Monday, 27 June 2016

How SEO has Attained Adulthood

Social networking
Hats off to Google!

Whilst I still believe the search-engine giants to be manipulative and to favour businesses who can afford to pay for advertising and high profile professional promotional services, this is just the way that business has always been done. Throughout history, money generates money, most of the time.

However, Google has taken a moral stand against some kinds of 'cheating' and has patiently trained website owners to work with them, rather than against them. To be fair on website owners, most of them are not bad, just naiive, and Google was a bit heavy-booted at first.

Still, we're on fairly stable ground now and SEO practices are, to some extent, standardised. In the world of small businesses (SMEs), this has been assisted in some part by the standardisation of website and e-commerce developer packages and their recommended themes and popular add-ons. For example, the use of WordPress to create a website with Yoast or similar plug-ins as basic SEO guides.
  • It is easier for website developers to create good quality, standardised - but unique - website for clients
  • It is easier for website owners/managers to maintain current data on their websites
  • it is easier to integrate Social Networking - the primary source of links to SME websites
With equal availability of low-cost tools and general knowledge, it is less easy to get an edge over competitors who have more muscle, even if you have a 'better' product or service.

SEO on a Budget

If you can't afford to get ahead, at least try to stay in the game. Whether you do it yourself or farm it out, there are certain practices you should follow.

Website page content should be full of interesting information for your potential clients/customers. For clarity (and SEO) don't over-use pronouns (e.g. use the product name rather than 'it' - but don't over-do it!) and try to write at least 300 words per page/topic. Include images (with alt-tags) where appropriate - it helps to make text more readable. Use keywords or phrases that your clients might use in their searches and, when there is more information available on another page, link to it with meaningful text.


Linking to your website from other websites is best when the pages that are linked from and to contain similar keywords. Remember that quality generally overrides quantity (although there are plenty of examples where this seems not to be the case). Forum sites with genuine links to your website are doubly useful as they are valued by users and produce good quality human traffic.

Social Media is underrated by many website owners. Primarily, for business, the top three are considered to be Twitter, Linked-In and Facebook. However, depending on your business, you may have good results from Pinterest, YouTube and Google+. If you don't have time or inclination to run your social media accounts properly, there are several inexpensive third parties who will manage them for you for a reasonable monthly fee.

Once the foregoing is in place, your next consideration is to include a blog.
  • Typically, off-site (Google blogger or Wordpress) or integrated into your WordPress website
  • May be used for news, case-studies, discussion topics, guest posts, "thought leadership"

Link to Blog-related posts.

Links to The BPc on Social Media: TWITTER - BPcUK  | PINTEREST IMAGES | FACEBOOK PAGE | GOOGLE+PLUS 

Should you require our services, please let us know. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Tips: Photos for your Website

If you are taking your own photographs to include in your website design, here are some tips to keep your website designer happy and achieve a more professional finish.

Set up your Camera

Whether you are using a digital SLR or a smartphone, set your camera to at least 5Megapixels (2592x1552), preferably 8Megapixels (3264x1952) or more.

Set up your Shot 

Unless you have a specific requirement for "portrait" (tall) images, you should take your photographs with a "landscape" orientation. It is surprising how many people forget this when using their smartphones.


takng photographs and cropping

Leave more room around the edges than you think you need, keeping the subject central - the edges can be cropped and often edited (to remove objects or repeat scenery) as required, without stretching to increase the width. This is especially important if using wide banner header images on your website. Also, try to keep horizons horizontal - photographs can have tilt correction during editing if there is sufficient space around the main image.

Cropping and Editing

If you are cropping or editing the image yourself, remember to store the original full size photograph and work on a copy - give the copy a meaningful name rather than pic-01 (see below). You can then use the original to generate several different shapes and sizes at any time.

Images for Websites

When your website designer asks for images, offer to send a copy of the original photograph or the specific size that is requested. If you are uploading images yourself to update your WordPress website, check the maximum size necessary - uploading several images at 5600pixels wide will slow down the website's performance - usually a 2000-ish pixel width is adequate.

Before you upload images, ensure that they have meaningful titles, e.g. pink trainers rather than img-01, and add a descriptive Alt-title or Alt-text when using images on your website or blog, which helps search engines to index them properly.

