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google+ business page

What Terms Are Your Customers Using To Search?

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A really quick  blog post about how to make sure your website is set up for search terms that your customers are using to find your business.

Sounds obvious right? That your website should contain the phrases that your customers are searching for?

Well maybe, but it’s important to remember the difference between how you would term the services you provide, in relation to how your potential clients and customers would.

The best example I come across regularly is in the Property Industry. Often, Estate Agents use terms such as ‘letting agent’ throughout their website, and as such they can rank well for the term – for example ‘Letting Agent In Twickenham’. I would argue that from an authority point of view that this a good term to be ranking for in terms of being found for a service that you provide.

But our research tells us that the search engine user is much more likely to type ‘Property To Rent In Twickenham’ into Google – so ideally you really want your site to be found for that search term too.

Google’s latest ‘Hummingbird’ update also takes into account the more colloquial nature of search – much of which is stemming from smartphone use and the questions we ask of apps such as Siri which are now helping to dictate the way we search. So we might even ask something like ‘Where can I find a flat to rent in Twickenham?’.

So remember to ‘Tell Google’ what you do – you can do this primarily by featuring the keywords that your potential clients and customers are searching for in your website page titles, headings and regularly in your content. Make sure you link to relevant pages within your site by hyperlinking those keywords to specific pages. And if you blog about the subject – make sure you link back to relevant content too.

Got more SEO questions? We want to answer them for you! Contact us today… thanks for reading.

Written by Matt Davis | Managing Director | The Bright Click

Enhancing Your Personal Brand Using LinkedIn

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LinkedIn_ExampleOn Tuesday of this week I was fortunate enough to be asked by Nicki Kavanagh at The Juniper Co to take part in a webinar at their head office in Aldershot.

The webinar was aimed at members of their exclusive Alumni Group and was part of a series of events on how to enhance your personal brand, and the part that Social Media can play in doing so.

It was a very enjoyable hour, and in the Q+A session towards the end, I was asked some questions about LinkedIn and Twitter.

As I gave my answers to these questions, it occurred to me that many people aren’t using LinkedIn to its full potential – particularly in terms of their personal brand.

Think about going for a job interview – you’d do your research, you’d update your CV, you’d wear smart clothes, you may even have a haircut (as Dan says to me – which hair did you have cut..?!) – but the point is that all of these things, plus the way you then present yourself in the interview, form part of your personal brand.

So please do bear in mind the importance of presenting yourself in the same way on the Social Networks that you use – particularly on LinkedIn as the perceived  ‘professional’ platform of choice.  A potential client, customer or employer checking you out online may see your failure to keep your online profile up-to-date as a potential shortcoming.

So to help you avoid this scenario,  here are a few tips to help you present yourself in the best way online:

1) Profile Pic – is your LinkedIn profile pic one of you lying on a beach with a sangria and a sombrero? Or having a bit too much of a good time in the pub? Then consider changing it to something a little more sober – a simple head shot or you working in your current role for example. If you’re a teacher, a photo of you teaching is perfect for example. If it is a head shot – try and be smiling 🙂

Oh and the cardinal sin – no profile pic – there’s no excuse not to have one! How will anyone know if it’s THAT John Smith from the networking event…?

2) Your Biography – Make sure it’s filled in and don’t be scared of bigging yourself up, you’ve got a few seconds to make an impression so spend some time thinking about that killer opening line – and also how that works in conjunction with your profile picture, try and make sure the two marry together nicely if you can. First impressions are everything and online you have even less time to make an impact so make it count.

3) You Current Role – Most people create a LinkedIn profile as they are either looking for work or setting one up to network as part of a current role. However when they then move roles, the profile can simply be ‘left behind’. Bear in mind that your LinkedIn profile ultimately reflects YOU and YOUR brand – not that of the company that you work for. So if they’ve asked you to set one up, make sure that when you leave the company that your LinkedIn profile comes with you. Setting up a new profile for a new company is all well and good but someone searching for you and finding five different profiles of you working for five different companies with no end date is going to be confused. Either delete old profiles or make sure that your new profile is as up to date with your current role as it can be.

