Category Archives — SEO

What are NAP Citations & why are they important for you to outrank your local competitors?

With the amount of acronyms and “guru” SEO speak that gets thrown around these days, it’s perfectly understandable for people who are trying to understand the requirements for their business’ online presence to feel a little overwhelmed.

For local-oriented businesses, having near-perfect localised SEO is one of the most important aspects to get right. This is because this type of SEO will give you the greatest conversion, as the people who are visiting your site will likely be from the location that you are based, and the location that you’re targeting.

For example, if you were a power wash company located in Exeter, Devon, and the majority of your traffic, for whatever reason, was coming from Glasgow, it’s unlikely that any of this traffic would ever convert. It’s very unlikely that this scenario would ever occur though.

However, if you own a national business, or planning on expanding into the national market, then the location of the traffic won’t matter as much.

What are NAP citations?

NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, Phone Number, although website URL should also be added to the list. NAPs are crucial for businesses who are wanting to rank highly on local search engine results, as search engines, like Google, take this type of data into account when deciding which businesses they should show for geo-targeted search queries.

Why are NAP citations so important for local SEO?

It’s widely believed that search engines will cross reference NAP data that is listed on your website or social media profiles, with data that is found on other sites, like blogs and directories. It’s thought that this process helps to legitimise the business, as fake companies are unlikely to have a physical address listed, or even have consistent NAP data on the large directories.

Although consistency is the highest priority, spelling and formatting is also something that should be considered. As an example, if your company name has “Limited” in it, always write it as Limited, and never Ltd, or something similar. Sure, it means the same, but search engines are algorithms and don’t have the same processing capability as humans. When all of your NAPs are consistent, all of the data that’s present on your online profiles and directory entries will be exact-match and will help the search engines to understand what your business is, and what demographic it serves.

On the other hand, if your NAP information is inconsistent, then the search engines aren’t going to be certain which information is correct, and which should be prioritised. Conflicting information reduces confidence and trust with these algorithms, which in turn, will mean that the search engines will favour other listings that have a more substantial presence.

Every time your correct NAP information is listed on another website, it will boost your business’s credibility, which will help you to rank better for relevant search queries. Basically, for local SEO, the only way to hit that rank 1, page 1 spot, excluding all other factors that should be taken into account when ranking a website, is to have lots of well constructed and relevant NAP citations.

What types of NAP citations are there?

Although all citations are useful, being listed on different types of directories can be advantageous for telling the search engines about your niche and location.

NAP citations can be found in three different types of directories:

Local directories

These directories are usually not the most powerful, in terms of SEO strength, but they are just as important as any other. These directories will be specific to the city, county or region that your business resides in, and will help to confirm your geo-location to the search engines because only businesses in the specific area will be allowed to be listed.

As an example, here is one for businesses in Somerset: isomerset.co.uk. As you can see, you have to have a physical location to be able to add yourself to the directory. Therefore, these type of citations definitely help to confirm your location, alongside the bigger nation websites.

National directories

National directories are the websites that are mainly used for citations, over the other options, and arguably give the biggest boost.

For the UK, some of the biggest and most commonly used ones are Google My Business, Bing Places, Apple Maps, 118, and Scoot. The first three are global directories, and the last two are specific to the UK.

Industry directories

Industry directories are usually limited to regional listings, and will specialise in a specific niche. As an example: http://www.securityplace.co.uk/security-companies – this website lists security companies within the UK. These directories are sometimes difficult to find, depending on the niche of your company or business, but if there is one that applies to you, they are definitely worth pursuing.

Adding citations together

SEO is a complicated system, and there is no one right answer, but there are certainly a lot of wrong answers. Local SEO works a little differently to regular SEO, as it takes citations into account, as well as all of the other criteria associated with ranking a website.

Concerning the three directory types we have listed above, you can really boost your online presence by utilising every one of them, pushing yourself higher than websites who have completely disregarded local SEO altogether.

