SEO 101 The Fundamentals

 approx 1 hour 20 minute video

Nettl Academy SEO Live Event! Session 2

This session is the second in a new series of live events from Nettl. Each week they’ll explore a different subject relating to SEO.

What’s it all about?

Demand for SEO has increased 4-fold. Find out why with our online educational sessions. Our SEO expert sessions are usually reserved for our existing SEO subscribers, but given the significant increase in demand for SEO, we thought it would be useful to open these up to every Nettl customer to help businesses boost their online presence.

In session #2 we explore “SEO 101, The Fundamentals and what do you need to know and understand.

We’ll cover hot topics such as:

  • Basic principles of SEO, including focusing on users, Google compliance, quality content
  • Foundational SEO – crawling, indexing, speed
  • What to avoid in SEO, including black-hat tactics, buying links, etc.
  • Local, national and international SEO

Plus the team were on hand to answer questions.

Check out the next video in our SEO webinar series

The foundations of SEO

The foundations of SEO haven’t really changed over the last 10 years at all. It’s all very much the same but there’s been a slight evolution. We have on-page optimisation, off-page optimisation, and technical. What most people will be familiar with would be on-page in terms of the old fashioned way of thinking about SEO: ‘how many times can I put my keywords on one page? How often can I repeat the same phrase?’ So I am a butcher in Brighton, if you want the best in Brighton then visit our butcher shop in Brighton because it’s fantastic. That is how, still to this day, a lot of people see SEO. And to be honest, it doesn’t give us any justice as SEOs because it’s a lot more complex than that and it’s a lot more complex than just adding blog articles to your website. And certainly if you think that it is anything to do with adding superficial backlinks to your website then it is a million miles away from that.

Technical SEO pretty much covers all aspects of the performance relating to your website. I’m going to start here because there’s actually loads of really fantastic tools available directly from Google themselves. We’ve even had the pleasure of working with Google engineers on identifying ways for people to improve their website. If you use a browser extension, or a Google Chrome extension, you’ll be able to download something called ‘lighthouse’, which is a free Google tool which you can plug into your browser extension and you can run a free technical SEO audit on any website unlimited. You can do it as much as you want. It’s a completely free and amazing tool which isn’t shouted about enough by Google.

Here at Nettl we’re releasing a tool very soon which has been worked on with Google engineers to allow you to run these lighthouse audits across a whole website in one go. What this tool will do, at the moment, is just do one page at a time which is fine for small/medium sized businesses. You can go onto the webpage, click on the lighthouse icon at the top of the page, and it will run a technical audit there for you right away, it will take about one minute or so, normally less. Once you have that data, this is data from which web developers should be using, marketeers should be using to ensure that we’re building websites mobile first, in an age where 70% of traffic is coming from mobile devices. Sadly though, we still design and build websites most of the time by building desktop-first experiences, but really, really try to shift that focus towards mobile as you go towards redesigning and trying to have these new experiences.

Technical SEO will cover your website’s speed, your website’s security, your website’s usability. Does it work on all browsers? Does it only work on the latest version of Chrome? There are also some free tools out there which allows you to test your website on cross browser compatibility and you can just search that on Google, ‘browser compatibility test’. There is a range of free services out there which would allow you to test your website for those. The most popular by far right now is Google Chrome, followed by Firefox, followed by Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is about to be fully defunct in the next year as Microsoft has just announced they’re no longer going to support Internet Explorer in the future.
You can also analyse the performance of your website via tools, such as ‘Hot Jar’. Hot Jar has a free version of this account: you can install a very small snippet of code onto your webpage and this would allow you to do something really clever which is record every single user experience on your website from a visitor. You will be able to see that mouse moving, you’ll be able to see the interactions with pages and where they can find frustrations and dead ends. Now, if you can imagine, if a user is finding frustrations and dead ends on your website then an algorithm or a crawler – which we’ll explain in a moment – is also going to have those issues. So you want to make your website as user-friendly as possible which fits directly under the technical SEO umbrella.

Crawling and indexing is the fundamental way that search engines, such as Google, which has more than 85% of the market share, analyse your website. It can only analyse your website by following links. If your links are hidden behind large images, as big buttons which have no meaning, then Google is going to struggle – as will all search engines – to understand exactly what it’s following through that link.

Classic SEO mistakes

Another classic mistake that we see is a lot of people putting ‘click here’ as a link and linking through to a page. Now, all that’s doing is optimising that page for the phrase ‘click here’ which is no good to anybody. So you may find, historically, searching ‘click here’ on Google would show Adobe as a result because of the millions of people over the years who have said ‘click here to download this PDF’. There’s accidental optimisation on the phrase ‘click here’. Companies and websites that do this fantastically are often press related websites who are using citations to other areas where they say ‘quoted from this person’ and the link is quoted from this person linking to that citation or within something like Wikipedia where it’s talking about subjects; where it may say the Silverback Gorilla can be found in X region and X region is a link to a page about that region. This is building up an authoritative index on a subject which gives you an authority to be found on Google. That is the same for anybody now, whether or not you’re trying to compete against Amazon for an e-commerce phrase or whether or not you’re a small business just trying to target something locally. The two fundamental things that you’re aiming for there are to build up authority by using internal linking as much as possible for on-page SEO.

Now robots top dot text as a file extension is something that most websites, if not all websites, have or should have and if they don’t that’s basically saying whether or not you are open to business for Google and other search engines to crawl your website. Typically you can add something to your robot stock text file that says ‘do not index, do not follow’ and what that tells a search engine spider, when it tries to access your website, is do not go in here, there’s nothing to be found. So if you don’t want your website found on Google then you can put ‘no index, no follow’ in robot stock text and that will disallow all search engines from indexing that website. On the flip side, if you want to increase your visibility, which you should be, you want to upload a sitemap to something called ‘Google search console’.

Google search console is like the ugly cousin of Google analytics. Analytics everybody knows and loves quite well. You should know it because it’s once again a fantastic free tool you don’t have to pay for to have amazing insights on your audience. Search console is the heartbeat, the rectory into Google search engine. It will tell you if there are fundamental flaws and errors with your website while crawling and accessing it. It will tell you if there are performance issues. It will tell you if your SEO company has built lots of bad, dodgy backlinks to your website and it may tell you to remove those links to avoid getting a penalty. It’s very much something which a lot of search engine optimisers will try to keep from you because it gives you so much visibility. It will also do the only way of transparently rank tracking keywords associated with your business.

