4. Complete SEO Guide – Tools for SEO

Just starting this Complete SEO Guide? Start here!

Previous Articles: 1. Complete SEO Guide – On-site SEO 2. Complete SEO Guide – Off-site SEO 3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO


On-Site SEO Tools

Influencer outreach and link building Help with finding long tail keywords Keyword research tool Get keyword difficulty Essential Google Webmaster tool Essential Bing Webmaster tool Essential Google Analytics tool for traffic insight
  • WordPress Yoast SEO
Essential WordPress SEO Plugin Find Duplicate Content Optimise Site speed with this tool Generate Sitemap Generate Robots.txt Website Audit Free On-Page Audit On-Page SEO Audit On-Site SEO Audit  

Off-Site SEO Tools

Get traffic data of any website and traffic for specific keywords Get DA/PA and backlinks/social metrics data on any site A huge range of SEO tools Find potential backlinks Multiple SEO tools
  • SEO Quake
Browser plugin for SEO check
  • CuteRank
  • Track SERP rankingsFind That Email Find That Email is a state of the art email finding tool. With features like domain search you can immediately find the email addresses of millions of professionals at the click of a button directly from the browser. Find that email aims to cut your prospecting time considerably. Their free package includes 50 searches and 100 email verification credits. Don’t forget to try their Chrome extension to discover emails in social networks.

Local SEO Tools

  • Moz Local
If you are feeling lazy with creating local citations and want them all neat and tidy, Moz have launched Moz Local. They will submit your site and NAP+W details to the 4 major data aggregators which then gets passed down to the major directories and make sure the info is consistent. The drawback is it can take up to 3 months.
  • Bright Local
My favourite Local SEO tool – Allows you to do an SEO audit, check you citations online, update them, and citation burst which costs about $3 per citation in a directory. Another great tool for Local SEO to search for local citations. Great starting place. Go through a checklist of what you need for a successful Local SEO. Create schema markup for your content so that search engines can display more relevant results to your users. Want to know how you rank from a specific location? Find That Email Find That Email is a state of the art email finding tool. With features like domain search you can immediately find the email addresses of millions of professionals at the click of a button directly from the browser. Find that email aims to cut your prospecting time considerably. Their free package includes 50 searches and 100 email verification credits. Don’t forget to try their Chrome extension to discover emails in social networks.   **** Previous Articles:

0. Complete SEO Guide – Everything You need to know! 1. Complete SEO Guide – On-site SEO 2. Complete SEO Guide – Off-site SEO 3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO



  • http://backlinko.com/high-quality-backlinks
  • http://backlinko.com/white-hat-seo
  • http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-strategies
  • http://searchengineland.com/google-emd-update-research-and-thoughts-137340
  • http://www.seochat.com/c/a/google-optimization-help/geo-targeting-techniques-in-google-for-seo/
  • http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/frequently-asked-question/how-can-i-do-a-301-redirect
  • https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en
  • https://moz.com/blog/apache-redirect-an-index-file-to-your-domain-without-looping
  • https://blog.kissmetrics.com/beginners-guide-to-google-webmaster-tools/
  • https://moz.com/blog/absolute-beginners-guide-to-google-analytics
  • http://backlinko.com/white-hat-seo
  • http://backlinko.com/high-quality-backlinks
The End

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3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO

Just starting the Complete SEO Guide? Start here! Next4. Complete SEO Guide – Tools for SEO **** Note: If you are looking for a more comprehensive guide on Local SEO then check out our partner website BubbleLocal SEO. Local Search Engine Optimization is very similar to normal SEO, in fact, you would do everything described in the SEO guide before going on to local SEO, both On-Site and Off-Site SEO. The difference with local SEO and normal SEO is that you are targeting local search results. For example, if you run a Web Design Agency in Bournemouth, the search results for a person searching for “Web Design” located in Bournemouth would be different from the results a person sees who is located in London, or outside the country. These are Local results, intended by Google to provide the searcher a business based locally for their search term. You can test this out with a tool at http://isearchfrom.com/ that allows you to perform Google search from different locations. In this section we will break down the most important Local SEO indicators used by search engines, expected time-frame to attain local SERP ranking and how to gain a good local ranking.

How long does it take to rank in Local Search?

