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FUNNY SEO THINGS…

Being an SEO expert can sometimes be extremely boring. I’m sure many others in the industry can attest to that too, although here are some funny (in a proper SEO dork kinda way) stories that have popped up over the years that do make it all interesting:

 

GOOGLE BOMBING

The victims include Tony Blair and George Bush if that’s any consolation, but this outdated practice is probably most known for the search phrase “Find Chuck Norris” in which this website shows up – NoChuckNorris. You can read more Google bombs here. On a side not too, who actually remembers Google looking like this?!

PAYDAY LOANS FROM MATT CUTTS

My personal #1 on the list, and around the same time I was being a low-life ‘black-hat SEO’ in the PPI industry – an anonymous SEO legend trolled Google in a way that will probably never be rivaled. Not even 5 days after the Google Payday Loans Update in 2013, a website called paydayloansfrommrcutts.blog.co.uk popped up on the front page on Google.co.uk for the term ‘Payday Loans’. For those who aren’t aware, Matt Cutts was the head of the Google web spam team at the time and had announced the crackdown on ‘black-hat tactics’. I love Matt and all, but if whoever did this ever reads this posts – I owe you a beer and you need to tell me how you did it!

GOOGLE SCRAPING UPDATE

In February 2014 Matt Cutts announced a new (and subsequently retired) tool that allowed webmasters to report if scraped content was outranking the original in Google:

 

 

I’m just going to leave this here, without comment:

 

 

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GOOGLE ON-PAGE SEO QUALITY SCORES

One of the most effective SEO tips that you can implement with immediate effect is making sure that your ‘on-page SEO‘ is done correctly.

In the video below (Whiteboard Friday / Transcript from Moz), Rand Fishkin from Moz runs through some of the on-page factors that Google will look at when determining how high a web page should rank in the SERP’s:

 

 

Some of the main things that you can take away from this are:

  • Make sure your page content is unique. Use Plagspotter to find out if any duplicates of your web pages exist on the internet that could be harming your rankings.
  • You meet high standards of page quality and design. Some tips and tricks from Gorilla Marketing that you could implement:
    • Try and have each web page have as many (if not more) words on the page than your competitors do for the key phrases you are trying to rank for. Use this bulk page word checker to see how you match up.
    • Try and have unique, high-quality content like videos and images on your pages.
    • Your page successfully answers the searchers’ questions and it is easy for them to complete an action on your website.
    • Your spelling and grammar are perfect. Use Grammarly for your browser or Microsoft Office.
    • You link to lots of high-authority external sites to give users more information and further reading if they require it.
  • Interlinking of your site.
  • Fast page load times and accessible/readable on any device.
  • Update low-performance pages to meet standards to give the whole website more credibility.

If you would like a free SEO audit to see how your website is doing in the rankings & any improvements that you could be making feel free to drop us a line!

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FACEBOOK AD TARGETING

The team over at WordStream have put together an awesome Facebook ad targeting infographic that shows all behaviours / interests in an way that’s easy to read & understand. We’ve actually got a couple printed and hanging up in on the wall next to our PPC / AdWords Management team. Take a copy for yourself!

 

 

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57% OF SEARCH TRAFFIC IS ON MOBILE

THE REPORT FROM BRIGHTEDGE ALSO INDICATED THAT MOBILE AND DESKTOP PRODUCE DIFFERENT QUERIES 80% OF THE TIME.

IMAGE CREDIT – SEARCH ENGINE LAND

IS YOUR WEBSITE MOBILE RESPONSIVE?

A little over 2 years ago, Google announced that mobile searches and exceeded desktop searches globally. There has been no official number of what is in in 2017 from the guys at Google, although a Google speaker at a recent press event casually let it slip that it was a “vast majority”.

The latest report done by BrightEdge had their client data show a 57% vs 43% in favour of mobile vs desktop. As you would imagine the data swings wildly between industries and niches (eg restaurants and taxis have a higher mobile search percentage than web hosting). BrightEdge also reported that the results were different between almost 80% of the searches on mobile and desktop:

BrightEdge research found that the same query on the same search engine generated different rank in mobile and desktop 79% of the time. The variability was also visible when analyzing just the top 20 rank positions at only 47% of keywords generating different rank on different devices.

