Business Wisdom

5 Sales Mistakes to Avoid in the New Digital Environment

Now that everything and everyone is online, we live in a world of information overload. Getting people’s attention is harder than ever. With so much access to choice and knowledge, customers are taking their purchase journey online, where the influence of salespeople matters less and less.

The good news is there’s still a way to sell online. It takes a new approach and great tact. The online environment has a short attention span but a long memory, so making certain mistakes will cost you dearly. Make sure you avoid these five selling mistakes:

1. Regurgitating obvious information – Before we all went online, prospects needed someone to explain products or services. Now they can find this information online by themselves. Salespeople have to provide something more, giving new insight that sparks that Aha! moment in a prospect’s mind. That’s the best way to avoid being seen as just an opportunist, an order-taker, or entirely unnecessary to the buying process.

2. Looking for leads behind a door – We still need to go where the customers are. But gone are the days of knocking on a door and being welcomed for your information. Same with cold calls. Customers are not waiting for the phone to ring. They’re online, doing their own searches and spending time on social media. To nurture prospects as response rates dwindle, forget doors and phones — and head online. It’s a different allocation of time and energy, but vital to selling in the digital arena.

3. Using an antique selling model – The traditional purchase funnel is 120 years old. It was widest on top to fit in an enormous volume of prospects, tapered down through the attention phase, and then out popped enough sales to make the effort worthwhile. The digital sales funnel is altogether different. It’s not funnel-shaped, but widest in the middle. Attention is today’s rare commodity, so the longer we can contain it, with insights and other added value, the better the chance of influencing people’s buying decisions.

Waiting for face-to-face to build a reputation – Time together in a room is unlikely with everyone online, but we all get to be media personalities. No one waits for an introduction to check someone out, and opinions are formed quickly. Salespeople should craft their own online reputation, connecting with influencers by interviewing them, collaborating on a joint webinar or trading guest posts on each others’ blogs. Testimonials and online feedback from satisfied customers are great ways to build credibility, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Producing meaningless content – What makes a platform compelling is its content. Given shorter attention spans and abundant information, content must provide value. No one is going to stay online staring at a “Buy Now!” button for long. Salespeople need to understand what will reach their prospects. What material will engage people and lead them to a purchase? It should be visually appealing, and speak powerfully to a customer’s core buying motivations. Otherwise, you’re a step away from obsolescence, as attention jumps to a more captivating channel.

Selling online takes time, but it’s time spent differently. There are terrific tools, apps and platforms to help — and salespeople should take full advantage. There are apps to manage a social media presence and create content, and tools for monitoring attention and online effectiveness. The digital selling arena is an entirely new environment, filled with opportunity — as long as you can make the most of it.


Reproduced here for Toucan Internet’s readership with the kind permission of the author Grant Leboff

Grant Leboff is a leading expert on digital marketing. Based in the UK, he is the founder of Sticky Marketing Club Ltd., a strategic global consultancy that is transforming how we sell in the digital environment.

April 21 ‪#‎Mobilegeddon‬

HiRes-Advert600Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm arrives today. This change is to make it easier for users to find web content formatted for mobile devices. Dubbed #Mobilegeddon the change is bad news for websites that aren’t mobile ready, so prepare to see this impact your Google search results.

The rise of mobile browsing means that for you to reach everyone in your audience effectively you need to deliver the webpages in a way that works irrespective of the device, be that a wide PC screen or a small smartphone screen.

The issue is that mobile screens are smaller than desktop screens and websites that are designed for desktop are too wide for mobile, and can be difficult to see and navigate. The solution is to either have a mobile version of the website designed separately, or to update your current website to automatically resize/reformat the web pages when they’re loaded on a mobile. Toucan Internet favours the latter for most developments as it keeps the costs down as there is only one website to develop and maintain.

If your website is important to your business and not yet mobile-friendly, you need to act.

You can test your site here –https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Don’t panic, but do act on this and talk to your web developer to plan the best solution for your particular site. Most modern well-built sites can be modified so you’ll likely not have to start from scratch, but there is a commitment to further development.

Talk to us if you need more on this.

