Our ramblings about website design and other things

Category: SEO

Google Places entry not showing 100% complete

Many users get frustrated that when they complete their entry in Google Places for Business that the entry only shows xx% complete and they never seem to get to the magic 100% – the following table shows how google weight various parts of your entry. This of course may change but it is a good guide to assist you.

% Contribution to Score
Required Fields, Company/Organisation, Street Address, City/Town, State, Post Code/ZIP, Main phone 40%
Email address 5%
Website 10%
Description: 200 characters or less 5%
Categories 0%
Hours of operations 5%
Payment options (any box toggled) 5%
Photo 1 5%
Photo 2 2%
Photo 3 1%
Photo 4 0%
Photo 5 2%
Photo 6 2%
Photo 7 2%
Photo 8 2%
Photo 9 2%
Photo 10 2%
Video 1 4%
Video 2-5 0%
Additional Details (one line) 6%

To Blog or not to Blog…

More and more businesses are running a blog but are never sure if it is of benefit to the business. We believe that for a blog to be successful there are a few key points that you should follow.

Regular Updates – It is vital that you blog is current and regularly updated, you want users to read it, if the information is current they will come back, if the last blog is months old they will not return.

Content – Make sure the content is useful and informative, it has to be useful to the readers or you will lose them.

Style – We recommend that Blogs are less formal, use your news feed for product launches, updates etc but make the blog the ‘news behind the news’, the writing style can be very different but above all for your business make sure it is not too personal, readers do not want to know what you had for breakfast.

Location – Make sure your Blog can be easily located on your home page, add it to the menus, put a link somewhere that is easy to find.

Social Networks – A blog is ideal to appear on your Social Network pages such as facebook, twitter etc so that you are informing users of a new post, there are lots of tools available that can do this automatically for you.

Happy Blogging!

Does Google Like you?

Google continually change their search algoritmn and after their most recent Panda update many sites that ranked highly have been penalised, essentially the new update is to try and reward quality content with high rankings – Google published some questions to ask yourself:

Can your web page content be trusted?

  • Would you trust the information presented in your article?
  • Is the article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to the site?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from the site?
  • Would you recognize the site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Is the website the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from the site?

Is the content of your web pages unique?

  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?

Do you check the quality of your web pages?

  • Does the article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Does the article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Would you expect to see the article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?

Do you create web pages for your visitors or for search engines?

  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

Do your web pages contain enough real content?

  • Does the article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Does the article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

As you can see as we have sais many times before – content is king.

Content is King

When developing new websites for our customers we are often not given much content to start with and on many occasions we have to ‘squeeze out’ what we need. We get lots of questions about how to generate traffic and there are lots of SEO methods we can use to help with this but quite simply ‘content is king’

Successful websites have good useful content that users want to read, the content must be relevant to your subject and should be changed and updated on a regular basis. Care should be taken not to just try and push a product, try and include more information in your content, readers will quickly see you know what you are talking about as most buyers want to buy from an ‘expert’

Blogs such as this one are great for content and the information provided can be a little less formal than on your website, customers will see you know your subject but the style will also give them a little insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ elements of your business.

Once you have a new stylish and well laid out website then if you are a small business set some time aside each week to make an update, this can be a simple review of a page or changing the graphics or photos on your site, and remember search engines such as google love relevant and changing content.

Direct me to a Directory ?

A question clients often ask is should we register on such and such an online directory ?

We are firm believers in quality over quantity so look at the Directory and see if it somewhere you want your company to appear, also look at the competition are they there if they are then you should probably be there to. Try to avoid registering on every directory going especially if they are not really related in any way to your business or area of business as this could convince Search Engines that incoming links that are not relevant may dilute your message about your business.

If you business relies on geographical coverage say for example you are an Italian Restaurant in Watford then however nice it is for the ego you will want to appear high on regional searches for Italian Restaurants such as in Hertfordshire and here Regional Directories can help your cause, make sure you are registered with all the directories in the area such as Watford and surrounding areas and Hertfordshire.

With a process like this take a methodical approach and gradually build your prescence on the web – Search Engines like to see a growth rather than explosion as this will lead to short term gain but long term damage.

Google Local Business Problems

Google have a free directory called Google Local Business that ensures your business will appear on Google Maps when searched for and this is a great service for your business.

Recently we were working with a client to add their details but we found that there were already some listings for their business and these had been unverified, various searches on Google told us we should be able to edit the listings but this did not prove so. The solution we found was to go to our Google Local Business Account and then add a new listing but we made sure this listing was 100% the same as the existing listings and once we did this Google gave us the option to Claim or Suspend this listing.

The temptation is to suspend the listing but think twice before you do as this may have an adverse effect on your Google rankings, we suggest you claim it and once verified you can edit it to suit you.

One point to bear in mind is that when you claim the listing it has to be verified either by phone or by post but the details used by Google will be those already on the listing so if these are incorrect then you have a problem, we believe you may have to contact Google for that one but not sure what response you will get.

Google Local Business

Most new businesses get worried about how they are going to appear on Google Search results, despite everything we read Google offer many ways for you to help yourself.

The first step is to get your business registered with Google Local Business so that you will appear on Google Maps, the process is simple just go to here and register your business, put as much information as you can such as opening times, photos etc and make sure you verify the listing, the quickest way to do this is via telephone confirmation.

This simple task will promote your business online and make Google more aware of your Business. It is amazing that many businesses do not take this simple step.