Author: webmaster

How do you know where your website ranks? Personalised search explained.

Have you ever noticed that your website, or that of a competitor, sometimes appears in a different place depending on where you are searching from? If so, you’re noticing the effect of personalised search – and if not, having read this article, you will start noticing it now!

Personalised search means that search engines are trying to present you with as relevant information as possible, which means that your own browsing habits can affect the search results that you see. For example, sites that you like and visit often will show up higher in your search results than if you had never visited those sites.

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Local success story credits website and SEO for success

We came across this great story in the Belfast Telegraph the other week, which charts the fantastic success an engineering firm, Sphere, has had over the last six years. It’s an inspiring story for many reasons, but the quote that really caught our eye was this one from managing director Sean McNicholl:

“We have never cold called anyone, people come to us. The business has been driving us forward, we’ve really had to move fast to keep up with the pace of business and because we are such a niche market we have been very successful.”

“Our reputation is such that companies come to us and 50% of our business is repeat business. As well as that, we have done a lot of work with the website and search engine optimisation (SEO).”

You can read the full story here:

Ten SEO Tips – SEO Training Belfast

Here are the slides from a presentation we delivered the other day, hope you find them useful.

What is HTTPS and why is it important?

When we last spoke to the Google Search Quality team, one of the top five items they recommended was HTTPS / SSL for small business websites. Shopping sites, online bank sites, or any site where you need to login and either make payment or store sensitive information have long used SSL – but why are Google now recommending that all sites use it? In a nutshell, Google are trying to encourage a more secure online experience so they have announced that SSL is now be a ranking factor in their algorithm – so all business owners looking at SEO need to pay attention to this.

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Why you shouldn’t focus on position 1

A question that we’re all familiar with is ‘can you get me to position 1 on Google for keyword x?’ The answer to this question has two parts – why we cannot do that and why it’s not in your interest to focus on that.

For the first part, nobody should promise to get you to to number 1 and Google themselves state very clearly that no one can guarantee a number 1 ranking on Google.  Google rankings also vary according to things like location.

Secondly, looking at getting to number 1 for a keyword is not of itself necessarily of great value – especially if that keyword is not going to lead to profitable business for you! What we look at for our prospective customers is what keywords are likely to drive better conversion, what great content can you write that will encourage sharing and lead people to contact you, and how can you make your website better and of more value to your visitors.

By focusing on choosing the right keywords, not the ones you think you can get to number 1 for, and the areas that always matter in SEO – high quality content, good site design, encouraging visitor interaction – your site can rank highly and bring in more business for you. And that’s more important than focusing on a specific keyword position.

Smart Business Show follow up

We had a great 2 days in Dublin last week, meeting great people and having some really good conversations about SEO and what that means to different people. Encouragingly we found that most people have a better idea of what search engine optimisation is and why it’s so important than previously and we hope that some long term relationships will come out of our meetings.

Although footfall at the show was way below what had been expected, those that did visit seemed to be more engaged and more interested in what was on offer than a lot of visitors to last year’s show. Feedback from other exhibitors was mixed, with some seemingly very disappointed and others, like us, pretty upbeat about the two days. While it’s always great to have more people in, and there were definitely times when we could have been kicking our heels on the stand, we made the most of the time we had to engage with other exhibitors and to take in a couple of talks.

Overall it was a good experience and we expect to be at next year’s event – hopefully the weather will be as fantastic as it was last week!


Smart Business Show – save on the entry fee with MXA

We’re exhibiting at the Smart Business Show in Dublin on April 22nd and 23rd. For a discounted price on tickets please use the code MXA in the booking form below.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Google updates for mobile search – very important!

On April 21st, Google is rolling out an update that will improve mobile search results. In effect, this will also penalise those website that are not optimised for mobile devices. For full details of the announcement read this Google page: Google mobile advice page

To ensure your site is still appearing in Google’s mobile search results after April 21st, run your site through the testing tool. If your website passes, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about and your site will still show up in mobile searches.

If your website doesn’t pass the analysis, then the tool will recommend improvements that you need to make. You can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

For more advice on this and to find out how we can help you avoid being penalised in Google mobile search results, please fill out our contact form.

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Social and mobile signals are increasingly important

No real surprise here, but in 2015 we are seeing much more importance given to social signals and mobile devices when looking at search engine rankings.

If you are to maximise your results for boosting your search engine rankings, you need to have a credible social media presence and cerate content for it regularly. So for Facebook, Google+ and others, it’s vital that you have good content and up to date information. If you produce content for Facebook that is liked 2,000 times, it won’t on its own have a big impact on your search results. But if somebody at a publishing house picks up that post and adds it to their website, then you’ve got a quality trusted link that absolutely will help improve your rankings.

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Five important points about local SEO

This article from Entrepreneur highlights the importance of five key factors when looking at local SEO.

In it, Neil describes 5 main points and although some of the sites he references are for US only, the points themselves are all equally valid for the UK, Ireland and European markets.

The five key things to look at are:

  1. Accuracy and consistency in online listings
  2. Valuable information in directory listings
  3. Building full-fledged social-media accounts
  4. Getting good reviews
  5. Honing in on hyperlocal SEO

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