I’m Nik, a Local SEO consultant. I help many local businesses to get more relevant visitors and make more sales from their websites using my experience, knowledge and skills honed from over fifteen years of setting up websites. I can help your business achieve this too.
When I say I am a Local SEO specialist, I don’t mean that I live around the corner to you. What I mean is I get results for you from within the local catchment area you are seeking. Does it matter? Well, yes. If you are a plumber in Perth, you don’t necessarily want the bulk of your visitors to come from Venezuela. Or if you’re set up as a locksmith in Leeds, you won’t need customers from China.
But doesn’t Google focus your results? Yes and no. When you do a Google search, you get automatically directed to the version of Google in your country. But local SEO can go beyond that. It can target a specific area within your country, such as towns, cities and postcodes. If you live in North London, and your business requires customers within that particular area, I can help you by tweaking your website to target that locality, or we can start altogether from scratch by designing a website that is responsive and favourable to Google searches.
“Local” is a subjective term. For smaller businesses, the “local” umbrella covers a particular area in a city. If you are a clarinet tutor, you want clients who can travel to you or vice versa, so you want a local client base that comprises a few towns and postcodes around you. If you’re a bigger company, your “local” may include the whole city itself, or a region. If you make sash windows in London, you would have to cast a bigger net for your clients, and your “local” may include London and the South East.
Whatever the size of your company and your search needs, I can help you attain more prominent search rankings within Google.
Why Google? Well, over 80% of searches are all done using the Google search engine, on Chrome browsers or on Android devices. Google owns the latter two. Like it or not, it is the primary engine of search so it makes sense to focus your efforts where the majority of clients will come from. A lot has been made about Google and privacy, and how alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo may replace it, but in my opinion that is far fetched and unlikely to happen. Have you ever tried doing a search using Bing or DuckDuckGo? You find the quality of results low, and many of them have either ranked because of Google bomb spam links, or because they are exact-match domains. But they are poor results and Google offers better, which is why people use it despite their reservations about privacy.
A long time back, when George Bush Jr was President of the United States, and web design interest was starting to peak in the early days of Yahoo, Lycos and Infoseek, it was discovered that if you created a hyperlink (this is the http://examplewebaddress.com part) with a link to the White House with the anchor text (this is the underlined part you see on screen) “American Idiot”, then googling “American Idiot” would bring that White House link to the first position in Google. Google bombing and spam links were born. Thousands of businesses started creating multiple links like “restaurant Manchester” in the hope of ranking their sites when customers searched for these terms.
Another spammy method used was the exact match domain, a domain name that exactly matched the potential search term. If that still worked, then this site couldn’t possibly be searchmechaniks.co.uk, it’d have to be http://www.icandoyourlocalanddefensiveseo.co.uk which is hardly professional nor trustworthy.
Spammy links and exact match domains don’t work in Google any more. They still work in Bing and DuckDuckGo though. In fact, they work so well, if you search for those terms using those search engines, the top results you get are sites that have been spammed, untrustworthy and irrelevant. Which is why so few people use those search engines.
Google realised that to protect the integrity of their search engine, they had to penalise sites which rely on spammed links and anchor text. If you rely on these, you may experience a four or five day surge in rankings and then as Google discovers your attempts to manipulate search rankings by spam, your site will slowly drift down to the lower Google pages. Weighed down by its anchor links.
There are various websites where one can buy spammy backlinks, links from hundreds of sites in an attempt to promote one’s own site – and while they seem cheap you will end up spending £5 buying a short term surge in rankings, then watching your website tank as Google cottons on to your illegal activity.
But what if one of your competitors decided to buy backlinks to your website to bring it down. If XYZ company is consistently ranking under ABC and EFG, and find it hard to break into the upper half of page 1, what is to stop it from buying cheap spam links to its competitors to watch their sites go down in rankings? Only a sense of honour, perhaps. But I’ve seen so many examples of businesses watching their websites go down in rankings, thinking they must have tweaked their websites incorrectly, undoing their most recent changes, seeing no improvement and wondering why they went through all that effort to get worse results … when, upon later investigation, it was because a bunch of spammy links had been added to their website without their knowledge.
There are over 200 factors involved in ranking and various timescales for results to show, depending on what you’re doing. If you want to use Google to see if a recent post you’ve typed has been indexed, it could be instant, or take up to days. Increased search positions from spam backlinks take four or five days to register, and the same before they get penalised.
Local and defensive SEO are really two sides of the same coin. You want to know how to rank your site, and stop your competitors unranking your site. But with over two hundred factors to consider alongside running your business, it would drive you nuts trying to stay on top of things. This is where I come in.
I’ve worked as an SEO consultant since 2003 to improve the online presence and maintain the link integrity of websites across a wide range of industries and have a deep technical knowledge base and expertise in all aspects of the SEO process.
As a benchmark of their technical skills, many SEO consultants refer to their own website ranking when prospective customers search for certain terms, including:
◾small business SEO
◾how google ranks websites
The fact SEO consultants rank in Google pages for these terms is partly a testament to their skill in adapting their web pages to suit a search term. But only partly.
On- page and on- site tweaking is only part of the equation. There are other factors involved.
Did you know Google filters results by your IP and device? If you log to your home WIFI on your desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phone, you will get different results from your devices. And even if you use the same device like your phone for different WIFI or mobile connections, the results you see will be different. You may even notice differences on the same device if you use different browsers. As you search, this information is constantly being collected and Google is adjusting the returned search results based on the information it holds about the device or IP.
Surely this is an over exaggeration?
Erm, afraid not. If you happen to be in Manchester and google “restaurants”, you will get recommendations based in Manchester. The same goes for any other search term and location – you get recommendations depending on where you are. Google “Cleveland plumber” and the results you get depend on whether the locality and IP you are searching is closer towards the United States, or the United Kingdom’s Redcar and Cleveland.
If you are a taxi company in Edmonton, London, you have enough competition in your own city, you don’t want to be in competition with the other taxis in Edmonton, Canada.
Here’s an experiment you can try for yourself. Activate your mobile WIFI and search for something like “coffee Leeds”. Adjust the browser settings and toggle between the mobile and desktop versions. See how some of the positions are different?
Furthermore, if you keep viewing the next few pages up to page 3 before returning back to page 1, you may find that the ranking order of the Google + pages has changed, because Google has triangulated your mobile position and adjusted the results based on where it thinks you are likely to be.
No two search pages are necessarily the same for one person, even if they are done on the same device or using the same WIFI. I know – it used to drive me nuts, wondering how I could at least see more consistent results between myself and clients, and other first-time searchers looking for my clients. And what particularly used to bother me were the client sites that were ranked tenth on the first page of Google, but on a Google recalibrated search, ended up first but on the second page where few searches progress to – the equivalent of falling into the abyss.
Let us summarise. You need your website to be more prominent. You want to ensure no one messes with it by sending spam links. And above all, you need some way of verifying that the results you see are the results that your targeted market will see.
How do you know searchmechaniks have the skill to do so?
Because you, in the process of looking for someone to improve your website prominence, have waded through all the people in Korea with the surname Seo, past all the companies and websites with the word “seo” stuffed in their name somewhere, and stumbled onto my website. A site, which – despite all the talk about dropping keywords in various synonyms, keyword density et cetera, all that gobbledygook – is only using this three-word phrase once only, and for the first-time here:
Search engine optimisation
You want someone to help? You need someone who understands search mechanics.