This isn’t a case of saying to you ‘what keywords do you want to track and follow?’, search console will find over a thousand variations of different search results which are relevant for your business. It will tell you where you rank for them and how much visibility you’re gaining for them. You can download those for free on an amazing spreadsheet which you can then cross correspond against ‘volume of searches’ so you can understand how much traffic you’re missing out on. And that is really fundamentally important.

Improve your SEO

Mobile friendliness. You can find this out on search console but, once again, you can even use Google’s own mobile friendly tester, and you can find these results from lighthouse as well. It will give you a score. It is a big score and something that you must focus on. The average website speed for most small to medium sized businesses loads in around six seconds and to compete against those like Amazon and eBay, your website needs to load in less than two seconds, fully on mobile devices in a 3G simulated environment. If you’re not doing that then you’re probably focusing too much on big, shiny glossy images on your website and you need to focus more on delivering what the searcher or Google’s customer is actually looking for. Don’t be distracted by having big visuals. Look at the most popular websites in the world: they’re simplistic, they’re straight to the point, they’re lightweight. Google is its own website; it’s not the internet and it’s very, very lightweight. There are also no adverts anymore on the right hand side of the page because nobody looks on the right hand side of the page. People’s natural attention is drawn to the left hand column of a page. So when people are putting calls-to-action on the right, it’s not a very good idea. You should put in calls-to-action on the left hand side of the page and this all fits underneath SEO.

Nothing to do with putting those keywords in the page right now. Use all of these free tools to your advantage for technical SEO. If you’re a Nettl customer then all of these challenges are completed for you throughout a campaign. That’s because we are engineers, we are developers, we are people who live and breathe code and we make these changes, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn them yourselves. So many websites are on WordPress right now, it’s the most open source and user friendly SEO content management system to build upon.

We also have page speed which you can, once again, check by Google lighthouse, which we thoroughly recommend, or you can use a website such as You can run your website on there; it’s an impartial speed analysis tool and it will tell you where you’re falling down on your website speed, what assets are taking up so much load. I can almost guarantee if you’re suffering from a slow website it’s probably because of ‘vanity images’ that you’re adding to your website because you think it looks pretty rather than actually delivering any value whatsoever to a customer. The guys at Google once said that the worst thing that a website can do, sometimes, is have multiple sites because the reality is that if you have a slideshow about 0.2% of people will ever view slide three. You may be designing all of these pretty slides but nobody is waiting to go through that sideshow. They’re trying to access information as fast as they possibly can.

If you’ve got three slides, you want all three calls-to-action on that homepage, next to each other, in corresponding boxes. Not hidden behind three things which we don’t know how to get there. Try and bring information forward.

Broken pages and redirects. You can once again find this all out by using this suite of tools from the goodie bag of links I will leave you; download and play around with this yourself. Or any good website auditor, you can visit your own Nettl auditor, which we will also leave a link to everything at the end, which will analyze this for you.

Your website structure and the architecture of your website: how are you creating content silos of authority? This is super important. It kind of fits underneath technical but also on-page as well. That basically means that if you are trying to be an expert in one particular field or one area, one region, then your content has to focus on that core area, the questions that people ask about in that core area, and that locality and divisions within that locality that you serve. If you are trying to target butchers in Brighton, the more content you have on sausages, burgers, and range of meats, as well as the different places that you can go and take a picnic in Brighton, for example, that is feeding the algorithm with all of the information that it needs to go ‘not only are you an authority in Brighton, but you’re also an authority in butchery because you have this range of content relating to sausages and kebabs and so on and so forth’. So if you could take that and you could apply that to any industry in any location, it’s exactly the same. Whether you’re not your dentist, you should be creating loads of content, unique content around teeth whitening, around invisible aligners, and the more of that content you create, the more visibility you will have for dentists in your locality.

URL structure. There’s one super quick, easy tip for you here which is never separate your page title URLs with underscores. Only ever use hyphens; underscores in Google’s algorithm combines two words together and if those two words don’t make sense as one word then Google is not going to be able to interpret it as two separate words. If you separate your pages with hyphens – so you are, forward slash sausages hyphen BBQ. Rather than sausages underscore BBQ which creates a word which is unreadable. You also want to try to build out that page structure; you might have forward slash sausages, forward slash type of sausage, and then it would be a range of types of sausages fitting underneath the main category which is sausages.

Accessibility is the final thing which is making sure that this website is accessible from the remotest areas of the UK. How often have you been on public transport, trains, buses, where the signal shopped out and you’ve gone from WiFi to 3G? We are not there as a nation when it comes to website speed. We need to make our websites less focused about how we want to represent ourselves and more about delivering the best possible experience for prospective customers looking for information because that’s what they’re looking for. Don’t hide information. Stop building brochure websites which have zero value to the internet. Start contributing to the internet as much as possible.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO. Back to the olden days of people thinking they can just repeat keywords over and over and over again and that increases your authority. Not anymore. If you do that, you’re more likely to get penalised in time. And if you are spotting your competitors’ ranking by doing this tactic, it will not be long until they disappear into the ether and it’ll be very hard for them to regain that position. Now, the only way to build out on-page SEO right now is by understanding the intent of somebody searching for your website or your business. What is their intent? And this is something that Google will continue to say to you, ‘why are they accessing your website?’ If you are trying to target a recruitment company as a keyword, for example, there are many different versions of intent relating to that keyword.

You might be looking for a job in a recruitment company. You might be looking for the average salary of somebody in a recruitment company but it always starts off with a short tail search phrase and it eventually gets longer and longer and longer into a long tail key phrase. So, whereas most of the sheep in the SEO world will follow these hyper-competitive short tail phrases, you should be going the opposite way. Going after the long tail niche phrases. Right now, more than one in five searches that go into Google have never been searched before by anybody ever, in its entirety. So people are getting more confident in asking longer tail questions, we’re using more voice-orientated devices, which is only going to increase as we go forward, so people are accessing these long, long tail search phrases.

A good example for you, is if you start looking for a HDTV, you might start searching ‘HDTV’, which on Google says there’s a quarter of a million searches a month. You might think ‘if I rank top for that I’m going to be a millionaire’. No, you’re not, because people search three or four times to find precisely what they’re looking for. So they start off by searching ‘HDTV’ and then they go ‘there’s too much choice and I don’t trust some of these brands’. Then they go ‘32 inch HDTV’, and then they go ‘I don’t want a sharp TV and the Toshiba ones that they’re recommending’. So then they search ‘Samsung, 32 inch HDTV’ and then they go say ‘I’ve seen that advert about these curved screens’ so go ‘Samsung 32 inch HDTV curved screen’ and they’re buying at that phrase. The phrase, which maybe only has 20 or 30 searches a month compared to this vanity phrase, which has hundreds of thousands of searches, every single month. You want to be able to predict what they’re searching for before they’re searching for it.

