WordPress SEO UK Websites Google Ranking Consultant Freelancer

WordPress SEO UK Websites Google Ranking Consultant Freelancer

Search Engine Optimisation is a double-barrelled gun which includes ‘on-site’ SEO and marketing, lowering your bounce rate and increasing the time spent on site with effective marketing tips and a call to action, and ‘off-site’ driving much more traffic to your site via backlinks and boosting organic results in Google and other search engines. Want to beat your competitors in Google?

I am an independent consultant providing services UK Nationwide from my home office so do not have large overheads. I am able to provide services at a competitive cost with my hire-by-the-hour offer.I have clients in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England and I have been trading since 2009.

What’s next? First of all, I will conduct a FREE Google audit then we can schedule in an SEO consultation over Skype or Zoom. For absolute beginners, a telephone call is not recommended, over the phone advice is best suited to website developers or web designers who already know some jargon.

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On site visits locally can be arranged, however 99% of my work is carried out remotely by exchanging emails or chatting on Zoom.

To get to Google Page 1 you need to Google your keywords and look at your competitors, as the top 10 results are displayed and you need to knock one of those websites off for you to feature. SEO benefits can be demonstrated directly from adding a YouTube video to your homepage, read more about Video SEO and Backlinks.

Know nothing about SEO? Heard about meta tags but fail to understand? Benefit from my experience in effective communication by explaining in a language you can understand.

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Most popular questions include:

  • Q: How long will it take me to get to Google page 1 and how much will it cost? Google cannot be manipulated so no one can promise page 1. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise! Page 1 is always the aim of any SEO, but for a company to promise Page 1 then they are using Google Adwords which is page 1 paid-for advertising. REMEMBER: Results are directly correlated to investment, as your competitors demonstrate. How much do you think your competitors have invested?
  • Q: What are Adwords? Google Ads are a keyword-triggered paid for listing by Google. Also known as PPC – Pay Per Click. Adwords can guarantee Google page 1 within 20 minutes, however the cost is not effective for a wide variety of businesses. Essentially, you pay every time someone clicks your advert, but not every visit to your webpage will result in a sale or a conversion. Google offers an average of 3% conversion rate – that’s 3 in every 100 clicks. So, if you are paying 50p per click, 100 clicks is £50, 3 of the 100 will buy, resulting in a cost per conversion of £16.67 per sale. Have you got this marketing budget built into your product or service?
  • Q: What is a search engine? Google is a search engine, you enter your keywords and search, other search engines include Bing (MSN) and Yahoo. Your website should be optimised and verified in these top 3 search engines to prove the most effective results in SERPs – Search Engine Results Pages

Content may be king, but with HTTPS migrations, the prevalence of mobile, the increasing importance of site speed, and countless other recent developments, the world of technical SEO has been seeing more than its fair share of shakeups recently. And while marketers are being pressured more than ever to report on ROI and use data to build their case when pitching improvements, their Google Analytics accounts are not being maintained well enough to accomplish this.

Back in 2015 when all the HTTPS was the latest news for an SEO benefit as declared by Google, Caitlin Boroden had been researching the many newly-emerging issues related to maintaining clean Google Analytics reporting. The challenges, which seem to be at an all-time high, are making our ability to provide accurate and easy-to-understand data reporting more difficult than ever. From our vantage, it seems to boil down to four key areas.

Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS and SEO Checklist to retain Google Rankings

It’s not just Google that’s pushing for HTTPS migration; champions of privacy all over the web are calling for the change, and major websites like Bing, Reddit and Netflix are answering the call. While referral traffic from most major websites seems to be working properly, others are wreaking havoc on our data.

Read my 2020 blog post: Website Migration – How To Retain SEO Rankings Case Study

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Don’t worry if you’ve decided to have a website redesign, changed domain name, or swapped platforms, a drop in rankings is bad news, but the good news is I’ve been doing this for over a decade now (2021) so I know I will be able to recover your rankings in Google and Bing.

Google Analytics Data is Being Polluted

Bot Traffic and referral spam

If you haven’t already turned on filters for your bot traffic, do it now; the amount of noise it creates can be astounding. The example below (from an account I worked on at the time) is fairly extreme, but I’ve seen several cases where a high-traffic website saw a 50% drop overall as bot traffic was purged from data collection.

Filtering this traffic is extremely easy. From the GA view of the site, go to Admin –> View –> View Settings, and check the box pictured below. Save it, and your new traffic will be protected from corruption.

Finally, I’m sure that most of us have fallen victim to Referral Spam at least a few times in our recent analytical adventures; Adam Singer of the Google Analytics team has been saying for months now that they’re working on a solution for this issue. In the meantime, the best, simplest, clearest article I’ve read on filtering out this data is by Carlos Escalera on Moz.

While most marketers have seen and heard about their share of referral spam, what you may not have noticed yet is that, for the past few months, organic search spam is also becoming an increasingly large issue. Caitlin and I have seen the anomalies across a number of different clients, and it seems that no Google Analytics account is safe. The spam becomes apparent when you take a look at the keyword data within the Organic Channel of your analytics account, with keywords ranging from risqué to bizarre:

I’d like to point out that the metrics you would expect to see with spam traffic (huge bounce rate, brief time on site) don’t seem to be present here – and the hostnames all check out as legitimate as well (which means Carlos Escalera’s nifty tricks won’t work). The bounce rates are decent, the page’s views are, on average, more than one and the average session duration is 2+ minutes.

