SEO | Web Development Articles from York web designers Semlyen IT

Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

SEO for Scoot Cycling Holidays

Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 by Helen

When a website already has a #1 position for some searches, particularly those using location-specific terms, it may be time to think about building on this with new SEO campaigns. Scoot Cycling Holidays, who recently commissioned some SEO work, were already sitting at the top of Google for “cycling holidays in Yorkshire” and related searches, but found that being in this position was not bringing them as much web traffic, and thus as much business, as they wanted.

Their target market is visitors from abroad, primarily those visiting Britain from the USA and Australia, who might want to take a short countryside break in the middle of a tour of major cities. As such people may not have a specific county in mind prior to their visit, they may be unlikely to type “Yorkshire cycling holidays” into Google. Furthermore, when I did some search popularity research with the location set to the US, I found that the monthly searches that include “cycling holiday” are fairly low. Thinking this was simply a case of the UK’s “holiday” being equivalent to the USA’s “vacation” I tried “cycling vacations”. Surprisingly, this was even less popular, according to Google’s Keyword Tool. After a bit more research, I found that the more commonly used term is “cycling tour”, and similar variables.

Choosing exactly which phrases to optimise the home page for was tricky for this site – they wanted to keep their position at the top for “Yorkshire cycling holidays”, and were already on page 2 for “UK cycling holidays”, which, although less popular, still brought them some traffic. “England bike tours” was the primary phrase I chose, while keeping the Yorkshire and UK cycling holidays content included so that they would maintain their positions. As the site had previously had very dilute and unfocused SEO content, the SEO for the “cycling holidays” phrases was improved by the treatment, even though they were only secondary terms. The site has since risen several places for “UK cycling holidays” and remains at position 1 for “Yorkshire cycling holidays”. It has made an entry a little further down Google’s search results for “England bike tours”, in which it could not be found anywhere prior to any treatment. As the SEO work is not yet complete, this is a promising start.

Too Many Meta Keywords

The meta keywords before the SEO treatment: the existing content was dilute and unfocused – more than half of the keywords had little relevance to the content of the page, or the SEO target. Google pays little attention to these anyway, so they were of little use, and getting in the way of the real content.

Search Engine Visibility on a Budget

Posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 by Helen

As the importance of SEO becomes more well-known, we’re taking on an increasing number of projects for small businesses who have existing websites and limited budgets. The websites that they originally set up may not have been built with SEO in mind, or even to best practice regarding the coding standards we would normally apply when building a new site. However, even with a small budget and half a day’s work, it can be possible to take a site that cannot be found anywhere in Google and give it a significant boost. This usually does not involve much recoding, and seldom changing the site’s appearance – it’s more a case of ensuring the right tags (for example, the title and meta tags) are in the right place and say the right things, and adjusting the written content to make sure it reflects what the site is about.

This may sound like common sense, but it’s quite easy to accidentally write a site’s content in a way that means it could be ignored by Google for what it supposed to be its target key phrase. A common mistake is making the title tag of the homepage just say “Home”. Another related problem is starting the website with a generic heading such as “Welcome to my Website”. These are the first things that Google will read when it encounters a site, so, if you are a York builder, as one of our recent clients is, these two important places ought to include phrases such as “builder in York“. If you have graphics and headers already proclaiming that this is what you do, it’s sometimes easy to forget that although the human eye sees these as prominent, search engines may not. Even if there is relevant alt text behind the image, Google wants to know that you’re so certain of your identity as a York builder that you’ve made it your website’s main heading. Preferably twice, in the title bar and as the H1 heading.

However, search engines, although not yet sentient (we hope) have evolved a bit of cynicism. If, for example, a webpage has headings declaring that the site belongs to a York architect, but the body text does not contain phrases such as “architect in York” or even mention the words “York” or “architecture” very much at all, Google may look at it, get a bit hopeful at the beginning about its relevance to architecture, but then be disappointed when the rest of the site’s content doesn’t follow through. It needs to be reassured that the title isn’t just a red herring. Fortunately, it’s quite an easy adjustment to make. If someone genuinely is a York-based architect, it’s a sensible thing for them to state on their website, if they haven’t already.

This is another illustration of how writing content for search engines should not be regarded as a separate art from writing for human readers. The fine-tuning of the details is what makes the difference.

York Architects

Beacon Dodsworth Web Applications

Posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2011 by Helen

G-commerce company Beacon Dodsworth have made some of their applications available as web apps, meaning that their technology can be integrated into a website. You can try out some demos of their applications on their website.