This is the question often asked by clients, and it’s a difficult question to answer as we have no control over what search engines do, but we can at best estimate. There are a few factors that could affect this estimate.

Age of Website

A brand new business with a brand new website has to start from scratch and it takes 6-10 weeks alone just for Google to index a brand new site, so it will take a little longer. The positive is that it would not have negative SEO attached to it or have been penalised by Google. Typically if it’s a brand new website in a fairly competitive industry, you can be looking at 9-12 months to get the desired results, which is usually Page 1 ranking for the main keywords.

Competitiveness of the industry/keywords

Competiveness of the keywords also matter a lot, as an example, a brand new website in an easy industry could take 3-6 months to get good local rankings instead of 9-12 months.

Existing Website

Existing Websites are easier to perform SEO on, you don’t have to wait for Google to index the pages but you do have some work to do depending on the quality of the SEO done so far. If it has been a poor SEO job or even worse, penalisation from Google, it could take over a year to fix everything. If it’s fairly average SEO work then results can be seen within 3 months for a website in an easy industry and 6 months for a more competitive industry.

How to rank Locally?

There are 4 main factors for ranking locally, in addition to normal SEO requirements (onsite optimised and offsite SEO). These are local citations by way of directory listings, inbound links, on-site optimisation and Reviews and Ratings. Local SEO results are largely based on online reputation of the business against their local competition and these 3 factors help increase that reputation.

Directory Listings (Local Citations)

Quite simply, the more local citations you have, the more credible your business appears to Google and search engines. Aim for about 50 local citations in directories within your country. Search engines look for NAP + W information. This stands for Name, Address, Phone Number and Website Address. There is also category which helps Google determine your competition. Make sure that the information is consistent, inconsistent information can cause your business to lose credibility and consistency could be as simple as “Manley Road” vs “Manley Rd.”, make sure whichever you go with, its consistent. Below are 30 of my favourite directories for local citations in the UK. If you are looking for built-for-you local citations, you should check our Marketers Center. (Note that Google, Yahoo and Bing Local are a MUST and not optional)
Google+ Local Scoot Hotfrog Independent
Yahoo! Local ThomsonLocal 118118 Yalwa
Bing Local TouchLocal Freeindex Wampit
Facebook Manta 192 City Visitor
Yell Foursquare Cyclex UK UK Small Business Directory
Yelp The Sun Brownbook MisterWhat
Foursquare iDorset Yalwa LinkedIn

Reviews and Ratings

Reviews are very important not just from an SEO perspective, but also for brand and business reputation. Google Plus displays your ratings and review, so does Yell and many others, and this can influence users whether they decide to visit your website or not. The importance of reviews and ratings to search engine rankings is still up for debate, however it will definitely affect that click-through-ratio of your site in the search results which is an SEO factor.

Inbound Links

Just as in normal SEO work, the quality and quantity of sites linking to your site is a big factor for determining your SERP ranking. We covered some backlink tactics in the Off-Site SEO section and they remain largely the same. The main difference being that with local SEO, you can leverage links from local businesses such as targeting local colleges, establishments for partnerships, offer discounts to get links.

Website Optimised

The requirements for on-site optimisation for local SEO remains the same. Some additional requirements such as a schema structure for business address helps, you can create one here http://schema-creator.org/. Ensure good quality content, keywords targeted in title, heading and content, images optimised, website loads fast and geo-targeting set correctly in Google Webmaster Tools. I also find it’s important to have the same ccTLD as your location if targeting local customers, as all things being equal, the ccTLD will have more success for local rankings.   **** Up Next4. Complete SEO Guide – Tools for SEO

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2. Complete SEO Guide – Off-site SEO

Just starting the SEO Guide? Start here! Next: 3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO ***** Unlike On-site SEO, this process takes place outside of your website. It is the process of promoting your website across the Web. The main bulk of off-site SEO process is trying to acquire backlinks from other websites but it can also be to build brand awareness, be listed on a directory or attract visitors from 3rd party Websites. On this section I will break down the basics of off-site SEO and the best tactics to use.


