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How To Guides

How to avoid getting rid of customers before you even speak to them

I recently made a number of telephone calls to businesses in the Chester area to get a quote for conveyancing services. Out of 10 solicitors firms I called, none put me through to a solicitor and all relied on their receptionists to give me a price.
 
Responses included:
 
“the solicitor has gone to the loo and he might be a while.”
“the usual price is £600 for a sale and £500 for a purchase – does that answer your question?”
“he’s busy at the moment (no mention of who ‘he’ is).”
“the person who usually deals with this is out – can he call you back (he didn’t).”
“oh, just a minute. I’ll put you on hold. (on hold for 5 minutes). Now, what did you want again?”
“£500 all in. Is that OK?”
 
In actual fact, my query was very specific – I needed advice on sale of part of a property, retention of agricultural land and the possible later sale of a barn for development. Not one person I spoke to was qualified to handle the query and none of them let me ask the question or were prepared to put me through to the right person. In the end I went online, found a specialist in a directory and called him directly. 
 
How much do you throw away from not handling initial queries effectively?
 
Assuming your business gets 10 requests for quotations every week and you convert 2 of them into business, how much extra business would you be gaining if you could convert the remaining 8 requests into actual orders?
 
It doesn’t take much at times. In all the examples above, the firms in question simply needed to put me through to a solicitor who could demonstrate his or her knowledge, show me a bit of understanding and then give me a price to reflect his or her worth. What the firm did not need to do was let me speak to a secretary or receptionist who clearly didn’t care less whether I used their services or not.
 
So make a resolution for the new year – train the people who answer your telephone calls to sell your business to every person who makes a call.
 
This article is brought to you by BusinessBusStop – specialist online document providers, low cost accountant services and web service providers – and Chester Web Marketing.

Categories
SEO Resources

Key Changes to SEO Search Engine Optimisation in February 2012

Recent changes to the Google algorithm mean that there have been alterations in the way SEO is undertaken  SEO experts are in agreement that suddenly back links have become the most important factor in determining page ranking, despite Google’s best assurances that this is not the case. Furthermore, Google Plus has suddenly jumped to the fore in search engine rankings. 

Google has decided to take on Facebook and heavily promote Google Plus entries at the expense of conventional websites and anything found on other social networking sites. This means that if you are doing SEO for a company with the words “legal recruitment”, any references to “legal recruitment” in Google Plus will stand you in good stead for getting up the charts. 

It is a little like the influence of Google Maps, which was prominent in search engine rankings back in 2005/6.  Indeed it was possible then to achieve good SEO results simply by having an SEO consultant list a website on Google Maps or relevant key words.

Getting back links is always a bit of an art, because there are so many suspicious companies out there, particularly those based in India and South Africa, who simply bombard word press blogs with meaningless drivel plus your key words and a web link.

Whilst they can get lots of links for a business and appear to be SEO experts, in reality the mass attack on blogs tends to be ignored by most blogs and those that accept it will almost inevitably be penalised by Google for permitting spam attacks to their blog. 

There is no way round a good quality SEO campaign run by a good reputable SEO business.  Web marketing is not just one thing but many different components, all aimed at getting you and your business noticed.

For details of a reputable SEO and web marketing company based in Chester and the North West, please get in touch with Chester Web Marketing.

Categories
How To Guides

How to make sure your Robots.txt file is working

Somewhere on your website there is a file called Robots.txt. If not, your website designer may well have decided not to include it. It is important to check this file occasionally as we have recently discovered to our cost.

The robots file acts as a filter for search engine crawlers – these are computer programmes that trawl your website for content and send this information to Google and the other engines for ranking. The file determines which pages are crawled and which ones are ignored.

A robots.txt file should read:
User-agent: *
Disallow:

The user-agent bit allows all search engines access to the site. The Disallow instruction specifies which areas the robots are not allowed access to.
Check your robots.txt file by typing www.yourwebsite.co.uk/robots.txt

If your file has the following in:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Your robots.txt file will be blocking the whole website from the search engines. This happened to one of our clients, www.Ten-Percent.co.uk – we are still not sure how the file got altered – whether we were attacked by a virus or at some stage the client inadvertently altered it. The effect was to remove Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment from the first page of Google search results for two of their keywords. We are fairly confident of a swift return (we spotted the error after 2 months) but it may be worth checking your file to make sure something similar has not happened to your site.

For web development services, SEO and online marketing, please visit http://www.chesterwebmarketing.co.uk/

Categories
How To Guides

How to improve your Google ranking

Improve your search engine rank in the search results for Google. Chances are, if you have entered “how to improve my Google ranking” into Google and found this article, this is exactly what you are looking to do! You could save yourself the time and effort & simply send us your requirements, and let the professionals do it. Forget the Yahoo, Altavista, MSN and AOL search engines, Google is currently reigning as king!

1) What is a search engine rank and SERP?

When you perform a search with Google, Yahoo, AOL or MSN etc, the search engine results are the list of sites that the search engine considers to be relevant to the words that you type in. The search engine results themseves are ordered by relevancy i.e. the search engine displays the sites that it thinks are most likely to meet your needs at the top of the page. Hence your search engine rank is the position in the search engine results that your site is listed for a particular search term, word or phrase.

There is another ranking, which is “Google Page Ranking”, and this is a score given to your page by the Google search engine. If you download the Google Toolbar you can see the ranking of every page on the internet. Interestingly, the Google search pages give other non-Google pages higher scores than Google itself.

The Search Engine Ranking is also known as SERP which stands for search engine results position.

2) What are the main search engines?

