Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Optimisation (SMO) Services
What we can do for you (read on to understand how it all works)
Led by our in-house SEO and SMO consultant, Diane Nicholls, we offer the following search engine and social media services at £35 per hour:
- Website review for SEO considerations (overview of current SEO strategy and effectiveness)
- Website review for end-user considerations (overview of your site's real-world effectiveness)
- Website technical review (check of code validity, page load speeds and DNS configuration etc.)
- Optimisation of webpage meta titles and descriptions (for effective and attractive listings)
- Optimisation of webpage headers (ensuring titles are meaningful, semantic and keyword-rich)
- Optimisation of content (ensuring content is readable, interesting and grammatically correct)
- Addition of new content (to make your site more relevant and useful for its various visitors)
- Management of Google Analytics (to find out who is visiting your site, for how long and why)
- Management of Google Webmasters Account (ensuring your site works with Google, not against it)
- Management of Social Media Accounts (acting as your online marketing/communications manager)
- Further website reviews (measuring action effectiveness and adjusting strategy accordingly)
In short, we will do our very best to ensure that your website says the right things to the right people and gets noticed for the right reasons.
Although any of the above tasks can be carried out on a one-off basis to a set budget, to be properly effective, SEO and marketing through social media needs a long-term approach - especially with regards to building an engaging profile, which will depend entirely upon the type of products or services that you sell. We will obviously need to understand your business and its market, but as we have been in the corporate communications business for over 35 years, we have a fairly good understanding of a vast range of market sectors, particularly hospitality and motorsport. Diane, for example, spent 16 years in hospitality management and understands hotels and restaurants inside out.
The most effective way to proceed would be to agree an ongoing package of services with us, whereby we carry out a little of each of the above listed services each month, starting with the most important to your business, whatever that is shown to be after an initial review. Thus at £35ph, you can decide what your budget should be and then we will let you know how we are getting on during a monthly meeting (by phone, zoom or in person as appropriate). You can make the changes we deem necessary if you wish, or we can do them for you - whatever suits you best. The SEO and SMO requirements of every business are unique, but as a very loose and completely generic example, this is what we might do each month for £750pm (25 hours):
- Review and consideration of up to eight pages for SEO and usability effectiveness (2hrs)
- Optimisation of meta titles, descriptions and headers for above pages (4hrs)
- Proof-reading and copy-editing of above pages, plus keyword optimisation (5hrs)
- Research and writing of an industry-related article likely to be shared on social networks (4hrs)
- Enhancing social media accounts with pictures and posts about industry-related stories (5hrs)
- Social media relationship management (monitoring and responding to SM interactions) (4hrs)
- Reporting on progress and ensuring that you approve of everything being done on your behalf (2hrs)
Every client's needs are different - this is only a generic example. Every client's budget is also different - we can spend 10 or 100 hours a month on your SEO and SMO needs: the choice is yours, but we can advise what we think would be appropriate after an initial review of your website and market positioning.
Why we do what we do - Background
Search companies such as Google and Bing make their profits through advertising, and those adverts will only be seen and paid for if people use their services regularly because they find them useful. It is therefore in the search company's best interests to offer fast, useful results, preferably with the most meaningful links ranked at the top. 'Search' is now so profitable that companies like Google (which makes over $100 billion a year) can afford to hire the very best minds to ensure that the most useful results are returned above the irrelevant ones.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a subject cloaked in mystery and shamanistic incantations, or at least that's the way it is often portrayed. The reality though, is somewhat different in that it is a discipline based on logic, metrics (measurements of data and behaviour) and secrecy. Logic, because some of the world's most intelligent search engine programmers try to devise effective algorithms to automatically work out which websites are going to be the most useful for searchers; metrics because the programmers' logic needs to be driven by valid information about users' expectations and behavioural patterns when browsing; and secrecy for two reasons: firstly because each search engine wants to offer a more effective service than its competitors, and secondly because if anything about their methods becomes common knowledge, SEO consultants and spammers can use that knowledge to artificially drive undeserving websites higher up the rankings.
Our Approach to SEO
So what is Sinclair Design's approach to this highly complex and sometimes controversial area of commercial marketing? Simple: we stay very well informed, we don't try to cheat the search engines, and we look at the bigger picture of every client's website within its particular market environment. For sure we are not the only ones to work like this, but we are definitely in the minority as the SEO industry quite rightly deserves its tainted reputation for doing more harm than good through trying to trick the ranking systems.
Keep Well Informed
Staying well informed is the first part of our SEO solution. As explained, search engine companies never divulge anything about their methods, but they do help website owners to work with them instead of against them through facilities such as Google's Webmaster Tools. This means that any advice coming out of the offices of the search engines is to be taken very seriously. One such rare source of information is the head of Google's Webspam Team, Matt Cutts, who regularly blogs and gives out snippets of advice, so it follows that we monitor what he publishes.
The next best way to stay informed is to follow the advice and conclusions of the industry's big-wigs, who tend to publish some of their experiences and insights on websites such as MOZ and Search Engine Land. They don't know exactly how the search engines rank sites, any more then we do, but given the scale that their agencies work at, they are in a good position to test and observe, and every now and then they will give hints as to what they think is currently important about SEO, and what isn't. They don't give away too much, obviously, but they know as well as we do, that sharing useful information and networking is the best way to get noticed.
Trying to cheat the search engines nearly always back-fires. People like Matt Cutts and his team are nearly always one step ahead of the spammers and will not hesitate to penalise those that try to trick the ranking algorithms. This happens time and time again, yet there are still huge numbers of SEO consultants peddling known spamming techniques that were outlawed by the search engines many years ago.
It's Good to Share
The solution to good, ethical SEO is simple: fill your site with original, useful content that people will want to read, and then promote your website and its contents by sharing news and articles via social networking (Search Media Optimisation). For example, if your site sells food blenders, publish recipes that require a blender and then promote those recipes via social media. If those recipes are original and liked, people will share links to your website with others. Before long, you might start selling blenders as your brand gets more widely noticed and associated with good food preparation practices. In other words, apply traditional marketing techniques via modern channels of communication.
Opinions are divided as to whether or not the likes of Google will rank your site higher because you have links to social networking sites (the majority think it helps), but as long as people are visiting your site and staying on it, Google's metrics will recognise the usefulness of your site and feed that into its ranking algorithms. Search engines like sites that others like, and if others share direct links to your site, your search engine rankings ironically start to become less critical to your sales.
Don't Forget the Basics
Finally, there's all the very obvious aspects to SEO that will enable your site to be indexed without being black-listed. Like, for example, ensuring that all your meta (hidden) titles and descriptions are optimised; that your page header titles are relevant; that your content has the correct keywords to be found in the first place; and that you don't inadvertently end up black-listed through content that causes problems with the search engine algorithms. Having an xml sitemap will help, as will having a site comprising of valid HTML code that won't compromise the effectiveness of search engine spiders (automated website indexing programmes). These are the basics that even Google will tell you about and help you with, but if you don't have time to focus on them, maybe we can help.