Friday, 18 January 2013

Friday - Its Blog Carnival Day

Welcome to the January 18, 2013 edition of granite seo blog.

Jessica Smtih presents Prom Bouquet Ideas for 2013 posted at Flowers in Folsom, CA - Folsom Florist - Miracle Flowers, saying, "Prom is surely one of the most thrilling and unforgettable events of high school. After you have successfully chosen your formal wear, it is time for you to plan your prom flowers. The prom flowers should always complement you and your date's dress and reflect your own unique character. Instead of using conventional corsage, a small nosegay or bouquet is a stylish trend today. From flower to color selection, there are many different prom bouquet ideas that you need to consider."

internet marketing

Peter J. Buscemi presents Review Marketing's Performance in 2012: An Objective and Quantifiable Reflection : Four Quadrant posted at Four Quadrant, saying, "Regardless of whether December is the end of a quarter or the fiscal year, it's a good idea to Review Marketing's Performance in 2012.Marketing is responsible for developing and executing go-to-market plans that build the brand, help develop products and assist the sales organization in generating revenue."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of granite seo blog using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Share |

Technorati tags: , .

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Top Tips For Local Businesses - Part 3

Ok, its Thursday and I'm knackered :) So, I'll keep this final installation brief. If you want to read part 1 and part 2 then you know where to look.

The last 3 top tips for local businesses wanting to maximize their search engine exposure are.. cue drum roll..

7. Get Social. Your social following usually contains a lot of people from your local area and those people know others who know... you get the idea. Twitter users can follow influential local businesses and spokespeople, and Facebook users can do likewise. Take time to build up a local following - personally I try to follow 10-20 people every day, and remember to un-follow those who don't follow you back. Eventually  you will have a good list of people to get your content, offers and promotions out to and, of course, being local they will want to pay you a visit and use your services. Social signals also form part of the Google ranking algorithm now and can help you get your blog pages or web content indexed much quicker than normal so remember to link back to your site at every opportunity. Generate a local buzz by tweeting or posting about local news stories and interacting with your followers. You don't have to go silly, just set aside a few minutes every morning and a few every afternoon and stay on peoples radar.

8. Become A Local Hero. Following on from the point above, generate offline interest as well. Take part in 10k races - why not get a t-shirt with your web address on it? Get your car wrapped in your branding - its free advertising as you drive around town. Speak at the local Round Table, networking groups, charity events, in fact wherever you get the chance to raise your profile  Remember no publicity is bad publicity - unless you get caught weeing in the shop doorway  on CCTV!

9. Make Sure Your Website Is Responsive. Responsive web design isn't just another passing fad, its essential if you want to capture local buyers. Picture the situation; you are a restaurant just off the main street. People all around you are browsing for a good quality restaurant that specializes in organic cooking but they don't usually pass your door. These days, they are likely to go online, search for restaurants within a few hundred meters of their current location and check out the menu. Can your website handle this or is it a mess? Make sure that it works on tablets, smartphones and iPads and you may well draw people in that might otherwise have never found you.

I hope that you have found this quick series of posts interesting, and if you would like to know more then please swing by my main website at

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Top Tips For Local Businesses- Part 2

Hello again everyone. Lets continue part 2 of our mini-guide to ranking sites in Google Local places. If you missed yesterdays into post you can read it here.

4. Make The Most Of Your Titles. Having a great title is not just good for Sir Barnyard-Hall when he wants to get the best table in the restaurant, they are also vital for your local search engine rankings. A common mistake is to forget to put a keyword related title on every page and, instead, just leave the default title.This is an opportunity missed. The best format seems to be <keyword> - <place name> so, as an example, lets say you are an Aberdeen plumber who does heating and gas installations as well. To get the maximum benefit from your site you should set up 3 pages (including your home page) and structure them as follows

Home Aberdeen plumber Joe Smith Plumber - Aberdeen 01224 123456
Sub-Page 1 heating engineer Aberdeen Aberdeen Heating Engineer - Call 01224 123456
Sub-Page 2 Gas Installer Aberdeen Gas Installer In Aberdeen - Joe Smith 01224 123456

Using this approach allows you to effectively target 3 different keywords on your site and, by placing the telephone number in the title you can even get enquiries without click-throughs.

5. Tag Your Rich Media Content. What? Well, basically, its a good idea to have video and images on your pages but the search engines don't understand what they relate to. So, help them out by using your alt tags for images or by creating a video site map and submitting it to Google. I'm going to cover this on my website at in a few days so stay tuned for more info.

