Monday, December 29, 2008

Localisation and SEO - Guest Blog Spot by Paul Symonds

One of the keys to winning traffic and site visitors is to get up to date with the ways in which you can use SEO and Localisation. There are various e-Strategy techniques and it is not always about trying to be number 1 in

Getting to number one in can be great but you might for example that you are much better off thinking in terms of ‘Localisation SEO’. Being No.1 in for example and showing in the Local Maps Listings for ‘Plymouth Wedding Cars’ if you run a wedding cars business, is better than showing in and not showing in the local listings.
Barcelona SEO - Local Business Listings
Ideally you will have a strategy for tackling all variations you need. You might need different strategies for and of for example.

If your site is aimed at a specific local area i.e. if you are a garage, a local service, then try and buy the regional domain such as a It also helps if your hosting is local to that country. This will then help you to do better in local results. Also submit your site to Google Local Business Directory.

Make sure you have an e-strategy before you buy a domain, website hosting and before you get too far into the site design. If you have a business plan you will have already picked up on many of these issues but it not, better late than never.

Paul Symonds is a Bristol SEO eStrategy expert & also offers Cardiff SEO.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Keep Visitors on Your Site - Part 3

As I've already mentioned previously, it's becoming more and more important to focus not just on driving traffic to your website, but also maintaining your new visitors on your site for longer.

As we're coming to the end of another year, it's a very good idea to review things on your site statistics to find out more about which pages were most visited, which had the highest bounce rate, etc. and how to try and fix that.

Forms can be a real *stop* on web pages. Filling in forms - no matter how small they seem - can often be off-putting and it's important to lead a completed form to a page with a real deadline as to when a client's request will be replied to and delat with.

Another great way to get around this is for the client to call you directly. And what better way to encourage this than adding a free phone number.
Barcelona SEO - Telephone
0800 numbers (1-800 numbers in US) or even local number (0845 in UK, for example) are a real winner. This not only creates immediate trust within a website, but shows that your company is a serious competitor, hungy for business and proud of the product on offer. 0800 numbers are fairly easy to set up, and assuming you don't want to pay for an easy-to-remember number (why? if you can plce the number clearly visible on the site and then people can type the number directly into their telephones), then you can find many companies offering this service. Calls can be re-directed to a land line or even a mobile phone - although the latter is obviously considerably more expensive.

Think about your target audience geographically, and go for a number in that country. If your website is in English but you receive more visitors from the USA, then get a 1-800 Toll free number and maybe a local call number for the UK. It is very important when selecting a free phone number to select a tariff which is PPS or pay per second, and NOT for minutes. This may sound rediculous, but it will drastically reduce the cost of your calls. Also, some companies offer an "interface" where you can forward calls to the number you decide. This is especially good for small businesses, as you ca have the free phone number directed to your land line as default, but then re-direct the call with the click of a button to your mobile if you need to leave the office for a few hours for example. This way you never lose a call.

At Barcelona SEO we can help you with many suggestions and strategies to keep your customers online and improve your sales techniques. Contact us for more details.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

How to keep Visitors on your Website - Custom 404 page

How many of you have come across this message before? I'll guess and say a lot.

Barcelona SEO - html 404 error page

OK, mine's in Spanish, and I've chosen Internet Explorer's version as it's the most widely used, but Mozilla and Mac users will have seen a similar message. So what do you usually do? A very low percentage of people would click back, and re-navigate the site to find the page they were looking for. A high majority of people would think that the website they are using have crashed and close the browser window, and the other percentage would just close and go and find the information they needed on someone else's website.

Unfortunately, site errors can be common and sometimes occur through no fault of our own. I've seen many inbound links from sites or blogs supposedly recommending a client's site all with good intentions, but mis-typing a url, for example. This is free publicity and should not be sniffed at. However, coming up with an error like the one above (known as a html 404 error page) not only turns the visitor off, but creates a bad impression overall of your site, and pretty much ensures that the visitor won't remember your site, or be back in a hurry.