LinkedIn_Expertise4) Ask for recommendations – you’ve probably seen the ‘endorsements’ section of LinkedIn that has emerged in recent months, where you can simply endorse someone as LinkedIn asks you ‘Does Matt know about Online Marketing?’ However I’ve subsequently kindly been endorsed for random skills by people I’ve never worked for or with!

The real weight comes from recommendations, where previous colleagues and clients can write a recommendation on you as a person – adding huge value to your personal branding online. It’s great ‘Social Proof’ that you know what you’re talking about!

5) Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Authority – Make sure you post regularly about what you do and the results that you’re achieving. Do you write a blog? Make sure you link to it. Did you win an award? Post a photo of you receiving it. Seen something interesting in the news about what you do for a living? Post the link as an update. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for you to demonstrate exactly what you know about your specialist subject and role within the company. Make sure that anyone landing on your profile is impressed immediately!

Need more help with LinkedIn? Or maybe you want us to just check out your profile and let you know how it could be optimised further? Drop us a line here.

Written by Matt Davis

Give Your Website A Spring Clean Today!

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I’ve noticed a few things about the change in weather this week. 

Firstly, it seems to make everyone a little bit happier when the sun comes out – all over Facebook and Twitter at the weekend were pictures of people out in the sunshine, kids eating ice creams – yes it was only a little bit of sunshine and a few degrees warmer but it made a big difference.

However I then realised that this change in attitude has a bit of a knock-on effect. Green Lawn - The Bright Click

The sun shining in through my living room window highlighted the dust settling on my blind – honestly I have no idea of the last time I dusted it! Also, the grass in the garden suddenly looked much too long, so I went to grab the lawnmower from the shed but there was loads of other stuff in the way where I hadn’t had to use it for a few months.

Then when I started mowing the lawn, I found loads of little toys under the long grass that I had to keep moving for fear of breaking the lawnmower by running one of them over. So it took twice as long as it should have.

Now it’s not really practical to mow your lawn throughout the winter as the weather doesn’t always permit you to, but it got me thinking that if I had mowed the lawn just once on a dry day in November, and again on a dry day in February, it would not have taken me so long this time.

If I had dusted the blind before the sunlight so embarrassingly illuminated it for me, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to clean (it took FOREVER!).

And then it occurred to me that the same really does apply to the maintenance that you carry out on your website – when was the last time you gave your website a spring clean? 

But more importantly, what do you do weekly to keep your website ticking over as it should? 

Because making these changes daily or weekly not only saves you time and hassle in the long run, it also keeps Google happy and lets the search engines know that your site is relevant, topical and dynamic.

Broken Link Example - The Bright Click

A Broken Link – Google Doesn’t Like These

Here is a brief list of the sort of thing you should be doing daily / weekly on your site:

  • Check for broken links – we’ve all done it – linked from one page to another (which Google loves) and then later on deleted one of the pages, forgetting that it was linked somewhere else (Google’s not so keen on this). Think of the user experience – you don’t want people landing on your site and within a couple of minutes getting the dreaded 404 page – nip this in the bud nice and early by using Google Webmaster Tools to highlight any broken links for you to fix. There’s also a handy WordPress plugin that does this too. 
  • Make sure your meta descriptions are up to date and relevant – that snippet of descriptive  information that you see on Google searches stems from your website’s meta description – there’s not a huge amount of SEO value to these but you’ve got 140 characters to accurately describe your website to the person who’s searching so try and make it worth reading! Email me today for an awesome ninja trick that you can use on your meta descriptions – you won’t believe how simple and effective it is…
  • Check that your images are all alt-tagged – you know that little yellow box that appears above images when you hover the mouse over it? Google takes notice of this and loves it when they are correct – make sure you get a keyword or two in there too…
  • Write a blog and then tell everyone about it. This takes a bit more effort and I’ll go into more detail on this in a future post but blogging is the best way to tell Google how important your website is AND it gives you great content to post on Social Media too…

So – a few things to be getting on with and if you spread these out throughout the year then you won’t have to do them all at once – keeping your website visitors and Google happy at the same time!