Tips for on-page SEO

Intent match. The heading and page structure. You have H1 titles, H2 titles and H3 titles, don’t list everything as a H3 title because it’s convenient or because it’s the right size for a header that you put. You could change the CSS code, or get your developers to, which will allow you to bookmark your website properly. You want to go from H1 being your primary subject, HDTVs, going down to maybe your H2, which is a range of TVs which are 32 inch TVs, and you are feeding the intent as you go. This will allow the page that you’re optimising not just yo rank for the vanity phase but also to rank for these very niche phrases by having a large volume of question and answer content listed as titles throughout that page.

You want to add metadata to those pages also, although they have no direct impact on your website’s ranking, they do increase click through rates because that is your advert into the wider world. If you send an appealing meta-description, you’re much more likely to have somebody click through and that engagement does feed in as a ranking signal. So if somebody chooses not to click on your ad, when you end up ranking on Google, that feeds back as a negative signal that maybe this isn’t the right result. So you want to make that description as compelling as possible to attract somebody in. So whether it’s an offer, wherever it’s a little character on the end of a vote, put whatever you can out there to try and entice people to click into that website.

Once they’re on there, if the website is fast and secure and relevant, they’re going to stay. They’re going to find what they’re looking for which tells Google, ‘great, we’ve got the right result, push it further up again’. This is the correct way to do SEO.

On this page, where you have information about sausages, your images of different sausages that you have on that page, you need to label correctly. Do not label your images ‘image 008 dot JPEG’ because that’s why it came out of your phone as. You need to label those images with what they represent. Not only does that feed Google’s image algorithm, which is obviously very important to Google because how else does it train it’s self driving cars and all of the other exciting things that it’s working on, but it also helps general accessibility by allowing people with eyesight impairments who rely on visual readers to understand what they’re looking at on the web.

Now, if somebody who has difficulty seeing has a struggle understanding what’s on your webpage because you’re not labelling it correctly, then how on earth can you possibly expect an algorithm and crawling robots to analyse that and understand what if you’re talking about if your image is labelled ‘image series 009’ and you have no alt texts associated with it? Alt text needs to represent exactly what that image is and your image file name should be separated with hyphens and be representing exactly what you’re talking about on that page. A chipolata, hyphen sausage, perfect! That’s exactly what you need.

Usability, once again, making sure that that website is accessible overflows into this area quite nicely. Speed and ease of use. Don’t go crazy with lots of random calls-to-action everywhere. A couple of concise calls-to-action, one on the left-hand column, one at the bottom of the page, as people scroll down via a mobile device. Remove as much of the noise as you possibly can, that will not only speed up your websites but make it significantly more accessible. Nothing wrong with black text on a white background, it serves a purpose because that is the easiest contrast for us to analyse as human beings when it comes to reading content. That’s why when you read a book, they don’t have different random colours on each page because it would just be bloody annoying to consume that content. You want to try and make it as simplistic and easy. Go back to basics. This is what works. This is why Google has not changed their appearance on their search engine for many years because it works.

Accuracy. What you don’t want to be doing is having a little sign on your meta-description and your page titles saying that this is what’s behind this page. ‘Find out the prices for our double glazing’ and then you click through and there’s no pricing. Google is going to know that because they can understand what represents price. Not only will they find it deceiving or frustrating for the user who clicks through but also search engines are going to punish you for being deceitful with special doorway pages to try to manipulate people. Google will know ultimately, if it can’t analyze and it doesn’t understand that maybe an image is showing all its prices, it will know when people click through and then bounce back, less than a second later, and then click on one of your competitors and stay on that page for three minutes because they’ve got a relevant video, an infographic and a large amount of content which they are actually looking for. Do not be afraid to give away everything over your website. Put as much of your expertise, which you all have on your subjects, on that website because people will not only hugely appreciate that but you’re adding value to the internet, you’re adding a different perspective on things.

Expertise, authority, and trust. If you have Jeremy Clarkson doing an article in NetMums about parenting, naturally Google has a patent which allows it to understand that Jeremy Clarkson is not an expert in parenting but an expert in cars. So that article in NetMums which Jeremy Clarkson has written will not have the same authority as an article that Jeremy Clarkson writes about cars in Auto Trader. That article, by its nature, will be ranked automatically higher because it has the authority compared to an article in NetMums which won’t have the authority and expertise. It can even, in the scary, dystopian world that we live in, understand who wrote an article, even if they don’t put their name to it. That’s from analysing lots of authorship over the years, Google now has the ability to understand who has created this content, even if they don’t put their name to it, if they are a prolific enough writer. This helps it with distinguishing fake news in the world of SEO which is very, very rife right now.

Obviously we’re heading into a world where open GP free, which is a new type of artificial intelligence, has only just started pooling people and passing the Turing test by creating perfectly readable content pieces in sub one second. We’re actually experimenting at the moment with the ability to use artificial intelligence to understand what an image represents in an e-commerce store and then autonomously create a 400 word, unique description for over a million products in just a few minutes. So that’s where this is heading but that doesn’t take away from expertise, authority and trust. It will know what is fodder, in terms of product description. If you are a dentist and you are giving advice on your website and you’re marked up because your LinkedIn profile is public and you’re linking your article to your LinkedIn profile, Google knows you are an authority figure and therefore will give you a website more authority and trust. If you are giving all your content creations to third parties, and we’re saying this even though we do content creation as Nettl, it’s not going to be as beneficial as if you are contributing and fighting the good fight and creating content yourselves. Separating or giving responsibilities to employees to put their expertise on the website, this is where it needs to go. The content that we create at Nettl for your campaigns, still hold it as a valid point because what we’re trying to do is increase your overall generic authority and also add new content to your website to get Google’s crawlers to come back.

This is important because if you’ve got no new content to your website, then Google is not going to come back and check it out again. So as your competitors are adding more content or offsite content or social media content, and you’re staying stagnant and resting on your laurels saying, ‘hey, we’ve ranked up for ages and that’s where we’re always going to rank’, you’re slowly going to lose authority over time. That’s really important not to let that happen because you’re in a privileged position. To retain that you need to create compelling, useful and relevant content.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO. The most annoying and frustrating parts of search engine optimisation is sadly when SEO companies not tell you what they’re doing and they won’t tell you what they’re doing nine times out of 10 because they’re using some kind of link scheme in the backend to try to trick and deceive search engine algorithms to think a website is authoritative when it is not. Now things have monumentally shifted and you can rank a website with one or two backlinks and you could, and I have done before, out rank Amazon for key products with only two backlinks by becoming the authority on a product by building out an in-depth authority on a subject, on a product, from an expert in that field.