P² People & Places geodemographic people classification is an application that shows demographics by postcode. It uses their tree and branch lifestyle classifications, which describes groups from “Mature Oaks” to “Urban Challenge”, each with a number of ‘branches’ within them. These types are defined by a variety of factors including age, wealth and cultural background. On the free version you only get to see the various ‘trees’ for postcodes in your search area, with a different colour circle used to represent the types of people who live around your search area.

As well as being an interesting insight into how birds of a feather flock together, knowing the demographics of different areas is crucial when deciding where to locate say a branch of a retail chain. For example, a vegan café would probably work best in an area that was mainly in the New Starters and Qualified Metropolitans trees (characterised by many graduates who have a keen interest in healthy eating). A Bingo hall would be more likely to be successful in an area that was mainly in the Disadvantaged Households and Urban Challenge trees (poorer, ageing communities). The P² application provides a fast, comprehensible overview of each area, which can save a lot of time when analysing data in order to make such decisions.

Businesses with multiple branches can take advantage of another application, “Where’s My Nearest…?” which, as its name suggests, allows customers to find their nearest branches based on their postcode. The demonstration version shows users the location of their nearest football club, but the app can be customised to show a business’ own outlets – e.g. banks, supermarkets, or garden centres.


The Beacon Dodsworth site runs on the Expression Engine CMS. We’ve recently been working with them to improve the SEO on this site. Rather than just doing all the SEO ourselves as we usually do, we’ve been guiding Beacon Dodsworth staff through the process of looking at the site’s statistics, and working out which key phrases the pages should be optimised for. As all of the SEO content can be managed within the CMS, it means they can adjust this as they discover which phrases work the best and generate the most organic search engine traffic (rather than traffic from targeted Google Ads).

The products which have been targeted in this recent SEO campaign are the GIS mapping software, driving time and distance calculator, route planning software and postcode areas and boundaries data.

The Curtain Exchange: Low Cost E-Commerce

Posted on Monday, December 6th, 2010 by Helen

Curtains 2 U is the online trading portal of Boston Spa’s branch of the Curtain Exchange franchise. As a curtain shop near Wetherby and Tadcaster, their geographical competition for search engine results is not high, as small towns would not ordinarily sustain more than one or two curtain makers. Their page on the franchise’s own website already tops Google’s results for “curtain shop in Boston Spa”, so there is no need for us to do any further work there.

We are currently testing the water regarding SEO for the much more competitive phrases “online curtain shop” and “buy curtains online“. Originally we built the site as a low-cost e-commerce solution. It features a budget bespoke catalogue management system, integrated with Mal’s Cart. As the site was coded by us, it was built to our usual coding standards which allow for maximum SEO treatment if required. The client did not ask for SEO in the original quote, but they have since approached us to add some optimisation, both for the main “online curtain shop” phrases, and also some secondary geographical optimisation to target nearby Wetherby and Tadcaster.

The site received a rigorous, in-depth SEO treatment, and also has a few backlinks from our other clients’ links directories (although the effectiveness of these is now uncertain…). It will be interesting to see how much improvement this treatment produces in what appears to be a very competitive area – can this site compete with the established sites? They may be older and larger, but may not necessarily be as concisely coded.

Curtain Shop, Wetherby

SEO for Roboleo and AAA Instructor Training

Posted on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 by Helen

Some SEO jobs can be more challenging than others. While many of our SEO projects are for straightforward phrases such “York estate agents”, there are some for which the target phrases are not so obvious to someone who works outside the client’s professional field.

One such project that we have taken on was for Pharmaceutical Market Access specialists Roboleo. Since we did not know much about this area, this project involved extensive discussion with the clients, to determine which phrases best described their site. The second phase of this preliminary work was working out which variations of these phrases were actually searched for, through the use of Google’s Keyword Tool and previous web statistics on the client’s existing website – after all, being top of the Google results for a phrase which nobody ever types into Google’s search box isn’t much better than having no SEO at all.

Med Tech Market Access

Another project we’ve just taken on is for driving instructor Andrew Taylor or AAA Instructor Training – but again, his field is specialised. Andrew does give regular driving lessons in Wakefield to learner drivers, but his main area of expertise is training others to become driving instructors themselves. As with any profession, there are acronyms and technical language which can be hard to contextualise just by looking at the site as an outsider to the area. It may have been relatively straightforward to decide on the phrase “driving instructor training courses in Wakefield“, but “fleet ADI training courses” was a little more elusive. I’m guessing only a driving instructor trainer – or someone who wanted to become one – could tell me that was a sensible phrase for which to optimise the site.

While the Roboleo site was designed and coded in house at Semlyen IT, the AAA Instructor Training site is a classic example of a website created using a third party content management system which was not very search engine friendly. In this case we have taken on the site ourselves and stripped out the CMS, which means that we will now have full control over adding the SEO content.

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