If you run a local business, then its highly probable that your business requires local SEO.
This means that for most businesses they require to be online to obtain more customers.
Yet just having a website, well that’s not enough these days, no what’s needed often is to partner with a powerful agency that can offer high-quality search engine optimisation.
And what do we mean by powerful?
Well, quite simply put, if you partner with the wrong agency, well they can implement substandard work, which the algorithms may deem as low-quality work, which can result in the business incurring a penalty.
For example, some agencies offer really low monthly prices, and they sometimes opt for “quick-wins” to say to their client, look, we’ve moved your company onto the first page of Google in just a matter of weeks- and that’s great right?
That’s what search engine optimisation is all about right?
Well, only if the work follows Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, or the Guidelines of the search engine that your optimising the website for.
If the business does not follow these guidelines, and uses what some call “low-quality” methods, well sure you may well be able to fool some search engines for a temporary blip in time, yet as soon as the algorithms detect that the work is low-quality, then the website may incur a penalty.
There are two different types of penalties, well in matter of fact there’s many different types of penalties, however broadly speaking, they can be put into one of two categories, they are the algorithmic penalties, and the manual action penalties.
And your business want’s neither!
That’s because a business can be “de-indexed” which means that your business could be removed from Google.
And you might be thinking, okay, so just for a few day’s right?
That’s until we correct the issues that have caused the penalty?
No, sometimes a website can be de-indexed for a long time, sure you may rectify the issues, yet this doesn’t mean that the business will recover where it ranked anytime soon, for some businesses it may even take many years for the business to recover.
So why we saying this right at the very start?
Well, sometimes businesses treat SEO as they would if they were looking for new office equipment, such as new printer /copier machine, that is which one is the cheapest, which one offers the lowest running costs, which printer is the best deal in terms of how much the toners cost?
Well, with SEO you cant think so much about cost, its all about quality, if the work is quality then your business may shoot up the ranks, and this can obviously help a business.
Get it wrong, hire the wrong agency, well the business may receive a penalty and in some cases the business may deem it too expensive to rectify the issues, such as thousands of low-quality backlinks being built.
So, with that said, here’s our best advice, follow white hat SEO methods, follow the guidelines of the search engine that you are optimising for, so if you are optimising your company’s website to show up higher on Google, then you must follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
What does onsite SEO mean?
Well, very broadly speaking SEO can be split into two categories, they are offsite and onsite SEO.
Now, if you were to speak to an agency, they would say that there are over 200 ranking factors, and that agency would be right.
That’s to say there are over 200 ranking factors which Google’s algorithm will take into account when deciding on how strong your company’s SEO is.
However, with that said, not all ranking factors are weighted the same, so for example most agencies would say that backlinks are really important, if they are high-quality, yet with that said, meta titles well they are less important.
So, this is why when you do appoint an agency, there’s a lot of work to do, and your agency will need to work out which factors need working on the most.
So, without further ado, here are some of the onsite ranking factors that your agency may wish to improve:
Meta titles and meta descriptions
Okay, so let’s say that your looking to purchase a new mountain bike, you know the brand, so when you see in Google’s results a business that says it stocks that make of bike, well, you’re bound to click that link right?
Well, our marketing agency would call this a well optimised meta title and meta description.
And for those businesses that do not know what a meta title or meta description is, well its simply the title and description of that page which appears in the SERP’s.
So when someone is looking for a business, let’s say an online bike shop, well instead of them having to click every business in the SERP’s, the shopper can scan down the organic business listings, see that one business offers what they want, such as that make of bike, then they can click the meta title or the meta description and follow the link to your website.
Now, if your business has not got meta titles and meta descriptions, then in a way there’s two missed opportunities here, number one when your business does appear in the serp’s your company may not standout.
Reason number two is its just good SEO best practice to write a meta title and meta description for every page and every blog post, as it might well be a less important SEO ranking factor, yet as any good agency will tell you, it’s all of the ranking factors added together that will contribute to deciding whether your business is ranked on the first page or not. So, we would say if your business has not got meta titles, or meta descriptions, that it’s well worth revisiting each page, and adding meta titles and meta descriptions using white hat SEO methods.
Okay, so let’s say that your business sells thousands of different products, let’s say for example that your business sells running trainers, now to Googlebot, that’s the bot that Google uses to crawl and index the web, we’ll all of these running trainers may look rather similar.
So, what’s one way your agency could help Googlebot to know how the running trainers are all different?
Well, that’s easy, by adding alt text, so each picture of the trainers has a description, this way when Googlebot crawls and indexes that page, Googlebot will know that page sells that brand of trainer, and also the model of trainer.
And its these ranking factors that could make all of the difference, that’s to say if your main competitor does not add alt text to each trainer, then your business may rank higher, because Google’s algorithm will have greater confidence, that when someone is looking for that brand of trainer, and that model of trainer that your business has made your website more relevant, that’s so that the algorithm has greater confidence that your business is selling that exact item that the customer is looking to purchase.