So it is possible without any backlinks at all now. Now backlinks do help but they only help now in small volumes and if they’re relevant. If we’re going back to, let’s say, double glazing and you’re targeting Manchester, then you might want to get a couple of links from local press in Manchester which are relevant for the region, because you’ve got two areas here: double glazing and Manchester. You want Manchester relevant links pointing to your website and then you want, ideally, home and building related links pointing to your website. So that could be associations that you’re a part of, make sure those associations are linked to you. See if you could do a blog article or a guest post on that association website, pointing back to your website. Once again, being the authority and the master on a subject or if there is a lifestyle blog or a home improvement blog that you can contribute some content to then go and leave your thoughts and advice and expertise on there and if you’d been clever and created some good guides on your website, how to measure double-glazing windows yourself a home, then you can put a link from that blog through to your website, adding value to people and to the journey online. This is all helping your SEO journey. You don’t need many links. You only need a handful of good authoritative ones to make this work. Now the rest of your time should be focused on adding your expertise to social media and on your website itself.

Just to reiterate, you want two subjects: your core area, double-glazing, and your locality. Either the whole of the UK, which is a lot harder, or a sub location, which is a lot easier, and then getting relevant, local links within that region and relevant industry links pointing through. It’s all about relevance. That’s really, really important.

Tips for off-page SEO

One cheat way that you could do it is going and approaching schools and charities. There’s a reason behind this: there are two links in the world of SEO, government links and educational links. They are the most trusted links that you can obtain on the internet. Now, the great thing about charities and schools is that schools count as a government link and an educational link and every charity is linked from both educational and government websites. So what happens is the trust from the government websites and the school and university websites go through to the charity or through to the school website and then if you, let’s say, sponsored a school football team and got them a football kit for a couple of hundred pounds and asked them to put a little blog on their website to help increase your own exposure, that’s a fantastic way to get a good relevant local backlink. If you can find a relevant charity for your industry, you can even offset that donation that you’re making against your corporation tax bill – check with your accountant. It could be an exercise where you’re doing a great amount of good, charity wise, helping your local community, but you are also helping to build up your own SEO authority. So really, really great exercises, explore donating money to schools and local charities.

There are a range of off sites ranking signals in 2020, and probably for the next few years. Reviews are massive, I’m going back to using Google’s native tools here so stop focusing on getting reviews on TripAdvisor, on Yow, or any of these areas. Just focus on getting reviews into Google My Business. It’s a free service that Google offers, they even geo match it. So when somebody leaves a store location, it will say a message to the Android phone, ‘hey, how was it over at Nettl today? Was it good? Did you have fun? Were they okay? Were they legit?’ and the more people that leave reviews relating to that, the more authority you’re given and what we call a ‘pack listings’. So if you’re a local business, the ABC map listings are the fastest way to glory. There’s only a few, a handful of ranking practices associated with that, compared to the core search engine and the core algorithm. So that is reviews, social media, intent, speed, and accessibility.

If you have a hundred reviews saying you’re the best hairdresser in Bristol and somebody searching for a hairdresser in Bristol, then you are going to rank for that phrase. That is going to happen, providing your website is accessible, your website is fast, your website is secure and it’s doing all the right things.

Now, relevant backlinks – we just touched on that – make sure that you’re not getting random links or going to your mates saying, ‘hey, you’ve got a website, link to my website and I’ll link to yours’ and they’re completely two different industries. That is not going to add value to anybody at all, ever. If you have a page like that on your website then delete it, nuke it, get rid of it. It’s pointless. It’s not helping anybody and it’s actually confusing things for crawlers out there.

Link to associations. These are mentions in the press, say ‘hey, here’s my article in The Times’. The amount of people that have association logos on their website but don’t actually link to the association, how on earth can you expect a search engine to understand what this association is, if you don’t link to it and understand what community you’re in? So linking citations to your own expertise is equally as important as getting links pointing to you.

So reputation, as we’re saying reviews, Trustpilot – you’re going to have to get in there. You’re going to have to answer to reviews as much as you can. If you get negative ones, get more positive ones. Believe it or not, you’re going to be more favoured if you have a mixture of reviews, rather than Dodgy Dave who’s got a hundred, five star reviews and no three star, two star, one star. The reality is, as business owners, we will have negative reviews. It’s just the nature of business. It’s how we tackle those and answer those.If they’re not a real customer then just say that and move on but don’t shy away from it.

If you’ve got three negative reviews and only one positive, go and get more positive ones and don’t make them fake. Google knows if they are being left in your region. They know if somebody visits your shop, if it’s a physical location, there’s no point in trying to trick them. They are tracking every single movement of the majority of people in this country. So don’t think that there’s a way of gaming that system in the long run.

Relationships, like I was saying, if you’re part of an association, then link into those associations where relevant. Having positive brand mentions on social media, if somebody is saying that Feel-good Hypnosis is the best hypnosis company in the region, that’s going to give feedback as a positive signal. You don’t need to have a physical link to make it a worthwhile message.

Having social signals, people liking content that you’re creating, people engaging with it. Stop posting utter nonsense on your social media channels with just offers, people don’t care and the algorithms will not show the social media content that you’re just churning out. You need to add value to the community. You need to engage with your users. If you’re just churning out your monthly news article as a Facebook message, nobody’s going to care and, quite frankly, why should they? Why would they want any sales messages that are being pumped out? Nobody goes to social media for a sales pitch. You need to engage with your audience. Win them over. You need to send five/six messages of just general community engagement and then hit them with a sales message. If you’re just going in with sales messages and news junk then you’re adding, once again, nothing to the internet, no value to social media. So don’t expect to gain anything from it at all.