6.Install Analytics. Its amazing how many local businesses don't run Google Analytics. If you don't  then why not? Its a rich source of information about who's visiting your site, how they found it, what keywords are being used and so on. With even just a little bit of knowledge you can use this information to plan ad campaigns  spot new opportunities and even fine tune problematic bits of your site for better results. 

There we have it them, another 3 small tips to help local businesses succeed on-line. If you would like to know more then please feel free to check out my range of local SEO services on my website. 

Until tomorrow


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Rankings Update For Edinburgh Printing

One of my recent success stories has been the As you might imagine, these guys are printers based in Edinburgh - whatever gave that away :)

edinburgh printers
The company are centrally located, making them ideal for businesses whop need high quality digital printing services at keen prices. They offer a copy shop services, promotional goods, short run printing, leaflet, brochure and invoice printing among many others.

The website was only set up, from scratch, about 6 months ago and started out life as However, when the domain name edinburghprinting,com became available we snapped it up and redirected the existing site there.

Since then, the site has performed very well in the rankings and, today has come from nowhere to hold 19 front page rankings and 4 #1 spots.

Work is now progressing to improve the conversion rate and also to drive traffic from new, as yet, untapped markets. Its all very exciting and I'm glad to say that the work is starting to pay off in terms of increased traffic, more leads and, of course, more business for them.

If you are looking for high quality business printing services then please give Lynsey a call on 0131 226 2913 or visit

And, of course, if you own a local business who would like to see the same kind of success as EP then please get in touch and ask about my range of SEO services :)

Top Tips For Local Businesses

If you are a small business owner then the chances are, your customers are mostly withing the local area.

Google realized about 3 years ago that local search was becoming more and more important and a growing number of people were typing a location name along with their search terms. After all, it makes sense to search for 'Aberdeen emergency plumber' rather than 'emergency plumber' if you have a burst water pipe and you stay in Danestone!

The Venice update (see SEOMoz for the full lowdown) rolled out a large number of enhancements to the local search and kick-started the process that has led to today's blended (ie it appears in the main search listings complete with map listing, reviews and Google+ integration.

Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.
"Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user."

The amazing thing (at least for me) is that, according to recent research, 63% of consumers and small business owners use the Internet as their primary source of information when looking to buy goods or services.

Even more amazing is the fact that 39% of them say that , quite often, they cant locate a particular business. That's a lot of traffic (and business) going begging! So, if you are a small business owner targeting the local market, you really need to implement local SEO techniques to tap into this growing market. Luckily, its not too hard to improve your local visibility if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Over the next couple of days, I am going to list some of my top tips for promoting your business using local search. Here are 3 to get started today:

1. Think Local and Link Local! There are loads of quality local websites and directories that will allow you to place links for free, for a small fee or sometimes just for contributing some content to their site. These sites often rank well in the search engines themselves and get local traffic. Links from sites such as, or even Best Of Aberdeen (just contact Harry!) give you local exposure and will drive local visitors to your site.

2. Consistency Is Key. Even if you have different websites or trading names, you need to present a single front to the search engines. Make sure that you use the same NAP - Name, Address and Phone number when listing your business in online directories because Google uses this information to tie these citations back to your business. By varying this information you are diluting their effectiveness and creating more work for yourself!

3. Get Reviews. Hopefully your customers are of the happy variety! If they are, then why not ask them to give you a review saying so? Many directory sites such as HotFrog and Yelp allow their users to leave reviews and,of course so does Google, providing you are logged in using your Google+ account. It only takes your customers a few minutes of their time and most are happy to help you (you could even incentivise them by offering a discount voucher etc). The more reviews you get, the better you will rank in the local listings.

If you want to know more about local SEO then please take a look at my website where I offer a range of professional local SEO services including bespoke consultancy and pre-defined packages., and remember to come back tomorrow when I will give you another 3 killer tips for great local rankings.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Page One Rankings For G5 People

I have been working on the rankings for local Aberdeen employment agency - G5 people for a few months now, and things started off very slowly! However, in the last couple of weeks, its been full steam ahead and the site is now showing good progress with a 2 front page rankings being achieved within the last week alone.

G5 People is a new start up employment agency run by local business man Keith Ogilvie and specializes in recruitment for the global oil and gas industry. The business was originally set up to address the recruitment needs of its sister company G5 Tech - an industry leading IT consultancy - but soon branched out into oil and gas.

