We were lucky enough to be treated to a masterclass in SEO by Helen Culshaw at our September WiRE meeting.
Helen is a long-standing WiRE member and in fact, her company Ascendancy Internet Marketing, designed and manages the WiRE UK website.
Helen’s business has grown from the days when she worked from home, fitting in self-employment around her first baby and then second child. Now employing 12 staff in Shifnal, many of whom started as apprentices or graduates, Ascendancy offers a range of digital marketing services. In a nutshell, as well as web design, the company specialises in getting websites higher up the Google rankings (other search engines are available….).
Earlier this year, Helen and the Ascendancy team won the award Best Small Business 2017 in the Shropshire Business Awards. Great recognition for a business which was founded on both expertise and ethics.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Commonly known as SEO, this is the art of getting websites ranked at the top of the free search engine results. These are ‘organic’ results (which appear beneath the ads) as opposed to paid-for results; Helen is an expert in both.
In the past so called ‘experts’ at SEO used all sorts of dodgy practices to get websites into top positions but, as we know, Google is a very sophisticated search engine and is constantly changing its algorithms and criteria. Google is increasingly regarded as a ‘pay to play’ platform – it’s harder and harder for small businesses to get ranked organically unless you are really niche.
Search results are increasingly being dominated by brands that can afford to pay for SEO for competitive search terms but also have that good quality content, credibility and strong website traffic.
Debunking Four SEO Myths
- SEO is a one off – No. It is an ongoing process.
- SEO is included in your new website design – No. There should be some basic SEO facilities put in place, but most web designers are not SEO experts.
- You don’t need SEO, just build an awesome website – No. Even the best website probably won’t rank well without some work unless you are really operating in a very niche market.
- You need to spend £3000 a month to get results – Not necessarily. With the right knowledge, you may be able to do a lot of the work yourself, and even if you are using an agency you may be able to achieve results on a much smaller budget – depending on your circumstances.
6 Simple Ways to Improve your SEO
- Ensure you have a My Business Listing – this is a free Google listing which every business can claim providing you are happy to share your company location. To find your listing see this helpful article https://www.google.com/business/. Make sure you complete the listings using key words where appropriate (see this blog on key word research from Wicked Spider) so people searching for products or services in your area will see your website. It can help if you get some good reviews and include lots of photos.
- Content is still King (or Queen!). You will need good, unique, well written content that the market needs and searches Google for, and that people will find easy to understand. For example, give your article a headline that’s in plain English and not ‘clever’ or cryptic.
- Google takes into account your grammar and spelling, so make sure these are accurate.
- Blogs are another good way to get fresh content onto your website and of course it gives you something to talk about on social media. If you want to make fascinating articles – look at what everyone else has written on that subject and use the 10x rule. This means taking the best elements (but never copying content….) and making it 10 times better.
- Also make sure your website is fast loading (don’t use images with huge file sizes), mobile friendly and secure (it’s best to have a web address starting with https rather than http, which makes your website more secure – this article explains why) and well coded.
- Links to your page from other web pages are still important in Google rankings. Try to gain links from high quality, relevant websites. Consider providing quality freebies or other useful resources or content on your website that people will want to link to – and of course you can also use social media to direct traffic to your blog. Neil Patel has a good article about other ways to build links.
Finally, if all else fails and you have a business that you want to build fast, then you may need to bite the bullet and create a budget for advertising through Google. By using an experienced Digital Marketing Agency like Ascendancy Internet Marketing you know you will be in safe hands!
Blog written by Kim Gilmour – Social Media Marketing, Management & Training