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Have you used a SEO consultant?

I get calls and emails from SEO consultants promising that they can make sure my website is picked up by potential clients. It is difficult to work out what they are like.

I get a reasonable number of enquires within from my website  within my locality. I would like to widen this and also try and aim for more enquires.

Do you or have you used a SEO consultant? What has it been like? Money well spent? How much did you spend?

Can you a recommend a good SEO consultant?

Thanks

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Senior Executive Officer?

Might be an idea to tell us what SEO means.

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06th Sep 2011 10:56

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation

There are lots of people who can do this - it's just that the IT industry is full of people who aren't properly trained, can't read and write or speak to other human beings. The question is - will you get enough good prospects (after 6 months of seo - because it takes time) to justify the expense?

After trawling through lots of companies you will eventually come across a very knowledgeable likeable person who may convince you his company know what they are talking about.

You will sign up for their services and then find that a junior is foisted on you to do the work. Whether or not he/she is adequately supervised is down to luck. The junior may well be one of the uneducated non speaking persons that I referred to earlier, who refuses to give you access to his supervisor.

So if you want to embark on this, find a company where they like to speak to people, and then check terms and conditions very stringently, and work out what the cost is to you of it not working out. Find out how difficult it is to get out of the contract - believe me you may be very glad you did!

Don't move your website hosting to the new seo people - you may have to sweat blood to get it back again. Host it yourself and give them access.

If most accountants ran their businesses the way the IT companies do, we would all be bankrupt by now because of being sued well past our indemnity limits. Website Designers have made my business life a misery in the past and I am not optimistic for the future.

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06th Sep 2011 10:57

search engine optimisation
seo

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06th Sep 2011 13:56

SEO

Good point Paul.

SEO is Search Engine Optimisation. It means that someone works on your website to:

Get it up on google rankings. The point being everytime someone  searches for an accountant you would be on page 1 on  google listing.Works on certain key words so that when someone searches for VAT, Accountant Basildon, Bookkeper etc. Your website would be on page 1.Getting links for your website. More quality links you have, higher up the rankings your website. For example if I say Paul has a great website and here is the link to his website. This is good since it is a vote for your  website. Google sees  website links as  votes for you website. More votes you get, higher up the ranking you are. That is why many keep giving their web address on any answers.

People generally do not look beyond page one of google. So if a website is listed on page 3 or later on- business lost.

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06th Sep 2011 13:54

SEO ranking and Any Answers

On some sites on which members of the site, or members of the public, can post there has been use of a tactic of making a posting including a link with the intention of improving the page-ranking (i.e. getting this result to come higher in the results list) in Google etc of the page which is being linked to.

For example I could put in this post a link to my website.  That would (you might think) increase the apparent popularity of my site and cause Google to rank it more highly in search engine results.

But actually that would not work.

The reason is that AWEB (and many other sites) automatically insert an HTML element into the link created by my posting, which is rel="nofollow".  That tells Google etc not to improve page-ranking based on that link.

The logic is that by doing this AWEB (and the other sites) will discourage spammers from posting meaningless 'spam' links just to improve page-ranking.

So if I post a link to the Accounting Evidence website blog what AWEB actually creates is a link which reads [a href="http://www.accountingevidence.com/blog/ " target="_blank" rel="nofollow"].

You can read more about "nofollow" HERE.

David

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06th Sep 2011 14:15

SEO generally

An issue with SEO generally is in identifying what your potential customer would be likely to type into Google (or whatever search engine he uses).

Would he type "accountant small business pub" for example?  Or would he type "basildon accountant"?  Or would he type "accountant small business pub basildon"?  Or would he type "public house" rather than "pub" - or "licensed premises"?  Instead of "accountant" might he type "accounts" or "accounting" or "accountancy" or "bookkeeping" or "book keeper" or "tax" or "VAT"?

It is difficult to optimise your website for all of these possibilities!

David

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06th Sep 2011 14:26

Way to find out?

Is there a way to find out what are the most searched phrases for people looking for accountants on google?

I think they may be.

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By dtweats
09th Sep 2011 12:53

Google the Google Keyword Tool.

FirstTab wrote:

Is there a way to find out what are the most searched phrases for people looking for accountants on google?

I think they may be.

