SEO Liverpool Blogging Tools We Use

At SEO Liverpool this week we thought we’d let you guys into the interesting tools we use for blogging and productivity.

Have a look at these and let us know your thoughts

InboxQ
This blogging tool I’ve been working with for a few months ago. InboxQ essentially helps you to come up with better blog topics. This tool helps you find questions people are asking on Twitter.

The Content Idea Generator
The Content Idea Generator (v2) is a Google Doc that will automatically find news and related stories for your blog from a variety of sources… everything from Google News to Reddit, from tweets to public Facebook updates and more. Just search for it in Google.

Focus Booster
Focus Booster is a tool that many bloggers use to increase writing productivity. I’m the first to admit that I have an incredibly short attention span. My creativity thrives in short spurts of activity with frequent breaks. With Focus Booster I can concentrate on writing and turning ideas into blogs.

StorifyStorify
Storify is a great way to curate articles and opinions on any given topic or capture reactions to an event in real time.

Storify can help illustrate a point with third-party content and comments or help bring to life an event by pulling in activity from the news stream or Twitterverse.  We’ve previously used Storify on our blog to share news and tweets during a conference.

We’re not saying these are the best tools, but they will help.

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How To Keep Up With SEO Changes

As we discussed in the previous posts, search engine optimisation is in a constant state of change. As the search engines evolve, so does the web landscape and therefore SEO.

We have no classrooms, universities and no single website, conference or book that 100% keeps you ahead of the SEO curve.

Reading blogs, press releases and various other sources of information can help provide some insights about SEO changes.

Here at SEO Liverpool we feel that forums, conferences and social networks help filter out the rubbish, collective testing and best practice sharing are the only sure fire way of ensuring a technique is viable. It’s not easy and sometimes you’ll be taken in by the nonsense. It’s not easy to distinguish between good advice and less reputable companies that just want to sell a product or service. Our advice is simple…

READ, READ, READ… TEST, TEST AND THEN TEST SOME MORE.

If you’re a a little more advanced we’d recommend patent filing blogs. These detail recent patents by the search engines on how the may handle data and can therefore be of benefit. Although this may be considered a little advanced even for established SEO companies

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My Cheese… Who Moved It?

Lots of enquires here at SEO Liverpool in recent weeks from SEO’s and businesses alike, about falling rankings. Every time we have a major Google Algorithm update the Liverpool based SEO company‘s are bombarded with questions and help requests.

Consider This

If you’re familiar with the story, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson, you already know that when change happens, you either adapt or perish. If your cheese supply dries up, you have to go looking for new cheese. The gist of the story is; change happens and the cheese keeps moving. And like the little mice in the story, you must change and adapt, if you want to be keep ahead of the pack. The search engines are a lot like the cheese. Google in particular – with over 85% of all search – have changed the algorithm in relation to social, and most noticeably links… this has significantly impacted certain sites.

The Panda and Penguin updates which have really got to grips with spam links in particular, are considered a real test in SEO. Particularly those that have used poor SEO techniques to try and gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

Sometimes things change and they’re never the same again. According to Dr. Spencer Johnston, “If you do not change, you can become extinct. Get out of your comfort zone and adapt to change sooner. Take control, rather than let things happen to you.” According to Forrester Research, “Stop the denial. Get over it, get on with it, figure it out. Or end up in the dustbin of history.” Once upon a time, it would take up to three months to get properly spidered and indexed. Now that time has been reduced to just a few hours.

Over the past months I have achieved great SEO results. But the question everyone seems to be asking is… “Will it stick?” Will the marketing tactics that I’ve been using of late, lead to lasting search engine results? Maybe not, but it’s important to adapt and adopt new strategies and be innovative. If it’s a little spammy, then know that the next updates may devalue your work. Try new things and never stay static and test.

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Quick Hits For SEO

SEO Liverpool always try to give advice based on questions we’ve received in the last few months. Here are a few subjects we’d like to briefly go over.

Alexa Rank

We’ve had a few clients and more than a few queries about Alexa Rank over the past 3 months. People want to know why they aren’t getting a high traffic rank on Alexa. Some have bench-marked themselves with other companies based on other continents. They can’t understand why they get less traffic when their analytical packages show a substantial volume of traffic.

It’s simple Alexa Rank depends on the volume of people who have the Alexa Rank installed as a browser extension, meaning that’s how their data is collected. This means depending on the nature of your business and geographical location the results don’t really mean anything.

Geo-Surf

I’ve a client who competes really well in this country, they identified a competing businesses that statistically generates more enquiries and therefore is a more valued by their partners. Our client has all the number one keywords we’ve worked for and still generates a lot of business, but wanted to know why their competitor does so well.

Another simple answer and solution, you’re keyword positions vary in different countries, so you may only be position 1 in your country. A competitor could be getting better results in other countries and therefore more traffic. Use this browser extension http://goo.gl/uSpbV and watch the video, it will tell you how to check your rank in other countries. To improve in those countries you’ve identified, use more targeted content and leverage local links from that country.

De-personalise Search

All search marketing consultants should know that you can de-personalise search. Try these 3 ways to find out what the real search engine results are without any bias.

