Top Tips For Search Engine Optimisation
Professional Advice For Boutique Website SEO
Every exquisitely designed site designed by Blossom• Graphic Design is slightly more up-to-date than the previous one, because the search engines, technology and online trends are not static, and we are constantly upgrading our knowledge, skills and methods in line with the technology as it changes.
Blossom Graphic Design developers and designers are consistently evolving the practices employed when building our beautiful websites, e-commerce stores and blogs, to ensure SEO friendliness and integration into the latest in social media and other search engine optimisation strategies.
Blossom helps your business get a jump start on the competition through:
- Effective and Proven Social Media Integration Strategies
- Utilising the popularity of Blossom's site and social media networks to promote clients
- Encouraging an altruistic and generous approach to social media
- Discouraging a spammy approach to social media
- Leading by example on social media sites.
The goal with online promotion is essentially to increase your traffic, through good standing and content with search engines, so that when your potential customer types in a key word or phrase into Google, Bing, or any other major search engine, your web pages come up in that all-important first page.
Below are a few strategies that we have found are effective in growing your brand online.
DOES YOUR BOUTIQUE BUSINESS NEED A BLOG?
A Blog (contraction of the term "web log") is a specific type of website, like a diary, with stories and editorials, descriptions of events or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are normally displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb. For instance to blog is to write on your blog. Wordpress is the most popular blogging software. The plus for a website built with this technology is that it is highly interactive, has an easy to use content management system and is easy to integrate with social media.
BLOGGER (GOOGLE BLOGS)
Blogger is the Google offering for blogging, and is great for the budget minded. It has some nice existing templates or you can customise it to match your corporate identity/branding. For more advanced blogging, you can use Wordpress® and host on your own server and be able to customise flexibly as it is easy to use. (We regularly install and design Wordpress sites).
We recommend that you post on your blog consistently and over a long period (daily, weekly or monthly) on general interest stories within your industry, a brand and philosophy or trends in industry. Use a blog to keep clients up-to-date.
Blossom's Style and Inspiration Blog is offers inspiration for designers and small businesses looking to rebrand or grow. We regularly post little tidbits of beautiful and lovely design, interiors, furniture, package or whatever takes our fancy. It's also useful for our clients to get an idea of design that they may not have seen elsewhere.
For a blog to be successful it needs to offer something unique, on a regular basis in a legible and generous way. If you simply use a blog to sell yourself then it's one big ad, and frankly, not that interesting. If you use it to offer your knowledge and experiences, without selling, it's more like a conversation and generally more genuine.
GOOD SEO PRACTICES FOR A BLOG AND WEBSITE
Ensure when you upload images that you add tags to your blog and a "tag cloud" for SEO using widgets or that your website designer is experienced in your industry and builds the site with keyword rich terms sprinkled through your site and blog.
Blossom uses effective SEO strategies during a site's build to ensure your site is indexed effectively:
- We ensure that we use industry specific "alt tags" throughout the site structure
- Blossom designed sites are clean and beautifully coded websites that don't use outdated tables for the build (an absolutely "no no" for contemporary sites due to a variety of issues not the least being multi-device accessiblity).
- We add Metadata such as titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords are added to the site code
- Blossom aims to ensure links to all pages are on every page for effective indexing by search engines
- We always make outbound links open in a new window.
It important to place strategic links to your website on your boutique blog and add "share buttons" so other people can use social networking to spread the word about your articles and blog's. You can also set up automated Twitter and Facebook® sharing through your blogging software, so it adds a link and title each time you a blog a new entry onto your Facebook® or Twitter Page.
Blossom makes a point of adding share codes to each website, to ensure other people can share your site on social networks. We also encourage our clients to have follow us buttons on the site as well, so you can keep your boutique clients/customers up to date.
SOME SEO TIPS AND TRICKS
Below are some of our tips and tricks for good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- Write and show quality, unique content, images and text
- Add new content regularly
- Have a strong keyword phrase for each page, not the entire site
- Choose keywords and phrases that are popular but not too popular
- Make sure your site is build with accessible HTML for a range of devices and platforms
- User the keyword tag in your title tag
- Use a domain with your title tag (e.g. blossomgraphicdesign.com contains graphic design)
- Use your keyword phrase but not too much
- Try to get links from reputable sites
- Try to get links from similar sites
- Try to get links that contain your keyword phrase
- Create lots of content - the more content the more to index
- Put your keyword phrase in the first paragraph
- Write descriptive metadata
- Put links that flow within the content
- Link all the main images
- Using Flash? Always include alternative text
- Register a .com domain over a .biz or .us domain
SOCIAL NETWORKING MUST-HAVES
- Add a Facebook "like" or "recommend" button to pages on your site, blog or store to get instant feedback and positive reinforcement.
- Add a Twitter "tweet this" link on your website, blog or e-commerce site.
- Add links to your blog, Twitter timeline, Flickr photostream, Facebook page , Linked In profile on your website.
- Pinterest is a relatively new player in the social media mix and is highly effective as part of an SEO strategy that includes social media for optimizing women's websites.