Consider this; a search engine is trying to determine what business should be in the number one position for the term “landscape gardener in Bridgewater”, and it’s trying to decide between two websites, both of which have a decent online presence. The first website has great content, with near-perfect onsite SEO and a decent backlink portfolio. However,  the other website has numerous citations. They have citations in 30 of the larger national directories, as well as a listing on a Somerset specific directory, and even have a listing on a gardening and agricultural directory. They also have a couple of reviews on Facebook and Google. Which do you think should take the top spot? The second website, theoretically. The first website would do well to rank for non-geographic keywords, or even for regional keywords perhaps, but the second website should dominate niche related local search queries every time.

Creating the perfect NAP citation

There is no secret formula to creating the perfect citation, as the most important thing is that they all match, as variations can be detrimental to ranking placement. However, the following information should be including:

  • Your Name – Your name as it appears on all documents and business registration forms
  • Email Address – The formal email address for correspondence.
  • Company Name – Make sure that there are no variations to your company name, like Ltd over Limited. Choose one and stick to it.
  • Address – The exact address as it appears on your mail.
  • Suite or Floor Number – If there is one.
  • City – The exact city name, without using any nicknames.
  • County or State- The county the company resides in.
  • Postcode or Zip – The postcode of the company.
  • Phone Number – Be sure to only ever use the local variation of your phone number. Never add international codes and other such variations.
  • Landing page for the location – If your business has multiple locations, have a landing page specific to the location you’re building the citation for.

Consistency is key

Having exact match NAPs listed on respected websites will give you a favourable look in the eyes of Google. This is because association websites and Chamber of Commerce websites are almost impossible to get on with fake information. If your information is on these sites, it’s even more important to make sure that you list your NAP information the same way as it’s listed on Chamber of Commerce, for instance, as it’s a great deal of hassle to get that information changed.

Consistent phone numbers are often something that’s overlooked, which can be a real problem, as they are incredibly important. If search engines are scraping multiple phone numbers related to your business, it will trigger red flags without a doubt. It’s common for businesses to do something called “call tracking”, in which they will make several landing pages or citations with different phone numbers, so they can see which citation or landing page is performing better. From a business perspective this seems like a clever idea, but regarding SEO and search engine algorithms, it can be disastrous.

If you are doing call tracking by using landing pages, all is not lost. You can add a code to your page, known as a “no-index” code, which will tell search engine crawl bots not to index your page into their search engine database. You won’t be able to do this for citations though, as you won’t have access to the directories website coding. The best practice is to scrap doing call tracking altogether and to just focus on providing your potential customers with one phone number, as the risks associated with getting multiple numbers indexed are not worth the minimal statistical data you’d get from knowing which landing page your customer received the phone number from.

Wrapping up NAPs

NAPs, in theory, are incredibly simple and you do not need to be a SEO guru to make them. They are just a small amount of basic information about the location of your business that are referenced on a third party website – most commonly a directory based website. However, they can often be easily created incorrectly which has a knock on effect to your overal rankings, so it’s paramount that you make sure that you’re creating them perfectly, or have a professional create them for you if in doubt.

3 First Steps To Ranking Your New Website

Okay, you have just completed the building of your new website, you are excited and can’t wait to share your “new baby” with the rest of the world. Only if it was that easy. Guess what? It is. The online community today is all about visibility, everybody wants to get their website out there to boost traffic and increase revenue. The competition is fierce but by understanding the basics and applying them diligently, you will be a step ahead of the competition. In this article, I am going to reveal three simple but effective ways to increase your website’s traffic.

  1. Create Online Business Profiles

The first thing to consider is registering your website on multiple local business profiles online. For example, if someone is searching a product or service online, the search engine will display local businesses offering that service or product locally. Naturally you want your website to be among else you are losing customers to your competitors. Google My Business, Yahoo! And Bing should be your primary targets; they are major search engines with Google alone having over 3.5 Billion searches per day and 1.2 Trillion searches per year worldwide.