G5 People pride themselves in the fact that their recruitment consultants are not sales-oriented; they are all industry professionals with a vast amount of experience in the global energy market. Because of this, the agency is well placed to provide an expert, tailored recruitment service for both employers and candidates alike.

Service is of paramount importance to their customers and they are gaining a solid reputation within the sector both locally and internationally.

The brief on this project was to raise the company's online profile both at home and overseas. Because of this I employed local SEO tactics as well as more traditional SEO link building, content generation and on-page SEO tasks as part of my overall SEO consultancy efforts.

Rankings are continuing to improve and traffic is increasing, along with a slow but growing trickle of leads. G5 People are starting to see the benefits of good quality, white hat SEO practices - could your business benefit from the same?

If so, please get in touch on 01224 515365 or and start achieving rock solid rankings with

Image Optimisation - How To Get It Right

Image optimization is an aspect of SEO that a lot of people either get wrong or just completely ignore. That's a real pity because not only do well optimized images help your on-page SEO efforts, but images that rank well in Google Image search can bring in quite a bit of traffic to your site.

Here are some simple tips for effective image optimization  including a tip that means you will never fall foul of DMCA issues or hate from other webmasters :)

1. Use the keyword(s) in the file name.   Keywords are, as hopefully you will be aware, essential to help a page rank on the search engines. You need to incorporate the keyword into your URL, <h1/2/3> tags , content and, naturally, your images as well. Remember to use keyword-rich image names to help with your on-page SEO efforts, for example:

image optimisationThis image was originally called “iStock_0004221245XSmall.jpg” - no keyword information there, so I called it  “image-optimization.jpg”. Your images should not simply be decorative but they should  in some way, be connected to the content of the page. If possible, it also a good idea to get images that complement the color scheme of the site, although this is a minor concern.

Google actually suggests that you place your images in a single folder on your web site. For example, you could use , as opposed to keeping them in random folders scattered across the site. Its also recommended that stick to common file types for images such as jpg, bmp, png or gif.

2. Optimise Your Alt Tags: The alt text tag is a great way to let the search engine robots know what your image is about. Remember, the search engines cannot infer the content of image without some help (yet!) so you really need to put your keywords into this tag. You can also use image captions, but these sometimes don't fit in with the design of your web page, so make sure that, as a minimum, you have the keywords in the Alt tag. If you are using an image in a hyperlink to another page then its a good idea to treat the Alt tags like anchor text and use the keyword(s) of the page being linked to.

3. Use Appropriate Images This tip wont necessarily help your rankings directly but it will make your posts look better and help bring out the content. This should, in turn, lower your bounce rate and increase the time on page which will, or course, indirectly help your rankings. Great images really add another dimension to your content and can encourage people to share the page which will, again, help with your off-page SEO (these shares will result in backlinks). No one likes to read a huge block of text, so break up your content with images (and video) for better results. Also, if you post to Web 2.0's a lot (like Blogger here) then include images to let moderators know that your sites are not being built by robots. This will stop them getting deleted.

4.Use Appropriate Anchor Text Links to your images should also contain the keyword in their anchor text. Post Penguin, its a good idea to mix up your anchor text (I use about 40% keyword, 60% other anchors), so you should still descriptive anchor text at least some of the time. For example, if you have a link to an image of a flower, use the anchor text 'yellowflower' instead of generic terms like “image” or “photo” or even the file name. Linking to an image with keywords is helpful to search engines as well as people visiting your site.

5. Don’t Keyword Stuff Keyword stuffing is the process of using multiple keywords or long tail variations of keywords in an attempt to try and fool the search engines. Its black hat and it doesn't work, so avoid doing it! Back in the day, black hat SEO guys used to create 'gateway' pages which were either just full of keyword text and no content or were duplicate content with just the keyword replaces ie 'Edinburgh plumber' changed for 'Glasgow plumber'. The search engines all penalize this kind of approach now and its very easy to detect. The same applies for image tags, so keep your alt text, captions and file names short and descriptive, and avoid using a long list of keywords. As with most SEO these days you need to keep your audience in mind and optimize for your reader first  search engines second.

6. Share Your Images There are loads of great image sharing websites such as Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr that are free and get a boat load of traffic. If you own the images (not stock photographs  then re-post them on these services and they will be shared, leading to backlinks and traffic to your site. Google also spiders these sites and images can appear in the Google Image search as well, which has the potential to bring even more traffic.

Image Sources

Heres where I find a lot of my images.