So, often when a website is designed, the web designers will often be building the website quickly, they miss these important SEO ranking factors, this is often why an agency is needed to later revist each page on the website, and to add alt text.
So, it’s fair to say that agencies like ours are writing longer and longer articles, some marketing agencies like ours believe that it can help a page to rank better if the content is longer.
But there’s no point in writing say 10,000 words of complete waffle, Google’s algorithm and Google’s Knowledge Vault and Knowledge Graph is just to clever, for example it will know if your website contains facts, if it is talking about a subject that’s written by someone who knows what they are talking about, or whether its complete waffle.
So, with that said, once you’ve made your website relevant, to whatever it is your selling, so for example let’s say you’re selling, classic cars, you’re going to want to be adding content marketing about classic cars, then it’s time to start adding all the elements that can further optimise that page, so for example H1-H6 tags.
So, let’s say for example, your business specialises in selling a brand of classic car, plus also restoring classic cars. And you have phone calls from around the world where people send their car to you for restoring- but how does a business achieve this?
Well, for example, you could be adding content marketing about how you restored a classic car, explaining how you restored the body work, the engine the electrical systems and also the exhaust system.
Now if you were to split the article into different sections, and use titles, you could mark the titles using H1 through to H6 tags, why would you do this?
Well, for one it helps the reader, instead of a massive block of text, you can split the text, using H1 to H6 tags, now if your using a CMS like WordPress, well it’s an absolute piece of cake to add H1 to H6 tags to say a blog post, you can just use the inbuilt text editor in the dashboard, and its done.
However, if you do not have a CMS, well you may have to ask your web designer to add H1 to H6 tags for you.
But they are important, as they can tell Googlebot and therefore Google’s algorithm what your website is about.
So for example, if Googlebot crawls and indexes your website it will spot that you mention “classic cars” a lot, so your business is likely to be deemed more relevant for classic cars.
Plus, as this article is dedicated to explaining how a business can improve its local SEO, if you mention a city, such as Cardiff well this will make your website more relevant for that city.
However, this is where so many businesses get this wrong, that’s by “keyword stuffing” which is mentioning keywords, such as Cardiff and Classic Cars too much, as a weak attempt to try and get the website to rank higher.
However, if the business over optimises the website, that’s mentioning classic cars and the city too much, well what will happen then is the website could incur a penalty.
So, all SEO work must be white hat, plus the business that’s implementing SEO must follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
If a business’s website was to become over optimised, and use keyword stuffing, so for example lets say you run a skip hire business, you may keep mentioning skip hire, plus the name of various towns or cities that you serve, then this business may incur a Google Panda penalty.
Which basically means that Google will detect that the SEO is low-quality, your business could then drop down the ranks.
So, what’s the correct way of adding content marketing to your website, so that you do not flout Google’s rules?
Well, that’s a really easy one to answer, the work must be useful to your customers.
So instead of writing skip hire plus name of area over and over again, the work must be much higher-quality.
So for example, why not set-up and FAQ and answer commonly asked questions, such as how long it takes for a skip to arrive, how much notice is needed before its collected, why the skip must be loaded level, why you charge deposits, why a waste transfer note will be offered, also the other services you may offer, such as mini-digger hire and also labour hire so that you have someone load the skip for you.
Then if you’ve hired the right digital marketing agency, and by right we mean a company that can offer white hat SEO, then they will add NAP information and Schema mark-up so that Googlebot knows exactly where your business is based, so you do not need to keep mentioning a name of a city or town in the text.
As any good agency will tell you, keyword stuffing is not white hat, it’s a really outdated method of seo that a business should not use.
Let’s say that you run a business, and you require your digital marketing agency to write a lot of content marketing for your business.
Now, of course, some of these articles are going to overlap, for instance, if you run a business that sells furniture, you may well be talking about how to create a certain interior design décor within your home, so let’s say your article states which table, chairs, and coffee tables will be needed to create that style, now your business sells these items, so rather than making a shopper go through the menu to find those items, they can simply click the internal links.
Now will internal linking help improve your businesses SEO?
Well, again if done right it can be part of the SEO process, that’s to say its not going to be something on its own that’s going to mean that overnight your furniture business is now top of the SERP’s.
However, with that said, as any good online marketing agency will tell you, its still an important part of the onsite SEO process.
The reason for this is twofold, one it can further help Googlebot to crawl and index each page on your website, plus also the anchor text, that’s the text you use to describe the link, well if this is optimised in a white hat way, then this can help to improve a business’s seo.
Notice how we use the wording “white hat” once again, that’s to say, there’s no point in using the anchor text “builder + name of city” if you run a construction business, as this will be deemed as low quality seo.