Are your SEO practices in line with Google Hummingbird?

Hummingbird, Google’s search algorithm overhaul

Customers earnest about getting and maintaining a quality online success have consistently invested time and effort in selecting the right keywords for their website and inbound marketing channels. Why? Because Google will recognise these and will index your site accordingly; done well and consistently, Google will give your site the rewards you seek with higher search engine results positions.

If you thought you’d grasped what needed to be done, Google changes the rules and in flies Hummingbird. It’s probably the most significant change to Google’s search rules in 13 years, reportedly affecting a massive 90% of all searches. Now it’s more important than ever that you have quality inbound organic referrers to your website, i.e. visitors referred to your site by other websites.

The Hummingbird change means that searches are now totally secure, suggesting that keyword analytics data could well be a thing of the past! Basically Google has switched all of its searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners and website owners will no longer have the ability to track users by their keyword searches.  Other search engines will still send keyword data through to help with your analytics and keyword development.

The exact way the Hummingbird algorithm works is not 100% clear, however it appears Hummingbird looks at over 200 different components when determining the search rank for a site much like previous releases.  However previously Google would focus on the specific keywords where as now, with Hummingbird, the focus is on the context of the words entered and the matching of that meaning to web pages to which it relates; web pages matching the meaning do better than pages matching just a few keywords. This is a good thing overall and will kill the trend of content writers damaging the copy of their content trying to achieve “the right level” of keyword stuffing.

What is clear is that if you are to maintain leading positions in Google search engine results your emphasis now needs to shift to the breadth of your website and to answering of specific questions for your audience. As has always been advocated by search engine marketing professionals, quality content remains key, it is that that your customers have and will continue to want to see irrespective of Hummingbird, but now the more the content aligns with answering specific customer questions, the more likely your page positions will prosper under Google Hummingbird.

In short, the new Hummingbird algorithm is trying to measure the quality and how valuable and helpful your website is in answering customers’ questions. The key is therefore having as many unique entrance pages on your website as possible offering breadth, help and expertise on many relevant topics, plus of course relevant peer backlinks.

So how do you grow the number and breadth of entrance pages? One answer could be simply by adding new content regularly to both your website and blog. The need for a blog becomes even greater if you don’t already operate one on your site. The more energy you place into the content on your site the higher you are likely to appear on Google search. It is clear that Google wants useful and relevant content to be king, and any future changes to its algorithms are likely to reflect this also. This may require many companies to examine their content strategies and look at how they can use as many forms of content to maintain the desired energy and diversity (e.g. Videos, PPC promotion of best content, info-graphics, re-blog on industry hot stories, etc.)

Are your SEO practices in line with Hummingbird? If you review your Google Analytics since Hummingbird was introduced in late August you will be able to see if there has been any decline in your website visitors. However, if you are to maintain and improve your search position you will need to reflect upon your whole online content strategy and the links to your site/content both on site and backlinks from other website and your inbound marketing from your social media. Make sure you focus on growing the number of relevant links and the quality, breadth, depth, frequency and value of your content if you are to maintain and improve your search position.


About the Author.

This article was written by Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet LLP, developing high performance websites on the Internet since 1995.  Passionate about his clients’ success, you’re invited to get in touch to see if you too could benefit:

For more information.
t: 01279 871 694
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

w: www.toucanweb.co.uk

 

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2014©. All rights reserved.

Have your social media managed and content provided.

Online Word of mouth marketing with peer recommendations – Toucan Internet Social Media

We all know that one of the most effective forms of marketing is via word of mouth.  Well, in the last few years with the advent of ‘social media’, word of mouth has gone digital.  You can’t go far today without coming across a web address, QR code, an email, a blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube and a whole host of other digital formats.

The challenge that today’s business owners face is being able to use these formats effectively and to their advantage.  There are a multitude of different ‘channels’ and the majority have the ability to be tremendously advantageous for your business.

What cannot be questioned is the value of participating in some form of social networking or marketing.  Simply put, in this digital age; appropriate digital interaction is a must if the business is to thrive.  It doesn’t matter if you’re B2B or B2C, these channels can offer significant value to your business and should be ignored at your peril.