&pws=0

If you’ve been in SEO for a while, you’re familiar with the “pws=0” de-personalisation parameter. By adding it to the end of a Google query URL (“&pws=0”), you can theoretically remove history-based personalisation. A simplified URL would look something like this:

http://www.google.com/search?q=seo+liverpool&pws=0

  • http//www.google.com = Google search
  • /search?q=   = ready for a search query
  • highlited text is for your own keywords with the + to separate words =seo+liverpool
  • &pws=0  = personalise web search

Signing Out Of Google

This one’s pretty straightforward. Just sign out of your Google account. Although my research would suggest, Google still works a bit of its magic to bring you a personal result.

Incognito Browsing (Chrome)

Google’s Chrome browser has a built in “incognito” mode that supposedly removes any traces of your browsing activity, such as cookies or search history. Yet again, still uses some data.

The Best Way

Sign out of Google and then add a &pws=0 parameters, for the best results.

 

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SEO It’s Not Voodoo

I’m up late writing this SEO Liverpool post, because the subject has been on my mind for a few days now. I’m going to dispel a myth. The myth that has helped less reputable SEO companys peddle their snake oil and simply rip businesses off.

“The notion that there are 1001 things to do in SEO is ridiculous”.

I’m not a member of some sort of magic circle, I won’t find a horses head in my bed but some SEO’s won’t appreciate me telling you this.

There are labour intensive tasks that need to be undertaken, but please understand, it’s not that complicated. You don’t need some Matrix style coder and some über geek in residence. There isn’t a 2000 point route map that needs to be addressed for each client.

I’ll say It again ‘It’s an art not a science” and in my opinion, creative marketers make the best SEO’s.

SEO requires a comprehensive understanding of the business in question. The SEO team must understand their goals, have detailed product and brand understanding. You’ll need buyer behaviour insight and a good understanding of different persona’s of searcher behaviour and interactions.

You’ll need buy in from all the other associated departments and managers (everyone needs to sing from the same hymn sheet). Most importantly being able to manage expectations and a lot of creativity are invaluable.

Your SEO must be a reader, the first part of my day will be spent catching up with 20 or so blogs, and then check over my data.

Just wanted to let you guys know.

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Negative SEO Is It Possible?

SEO training has evolved over the past 4 years, the fundamentals are still the same, but with vastly different ancillary objectives. As Summit Online Marketing, we go into businesses offering our tailored SEO packages. Generally, we discuss actions, provide robust strategic marketing plans and discuss relevant activities. Sometimes, a sheepish employee will asked this question “can we affect our competitors SEO efforts”?

Let me explain, a few years ago, we looked at the impacts, if any, of negative SEO on websites, and a discussion arose from an article on search sabotage.

A year later, we’re still discussing the consequences and seeing if negative SEO is still possible. In various threads we’ve read, the SEO community have indicated there are still ways to sabotage websites and rankings, from hijacking competitor’s DNS to doing it to yourself by killing your URL structure.

Now, though, there’s potentially more with the impact of new technologies. New concerns about sabotage may take the form of cloaked sabotage or reputation sabotage. This isn’t to say the impact of traditional techniques such as parasite hosting and embedding hidden links has been diminished.

We’d recommend that you need to be the one who protects your site, because Google isn’t necessarily reliable in that regard. (After all, Google is tracking billions of pages.) However, not many people know how to protect their own websites.

We believe that a lot of SEO sabotage attempts involve trying to trick Google into thinking that a site should be penalised and does not meet guidelines. That can be by directly modifying the site (through legitimate mechanisms to do so, or by finding vulnerabilities and exploiting them) and by modifying or setting up external references to a site.

Food for thought

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The Art Of Internet Marketing

Last week, I had a rather nice discussion with a top SEO in Liverpool. It was regarding the tricky subject of SEO outsourcing. Like others, we receive lots of unsolicited emails from companies who wish to partner with us. It’s very tough, as our reputation is the key component of our business strategy. To make sure we find the right candidate, we try to have a discussion around current marketing issues and this brought up some interesting points…

The way advertising used to work, is by interrupting you, by intruding on your TV or radio show, or with full page ads in print. Then the smart companies – all of whom produce very average products like soap and toothpaste – would take everything they earned and reinvest it back into more ads. Eventually, having heard or seen the message enough times, you might try the blue box instead of the yellow box, next time you’re in need for what’s in the box.

These days… the best advertising comes from your friends. From social networks. From the conversations of people with like minds and tastes.

What you need to do is to create something remarkable. Special enough that it evokes emotion and compels people to leave comments on your blog and discuss the idea. To be successful in today’s market, you need a product worth talking about.

Then you need to create a story. It’s the story that people will relate to, claim as their own, and repeat to anyone who would listen. If you tell a better story, you can ask a lot higher price for your product. Then having a remarkable product, and an exceptional story, people will find you, and buy your product for the story. They’ll want to tell their friends, family, coworkers and anyone else who will listen.

Suddenly everyone is running around telling your story. They start doing the interrupting, that the advertising used to do. That’s what it means to be remarkable. In the near future… who knows? Maybe you’ll create something remarkable, package it in a marvellous story, and have everyone talking… doing the interrupting, that advertising used to do.