Instead you should help your customers, so for example let’s say you run a construction business, and you want to link to the page that describes loft conversions, simply use the anchor text “loft conversions”.
If you were to keep using “builders + name of city” as that’s what you want your company to appear higher for on Google, then this is a really low-quality form of SEO.
So instead describe what the link is about, if its leading to a page that sells a brand of ice skates, simple use the anchor text brand plus ice skates.
All pages should have a title, yet again don’t over optimise this, for example if you run a local plumbing business, you may add the name of the city in which you work to every page title, such as central heating repair + name of city, well you don’t need to do this.
Just name each page after the service you provide, then ask your digital marketing agency to add NAP information to your website, plus also Schema, this will allow Googlebot to crawl your businesses NAP information and to know where your company is based.
For those that do not know, NAP simply means Name, Address and Phone number for your business, this information should be added to your website in a way in which it can be indexed.
Also, we recommend its added to the footer of your website and the contact page.
Now if you own multiple addresses in one city, like Cardiff in South Wales, then it might not be feasible to add all addresses in the footer of the website, as the footer will be too large.
Yet, the NAP information most definitely should be added to the contact us page, as if its not, then this could adversely impact your businesses SEO, as Googlebot and Google’s algorithm will not know where your business is based.
So the NAP information should be written on the contact us page and should be written in a way in which it can be indexed.
Your digital marketing agency should add Schema mark-up to your website, this is so that Googlebot knows your company’s NAP information. Schema is a type of structured language, which simply means that when you mark-up important information, such as your businesses NAP information, then it can make it easier for Googlebot to find your company’s NAP information and for this to be indexed.
Local phone number
Okay, so do you run your business off your mobile?
Well, we would recommend where possible to use a local landline number instead, and why do we say that?
Well, most SEO consultants think that it’s just another signal that can be used to tell Google that you are based in that city.
So, for example, 029 20 and 029 21 are both area codes for Cardiff, so if a business has a Cardiff address on its website, plus also a Cardiff phone number, well that business is more likely to be based in Cardiff.
So, when your trying to improve your businesses local SEO, try and put a local phone number instead of your mobile number.
Can the site be indexed?
This point is really important, can your website be indexed?
If your web designer has left a no index tab on or written code to ask the search engines, such as Googlebot not to crawl and index the website, so “no-index” then this can adversely affect your company’s seo.
It can mean that the pages where the no-index tab has been applied, will not show up in the SERP’s so this is something that your agency should look to fix as a matter or urgency.
Content marketing is a huge part of the SEO process, it’s like what an engine is to a car, its essential.
If the content marketing is not good quality then this could mean that a business incurs a penalty.
If the content marketing is good quality, then this can help to improve your company’s SEO.
So here are just some of the criteria that we think are important when writing content marketing.
Must be well-written, there’s absolutely no point whatsoever in setting up a business, and then evaluating the competitions websites, and noting that they have written 40 blog posts and then planning on your going to do the same quickly.
That’s by writing 40 articles quickly and adding them to your website in a weak attempt to try and improve your businesses seo.
And why do we say this?
Well, because Google only rewards high-quality work, and if the work is added too quickly to your website, without correct spacing in terms of leaving it days or weeks between each piece of work being added, well this work is more likely to be considered as spam.
So, what’s needed instead?
Well, what’s needed instead is quality, the quality of the work should be considered higher than your direct competitors, that’s if you want your business to rank higher.
So, if they have added 40 blog posts, but you only write 10 blog posts, you could still rank higher than that business if the quality is better.
The quality has to be higher, and this means that the work must be useful.
So let’s say for example that your business sells let’s say car cleaning products, you could create content marketing that helps your customers, for example work which explains how to get scratches out of the paintwork of your car, or how to restore dull paint work, or even how to get rid of chips in the paint work.
Now if the work is high-quality, and by this we mean it helps your customers, then it’s going to help improve your company’s seo.
However, if you hire the wrong agency, and they just think that it’s important to keep mentioning products, such as paint repair for cars, car wax and also car chip repair well this is going to be work that’s low quality so could result in a penalty.
What are entities, well now we’ve reached a much more advanced SEO topic, yet one which a business or an agency will need to understand if you are going to improve your businesses seo.
An entity can be anything, an event a person a product, but its well-known, like when the moon landing occurred, or when a famous celebrity passed away or when an invention was created.
There’s no dispute over the date it occurred, the people that were involved and what the date was about, such as a moon landing.
So, the facts will be written on many different websites, such as when the moon landing occurred, plus the names of the astronauts that landed on the moon, their ages at the time. Now Googlebot can crawl this information, build up facts and then put these facts into what many SEO agencies call Google’s Knowledge Vault.
Which is like a vault full of facts, which have been reliably checked, so that Google can say that with great accuracy these facts are correct, and then use that information to show in “knowledge panels” when someone was to ask, “when did the first moon landing occur”- so then Google can show a knowledge panel with an answer.