Flickr – A huge resource that enables you to search for creative commons images. Millions of free images that you can use without any copyright issues.
stock.xchng – Been around a long time and boasts a ton of royalty-free stock images.
iStockPhoto – Commercial service but image prices are cheap.

I also use Google Images but its worth making sure that you search for images with the proper licensing. (They allow you to search Creative Commons and other public licenses.)

Be very careful when using images, as if you don’t have the permission to reuse it, companies and sites can take legal action against you. The general rule of thumb is this: if the image isn't Creative Common licensed or you didn't buy or create it, don’t post it.

Friday, 11 January 2013

7 Article Marketing Tips That Work In 2013

Article marketing - ah that old favorite - surely that doesn't work any more? Does it?

Well, unfortunately, there's no arguing that article marketing isn't nearly as effective as it used to be a couple of years back but that doesn't mean you should ignore it - especially if you take the time and effort to do it right.

What is Article Marketing?

Article marketing is simply the process of writing and distributing well written (hopefully) and informative (again, hopefully) articles and then distributing them to various article directories around the internet. In return for your award winning content and fascinating insight into whatever your chosen subject is, these websites will allow you to place a back link to your own website. They get content for free, you get links which help your search engine rankings and traffic from the sites themselves. Everybody wins - right?


The problem is that, like so many good ideas, article marketing was abused to hell and it soon lost a lot of its clout. Savvy marketers and SEO guys soon realised that most article directories didn't even monitor the content that was being placed on them and hardly any had any form of human moderation  This meant that, providing you could automate the process you could get thousands or even million of backlinks to your site very cheaply and easily. Cue the spam fest!

It wasn't long before software like Article Marketing Robot  automated the process to such a degree that thousands of articles could be spewed out at the touch of a button and you could get literally tens of thousands of backlinks with almost no effort at all. And it worked; at least for a while.

However, Google soon caught on and gradually took steps to reduce value of these kinds of links - and quite right too. Some of the major article directories such as got so badly slapped that as much as 70% of their traffic dried up overnight.

Obviously they had to take action and really tighten up their quality control standards. The good ones have done this and have actually, for the most part, re-established quite a bit of their authority and SEO value.

Article Marketing In 2013

So, what has this all got to do with me, I hear you ask! Well, you can still buy software that will flood the net with copies of your articles, but in 2013 - post Panda/Penguin - a link building exercise like that will probably (almost certainly in fact) get your site penalized and put your rankings in the dustbin.

The good news is, though, if you are prepared to spend the time to do it right, then article - or more correctly content - marketing still works very well - and is still relatively cheap to do.

So, here are my top 7 methods to distribute your content and get maximum exposure and SEO benefit from it.

1. Write quality content. This should be obvious. Stop generating content simply to get backlinks, and write content that real humans will find interesting. If your spelling an grammar aren't that good then hire a writer, or get a copy of Word! There's really no excuse, given the tools and services available today, for producing poorly written content.

2. Write unique content. Sure, use other peoples content as research, but re-write it and add you own twist. No one likes a cheat and a thief, so don't just lift content straight from the web and re-post it. Its not moral and, in any case, it wont help your SEO efforts and may even damage them.

3. Only post to good quality directories. Most auto-posting software posts to directories based on a few php scripts such as article beach or article dashboard and, when you take a look at sites built with these scripts, the majority of them are simply full of low quality rubbish and offer very little value in terms of traffic or back linking power. Personally, I stick with my 'big 5' of

There are lots of other good ones, but you can find a complete list on my website here.

4. Write compelling titles. The best article directories are massive sites with millions of documents all vying for attention. So make your stand out with a snappy title. Don't just write '10 slimming tips', instead, why not try '10 secret killer methods that guarantee a slimmer you'. This will encourage more people to click on your article and read it and should lead to more traffic to your site.

5. Turn your article into a PDF file. You can use software like Alientools or web services like which is free. You can then distribute it to good quality sites such as

6. Turn your article into a Kindle publication. Kindle publishing is red-hot right now and is a great way to get your content in front of millions of people. Give it away for free  on Barnes & noble or Amazon to a generate huge amount of interest, or sell it for a small sum and make some money.

7. Turn your article into an e-book and distribute it. You wont get backlinks from this method - at least not from the content itself - but if its a good book then it will be shared and will bring you traffic. If you're a marketer, you can also embed affiliate links and even generate some commission from your readers.

Article marketing is certainly not dead, but it has evolved. The most commonly used phrase in online marketing and SEO these days seems to be 'Content is King' - and there's good reason for that. Because its true!