At Toucan Internet LLP we offer a bespoke social media service. We have a diverse range of clients participating in a diverse range of activities and this allows us to truly appreciate that there quite simply is not just one global solution for everyone.  Consequently we offer a range of social media solutions that can be tailored specifically to your varied requirements, expectations and budget, as well as being designed specifically with your target audience in mind.

What we do

Whatever stage your business is at, Toucan can help.  Whether you are looking to build an entire online presence from scratch and see social media as an important branch of that; or you are looking to add social media to what you are already implementing; we can work with you to help you achieve your goals.

If you already possess a digital presence and ideas regarding your marketing focus, we can work with you in deciding how best to grow your online presence and social media activity, whilst maintaining everything that your company and brand stands for.  We understand the importance of a homogenous digital presence and consequently we believe that everything published must be in line with your business goals and character in order that your business reputation is only enhanced.

In terms of the differing channels we can offer you; Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are good places to start, whilst Google+ is also emerging as one of the key players in social media marketing.  If you are looking to share lengthier news items or other information, then a blog is a perfect place to showcase these and this can also be implemented by us at Toucan.

The programme

We understand that there will be differing levels of expectation, and it’s important to set your ambitions in line with your ability to manage this new marketing.  Regular and worthwhile posts are integral to the success of this kind of marketing and this is where Toucan can help you to achieve your goals.  We can take a brief from you and use it to create a bespoke programme for you.

After ascertaining precisely what you require, we can set up a schedule for each social media platform in order to maximize your online presence.  This can be done with a varied level of input from you; we can either source the content from you, or you can commission us to research and garner relevant content.  We also offer an interactive service whereby we will respond to your followers on the various platforms in order to encourage positive social media interaction and increase your profile on the world wide web.

The value to you is that Toucan take this on for you and run it to your brief and budget.

  • You are safe in the knowledge that your social media engagement is being professionally managed
  • You are free to run your business and interact with your social media program only when you want

 

 


About the Author.

This article was written by Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet LLP who has been active on the Internet since 1995 and runs a number of commercially successful Internet projects. Toucan supports client’s bespoke web development with online marketing and hosting services, and other components that make for high value high performance websites.

For more information.

t: 01279 871 694
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk
w: www.toucanweb.co.uk
fb: http://www.facebook.com/ToucanInternet
tw: https://twitter.com/Toucan_Group

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2013©. All rights reserved.

 

What is the difference between budget web hosting and business class web hosting?

Many of the points detailed below are on a scale rather than being black or white when comparing one provider with another.

Support
For websites to work properly they have to have an adequate level of technical support at the time when it is needed by the developer and the business. Delays will hinder development and inevitably increase other operational costs.
Toucan Internet’s quality standard is that you will be able to contact a human being who can understand and correct the issue you have or be just one step back from that person. You will always get a human being to talk to during normal UK office hours. We do not use automated call handling, just real people who care and invariable know you as a customer. We also have the patience to take the time to explain the details you need in plain English.

This best summed up by one council who transferred all their hosting to Toucan Internet LLP from a budget web host provider because of the lost hours spent waiting in call queues and alike when technical support was required. They now simply call us and the matter is in hand.

Out of hours we have a Support Request system in place http://toucanweb.co.uk/ti_status_request.php and a notification service for bigger issues at http://toucanweb.co.uk/ti_status.php.

Website Performance
For businesses that require the best possible advantage with Google it is worth bearing in mind that one of the many criteria that Google uses to rank a website is speed of delivery of the web pages and their content. There are two parts to the speed of delivery, one is the quality of the website code and the second is the speed of the server and the supporting network. Our servers are right on the UK’s Internet backbone in a datacentre in London’s Docklands, affording our clients excellent connectivity.

A number of our websites are in the top 5% of the world’s fastest websites as independently reported by Google.

Economy hosting gives the provider a lower revenue and as such they have to max the servers to generate adequate return by putting as many customers websites on a server as possible. At Toucan Internet LLP our competitive business class rate means that we can balance the loads on our servers and keep significant resources in reserve. This is turn gives impeccable reliability and up time plus fast delivery of websites.

