Entries Tagged 'Google search' ↓

Is Your Google Search Local or National?

Have you noticed a recent change to your search results?National Google search

OK, daft question considering the onslaught of small birds and animals that have been trundling through Google’s algorithms lately – namely Panda and Penguin.

But joking aside, you may have spotted that your search results are focused on your local area rather than nationally.

If you’re looking for a local company then this has to be a good thing, but if you want to widen your choice of potential service providers because their location isn’t an issue (especially for larger companies looking for quality and value over proximity) it does narrow your options somewhat.

Widening the net

To make sure you’re getting the best choice of service provider possible all you have to do is amend your search location.

Simply go to the Google home page, click ‘settings’ (at the bottom of the screen), go to ‘location’ and enter UK (or whichever country or region you want). Now your search results will return a far more comprehensive list of possibilities.

Businesses and rankings

These changes are really annoying when you’re an online business, especially when you’ve always played by Google’s rules.

All those hours you have spent link building and generating great content can go down the tubes in a flash with changes like these.

For many businesses online, a national presence is need, so with a change to local search results as opposed to countrywide ones can have a real impact on your bottom line.

What can be done about?

Not a lot really other than creating location-specific landing pages. But you can and should be hitting the social world hard. Being active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ will help your visibility and get your name out into the wider world.

The face of search is changing and becoming far more social than ever before.

So our advice is, if you want to continue to be seen in the search results, generate great content and be socially active.


Sally Ormond is MD and copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd. A keen cyclist, she took on and tamed the Welsh Dragon Ride.

Why SEO is Like Riding a Bike

The curse of the Google update

I set up my business, Briar Copywriting in 2007 and have always done my own search engine optimisation.frustration at Google update

Despite a few hiccups along the way, I have managed to maintain great rankings for my chosen keywords. But then Penguin came along, closely followed by Penguin 2.0.

This latest change was meant to weed out those sites with slightly dodgy links. As I have always done my own link building and have been very careful about it, it’s incredibly frustrating when I get hit despite not bending the rules. So I’m now left having to look through all my inbound links to see what’s causing the problem.

But that’s beside the point.

Why is search engine optimisation like riding a bike?

Well, I am currently training for an epic charity endurance bike ride – the RideUK24 Newcastle to London challenge that’s taking place this August (300 miles in 24 hours).

Over the weekend I cycled from Suffolk to Bedfordshire and back (stopping over night), which is total of 160 miles (carrying a rucksack – not advisable when cycling long distances).

Whatever happened I knew I had to keep going. If I didn’t:

  1. My training schedule would go out of the window
  2. I would have fallen off my bike as my shoes clip to the peddles

And search engine optimisation is the same. As soon as you stop promoting and link building, your website will start to plummet.

But as if that wasn’t enough to contend with, Google has the power to make or break a business over night (even those who have always abided by the rules – sorry, I’ll stop ranting and get on with the meat of this post) simply by tweaking its algorithms.

That’s great to get rid of the spammy sites so the results you see are the most relevant, but not so great when you’ve done nothing wrong and you still get hit (sorry, got back on the soap box again briefly).

So how can you make sure your site stays in favour with Google?

Well, up to last week I would have said link build naturally and carefully, never pay for links and if you exchange links, be very careful whom you do it for.

But then, I’ve always built links naturally and never bought or exchange links – so what’s the answer?

Perhaps Google can answer that one?

Over to you Google

I’d love to get a definitive answer to this one.

So if anyone at Google happens to stumble across this post, perhaps you’d be good enough to explain?

What about you reader? How have you coped with the algorithm changes? Have you had to recover from the updates? If so, how did you do it?

Leave a comment below and let’s find out what the effect of these algorithm changes really mean to business.

How to Get Your Website De-Indexed by Google

Online marketing is a very competitive world.

Everyone wants to be on the front page of the search results, but rather than working hard and building a solid base of informative, relevant content and good links, some marketers still try to find short cuts.

However tempting it may be, there is no substitute for hard work because if you do try to cut corners you will incur the wrath of Google.

So what sort of activities are we talking about?

There are quite a few, but for this particular post we shall concentrate on 7.

1. Cloaking

Nope, it’s not something out of Star Trek.

Cloaking means you’re showing the search engines one thing and your visitors something else. So you could be promoting a site for an activity such as fell walking in the search results, but when someone clicks on the link, they’re taken to a pornographic site.

A very deceptive practice, which is completely forbidden by Google.

2. Duplicate content

Yes, unbelievably this still happens. People attempt to boost their page views by creating many pages with the same content.

If you inadvertently duplicate content on your own site through the use of categories, tags or archived pages, you’ll be OK although it could still get you penalised.

3. Scraping content

Everyone knows that good rankings come from the creation of great content. But for those who really can’t be bothered and think it’s OK to scrape content from other sites, tweak it a bit and then publish it, Google is watching you and will come down on you like a tonne of bricks.

4. Unrelated keywords

The only keywords that should be used for your site are those that are actually related to the content in your site. It really isn’t rocket science.