Write good quality content, distribute it to the right places and above all, don't take any shortcuts and you will be rewarded with traffic, better rankings and, hopefully, more sales.

Thank you for reading. My name is Dave Simpson and I'm an independent SEO consultant working in Aberdeen, Scotland. You can read about my range of content generation and distribution services on my website at

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Its Not All About SEO


Did I read that right - an SEO consultant telling us that we shouldn't be doing SEO? Well, of course not, but lets face the facts, although the internet offers a bunch of opportunities to small and medium sized businesses that previously were out of their reach, its not the only way to get leads and referrals. After all, millions of businesses did perfectly well for a long time before this new fangled web-thingie came along. So, how do you increase your off-line visibility in today's increasingly on-line world?

I'm just back from my weekly BNI Bravo meeting and pumped up, ready to go and keen to do business. But, wait a minute, I didn't take my laptop (or tablet), all I had were some business cards and a rapier wit! Ok, I had some business cards.

So, there's tip number 1 - always have a business card with you wherever you go. Of course, it should have all your contact details including your web address, and by simply handing it out with a nice handshake (not like this from Alan Partridge)

Partridge (upon shaking Dan's hand) - "Interesting that you combine a handshake with giving out a business card. It can go wrong. I once gave a papercut to a man from Nestle"

you have already put your website in front of a potential client. A QR code is also a great idea so they can take a look at your site using their smartphone right after your meeting (and make sure you have a mobile-optimised website ;)) Also, include as many of your social profiles as you can, you want to gather followers whenever you can to increase your social profile. Finally, hand them out as often as you can. Leave them in public places, pin them to notice boards, whatever!

Next up, business stationery. I see a lot of people who still send out letters/invoices and even e-mails without a single piece of branding on it. Make sure that your contact details are all there, set up a signature using Outlook for every email you send out and, once again, include social profiles, website address and a QR code.

Own a vehicle? Get it liveried up. Its free advertising as you drive about and it gets your web address noticed.If you cant afford a full vehicle wrap just get some stick on decals or even a sunscreen printed up. For added effect drive about town like a complete nutter, sounding your horn and generally being a nuisance to other road users. Actually, that's probably a step too far :)

Printed Ads. Yes these still work and because of increased competition from online media, many printed publications have slashed their rates,making them a cost-effective alternative. Local paper, local area magazine and specialist publications can still put you in direct contact with your local market. Make sure that you give them a reason, or incentive to visit your website though. A free offer, coupon code or something like that, in return for them signing up to your e-mail newsletter of course, can build a targeted local list for a very low cost per acquisition.

Network. There are loads of networking events in almost every town and city and while some have a cost attached there are quite a few free ones. They are a great way to get your business name out into the local marketplace, get your face known and let other business people know about the services you offer. Sometimes, networking organisations will allow you to promote yourself for free simply by, for example, giving a talk or seminar to their members for free.

So, there you have it. Even in today's online-centric business world. there a big role for offline promotion. Of course, when combined with an effective SEO campaign, the results can be even better,so make sure you contact Granite SEO on 01224 515365 to get your business the best online and offline visibility.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Progress At BNI Bravo

As some of you may know I have been a member of local Aberdeen business networking group BNI Bravo,  for over 2 years now. In that time, I have seen my business grow dramatically because of referrals and work done within the chapter.

One of the problems with working online (at home!) is the sense of isolation but, so I have to say that I really enjoy the weekly meetings for it gives me a chance to 're-integrate' back into the real world. They also do a mean line in cooked breakfasts :)

Last year I pointed out that the chapter's website was badly in need of some SEO and a bit of TLC, so I was given the job of fixing things with a view to getting more traffic and generating more leads for new members.

The new site was developed in Joomla and went live around the middle of the year.

One of the features of the site are the members profiles where each member of the group has a chance to showcase their business, complete with images, maps, a small write up and contact details. Its kind of like a mini business directory.

The amazing thing was, that after setting up some of the profiles a few of them started to rank for local search terms. So, I seized the chance to rank a few and, lo and behold - it worked. A recent rank check shows that we are now ranking on the front page of for 6 search terms and about 30 others are hovering around pages 2-3. Not bad for a few months effort.

I'm now hoping to rank everyone's profile for their business type ie 'painter and decorator' and the term Aberdeen to draw in qualified, local leads.

Check out the screenie below - its a bit small but you can click on it!

If you would like me to do the same for your local business then why not get i touch on 01224 515365