Top 10 UK SEO & Online Marketing Companies – Winter 2018
1) Style Rank – 2018 Best SEO Company In The UK
“Our reviewers found Style Rank have the best websites from a UK SEO agency we’ve ever encountered.”
Web Design | Keyword Research | Monthly Packages | Social Media Marketing | On-Page Optimisation
2) Screaming Frog – 2018 RUNNER UP BEST SEO COMPANY IN THE UK
“Overall, Screaming Frog tick a lot of boxes when it comes to excellence in SEO services.”
Social Media Marketing | Pay-Per-Click Advertising | Content Marketing | Digital PR | Technical SEO Audit
3) Geeky SEO
“Geeky pride themselves on helping clients to grow their online market share, improve conversion rates and increase revenue.”
Social Media Services | Business Analysis | Content Creation | On-Page Optimisation | Digital Marketing
4) Chameleon Web Services
“Chameleon offer a caring, cost-effective, client-focused approach to SEO”
Google AdWords | Social Media Support | Competitor Analysis | Keyword Research | Media Services
5) SEO Professor
“The Professors have a solid skillset and a reputation for taking on the most challenging SEO projects.”
Link Building Campaigns | Online Reputation | Content Creation | On-Page Optimisation | Pay-Per-click Advertising
6) Superb Digital
“They have an outstanding reputation and over 16 years’ experience in the industry”
Link Building Campaigns | Content Marketing | Pay-Per-Click Advertising | Social Media Marketing | Digital PR Services
7) Jellyfish UK
“They have teams of experts whose goal is to help businesses achieve sustainable, long term growth.”
Digital Advertising | Website Optimisation | Content Marketing | Traffic Analytics | Google Penalties Hub
“They’re enthusiastic about what they do and have a reputation for being easy to work with.”
Digital Analytics | Pay-Per-Click Marketing | Social Media Marketing | Content Creation | Video Creation Services
9) Soap Media
“Their award-winning services have helped big brands boost their business and earned them an impressive reputation”
Competitor Research | Social Media Marketing | Keyword Research | Content Creation | Pay-Per-Click Advertising
10) Go Up
““Go Up is one of the leading SEO and digital marketing agencies in the capital.”
Link Building | Social Media Marketing | Pay-Per-click Advertising | Website Optimisation | Google Penalty Services
Understanding Search Engine Optimisation
What is SEO?
The acronym SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimisation”. It is a booming industry and a key way of securing extra visitors and traffic to a website. To clarify, a search engine is an online resource such as Google where internet users enter a term to search the internet.
Said search engine (which is typically Google given over 80% of online searches in the UK in 2017 were on Google) then presents the user with results. While some of these results will be paid for in some instances, Google clearly marks those results as ‘ads’ before then providing organic search results.
These organic results are determined by a vast array of algorithms. And naturally users are more likely to click on higher placed results – indeed many don’t even check page two of these results. In SEO speak, if you’re not on Page One then you’re nowhere.
Search Engine Optimisation is simply the process of optimising a website so that search engines will rank it higher for the search terms (known as keywords) most likely to attract visitors to your website from Google, Bing et al and will ultimately convert.
Why is SEO important?
For any business wanting to increase their web-presence, SEO is crucial. In simple parlance, a high quality, effective SEO strategy on a website means better Google rankings. And better Google ranking means more traffic to your website. More traffic means more customers buying your products or services.
It really is that simple and in the UK, SEO marketing is one of the fastest growing areas of both the technology and marketing sectors. Businesses can see the significant benefits higher rankings lead to in black and white. Both website traffic and company profits increase when websites reach the holy grail of 1st position for a keyword.
However, Google are constantly changing the way it’s algorithms rank websites. This makes it hugely challenging to keep abreast and then implement best SEO strategies for your business.
Certain SEO techniques that were hugely effective and commonplace as recently as five years ago, if implemented, will cause serious harm to your rankings. It’s also difficult to know when algorithms have changed and implement changes to maintain best SEO practice.