 

This would make sense given that geolocation and proximity are key ranking factors in mobile results. The recommendation is to make sure that not only is your website optimized for mobile, but to better understand the searching habits of your audience and tailor your conversions funnels around this information.

 

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OPTIMISING YOUTUBE VIDEOS FOR SEO

YouTube is probably one of the most under-utilized tools in the arsenal of an SEO – while simultaneously being one of the most effective too. Not only is it a Google property which has high domain authority (which you can use to link back to your website), but when embedded on your web pages it’s also a great way to convey your message without a wall of text (and improve conversions). In this post I’m going to go over the best way to optimize them on-page, as well as a few tips & tricks I have used to push them and websites up the organic listings.

 

When uploading your video, the first thing you are going to want to do is name the file the keywords that you are hoping it shows up for. Once the video is uploaded, you should be presented with a screen that looks like the one below:

 

 

To make it a bit easier for you, I have labeled out where the main areas you need to focus your attention are:

 

1. This is the title of the video as well as the page. You want to make sure that you put the keyword you want to be found for in there. This will also help give the page more relevancy when it links out to your website. If it is a local business video, also include a local number.

 

2. The description of the video. Testing has shown that if you want to use the video mainly as a link to your website, then place the link at the top. If you are more concerned about the readability and the message of your description then prioritize that. Also do your best to have around 500 words+ which tells readers a little bit more about your video. You also want to include links to all your social media accounts / your website at the bottom. Not only is it a way to get likes / high authority traffic to your properties, it also contributes to the overall authority of them. This is what is meant when people refer to domain authority stacking in the black / grey hat communities.

 

3. The tags of your video. It’s a bit of a no brainer that you should have your keywords in here, but another nice tip is to include your brand name or something similar that no other channel uses. This way, when people are watching your video, in the recommended section it will be more likely to show your other videos as opposed to those of a competitor.

 

4. The subtitles of your video. Ideally you want to have said the keyword that you want to rank for in your video a couple of times. YouTube normally does an alright job of annotating it itself, but double check it and make sure it’s there in your subtitles. Under the advanced settings you also want to set your video to your location.

 

Once all of this is done, make sure you are sharing it across your social profiles and click ‘publish’. The short and sweet of doing all this right can be seen below:

 

 

 

At the time of publishing the video, it was on page one within 3 hours of being up (This will generally only happen if you are doing this with ‘long tail keywords’ like I did above, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing). After I built 3 links to it and embedded it on a couple of web 2.0 websites, it has move it up to position one. If you also look at position 6 in the organic results, you will see that the page that it links to is now on the front page. This was achieved just by virtue of being linked to from the YouTube video and nothing else. If you want front page exposure quickly, then this is easily the fastest way to do it.

 

Also, if you wanted toe the line a little with what you are and aren’t allowed to do – you could use multiple YouTube videos as link buffers to your website. In other words, you set out your YouTube videos as described above, all linking back to your ‘money page’. You now use your YouTube videos as a high authority, relevant pages that your ‘money page’ is getting links from. Added to this, YouTube is able to take some pretty run of the mill links and still have them count towards its page authority, basically ‘cleaning the juice’ before it gets to your website (Don’t go too filthy though, it’s not magic). After a while you will see your money page ranking even though you haven’t sent any ‘real’ links to it. From our testing we have also found that after about a month the ‘money page’ can withstand a higher anchor ratio and link velocity (rate of building links to it), which we think must come from the additional trust YouTube (a Google property) has given to it. Have fun!

 

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HIDE BACKLINKS FROM COMPETITORS

I got an email from an SEO expert in Edinburgh yesterday. Not that it is a particularly noteworthy bit of news; but I got called out on one of the naughtier SEO tricks I did to rank the Gorilla Marketing website. I’m not condoning the practice of ‘black hat SEO’ at all – but there were one or two ‘grey hat’ things I may have done to help the website along the way; which subsequently required the need to hide my backlinks. 