There are quite literally hundreds of thousands of search engines, meta-search engines and directories used across the web, both specialist and generalist, but the vast majority of searches are performed using Google. The latest research points to over 80% of searches being via Google, with a very small number of searches in comparison being through Yahoo and the other poorer cousins. Others include:

AOL search engine
MSN search engine
Yahoo directory and search engine
Hotbot search engine
BOTW search engine
Business.com search engine
Altavista search engine
Lycos search engine

3) Why is my search engine rank important?

Your search engine rank is very important if you want your business to get noticed on the internet. Millions of people, both consumers and businesses, spend many hours online performing millions of searches every day looking to buy pretty much every type of goods and services available. The trend is growing (something like 20% of all sales will be online by 2015) and more and more businesses are turning first to the web to find new suppliers.

The internet has been likened to the high street – if you have a shop in the middle of a housing estate, no-one on the high street is going to see it. If you are not on the first page of search results, or at least the second, you may as well not bother trying very hard…

If your website ranks highly for your search keywords, then you are on the way towards having lots of people want to see your site. Prospective customers will then come and visit and if they like what they see they will contact you. A website operates whilst you are asleep…

4) How can I improve my site’s search engine rank?

There are a lot of things you can do, and the whole process is very time consuming. Firstly you can submit your site to the search engines (Google has a new site moratorium that lasts a year, but we have already demonstrated with our own sites that there are ways round this). Make sure that the pages in your site include the keywords your prospective customers going to search for! Obvious really, but so many sites we come across do not do this. A good example of this is a flashy site with lots of graphics but little content.

Each search engine uses a different fomula to calculate the ranking of websites in results pages. Optimising web pages to improve rank in a particular search engine is often done at the expense of other search engines. Usuaully a balanced approach to search engine optimisation works better than one targetted at a specific formula, although Google is the one to pay attention to. There are a range of important aspects of web design that your web designer needs to pay attention to in making a search engine friendly and well ranked website. These include:

keyword selection – the keywords and phrases that you are optimising for
keyword density – how close together the keywords / key phrases are within the page (i.e. proximity)
keyword frequency – how often your keywords appear in the page (too low a keyword density and you will slip down the rankings and too high a keyword density and you will be penalised for ‘keyword spamming’!!)
title tag text – the web page’s title
H1 heading tag text – text contained within the page’s H1 tag
keywords meta tag
descriptions meta tag
image alt tags
anchor text
frames
domain name / path name / file name
text content – content is the main item that will keep visitors coming back to your site again and again, regardless of how it looks, and what pictures you have on there.. 

5) Why use Chester Web Marketing to improve my search engine rank?

We take your website, and put it out there to users across the world. We use proven methodology for search engine optimisation that will increase targeted traffic to your website from organic (free) search engine listings.
We do not use link farms, which can not only boost your ranking considerably and quickly, but can also decrease your ranking just as rapidly when Google find out. Our ethos is to do marketing online that does not cost you money. We get your site seen but without needing to spend large amounts of money to do so.

Web designers often claim that they are SEO experts. This is usually nonsense, and they simply sign you up to an automated account with one of the big multinationals such as Ineedhits. This sort of service does not work to market your site, and will not create a web presence for your company. 

Web design and search engine optimisation are different… would you let a painter and decorator design your house, or would you let an architect decorate your house?

We start optimising your site very quickly, but the service is ongoing. We can work within most budgets.
We take time to understand your business, your main thrust of sales and marketing, and we use this information to put together an online marketing strategy.

Chester Web Marketing offers risk free, affordable and guaranteed results!

6) What do I do next to improve my site search engine rank?

If you want to use our service, please visit www.chesterwebmarketing.co.uk and fill out our online quote request form. What have you got to lose? You will gain customers you never knew existed, and for a very limited cost.

Categories
How To Guides

How to Write Content for a Website

Content must be linked to your website and it is no use putting content on that is not relevant.

Our advice for content is simply to think about your website from the perspective of a user as well as a search engine spider. A user of a website does not necessarily mind what sort of standard of design a website is in order to use it. They are more interested in the quality of content or the level of interactivity and relevant to the website. To see evidence of this, visit www.ten-percent.co.uk – very basic web design but very good rankings…

Quite a lot of websites over the years have used things like flash and graphics and lots of pictures to highlight their services, but often these have protracted away from the spiders of the various search engines and the website hasn’t been very well advertised on the internet.

In recent times quite a lot of flash has been removed from websites as companies have realised the importance of simply having information on the site that is going to be useful to someone visiting the website or looking on the internet for an answer to a question.

For example, if you are a solicitor’s firm specialising in crime you need to think why somebody would be looking on the internet for information about crime. Users of the internet are maybe students studying criminal law, suppliers of services looking for potential customers, people in trouble with police looking for advice and people researching related information to crime such as careers in the police force or the prison service.

Obviously as a solicitors firm you are not going to be very interested in quite a lot of those potential visitors, but from a search engine optimization point of view the more the merrier and if you can attract somebody looking for careers in the police force to your website, there is some highly valuable and relevant information that they may want to look at, you will increase your search engine standings although not necessarily increasing your sales from that particular visitor.

It is such instances like this that can make the difference between your site being noticed by search engines and being completely ignored. Getting your site noticed is the main issue for most firms, and the amount of business you can pick up off the internet is phenomenal and at very little cost.

www.chesterwebmarketing.co.uk is a specialist SEO company helping businesses get noticed on the internet through digital marketing and on-line presence promotion.

You can contact us at enquiries@chesterwebmarketing.com