.

What is SEO?

SEO can be described as the simple activity of ensuring that a website can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to what the website is actually about.

The practice of SEO increases the visibility of the website, meaning that it is likely to be found more often by the right visitors.

On-site Search Engine Optimisation or SEO (otherwise known as on-page SEO) is focussed on things like keyword inclusion, and off-site Search Engine Optimisation or SEO (otherwise known as off-page SEO) primarily focuses on link-building.

Getting your website to rank highly on Google will not only increase your online visibility, but it can also save you money on digital advertising campaigns and other sponsored listings.

SEO Services Sheffield

Here at Seven Creative, a leading web marketing and SEO company in Sheffield, we consider the money spent on Search Engine Optimisation services an investment, not a cost. By investing in SEO services, your website will inevitably climb the search engine rankings, and you will attract more visitors to your website.

We offer SEO packages that provide the full spectrum of search engine optimisation activity, to make you website work for you. They are based on a fixed monthly fee and can be designed around your needs, dependent on who you want to target and what you key words and phrases are.

If you would like to talk to an SEO company in Sheffield who really know their stuff, contact Seven Creative on 0114 383 0711 or email seo@sevencreative.co.uk for more information.

Top 10 Biggest Website Mistakes Stopping You From Winning Business

Every day here at Seven Creative, people show us their sites that were built by other companies and ask us things like “why doesn’t my website appear in Google” or “Why do I hardly ever get any calls from my website” so we thought we should produce a quick check-list to help you evaluate your website and hopefully spot the areas stopping your website from indexing properly in search engines and hindering the site’s conversion rates.

This is by no means an exhaustive list; however, these are some of the most common problems. Don’t forget to let us know if you think we’ve missed something important!

1 – Contact details

There is a good chance that a lot of the visitors to your website are simply looking for your contact details. Other visitors are there evaluating you deciding if your the right one to ‘buy’ from. Your contact details, therefore, need to be available at the moment the site visitor makes the decision that they want to get in touch. Making it tough to find your contact details, hiding them or even requiring  the website visitor to ‘click’ to find them can irritate and annoy – and this is the last thing you want when your competitors are only a ‘back click’ away!

Make your contact details prominent throughout the site. This will not only allow a potential customer to get in touch with you easily and quickly, it will also show potential customers that you have clear communication channels which will help to quickly establish trust – which is vital!

2 – What do you do?

I’m amazed. I’m staggered! The amount of sites I visit every day and I sit there thinking ‘what do you actually do?’ Every time we approach a new project we reverse engineer it from the point-of-view of the potential customer. By firstly profiling the customers you are able to build in a flow toward the website goals, avoid jargon which confuses people, and massively increase usability which means you’re much likely to end up with a website that actually works (provided your developer know what they are doing, of course!)

It’s really not rocket science – just say what you do and make it prominent. People love useful snippets but get turned off by big paragraphs. Get the important stuff ready-summarised and you’ll be amazed about how much of a better on-site experience your potential customers will have!

3 – Keywords and phrases

Before you built your site, did you check what people were actually searching for in relation to your products and services? It’s staggering how many people don’t! What is the point in having an all-singing-all-dancing website if no one can ever find it because it doesn’t match the phrases they’re using to find your products and services!

It’s very simple; find out what your potential customers are searching for and then make sure those phrases appear in your website (of course, in a natural context) on the relevant pages. Websites that don’t work don’t do this. It’s a simple as that.

4 – Social media

If your company is popular, they’re talking about it on the Social Media channels. If it’s not, they’ll be very little mention of you on these channels and Google knows this full well. Also, you need to demonstrate to your potential customers that you’re available with open and clear communication channels were anything to go wrong.

Not engaging with your potential customers on the appropriate social media channels is missing an opportunity to raise your profile, find new customers and without these ‘social media bookmarks’, Google will evaluate your website to reflect this and therefore your search engine position may not be as good as it could be.

5 – Images

It’s amazing how few people understand how much of an impact optimised images can have on your site. Properly optimising the compression and getting the aspect ratio correct means they’ll display quickly, the alternative text will be indexed by Google and the image name is an opportunity to get your image in an image search for the relevant products and services.