Backlinks (links from other sites to yours) is probably the most important indicator used by search engines for determining your SERP ranking. It can help increase Page Rank (PR), Domain Authority (DA) and Site Trust Flow. It is not so much the quantity of backlinks but the quality of them. Let’s have a look at some of the factors for determining a good backlink:
  • Domain Authority & Page Authority – The website you are getting the backlink from should have a high Domain Authority and Page Authority (generally the homepage), the higher the better. There are plenty of tools for this but you can use Moz Toolbar to see the PA & DA rating and I would generally try to go with a DA and PA of at least 20.
  • Page & Content Relevancy – Google would prefer if the page you’re linking from is relevant to the page you are linking to. They know for example that if you’re linking from a plumber website to a florist, you’re linking for the sake of linking and not because the link offers value to the users of that site.
  • Anchor Text – Although this is not as important anymore due to over optimisation abuse, anchor text still makes a difference. A branded anchor text such as “Graftene” linking to graftene.com would be better than “coffee mugs” linking to graftene.com.
  • Trusted Websites – This may be a debated topic, but many SEO will agree that a link from trusted websites such as a university.edu or council.gov helps increase the trust flow of your website. This could be because those sites simply have higher PR and DA generally, but nevertheless, they do make an impact.
  • Amount of Backlinks – Of course as I have mentioned, quality over quantity, but quality AND quantity is much better. The more quality backlinks you have, the more you have over your competition, the more likely you are to rank above them.
There are 2 types of backlinks, follow and nofollow. Generally the above applies to “follow” type backlinks, this means that the crawlers will follow the link back to you. It is advised that generally you should create some follow and no follow backlinks at roughly 50/50 ratio. Note: Beware of people selling you backlinks, this could come from low authority websites, spam sites and irrelevant pages. This could get you penalised by Google and could be very bad for your SERP rankings. Of course this is otherwise known as “black-hat strategy”.

Link Building Tactics

Now we have established what makes a good backlink, HOW do we get other sites to link back to us? There are many tactics online, but I will list below what I’ve found to be the most effective.

Broken Link Building

  1. Find resource page related to your industry, example:
Go to Google and type ‘Web Design inurl:links’ to find resource pages linking out to Web Design pages.
  1. Use Moz Toolbar to display the PA/DA of the resource page and click on the most promising resource pages.
  2. Use check-my-link plugin for chrome to display which links are broken.
  3. Contact the Webmaster of the site and let them know of the broken link on their site which they would want to fix, refer them to an alternative page on your website instead if it would be useful to them.
Note: You can do this much faster with tools such as: http://linkprospector.citationlabs.com/

Scout Competition Backlinks

You can use tools such as Opensite explorer by Moz or SEMRush to find out what high authority domains are linking to your competitors websites. Find out how they got them which you can do by simply going directly to the page the link is coming from, and see if you can get them too.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is still alive but not like it used to be, today guest bloggers have to focus more on quality and strategy. Not only can you still get some quality links from good quality guest posts, but it is also a good opportunity to build relationship with industry bloggers/experts and establish yourself as an author.
  1. Prospect – Go to Google and type “write for us” + “keyword you’re looking for”
  2. Qualify the Blog – Make sure the blog is worth your time, use tools such as moz site explorer to check the blog DA and check their blog is relevant to your site.
  3. Outreach to the blog owner – This is the part where you offer to write a blog post for them.
  4. Write Content – Make sure the content is of high quality as you would if writing for your own blog.
  5. Make sure you link out to your site and maybe other sites within your content.

HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

Haro (http://www.helpareporter.com/) is a website journalists go when they need help. They will post a question and if it’s in your field and you are able to answer it, you can get some free press for your brand and website. Most of the links will come from authoritative websites so although you won’t get too many links from this site, it is a good resource.


Directory submission is not dead, it still helps with SEO especially for local citations. I would recommend signing up for Brightlocal for local SEO directory citations. There is a 1 month free trial.


Infographics are so much easier for readers to digest. Your infographic could get embedded on other websites and gain natural links. You can also submit it to infographic directories.

Video Marketing

Publish and share your video content and make them public in YouTube, Dailymotion, etc.

Social Media

Social media could be a guide in itself. The basic idea is to add/follow users that is relevant to your industry, hope they follow back, and share your articles, contents to them. Some people have hundreds to thousands of followers, no doubt that when they publish anything, it is seen and possibly shared by many. Social media isn’t just a means of earning backlinks, it is also a way to get your business and brand out there on a huge marketing platform. It is also important to note that Social Media Metrics are now a factor for SERP rankings. These metrics are typically how many likes, shares, tweets of the website/content there is.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing is tactics involving marketing your own content to other sites, usually to gain back links. It’s similar to the other tactics described above but more reliant on very good quality content within your site.