 

Email Services
Invariably the web host provider will be the email provider. With the same level of care and customer support, Toucan Internet LLP provides email services for practically all requirements:

·         POP3

·         IMAP

·         Cloud – Hosted Microsoft Exchange

·         SMTP

Plus Toucan Internet LLP supports this with world class email security that screens inbound mail for Spam and viruses including providing an online quarantine box, white & black listing and a daily digest of your quarantine box.
The need to configure your email accounts on your local business servers and devices is accommodated as Toucan Internet LLP has good working relationships with many local IT support companies and liaises with any IT professionals you may already have in support.

 

Bespoke Services
If your web developer requires additional services, modules or configurations specific to a special requirement, then we accommodate this too, subject to a security audit of the solution.

 

 

Comprehensive business class services with personal support

We care about your business.

About the Author

Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet LLP has 18 years direct marketing experience prior to embracing the new Internet marketing channels that emerged in 1995. He heads the multiple disciplinary team of professionals at Toucan Internet LLP supporting clients of all sizes and markets where the client is looking for a professional Internet marketing partner with a long proven track record.

To find out more about Toucan Internet LLP please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points
below.

t: +44 1279 871 694
e:
simon@toucanweb.co.uk
w: www.toucanweb.co.uk

Things to consider when redeveloping your website.

There comes a time when the corporate website that once met all your criteria starts looking a little like yesterday’s offerings design-wise and is now missing the mark from a marketing perspective. Tell-tale signs may be subtle such as the visitors bounce* rate increasing as the website fails to convince visitors that you are a worthy offering or the signs may be more obvious in that the website is just not up to date with expected content such as social media integration, compliance with popular browsers and standards or being ready for the mobile market place.

From experience the following is a consolidation of some of the points you may need to consider when undertaking the rework of your website.

Your Objectives

Define the objectives of having a website as once you’ve done this all the subsequent decisions you have to make fall in place as they are either in line with these objectives or they are not.

Your Blueprint

On large projects there can be much detail that really must be concluded before the project starts. Once concluded the entire web development team will understand exactly what has to be delivered and when, and as the website owner you will also know that it will meet your defined objectives.

The blueprinting process often opens up the minds to further specification improvements and content as it encourages all involved to review the finer detail of the website facilities.

Websites that are properly blueprinted have always turned out to be good performers and the relationship between the development team and the customer has been excellent.

Cost-wise; as the project runs to a mutually agreed plan there is far less scope for budget irregularities.

Your Current Website

When you put together your initial website, there would likely have been great thought and deliberation as to what was included and how. Despite the old website now looking dismal beside the competition’s new feature rich website, so many companies will totally disregard the good that is present in their old website. Be very careful not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. Apart from quality content that may need to transfer to the new website after reworking, the search engines and other referrers will have linked to the pages in your website.

Your Development Team.

In the past your website may well have required the basic skills of a developer and maybe a designer. Consider the content and your aspirations and ask yourself if your current incumbent team is complete and can offer you:

  • Web development that brings commercial return
  • A team of people with whom you are comfortable working
  • The resources you’ll need to grow your website including:
    • Web coding so the fundamental HTML code is right
    • Programming so the website facilities function to your specifications including Mobile standards and general fall back solutions where Flash and other resources are not supported on the visitor’s browser
    • Copywriting that both fits your industry style and finds favour with the search engines
    • Photography so you avoid poor images that so often degrade what could be a quality website; afford professional or quality photography
    • Video as a powerful and effective way to engage the visitor and also finds favour with the search engines
    • Search engine optimisation
    • Search engine marketing
    • Social media

The Internet marketing team you choose for the next part of your journey needs to have a lot more bases covered than was the case a few years ago if you are to rise above the bland mediocrity of basic websites and have a true commercial success.

The Creative Design

This is the most subjective of all the components. Having a professional creative team that understands both design for web and the norms of your market places will undoubtedly make for a professional result that wins business. So many creatives are stuck in the “design for print world” and do not engage with the dynamic medium of a website. With dynamic new technologies such as jQuery and AJAX, webpages are written to dynamically change according to input giving more efficient pages and a much improved customer experience.

