Category Archives: SEO Services

A Guide to SEO for Charities

A Guide to SEO for Charities
Search engine optimisation is all about making your website visible to the people who you want to find you. For businesses, that means reaching customers. For charities, that means finding people who are interested in supporting the same cause as you, and willing to make donations to support your work. SEO can be a great way to connect with these people, with benefits including…1) Increase donations – Of course, when more people find you online, you will hopefully be able to collect more money through your website. Online donations are still increasing in popularity as its quick and easy to make a contribution. Your website just needs to persuade that person, and to do that, they need to be able to find it.2) Increase awareness – Even if people don’t directly donate through your website, or you don’t have the facility to do so, SEO is still essential for increasing your visibility. This isn’t just on a national basis, but also locally, as local SEO is a massive element of some charities’ success. More awareness of your brand in general will help spread the word both online and offline.3) Increase trust – The third main benefit of SEO for charities is building up a stronger reputation. When you’re easy to find online, people will have more confidence in you. This will help inspire people to work with you and make donations, knowing that you’re an established and respected organisation.Putting yourself out there for these people to find you may require more technical knowledge than you possess, which is where we usually come in. However, whether you’re working with professionals or not, there are some basic SEO elements to bear in mind with all your online promotion efforts.
  • Choose target keywords carefully – Any kind of SEO strategy will revolve around your keywords. These are the terms you want to appear in search results for. Think about the people you need to engage with, and how they might express themselves when looking for information about your cause.
  • Target the correct area – Most charities tend to be local, regional or at least UK-based. Make sure you specify on your website where you are and where you operate, to help the most relevant people find you online. Search results vary for everyone, and location is a big factor, so don’t waste your efforts trying to rank highly outside of your area.
  • Create relevant, engaging content – Everyone needs great content on their website to get off the ground when it comes to SEO. This isn’t just written text, but also images, video and other media that will engage with your target audience, get across the right information and motivate people to support your charity. Search engines will reward sites with great content, because they can see that people stay on those websites for longer and interact with them more.
  • Get ideas from other organisations – The best place to find new ideas is to look at similar charities’ websites, perhaps those that are already doing better than you. It should be easy to draw a comparison and find areas where you can improve your website.
When it comes to the more technical aspects of SEO and getting your website working the way search engines (and potential supporters) respond well to, you may need a little more help. At 123 Ranking we offer charity SEO options and always do our best to support as many great causes as we can. Just let us know if you’re interested in working with us to promote your website.

Dealing With Negative Online Reviews

Dealing With Negative Online Reviews
For any business, even if you are not primarily focused on your online presence, online reviews matter. When people search for your business (or your target keywords, if you have an SEO campaign), your average Google+ rating and the number of reviews you have might show up on the first page of results. These people are going to make a judgement to compare you with your competitors, and if you have bad feedback that’s on display publicly, it’s likely to hurt your business.Getting bad feedback online can be frustrating. Sometimes it will be as a result of a genuine problem that occurred with one of your real customers. It’s very hard to guarantee perfect service every time, and mistakes happen, so from time to time even the best businesses might have dissatisfied clients. If someone chooses to be vocal about their disappointment on your public social media pages such as Google+ or Facebook, or on review sites like Yell or Review Centre, you will want to keep a lid on it if you can.However, it’s not about trying to censor your customers’ voices. In fact, most websites simply won’t let you do that. Instead, it’s important to get in touch with that person, reaching out to them and finding a solution that works for both parties. Whether this is public or private will depend on the context. Ideally, you should ensure people know the best way to get in touch with you directly so they don’t have to resort to public reviews in the first place!What about unfair reviews that you don’t think are real? Sometimes customers might let anger get the better of them and exaggerate their stories, or worse still, deliberately lie to make your business look bad. In these cases the best course of action is also to get in touch with them, although this may prove difficult. Be wary of taking more serious actions, though, as they could have consequences. Depending on the situation there are several things you can try, but it’s better to get professional advice before jumping into an argument online. After all, the reputation of your business is at stake, and the way you respond to criticism publicly says a lot about you to other potential customers.At 123 Ranking we offer a more detailed help guide specifically for helping you deal with negative online reviews. Our Rank 3 package is our most comprehensive SEO plan yet, and it includes this guide along with a range of others free of charge. To find out more about how we can help, simple get in touch with us now.