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Important SEO Practices

What are the Most Important Search Engine Optimisation Practices?

SEO Liverpool get lots of requests for tips and tricks?

1) When you start doing SEO, write down every thing you do and monitor results closely. If you make a change, write that down too — and continue reviewing.

2) If you work with clients, you may want to opt in for an NDA (non disclosure agreement) so that they don’t “reuse any specialist codes you might be using as part of [your] strategy to work that magic.”

3) Content creation is a full time job and SEO “is five minutes at the start and five minutes at the end.” Content creation entails keyword research, articles targeting the proper keywords, using appropriate titles, and using keyword-targeted links.

4) Create accessible sites and follow accessibility guidelines.

5) Review your analytics and see what works and what doesn’t.

Quick SEO Joke

SEO Expert Walks Into a Bar, Bars, Pub, Public House, Irish Pub, Drinks, Beer, Wine, Spirits, Vodka

If you don’t get it, you shouldn’t be reading this blog!

 

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Analytics, Testing and General Landing Page Tips

Here at SEO Liverpool we often hear ‘so how does this testing lark work’?

Well.. It’s really simple. Now that you have these reports, what should you do? I am a big fan of Google Analytics – because it’s free – and you get great stuff from it, and maybe you decide to pay for a product later on. Anyway, the basic concept is, let’s take all the traffic coming in to your page and split it among the different sections of the page. Take a script at the top of the page, track at the bottom of the page, and track your goal page.

Every single hyperlink out there is a contract between you and your visitor. Listen to this, it’s very important and the top seo companies should constantly reinforce this point “Different people might type in the same keyword but have a different intent”. Web Analytics measures these things. Some people will get rid of the keyword, say the keyword didn’t convert. But it’s not the keyword – you need to understand the intent behind that keyword.

Example
Take a look at big retailers and how they are selling digital cameras – by brand, megapixels, features. They have been selling cameras the same way for many years. What about by shuttle refresh rate? What people are actually frustrated about with the camera? No one mentions that a specific model is the fastest, takes 5 pictures in 5 seconds!

Tip
There is a great plugin for Firefox that pulls the reviews – but nowhere in the ad copy does it talk about the topics that people are mentioning in their reviews! If this is what matters, why aren’t retailers putting it up front… Do it!!!

How people gather information and how they make decisions: this is what it’s important to an online marketing company. For example an advert for automated strapping banding machine, which is more logical/methodical and which is more emotional. People act differently with your content! Some look straight at the image and leave. Others look at the content. You don’t need to be an expert in personality types to understand this. Jakob Nielsen says there are 4 types of eye tracking when people come to your site. Spontaneous, humanistic, methodological, competitive (people coming in quickly and leaving quickly if they don’t see what they want). So, now that you know that different people act differently, how can use it to optimise your page?

Start simple. The analytics may say that 90% of people who came to a page bounced. Let’s look at the personality types and think about what they would want to see on the page. You need to appeal to them. Every day that hole is not fixed in your site cost you money. Go through every page and make sure the pages appeal to all personality types.

Also look at reviews and see what people saying about the product: the way it looks and feels (emotional) vs. the functionality and practicality (methodological) and you can adjust the product copy accordingly. Use their voice to give back to them. Use the voice of customers and integrate into product descriptions.

Using product images – also applies to videos, not everyone will respond to videos – 24% of photos in a study did not allow the customer to enlarge a product image, and 65% did not offer multiple views of a product! That will have an impact on the consumer.

Some sites focus on the glamour, that they miss the basics.

Let’s talk about credibility issues: some examples – who are you? People care about the “About Us” page, it will establish some of the confidence. Contact information – have it! Put the contact info in various places, it will inspire more confidence and legitimise the site. Does your site look professional? Even if you are not a design person, you can tell. Other examples of breaking confidence: small font type in gray! Be conscious of these things.

What can you add in to build confidence? Point of action assurances: We value your privacy. How long it will take for a customer service rep to contact someone who fills out a form. Return policies, guarantees. Make sure it’s all there for the consumer.

Other points: 59% of sites according to a recent Nielsen study did not provide shipping costs early in the check out process, and 35% have a checkout process with more than 4 steps! 41% do not provide assurance points in the checkout process. Many sites do not offer in stock availability. Make sure you offer estimated delivery date, etc.

Others credibility points to add to your site: certifications, awards, other review sites that look your site.

Testimonials can also be very effective, but also can have no impact on you. Look at different styles and see what works best for you.

What kind of financial impact can this have on you? You can double your sales just by adding policies.

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What do we need to think about when we hire an SEO?

SEO Liverpool have initiated pub-based discussions over the Christmas period with our SEO Manchester colleagues. A couple of days ago we got into the hiring in-house or SEO outsourcing services, and the competencies you should look out for. For example, when choosing an SEO, you might want to ask some questions like these:

* Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
* Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
* Do you offer any web marketing services to complement your organic search business?
* What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe?
* What’s your experience in my industry?
* How long have you been in business?

If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site.

Can’t remember anything else about that night!

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