That’s why it’s a good idea to employ an SEO expert to handle your site optimisation. They have access to the software and programs that analyse changes and ensure they can quickly act to meet them.
There are a lot of different, individual parts involved in SEO. Click on the tabs below to discover more about some of the more technical details.
What Is A Keyword?
The term entered by a user into a search engine to conduct a search is known as a KEYWORD. One of the most important parts of any SEO strategy is to determine beforehand which keywords your website should be optimised to target and try achieve a high ranking for.
Professionals split keywords into two distinct types – short tail & long tail. A short tail keyword is precisely that – it is short and usually quite broad and non descriptive. Keywords consisting of 1-4 individual words typically are classed as short tail.
A long tail keyword, you’ll be shocked to learn, is a longer term consisting of many more individual words. They are also, in most instances, less generalised and much more descriptive.
Let’s use SEO companies as an example. A short tail keyword a user may enter when looking online for an SEO provider might be ‘SEO Company’ or ‘Good SEO Agency.’ In the case of a long tail keyword the term entered may be ‘Professional Affordable SEO Company In London.’
The Role & Importance Of Keyword Research
All SEO agencies will commence any strategy by researching the which keywords will be most effective for the website. Most will have access to software and programs that actually provides an estimate of how many times a keyword is searched on Google and others per month.
This kind of knowledge prevents spending time and money on optimising to rank for keywords which are rarely, if ever, searched. Sure, your website may well rank first for that keyword, but if no one searches it then it attracts no traffic.
At the other end, the SEO professional can ascertain if the higher volume keywords are worth the effort. The question is will they provide a return on your investment? Generally, the greater the volume of searches then naturally the more websites are targeting it.
It’s important to be realistic too when determining keywords to target. Using our examples above, ‘Good SEO Agency’ will be searched considerably more than the long tail example we identified. Yet literally hundreds of SEO agencies will be optimising for that general keyword. It’s hugely competitive and the chances of success are limited.
Whereas the long tail example may only receive a dozen or so searches a month. Yet it’s more specific and the chances of ranking not just on page one, but in first place are high.
An added bonus of targeting long tail keywords is they tend to be entered by users more likely to convert. Short tail keywords are entered by many at the research or mildly interested phase of the buying process. Likewise short tail keywords also may lead to visitors interested in other things related to the industry – in our SEO company example this may be a job hunter or a student simply researching.
Finding The Right Balance
When trusting an SEO professional to researching keyword volume (number of searches), click through rates and likelihood of success, a website owner ensures their SEO campaign is off to the best possible start.
Breaking down that click through rate (a percentage of the frequency a website is seen by a user for a keyword) enables keywords which generally fail to generate traffic be ignored in favour of ones which provide a high likelihood of success.
The top SEO professionals can also research your competitors who currently are ranking highest for possible keywords for your campaign. The best SEO gurus can spot when these competitors have an effective SEO campaign in place and be honest about the likelihood of outranking them.
That’s not to say if only one competitor appears to be beyond your resources to challenge that said keyword should be discounted. While first place is obviously best, large numbers of users will visit websites ranked 2nd, 3rd or indeed anywhere on the first page. Ergo, in the Top 10. It’s when you fail to rank on Page One you miss the majority of users as few ever even look at Page Two.
It’s no exaggeration that keyword research is the one of the most valuable aspects of SEO marketing. Keyword research means finding the keywords that are going to drive traffic to your website. When researching keywords, it’s vital to understand the keyword demand in your market. This is important for getting to grips with keyword targeting in SEO.
Keyword research enables you to drive the right kind of traffic to your website. It’s no good having your website optimised for the keyword ‘dogs’ if your website is about cats, for example. While that’s an extreme example of getting it wrong, the principle is clear. You need to know who your customers are and what they’re going to be searching for.
That way, you can be sure that your keyword optimisation will result in visitors looking for your product or service.