 

Hiding Backlinks

 

WHY HIDE YOUR BACKLINKS?

This one shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. The SEO world is dog eat dog, especially when ranking for SEO related keywords. By not taking these precautions you are in effect giving a competitor a blue print on how to copy what you have done. Some people also have PBN’s (personal blog networks) or paid for links that they want to hide from prying eyes for obvious reasons too. Check out this guide on SEO tools if you want to know more of how to look in to what your competitors are doing.

 

SEO Tools Backlinks

 

UNDERSTANDING HOW TOOLS FIND YOUR LINKS

Just like Google, the major tools out there have their own crawler that finds web pages and follows links to new web pages. The process continues until they have all the linked to web pages on the internet saved (with information on who they link out to). Unlike Google though, who use an algorithm to sort this information into the results you see when you search for something; SEO tools make this information available to the public. This, in effect, gives anyone who looks a blueprint to duplicate your efforts – which obviously won’t do for what we want to achieve.

 

HIDING YOUR LINKS

There are a few ways to do this, and it all depends on the type of link going back to your site. If the link is on your personal network then you are going to want to make sure that the tools don’t find the entire website. In this scenario you will own the website that is linking back to you, so you have control over the robots.txt file. This is the file that bots check before they crawl a website in order to see if they are allowed on it. While most guides out there will give you a list of bots to disallow, you will never get them all. For this reason I choose to disallow them all, only letting the good bots in. Here is what you put in a robots.txt file:

 

User-Agent: *
Disallow: /

User-Agent: Googlebot
Allow: /

User-Agent: Googlebot-Mobile
Allow: /

User-Agent: Googlebot-Image
Allow: /

User-Agent: Mediapartners-Google
Allow: /

User-Agent: Adsbot-Google
Allow: /

User-Agent: Slurp
Allow: /

User-Agent: msnbot
Allow: /

User-Agent: msnbot-media
Allow: /

User-Agent: Teoma
Allow: /

 

What I would also recommend doing is going in to the .htaccess file and making sure these bots go somewhere else other than the website on your network. It isn’t as easy to disallow all and only allow a select few this way, so we will be only sending the bots of the major SEO tools to another site.

 

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} .*AhrefsBot.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} .*SemrushBot.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} .*MJ12Bot.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} .*RogerBot.*  
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.Google.com/ [L,R=301] 
Order Allow,Deny 
Allow from all 
Deny from 216.123.8.0/8 
Deny from .... 

 

Shout out to Craig Campbell SEO for the code used in the .htaccess file. Once you have done that, sites on your network linking back to your main site will now only be found by the bots of search engines. This is only half the battle though, and not everyone (myself included) ranks with a blog network.

 

HIDING LINKS FROM SITES YOU DON’T OWN

I cant really remember how I stumbled across this method or I would give them a link. See, some SEOs have some really good sources that link back to them, and we don’t want to be giving that information away to our competitors. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about links you attract naturally, but if you are putting your link on other websites with the intention of ranking – then you can. This does require a small sacrifice in ‘link juice’ though – but it is very worth it.

UPDATE: Hooray! As of 1st Aug 2016 you don’t lose any juice through this method! Moz Article

The first thing you are going to want to do is create a new sub-domain on the website you are ranking (keyword sub-domain perhaps?). Just like how you edit the robots and .htaccess files on a PBN, you do the exact same for this sub-domain. You then 301 redirect this newly created sub-domain to the page you are trying to rank. Now when you build links on other websites no one will be able to find them.

 

In case you didn’t notice the best part too – what you also have here with this sub-domain is a ‘tap’. Any link juice from links you build to it can very easily be switched on and off by deleting / moving the 301. Now, I’m not trying to put any ideas in anyone’s head here – but I’ll leave you with this: if a sub-domain gets penalised, the root domain remains unaffected. Have fun!

