Tag Archives: Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimising Tips

A special guest post this time, from 2020Media customer John Allen.

This is his take on SEO, after a Business Gateway Scotland course and of course real experience.

Over to you John:
1. Review your online competitors and create your website/e-business plan
Who are your top-5 online competitors – using the techniques learned on the workshop what terms have they optimised their websites for?
How are they positioning their content and their overarching offers?

2. Do your search term research
Trying to identify what your potential customers may be searching for is an important early part in the process of deciding what web content to write and how to structure it.  There are quite a few tools out there but the ‘search term’ tool we discussed in the workshop was the Google Keyword Planner.  If you don’t already have a Google account then you’ll need to create one to get access – once signed up and logged in go to Keywords Planner .  Please be careful not to start a paid advertising (PPC- pay per click) campaign by accident !

Other free tools include things like Google Trends & Insights.  There are others like wordtracker.com that usually offer some form of free trial.  I use a few other tools but they aren’t free.

3. Start planning (or improving) your website content
Ultimately it is about writing unique, interesting and compelling content that people in your target market will want to read (and are searching for).  Yes, plan your content so it is SEO (search engine optimisation) friendly but as important is to make sure it reads well and is targeted for the human site visitor.

4. … Take on-site action and optimise your web presence
It’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of info that you’ve absorbed in the workshops but, in my experience, there are usually a few simple fixes that can be made fairly quickly to existing websites.  Get those changes made and once you start seeing the improvements you’ll want to do some of the more advanced stuff.

Start by using some of the initial on-page techniques we covered – for example set appropriate title and description meta tags and make sure they fit closely with the visible content and headers (H1s etc) on each page.

Then think about things like xml sitemaps (make sure it is setup and working properly), Google webmaster accounts (there are versions for other search engines) and creating accounts to improve your effectiveness in ‘local search’ results, e.g. Google MyBusiness (maps etc), Bing maps etc.

And a special reminder to watch out for breaching the rules relating to the Google algorithm changes (as we discussed in a bit more detail at the workshop).  If something feels suspicious then it probably is (or it will be seen as suspicious by Google at some point in the future).

If you get through all this then ask for a more advanced course.

5. Prepare your overall digital marketing plan
There may be multiple streams in your digital marketing plan depending on your online objectives and aspirations.  Take stock and check that your plan is feasible/sensible and that you understand the resources (time and/or money) that you’re going to be putting into it.  It might be worthwhile seeking impartial advice to ensure you’re on the right lines.

6. Optimise by starting your link building campaign
Building ‘ethical’/‘quality’ links is still important so at least get your research started – as discussed it is all about building your internet footprint and done well will improve your search engine rankings and bring more ‘referrer traffic’ to your website.

**Quick Tip** – if you’d like to see who is linking to your competitors then you can get a partial (fairly sketchy to be honest) snapshot by going to Google and typing in “link:” (i.e. ‘link’ then a colon) followed by the web address of the competitor you’re trying to assess.  Bear in mind that Google only shows a selection of the links it knows about using this method.  When I have time in the workshops I also show how to monitor your own backlinks using google webmaster tools.
Note. There are various other tools out there but the ones I use are paid versions.

6a) Get your business listed on the online business directory of the relevant local council, professional body, association etc (and get a link to your website if they allow it)
As discussed in the workshop.

7. Optimise by being social and encouraging social signals
Decide which social media channels might be suitable for your business.  Then build your social media footprint and start encouraging social signals.

8. Email marketing
If you’ve found this email useful enough to get this far down… then remember that email marketing can also be a great source of web traffic both for new customer acquisition and for customer retention.

9. Monitor regularly, continue making improvements and be patient.
Most aspects of digital marketing (including SEO) take time and effort, so keep the faith and do keep going with it.

Update 2017

We’re recommending this great free resource – https://firstsiteguide.com/ – find in-depth online guides with downloadable PDF’s, video tutorials and other web development resources. There are also how to’s on creating great content.

