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November 25, 2011

Modern SEO – A Best Practice Approach

Google  is constantly evolving, a few years ago it’s result’s page would have paid search (pay per click adwords) listings at the top and to the right, and then 10 natural website listings below and nothing else.

Now Google’s landing page has a myriad of different types of listing and information, as well as paid ads and natural listings, there are local maps, local businesses, relevant images, social information, shopping items and more.

Because of this there are more opportunities to promote your businesses products and services but you have to be cleverer in how you go about doing it.

SEO screenshot

Here are our best practice tips to not only getting yourself on page 1, but getting yourself in the right place!

1. Local Search Results Are Becoming King

By local search results we mean Local Maps and Local Places (have a look on the screenshot above). Eye mapping studies have shown that this is where the eye is first drawn to when a search result page loads, therefore getting your business into these listings is very important, particularly if you rely on local customers for business.

Key methods for getting ranked are:

  • Exposure: Ensure that your correct business information is listed in as many (reputable) locations as possible around the Internet. As always, consistency is king. If you write “St.” instead of “Street” on your Google Places page, make sure your other listings reflect the same.
  • Google Places page optimisation: Just like your website, make sure your Places page is properly optimised. Include categories that match you businesses products and services exactly, and point your Places page back to a city-specific landing page if applicable.
  • Reviews: Google will only display reviews from Google, but getting reviews from aggregators like Yelp, Superpages or Trip Advisor will help increase your presence.

2. You Can No Longer Have Search Without Social!

The division between search and social has officially ended. Social cues such as Twitter shares, Facebook likes, Google +1s and social bookmarking heavily influence search rankings. With the rise of Google+ it is essential to have a Google+ page as Google are taking it into account more and more when determining SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). As well as this search results are becoming personalised for each person. With any SEO campaign you put into motion, include a social aspect to it to facilitate information sharing.

3. Think of People, not Robots, When Optimising Keywords

People usually search in Google because they are looking for the answer to a specific question. Think about what queries people will use when looking for a business offering your products and services; there’s no point in being #1 for a search term that no one ever searches for! Make sure you spend the time when undertaking SEO work to do the keyword research. What will bring you visitors that want to buy?

4. Content Links Are King — Good Writers Are Sorcerers

Google will always be one step ahead of the game as they create the rules. One of the rules it’s introduced is that they aren’t a fan of ‘spam’ style links and so for the most effective long-term SEO strategy, move the focus back to great content, both on your website and across other sites. Building article driven links will be hugely beneficial, an easy way to do this is to writeguest blog posts for other websites that reference your site

5. Use : Microformats, Rich Snippets and when coding your page

The major search engines have worked together to develop, a set of website standards that will give the search engines more information about what your site is all about, making it easier for those engines to read the site’s data and index accordingly.  Search engines including Bing, Google and Yahoo! rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages.

By using rich snippets, for example, you’re able to tell Google what information to feature in SERPs: product reviews and prices, upcoming events, recipe cooking times, etc. The added data will increase your click-through rate because users are able to preview more about the link before they commit to the click.

6. It Doesn’t Mean Anything Without Data

No matter how big you business is, whether you’re a sole-trader or a PLC, it is vitally important to not only get results but also to track your marketing performance and with regard to SEO, this is vital!

It is of course very important to track ranking positions for your keywords.  However, since Google introduced personalised searches it is harder to tell exactly where your page will be displayed.

What you should be doing is tracking simple key performance indicators (KPIs) to show results, for instance, the number of pages visitors are landing on, the “stickiness” or bounce rate of those pages, and the number of keywords driving traffic to each of those landing pages. Google Analytics displays all of this data.

If you would like to discuss any of this with regard to your business we’d be delighted to talk to you, please email me at and we’ll talk!

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