Rankbrain: The Newest Element of Google’s Algorithm

Rankbrain: The Newest Element of Google’s Algorithm
When optimising websites and working on SEO strategy, it’s always important to consider the elements that are used in Google’s famous algorithms for ranking pages. The combined efforts of many different nicknamed sections like Penguin and Panda, which have been added over the years, contribute to the end result: a list of webpages returned in what Google hopes is order of relevance, whenever a user types in a query.Knowing what factors are involved in this process helps businesses develop SEO campaigns and find ways to gain an advantage over the competition, which is of course what we specialise in helping with at 123 Ranking. For many years, the most important factors have arguably been the websites that link back to your own site, and the actual text content you have on your pages. SEO specialists have focused on these areas for a long time, and this isn’t due to change any time soon in Google’s calculations either.However, the third most important element (and the only one of the top three Google has actually confirmed) is now Rankbrain. This has only been announced recently, and the rollout has evidently taken place over the course of 2015, now being complete. Rankbrain is an entirely new section of Google’s ranking algorithm and has been compared to artificial intelligence, new territory for Google search (although Microsoft’s Bing has used a similar concept for some time).So how does Rankbrain work, and what’s the purpose of it?Rankbrain is essentially designed to interpret new, complicated search queries that might make sense to a human, but previously were too complicated for Google to grasp automatically. For long, complex sentences that need to be in context, Google wouldn’t be able to show the most relevant results in many cases without the help of Rankbrain.It still relies on human input, however. Rankbrain is not learning constantly, but instead it’s fed historical data periodically and tries to look for patterns and context to make links between seemingly unrelated search terms and websites. If the results seem rational to Google’s human testers, the update is rolled out, but if not, Rankbrain goes back to the drawing board.At this point Google tells us that Rankbrain is being used to interpret around 70% of all searches, which shows they’ve invested a lot in such a new system and must be confident this is the way forward. With the way this has been sprung on the Internet with little warning, you might wonder what impact it might have on SEO in the near future.The answer, luckily, is not much has changed about the long term strategy we’d advocate. Google is increasingly looking for ways to focus on quality content, and to avoid being fooled by black hat techniques and trickery. The way forward is still to populate your website with high quality content that genuinely provides value to your visitors, and Rankbrain is just another method for Google to pick up on this and reward you with higher positions.Many suspect that local businesses might benefit from Rankbrain, as it should better understand when users are hoping for local results without having to actually include their location in their search term. This is only one example, and time will tell how much of an impact this change will really have on the SEO landscape, but it serves as a reminder that pleasing Google is always going to be something of a minefield. Fortunately, with experts like ourselves at 123 Ranking to guide your business, you can be a lot more comfortable that your website is in great condition to respond to future search engine updates as well as getting ahead of the competition.

Content Marketing: The Ultimate SEO Tool

Content Marketing: The Ultimate SEO Tool
Content marketing is a vital factor in the success of any business website.  If you’re not thinking about it, the chances are you’re well behind where you could be.  You might think of blogging when we mention content marketing, but it’s much more than that!Content marketing basically means communicating valuable information to your audience that isn’t really focused on selling your product or service, but empowers users and gives them something they value.  It can be thought of as indirect marketing, since the idea is that once your readers start to see you as a valuable source of information, they’ll be more likely to remain loyal and buy from you later.With all aspects of your online presence, content marketing is integral.  As we say all the time to our clients, having great content is of course one of the best things you can do for SEO purposes. To help your website rank higher on search engines organically, you really want users to find engaging content that makes them stay on your site for longer and feel like they found what they were looking for, and search engines notice this behaviour.  If you think about it, the strategy you follow with the written content you use to promote your website should be consistent across social media, pay-per-click campaigns, emails, blogs, videos, PR and more… so content marketing really is key.Your objective with content marketing is essentially to build a high quality relationship with your potential customers over time, so you can guide people towards those eventual purchase decisions without the need for hard selling techniques.  Be careful though, as it’s not all about manipulating your readers!  Considering the wealth of information available online, you need to stand out as a voice of authority in your industry and deliver high quality resources to help empower your customers and bring them back to you next time they need an expert.Ultimately when planning our content, we need to find a balance between two main factors: what do we need, and what does our audience need?Starting with our audience, we need to make sure we know exactly who they are.  If we have a target market for our business (which we probably should have established by now!), what do they want to find when they visit our website?  Do you know what they already think of your brand or your products?  Does the size of your potential market warrant spending money on paid advertising, or getting professional help with SEO, social media and more?  If you can answer these questions, you have a good starting point.We also need to balance this with what we want to eventually get back from our audience. What’s the main objective of your content marketing strategy?  Are you building awareness of your brand, promoting a new service, converting leads from a campaign, or something else?  Thinking about how your business model works, how can you make sure the information you offer people encourages them to convert?Once you’ve worked on formulating an initial strategy, getting some quality content written should be straightforward, especially when you’re writing as an expert in your own field.  Next it’s vital to think about how you’re going to share and promote your content to reach its intended audience.  Beyond SEO and paid advertising, harnessing the power of social media is important as it’s perfectly suited to sharing content and increasing your reach naturally.  If you can offer your followers (and the rest of the online community) something of value, pushing it on the right channels combined with real social engagement should be enough to start growing your audience.For more help with content marketing, from your initial strategy to maximising your potential reach, we recommend you simply get in touch with our team at 123 Ranking.  As experienced SEO experts we’ve learned to focus on the bigger picture, helping our clients perfect every aspect of their online presence and put themselves in the best possible position to grow their businesses.  If you want to be in that same position, simply ask us here about how we can help you get there.