Of course, stuffing your keywords (related or otherwise) is also a huge no-no, but you knew that, right?

5. Link exchanges

The best way to develop your links is to do it carefully, manually and with integrity. If you pay for links you’ll get banned; if you link back to everyone who links to you, you could damage your reputation.

Basically, Google will check out your external links and incoming links for the quality of the linking sites. If they have a low reputation it will have an effect on you – so be careful.

6. Hidden keywords

The below will get you de-indexed or penalised:

  • Plastering your site with keywords in the same colour as your background
  • Keywords in really, really tiny font size at the end of your site

Guess what? They show up in your code so it really doesn’t take much for Google to spot it.

7. Stacking your titles

There’s a simple rule to follow: one headline per page.

Writing more than one and stuffing them with your keywords will hack Google off. Do it properly and make the most of your heading my placing your important keywords at the start of headline, making the most of the 70 characters available to create one that is meaningful.

Over to you

The 7 scenarios above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting yourself de-indexed by Google.

Can you think of any more?

If so, write a comment below and let’s see how many we can find.

Sally Ormond – professional copywriter, founder and MD of Briar Copywriting Ltd

SEO Techniques That You Should Forget About

Everyone understands the importance of search engine optimisation.SEO techniques that should be consigned to the bin

But not everyone seems to grasp the fact that it’s an ever-changing field of marketing. As search evolves so do the complex algorithms the search engines use to determine which sites are relevant to which search terms.

Why the constant changes?

That’s mainly down to the less than white SEO ‘experts’ out there who find a technique to boost their website’s rankings and exploit it.

For example, as a result of websites with poor content that wasn’t relevant, Google’s Panda came along. Hot on its heels was the mighty Penguin to battle against keyword stuffers, cloaking, duplicate content and those participating in link schemes.

In the world of SEO you have two choices: keep doing what you’ve been doing for years and watch your website disappear from view; or move with the times and adopt new techniques.

SEO Techniques to steer clear from

To get you on the right path, here are just a few old SEO techniques that should be consigned to the rubbish bin.

1. Keyword density

This is a phrase that should never be mentioned again.

If you’re not sure what it is, it’s a dreadful practice old SEOers once employed, claiming you have to have a certain percentage of keywords in your website copy in order get ranked for that particular search term.


If it were that simple, the world would be full of websites that were complete gibberish and only contained one or two phrases repeated again and again.

The right way to create effect SEO copywriting is by writing high quality content that is written naturally.

2. Numerous press releases

Online press release outlets were seen as a God send to many.

The result was numerous press releases that had absolutely no substance to them whatsoever being blasted across the web in the hope of attracting a back link or two.

The main problem with this is that you’re putting out substandard releases for the general public to see, which is hardly going to put your company in a good light.

There’s nothing wrong with issuing press releases, but only when you actually have some news to tell.

3. Content spinning

Once upon a time, marketers would write an article, spin it using some software and post it out to numerous websites. Worse still, they would send out the same article to hundreds of websites creating vast swathes of duplicate content.

That is such a bad idea.

If you want to put content out there make sure it’s original, of high quality and offers the reader something. After all, if you want to generate links, it has to be some pretty awesome content.

4. Meta tags

Once upon a time (there’s a pattern forming here) SEO was linked to your meta tags because they helped the search engines determine the relevance of your website. Surprise, surprise, this resulted in numerous SEOers stuffing their meta tags (they appear in the <head> section of your website’s code) with keywords.

The search engines are far cannier these days, and use other tags (e.g. title tags and alt tags) and the actual content of your website to determine what your web page is about.

As you can see, throughout the history of SEO someone finds a loophole and exploits it. That’s why it’s important you keep updated with the latest SEO techniques and news to make sure your efforts continue to bring you the results you want.

The Changing Face of Search – Google Gets Personal with “Search Plus Your World”

Google’s constantly changing its algorithms to keep us on our toes. But the latest change to its search results is probably the most drastic yet.

“Search Plus Your World” will find content that has been shared with you privately along with matches from the public web, all mixed into a single set of listings, according to a recent post that appeared on Searchengineland.com.

At the moment it will only happen for those signed-in to Google.com and searching in English. For some it will make life a lot easier; however for others, it raises concerns about privacy. Although the private content remains just that, private, it may make the content more visible to friends and family.

Of course, Google’s search has been personalised for some time now, in fact since 2005, and has evolved constantly since then:

The personalisation of Google searches

What will the new search method mean?

Your new personalised results will include:

  • Listings from the web (general)
  • Listings from the web (in relation to your personal behaviour)
  • Listings from the web (in relation to your social connections)
  • Public Google+ posts, photos or Google Picasa photos
  • Private or limited Google+ posts, photos or Google Picasa photos shared with you

You search results will show you the number of personal results and the number of other results. Plus, a new button will appear on the right of your results that will enable you to toggle between your personalised and non-personalised results.

For more information about these changes, take a look at the full article and find out why Google’s results will get more personal with “Search Plus Your World.”