Also, I’m staggered by how many people put their really important text content as an image! Google can’t read this and you’ll find it very difficult to update if details change!

Optimising your images provides so many benefits it’s something you really need to focus on right from the word go.

6 – Content optimisation

Once you’ve got your keyword and competitor analysis report, you’ll be able to create well written text that also includes a natural density of your keywords. Stuffing keywords is not only amateurish, you’re website will be penalised by Google and you’ll not appear properly in the search results.

They key is and always has been to create good quality website content with a natural density of your keywords and phrases. Of course, there are ways to increase the emphasis on the really important content; however, trying to fool the Google algorithm is at best a very risky thing to do.

Focus on the correct word count and the keywords and you’re half way there!

7 – Compliant and well formatted code

The code is something you’ve probably never a thought to. If your website looks OK, the code is OK, right? Wrong! Errors in the code are not generally visible to the average website visitor, however, if Google encounters a poorly coded website, there is a good chance you’ll be penalised.

Broken links, validation errors, properly hierarchical use of HTML, etc.  will not only mean your site will display more quickly but also that Google will be able to correctly assess your key words and phrases and you’ll therefore appear in the relevant searches.

Poorly written code – and you’d be amazed how ubiquitous it is – will mean your site will not index properly. This is not difficult to fix – although it’s better to get it right in the first place – it’s just, in my opinion, the sign that the web developer is either lazy or doesn’t know what he’s doing.

8 – Counter-intuitive navigation structure

There is very little as frustrating as trying to navigate your way around a site with a poor navigational structure. We encounter these every day and it’s something that will certainly be losing you customers! What does it say about your company if your site is confusing and it’s sometimes impossible to find the page you’re after?

When building a site, the site navigational structure needs to be designed with scalability and usability in mind. It needs to be simple and easy to use otherwise your site visitors will simply hit ‘back’ and click on the next link in Google. Usability testing is something that can highlight this; however, it’s a much better (and cheaper) idea to get this right from the start.

9 – External links

In SEO circles we call it ‘juice.’ Imagine your site is a half-full glass of juice. Every time you get a link to your site it adds a little juice to the glass. Every link that leads away from your site takes a little juice away. The more relevant and more important the site that links to yours, the more juice you get. The fewer out-bound links you have, the less juice you’re giving away.  Now imagine that Google evaluates your site based on how much juice is in that glass and you have a picture of how Google uses links to help assess the importance of your site – the more juice you have, the more important the site is. The less juice you have, the less important the site is.

Be very aware that outbound links are taking away ‘juice’ from your site. Are they really that important? Could you do without these links?

10 – Domain name

One of the main criteria Google uses to assess your website is your domain name. The current domain registration term and the keywords within the website are two things that allow Google to decide whether your website is relative for a search and whereabouts in the search results it should be.

When you’re picking your domain name, make sure you’ve done your keyword and competitor research first. Your current customers may be searching for your company name but your potential customers are searching for your services. Remember, if your website has been built properly, it’ll index for your company name regardless of the domain name. Google also loves an established domain with a long registration period so why not have your domain registered for 10 years?

If you’d like any advice on picking a domain or need any other domain services such as registrant change, moving domains, re-establishing domain ownership or registering your domain, give us a call.

11 – Bonus mistake – Poor quality SEO

How could we possibly have a list about mistakes you may be making from an SEO point of view. The new Google algorithm updates mean that many people who have been paying for SEO over recent years have suddenly plummeted out of the rankings. Why? Because Google isn’t stupid. It knows that many people have been trying to manipulate their rankings by building hundreds of links from external sites whilst putting very little emphasis on good quality content – and now they’re paying the price.

‘Cheap SEO’ isn’t synonymous with ‘poor SEO’; however, they are very often the same thing. Good quality SEO does and always has had an emphasis on high quality content.

More information? Get in touch with us

Seven Creative in Sheffield provide the full spectrum of web marketing services such as SEO, social media optimisation, web site development and usability testing.

Call us today on 0114 383 0711, visit our website at www.sevencreative.co.uk or email us at contact@sevencreative.co.uk for more information.