The better your keyword research, the more likely you are to rank for the keywords that are most important to your business.
How Does My Website’s Content Affect SEO?
All search engines use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to assess and then rank websites. Google HQ does not consist of thousands of men and women reading and dissecting every page of every website available online. Instead Google use ‘bots’ or ‘spiders’ which crawl said websites, their pages, and crucially their content.
Web page content is basically everything that makes a web page unique. Specifically when the spiders come to crawl your site, they are analysing every word of text and the images.
Web Page Text optimisation
While ‘web page text optimisation’ is not a technical term in use by those in the SEO industry, we’ve used it here to differentiate between optimising text content and image content for SEO.
When a spider crawls your text it will note any spelling and grammar mistakes, record these and report them back to Google. These are considered damaging and harmful to the User Experience. Poor spelling and grammar irritate visitors and increase the likelihood they’ll leave your site.
While obviously this is bad anyway as once you have a visitor you don’t want to loser them until they have converted or engaged, it’s also negative for SEO. The emphasis on a positive User Experience that Google places cannot be overstated. They are by some distance the most used searchengine in both the UK and worldwide because they’ve done their research. They know what visitors like in text content, and equally what they don’t.
Your text also provides an opportunity to include your keywords. Incorporating them helps tell Google what your page, your website and your business is about. As the content of a page is created the best SEO agencies will analyse the keywords you’ve approved following the research.
The page can then be optimised for the most relevant keyword. It’s crucial to choose only one as otherwise you risk splitting your efforts and while ranking for several, those rankings aren’t as high as targeting only one would be.
Top Tip: Keyword Stuffing
5-10 years ago text content on websites regularly practised the art of keyword stuffing. Put simply, this was were a keyword was repeated in the content as often as possible.
This was often detrimental to the user experience which prompted Google to penalise websites who had benefitted from it.
There is no universally agreed ratio of keyword to word count on a page. However the experienced SEO professionals will have learnt what typically works for their clients.
As advanced as Google’s AI is, it’s spiders are unable to decipher and analyse images. While a human visitor may be looking at a fantastic image that adds real value to the page and user experience, Google is effectively blind to it.
By adding images to the site with short but descriptive file names you’re helping Google understand the images contents. Adding an ‘Alt Description’ which details exactly what an image consists of leaves the spider in no doubt what the image is. This benefits SEO performance as many websites neglect to include these. So by doing this small task you can seize an advantage.
Image file names and alt descriptions can also be further optimised by including keywords. However these should only be included if appropriate.
What Do I Need To Do To Ensure My Web Pages Are Optimised To Be Understood By Search Engines?
On page optimisation is the term used by SEO professionals when referring to how web pages are developed using SEO techniques. When implemented properly these techniques make it easier for Google’s search bots to crawl your site. They can then decipher it’s content and recognise the right keywords. When thinking about SEO best practice, there are certain that use of your target keywords increases the likelihood of a page ranking in search engines.
The page title may be the most obvious but can often be overlooked. Your target keyword should be as close to the beginning of the title of your page as possible. It’s also beneficial to make sure that the keyword you’re targeting appears in the first paragraph of your text. The closer to the beginning the better.
It is, however, critical that the keyword is only included if it sounds natural. Simply placing the keyword in the title of a page, or anywhere in the content, is not enough. Such is the intelligence of the search engine’s crawlers that they will recognise this as ‘keyword stuffing’ and this will harm the likelihood of the page ranking.
Within the text of your page, aim to include different variations of your keyword around 2-3 times, or more if you’ve got a lot of text. It’s here that synonyms can make a huge difference. By using various synonyms of your keyword it emphasises to search engines the relevance of the content.
Don’t go overboard. Your text needs to sound natural and not ‘optimised’ – Google will rank you, but it’s your customers that you’re writing for. This is the key rule – never ever write content with the search engines as priority. Focus on writing for your human visitors. High quality written content trumps keyword heavy nonsense every time!