It is not enough to simply just ‘register’ on these sites. You must complete your profiles and constantly update profiles with relevant information. This will tell Google that you are active, and as a reward Google will let your website and profile appear when relevant keywords are searched. So you see, you get rewarded for staying awake and participating in class. Try to make a habit of checking your profiles daily, engage with customers, and encourage them to leave feedbacks and reply to their comments. It might seem a lot at the beginning, but when you make it a habit you will enjoy the benefits.

  1. Business Directories (NAP Citations)

The next thing to consider is listing your website on directories. These are web pages that direct internet users to relevant sites that have been sorted by service or industry. You should register on local, national and industry related directories.

Local listings like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Small Business Directory, Web Directory UK, Open Directory and more can greatly improve traffic and increase e-commerce sales. Also, get your information on travel sites like Trip Advisor, Expedia, Orbitz, it can help you bring even more tourists to your business.

Looking for the right directory requires patience and the right keywords. Google search is a good place to start your search when looking for a relevant directory. You need to localise your search to your specific geographic area. For example, if you live in Birmingham, search local business directories in Birmingham. You can further personalize the search by using specific keywords relevant to your niche. Say you sell jewelleries; you can type “jewellery directories” on google search then pick your preferred directories from the search results to submit your website. The same applies with national directories.

  1. Interact With Your Audience (Social & Blog)

The final thing to consider is blog outreach and social media presence. You should be active on all social media platforms if possible. Modern technologies like Hootsuite, Buffer and more have made it possible to manage multiple social media accounts seamlessly. Social media marketing is taking the world by storm, sharing quality content on your social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and more can rapidly skyrocket traffic to your site. Google loves quality content and rewards those who share quality content with increased visibility online.

In addition to social media, blogging has now become a norm for every online business. Blogging will improve traffic to your website and increase revenue when done correctly. The key is sharing quality content and actively engaging and posting articles. Start a blog which is relevant to your business and start posting quality contents to increase traffic to your site.

So there you have it… the three simple but effective steps to boost traffic and increase your website revenue. There are tons of other ways to increase traffic on your site, but these three are an ideal place to start. As you progress in the online and search engine optimization community, you will understand and apply other techniques to increase traffic on your site. Enjoy the experience and always remember it is not how fast you can get there, but how far you can last being there. Take it slow and try to understand the concept, it will serve you well in the long run.

3 On-Page SEO Tips To Help You Rank #1 In Google

For any site that wants to rank on Google and bring in a decent amount of traffic, on-page SEO is the first hurdle. Gone are the days when one could simply use spun and keyword stuffed content on their website and blast it with millions of low quality links to end up on the first page of Google. The SEO game has changed completely over the past few years, and on-page SEO is more important than ever. Only properly optimized sites are now being able to make it to the first page for their desired keywords. Also, on top of that, on-page SEO also matters more than you can imagine in increasing your conversion rates.

With that in mind, let us now take a look at some of the most important factors that one needs to take into account while optimizing their site for the search engines, especially Google. In no particular order:

  1. Awesome content

Must be annoyed of hearing it again and again right? Well, you shouldn’t be. After all, nowadays, the quality of content on your site matters more than ever. It not only plays a major role in your site’s rankings, but is also the most important factor for ensuring a healthy conversion rate.

In order to go a little deeper, let us think upon the fact that Google wants to offer quality information to its users. It isn’t just interested in ‘content good for SEO’, but rather needs something that provides real value to its users. It wants your website’s content to satisfy the demand of information the users are looking for.

Hence, the importance of having unique, high quality, and naturally flowing content on your site cannot be emphasized enough on. Just understand the fact that your content is your primary investment. The better the content is, the higher the returns will be.

  1. Keyword density

Keyword density, in simple words, refers to the percentage of presence of keywords in your article. This placement of keywords in your articles is what helps you rank your site for those particular keywords.