Citations are another really important one. So on that map listings, ABC map listings, if you have corresponding signals across the internet – and it’s something that we cover for every local business on a Nettl SEO campaign – if your name, address, and phone number is not matched up on all of your social media, to your Google My Business, to your Yell, Thompson Local and all of these other accounts, then Google goes ‘well, I can’t trust you’. Therefore, it’s not going to prioritise you in the map listings. So you must make sure that your name, address, and phone number is the same across all of the channels. You’re not using different random locations. Sadly, there are businesses out there who try to launch in every town and city across the UK, when they don’t even have a physical presence there. They’re using a random PO box to try to trick Google into saying that they’re local business when they’re truly not. Google is trying to tackle that by saying, ‘hey, we need citations, we need to know that this is legitimate because we cannot go and knock on your door to find out if you’re there’. So the only way that we can do that is by: following social media, by looking at your reviews, looking at your engagement, looking at your footprint, and if it’s fake, then you’re going to get caught. It’s not going to work for you. Try to follow the right path. Using Google My Business, a great tool, get on it, use it, embrace it. It’s not going anywhere. Google is not going anywhere either. So just get on with it and embrace all of the tools that they provide for free because it’s saving small businesses thousands of pounds when there are alternatives out there which will be charging you hundreds of pounds a month to use the same software that’s out there for free.

This is what SEO agencies are doing up and down the country. Maybe 90 to 95% of them will be giving you things that are free and charging you a premium for them.

Local SEO which is this ABC map listing. This is where we start seeing this information here, and then we have the local relevant results. If you are a restaurant in Manchester, you want to have Good Food Magazine linking to you ideally, as well as the Manchester Evening Times, that would be the best combination of two backlinks pointing to your website. You probably don’t need any more than that to be frank and honest. Or how about a food charity in Manchester? Say you’re giving away some offcuts to a local food charity and removing food waste and in return you’re getting a link from that charity pointing back to you. A really fantastic way to increase that exposure for yourself and to get an authoritative and worthwhile link on there as well.

Reviews, as you can see, the ones that are ranking have a large amount of reviews and they are probably responding to those reviews and they have their local listings or citations matched up. You can go and check out a free little toolkit for you which is called Supple, search it on Google. If you go onto that website and put in your company name, if you are on Google My Business then it will find it and it will generate you a special link and that link you can send out to all of your customers and as soon as they click on it, it loads up a review box and they can just put review straight in. A really quick, seamless way to start generating reviews quickly, or they give you a QR code from which you can pop into your local Nettl store and they could turn that into a little banner outside, put an incentive on there, ‘go and leave us a review and get a free lollipop’ – something like that. Especially if you are a hair salon, get the kids to push and put pressure on their parents to go and leave a review to get their free gift. Give away a Google home mini for every person that leaves you a review. These reviews are worth their weight in gold so embrace it and use it.

Local SEO factors, if you want to have success in SEO and you’re a local business this is the fastest route to success. This is the easiest way to turn the needle. Reviews, we are focusing on reviews, we’re focusing on local links, community links, think schools, think charities within your region, think local, press. Name, address, and phone number: consistency. We check that for you as part of your audit and we take care of that for you as well. But as with all things, if you’re a technical SEO customer, at any level, do all of these things as well. Don’t just throw £200 a month at the problem and think it’s resolved because this should be something that’s ingrained to everyday business life forever. this is not something that’s going away. It’s staying. This is like having a website before, you wouldn’t not have a website then and you wouldn’t not have SEO now. So either way, you’ve got to do it. So localised content, local citations, listings in as many of the local press websites which have the rectory listings, good user experience, fast, straight to the point, cutting through the nonsense and all of the vanity and just getting to the point of where somebody is actually looking for. Are they looking for a quotation? What’s the fastest way that they can put through a quotation which allows you the opportunity to convert that customer. Are they looking to buy online don’t put things behind the area, take inspiration from Amazon. You click on Amazon after a search result, it takes you straight to the product. Then it’s got the reviews, it’s got a unique description. You can buy it. That’s all you want. As a consumer, nobody cares about who you are most of the time or about all of the other things. They care about the convenience, the price, and what product that you have and the USP. The faster you can get across that message to get that conversion, the better. User experience, and then social signals. Put it out on social media but you don’t have to do it frequently. The biggest YouTuber in the world, Mark Rober, an amazing ex-NASA scientist, he’s got millions of viewers. He posts one video every single month and that video gets him roughly £200,000 pounds a month in revenue. Just from one video, which typically gets 10 to 20 million views. He just does that every single month and what he does is he analyses intent, creates a video from which people are actually asking questions around, and then publishes it. It takes 15 minutes. He has a beginning, middle and end, like any good story, and people stay for the whole time and he can monetise it. He then has affiliates to stores, associated with inventing things. So there are very clever things, embrace the world of YouTube. The whole point is it doesn’t have to be commercial grade. Use your phone, create video content. People will watch it. People will love it. People will share it. Even in the most obscure random areas. I promise you, there is stuff out there on YouTube which will scratch somebody’s itch.

Easy SEO mistakes

Simple SEO mistakes. Focusing on the wrong keywords. If you get any sales page saying ‘great news, Alec, send us your keywords and then we’re going to make you rank in the top three months for only £150 a month. It is complete BS. It is absolutely nonsense. It’s not going to happen. As a small business owner, you’re not expected to know what keywords are going to convert; that’s our job as SEOs. That’s why we’ve been studying this for 10 years. You want to analyse intent and not vanity metrics which we have been led to believe we should be aiming for. Not only that but SEO is your brand. If you search Moonpig and they don’t come up, that’s SEO. If you search Moonpig and Funky Pigeon comes up second, that’s SEO. You search Moonpig and a bad news article in the Daily Mail comes up that you need to get rid of, people come to us for SEO to remove that negative article. All of that is SEO. It’s important to understand just how broad this subject is.

Not optimising your title tags and meta descriptions because you’re probably just being lazy. Just go ahead and do it. It takes two minutes to do, there’s no reason not to do it. And even if you are an SEO customer, go and do it because it means that us as engineers can move on to more meaningful, complex things which you might not be able to set up and configure, like a content delivery network which is something that we install for a lot of customers which allows you to decentralize the content on your website. It’s a bit like creating a motorway where you once had a single track road. Now we wouldn’t expect you to be able to configure a content delivery network and set up servers in a specific way to allow a good amount of traffic and high levels of security. But you can’t do a lot of these basic things which will speed up the process and get you much faster to delivering a return on investment.

Creating irrelevant and low quality content. There’s nobody searching for it and it adds absolutely no value to the internet. Copy and pasting for somebody else’s website and adding it to your own, it’s pointless, just don’t even bother. If you’re not going to commit to it then this isn’t the right subject for you. And just go and move on. You need to own this subject. You either need to own it yourselves, if you’re a single person within your business, or if you have a team give responsibilities to your team. When I work with larger brands, I say to them, ‘you need to have SEO guidelines, the same way you have brand guidelines’ because then your individual departments are going to be doing SEO as they do things and not do things and then have it be optimized after, it’s really counterproductive. Instill things, best practice, distribute them across your team to get the most value.