Also, learn in 8 minutes how to block your own website hits using the Google Analytics IP Exclusion Filters

Most of us already know that back in 2015 Bing organic search traffic has been misreporting as referral traffic, but as companies continue their mass migration to HTTPS, there are other surprises out there as well. For example, you may not have noticed, but Wikipedia went dark in Google Analytics when it migrated to HTTPS on June 12th:

If you’re seeing sharp drops in the referral traffic, it pays to see if a major referral source has recently migrated to HTTPS. In cases where no announcement was made, I like to enter the URL in Google search and look at the backlinks to both the HTTPS and HTTP versions. Check to see if the number of references to the HTTP version far outweighs the number to the HTTPS version, and if you can find how old links to the HTTPS version are. In the case of Wikipedia, a Google search shows 81,800 links to the HTTPS version and 599,000 links to the HTTP version.

As for the loss of reporting data, we have three options:

  1. Convince all website owners that switch from HTTP to HTTPS to implement the meta referrer tag,
  2. Migrate your own website to†HTTPS (data is not lost from one HTTPS site to another), or
  3. Accept the loss of data.

Migrating to HTTPS has several advantages and may be worth it if your management team:

  • Buys into the potential benefits of HTTPS migration, and
  • Understand the demands on IT – both in implementation and troubleshooting afterwards, and
  • Is prepared to accept the short-term traffic loss that goes hand in hand with the migration.

All said, HTTPS migration is a very hard sell. For the short term, at least, the marketing team will likely have to accept the loss of data.

Data Attribution Assignment is Blurring

This issue came up at DragonSearch a few days ago, when Jason White was researching Google’s new Tweet Box in search. One thing he found was that click traffic from links in tweets that appear in SERPS are credited as Organic Search traffic, rather than from Twitter – Social.

With embedding, the issue can be further complicated. For example, are links from embedded tweets in blog posts: social traffic or referral? (Social.) If a user clicks on a link in an embedded YouTube video, does YouTube or the embedding site get the referral? (Plot twist: it’s direct traffic.) There seems to be no hard and fast rule; you’ll have to test as you go.

Additionally, be sure to check your Organic Search traffic sources for unexpected reporting. For example, if you see a spike in traffic on a month when your company is hiring aggressively, you may be find that many job search websites are counted as organic search:

It’s also worth remembering that the traffic source in cookies is stored for six months. This means that whatever brought your first visit – whether it was organic search, direct, referral, social, etc., this will remain the attributed source for future visits for quite some time! (Unless, of course, they found you first on their mobile device, then followed up with a desktop visit…)

Direct Traffic Has Become a Dumping Ground

When Google Analytics is in doubt, it drops the session into the Direct Traffic bucket. This problem is so extensive that it’s made the metric virtually unusable. While some of the data dropped into this source type is related to fixable, technical issues, there’s a whole lot going on that we have little or no control over, and usually no way of fixing in Google Analytics. Common examples of “dirty” Direct Traffic include:

  • Organic Search Traffic (An experiment by Groupon showed that as much as 60% of direct traffic is organic search)
  • Clicks on links in e-mails where no UTM parameters are defined
  • Links from YouTube Videos
  • Clicks on links in PDFs
  • Links from shortened URLs (depending on the shortener)
  • HTTPS – HTTP referral issues
  • Traffic related to technical issues (ex: double reporting from virtual pages)
  • Google has confirmed that a direct-traffic reporting issue applies to campaign attribution
  • Anything else – anything at all – that Google doesn’t understand

Until recently, and for months beforehand it was observed that PDFs appearing in Real-Time reporting as direct traffic when clicked on from organic search results. However, a few weeks later, they disappeared! We didn’t see a correlating traffic drop, even on sites that have more PDFs than HTML-based content pages. Was the traffic translating to direct traffic in day-to-day reporting beforehand? Who can tell?

Keeping your direct traffic free of issues requires constant analytics monitoring – overlooking a reporting issue for even a week can result in an embarrassingly large traffic spike or drop. (Get those alerts in place!) For example, I’m working with a client right now whose data shows a sudden 153.17% spike in their direct traffic. From what I can tell so far, the GA code has ended up on an internal-only website that employees use for data entry. Face a few problems like this, and building accurate year-over-year reporting becomes a daunting challenge.

Barring technical disasters, how much of “Direct Traffic” is actually direct? To put it in perspective, take a look at the example below. I’ve compared all traffic to direct traffic, for new vs. returning visitors, for one website, over an eight-month period:

If Direct Traffic is coming primarily from users who type the address in the URL bar or click through a bookmark, shouldn’t the percentage of returning visitors be MUCH higher than the average percentage for the overall website? Instead, we see a difference of 0.51%. (Also, check out the numbers under “New Sessions” – 100.10% And 100.11%? Are you kidding me??!?)

To put the nail in the coffin for Direct Traffic, take a look at the landing page visits. In the case above, Google is reporting 3,694 different landing pages that include all sorts of crazy, session-specific, and long URLs that aren’t likely at all to be bookmarked or typed in by hand. On top of that, the home page is the #3 result by traffic volume, consisting of only 8.69% of all direct traffic. Seems awfully dubious, if you ask me.

Again, of course, this goes back to the way Google builds cookies – any search that begins with direct traffic can stay reported as direct for up to six months. But if that’s the case, it’s very important to take that into consideration and to pass that knowledge along to management and our clients.