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Beyond SEO: 10 Essential Questions

SEO is seen as the panacea to all of our business woes and everyone is an SEO expert. Well it is undoubtedly important but in the real world SEO is only part of recipe for online success.

Below are 10 questions to ask yourself if you are trying to communicate or sell services via a the internet.

  1. Is the internet text or image based?

    If you think the internet is driven by images you had better listen to Stephen Fry (from about the 1hr point will do). It’s absolutely essential to understand that words are the key to internet searches.

  2. Does your page source code have;

    1. < title >A Keyword Rich Descriptive Page Title< /title >
    2. < meta name=”description” content=”The snippet that Google probably displays and makes people want to click through on your site-link rather than other people’s”>
    3. < h1>A keyword rich and descriptive main heading< /h1 >
    4. < p >A keyword rich first bit of body content that is both high up the page code and matches the words found is the above.< /p >

    It’s amazing how many websites don’t have these basic SEO needs. They should be different for each page.

  3. Did you know that Google doesn’t look at meta tag keywords (hidden in code) any more?

    In the past keywords were placed in the page code. These keywords were picked up by search engines but this lead quickly to keyword spamming or stuffing so Google don’t use them

  4. What’s your bounce rate?

    You’ve got people to your site, wouldn’t it be nice if they stayed a while rather than bounce straight back out?

  5. Are you sure about what are you selling?

    It is amazing the number of people who ask for a website to be designed but can’t answer this question.

  6. Do you have a niche?

    There is an advert for VW at the moment, ‘it’s like a Golf’. There is no point in presenting yourself as what is already there, no point. Find an angle that is unique to you. Life is so much easier if you are selling a niche product or service rather than pitching against the masses.

  7. Why are you interesting?

    Are we human? Yes we are and we will have interesting and valid tales to tell about our businesses. This is what will ultimately engage and interest people.

  8. Is there an emotional appeal?

    Try to find something that will appeal to people’s emotions. There is an old advertising adage; sell the sizzle not the sausage. Imagine a cooked sausage on the end of a fork, now imagine a raw sausage. Both mental images will inspire some sort of feelings but not necessarily the same.

  9. Are you spreading the story?

    There is a great box of tools out there to help you spread the word. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or WordPress your online communication will prosper better if it is shared as a dialogue.

  10. Why would anyone return to your site?

    So you’ve spent all this money on your site, your SEO has worked, and people have arrived at your site. Wouldn’t it be good to give them a reason to return? Change, regularly: news, updates, new products, new services. Keep on Movin On

Google Instant ‘blue arrow’, It’s Rude To Point

Google Blue Arrow

Google Blue Arrow


You are probably asking yourself,

“why is there a blue arrow next to the first Google search result?”

Did no one tell Google that it is rude to point? In case you haven’t noticed Google has a new ‘Blue Arrow’ tool that draws your attention to the first search result on the page if your are logged in or have Google Instant turned on.

In many ways it is a neat little tool, you can use the keyboard arrow tools to navigate through the search results. But, this small icon really does draw your eye to the first result. Also pressing the enter/return key takes you to the page associated with this result making it easy not to view alternative results.

There has to be a strong argument that this tool ultimately benefits the PPC rather than the organic, ‘non paid’ results. What do we expect, Google is a business, a very big business?

Could we perhaps have a green arrow too, yes green and organic please?

Need To Resize or Edit a Photo But Don’t Have The Software?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jft6KyoisM

Google won’t thank you for it, any more than your customers will. Worse still WordPress may well throw overly large image files straight out of the pram.

If you don’t have PhotoShop why not try PicNik.com? I’m not on a commission, I just think it’s neat, a great online resource as recommended through Twitter.

Large image files slow websites down. Google increasingly penalises poor page speed and your viewers will tire of slow pages. The bottom line it is good practice to optimise your images before you upload them. PicNik will let you resize and edit your image and save a copy back to your computer ready to upload to your website or blog.

WordPress Guides

This video is part of a series aimed at those new to WordPress

  1. Creating a simple post
  2. Images for the website (part 1)
  3. Images for the website (part 2)

Footnote, Unfortunately the bottom of the screen has been trimmed, there is a dialogue box that gives the image dimensions (bottom right). Also when I am referring to the screen size (1440 x 900) it is for the mac that I am working on, yours may differ.

Google Webmaster Tools – Improve Your Website Performance

Let’s start with the disclaimer. I am not in favour of a single company, service, product, whatever, dominating the scene.

Now to the ‘but’.