Twitter@BPcUK
Facebook/TheBPcUK
Thanks to Professional Solutions (website design-and-build) #Herts for inspiring this post.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Beware - Your FaceBook Page Will Be Disabled

No It Won't! 

This old phishing scam is still around - it has just appeared as a notification on a client's FaceBook page. The post (now deleted) was shared by the page https://www.facebook.com/Conf%C4%B1rm-Your-Page-611618968994599/timeline **UPDATE: Facebook has now removed this Page**

You can see a number of random shared posts, all showing the same message:

THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL FACEBOOK NOTIFICATION so why hasn't FaceBook done anything about it? Well, probably because this particular post has only been phishing for about an hour so hopefully it'll be gone soon. I'm just off to report this to Facebook. **UPDATE: credit where it's due - Facebook has taken action**

The point is that this will undoubtedly be set up under another guise so please be aware - don't click on any of the links and report the phishing scam to Facebook without delay!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Send Us Your CV (Spring 2016)

Please send your CV if you think you'd like to work with us. 

We are a small business that covers a wide number of internet, marketing, design and support services to other businesses and organisations.


Usually, we are fairly busy but for the past couple of years, we have been very busy. It's time to find some help for the unique combination of services we provide to clients. You don't have to cover the whole spectrum but if you are able to help out with some of the projects or tasks, we'd love to discuss working together. Some of its component parts, in no particular order of importance, are as follows:

Social Media:

planning a social media strategy for a client ~ posting on Facebook for clients ~ managing a client's twitter account (tweets, likes, re-tweets, follows) ~ posting to Pinterest ~ posting to Google+

Blogging: 

ideas for blog posts ~ researching topics for blog posts ~ writing blog posts (using Word or direct input to WordPress or Google Blogger) ~ submit articles to third party publishing sites (occasionally)

WordPress/website updates: 

update blog posts and page content for clients ~ upload images/files to media library ~ use SEO tools ~ edit widget areas, menus and other aspects of WordPress websites

Client liaison: 

manage all aspects or one aspect of a clients' account ~ train/support clients (occasionally)

Internet/SEO tasks: 

test clients' websites against a set of Google webmaster guidelines ~ research clients' industry sector ~compare competitors' website performance ~ use Google Analytics and Search tools

Design/print projects:

website design ~ graphic design ~ logo design ~ stationery design ~ advertisement design ~ leaflet design ~ brochure design ~ pre-print preparation

Additional optional tasks:

Image editing ~ video editing ~ video uploads to YouTube ~ embed videos into blogs - create PDF files and upload to WordPress media library ~ anything, really, that our clients need and we have the ability to provide (that's why we're so busy!)

 

Working with The BPc - is this for you?

None of us are employees, we are self-employed individuals who work together on client projects under The BPc banner. We each have our own client base, some of whom we share, depending on who has the better skills for a particular task - sharing is all about honesty, integrity, reliability, common sense and a sense of humour.

The person we want to hear from may already have a small business in one of the above-listed sectors or a complementary one (such as email marketing, document translation, virtual office assistant) or may be looking to start up a business. You will most likely be working from home (if not now, then soon) and will definitely have a computer and are not afraid to use it!

You won't know whether this is for you until you find out more, which will cost you nothing. We can start with email then skype or 'phone and you can ask whatever you like. If you live locally, maybe we can meet up.

Please send your CV if you think you'd like to work with us. 






The BPc,
North Hertfordshire.



Friday, 26 February 2016

Websites recently launched and under construction.

Recently Launched Websites: Designer Villas, NDC Utilities, Roseground


Newbuild House for sale in Denia Spain
DesignerVillas.co.uk is a website owned by SunSeeker Villas who markets individual, detached, non-estate, built-to-order homes in the Denia region of Spain's Costa Blanca. These are designed and built by a second-generation family-owned construction company with an excellent reputation throughout the region.

From specifying your villa and signing appropriate legal documents, you can expect to move into your completed home in under a year. Prices start around £200,000 - take a look at the available designs and plans on the website and decide which new house to buy in Denia.

Construction Connection Services
NDC Utility Services supplies essential services to housing developments, hotels and holiday villages, retail and industrial parks, health and educational facilities, etc., in the form of lighting and electrical connections.