Social Networking has advantages and disadvantages for small business. At Blossom we have discovered that you need to set goals and boundaries with sites like Twitter and Facebook, and keep the end goal in mind when engaging online. It can be a colossal waste of time if you don't set time boundaries, or goals for tweeting and status updates on Facebook. For more corporate businesses we also like Linked in.
OK, think about what you need to achieve by being on Twitter and Facebook. Is it to increase exposure, gain clients, network with other like-minded businesses, learn about the competition or learn about your industry?
Make time and never underestimate the value of social marketing as a tool for business. Social networking is the way of the future for marketing and regardless of which one is the interface du jour, you must have it going on. Keep up-to-date on the popular ones and set up automated tweets, status updates and so on to keep clients and friends informed of your business and activities, as well as inspirational comments and generally contributing to the online community.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. In order for Social Networking to work, you have to invest your time and energy into generous online contributions of wisdom, experience and friendship. Generosity is the key, and sharing images, information and news is far more effective than simply selling your wares.
Twitter: a free social networking and "micro blogging" service, allowing you to send "tweets" which are basically posts limited to 140 characters. You can receive and send updates to and from Twitter using a short message service (text), RSS, instant message, email or through a third party application.
Facebook: a social networking website that is operated and privately on which users may add friends, send them messages and update their personal profiles.
3D SOCIAL NETWORKING
Social networking is a valuable tool for marketing a business, small or large. Never forget you are just one tweet or status update away from your customer, celebrities and the rest of the world. Twitter is fantastic for building your personal and professional brand, as it gives an insight into the person and energy behind a company. Offering personal morsels of information may sound banal, but the more personal a tweet, the more likely it is that it will resonate with another person, and they will spread the word or respond, thus increasing your visibility online.
If you look at the way celebrities give dimension to their personal brand, you can see how this would work on a corporate level from a CEO or marketing director, letting "slip" secrets and new products, accidentally on purpose. Another example would be celebrities tweeting from backstage, to excite a crowd, fashion designers tweeting from a parade, give their fans and followers an inside peek. Human beings love to see behind the scenes stuff and to engage with a product or service.
DO'S FOR SOCIAL MARKETING
- Be Helpful - Offer tips and techniques, information, maps, and reviews (this page is an example - I want to share this information and I share it for free. The benefit for you is that you gain my knowledge and the benefit for me is that you visit my site (hopefully more than once)).
- Be Sincere - You cannot fake it. Passion is genuine. Express that passion online. Live your "brand" each day, which can mean not pleasing everyone all the time. In order to make your online connections count, you need to connect with like-minded people. The result of this will be that you will engage with like-minded people in your business. If you are sincere across all digital channels, when people look you up online they will see your online brand across all channels.
- Be Generous - as with being helpful, being generous creates goodwill, visitors and builds online relationships. Generosity might be in the form of downloads, inspiration, news, tips, advice or links, support, tweets, plugs to other businesses and so on.
- Build Online Relationships - conversations and interactions that nurtures, just like "real" relationships are vital, otherwise it is just "a bunch of digital gums flapping" (Six Pixels of Separation by Mitchel Joel)
ADD KEYWORD RICH "ALT" TAGS TO ALL YOUR IMAGES
Add your "Alt Tags" or (alternative text embedded in the code) for your images when you upload them into an e-commerce site or through a content management system (CMS). When Blossom build's a site we try to do this on all images and titles, but if you are managing your own site, you will need to do this yourself.
The reason for this is that search engines can't read images, so you need to give the search engine enough information on that image, within the code, so it can "read" the image (and it's a great chance to use those keywords to great effect). It also means that if the image doesn't load the visitor can read what the image is supposed to be.
KEYWORD RICH COPY
Write keyword rich copy/text on your site, but ensure that it still reads well and isn't "over optimised". If your boutique website text uses the same word over and over, Google and the other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, won't like this, but if it is grammatically correct, with punctuation and correct sentence structure, thenGoogle and the other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, will love it, especially if it is done in a logical and interesting way that is relevant to the topic/industry.
For keywords to be effective, they need to be in the keyword meta data (if you want, we can add this during the building of the pages), the meta description (we can also add this during the build) as well as the page copy itself, preferably in relevant linking text and headings.
EFFECTIVE LINKING STRATEGIES
Add hyperlinks within keywords within text to other parts of the site that are relevant to that keyword so that Google and the other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, can easily see the structure and pages of your site.
Ensure websites with higher rankings are linking to you from "good neighborhoods" in the same industry. Avoid having anything to do with "link farms" or directories created for the sole purpose of link exchanging. Write comments and add your link on other peoples blog's, but don't overdo it. No one likes spam.
CREATE AN HTML NEWSLETTER FOR CLIENTS
Set up a email newsletter database, with an email capture form on your site (we can help you set this up with a 30 day trial period). Add your existing database and get permission from clients to opt in. Add an opt in form to your website. Don't just "sell" in it, send relevant industry info as well, special offers from related businesses.
You can build the newsletter in the easy to use editor, and send out to your clients, friends, followers and potential customers. Offer stories, tips and "give" your reader a reason to click, in other words a "call to action". Make them feel good with an article, encourage them with support and tell them how your business is just what they need in their life.
Send on a regular basis, consistently but not too often. I don't love weekly ones. Once a month is nice, and not overdone. Super keen people can always visit your blog.