Okay, so it might be at this very point that you sat there with a coffee in your hand thinking what on earth does this have to do with local SEO?
Well, in matter of fact it has everything to do with local SEO.
That’s to say you shouldn’t think of your website as just a way of selling a product or a service locally, instead if you want your business to rank high on Google your website must offer helpful advice and knowledge, and its this knowledge that can be checked against Google’s Knowledge Vault.
So for example, lets say you run a business that sells tyres, you may state facts on how to check the minimum depth the tread can be on a tire, then this measurement could then be compared to the facts that are shown on a government website, such as the DVLA, then this means that your website has a fact that is accurate.
Now if your business offers a lot of accurate information, then your website will be more useful to customers.
So, a good quality marketing agency will want to offer useful information to your company’s customers, but to also include accurate facts. It’s these facts that many SEO consultants believe can be checked by Google’s algorithm and if correct this can help to improve your company’s seo.
Incorporate onsite SEO
So, when writing content marketing, your agency should add onsite seo to each piece of content marketing.
So, for example, alt text, H1-H6, meta titles and also meta descriptions.
Build white hat backlinks
Then often to get that blog post or the page to rank higher in Google, the agency will need to start to build high quality backlinks to that page.
Add on a regular basis, but not too much
Some businesses start to see their website moving up the SERP’s, which means search engine results pages, then they see this progress and go overboard adding content marketing, however this can adversely affect a business’s seo.
So much so the business may drop down the ranks, so instead quality work should be added, but it should be spaced out. How often you add content marketing to your company’s website will differ from business to business, your marketing agency should state how many pieces of writing should be added per month. But do remember that all work must be white hat, that’s to say the work must be high quality.
Don’t write just to try and improve where your business ranks
Okay here’s a top tip, that is don’t just write content marketing with the sole aim of trying to improve where your business ranks, this approach will not work.
Instead make your website so that it’s the best business to serve your customers, that’s to say you offer the best service, whether that’s through your website being fast, the checkout being easy to use or just offering more information about products.
Some businesses think that SEO is all about content marketing and building backlinks, but its now so much more. Since Google launched Google’s RankBrain its now widely thought by many online marketing agencies that artificial intelligence is now being used to work out which websites are best answering the question.
So, for example, let’s say you ask Google “which is the best home brew kit to buy”- and then Google will show 10 businesses in the organic results.
Now, do you think that Google will serve in its number one position a business that has a very high bounce rate, also a really low time on site figure, well no neither do we.
In matter of fact, the business that’s going to rank in the first position is likely to have a very low bounce rate and a very high time on site figure.
So how would the business do this?
Well, quite simply because it will offer useful information, for example even if it’s not selling a home brew kit to a shopper, someone may be looking at that business’s website for free advice.
And you might say, well that’s all well and good, but free advice doesn’t pay the bills!
But what if offering free advice meant that your website was gaining a lot of visitors, and a lot of backlinks, so Google’s algorithm moved your company to the first position in the serp’s, well then your business is much more likely to generate more income, so this is how giving away free advice on your company’s website could directly benefit the business.
So, this is why we say offer top-quality advice, don’t just write quick blog posts to try and get the businesses website to rank higher.
As Google’s algorithm is very clever, it will know that the work is low-quality, and just trying to get the business to rank for say “home brew kits”- and that business which hasn’t spent much time writing its content marketing is likely to rank low on Google’s SERP’s, say on the fourth page of Google’s serps.
However, the business that has a lot of really good quality information, that the business has spent many months writing and putting together, so that the work is detailed, well that business may rank a lot higher.
But once again, remember that with SEO it’s not just one ranking factor, such as content marketing that your business should focus on, if you hire a really good SEO agency then they should be improving many ranking factors at the sametime.
However, it’s also worth remembering that organic seo is a slow process, you shouldn’t expect results overnight.
And even if you write one really good piece of content marketing, like this blog post that your reading now, this doesn’t mean that the website will have higher rankings, that’s because it often takes many pieces of work, sometimes even hundreds for a business to see solid results.
So, for example, an Seo agency may need to write something like over 60 detailed blog posts before it even starts to rank on page 2 of Google’s results, then the business will need to do even more work to start overtaking the marketing agencies that have really good quality SEO.
Help your customers
So what’s our best advice, well that’s simple don’t purchase cheap seo, that’s simply because content marketing if its done write takes many hours to write, and to add various SEO elements onto.
So, if the quote is too cheap, then often it will be a waste of time, it could even result in the business incurring a penalty if the work is low-quality.
Instead what’s needed is top-quality work, delivered by a white hat SEO company like Adore.
Another major part of the SEO process is building backlinks, this is a part of the process that many businesses and even some agencies get wrong.