But Google is a very good search engine. I don’t like the fact that it inflates my rankings if I search whilst logged on to my Google account, but I love the fact that this post will appear on Google almost immediately. I realise that part of that process is due to WordPress and its plugins, but quite simply it suits my needs and my customers’ too.

Sarah Treble’s New Website

Exeter’s Design Credo have recently created a website for Sarah Treble, the renowned wedding dress designer now based in the South West. Whilst Sarah already had a website it wasn’t performing well particularly with search engines,

“I can’t even find myself unless I put my name in.”

Well, we are both extremely pleased with the results. Almost overnight Sarah’s ranking for key search terms improved with key phrases such as “bespoke dresses devon” putting Sarah at position two on the front page of Google. Removing Devon from the search string “bespoke dresses” still delivers a respectable third page Google result.

Somewhat surprisingly (for me anyway) “treble” returns a position two result on the front page of Google.

So how do we know this?

Webmaster_screen
Firstly we make an educated guess about what terms people might use to search. We then reverse search and see how we do.

However Google provides some pretty good free tools help to collect and analyse useful SEO data. These tools not unsurprisingly are known as Webmaster Tools.

What these tools do is to allow us to see what keywords people may be using to search for our site. Sometimes there are some surprises such as ‘treble’. More surprisingly the observant may have noticed that ‘trebble’ appears on the list and searching for ‘trebble’ Google prompts us for a miss-spell.

Google Webmaster Logo
The webmaster tools goes beyond simple keyword analysis though. It enables us to check the site’s HTML and allows us to see whether the SEO aids such as meta descriptions and page titles are all correctly added.

This is all free, you can do it yourself, but at DesignCredo it is very much all part of the Website Design Package that we offer to our customers

I Need a Website but I Don’t Know Why

Communication is the word, yes communication. It all goes horribly wrong sometimes.

I am a slow speaker, I know I am but once many years ago this was really brought into focus when I was trying to teach a friend how to ride a drop handlebar bicycle. She fell off at the point that I had said “take your hands off the lower part of the handlebars” and never got to hear me say “slowly, one at a time and move them to the top of the bars”. She survived (we didn’t). The point was that the communication clearly failed.

Why Mining

Frequently I hear people say things like “I need a website” or “I need an A4 brochure”. Rather foolishly some might say, I usually engage in a bit of Why-Mining by asking “why?”

To aid communication the emphasis is on the why not the mining. Why-mining is an effective although slightly annoying tool. Quite simply people frequently tend to already hold many of the answers that they seek, they just need someone to stand in front of them and ask them “why?”

“I need a four page A4 brochure”
“Why?”
“Because my competitor has one”
“Why does it need to be A4?”
“Because thats what they always are?
“Why do you need four pages?”
“Dunno”

Eventually you will get to bedrock and even if this bedrock is “I don’t know”, that will be a good place to start.

The bottom line is that what we at DesignCredo are trying to find out is what is the customer’s story, the unique thing that they are trying to communicate to others.

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Great Google SEO Results For Nest Interiors

Exeter design company Design Credo is extremely pleased with the initial performance of the WordPress website that they have created on behalf of Topsham’s Nest interiors. The site has well and truly hit the ground running with large numbers of visitors already viewing the site on a daily basis.

The built-in capabilities of this WordPress site enable us to see that within days of going live the site is getting extremely good viewing figures. This is like having hundreds of extra people looking around the shop on a daily basis.

The website is based on the WordPress platform but has been designed to give a strong visual appeal. DesignCredo have undertaken photography for Nest Interiors to strengthen their existing stock of images. The site aims to capture and convey the rich visual appeal of the Nest Interiors shop.

Great SEO results

A great website is of little value unless it can be found. Of course searching on the company’s name puts it top but more relevant search strings such as ‘new + england + style + furniture + devon’ perform extremely well, less than a week from the site being live. Further to this simple search strings such as “Lexington + Devon” provide first page Google results with more detailed searches such as “Lexington + Chesapeake + Cushion” giving a position 1 on a worldwide Google search.

This is extremely important for a company selling quality brand items such as those from Lexington. Putting it simply Nest interiors although based in Topsham near Exeter in the South-West of England are able to create national and international interest.

Add to this the inclusion of PubSubHubbub technology to ensure almost immediate submission of website developments to Google and we have a very search engine friendly site.

However, this is just the start. Design Credo will use various collectable data to monitor where site-traffic comes from and will continue to develop content that will create a good hit with Google searches.