As an independent connections supplier, NDC Utilities can help large, medium and small businesses to set up their offices, workshops or industrial units. See their website at www.ndcutilityservices.co.uk

Industrial refurbishments & construcitonworks
Roseground is a construction company that specialises in commercial and industrial projects, such as office refurbishments, workshop and industrial refurbishments, canteen re-fits plus specialist projects such as high speed roller doors, large space resin floors, remedial works to roadway infrastructures, secure areas and cleanrooms.

A selection of their projects is on their website, www.roseground.co.uk.



Under Construction: Accountants in Herts & London; UK Investment Fund.


Unfortunately, we can't say much about these until after launch but we have been working with two companies whose websites are nearing completion.

We have redesigned the website for an Accounting company based in St. Albans and London W1, retaining the understated company style. The main purpose of the website is to improve its visibility in search engines and, as an added bonus, developing in WordPress means that future content changes can be easily and quickly updated without knowledge of html coding.

The Investment Fund website is totally hush-hush until launch! It is a brand new site for a property company. We'll let you know more when we are allowed.


Friday, 22 January 2016

Beware! That Email is NOT from Google

 
Oh no! "Google" will cut off my access to all Google products within 24 hours!
DON'T PANIC. They're not really going to.

If you've received an email like the one displayed here, complete with typo, advising you to click on the Verify Account button, what should you do?

What you should NOT do is  to click on the Verify Account button or the Reset Password link.

Go to your browser and log into Google where you would expect to find an appropriate message or use the Google search engine to find more information. Search using the typo 'inconivnece' is an excellent start - you will see numerous references to this being a scam or 'phishing' email.

The email seemed 'phishy' because we use Google products a lot and, indeed, we have been dealing with our contacts at Google in the past few days. There was no reference to any Google ID review.

In addition to that, the email address that was referred to in the email has never been registered as a Google ID.

Another one just came in...

Dear Google User,

This is to officially inform you that you have been selected as a winner for using Google services, attached is our official notification letter for your perusal.

Happy New Year 2016!!

Sincerely.
Larry Page CEO & Co-founder of Google 

Seriously?!!!

p.s. We've just been informed of an attack on WordPress websites and blogs. Below is a link to this issue and related advice, on the OWL website: Act Now toProtect your Wordpress site from attack 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Website Not Top Of Google Search Results?

Surfing on Google
When one of our clients asked this question recently...  

"Quick question, is there any reason why our website does not come up at top of page when searching in Google?" 

We decided to answer for everyone, in the form of a blog post. There is no quick answer, unfortunately.



About Google. There are literally millions of companies competing for top spot in Google's search results. Millions! Google sets out guidelines for webmasters to follow for websites to be included in their search index but there is no magic formula to propel any website to the top of page 1. Google says this. If anyone tells you any different, be wary.

Google search If you want to be top of local geographic searches for your company name, e.g. "Sparmelly & Dople, Accountants, St. Albans" it's easy to be on page 1. Your 'impression' will probably be amongst directory listings with links to your website. However, to be found for more competitive keywords, such as a generic search for "Accountants near St. Albans" you need to work a bit harder.

This search produces more than a quarter of a million results! Further inspection reveals that paid advertisements take priority, followed by websites that have been submitted to Google Places - and verified by Google - then the organic results.
When an SEO services company promises to put your website "top of Google" check whether this refers to a paid ad or organic results. For organic results, check which keywords are being used.
Keywords should be the short phrases that you think your targeted potential clients would use when searching for a service that you and your competitors offer. Don't use your company name - you should already be on page 1 for that or there may be something fundamentally wrong!

About Your Website. All the important pages should have a text link from the home page. Ensure that the links are within relevant text and are limited to a small percentage of the page content. Write at least 300 words and include phrases that users would type in to search for your services. Create interesting, information-rich content. Behind the content, make use of meta-data, such as alt-tags on images, and ensure that each page has a unique, relevant <title> and meta-descripton. When content is in place, check the website for broken links.

You should be open and honest when writing website content. There are also some things that Google says you  must not do, including: duplicate content, hidden text, keyword stuffing and participating in link schemes.


If you'd like to  use The BPc for website design, optimisation, ongoing SEO or Social Media management, please get in touch.