Posts by Alex Fenton

Small business SEO – Digital Marketing Strategy for Ivory Promise Brides

4 January 2018

Pnina Tornai wedding dress from Ivory Promise BridesDuring the Christmas break, I’ve been helping out Ivory Promise Brides in Bolton with their small business SEO strategy. Like a lot of small companies Ivory Promise have a WordPress website. They are selling designer wedding dresses from the likes of Pnina Tornai, Eve of Milady, Naama & Anat, Blue by Enzoani, Mon Cheri and Charlotte Balbier. 

I hadn’t heard of these designers before – but they are really impressive and there’s clearly a market here for affordable luxury. The shop are also offering competitive prices and exclusivity to the UK or Europe, so there is a clear value proposition. They have even had enquiries from Dubai where people will fly across the world to their shop in Bolton to see their exclusive dresses.

The first thing I did was try to define who the buyer persona is and then think about the appropriate channels, content and data in order to inform the digital marketing and SEO strategy. This is of course from our very own #Passion4Digital Buyer Persona Spring (shown below) from our book Digital and Social Media Marketing: A Results-Driven Approach. It’s ideal for Small business SEO strategy or indeed for larger companies!

Buyer Persona Spring - useful for Small business SEO strategy

I logged in to their WordPress dashboard and then looked at the data they have from their social media channels, Google Analytics and Google Search Console to start snooping around for data and insights.

What I found was that the site was driving a pretty reasonable amount of traffic, but not really generating many enquiries or conversions. The majority of users are female between the ages of 25-54 and generally from the UK. They were browsing the site usually on mobile (60%).

Small business SEO - demographics

Analytics shows that the buyer persona is female, age 25-54 and usually on a mobile from the UK

I’ve also recently been reading the excellent book E-Commerce Website Optimization: Why 95% of Your Website Visitors Don’t Buy, and What You Can Do About it. Ivory Promise isn’t an ecommerce site in that, it doesn’t sell through the website, so the goal is to generate interest and enquiries. That said, there are a lot of useful insights in the book around user experience, copy optimisation and testing. Basically, the book advocates testing and subtle changes, which can make a big difference.

I formulated a list of things for improvement such as:

  • Install the Yoast plugin for SEO and use to optimise pages
  • Do some keyword research using Keyword Planner and Search Console
  • Split the product pages up so that each could be SEO optimised
  • Create unique titles and meta descriptions based on keyword research
  • Create and encourage more external links including from social media, suppliers and others
  • Make sure the pages are mobile friendly, no errors and explore AMP (accelerated mobile pages) through an AMP plugin
  • Add a contact form and make the contact page clearer and linked from key pages and AMP
  • Take into account the buyer persona in terms of use and behaviour
  • Added a goal in Analytics for the contact page and derived keywords used, demographics, traffic etc.
  • Various other tweaks, copy changes and others
  • Sat down with the client and talked them through the changes and what needs doing on an ongoing basis

Pleased to say, soon after the changes were made, page views have doubled and the shop had a record day for enquiries through the website. Still much work to do – but I think this goes to show that some small changes can make a big difference. It is still a work in progress of course, but shows that you don’t need to spend a fortune, sometimes some small tweaks and attention can make a difference. Have you got any similar experiences or thoughts about small business SEO? We also run short face to face or distance courses in Search and Social Media Marketing. Please Drop me a line on any of this, I’d love to hear from you!

Eco Home Uk talk SSMM and boilers – You can do it!

5 August 2014

Article by Rob Cook of Eco Home Uk

Search Engine Optimization you can do it! We’re all fascinated with it we all think we understand elements of it, we get frustrated with it and the mystery that’s created by professionals who have manipulated our gullible nature and our hard earned cash! The dirty word is of course SEO (search engine optimization).

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization “Bull S#@t” for hire             

With the sheer volume of SEO’s available for hire all promising the same thing different day! It can seem like you’re forced to choose from the best of a bad bunch, but if you don’t engage you feel as if you could be missing out on revenue! After all that’s what it’s all about, we expect to optimize our websites to increase brand awareness, sales revenue and bottom line profit!

What can be done to combat bad SEO companies? 

Knowledge is power and with search engine optimization firms claiming to have the know-how “but it’s gonna take time and a boat load of cash”. This brings me up to date with our predicament that’s why we decided to gain expert, inside knowledge on the SSMM training course with Salford University. The course has been invaluable; It’s given us the knowledge base and ability to physically put into practice our new found skills! We took our tired non-functioning site and replaced it with a new site/URL that we started rite in terms of SEO, call to action, interest and desire! What’s more the results have been astonishing. We’ve now received more leads in a week than we did in 6 months from the old site and it’s all organic search results no Pay per click! The beauty of this course from our perspective is that its broken down into small weekly sections and by having it structured this way it allows you to go away and implement your learning’s before the next week’s session.

How we got search engine optimisation working for us

We now have a mobile friendly website, it has call to action, our social media icons work properly. Our pages have been key word selected and optimised and it have “good quality content” did I mention that its key to have good quality content? Our meta descriptions are easy and cheesy, our videos and images are alt attributed for keywords too and the site structure flows. In essence we haven’t done that much, but its been done right and it will require constant upkeep, and its something you can achieve too. We wanted to sell more boilers and that’s what were doing.