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START A SUCCESSFUL AMAZON STORE

I recently helped a close friend & client with a project to help generate passive income by selling on Amazon. Through this method he is able to ship his products to an Amazon warehouse and have them handle all the orders and logistics involved with the sale of the item (for a fee). This blog post will cover everything we did, including how we found a profitable niche, sourced a cheap supplier and started generating sales through various channels. To start with, the first thing we had to do was open a Fulfilment by Amazon account.

 

 

 

Once we completed the sign up process and filled in all the information they require of us (quite a lengthy process – about 15 minutes), we find ourselves on our Amazon Seller Central Dashboard. This is where sales, pricing and stock are managed.

 

 

 

The next stage was determining if there is actually a demand for our product within the Amazon platform. The tool that we used for this is called Jungle Scout. Here is their sales video:

 

 

If you haven’t decided on your product already, you are going to need to use the Jungle Scout tool to scour Amazon high and low looking for opportunities and weighing up your options. Ideally you want to make sure that the product meets the following criteria:

  • It sells well most of the year round (not seasonal).
  • No massive international brands dominate the product niche (Don’t try and out sell Nike for football boots).
  • It would be best if the top 1-5 ranking products didn’t have that many reviews (Less than 75 ideally).
  • The product you are looking to sell is small and light.

 

Once you have found a product that matches this criteria, the next step is buying your inventory. There are two main websites that you can use to source your stock from:

  • Alibaba (Low Cost Per Unit, High Min Order)
  • Ali Express (High Cost Per Unit, Low Min Order)

Both of these websites are similar to Amazon, the only difference is that you are able to buy in bulk / have unique products manufactured. The overall plan through this method is that you will be able to find a product for really cheap, order it in bulk, brand it and then send it off to Amazon to sell at a profit. If you are willing to put the time, money and effort in to developing your system then there is no reason you can’t earn a decent income from it.

 

Just a quick one too regarding the above – normally you want to go through Alibaba as the prices are better; however if you are starting out you may not want to buy your initial stock in such large volumes in case you are unable to shift it – in which case I recommend Ali Express. Before purchasing though, you need to work out your profit margins on your product.

From here on in the tutorial I am going to be speaking hypothetically as to not give away the niches that we work in. Going forward we will be pretending that we are selling scented candles (high monthly search, top results have less than 75 reviews and it is small and light). So first have a look on Amazon at the competition:

 

 

We can see that they generally sell anywhere between £5 and £11. This is the price range we should be looking to sell ours at. Notice the branding and type of candles on the front page too. We now need to do the same search on Alibaba, then contact the different manufacturers and weigh up the quality, cost and seller history. For this example let’s say I think that candle below had the potential to stand out on the front page of Amazon and sell.

 

 

Including the cost of shipping (VERY IMPORTANT!) and packaging (Find out if manufacturer will do this for you or if you will need to organise this yourself), I should be able to get 5000 units for roughly £5700 ($7000), or £1.14 per candle. We’ll also need to consider cost of shipping from our premises to Amazon. If you develop a strong enough relationship with your supplier, there is no reason they can’t ship directly to Amazon and cut back your costs even further. Anyway, let’s say it works out to £1.90 a candle if we consider all things; selling it for £7.00 is a reasonable return on investment.

Note: In this example I am also using Alibaba as opposed to Ali Express, so the cost per unit is lower – although a higher net spend.

 

While you wait for things to be manufactured / shipped (normally around 8 weeks), it’s a good idea to ask for 3-5 samples to be sent by express international delivery so you can get product photography, branding etc out the way. It is really important to have good photography on your Amazon product page. In some cases a manufacturer will be able to send you a product sample before you buy in bulk if you communicate your idea across and get to know them before they start. Alibaba is a secure platform anyway (pay with PayPal) – so you should have peace of mind that everyone will walk away from this arrangement happy.

 

We then look at the Amazon Profitability Calculator. I have also found a product that matches similar criteria to the one the candle I plan on selling (and being sold on Fulfilment by Amazon), and check it out.