As we will come onto at a later date, if the backlinks are not high-quality then the business could incur a Google Penguin penalty.
For example Google’s algorithm could detect that the backlinks are low-quality and issue an algorithmic penalty.
Also a manual penalty could be issued, this is when someone working for Google looks at your businesses backlinks, and spots that they are low-quality then issues a manual penalty on the website.
What does this mean?
Well this could mean that the business is deindexed, meaning that the business is removed from Google.
For some other businesses it could mean that the website drops in terms of where the business ranks.
So, this is why a business should avoid low-quality backlinks.
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are simply the links that you click on to follow a link and to land on another website.
So for example, lets say that your booking a flight, you’ve made the booking, then at the end of the booking process the airline asks have you booked a hire car yet?
You decide that you wish to hire a hire car so you click the link, then you are taken to the car hire website. This means that you have clicked a link to the car hires website.
Now why’s this important in terms of SEO?
Well, as any good agency will tell you, backlinks are widely regarded as one of the most important ranking factors.
However, with that said, if the backlinks are not good quality, well a business could drop down the ranks or be removed from Google.
So a business should only obtain high-quality backlinks.
This is another strong reason why you should only work with a marketing agency that uses the best seo methods.
If a business was to incur say a link penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty, well this could mean that the business is removed from Google, and also it could take a very long time for the business to recover.
So for example, a business may well be on page 2 of Google, then it hires a link building agency, yet then the business that is building the backlinks then builds low-quality backlinks, this could then mean that the business is removed from Google.
Yet, the next agency that’s tasked with fixing the link penalty, well they may not get the website to recover for months, or even years, so this is why a business must avoid low-quality backlinks.
How can they help to improve your businesses SEO?
If the backlinks are good quality, lets say that your business has a backlink from say the BBC, lets say that you make a brand of car, the BBC has reviewed that car then has provided a backlink to your website, then this backlink will be high-quality.
If your business has a lot of high-quality backlinks, then this can improve where your business ranks.
So sometimes a business that’s ranked in the first position for a competitive phrase, such as car insurance, well that business will often have thousands of good quality backlinks.
Backlinks are very hard to build, so this is why a car insurance company is likely to employee or hire an agency that employs many staff, something in the order of more that 10 staff just working on building high quality backlinks.
So, this is why its difficult for a business to overtake some companies that have large resources in terms of many staff constantly working on improving key SEO elements such as backlinks.
This is why if an agency states that they are a lot cheaper than many other agencies, you do have to ask how?
That’s because it often takes many months if not years to get some businesses onto the first page, so how can some businesses charge low prices?
Well, sometimes it’s because they are cutting corners, and this often results in the business incurring a penalty.
Why your business only requires quality backlinks?
If your business does not obtain quality backlinks, then your business may obtain a link penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty.
What is the Google Penguin penalty?
So, for quite a while business tried to cheat the algorithm, and many businesses still try to do this.
That’s to say they know that quality white hat seo will cost a lot, plus they know it will take a very long time for some businesses to get onto the first page.
So, some businesses will try and cut corners, try and find a method to fool the algorithm, so this is when Google launched the Google Penguin update.
This meant that companies that had low-quality backlinks were issued with a penalty. Not only did these businesses move down the ranks, but for some businesses it took a very long time for these businesses to recover.
The reason for this is some businesses would be hit by a penalty, then they would try and fix the problem, yet they could not recover from the penalty simply because the next algorithm update to release businesses from the penalty did not come for some time.
So this is why businesses should only use white hat seo, that’s because some businesses will get hit with a penalty, but also it can often take a very long time for some businesses to recover.
Are internal backlinks worth the same as external backlinks?
No, that’s the simple answer, think of internal backlinks as just a way to help a shopper to get around your company’s website a bit easier.
But with external backlinks, say a link from the BBC then linking to your site, well this could help improve your seo.
External backlinks are much harder to get, that’s if they are good quality, yet these are the links that can help improve your company’s seo.
How do I check how many backlinks my business has?
There are many tools that a business can use to check how many backlinks the business has.
However, its worth mentioning this point again, its not so much about how many backlinks your business has, its more about the quality of these backlinks.
That’s to say a business may have one million backlinks, but if these are low-quality then the business may incur a penalty.
However, some businesses may have relatively few backlinks, that’s to say the business may have only 10 backlinks, yet if these backlinks are really good quality, and your main competitors have not got as many good quality backlinks, then your business will have a strong advantage.
But this is our top tip, don’t think that just by building backlinks your business will start to climb the ranks.
The backlinks must be high quality and relevant to your business, they should be a mix of do-follow and no follow and they must be built by an expert.
So many businesses have either hired the wrong agency, or tried to build backlinks themselves, and what has happened if they have got this wrong is that the business incurs an algorithmic penalty.
