Understanding the significance of search enables commercially-minded business marketers to construct websites that rise to the top just when prospects and customers are looking for them.

Think about your own information searches online. You use words and alter them, add to them or remove them to better refine the results you receive. Having a search engine optimisation strategy for your business helps to provide a structured approach to identifying the words that your customer and prospects use to then position your products and services to meet their needs. This is achieved by improving your visibility in search engines for the most relevant queries that people are using. If you are interesting and relevant enough, they may take an action to find out more. Using an industrial b2b example, the mining products company Atlas Copco, we can see how a structured approach to on page optimisation can pay dividends.


Keywords are critical as they…

Social SEO: Why the right type of interactions matter

It's now well known that driving greater engagement through more social interaction leads to increased Social SEO signals. This in turn helps you to gain higher search engine rankings. In this post I'll explain the techniques I use for increased interaction. Imagine this: You have a friend you see every day, and every time you talk to him, all he wants to talk about is his latest project. He doesn’t listen to anything you have to say, and if you try to interact with him, you either get silence, or another comment relating back to his project. That’s a pretty one-sided and superficial friendship. The way that many brands interact with their fans on social sites isn’t much different. They do a lot of self-promotion and not a whole lot of engagement. They might have the best content in the world, but if…

A 3 Phased Approach to integrating Content and SEO Audits

In every book about Content Strategy, the recommended process will have an audit as one of the first steps; this is much the same as for Search Engine Optimisation. Granted, there are some specific technical aspects of SEO – particularly regarding server-side issues – that aren't related to content, but SEO audits will also cover onpage issues that need to be forwarded to product or editorial teams. As these disciplines merge, it is useful to get these groups working together, and it saves time to do onpage SEO and content auditing in one go. Thus I suggest combining the audit process as I'll explain here.

Phase One: Gathering Through Crawling

Using Xenu & Excel

Content Strategy books seem slightly wary of using crawlers for content audits. In Content Strategy for the Web, Kristina Halvorson writes (p.48): "During the audit process… technology can…

Our summary of the new advice from Google on SEO for startups and small sites

You've probably heard of the Penguin series of updates that have negatively affected rankings for many companies. It's worth being aware that last week we had the release of Penguin 3.8 which impacts 1% of global searches. You can learn more about this Penguin update here.

SEO basics in 10 minutes

The main purpose of this post is to alert you to this new video guide from Google. It's from  Maile Oyhe who has worked with Google for 7 years. The advice covers the basics needed for SEO for sites with less than 50 pages, she says that doesn't include more complex Ecommerce sites. While most online marketers will already know most of the advice, you may find it useful to share in these situations: Friends / family just starting their own site / business who are asking you for advice…

Aimed at capturing a greater share of higher converting ‘long tail' traffic

Ecommerce websites can inadvertently fall short of SEO best practice because, for example, the site may be accidentally riddled with crawler and duplicate content issues. Such issues are inherently linked to product optimisation, an oft-neglected aspect of SEO which is the focus of my post. It’s surprising how often ecommerce sites neglect this dimension of SEO. People tend to be distracted by the high volume head and middle keyword terms and forget to pay attention to the crucial keywords pertaining to the long tail. Many sites succeed in capturing a fair amount of long tail traffic without paying particular attention to it. Nevertheless, it’s still important to capture as much of long tail traffic as possible because long tail traffic converts better than head term traffic.

Tip 1 - Duplicate…

An example of how small changes can have positive impacts

I'm no SEO expert, but I think I've developed a bit of a knack for getting some decent organic search results from blog posts. All I've done is utilised a few basic SEO practices, so I thought I'd share them in the hope that it inspires others to make similar changes. Here's an example for a generic phrase that's important in the market for our company:

Editor's note: We checked with Marie this wasn't influenced by personal customisation in Google search. If you use Google's new Verbatim Search that strips out personalisation based on Web History (there even if you're not signed in), then this term still ranks position 2 or 3.

How did we do this?

This is for an established post, what we did was increase…

Currently available on Google.com only

Importance: [rating=5] Value: [rating=1] Source: Google Official Blog annoucement

Our commentary on Google's Search Plus Your World (SPYW)

Make no mistake, Google's bold start to 2012, announced this week will have a massive impact on digital marketing in the years ahead if it retains its current form. Although the change has been widely covered, even in the main stream media, you may not have seen it yet since it's not available, in local engines the UK, Europe or elsewhere. We will let you know when it is.

How big a change is this?

If you've seen the Google.com site you'll know it's a big change for the user experience and the way companies gain visibility - so it will have big marketing implications we think. But in our discussions at Smart Insights, we've been arguing about how big the impact will be. It does depend on the type of search…

How BBC Worldwide grew traffic to the Good Food website 60% +  in 12 months

I recently caught up with BBC Worldwide Digital Marketing Manager, Selina Holliday, to talk through what's involved with managing a popular online publication. I’d heard about their success across multiple BBC web properties including the Good Food website, so I wanted to quiz Selina to learn how she and the wider BBC Worldwide team managed to grow one of the sites in their portfolio as much as they did (BBC Good Food). Let’s recognise that this growth is quite an achievement for a website that already receives high volumes of traffic. So what's the secret? My takeaway was "Keep it simple and focus limited resources on getting the basics right".…

Google Product Listing Ads are now live in UK, Germany and France

Value/Importance: [rating=3] Recommended link: Google Announcement & Key Questions Answered

Our commentary

The ability to display your products through the Google Merchant center is something most online retailers are now utilising. Google has recently launched the ability through the merchant center  & Adwords for you to display your products as part of sponsored search on a Search Results Page. This means if people search for keywords related to your product you can have your product search result displayed on the right as shown in this live search from today:

It will display your product images, price, product name & your website URL. See an example on the right. The new ad-formats take up a large portion of the sponsored area and really standout on a results page! Google's initial description of the new…

How we built SEO into a launch campaign for a new service

In this post I’ll share the steps we went through to integrate SEO into a campaign to support the launch of a new product offering. I think the steps are common to many campaigns based around content marketing, so I hope you find it useful. Do let me know of other steps or approaches you think could work for this type of campaign. The weather…arguably the nation’s favourite discussion topic and what I have been marketing through our digital channels. A key requirement of the Met Office is to disseminate our outputs as widely as possible to ensure that the public can take action for impactful weather and climate outcomes through all channels the public interact with, in my case pre-dominantly through www.metoffice.gov.uk. The Met Office operates in the highly competitive weather sector with a number of private sector competitors competing…