The good news is that there's help at hand. It's a very good practice to make a custom 404 web page - a page which gives the same information, but follows the template and colours of your own website. It's much easier to see a small error message that the page you're looking for couldn't be found, but in the tone of your website, and a gentle re-direction to the home page or somewhere else like a site map, for example.
Barcelona SEO - Custom 404 error page
This makes the user feel that they have in fact found the right website (even if the landing page is the 404 custom error) and they can easily naviagte to a different part of your site, rather than closing the browser. One customer kept on your site, and bounce rate down.

For E-marketing strategies in Barcelona and to expand on ideas such as the custom 404 page, please contact me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to Keep Visitors on Your Website - Introduction.

What a lot of people don't realise when they start out a website, is that you need to design your website around the end user and NOT the search engines. Many people think about Search Engine traffic as the be all and end all, but as a "normal internet user" searching for something I need, I've seen some terrible sites up at number 1 and 2 - absolutely terrible page navigation, and although I'm so used to looking at websites I sometimes can't even find the button I need to go to the next step, be that buy, read more, sign up or whatever.

These kind of sites are throwing away their popular position of being at number 1 (or 2, or 3, for example) as they have concentrated too much on just driving huge amounts of traffic to their website in the hope that this will be enough to make sales. Bad move. Today's internet user needs clever guidance and for you to carefully lead them to make the decisions to reach the right page on your website.
Barcelona SEO - Money on table
When we talk about sales, and as I'll be mentioning in the next few blog posts, we need to be aware of some industry-wide phrases or acronyms to help us understand e-Marketing. Here are a few, just in case some of you are unaware of them. Please remember, too, that some sites do not always deal in monetary value - you might have a blog or an ezine/newsletter which needs more readers, for example, not a site actually selling something.

· Return on Investment, or ROI - This relates to the amount of profit you receive from the initial injection of your project. This could relate to time, resources or money.
· URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, but is basically the address that you see in the website address bar on your website browser. "http(s)://www. ...."
· Landing page is the web page that a visitor to your site sees, or "lands" on. It's not always your home page, which is why it's important to know the difference between the two.
· Bounce rate - This basically means the time a user spends on your website before leaving, and is usually shown as a percentage.

For more details on abbreviations, acronyms and other common SEO terms, I suggest you sign up for a Google Webmaster Tools account here.

Barcelona SEO - Google Webmaster Tools
There are various different ways to keep a visitor on your website, starting with a user-friendly navigation of course, but once you have what you think to be a decent site, then there are a few little extras to be added or implemented - this is what I'll be tackling over the next few posts. Please subscribe so as not to miss out on any tips.

For a detailed SEO analysis of your site, or SEO Training in Barcelona, please contact me.

Google Image Ads for AdWords

For many of you using AdWords in Google for your pay per click campaign, a new tool has been launched by Google regarding content displayed ads. These are ads which show on Google's partner sites, or anyone who has AdSense, for example, and until recently had been limited to text ads, rather like the ads you would see on a normal SERP of Google.

I have tried out a few ads, and although it took me a while to find one of my own ads on a content site (!), then I think it's a great addition. There are a number of templates to choose from, and the Google image ad wizard guides you through the process of creating an ad, before saving it for you.
Barcelona SEO - Google AdWords image ad
I think it's a great addition to the old ads, as you can have images, logos, even small graphics, or flash-type animation (albeit basic), but if you can make an ad that stands out on a page, then I say go for it - if there are 9 ads showing on the same page, and yours is the only image ad, then you have higher chance of being seen and therefore clicked on.

This is also a great tool for branding, as you can have your company logo in on the ad, and if you choose for example the option of cost per impression (CPM)rather than cost per click, then it means you're getting your barnd out there and being seen even if people don't end up clicking on your link.
SEO Barcelona - Image Ad for Google Adwords
You can then follow the results of your new image ad with the Placement Performance Report (PPR) - a detailled report on clicks, impressions, conversions and cost of the ad throughout the google content network.

