Engage Web April 2010 - Page 2 of 6 - Engage Web

Nice SEO, shame about the website

Posted on April 25, 2010

This week I was searching the Internet for a suitable locksmith, and Googled such phrases as ‘locksmiths in Manchester’. SEO competition for this phrase, and related phrases, was quiet fierce and some of the sites that ranked near the top of Google had obviously spent a fair amount of money on their search engine optimisation campaigns.

However, after searching through three or four websites, I decided instead to visit yell.com and look for a local locksmith there. Why I hear you ask, especially when, as our business is SEO, we should at least use websites that rank within Google’s natural SERPs and support businesses that engage in search engine optimisation.

Simply put, the websites that ranked near the top of Google were all poorly designed and laid out. They had spent an awful lot of time and effort on getting to the top of Google, but hadn’t bothered too much with their actual (more…)

Posted by Cheryl Mathews

How to get rid of nasty slugs

Posted on April 24, 2010

As we head towards the summer, one of the biggest problems facing people in the UK is slugs. If left to their own devices, slugs can invade your nice new patch and undo all of your good efforts – leaving you with a real mess when you were perhaps expecting a lush green landscape.

No – we haven’t gone all Alan Titchmarsh on you, and we’re not talking about gardening; we’re talking about slugs on your website, and their impact on your SEO. A slug is the name given to the page name of a dynamic URL when it is rewritten by a CMS such as WordPress, and it is usually a very search engine friendly thing indeed.

For example, instead of /p=1929 as the name of a post on your website, your post might be something like /latest-seo-advice.html – the search engine friendly slug contains keywords relating to your post, making it (more…)

Posted by Matt Jones

Writing content for the homepage of a website

Posted on April 24, 2010

As it is often the first thing that visitors see, the homepage of a website is incredibly important, and can be a writing challenge even for professional SEO copywriters. Why then, in so many cases, does it appear to be drowning in marketing jargon, seemingly placed there to please the business behind the site rather than potential visitors?

Serving the needs of the company may please the boss, but it does nothing to help visitors who may arrive at the homepage of a website in a state of some confusion. They need to know if they are in the right place, and if venturing further into the site is going to help meet their needs. Being confronted by a wall of text boasting about the company’s awards, successes and general greatness is less helpful than being reassured, in clear language, that the website can indeed offer a required service or product.

Visitors might still run away in fear unless there is also some clear and obvious text explaining how to navigate from the homepage deeper into the site. An experienced content writer would write useful link text, leaving people in no doubt about where they would be taken should they choose to click on it.

A barrage of information is off-putting, and probably unnecessary, so it is wise to keep the homepage as lean as possible, focusing on what is relevant for visitors who have just arrived and need to know more, but not too much more, and incorporating some of the keywords they may have used to reach the site.

Posted by Matt Jones

Run the London Marathon… on Google Street View

Posted on April 23, 2010

This Sunday sees the London Marathon being held in the capital, and thanks to unpronounceable Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, many of the top athletes from around the world who were hoping to take part are having more difficulties reaching the starting line, than the finishing line.

As ever, Google has weighed in with a solution offering people the chance to run the London Marathon from the comfort of their armchairs, beds, sofas or wherever else they may be relaxing – anything is better than painfully plodding the streets of London. With the below video you’re able to follow the London Marathon course, courtesy of Google Street View, and in a world record 4 minutes 27 seconds.

With a time like that, it doesn’t matter if the organisers successfully fly in the (more…)

Posted by Carl Hopkinson

Become a better SEO through sharing knowledge

Posted on April 22, 2010

In the SEO community, some professional SEOs like to play their cards very close to their chest with regards to what details they share with clients, and even other members of their staff. The fear that someone will take their knowledge and use it for themselves keeps some SEOs in a constant state of paranoia to the extent that they don’t share their knowledge with anyone – which can have disastrous consequences for their business, and for the future of their own SEO knowledge.

While it’s understandable that an SEO company won’t sell the family silver by shouting everything they know from the rooftops, and telling every person that passes by their office exactly how they SEO a website, keeping information under lock and key on a strictly need to know basis isn’t ideal either.

We encountered an SEO company in Manchester recently where none of the sales or customer service staff knew how SEO was performed. In addition, rather than having a team of programmers or SEO consultants, all of the SEO knowledge was kept safely locked away inside the mind of the owner of the company. Paranoia dictated that nobody need know exactly how he went about the art of search engine optimisation – even if the person in question had to speak to a client about what was being done on their website.

The trouble is of course, there are several things wrong with this policy.

Firstly, should the one and only person who knows how to perform SEO ever be on holiday, or off ill, then the company’s (more…)

Posted by Cheryl Mathews

Why you should let others write your web content

Posted on April 22, 2010

Many people dream of writing, and some may have excelled in the subject at school. Winning prizes for essays and achieving top marks in spelling might have led to daydreams of novel-writing fame, with visions of signing books and swanning around in limousines. During chemistry lessons, it may have been preferable to scribble poetry furtively while others were manipulating Bunsen burners. If a spark was kindled that has occasionally flared ever since, when the time arrives to fill one’s new website with shiny content, it could feel painful having to hand over the work to professional content writers.

If one has a personal, long-cherished aim to write creatively, it actually makes sense not to consider creating the content for one’s own business website. This is because the content of a site needs to be made with its potential visitors in mind, and the words must be tailored to meet their needs. This conflicts with the needs of a budding writer looking to do their (more…)

Posted by Jenny C

Eyjafjallajökull volcano not used by black hat SEOs

Posted on April 21, 2010

Its name may look like someone has dropped a paperweight on their keyboard, but the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull has been dominating news headlines for the last week or so due to the impact it has had on Europe.

Now, when a major news event such as this usually comes around, such as the death of Michael Jackson or the death or Brittany Murphy, the black hat SEOs get right on the case and start optimising their spam and virus sites to catch people looking for more news. However, in the case of Eyjafjallajökull – the black hat SEO community has been somewhat quiet.

Can you guess why?

That’s right, no one can spell the darn thing. Eyjafjallajökull is probably the biggest news story of the last decade that hasn’t had any impact at all on black hat SEO. Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, London and other cities in the UK may be cut off in terms of air travel – something that even a major terrorist scare (more…)

Posted by Matt Jones

Facebook Insights

Posted on April 20, 2010

When you run a website, whether it’s a blog, a brochure site or an ecommerce website, you can track how many people access your site using stats packages such as Google Analytics. Analytics even tells you what countries your visitors came from, what counties or regions they’re based in and even what towns in some instances.

What Analytics doesn’t give you however is a breakdown on the age-group of your website’s visitors, and their sex. For this sort of information you’d need your visitors to register on your website and enter their full details – which is rare, and unlikely.

With Facebook however, when you have a Facebook Fan Page you can get the full details of your page’s fans, the visitors to your page, and their sex and age. This allows you to determine exactly how to cater your offerings to your (more…)

Posted by Carl Hopkinson
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