ECO HOME OLD                     ECO-HOME NEW search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimisation summary

I don’t want to label all SEO’s with the same poop stick you may find one that works well for you, however this is likely to cost big money. With the SSMM course from Salford University you have the benefit of knowing when an SEO firm is ill advising, not performing and out and out taking your money and not providing a service. Get involved now learn today, earn tomorrow! 

Do’s and don’ts for link building in 2014

16 July 2014

The following article was written by Tom Shurville of Distinctly, a search marketing agency in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.

There is a wide range of activities you can participate in to improve your brand’s online visibility including social media, pay per click, content marketing, email marketing and blogging. Of course one of the best ways to increase online visibility is through improving your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO). Despite claims that link building ‘is dead’, it is still very much an integral part of SEO and can generate fantastic results, providing you go about it the right way.


Why is link building so important?

If you want to improve your website’s search visibility and increase brand exposure, link building is arguably one of the best ways to do it. Links are still incredibly valuable and serve the purpose of sending positive signals to Google, informing them of great sites with authority. Link building is also great for developing relationships between businesses within the same industry and can boost other online marketing activities carried out by brands.

Building links in 2014: What to do

There are many ways you can go about building links back to your company website, but some methods are considered better than others in the eyes of Google and other search engines. Ensure that your link building practices are both ethical and beneficial and prevent search engines penalising your website by following our tips below.

Create high quality and relevant links

When searching for websites that you would like to include in your link building strategy, it is important to ensure that the sites are high quality and relevant to the products you sell or services you offer. Broadly, you need to either cater for the same audience or operate within the same industry. It is also essential that you have read through their content to check that it is of a high standard. Poorly produced content (e.g. spun articles) can look like spam to both search engines and users and will not provide any value. Only links from high quality, relevant websites will assist in improving your search rankings.

Produce excellent content

You cannot expect other websites to link to your website if you do not provide them with anything of value. Writing excellent content that serves the purpose of educating or informing the audience will make your link building proposition much more appealing to webmasters.

It is also important to remember that relationships take time to develop. You will need to put time and effort into nurturing relationships with high authority websites in order to stand a chance at gaining a link from them.

Acquire links to more than just your homepage

Many businesses make the mistake of only building links back to their website’s homepage. It is much more beneficial to build links that land on different pages of your website, for example, a product page or even a blog post. It is important to make sure that the anchor text is relevant to the landing page, to give readers (and search engines) an idea of what they should expect from clicking on the link. Remember not to over optimise anchor text in your link building efforts, as this can lead to you being penalised by Google (e.g. only ever linking to the same term, e.g. “web development”).

Review your website’s backlink profile

Before attempting to build high quality and relevant links to your website, it is essential that you review your website’s existing backlink profile. If you have had your website for a while and have worked with multiple SEO companies over the years, it is likely that you will have built up some potentially damaging links. The problem is that Google’s algorithm updates will still penalise you for these links whether you acquired them last week or three years ago. Work with a trusted SEO company to get any paid or unnatural links removed or if necessary, disavowed.

Building links in 2014: What not to do

You may have heard that in recent months Google has been working on improving its algorithms in order to make it easier to identify the difference between quality, organic links and spam links. Although building links is a great way to improve your website’s search rankings, if you do not go about it the right way, you risk being penalised by Google and other search engines. Below we have outlined what is not considered best practice for link building in 2014.

Paid or irrelevant links

It’s simple really – don’t buy links and you won’t have Google telling you off and plunging you deep down to the bottom of the search rankings! Since releasing the Penguin update in 2012, Google has been keeping on top of penalising those with paid links and you do not want to end up with a target on your back.

It is also important to avoid exchanging links with companies that are irrelevant to your industry. As we mentioned earlier, you should only be looking to build links with websites that produce high quality content and are relevant to your industry. The way to judge it is by thinking whether or not the users of that website will get any value from clicking on the backlink and being taken to your website. If the answer is no, then that link building opportunity is not the one for you.

Automated link building tools

Automated link building tools are a big no-no. When it comes to building links, quality is so much more important than quantity. Automated link building tools tend to build a lotof links and whilst you may see an initial spike in your website traffic, Google and other search engines will see that they are spam links and penalise you accordingly.

Spam comment on other blogs

Another thing that you must refrain from doing is leaving your website link on every blog comment that you leave. Take your website’s SEO seriously and avoid this bad practice. Whilst leaving meaningful comments on blogs is absolutely fine, only leave your link if it will provide value to other readers or the blog owner.


Despite various sources claiming that ‘link building is dead’, the practice is still very much an important part of improving websites’ online visibility. Even Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed that link building is important when he said that they were ‘still the best way that we’ve found to discover how relevant or important somebody is.’ Whilst the use of social media and content marketing does impact search engine rankings (and is likely to have more weight behind it in the future), do not underestimate the power of ethical link building strategies.

As long as you focus on creating high quality, relevant links and avoid black hat SEO practices like spamming, there really is no need to fear being penalised by Google. Whilst white hat link building takes a considerable amount of time and effort, it can be extremely beneficial for your business in terms of improving your search rankings and driving valuable traffic through to your website.