The creative team will work with you and your developers to conclude the navigation tree so that your information is presented in the most effective fashion and in such a way that we lead the visitor through the punchy introduction via the convincers to the call to action. If that simple process is not instinctively engrained in the team’s approach then find someone else.

The Platform and Programming

Do not be wooed by a web development team that wants to build your website with some obscure technology. Stay mainstream with all your resources unless there is a very good reason why not to. If you go “off piste” then you’ll find that there are fewer developers prepared to take your website on with a technology that they do not support and fewer pre-developed resources online so you’ll be paying for bespoke development from scratch for new modules. Examples of mainstream solutions include Linux with PHP & MySQL or Microsoft with ASP & SQL.

Your Online Marketing

The possible routes to market online are now extensive and affordable to all. Have a sound plan in mind that will accommodate all channels including social media, newsletters/mailings, website news, blogging, article publication and other avenues that fit comfortably in your marketing mix. Importantly remember that your website and online marketing are not to be done in isolation and absolutely must seamlessly integrate with your internal systems and traditional marketing. Choose a web development team that understands the benefits of combining multiple channels of communication and better still offers them.

The opt-in newsletter/mailings can be extended further by adding an autoresponder series so that your worthy pre-prepared messages are delivered periodically to your schedule.

Once a website is launched the online marketing offered by your web development team should monitor performance in line with the client’s objectives and the Internet norms and in turn make website changes according to the feedback received. Continuous improvement and following marketing opportunities are key to keeping your website commercially successful for years to come. Keep testing, measuring and improving.

Your Website Hosting

Budget hosting should be avoided; slow servers that are maxed out for profit will cost you dearly. Slow delivery of website content not only turns visitors away but also has an effect on your Google ranking. Your web development marketing company should be monitoring this as one part of your search engine marketing they do for you.

These are just some of the key elements from 16 years of experience and worth considering when redeveloping your website.

 

 

 

About the Author

Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet LLP has 18 years direct marketing experience prior to embracing the new Internet marketing channels that emerged in 1995. He heads the multiple disciplinary team of professionals at Toucan Internet LLP supporting clients of all sizes and markets where the client is looking for a professional Internet marketing partner with a long proven track record.

To find out more about Toucan Internet LLP please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points

below.

t: +44 1279 871 694

e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

w: www.toucanweb.co.uk

Intellectual Property Rights (IP) and your website.

Intellectual Property (“IP”) affects all businesses in one way or another. In most instances it will be the website that attracts IP protection of some description. IP covers trade marks, copyright, patents and designs. In the case of websites the most likely area that will be of interest to a business is trade mark and copyright. The Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) website defines “Trade Marks” as;

“symbols (like logos and brand names) that distinguish goods and services in the marketplace.”

Trade marks can be protected in one of two ways, either by registration with the IPO or under the principle of passing off. Registration is a simple process that can be undertaken online via the IPO website and has better protection rights than passing off. Passing off is the common law action where provided you are able to show that, the mark is yours, a reputation has been built up around the mark and you have suffered loss, you gain protection. Obviously the registration of a trade mark makes enforcement much easier.

Copyright protects original work that is created using independent skill and effort and provides the owner of that work control over how it is used. Copyright extends to websites, pictures, articles etc. When creating a website you need to consider who owns the copyright. If it is created in house then the copyright is owned by the business. If the website is created by an external contractor then unless otherwise agreed contractor will own the copyright. You will need to make sure that any contractor who is creating a website for you checks the content of the website for any copyright infringement issues involving 3rd parties such as, the use of pictures or layout of the website.

Copyright only provides protection from someone copying the original works. Should it come to your attention that part of your copyright has been infringed your protection lies in the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. In order to protect copyrighted works through the Courts the first step is to show that there is access to the material in the first instance. In the case of a website this is easy to do. If the work is copied in its entirety then the proof is easy to evidence. In cases where part of the work has been copied or amended the Court will focus on the core of the material to determine whether there has been an infringement. It is a good idea to get a copy of the site you consider has infringed your copyright as it exists at the time, in most cases by printing off a copy. This is to protect against the potential for a site owner to change their site in the future.