The Skyscraper Technique

The skyscraper technique described here (http://backlinko.com/white-hat-seo) is quite simply to search for the most popular content in your industry and blow it out of the water with your own content, then reach out to the sites that linked to the previous (now inferior content).

Moving Man Method

The moving man method is very similar to broken link reclamation method, except we are also looking for sites that have moved address therefore giving us a larger pool to draw from. You can read a very detailed guide on the moving man method here: http://backlinko.com/high-quality-backlinks


If you create great content, you can outreach to bloggers in your niche and ask them to link to your content if they see value in it. This is a lot of manual work but still a popular method.

Resource Pages

Many sites have a page that links out to “resource pages”, for example googling “web design inrul:links” finds this resource page: http://www.gweb.biz/links.htm which could list a web design site as one of its resources. All you would need to then is contact the webmaster and ask. There are so much more link building strategies but those are some of the most popular methods, you can see a far bigger list here: http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-strategies **** Up Next: 3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO

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1. Complete SEO Guide – On-Site SEO

Just starting the Complete SEO Guide? Start here! Next: 2. Complete SEO Guide – Off-site SEO **** First let’s understand how search engines view your website. Quite simply, they send robots that “crawls” the web and sites likes yours. When these pages are crawled, they are “indexed” on a very large database and are graded on over 200 factors. An algorithm is used to give the page a score and ranking against all the other pages based on the user query and keywords searched. On-Site SEO comprises of all the SEO work that is done within your website. This is something you have complete control over and not relying on external websites or directories linking to your website. This will include content on Keywords, Content Structure, Site Structure, Domain etc. Many SEO guides will guide you to “build for users, not for search engines”, which is half true. Of course, we want to build for our users because that is primarily what the website is for, and Google tries its best to rank websites on how useful they are for users. However, you may find that if you ignore the search engine aspect of things and build solely for the users, the search engine robots may not recognize how great your website to its users are, therefore not attain the rank you deserve. Consult with professional SEO for an onpage audit, our partners at PDX SEO can help. The Perfect on-site SEO will have the following:

  • Great content that provides value to users – which in turn makes it easy to market and attain backlinks from other sites, reduces bounce rates of visitors (visitors visiting then quickly leaving your site).
  • Great User Experience –A website design should be easy and intuitive for a user to browse. Site should load quickly, multi-browser compatible and visually attractive.
  • Crawlable/can be accessed by bots – Use rel=canonical to focus on one main address, URL structure should be consistent, use robots.txt and a sitemap, use 301’s for permanent redirects and a code 503 for temporarily down pages.
  • Keyword targeted – The target keyword for the page should be on page name, title, H1 tag, content, URL and images and image alt attributes, internal and external links, meta description, meta keywords.

Domain Name and Hosting

Although domain name does not have as strong influence over rankings as it did in the past, it is still a factor. You may not have control over this as it may be a brand name such as Graftene but if you do, it’s important to get it right. Exact Match Domain Try to get the exact match domain, for example, www.southamptonplumbers.co.uk if you are a plumber in Southampton. However the bonus of having an exact match domain comes with a price, make sure your website is not in violation of Google’s EMD Update (http://searchengineland.com/google-emd-update-research-and-thoughts-137340). In short, make sure that if you will adopt an exact match domain, you have a high quality website with high quality backlinks and don’t spam your website with keywords which would be over-optimisation. Google thinks you are trying to manipulate them and they don’t like that! Keywords in Domain Get the target keyword within your domain, it helps with the CTR (click through ratio) and it’s still a ranking factor. Country TLD Extension If you are targeting local customers and want to attract local business, go with the country domain such as www.yourwebsite.co.uk for ranking in Google.co.uk. If you want to target globally or want to be more flexible and generic, you can use .com which can rank in google.co.uk or google.fr. The opposite would not be true however, www.youwebsite.co.uk would have difficulty ranking in google.fr. Hosting Location You should try to host your website in the same country you are targeting, if you are targeting google.co.uk customers, pick a host that is based in UK. Note: There is a debate on the importance of country TLD (Top level domain) as many downplay its significance. In fact, both in Bing (http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster) and Google Webmaster Tools (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) you can geo-target the location you want to target so even if you choose .com tld you can tell the search engines to target google.co.uk. I however believe that country TLD helps and is a factor, however small. You can read more on this topic here: http://www.seochat.com/c/a/google-optimization-help/geo-targeting-techniques-in-google-for-seo/ Domain Age This is also a factor, older domains with no bad history are considered more trustworthy. However, you have no control over this, other than perhaps not buying a blacklisted domain.  