For example, if the businesses are not built in the right way the business could incur a Google Penguin penalty- this means that the business may well be de-indexed, or move down the ranks.
What does do-follow backlinks mean?
What an agency will be looking for is a mix of do-follow, and no-follow backlinks, there should be a mix.
However, what the business needs in order to improve it’s seo is a number of good quality do-follow backlinks.
Why does a business need do-follow backlinks, as these links will send what SEO consultants refer to as “link-juice” to the website.
So, let’s say for example that you run an Italian restaurant here in Cardiff, and you start to get reviews not just from local food review websites, but the top newspapers in the country has written a list of the best restaurants here in the U.K, and your restaurant appears in a number of these lists, your business obtains a do-follow backlink.
These backlinks come from the food section of these newspapers’ websites, and then your SEO agency swiftly reports that your website has improved in terms of where it ranks, to take the number one position for “best Italian restaurants”.
And backlinks, if they are good quality, like from a newspaper’s website, which is a national newspaper and widely known like The Guardian, then if your business obtains a high-quality backlinks, from a high-quality website like that, then this could dramatically improve your businesses SEO.
It could provide your businesses with much stronger SEO, and then here in Cardiff your business may move up the ranks by a considerable number of places.
What do no-follow backlinks mean?
Do-follow backlinks are less important, but they are still needed.
Talk to any good link building agency and they will say that what a business needs is a number of good quality backlinks, mixed with no-follow backlinks, and the anchor text must be varied.
No-follow backlinks do not send “link juice”-so you might ask, well why are they needed?
Well they are needed because a good digital marketing agency will want to make your company’s backlink profile look as though it has been earned.
Which is how links should be built earnt.
And what do we mean by earnt?
That’s simple, your businesses website must offer useful information, so lets say for example that your about to launch a new brand of power tools here in the U.K, that’s to say cordless drills, mitre saws and also electric screwdrivers.
It’s a crowded marketplace, there are so many companies that make similar products, so how is your brand going to standout?
Well a good way would be through investing is SEO, however how could such a business get to the first page of Google?
Well, one way could be making the website the best resource for DIY advice, and you might think well, why?
We sell power tools, we don’t run a DIY store, well a good marketing agency will know that people will want help when carrying out DIY around there home, if your website becomes a good resource for DIY advice then your website may obtain a lot of backlinks, these backlinks may come from home improvement websites, interior design websites and someone who is interested in DIY and also offering tips.
So if your business was to accumulate a mix of do-follow and no-follow backlinks, then this could mean the website moves up the ranks.
Again, the links should be earnt, that’s by offering quality advice, they should not be bought.
If the links are bought, that’s to say your business pays for the links to be placed on a website, well the business is likely to obtain a link penalty.
And why do we say this?
Well, often the websites that charge for placing a link on their site will also be charging many other businesses, so for example the site is unfocused, and has a lot of outbound links.
In one article the business may be talking about how to repair a roof, and sending a link to a construction company, in the very next article talking about how to repair a dent in your car door and sending a link to a car dealership.
However, even if the website is focused on one thing, Google’s algorithm is very clever, Google’s algorithm may detect that the links are low-quality, or bought and the business may incur a link penalty.
So what’s our best advice, well that’s simply earn links, don’t buy them, make sure you follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and only use white hat SEO methods.
Why does my agency say that business citations don’t really offer valuable backlinks?
The agency would be right, most business citations do not offer valuable backlinks, instead why agencies like ours build business citations is obtain a NAP listing.
NAP stands for name of a business, the businesses address and the businesses phone number.
Now its widely thought by many agencies that if a business has NAP information on its website, and this can be crawled and indexed then this will tell Google where the business is based, its phone number and the businesses name.
If this information can be matched with business citations, that’s to say the NAP information that’s written on a business citation website, then this could help improve the businesses local SEO, if the work is completed in a white hat way.
However, often the backlink that often accompanies the business citations will be no-follow, plus also if the link was do-follow, it would not provide high link equity.
The reason for this is on a business citation website, there’s likely to be thousands of businesses listed, so the backlink will not be worth much.
However with that said, if the link was part of an article that a newspaper was writing, lets say a national newspaper was writing an article about interior décor, and mentioned your company as it provided the lighting that’s shown on the website, then this backlink will be worth more, and will be the backlink that your agency is looking for.
So, again the backlink must come from a high-quality website, a website that’s relevant to what your business can offer.
So for example, lets say you retail mountain bikes, and a website which reviews mountain bikes links to your website. This would be example of a relevant and high-quality link, yet if you are in any doubt whether the business that’s linking to your company is high-quality or not, In terms of a place to obtain a backlink from, then you should ask a white hat SEO company for advice.
How many backlinks does my business need?
This does depend on how many good quality backlinks your competitors have, for example, sometimes you could beat your direct competitor who is ranked in the number one position by just having 10 good quality backlinks, that’s if they only have say one or two good quality backlinks.