I’m off to clean out the barbecue… 🙁

Need advice on keeping your website up to date, dynamic and Google-friendly? Drop us a line or call us on 08433 832 732

Written by Matt Davis

What Google Wants Right Now – In A Nutshell

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Google LogoGoogle is constantly adapting and after the algorithm changes of 2012 it can become more and more complex and difficult for smaller websites and businesses to get noticed, especially when there are much larger companies and more established websites in competition. So how do you get ahead and make sure you still appear near the top in Google web searches? Well, 1st up on the list be, of course, do exactly what Google tells you to:

1/ DO WHAT GOOGLE TELLS YOU TO DO!

Don’t be silly. You cannot ‘outsmart’ Google. It’s waaay too powerful and important to your business. Do what it tells you to do, don’t do anything that you might think maybe it doesn’t want you to do, and everything else should be plain sailing. If you think you might need it, there are plenty of reputable internet marketing agencies out there that can help with optimization techniques.

2/ NO COPYING!

Whether you’re copying text from another website or have a range of websites with selling similar products, it’s all the same to Google. It’ll identify the repeat patterns and the sites will not be listed. Customers want choice and Google knows this. So it’s trying to prevent one company dominating a particular search by having lots of websites advertising the same product. Keep it original, keep it fresh.

4/ DON’T BUY DODGY BACKLINKS!

Google used to keep an eye on how many other websites had a link to yours and make an assumption that the more links you had, the more popular your business. Makes sense, right? Well, no actually. Because this could obviously be exploited as a good business opportunity by sharp entrepreneurs looking to sell lots of backlinks to companies in a bid to up their perceived popularity. And it was. A lot. Which was why when Google cracked down on this kind of behaviour lots of business shot down the rankings virtually overnight.  Don’t fall for it, don’t buy them. Organic (ie legitimate) backlinking does carry some weight still but is certainly no-where near the way forward as it might have been a couple of years ago.

5/ MAKE YOUR CUSTOMER YOUR FOCUS

A lot of businesses will reason that because Google are all powerful, it should be their primary concern with regards to marketing, forgetting all at once the key player in your business. The customer. Google after all, is constantly tinkering with its product to meet the demands of its customers, so this is what you should be doing. Create great, original, fresh new content regularly. Update your website with new ideas, new blogs, share interesting information and people will naturally be drawn to it. Get them reading, sharing and commenting on your content, and search engine traffic will increase as a result.

6/ CREATE A GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT

If you haven’t already, do this now. Then make sure that everything you produce has your name (and/or photo) and is linked to your Google+ account. Then, make sure that your Google+ account lists whatever it is within the contributor section of links. You are doing this because Google has recognized that social signals are a great indicator for search engine rankings. The more ‘shares’, ‘likes’, and ‘+1’s’ your content the higher up the rankings you are going to be. Plus if you regularly blog or post on a particular subject, and you get lots of comments, likes and +1’s, then you’re more likely to be ranked as an author in that particular field. You are using Google, you want Google to like you, so sign up to Google+ and show them you like them too. And make sure you engage on other Social Media platforms too – Google likes this. Social is BIG in 2013.

7/ KEYWORDS

Time was when a website, in order to be recognized in a search ranking, would insert ridiculous amounts of keywords relating to their business in order to fly up said rankings (or worse, from a customer perspective, be taken to their website when they actually wanted to be somewhere else). But Google, again, thinking of their customers, have tried to stop this. Customers don’t want to read reams of pointless keywords (in fact, they don’t, they just click the X and move on), so in order to change this up, Google will now recognize repeated keywords and penalize the offending website accordingly. Whatever you put up, read it back, aloud. Does it sound natural? Are you repeating keywords or phrases over and over again? Mix it up. Make it interesting. Using different words will not only make it far less boring for your customer to read (if they read it at all), but will also serve to increase your rankings in the other words.

An Introduction To Online Marketing – Part One

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Most businesses in 2012 understand that they should be marketing online – people are spending increasing amounts of time online, the growing number of smartphones on the market is making mobile search more abundant and more important, and Social Media use continues to rise across all platforms.