Keyword Research

Keyword research could be a guide in itself. However for the purpose of this guide, use google keyword planner (https://adwords.google.co.uk/KeywordPlanner) to get a basic idea of the performance of keywords. You want to balance out the difficulty of the competition for the keyword vs how much volume of searches there are for that keyword. So an ideal keyword would be one that doesn’t have much competition, yet gets searched often per month. Google Keyword Planner is fairly straightforward to use, you set your business, target keyword, and target location, get ideas and Google will generate a list of keyword ideas for you. These keywords will also contain interesting stats such as how much it has been searched per month and how difficult the competition is for that particular keyword. Moz keyword-difficulty tool (https://moz.com/researchtools/keyword-difficulty) is also a useful tool to use for keyword research but unfortunately it’s not free. Of course keyword research is far more complex but that should help you get started.  

Page-Level Optimisation

Tools: Each page should target 2-3 keywords that you are looking to get ranked for, and the keywords should be relevant to the page content. Those keywords would of course be decided from your keyword research. We no longer spam keywords all over the page as did the old SEO practice, however it is still important to get those keywords in the page to let the Search Engines know what the page is primarily about. Here are the basics and good keyword targeting practice:

Page Titles

Not only are page titles crucial for improving your site’s CTR (click through ratio) as it’s the title users see in the search engine results but this element also has strong influence over your ranking as it determines the page relevancy vs the users search query.
  • Use target keyword preferably at start of title
  • Limit to 70 characters
  • Use “|” symbol to divide phrases

Page Descriptions

Changed in the meta-description and this is the description users will see on your website’s search engine ranking. Doesn’t directly affect SEO but can have a big impact on your click through ratio.
  • Use targeted keywords
  • Accurately describe the page


Headings let the user know what the content is about, it’s good practice to split the headings into sections (H1, H2, H3) and be careful not to over optimise.
  • Include Keyword in H1 and ideally H2.


Write the content for your users, the content should be relevant and look natural, not spammed with keywords for the purpose of manipulating search engines. Get a good balance on this, you want the users to easily navigate your site and be intuitive but you also want to get the keywords in there. This should happen naturally, for example if you do Web Design in Bournemouth, then it should be easy to mention “Web Design in Bournemouth” in your content without looking forced.
  • Include the keywords at least once in the copy.
  • It would be preferable to separate the content with header tags (H2, H3).
  • Good content is easier to market and share to acquire backlinks.


If you see an image of a dog, you know it’s a dog, but search engine crawlers don’t. You can use Alt Tag and Title tag for the image to let users and crawlers know.
  • Use a Title tag on images.
  • Use Alt tag on images and ideally have the keyword on at least 1 Alt attribute tag.
<IMG src=”filename.gif” alt=” alt-text here”>
  • Optimise the images, reduce file size to increase site load speed.


  • Use dash (-) to separate words in URL structure.
  • Have the keyword within the URL if it’s relevant.
  • Write URL as static readable text, exclude URL parameters.
  • Keep URL structure consistent, for example: If you want to keep the trailing slash ie graftene.com/ then keep it consistent throughout the site, graftene.com/About-us/.

Duplicate Content

Avoid duplicate content, some CMS may generate different versions of the page and could be classified as duplicate content. You can use Siteliner tool (http://www.siteliner.com/) to identify duplicate content.

Outbound Links

Feel free to link out to another website from within your content if you feel this will help the user. This can also help increase the site trust rating if it’s linking out to a high authority website.

Site-level Optimisation

These are the important SEO factors you can optimise across your site in order to improve your SERP ranking. In short, make sure your website is user friendly with good navigation system, good indexable content, fast loading, have a sitemap, crawlable by robots and consistent URL structure.