However, what is much more common is if the business is in a highly competitive business sector, for example, lets say your business sells car insurance, then this is a highly competitive business sector, so for your business to be ranked say in the top three of the organic business results, your business is more than likely going to need hundreds if not thousands of good quality backlinks.
Why is my SEO agency stating that they need to disavow backlinks?
Sometimes a business will hire the wrong agency, they will then build low-quality backlinks, sometimes because the business has bought the backlinks. The business may then have incurred a link penalty.
A link penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty can mean that the business is de-indexed, or removed from Google as some agencies may describe this as.
Then when the business hires a new agency, that agency must then fix the problems that the last agency has caused.
This often means disavowing backlinks, which means notifying Google that you want to disavow the links.
This does not mean that the rankings will bounce back straightaway, often if a business has incurred an algorithmic or a manual penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty, then it can often take a business a very long time before its rankings bounce back.
Sometimes it can take many months, if not years for a business to recover from a link penalty.
What is Google Analytics?
It’s worth mentioning at this point, that you should link your company’s website with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a free tool, yet it provides really useful data, such as how many organic visitors your website has received. Therefore, if you want to monitor how your businesses local seo is improving, then we would recommend obtaining a Google Analytics account.
Google My Business is a free account that your business can set-up, its straightforward to set-up.
Often you need to verify the listing, which is very easy to do, simply enter the pin that’s sent out by Google on a postcard.
Then once validated you will have verified the account, and your Google My Business account will be live.
However, so many businesses set-up there Google My Business account is a rush, and do not complete it correctly, you should spend some time making sure that you complete the whole business profile, for example you should add:
· Businesses name
· Link to your website
· Opening hours
· A description of the business
· NAP information
· Your customers may start to leave business reviews on your Google My Business account
Why should we spend a bit of time making sure that our Google My Business profile is complete?
Sometimes some businesses request a validation code, so that they can verify their businesses Google My Business profile, but then do not enter the code within the set amount of time.
Then the code will expire, and sometimes the Google My Business account is left incomplete, that’s without the company information being added.
However our agency would recommend that all businesses spend the time to update their Google My Business account, the reason is if a business has not got this account, then your business will not show up in the MAP results.
So for example, lets say you sell pizza’s here in Cardiff, if someone was to search “local pizza take-away shops”- then your business will not appear next the map unless your business has a Google My Business account.
So do make sure that your business has an account, and if you need help setting up the account make sure you contact a white hat SEO company.
Add a backlink
You should add a backlink to your businesses GMB account, the backlink should then lead to your business’s homepage.
Make sure your businesses name is correctly written and do not add the name of city or town to the businesses name
So let’s say for example that you run a construction company, and your construction business only serves one city, and that city is let’s say Cardiff.
You may think that when setting up your businesses Google My Business account that it would be a good idea to add the name of the town or the city to the end of your businesses name.
However, this is likely to look spammy, meaning that you could over optimise your listing.
Instead, just write your businesses name, plus then just make sure that your business adds its NAP information and make sure that the businesses NAP information matches your website and also the business citations.
Add opening hours
You should add opening hours to your listing, this is so when your businesses GMB listing appears, then someone will know which hours your business is open and whether they can call the business.
Add a business description
This is important, some businesses may just write a brief sentence or two about their business, yet we would recommend that your company or your agency writes a detailed description about your business, this can help your GMB listing to standout, where the other GMB listings may seem basic.
For example, let’s say you own a vegan restaurant in Cardiff, write a detailed business description, we would also recommend making this different from what’s on your about us page of your website.
Instead write something that’s unique, that’s to say not a business description that you have copied and pasted from your company’s website.
Make sure the NAP information is correct
Some businesses will quickly fill out their Google My Business account, meaning that they may state Street on the business address, when on their website they may write ST, instead of Street, now we would know the difference, yet this could be enough to cause conflicting business citations.
Conflicting business citations are when the NAP information on your website does not match with your businesses citations, or do not match with your businesses Google My Business, this could damage your businesses seo, as all citations should match.
So what does “technical SEO” mean? Well, technical seo is the foundation from where all the rest of the SEO is built up from, for example if the website has indexation problems, meaning that Googlebot cannot crawl or index the website, well the website will not appear in Google.
This could be something as simple as the business has a “no-index” tab that’s left on, in which case your website designers will need to rectify these issues, or your marketing agency may well be able to help.
The design of your company’s website is really important not just from how a customer views your business, yet also from an SEO perspective as well.
For example, let’s say the main menu on your website does not work that well, for example, you sell sporting items, such as trainers, tennis rackets and also mountain bikes.
But you notice that for mountain bikes, well you’re not selling that many, the reason for this could be the main menu, it could be so full of products that customers do not have the time to read through say 40 different types of products that you sell.