Focusing too much on SEO, focus on your customers. This is the only thing you need to do, the rest of it is just technical and just best practice. Apart from that, all you have to do is create compelling content for your customers which is relevant. If you do that and commit time to it, you will be rewarded.

Low quality content, just adding 200 words of repeating the same phrase over and over adds no value. Google will see straight through it, as will all other search engines.

Poor social media presence. If you’re not updating your social media in the last six months then all that’s going to tell Google and any search engine is that maybe this business isn’t actually open and if they’re not open, then we’re not going to show them on the search results. So you need to make sure you update it once a day. You can use tools like Buffer and other tools, even within Facebook, to schedule a whole month’s worth of messages, in advance. Just create some routine going on there, something that Google can reindex and go and check out and follow. That will take you maybe half an hour to go and set up and do so there’s really no excuse not to be putting some kind of valuable presence out on social media.

Forgetting about analytics, search console. Google trends is one of my favourite tools at the moment, you can put in any subject such as ‘car hire’ and it will come up with the seasonal trends for the last 10 years within any region. Then it will tell you some long tail phrases relating to it. Now what Google has given you is a whole year’s worth of content creation and knowing when is best to send out that content and when is best to create it. Say for Hotel Chocolat, we know that people are more likely to search for vegan chocolate at the end of January. So we create all of our vegan chocolate content around the end of January. I’m not doing that in April when there’s actually not really that many people searching for it. They’re building into intent, building a marketing calendar around data and analytics and not just by a hunch or by, ‘hey, this is what’s always worked and that’s what’s going to work in the future’ because it’s not, things are changing and you’re missing opportunities which you may have never realised are very quick and easy to attain.

Not doing competitor analysis or the classic thing of obsessing over one or two businesses which you particularly hate the business owner of, you really don’t want them to be above you. You’re overly obsessed just about that business rather than seeing the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that your real competitors might be Wikipedia. They might be Amazon because they’re the ones who are ranking for the phrases that you want to rank for. Ignore your local competitor and go after the unique opportunities. Don’t be a sheep and follow the crowds.

Competitive analysis. There are great ways that you can go and search your competitors’ keywords. You can search your competitors key landing pages, and there are ways for you to reverse engineer a particular website that is doing very well. The easiest way to do this is to go and search a couple of key landing phrases and then some of the longer tail phrases, which you can either find in ‘people also ask’ or you can use a tool called also and you can type in a primary subject and it will spit out every long tail question and answer relating to that subject that people often go and search for after. The more of those questions that you answer on your webpage, the more authority you will have, the higher visibility you will gain over time. This is a marathon, not a sprint. So instead of guessing what people are searching for and what your competitors are ranking for, you can actually start by Googling these phrases and going to the bottom of the page and seeing what Google recommends as a related phrase to go and search for, then continue going down that rabbit hole. Or go and use something like and just do a free export of all of the long tail keywords or go into search console, which Google has already done the hard work for you, and it knows what phrases people are searching for which are relevant for your website.

So to rank well for pizza, you need to be a pizza restaurant or a local pizza delivery service within that region. Once again, if you are optimising for just ‘pizza’ as a generic phrase, everybody has a personalised search experience now, based on their locality, based on their previous search history, based on their cookies and all of their historic interactions online. So it’s kind of pointless just going after pizza as one phrase, because the reality is by searching pizza in Bristol, even without putting in Bristol, Google knows you’re in Bristol and you want a pizza result in Bristol. So it’s localising that result for you. Ideally you would have pizza in your title because that’s obvious, that tells Google exactly what you do. You’re telling them via Google My Business if you do delivery or if it’s just casual dining. Based on your reviews, if you’re really badly reviewed, it’s not going to recommend you obviously. So you need to have a high frequency of reviews and a lot of interaction via social media to compete in that space. But it’s a hundred percent possible. If you’re seeing big brands like Just Eat and Pizza Express, you can beat them because they are generic, big brands. Many times we have worked on small localised, niche products and beaten Amazon, beaten eBay at what they would see as very competitive phrases because they are very broad, generic, watered down nonsense where you are local experts within a certain field.

So to rank well for ‘make pizza’, you obviously need, based on intent, video content on how to make pizza or a recipe on how to make pizza . Google is relating recipes with ‘make’ and made an understanding that somebody searching for that isn’t going to want to go and order a pizza, they want to make it. So it understands the intent of somebody searching. A cool way that you can play around with this is if you search ‘how old is Justin Bieber’ on Google and it will come up as an answer and it’ll give you the rich snippet result for that. Then if you say, ‘how tall is he?’, it understands that ‘he’ is related to Justin Bieber. So we’re heading towards a world where we can just generally have a full blown conversation with a search engine and it remembers, it has a memory that knows exactly what you’re looking for. Bear that in mind when you’re creating content.

Facts about pizza. Ideally if you’re wanting something around this key phrase, then you’ll have bullet points. Google loves bullet points because it knows that it’s easily digestible content. To give you an idea about the average mental age of somebody reading content on your webpage, it’s that of about a seven or eight year old. A seven or eight year old will just very quickly browse and skim through content, looking for the answer that they’re looking for. So if you’re not making content easily digestible, it’s going to be really hard for Google to prioritize it because users will just get bored and click away there. Having bullet points, breaking things up of images, infographics, and video content is a great way to make something more digestible.

Top tip regarding video content: you want to make sure that you are uploading your own subtitles because Google still does not have the ability to crawl spoken word. It does have the ability to crawl your subtitles. So if you’re adding subtitles manually to your videos, if that video is like 2000 words long, it’s like having 2000 words of content embedded on your page which is hugely valuable and not very spammy and it looks really nice when you’re adding it to the website.

Skycrapering content

Analyse the page content at the top three or five pages. What we’re doing here is doing something called ‘skyscrapering’ content: we’re looking at what’s ranking top right now, who are these websites who are ranking top? And then looking at what is the difference between their website and my website, and then making it better, making it more relevant, making it more up-to-date, adding better images, adding better video content. If they have no video content, if they have no images, and if they have only 300 words, then as a skyscraper builder you’re going to go in and build the bigger skyscraper. You’re going to go in and add 500 words, which is more up-to-date, you’re going to add a video about this because you are an expert in your field. You are not shy about putting yourself out there. Do a short one minute video and upload it to YouTube, embed that YouTube video in your website, you will be the authority. So you are taking what is old and making it fresh and new and making it better.