Google’s Phantom Update Revealed

Google’s Phantom Update Revealed
While most of the world was trying to avoid the “mobilegeddon” apocalypse, Google secretly rolled out a ‘phantom’ algorithm change that hit popular informational sites such as Hubpages, About.com, Wikihow, eHow and Answers.com.Paul Edmondson, CEO of Hubpages, released a blog post on May 11 explaining the platform’s current status. Hubpages is a collection of approximately 870,000 miniblogs primarily focused in publishing informational content. Findings show that the site experienced a drastic 22% drop in Google search traffic.Similar sites offering ‘how-to’ content have also complained about several traffic drops leading industry experts to dig deeper into the issue. Read on to find out what we discovered about the undisclosed update.

What Update?

The nickname “phantom” was derived from the fact that the algorithm is yet to be officially confirmed by Google. The popular search engine company declined to comment on speculations, but has been giving hints that changes were made. Edmondson decided to call it “the update that didn’t take place”.

The Target

What we once knew as evergreen content may never be the same again. Glenn Gabe, of G-squared Interactive, released a detailed algorithm report after receiving dozens of emails from clients complaining about significant drops in Google’s organic search results. According to Gabe, most of the websites were mobile-friendly so it couldn’t be because of the highly-publicised mobile algorithm adjustments. That was when he figured out that another update was implemented preying on “low quality” how-to style content.Most pages that were penalised contained:
  • Clickbait articles
  • Large portions of supplementary information
  • Stacked videos
  • Hard-to-navigate pages
However, it wasn’t as simple as that. Both Edmondson and Gabe revealed that the algorithm wasn’t just preying on individual page content. Entire websites started being pushed down the results pages despite containing relatively little content that matched Google’s ‘low quality’ criteria.

The Future of Search

Google is always a company that is known for looking forward. Consider them a book that has unexpected twists and sequences, often revealing that seemingly mysterious events were planned all along with an end goal in mind. Phantom was simply a sequel to the Google Knowledge Graph, a project officially introduced in 2012. This makes the jobs of content publishers more essential than ever.While industry professionals do not know where this may lead their businesses, at 123Ranking we always encourage UK business owners to update their SEO strategies to stay on top of these regular shifts. Any plans should always focus on delivering unique, high quality content, as this is one element of SEO that we can safely say will never fall out of favour with search engines or users.

Avoiding Algorithm Penalties

We may not know exactly what online searches will be like in 10 or 20 years, but our team is sure of one thing – excellent content. Sticking to the fundamentals is always the best starting point, and continuously providing updated content will help ensure your business’ future, making it as update-proof as you can be.If this is all new ground for you, you can set up a blog through your own domain to get your content up to scratch. If you haven’t started your website yet, there are a lot of very affordable hosting options that will suit your budget restrictions. You already know one of the golden rules of SEO just from reading this article, so you’re off to a great start.If you’re already further down the line, did you notice major changes in your traffic this May? You might be affected by Phantom, so check what type of content your site is delivering against the criteria we mentioned earlier. Just call us for free on 0808 189 0208 if you require any help assessing your website’s current position.