 

 

So as you can see, including shipping it to Amazon and having them deal with the entire customer care process / delivery / support and all that – it works out to a £2.94 fee per candle sold. Add this to the £0.96 cost of the actual candle – and the entire cost of manufacturing, packaging, sale, delivery and support for each candle comes to exactly £3.90. This leaves us with a profit of £3.10 per candle. If we decide to sell it to the rest of Europe too, it works out to around £2.60 (Bear in mind that this gets less by £0.02 every month the candle stays in storage too).

So it looks like the gross profit will be around £15 000 on each batch of 5000 candles. This is either awful or amazing, depending on how long it takes to sell them all. The next challenge would be working out how to get them sold as cheap as possible. The best place for you to start with is by being found within the Amazon platform. How Amazon ranks products internally for keywords is detailed below:

 

  • The relevancy of the product.
    • Candles aren’t going to show up for a search for a bath. But besides being that obvious, we need to make sure that we use as many keywords in the title as we can, while sounding as natural as possible. We are also going to want to use some of the keywords we have identified in our descriptions / answers etc.
  • The quality of the product (reviews / returns / refunds)
    • Don’t manufacture and sell crappy stuff. It’s not worth haggling down on price trying to save £1 per unit if it’s not going to be done properly. Rather have high turnover than high margins.
  • The amount of sales a product has.
    • Another obvious one. If it is selling well then Amazon want to show it.
  • The amount of reviews it has.
    • If the product has loads of people raving about it and leaving reviews then it is probably something their searchers want to see / will buy.
  • Whether or not it is being fulfilled by Amazon.
    • Amazon rank their own products above normal merchant fulfilled products.
  • The conversion rate of the page.
    • When people land on this page do they buy from here or someone else? Ways we can make sure that people choose us is to have really high quality pictures, good descriptions and good reviews.
  • Reasonable price.
    • Are your products in line with what your competitors are charging?

 

None of the above are mutually exclusive of each other so it can be hard to your store going initially. A good idea while you wait for your product would be to get a web page up about it (HINT: have that put on the packaging too, so get your domain sorted name ASAP. You can also start getting our social media presence and content together if you are going to be relying on search engines for traffic. Another good tip is to give away ~100 candles for free to people / friends and family in exchange for an honest Amazon review.

 

If you don’t treat this like a get rich quick scheme and are willing to invest time and money in to it – it will be very easy in the future to walk away from it and have the entire process handled automatically. Amazon will also ship all over Europe from UK fulfilment centres, so the sky really is the limit on this one if you apply yourself to it.

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INTRO TO CPANEL

 

 


INTRODUCTION TO CPANEL

The best way to describe CPanel is to imagine it as the system administrator for pretty much everything about your web site and server. It will manage certain aspects of your domain, your emails, as well as a file manager where your WordPress website is stored and viewed by the world.

You will be able to log in to CPanel by going to yourdomain.com/cpanel. When you signed to our hosting package you will have received your login details by email. Alternatively, you are able to see them on your hosting dashboard.

 


THE BACK END OF CPANEL

So, when you’re on the back end, the first thing we are going to look at is the file manager. If we click on it, we will see a few different folders – the most important one is public_HTML. If you are just starting out you will see that this is just filled with a file just called index. You will see also this file if you type your new domain in your browser. A quick tip, if your domain hasn’t propagated yet – meaning you get an error when trying to view it in your browser – try waiting a few hours for your ISP to cache your website.

A quick tip, if your domain hasn’t propagated yet – meaning you get an error when trying to view it in your browser – try waiting a few hours for your ISP to cache your website.

So, going forward, this public HTML folder is where your website will be saved. We won’t have to be in here much, just at the beginning though so don’t worry if it all looks a little chaotic.

 

Then, if we go back to the CPanel main dashboard, the next thing to look at is our emails. You will be able to set up email addresses for your domain in this area and be able to access your emails be either using Outlook or going to yourdomain.com/webmail.

We also have access to our domain here, where we will be able to change any DNS records if the need ever arises, as well as create subdomains on our website.

Lastly, you will also see that your databases can be created and accessed through this dashboard. You won’t need to do anything in there unless you choose to set WordPress up manually, but they are there if you ever need them.

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