For legal queries regarding IP, please contact the author of this article, Tim Carter, who is the
IP expert at Attwaters Solicitors.

attwaterst. 01279 638888
e: Tim.Carter@attwaters.co.uk
To find out more about how Toucan Internet LLP can influence your online success please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points below.

Toucan Internet LLPt: 01279 871 694
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

w: www.toucanweb.co.uk
Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2010©. All rights reserved.

Environmental Policy Published

As a demonstration of Toucan’s stance towards sustainability and the environment it has published its Environmental Policy Statement. Any suppliers to Toucan Internet LLP or Toucan eMedia should be aware of the aims that the business has with regards to the environment, and through their own activities and supplies, further support Toucan’s environmental objectives.

Toucan’s full set of policies including the environmental policy is available at http://www.toucanweb.co.uk/ti_legal.php

Thank you to Jessica Ward of Addington Consultants for her professional assistance in preparing this policy. You can find out more about Addington Consultants at http://www.addingtonconsultants.com/

To find out more about Toucan Internet LLP please feel free to contact Simon at the contact points below.

t: 01279 871 694Toucan Internet LLP
e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk
w:www.toucanweb.co.uk
Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2009©. All rights reserved.

CD Business Cards – A Powerful Marketing Medium

CD Business Cards

CD Business Cards

For over ten years Toucan eMedia has been providing CD Business Cards to progressive business for marketing and generally for the distribution of information in an affordable and high impact way.

Unlike normal repro houses Toucan eMedia is a full service organisation capable of handling every part of a CD Business Card project from concept to final delivery and not just the CD Business Cards replication or duplication. The services can include presentation design, programming, video conversions, bespoke packaging; in fact everything to make your company look the best it can to prospective clients.
Toucan eMedia have structured prices to be competitive for the high quality services and products provided which is why international businesses with household names are content with our handing of their public image.cd_business_card_wallet1

You can store everything that your customers need to know about your business, from a full company presentation to details of products, services, interactive maps, databases and automatic links to the company’s web site. You can even store music sound tracks and include a voice-over if necessary.

Whether you need just 50 CD Business Cards or 50,000 Toucan eMedia have the resources to meet you requirements.

CD Business Card replication

CD Business Card replication

Denise Thomas of Toucan says “There are a few reasons why we enjoy such success, we have a very stringent quality control ethos, we spend time with clients so they are fully informed about the design and production procedures, even to the point where our key people will liaise with their programmers and designers and we’ll entertain small orders on very quick turnarounds.”

 

 

 


To find out more about CD Business Cards and how they could be of effective use to your business lease feel free to contact Denise at the contact points below.

Toucan Internet LLP

Toucan Internet LLP

t: 01279 871 694
e: denise@ebusiness-cards.co.uk
w: www.ebusiness-cards.co.uk

Copyright Toucan Internet LLP 2010©. All rights reserved.

11 FAQs on Search Engine Marketing

Having a commercially successful website is ever increasingly important to businesses as the website moves centre stage in delivering corporate communications, be that the sale of products or services, liaison with suppliers, customers, after sales support or integration with back office systems for integrated accounts and stock handling.

However if your website is not showing highly in the top search engine results for your prime search phrases your business is missing out. This is shark infested waters for businesses looking for quality honest suppliers to provide effective and affordable optimisation of their websites so it is found by the search engines with their chosen key terms. There are companies that promise results and either fail to deliver, fail to deliver consistently or use techniques that could ultimately damage your reputation or brand online by having your web domain blacklisted.

Below are a few basic questions that are routinely asked to help you fill in the blanks when considering how to make your website work harder for you.

1. What is Search Engine Optimisation or SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It encompasses a raft of techniques and approaches to increase the readiness of your website to be understood and therefore categorised by the search engines.