The Role Of An SEO Agency In Content Writing
By using the services of a leading SEO company to optimise and enhance content, a website owner can be confident keywords (and appropriate synonyms) will be included as appropriate. Rather than guessing the optimum frequency to include them, companies can relax with the knowledge an SEO specialist can identify and include where relevant.
Images Are So Much More Than Pretty Pictures!
Images on a website are first and foremost to draw visitors in and not overwhelm them with masses of text. Yet images also provide a fantastic opportunity to include keywords within web pages.
Search engine’s AI are hugely advanced but are not yet capable of understanding images. As such, unless told an image’s content in the page code, Google et al will simply read it as an image and nothing more. By telling Google in the alt text and image file name it’s content it enhances their understanding of the page.
By using an SEO professional the opportunity also exists to include keywords in the most effective manner.
What’s The Value Of A Link Building Campaign?
When it comes to site ranking, Google likes sites that have ‘backlinks. Backlinks are links from other sites to yours. Sites with more backlinks are considered more authoritative and rank higher.
That doesn’t mean that you should rush off and start looking for any old site to link to you. Over the years, Google bots have become smarter, and they’re trained to recognise trustworthy and ‘spammy’ links.
Link building is a bit of an art, really. It’s not simple, but it is vital. There are various factors that go into link building. Creativity and a budget both come into it, most of the time. You might get lucky and be approached by trustworthy sites that want to link to your content. More often than not, however, link building takes work, and time.
The best link building approach is manual outreach. This might involve contacting bloggers, submitting content to online directories, or paying for listings (on trustworthy sites). You can use comments on blogs, guest books and forums to generate backlinks. Google bots, however, don’t rank these kinds of backlinks very highly, though, so don’t overuse them.
How Can My Online Directory Listing Play A Part?s
There’s a huge benefit to having listings for your business in online directory sites. When your site can be found in online directories such as Yelp, Yell, Scoot (and many more), your business has more authority. The quality of the directory, however, is also important – some are seen as ‘spammy’ and can harm your ranking.
When Google’s bots see your business and website listed on an online directory, it recognises the backlinks. Not only that, but your business is considered genuine, and this can help improve your ranking. However, with online directories, make sure your business name, address, phone number and website are accurate. Any mistakes can have a negative impact.
Should I Analyse The Traffic I Receive To My Site?
Anyone can use Google Analytics or another analytics program to see where their website traffic is coming from. However, understanding and analysing the data can be a minefield of confusion. Professional SEO experts are best placed to analyse website traffic and make improvements to the site’s SEO. They will look at what is working in the SEO strategy, and what isn’t, and create a new, more effective strategy. They will consider things like search engine referrals, market share, strategic value, search terms, conversion rates, the pages getting the most visits, and much more. Patterns in the analytics can reveal important aspects of SEO that are doing well or being missed.
A website’s ranking is affected by the traffic it receives. The more traffic, the better the ranking, so it’s important to get professional SEO advice. Without it, you could find yourself drowning in data that you don’t really understand!
What Is White Hat SEO?
White hat SEO is good SEO practices that Google recommend. It’s a way of improving your site rank but not breaking Google’s terms of service. Quite simply, white hat SEO means having good content, proper use of keywords in meta-tags, and having a good site structure. These practices will prevent your site being penalised by Google!
Google like white hat SEO practices, and your site will rank better with these methods. If you’re unsure about how to use SEO in the right way, a professional SEO consultant can make sure that your site stays within white hat boundaries.
What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is an unethical means of driving traffic to your website. Google disapprove of these practices, because they go against the terms of service. Black hat SEO can ultimately result in your website being banned from Google.
Black hat SEO practices include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Automated content
- Buying links
- Article spinning
- Pages or domains with identical content
- Phishing and malware
It can be tempting to use black hat SEO for an instant traffic boost, but it’s not worth the risk. Being blacklisted or banned from Google or Bing can be absolutely
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