The problem for businesses is knowing where to start, and what type of online marketing will suit them best, and give them the best chance of success.

So on this basis we plan to publish a series of regular blog posts to help businesses understand the different types of online marketing, and their subsequent benefits, in as simple terms as possible.

We will always try not to use jargon, and where we need to, we’ll do our best to explain what the jargon means!

And if there’s anything you would like more info on at any time, then please email the team at the following addresses:

matt@thebrightclick.co.uk | dan@thebrightclick.co.uk | hollie@thebrightclick.co.uk

We hope you enjoy the articles!

Online Marketing – Search Engine Listings

There are two main types of marketing approaches for search engine listings. The first is known as ORGANIC; these search engine results are natural or ‘free’ listings.

The second is PAID; search engine results appearing as paid advertisements are generally referred to as ‘sponsored links’ and usually work on a ‘Pay Per Click’ (PPC) basis – ie the person who has placed the advert only pays on the occasion that the advert is clicked on by the user.

Search engines will typically rank the most relevant results at the top of the page. This is determined by the searcher’s query – the ‘keywords’ that they type in.  Depending on the search engine, the relevancy of the search is calculated in different ways – and these are changed regularly in order to continually deliver the most accurate results, and also to deter spammers or those intent on cheating their way to search engine success.

On Google, both organic and paid results will appear for the same query, however the results are separate from each other. You will see the ‘sponsored links’ as the top three results in the ‘yellow box’ at the top of Google’s search results, and also some more of these along the right-hand side of the page.

The main advantage of a PPC campaign is that the advertiser can perform well and have a strong online presence, even if their site doesn’t currently rank as well in the organic search results.

SEO

SEO is a term that you will see a lot in relation to Online Marketing – it stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is essentially the process of either creating new websites or altering existing sites in order for them to rank highly in a search engine’s organic listings, when users search on terms that are related to the site’s content.

There are two type of SEO that you will generally hear referred to – ‘On Page’ and ‘Off Page’.

‘On Page’ basically refers to getting your website as geared up as possible for Google to ‘like’ it. This means using the main keywords associated with your website regularly within the content, implementing images and labelling them correctly and accurately, using strong headings, and other factors (we will go into this in more detail in a future blog) that will all improve the ranking results of your website.

Overall, it is vital to generate engaging content and appropriate keywords in order to maximise the chances of Google ‘liking’ your site when it crawls it.

‘Off Page’ means the amount of other sites that link back to your site – and the quality of these sites.

Google has traditionally considered links to a website to be a factor of how relevant and ‘important’ that site is – if a site had lots of links to it then Google made an assumption that this added to the relevance of the site.

However over time this has led to businesses creating ‘fake’ backlinks to their site and subsequently giving them a false advantage on the search results – these results often were based more on backlinks than on content, which is of course not how it should be.

Search results were coming down to who had the most SEO ‘tricks’ rather than whether the content on the site was relevant. When you consider that the very point of Google and other search engines is to deliver the most relevant results to the searcher, then something had to change – and it has in Google’s last couple of major updates, which they codenamed ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’.

Although backlinks still play a part, they are no longer as prominent and ‘fake’ links are being stamped out by Google on daily basis, with sites utilising them being strongly penalised.

Content and relevance are now very much king in the SEO world – so having your site set up properly has never been so important.

Please subscribe to this blog to receive our next instalment – or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be kept up to date!

Google+ Brand Pages Are Now Available

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Google Plus | Matt Davis MediaGoogle+ Brand Pages are now available, allowing businesses and brands to join Google’s social network.

“So far Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people,” Google SVP of Social Vic Gundotra said in a blog post. “But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about—from local businesses to global brands—so today we’re rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide.”

The new Google+ brand pages look similar to Google+ Profiles, except for the little square icon that designates that it’s a Page rather than a Profile. Users can add brands such as Fox News, the Dallas Cowboys and Angry Birds to their circles, check out their information and browse their photos. When users add a brand to their circles, it increases that brand’s follower count.

Read more and see images at Mashable

Set-Up Your Google+ Page