Use this way of ranking as inspiration, have it side by side on one half of the screen and create your new content on the other. Find out who mentions or links to your competitors and you can do this with these very clever link tags. You can search these actual phrases in Google. This is a very clever way of using Google, because it will find every single mention of online. So everyone is talking about it, whether it be on social media, and you could do this to any website, any of your competitors and find out who’s linking to them, or you can use a tool like will allow you to put in any competitor domain name and it will give you a list of every website pointing to it. Then you can go and see how good those links are and pick the best ones and go and work with them yourself. That is a way of link hijacking and building authority by looking at your competitors, seeing what content they’re creating, creating better content, and then going after their link partners and making them your own. That’s something that we do from an SEO perspective; it’s a very expensive way of doing SEO but it’s a very powerful way of doing it because there’s a lot of manual work.

This only really works, in my opinion, when it comes from you, the business owner, because you’re already an expert. If a SEO company is trying to reach an industry body on your behalf, they’re going to tell us to bugger off. Whereas if you, as an expert in your area, start engaging with them and start creating a community, they’re going to reward you for that and so will search engines. Find your competitor’s most linked content and create something better yourself, skyscraper it, make it more relevant.


Do PDFs get indexed?

PDFs with tech brochures do not prove full on SEO, do they need to change the pages, is that correct? PDFs get indexed by search engines. It’s not the preferred way of creating content. A great way is by taking PDF content, putting it through a reverse system, which strips a PDF of its word content, puts it into a document which then you can readily upload onto your website and make use of content previously not used. It’s a bit like some people out there, believe it or not, scan books and then publish it on the internet so that they have thousands of pages of unique content which has never been indexed before and it makes them look like an authority. So there are actual people, normally in Pakistan or India, who do that just for living. Taking books, uploading and becoming an authority very quickly by doing that because it’s a very laborious process.

Changing the last modified date

You say no new content then Google will not come back, if they actually crawl past and see the last modified date, assuming that if I just change one paragraph or maybe fix a typo, do they see that as me just trying to fool them and thinking it’s updated a month down? No, absolutely not because you’re trying to make things more relevant. If you’re just going in and fixing some errors, Google may not come back that frequently, but it will if you have a social media link pointing to your website. If your website can’t really add anything more to it, let’s say, and it’s as up to date as it ever could be – though that’s unlikely so to spend some time doing content on there – having just one link on social media would allow Google’s crawler to go and follow it and then reindex and update the content again. As long as you’re not trying to put white text on a white background saying I’m the best at SEO, then you’re probably going to be fine.

Closed captions on videos

If I have links to YouTube videos on my site, does Google use closed captions to rank the web pages? If they’re your videos and you can cite them back to yourself as being the expert in that field, creating that content, then yes. But there’s been many websites over the years that just go, ‘hey, here’s free, useful videos’ then all you’re doing is you’re giving the creator of that video the authority. You’re actually helping them amplify themselves on YouTube which has its own algorithm which is not very fun to work with.

Ideal number of reviews

Is there any magic number for reviews? Yes. As many as possible. It’s all about frequency so there’s no point in just getting 60 reviews and being dormant for ages. Ideally, the more frequent reviews you get, the more often Google will come back and index the website. If you can get like one every day, that’s great. If it’s one a week, that’s probably better than what you’re doing now. So just really try to focus on doing it. There are some rules within reviews so the age of a Google account, if it’s a brand new Google account which has never left a review before that holds lower weight as an authority compared to a Google account which is very aged. It’s lower weight on authority if that Google account is out of region, compared to a Google account which is in a region. And if the review contains keywords like, ‘this hair salon was amazing, they did my hair cut perfectly. I am no longer going gray and I look fabulous’, that will be a great review for a hair salon compared to ‘they did a good job’. So descriptive reviews really do have a massive impact as well. So from a hypnosis perspective you might want to put on there: ‘he was amazing. I’ve always been skeptical upon hypnosis. However, I found it non-threatening and the hypnotism really worked, I no longer smoke’, that would be like a really great, ideal review. Ideally they would put in their region as well, so ‘I’ve tried all the other hypnotists in Birmingham, they’re rubbish but his is amazing, go to him’ – that’s a great review.

Impact of per per click

Having looked into organic SEO searches, how easily can you assess how many visits your competitor website is getting through pay per click (PPC)? The reason why SEO has been nominated by both Google and Microsoft as the number one marketing skill to master in the next 10 years is because if you have a hundred people searching for a subject on Google, only 20 of those people click on ads. 80 of those people click on the top three organic results because we live in an ad-savvy generation. So whatever you are generating revenue wise on PPC, if you are ranking top for those key phrases that you’re targeting on PPC and getting conversions from, you will get four times the volume of traffic for a lot less money by ranking SEO wise, which is why I would normally say you want to have SEO co-exist with PPC. If you’re running a good PPC campaign, you’re exploring a broad match of keywords which people are converting at. Then you can set up tracking and understand what keywords people most likely convert at. Once you have that information, they’re the keywords you’re going after SEO wise, because you know that once you get there, you’re going to get your ROI. The last thing you want to do is go in completely blind based on assumption and say, ‘right, I’m just going to do SEO’ and not have any test data to go by because you could spend six months or 12 months pursuing a key phrase which once you rank nobody’s buying and it’s going to be a complete waste of time. So you want to make sure that the keywords that you’re targeting are converting and you can do that great by Google Ads. Set up your own Google Ads campaign if you don’t use Nettl to do it then fine, you go and set up your own. Google will give you 75 pounds free credit, normally, to run an ad campaign and then you can start seeing which keywords work for you then run that alongside organic because the ROI that you should be generating from PPC needs to be reinvested into your organic. I know there’s no cap on the amount of budget you should be investing in organic SEO. Some of the companies that we work with will spend upwards of a hundred thousand pounds a month on SEO, just SEO, and those companies could be spending up to a million pounds a month in PPC. That’s because they are targeting maybe the whole of Europe or the whole country rather than you targeting a small location but don’t take it for granted. It is by far the most important marketing channel for the next 10 years to focus on. Google even employs its own SEOs because they don’t know what the algorithm is doing anymore. That’s why you need to take it seriously and own it. You don’t need to worry if your competitors are ranking for a PPC phrase that you’re going after it organically, let them because they’re the ones who are going to be paying 20% increase year on year for the same cost per click as everybody else. Typically every year, the cost of PPC increases 20%, so what was working for you a couple of years ago is going to be 40% more expensive two years ago than it is now because more and more businesses are going online and there’s more voice to be shared out. So, that’s why organic is the only way to go.

Adding locations

Off-site SEO. WordPress has just written to me and said that they are taking geotagging off my website. Is this how people can sometimes search for me in this area, if so how can I add my location back to my website? Just add the address.