2. What is an Organic listing?

An organic listing is the listing of one of your web pages in a search engine and it is included and ranked based on the search engines perceived merits of your web page and website. More and more it is apparent that the good quality websites that deliver great content and play by the rules are finding favour with the search engines.  

3. What is Ethical Search Engine Optimisation?

Ethical Search Engine Optimisation or White Hat SEO is simply the use of good optimisation techniques that brings real benefit to the possible visitors to your site. The programmes that assess your site are getting ever more cleverer about rating what is good and penalising what could be seen as trying to take unfair advantage.

4. What are Black Hat techniques?

These are techniques that can be employed to spoof the search engines into thinking that your site is better than it actually is. Whilst we perceive that good SEO techniques should push the envelope, we strongly recommend stopping short of Black Hat techniques since should you be found to have used techniques, or have engaged someone who has used such techniques on your website, it can result in your page being penalised or even excluded from some or all of the major search engines.

5. Why does my website not show in the search results?

There is a raft of different reasons when this may be the case and here are a few for consideration:

  1. You may not have a search engine optimised design. Many designers create brilliant designs, but do not team up with equivalently skilled web partners who know how to write the code that delivers the site to the web browser.
  2. The site may not be written to be adequately readable by the search engines that you want to engender.
  3. The site or web pages could have missing or incongruous elements such that the search engine is confused about the content and purpose of the site.
  4. You or your web engineer may have strayed into inadvertently using Black Hat Techniques. And the site has been downgraded in response. You may not have submitted the site adequately as part of your post launch search engine marketing. (See http://blog.toucan-group.com/?p=17 for an extensive SEM program) .

6. What is Keyword research?

Keyword research is finding the right words that will deliver the highest number of visitors to your website possible. Believe me, a single “S” going from a singular to a plural can mean a tenfold difference in visitors.

To get to the optimum keywords the routine is to start with your instinctive choices, extract key words from top competing sites, then rank all those terms in order of real world usage. Then, by applying some instinctive personal understanding of the market place, together with an eye to how much the term is contended, draw up your final list. How this list is subsequently used is down to the skills of your web coder and copywriter who should work “hand in glove”.

7. How do I get recognised or ranked for specific keywords?

Apart from putting the right keywords in the right places you have to have the right keywords selected in the first place. Once the site is optimised and launched into the big wide world it needs to be promoted and this is where a comprehensive Search Engine Marketing programme needs to be put in place so the site is promoted and monitored properly. It not only needs to be promoted to the obvious search engines but also the niche directories and local gazetteer sites.

8. What is search engine friendly design?

The way a design is converted to a web page can be the make or break of a site’s search engine performance; a friendly design is readable and an unfriendly design is far less so. Certain techniques hamper search engines from understanding your site and some can stop a search engine from even looking at your pages. This is where you need a good web construction partner who you trust to understand what can be done and also to get the best out of the creative design provided by the designer. Here you start to see that web coder, creative designer and copywriter have to work as one for a website that stands any chance of success against the every rising bar of other quality websites.

Cheap doesn’t work – no matter how pretty the design.
9. Are Meta tags useful?

Absolutely, Google may ignore Meta Tag Keywords, but the properly written Meta Description is paramount to good SEO.

10.How can I achieve a top 10 result?

Follow all the rules, do the research and keep the site current and relevant. Promote under a structured Search Engine Marketing programme and respond to the feedback that the SEM campaign gives you.

11. Is cheap hosting a good idea?

Absolutely not! Taking Google as the market leading search provider; it rates websites on performance. Performance is measured a number of ways, some will be as a result of how the site was built and some by how it is delivered. Cheap servers deliver sites in a measurably slower manner for any number of reasons and your site will be ranked accordingly. There is free software on the Internet to monitor website performance and you want to be sure that you’re not “saving” on hosting but missing out on good rankings – it’s a false economy to do so.


About the Author.

This article was written by Simon Thomas who has been active on the Internet since 1995 and runs a number of commercially successful Internet projects. He supports the building of clients’ websites to the correct standards, not just SEO, and maintains on-going search engine marketing for clients that value high performing websites.

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t: 01279 871 694

e: simon@toucanweb.co.uk

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