Though the fact that keyword density too is quite an important factor in on-page SEO of a site isn’t uncommon, a lot of people still seem to be doing it all wrong. A higher keyword density doesn’t mean more traffic, and vice versa. Also, just stuffing in your keywords anywhere you like in the articles will probably do more harm than good.

As far as the keyword density is concerned, you should take care of the following:

  • Keywords should be slipped in naturally, not stuffed in.
  • Your keyword should be placed at least once in the first 100 words of an article.
  • Your title should include your keyword in a natural way, though it seems that it would be better if you try to place it at the start of your title.

And last but not the least you shouldn’t just go with any keyword density you think would be right. A little search around the currently top ranking sites for your keywords and checking their keyword density might come in handy in helping you decide the ideal keyword density.

  1. Using SEO friendly URLs

This is probably something a lot of people new to the world of Internet Marketing completely ignore. Besides your content, it’s also quite important to come up with optimized page URLs.

First and foremost, your page’s URL should be as short as possible. Having long and ugly looking URLs would probably be the last thing you would like to have while trying to rank your site. Also, your URLs should include your main keyword in them. Google has itself stated that it gives most weight to a URL’s first 3-5 words. So it would be highly recommended to include your keyword in the first 3-5 words.

A final word

There are quite a few other important factors as well that seem to be affecting a website’s ranking considerably. You can sign up for our newsletter to receive all such important details as well as have access to a lot more useful resources that will go a long way in helping you rank your site.

How To Drive Sales Through Effective SEO

How To Drive Sales Through Effective SEO

The Liverpool Cake Company has been one of our most exciting clients, and a perfect demonstration to illustrate the effectiveness of our services combined with a bit of your own initiative.

The Liverpool Cake Company was the type of company that used Facebook as their main call for contact online. Considering the competition one faces on Facebook and the need to be ‘in the right place at the right time’, it’s no surprise that they had little activity in terms of enquiries and orders. After all, nowadays, people tend to do a quick online search to find what they are looking for, be it just cakes that they’re ordering.

The Liverpool Cake Company approached us expecting us to help build their brand online and drive enquiries.  We set out two clear, relatively simple objectives a) provide a customer friendly website that follows their company theme b) to dominate the local search engine results in order to drive traffic thus increasing enquiries and orders.

We designed a great and professional looking website for them, detailing their specialty and the wide range and unique style of cakes they’ve in store for their customers. We also detailed their prices, which seemed to be rather reasonable compared to their competitors in the area. They surely seemed to be offering better rates and even arguably a better service to their competitors, it’s just that they weren’t gaining enough exposure.

However, a lot of the competitors do have a website, but they still hadn’t managed to make it big, all thanks to not focusing at all on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By doing some keyword analysis we found that TLCC had a lot of potential clients waiting for them, but they needed to ‘rank’ for their local keywords. So we did some quality linkbuilding on the website and in no time they started ranking for highly targeted terms such as Liverpool birthday cake, Liverpool wedding cake, Liverpool christening cake, and so on. By no surprise ranking for these terms started flooding their site with highly targeted traffic and the enquiries soon started following.

However we can’t take full credit, they worked hard and not only took our advice for steps forward but also done their own research. They remained active on social media, something that can help any businesses to look trusted and authoritative in the eyes of the search engines. They also started blogging about cakes, attracting regular curious visitors to their site as well as helping them maintain their website’s rankings in Google.

Here’s what they have to say about the work we did for them:

“I know I’ve recommended SRE Web Solutions before but I really want to say again how pleased I am, not just with my website and the amount of extra business it’s brought, but also with the fantastic ongoing service provided. It really makes a difference to know that the site can be kept up to date at all times. I’m sure this makes a difference to potential customers and is one of the reasons my orders have more than doubled since the website was launched. Thanks so much.”

“I am now getting more orders through my website than FB or people I know! I recommend you to anyone who show the slightest inkling they may be wanting a website (or perhaps even if they don’t!).”