What is a meta-description title tag and how do you optimise that? So if you’re servicing a local region of a local area then you just need to be a specialist on that local area. When we’re building out location-based landing pages or on your ‘contact us’ page, you just put your address and you say, ‘we serve the following regions’. Then if you can add a little bit of information about those regions, add anything of value, go back to being a takeaway and saying the best place to start a picnic in Bristol are X, Y, and Z. Use relevant content, injecting the local area, being an expert in your local area and then when you’re talking about meta descriptions and title tags, you’re just doing what’s best for the customer. So if you are a Chinese takeaway, then you’re going to say on there that ‘we have been voted the number one Chinese restaurant in Bristol, come and visit us today, five pounds off for every brand new customer’. That’s a great meta-description because it’s going to entice people, getting them clicking through, and then you can go and sell to them. Within meta-description and title tags, if you’re on WordPress, go and use Yoast, really good tool. It’s a free tool by WordPress, it’s a very good tool for fundamentals and if you’re doing the fundamentals, that’s going to go a long way towards things.

Getting people to leave a review

You mentioned something about people being able to send people a link to a review. What was that called? Supple. Search Supple on Google or White Spark. Don’t get bought into those services because they’re going to try and charge you, sometimes up to a hundred pounds a month, to add your website to local directories. If you are a Nettl SEO customer, we do that for free as part of our SEO campaign and it’s something which should cost probably 10 to 15 pounds a month, not hundreds that they quote and that’s ensuring that your name, address, and phone number is matching up in all of those key locations. Something which I used to do manually, and something that I would never want any of you to do because you are literally going into a website, maybe a hundred of them, and updating name, address, and phone number to match up on each one. It’s not as bad as when we worked on WHSmith and we had to label every image, which if you can imagine the different types of paper that they have, and then try to do a description of each type of GSM paper and how soul destroying that is when you’ve got 1.5 million of those products, you’ll understand why we’re exploring artificial intelligence to do that project for us.


Is authorship important? Yes, hugely important. Authorship of yourself and any experts within your regional area. If you’re having a doctor guest posting on your local doctor’s surgery, then that’s going to have a much more powerful impact compared to the receptionist.

Video content

I have some video content with video clip art and text overlay, nobody is speaking, if I replicate text on screen in closed captions, is that good? Is it adding value to the customer, is what I would say to that. I would say the most useful thing that you have there is something to increase dwell time. Now what I’ve gone through is the fundamentals of SEO but there are over 300 rules of SEO and that is changing up to three times a day. It’s my job to try to understand them as best I can. In terms of having a video like that is great for the dwell time. I.e. somebody hits that page and they’re staying on that page for maybe five minutes watching your video and that feeds back as a really positive signal back to Google that they’re getting the answer that they’re looking for. So it certainly adds value in that sense but no need to add a subtitle if there is no one speaking.

Links to other sites

We have links to a lot of other sites because we signpost parents to information but not many people to link to us, is this something Google will be suspicious about? No, not really. You are doing a great job by helping the internet to be easier to understand and linking relevant areas so that’s perfect. You’re probably not getting many links back to you because you’re probably not asking for them, reaching out to some of these charities and asking for reciprocal linkback. If it’s relevant, there’s nothing wrong with a reciprocal link. It’d be great to help us drive traffic to this service because we are shouting about you, give us a hand. If there are charities and schools, if you’re doing any donations or anything like that, once again it’s a very good way to obtain those backlinks is just by asking. Especially if you’re asking, rather than an SEO company, like I said they’re going to have an instant rapport with you because you’re in similar industries compared to some random man or woman at an SEO agency who is just trying to clearly game the system. When you’re asking for a link, try not to ask for a link. What you want to actually say is, can you help me drive traffic to my website? Naturally they will leave a link but ideally, in that scenario, you’re not physically asking for a physical link because if you are caught doing that Google could slap you on the wrist for trying to manipulate link acquisition. What you’re asking for there is ‘can you please drive some traffic through to my website’ and you can send them the link and they will naturally leave it but if you physically asked for an SEO related link, Google could see that as devious behaviour.

So Moonpig, a few years ago, sent loads of bloggers free flowers if they wrote a blog article about mother’s day flowers and Moonpig. One of those bloggers forwarded one of those emails to Google, Google penalized the whole of Moonpig and removed them from the Google index entirely. So even if you searched Moonpig on Google, it disappeared. Only when they apologized and did a public shaming apology from Google, did Google reinstate their search listings and it came back online but the damage was already done, they lost millions of pounds of revenue. So make sure you’re doing it in a clever way which is also legitimate.

Transferring SEO to a new site

I’m making a new website and the SEO on the current website is quite good but the website is really outdated. Is there any way to transfer the SEO from the current to the new one? Yes. Making sure that you have all of the same content over there and the same URL structure and website structure so you’re not just completely eradicating the structure that was there before. Google’s main analysis is going to be on understanding what pages belong where, so if you’re changing all of your page titles and mismatching everything, it’s not going to go down very well. I would strongly recommend doing one spreadsheet of every page URL on one side, one spreadsheet of every page URL from the other and a big game of spot the difference, making sure they all match up. If you want to add more on top, fantastic, add more but don’t completely change it. Otherwise it’s going to be a real pickle when you go live.

Incentivising customers to review

Getting Google reviews is bloody frustrating. Yes, it is. I’ve lost count of times I’ve asked people to leave a review and they have given up because they don’t have Google accounts. The other problem is they get so far, think they’ve completed the task and don’t complete it which means you’ve lost all that effort and gone nowhere. Yeah. So what I used to do when I got reviews was literally have them on the phone with me until they left a review and I’d be there going ‘yeah so if you just click on this button now’ and just keep them there until they leave it. And if you’re in a physical location, what I did with a hair salon once was put a tablet on the wall which, after they had the haircut, they would have to go up to the tablet on this wall and before they could pay, they had to leave a short review and that’s the only way to get out of that experience. There’s like embedding a way into that experience to encourage people to leave reviews, and that could be getting 5% off your bill if you leave a review and show us your review. Incentivizing people because honestly it’s worth its weight in gold getting these legitimate reviews. So if you can give a little incentive, that’s the only way to do it, or you’re holding them ransom, you’re locking them in a room until they do it.

Changing underscores to hypers in URLs

If I changed the underscores to hyphens, would I lose my SEO? No, don’t worry. If you’re on WordPress, use Eggplant Redirect and you could do a redirect for free from your underscores to your hyphens and you won’t lose anything.