SEO Tips and Tricks

Do you like data? We do! This post is about trends and data useful for optimising your website for getting more visitors (traffic) and contains lots of pretty pie charts to help explain what you should do to improve your web profile.

When building a website, there are certain questions you should be asking yourself.

  • What is my target audience?
  • How are they going to find my website?
  • What search engines should I target?
  • What browsers should I make sure my website supports?

Target Audience

Are you providing information? Selling something? Providing a service? These are the kind of questions that will help you decided how to build your website. The answers to these are down to you, but will affect the kind of website you build, whether you’ll need the services of third parties (such as PayPal for example), and the kind of hosting you’ll need. As a very experienced host, 2020Media is happy to discuss your likely needs with you, at no cost. Please contact us, if you’d like our help.

How will they come?

How do you think your website visitors will arrive at your website? There are basically 3 ways:

  • From the results of a query on a search engine.
  • From a link on another website
  • Direct – by typing in your website address (domain name) directly to their browser.
pie chart of
Visitor Source

The graph shows that most traffic to websites comes from a search engine. The 20% of direct traffic reflects the importance of a good domain name. Although there is normally not much to be gained in terms of visitors coming from other websites, it is still very important to get good links from relevant websites as these affect how your site will rank in the search engines.

Which Search Engine?

So we’ve established that most traffic to websites comes from search engine results. The most popular search engine by a long way is Google. Google’s share is around 80% at present. Bing (from Microsoft) comes second with 8.7%, Yahoo next with 8.0%. Runners up include Ask (1.4%) and AOL (1.3%).

search engine market share
Search engine market share

Market Share is important for where you spend your advertising budget, and also how much time you spend getting your site into those search engines.

Position is Important

When you are using a search engine, how often do you need to look at the 2nd or 3rd pages of results? We’re guessing not very often. The alogorithms used by search engines are now incredibly sophisticated, and now include your past searching habits to help tune the results to what they think you want. This means we’re now in the era of personalised search. Now, no two users will see the same set of results for a given search term.

pie chart of search engine results page
Search engine results page

Page 1 is clearly the place to be. Getting a page one placement for common terms is difficult to say the least. If you sold cars, getting your website on the first page of results if someone typed ‘Cars’ into a search engine would be an uphill struggle. However as our next chart shows, most users don’t type single word queries.

Phrases are Key

The report below summarizes the number of keywords used by end-users when using search engines. For example, “used car sales” has three keywords while “used car sales milton keynes” has five keywords.

Keyword Count chart
Keyword Count

This analysis reveals that the majority of searches conducted on popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. contain 3 or more keywords. Over time, users of the internet have adapted their behaviour to be more specific in their searches so as you get better quality results.

Come Inside

A follow on result of the way people use search engines with multi-word searches is that the results are more specific too. You may think the home page of your website is the most important, but analysis of the data reveals that over 3/4 of traffic goes to inner pages, not the home page.

Entry Page Type chart
Entry Page Type

It’s worth remembering that not all traffic to a website comes from search engines, as our first chart showed. Over a quarter will likely come from elsewhere. Consider whether people linking to your site will link to your home page, or is it a particular page on your site that caught their interest?

Web Design Considerations

We’ll now look at some data regarding users themselves. People use many different types of device to browse the web. There are laptops, desktops, tables and smartphones. We’ll just look at non-mobile use here, and as the chart shows there are many many screen sizes in use today.

Screen Resolution Usage chart
Screen Resolution Usage

Screen sizes on desktops and laptops have grown over the last 10 years, and a minimum of 1024 pixels width should be considered for web design. This information is critical for web designers to ensure that their layouts comply with the vast majority of the intended audience.

Web designers are now concentrating on Responsive design. Rather than designing different versions of websites for different screen sizes, the idea is to make the site gracefully adapt to different device capabilities. For example this could mean showing less information on mobile devices so as not to overwhelm the user.

