There are countless SEO myths floating about. The fact of the matter is that, as Google’s exact algorithm is well under wraps, ranking factors will always be speculated upon. But few SEO myths irritate me as much as the keyword density myth.
If you’ve read around on keyword density, you’ll have heard all sorts of figures flying around. 2%, 2.26%, 4%, 3.2%…. those figures have one thing in common: they’re all rubbish.
I don’t have classified information from Google backing this up, of course, just a bit of common sense! But generally here’s why I’ve concluded that keyword density is utter rubbish:-
– Google wants to deliver the best quality and most relevant results for its searchers. That means HIGH QUALITY content – not content mathematically structured in order that certain words feature a certain number of times. Counting out words and putting tally marks next to certain phrases is a sure fire way to turn your content from naturally reading, relevant and easy on the eyes content, to keyword stuffed nonsense.
– Those search engine bots are pretty smart as far as bots go. If your site is about “model cars,” for example and you put “model cars,” in the relevant key parts of the page (meta title, description etc) and mention it once in your text on the page, said bots have a good idea that the topic is model cars. You don’t need to keep repeating it over and over and over and over again. They heard you the first time!!! Repeating the keyword time and time again, particularly when reading aloud makes inclusion of the word sound unnatural, is akin to standing in front of someone shouting, “I’m talking about model cars… did you hear me? I said I’m talking about MODEL CARS! Model cars are what I am talking about.” In other words, it’s annoying and pointless.
– Google can pick up related terms! You don’t have to use just one version of a word. In “˜normal’ and natural English you might use three of four different words in one article that mean the same thing. In fact, with adjectives in particular, you would be more likely to do that than to keep using the same word over and over. While Google’s means of reading and understanding “related words,” is by no means perfect, it is there, highlighting that the search engine giant has a firm grip on natural written language.
– If there was one single winning number when it came keyword density, then you’d think all the big SEO sites and forums would know it. But search “SEO” and check the keyword density of the top 10. Different. Every single time. Repeat with similar keywords and you will find different again. Search the more competitive keywords like “cheap holidays,” or “car insurance.” Do those sites have that big keyword mentioned a specific number of times in relation to the number of words on the page? Nope! What they have is the keyword in the relevant places and natural, high quality, relevant content on the page.
So keyword density is another of those myths that persists in existing… I wonder how long it will be before that one dies. Fundamentally, your site is for humans, not for bots so content should be written for human readers and not scientifically and strategically calculated to fit fictional keyword density figures.
The Tecmark five-a-side lads took a bit of a beating in the Creative Cup. Taking just 1 point in the tournament, conceding 18 goals and scoring just 5, it wasn’t our finest hour.
There were excuses reasons – honest. Our star striker had the sniffles, our goalkeeper wore short sleeves (everyone knows you can’t dive in short sleeves) and we were short of substitutes. Ahem. Those are our excuses and we’re sticking with them.
But the disappointment of the Creative Cup is behind us and we’re focussed on the league now, which we’ll kick off next Wednesday with a match against CTI Support Network.
We’ve got a formidable squad, combining Arsenal-like youth with Chelsea-like experience, United-like brilliance with City-like confidence and we’re hoping our Liverpool-like inconsistency is a thing of the past!
Here’s the squad!
We’ll post results and match reports on an ongoing basis here and on the Tecmark Twitter account.
One of the most surprising things for any businesses embarking upon a SEO campaign can be the competitor analysis. It’s often the case that the companies you might traditionally consider your competition aren’t competing with you in SEO terms. In fact, it’s common to find that your biggest SEO competitors might even be companies you’ve never even heard of and that’s because any organisation of any size can very realistically stake a claim for a high ranking in the search engines with the right SEO campaign.
Simply, yes! With the right SEO campaign, an effective strategy and the right keywords, small businesses (and companies with less of a brand awareness) can realistically compete with big, well known brands.
Let’s be honest. Having a big nationally or even internationally recognised brand has its advantages. In SEO terms, it means a site will receive a lot of “brand traffic” from search engines. That is to say there will be a large number of people finding a big brand’s site having searched for the brand’s name in Google.
Additionally, big brands have a lot of potential to attract natural links, i.e. bloggers and webmasters may naturally link to these sites, which strengthens their site.
With that said, as well as technical on-page features and diverse off-page elements, small business SEO strategy should incorporate:-
– Keyword research to identify keywords people search for in and around your own product or service offerings, balance the number of people who search it with the likelihood that people searching these terms will convert to a sale or lead.
– Fresh and frequently updated website content in order to ensure there’s enough new material on the site to potentially attract natural links too.
Two of the most commonly applied Internet Marketing methods are SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (Per Per Click). But while both methods involve driving traffic to your site through search engines, the two are very different.
The key difference is that SEO aims to enhance your site’s position in what is referred to as the “organic” or “natural,” listings, while PPC is about the “sponsored ads,” within the search engines. Let’s use Google and a search for “loans,” as an example.
If you search “loans,” in Google, you will be presented with this results page:
The image above illustrates which results are organic and which are PPC. But how does each of these work?
SEO aims to enhance your website’s listing in organic results for certain keywords related to your products or services – that is to say the results that Google “˜naturally’ considers to be the most relevant and highest quality for those searches.
If someone clicks on your website after finding it “˜organically,’ through search, it does not cost you.