Where another business, they have a better menu, its more visual, so you can instantly see a small logo of a bike, this improves the businesses SEO and reduces the homepages bounce rate.
So, its often website designers and SEO agencies that have to work together to improve a business’s seo.
Duplicated content marketing
Some businesses pay a web design company to build an e-commerce store, and sometimes do not provide to the web design business any content marketing.
So for instance, lets say that the business sells electrical goods, T.V’s, fridge freezers, cookers- yet the web designer has not got any product descriptions to place on the website.
So, what does the business ask, well sometimes they ask if the business can take the product descriptions directly from the manufacturer’s website, yet this will cause duplication issues.
For example GoogleBot can crawl and index the work, GoogleBot will then spot that the work is duplicated, this could mean that the business drops in terms of where it ranks.
What do we recommend that business should do instead?
Well, that’s simple, all work must be white hat, not duplicated, that’s to say the work must be original and high-quality.
So this means that a business should not copy and paste, instead the business should spend time writing product descriptions, or content marketing so that it is high-quality.
What does content thin mean?
Well it basically means that your businesses website has not got much text, or if it has not a lot of text the text doesn’t offer anything that’s really useful.
So for example, lets say that you run a van hire company, and someone wants to know which vans you hire out, instead they land on a page that has say 400 words, yet the text doesn’t offer any useful information, it just seems to repeat variations of “van hire” over and over again.
This is an example of a content thin, low-quality page on your website.
Your white hat agency should evaluate which pages on your company’s website may need improving, the marketing agency should then offer to rewrite the content marketing, and this also provides an opportunity to also improve some of the onsite seo as well.
So let’s say your about to launch a new business on the high-street, and it’s the first week your business has been open, you notice you have a lot of footfall, but the visitors to your shop, well they only spend a few seconds in the shop, then they leave- now this obviously is not good for business.
And if you were the shop owner you would swiftly change a few things, perhaps where the stock is located, the price of certain goods, or perhaps the store needs improving in terms of the décor, colour scheme, branding and also the lighting.
Yet what if your website has a high bounce rate?
That’s to say you may log into your Google Analytics account, and you spot that your website has a very high bounce rate.
Google Analytics is saying that over the past month your website has a bounce rate of say over 90%.
Now, you may well be wondering, well what does bounce rate even mean?
Bounce rate simply means the percentage of visitors to your company’s website, that have landed on the website, and then left the website without visiting another page.
So obviously from a business perspective you will want shoppers to land on your website, to then visit as many pages as possible and to shop around.
If a shopper was to leave more or less straightaway, well this is like having a shopper visit your store, but then leave straightaway.
So your marketing agency should work with your web designers to reduce the businesses bounce rate.
Your business should then use an SEO tool like Google Analytics, that’s to see if the businesses bounce rate is reducing.
Poor website design
If a website has a poor design, for example the business does not have a different page for each service it offers, then it can be difficult to optimise the website for each separate service.
So for example, let’s say you run a plumbing business and your business offers the following services, that is boiler repair, boiler replacement and also to offer an emergency call out service.
Now if the website designers do not set up a different page for each service, then what can happen is that the SEO agency may find it difficult to optimise the business for each service.
This means that the agency may ask the web designers to add a page for each service, this is so that on each new page, say the boiler replacement page, they can then add a meta title, meta description, alt tag and also internal backlinks to better optimise that page.
Your company’s website should be fast, if your company’s website is slow say on a smartphone, then this could effect where your business ranks.
For example, let’s say that you run a car dealership, and you sell thousands of different cars, if the website is slow to load the cars then this may cause a high bounce rate.
If your business has a high bounce rate, then Google’s algorithm will spot this and your website could drop down the ranks.
What shoppers want is a fast website, so you should work with your web designers to ensure that you have a fast website.
Can your website be indexed?
Can Googlebot crawl and index your website, if Googlebot cannot crawl and index a page then this page will not appear in Google’s results, so you should work with your agency to make sure that Googlebot can crawl and index your website.
Is your website mobile friendly? Your website should be mobile friendly, you may wish to work with a web developer to carryout split testing, or A/B testing this is so your business can improve its design, yet also lower your bounce rate, and improve the design of your company’s website to see if it helps increase sales.
Most businesses these day’s do not just have a website designed and then leave the design the same, they will normally work with a web developer to improve the design.
That’s to say the main menu may well be redesigned, the homepage may well have its design changed, this can help to improve the design, but the aim is to also increase sales for the business.
This is why some businesses will improve the mobile version of their website, this may mean improving the menu, or simply making it easier for customers to purchase product through implementing a shopping cart that’s easier to use.
Your marketing agency should then be able to report back to the business to say whether the sales have improved, or the bounce rate has reduced.
How we can help:
We are an SEO company Cardiff, we can offer local seo and organic seo, for a quote why not call us?