Try it out, and let me know how it goes, I'd be surprised if your comments aren't positive!

I offer AdWords training and Managment in Barcelona for Google and other Pay Per click campaigns. Please contact me at Barcelona SEO and I'll be happy to chat about your business and opportunities.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Google Webmaster Tools

As I've mentioned before, Google has an array of products available for you to try out and experiment with. All of these are completely FREE of Charge, and it's well worth signing up for a Google account if you haven't already done so, to see the possibilities of how these tools can help you and your website.
Barcelona SEO - Google Accounts
One of the most important ones from an SEO point of view is Google Webmaster Tools. This cool tool "provides you with detailed reports about your pages visibility on Google". There is a ton of information in Webmaster Tools, including a comprehensive lost of pages linking to you (very important, and much better than using normal google search and "link:"), as well as crawl errors, robot.txt errors, internal linking erros, basically any erros that you can fix. The tool also gives you a broken url feunction, which is now very, very good. This basically gives you a list of the urls across the web where you have a link to one of your web pages, but that it broken. The list used to just tell you how many links you had broken, but now gives you a list of which websites actually feature this broken link so that you can correct this. Maybe it's a reciprical link that has incorrect html, or a blog post, article, etc. This is a fantastic tool.
Barcelona SEO - Google Webmaster Tools
Another main feature is the keyword analysis tool, which shows you which keywords have been used to find pages in your website, month by month. You can choose any date range and compare and contrast, depending on what you have been focussing on during your SEO campaign.

Another very important tool is the sitemap feature. This allows you to upload a sitemap to Google which is then verified, to help Googlebot crawl all of your pages. This is espcially good if you have a large site, but equally as important for a small site, to ensure that Google has the details of all the pages on your site.

For some users, the sheer amount of information in Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics can be daunting, so it's important to be able to interpret the data.
SEO Barcelona - Google Analytics
I offer SEO Training in Barcelona which covers such topics as Data Analysis, and how to react under different situations. Please contact me for details.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Google Custom Search

I wanted to share my thoughts on Goolgle's new Custom Search Beta Engine they have created. Basically, it's a kind of search feature that you can add to your own website/blog/whatever but that you control the results which appear in the SERPS that the custom search throws up. The first step would be to add all of your pages on your website to the Search results. Then you can periodically add any other pages across the internet you like, thus creating your own personalised search results for your users to see if they use your search engine.
Barcelona SEO - Google's Custom search
I was trying to find the use of this, and came up with two theories. The first would be to simply add this to your site if you have a huge site and want a free search feature. However chances are that if your site is that big, then you'd probably have a search feature in there already. Let's use the example of a website that sells products for dogs - say dog collars, kennels, shampoos, etc.

So now imagine if you're searching the net for something, and you come across another blog all about dogs, and think that your website users may find this useful so you add it to the search results. This is all done very innocently and in good faith that you're creating a better experience for your website users. However, you may in fact, be turning away many customers without even thinking about it.
Barcelona SEO - Dog whistle
Let's say a customer wants to buy a dog whistle, but you don't sell them. They do a custom search for dog whistles on your site which throws up a few random results on some sites you have added; say how farmers use their whistles to call sheepdogs. YOUR customer clicks the link, and LEAVES your website (there's a big bounce rate to start with). On the new site, Google AdSense is displaying ads, and guess what? There's an Ad for dog whistles from your competition! So not only have you sent a customer away from your site, but you've also opened the door for them to your own competition!! Ok, you might not have been able to sell them a dog whistle, but they might have loved the 2 for 1 promotion you were running this month on squeaky toys. You get the picture.

As always, Google is the only winner on this one. They are becoming frighteningly good at collecting information, and it's all been given to them freely. Don't forget that Google takes a hefty chunk out of Adsense, too, so it's a win-win for Google. I really can't see the benefits of the custom search engine,but if you guys have had any positive experience with it, please do share...

SEO services Barcelona