SEO uses varied strategies to increase your site’s relevance for the appropriate searches, thus generate traffic through search engines.
The sponsored ads featured in the Google results pages are there because the site owners are running Adwords PPC. Essentially, they “bid,” to be positioned as highly up in the sponsored listings as possible. They stipulate how much they would be prepared to pay for a click and a combination of this bid amount and other factors dictates where on the page their ad will be displayed. Every single time someone clicks on their advertisement, they will pay anything up to the maximum amount they specified they would pay. While in some areas this may only be pennies, in more competitive industries, this can go up to £40 for a single click, with no guarantees that the clicker will convert to a lead.
That’s the main difference between SEO and PPC. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages – which we’ll go into more detail about in later posts.
Despite the title giving us a golden opportunity to blow our own trumpet here, we’re going to keep this informative. The SEO market is a certainly busy and many business owners will be familiar with cold calls or mailers from agencies looking to supply their services. But what should really look for when choosing a SEO company?
Whether the potential company has case studies listed on their website or not, it’s worth asking them. And don’t just ask for a list of rankings achieved. Ask for one or two clients you can call up and speak to personally. Speaking to a couple of businesses who have experienced the service of any SEO company is a great way to get an insight into the services you could benefit from too. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the businesses you call, not only about their results, but the quality of communication and service they receive too.
If a SEO company can quote you a set price before looking at your site or even enquiring as to an idea of your keywords, the service isn’t bespoke, that’s for sure. And with SEO, the variation in competition from industry to industry can be absolutely massive. Any prices quoted should only be quoted after extensive research into your keywords and into the search engine optimisation activity of your competitors.
Nobody can guarantee you any rankings in Google. What a SEO company can do is to show you previous examples of sites they have worked on and assure you that the same principles and expertise will be applied to your website. But Google (and the other search engines) are, at the end of the day, third party search engines that SEO companies have no influence on whatsoever. Promises of this nature should sound alarm bells.
It’s unlikely that a SEO company will write down all their methods step by step. They’d be out of a job if they did. But you should expect a degree of transparency from any SEO company. You should have a good idea of what is being done both on-page (to your website itself) and off page (in terms of acquiring links back to your site from other sites). A good SEO company should be comfortable enlightening you on the strategy.
Choosing a SEO company is a massive decision… so don’t be afraid to ask any questions and for explanations of anything in plain (non-techie) English!
Ok, ok, so “Claim Google Places Listing,” isn’t exactly a competitive keyword. Not at all. But on Friday we blogged about that very thing and this morning if you type that phrase into Google… well see for yourself:
Yes, we’re outranking Google (as of this morning at least) for a search containing one of its brand terms. I actually went as far as to having colleagues double check it and treble checking that I had all my search history turned off.
It seems it’s certainly genuine, though it remains to be seen how long it lasts!
It’s nice though, however brief a fling it might be, that Google considers us more relevant for that term than it considers its own business listing centre.
Aww… we love you too, Google.
We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be exhibiting at Apps World at the Olympia Conference Centre, London on 30th November and 1st December.
Apps World will be bringing together the mobile application industry leaders for an event that will showcase the future of mobile.
There’s an impressive line up of speakers too, including representatives from Facebook, Paypal, Nokia, O2, Angry Birds and a whole host more.
It promises to be a fantastic event for anyone involved in the industry or for any businesses considering their mobile strategy.
Visit Tecmark’s Exhibitor page to find more and feel free to come and visit us at the event!
One of Google’s more recent changes is placing a bigger emphasis on your local places listing! Google Places has long been a great (and free) way for businesses to, quite literally, get on the map. It’s been the case for quite some time that a local search (for example, when you search for a service plus the name of a town) brings back Pleases results, in many cases above the organic search results themselves.
But since the changes, there’s even more importance on this. Let’s take a look at an example.
If you search “Restaurant Manchester,” you will see the standard place listings at the top.
However, even if you search “Restaurant” now (without any reference to a place) you will find the Place results infiltrating the organic results, albeit it in a slightly different way.
What we now see is the top half of the first results page dominated by listings that are something of a combination between the Place listing and the organic listing. And what’s particularly interesting is that these results aren’t even necessarily local! I carried out this search from Manchester and the second result has a listed address in Shropshire.
While the Places change was designed to return more relevant local results, what we have found is that it can affect a wide range of searches where there is no local term searched. What this means for you is that you need to have a Places listing, irrespective of whether you’re targeting a local, national or even international market.
You can claim your Google Place listing from here.
Simply claiming the listings isn’t always enough. Obviously, how difficult it will be for you to makes your visible towards the top of the Places results depends on how many competitors of yours have claims their listing too. But with Places playing an increasingly important role in how Google displays results, competition is probably set to rise.
A critical part of any SEO campaign should now be claiming the local listing and optimising it too!
Link building is often referred to as one of the most difficult and time-consuming aspects of SEO. With Google constantly clamping down on tactics, it’s becoming more and more important to master the age-old techniques; one of which is chasing unlinked brand mentions.
The creation of user personas is a powerful technique for helping to increase the usability of your website or web app. Personas span from knowing your client base by conducting user research and who you’re targeting your website or services for.
At Tecmark when we start working on a new campaign, one of the first things we request access to is Google Analytics. For SEO teams in particular it’s a really important tool to measure how well our campaigns are performing and if our clients are getting a good return on investment.