 

Try a search for the Google Keyword Tool.

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06th Sep 2011 14:33

Monthly analysis

I get a monthly analysis from the guy who set up my website. Part of the analysis shows how people found my website, ie. the search words used, and the sources eg. search engines, referral sites or direct traffic.

Of course this only shows the successful searches.

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Google analytics can be used to see the number of people search for key terms

If you have a website you MUST understand where the traffic comes from through performance reports if you are to target the site properly to the traffic you get. They are almost always free from your host if you ask for them.   We have several quite unexpected results which large volumes of traffic picking up on a certain term which means those "entry pages" now contain quite different text then they would had you navigated to the link via the 'intended' route through the site from the index page.

Most traffic generation is about the keywords on your site (ie the content) its really not that complex.  If you are into this then read up on it, loads of articles are written on traffic generation. and then you can think about converting that to sales which is another story.

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06th Sep 2011 21:38

SEO consultants

Most of the people who phone you claiming to be SEO consultants are simply professional liars.

If you ask them a few questions they will waffle and then admit they are simply salesmen with a script and nothing else.

The company is not full of knowledgeable people they are just trying to sell to as many mugs as possible.

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By JC
07th Sep 2011 07:15

Have a look at this site ...

May be of use

http://www.janklin.com/

Declaration: no association with this site - many years ago (5+) went to a Business Link or Enterprise seminar & he was quite interesting

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By dtweats
07th Sep 2011 19:00

Writing a Report.
This is something I have become very interested in, and have learned quite a lot about in the last couple of years. SEO is something that potentially anyone can do, but it can be time consuming. You can also do some things that will harm your ranking in Google. Done well, I believe that SEO when combined with other practices to promote your business online can be very effective.

I have decided to write a report on the subject, and if anyone would like a copy when it is ready, please PM me.

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09th Sep 2011 16:20

Can be easy

Google rankings can be achieved quite easily using simple strategies that you set up yourself. Blogging, Forum posting (certain ones), Tweeting, Facebook and using the right keywords can help you improve your rankings.

The best thing I have found though is actually having good domain names. I actually run through Wiltshireaccountants.co.uk and unsurprisingly I get a lot of enquiries based on people searching for Accountants Wiltshire and wiltshire accountants. 

I am also pretty much ahead of my much bigger 'competitors' in local searches such as Accountants Devizes and Devizes Accountants.

 

By the way putting those terms in this post will already make the content searchable!!!

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By Kryton
13th Sep 2011 19:46

SEO Experts

As pointed out by many here, SEO is a bit of a black art and with everybody claiming to be an expert it is hard to pick out the wheat from the chaff. I can personally recommend a company in Leeds called The H2. They will be able to give you examples of companies they have helped, not just from a SEO point of view but your whole marketing strategy.

I know them personally so this is a bit of a plug. One I am happy to make.

The website is www.theh2.co.uk

And here is my own personal plug ;)

Kryton

www.selestial.com

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Proof is in the pudding

My preferred method of getting rid of these timewasters, was to tell them that I was on Google now, had just typed in "SEO Consultants" and could they please tell me why I couldn't see their company on the first page?!

That usually got them blustering long enough for me to end the call.

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21st Sep 2011 18:04

Ahhh SEO

@FirstTab: what you want to find out which keyword / keyword set is searched the most is Google Traffic Estimator. Figures are to be taken with a gain of salt though as they are rounded.

@davidwinch [first post] the rel="nofollow" was invented by Google to attempt to fix a flaw in their algorithm and its too great a reliance on links to rank websites. Links posted here or any other nofollow blogs/forum will help your link profile appear more natural. One must not forget that links are originally designed to send people to a page not increase rankings.

@davidwinch [second post] optimising your website for all these keywords is actually pretty simple. You only need to create a cluster of pages (3-4) that uses the different variations... a blog is a great way of doing so.

@shirleyM ask the person who set up your website to create a "Google Webmaster Tools" account for you. You will then be able to see estimates of the searches your site appears under not only the statistics from your website. This should be used as an indicator - like everything else Google is giving away for free. Another way would be to setup a Google Adwords Account and monitoring the "impressions".

And here is a link that doesn't help rankings but will still drive people to our website :) - Leo from Accountant Websmiths

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