Backwards Compatibility

Many people only have one browser on their computer, but even those who’ve installed some alternatives will probably end up using one as their primary tool for web browsing. Browsers don’t all follow the same rules for displaying pages and checking your website across a good range of software is essential. It’s something web designers should take care of, but if you update your website yourself, occasional use of a site like Browsershots that shows you what your site looks like is a good idea.

Browser usage trend chart
Browser usage trend

Internet Explorer still has the highest share of the market, across several different versions. It’s worth noting that Internet Explorer version 6 was notorious for displaying websites in unintended ways but has thankfully only 1.30% market share.


There is a lot to consider when building and promoting a website. We’ve looked at some data on website traffic, and this can help guide yo in building a compelling website that comes top of the search engines. However you may find some of the points we mention are not easily within your control. In general terms, search engines seek our unique, informative content wherever it may be found so if you avoid mediocrity and keep updating your website with fresh content you are on the right path to success.


This post would not have been possible without the data provided by StatOwl. Visit their site for lots more free data to help you improve your site. It is important for anybody using, referencing or relying on the data to understand the scope of coverage, which includes:

  • 80% of web sites serve a predominantly United States market
  • 32% of web sites classified as e-commerce sites
  • 29% of web sites classified as corporate sites
  • 20% of web sites classified as content delivery (blogs, news sites, etc.)
  • 19% of web sites classified as “other”

Please keep the information above in mind while viewing StatOwl reports.

Search Engine Optimisation – Part 2

a signpost
Optimise your website

Our previous article, Search Engine Optimisation Part 1, looked at the initial steps to make sure your website is listed in the search engines. In Part 2, we’ll look at some techniques to improve your website ranking.

URL Breadcrumb Trails

Breadcrumb trails help users orientate themselves within the site. A typical breadcrumb trails is a list of pages, which are higher up in heirarchy than the current page. Using parent categories in URL’s provides a logical structure to base the breadcrumb trail around which will not only benefit the site users, but search engines love keywords in web addresses too.

An example would be:


You can almost work out from the url what the content of the page is going to be.

Keyword Research

Google Keyword Tool

Although you may have a pretty good idea what the relavant keywords for your site are, it can be useful to do some research and find out what other people think.

  1. What keywords are your customers/visitors actually typing into Google?
    • Use the Google Keywork Tool to find out!
    • If appropriate, set location and language and Match Type to Exact. Choose Global only if your audience is the whole world.
    • Keyword and Monthly Searches are the relevant columns here. If keywords with high monthly searches seem relevant to your site, you probably want to check your site is optimised with these in mind.
  2. Word Tracker
    • The wordtracker.com website contains keyword research tools for SEO, PPC (pay per click), link building and blogging.
  3. Word Stream
    • This free keyword tool has a database of a billion of the worlds most popular keywords.

Links from other sites

Optimising your own site is only part of the battle. SEO is also about getting other websites to link back to you. One of the ways to do this is by writing informative articles or comments on relevant, authoratitive websites. You need to maintain a good balance between content and links. Here are some tips.

  • One or two keywords per article.
  • Make sure all links are relevant.
  • Maximum of 5 links per article.
  • Link to each page on your site only once each time.
  • Create an relevant and engaging title/subject for your article or comment.

Search engines assume a page is about the anchor text used to link to a page, so use keywords as the link text – many webmasters are lazy about this and use text like: Click here. Search for ‘click here’ in Google and guess what – one of the most linked to site’s on the internet comes up – Adobe PDF reader. Make your link text contain the keyword and you’ll be telling the search engine useful information that will benefit your website.

More tools

Search Engine Optimisation – Part 1

Boy with Binoculars
Make sure your website is visible

This article is an introduction to basic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). SEO is the practice of making your website as attractive as possible to the major search engines in the hopes of getting a top result for keywords and phrases that are relevent to your site.

How are you listed now?

Checking to see if you are listed by the search engines is simple – just enter your full domain name into their search box and you should come up top of the results. If you’re not listed, you need to add your site. Here are links for the main 3 search engines: Continue reading Search Engine Optimisation – Part 1