How Organic SEO Works: an Infographic

Search Process Infographic

Search Process Infographic

Sam Aspden came to us recently with a bit of a problem. She had bought a DIY ‘website in a box’ for her starter business in wedding stationery design but unfortunately the site was doing very little. In fact even if she spelt her own name out in Google she still struggled to find herself.

Now, two weeks on,

Yeah it is on Google page 1!!! You’re like the Superman, Yoda & Optimus Prime of the SEO world, all wrapped into one.What did you want for xmas?
Sam Aspden Designs

So what did we do to get this huge turnaround?
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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

Have The Balls To Tell It Like It Is

This is a Bushel

This is a Bushel

I have said it before but, down my way (Topsham, near Exeter, in Devon) everyone seems to be an SEO expert, everyone. Great, farming’s not what it was and they closed all the Devon coal mines and heavens when did you last see a working steel mill in the South West? So I guess it’s good to have a new sustainable industry…er.

In recent weeks I am pleased to say that I have saved a number of my customers money in various ways though not related directly to design or photography. One customer was paying for Broadband but didn’t have a modern router (still using an ancient USB device). They now have an improved contract and up to date technology, meaning to that they will be able to work better and communicate more easily. I have other customers who were getting invoiced for hosting packages they didn’t need.

Finally some are looking to improve their position on Google by, each month, throwing Google’s way the equivalent of an,

  • Interesting old motorbike
  • Well sourced Omega Seamaster (SH)
  • Pleasant weekend away for two

Well that’s my perspective on it, yours may be different but you get the idea I’m sure.

The problem with this last customer is that they are actually already page one numero uno on a Google search of their primary keywords anyway. That’s what we try to do when we create a website.

Now, here is the rub, the awkward truth. Most of my work comes from direct word of mouth referral. I have in the past paid thousands of pounds to advertise in online and printed directories but saw little effect other than worried mothers phoning me looking for work placements for young Jade or Dean.

It seems to me that it is almost naive to believe that everyone can be a winner in the SEO game and, unless your services are ‘niche’ in the extreme, you will risk an overly expensive bidding war that won’t actually bring the dinner home. That’s not to say there isn’t a job to be done but please be realistic.
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New WordPress Website for Topsham’s pdm Architecture

pdm website

pdm website

Topsham based Design Credo have worked with Phil Domville-Musters of PDM Architecture to create a new WordPress based website. Although PDM had an existing site they were unhappy with the existing content management system which meant that they were struggling to update the site themselves. The brief for the site was quite simple,

Make one that looks like our existing site but works.

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Categories and Tags in WordPress


Times Change

Some time ago I needed an X-ray. I went to the hospital reception and was told to follow the blue line on the floor. Great idea, however I needed several X-rays by the time I arrived, I had walked into so many trolleys whilst looking at the ground.

When I first started creating websites it would take several months to get sites listed on search engines. One would write a site, generally half a dozen pages or so, add a few keywords and a description to the code and wait for it to all happen. It was infuriatingly slow, there were debates as to whether one should submit sites to the UK and/or the US versions of the search engines and whether submitting to both would cancel each other out.

My recent record for site submission is about 40 seconds. That is from the time that I made a blog post live to being able to find it on Google. 40 seconds.

Nowadays sites are much larger entities, this one already runs into hundreds of pages, it’s a blog and although the posts all sit in a single page, that page is effectively a placeholder for as many posts as I write. Click on the title of the posts and you will see that they open up into their own page.
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How to Ensure That Your Blog Grows, (Give a Little)

Blogs are great, I love them. WordPress is a fabulous tool for a business, no question about it in my mind. I have previously written about how to set your blog up to improve its performance. So what more do I need to give?

You Need Energy

We all need energy

We all need energy

Energy, in a word, energy. The difference between a blog and a static site is that the blog will generally develop and grow, but this won’t happen without some form of input. (my Mac grammar checker told me off for using that term the other day, told me it was jargon).

So what for does this energy take, what do we do to aid the ongoing development?

  1. Blog. The first thing to is to actually write some posts, ideally fairly regularly. It’s not rocket science, why would someone visit your site if there is nothing new to read?
  2. Keep a Focus. Yes this is a bit ‘do as I say, not as I do’. I have previously commented the eclectic nature of this blog, but… Keep a focus, yes of course embellish, express your human qualities, but make it clear what the boundaries are.

Hold on there, you haven’t done yet, back to the keyboard.
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