Site Speed

Websites that load faster is better for user experience and conversion rates. It’s also an important ranking factor. Make sure your website is up to speed by optimising the code, images and media. You can use tools like Google pagespeed (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/) to help you with this process.

Internal Links

Setup the links and navigation within your website to be intuitive and easy to navigate. A user should not have to go through 4 pages to get to a page. Navigating a website shouldn’t be like trying to solve hard riddles. It is important to not link to broken links/pages. Internal linking also helps with the site trust flow.

Schema / Rich Snippet Markup

This may not directly contribute to SEO but would help by increasing conversion rates. Read more at https://developers.google.com/structured-data/ and create schema at http://schema-creator.org/

User Engagement

User engagement is measured by many factors, Google uses this as a measure of user experience and it’s a contributing factor towards the website SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking. Ensure good user engagement with the basics, good site speed, intuitive navigation and useful content. Some measuring sticks for quality user engagement are:
  • Bounce Rates – Bounce rates are when users visit your website and quickly leave. There could be a number of reasons for the users leaving quickly, site too slow, not informative, or poor UX. Whatever the reason, Google sees a high bounce rate as poor user experience and would therefore result is a lower SERP ranking. A low bounce rate on the other hand is a positive.
  • Direct Traffic – It’s a positive indicator if a site receives more direct traffic.
  • High click through rate – A better click through rate on the SERP is a positive indicator.
  • Returning visitors – A good amount of returning visitors is a positive indicator.

Domain Trust

A website with a good domain trust ranks higher on the SERP rankings and can get away with more without being penalised. Here is what you can do to increase domain trust:
  • Link out to High Authority Websites – Linking out won’t hurt your SEO, it can help in fact if the website you are linking to is relevant.
  • Have a Privacy Policy / Terms Page – Boring pages that Google pays attention to.
  • Keep bounce rate low – Improve relevancy of content, meta description and UX design of site to lower bounce rate.
  • Keep domain WHOIS public – Public whois are more trusted than private.
  • Get some trusted backlinks – Links from .edu or .gov or .ac.uk helps.

Mobile Optimised

Make sure your website is mobile responsive. Used the tools below to check.


Canonicalisation refers to pages that can be loaded from multiple URLs (web address). For example the web pages below are all identical:
  • http://www.example.com/
  • http://www.example.com/index.html
  • http:/example.com/
For SEO purposes we don’t want this to occur because the search engines may treat these pages separately and therefore separate the overall popularity of the page, instead we want to combine these into one. 10 backlinks going to http://example.com and 10 to http://www.example.com could be determined as 20 backlinks to the canon URL instead. There are a few ways to fix this issue but the 2 most common are: <link href=”http://www.example.com/canonical-page/” rel=”canonical” /> More on canonical https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en   A common mistake in redirecting is creating an infinite loop http://www.example.com and http://www.example.com/index.html. An explanation on the fix here: https://moz.com/blog/apache-redirect-an-index-file-to-your-domain-without-looping


Most sitemap comes in XML format (Extensible Markup Language). You will see it as sitemap.xml on the main website directory. The file basically tells search engines your website structure and the pages on it. This can help the search engines index the right pages on your website. Visit Sitemaps.org for more info or build them at XML-Sitemaps.com.


Robots.txt file instructs search engine crawlers how to crawl the website. You can for example disallow robots from crawling a certain page if you do not want the search engines to index it. Create a robots.txt file from (http://tools.seobook.com/robots-txt/generator/), just insert into notepad and name robots.txt – save on the main directory of your website.

Webmaster Tools (Search Console)

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ Webmaster Tools is an essential for managing your website, from a developers point of view, webmasters and SEO marketers. It gives invaluable data and control over your website and how Google should treat the site. More on Webmaster Tools here https://blog.kissmetrics.com/beginners-guide-to-google-webmaster-tools/ Note: There is also a Bing Webmaster Tools equivalent and the features are very similar.

Google Analytics

http://www.google.com/analytics/ Google Analytics is a free web analytics software from Google. It is essential for online marketing and SEO purposes. Google analytics allows you to track your website’s traffic, getting important information such as:
  • How many people visit my Website?
  • Where are they from?
  • How did they find you?
  • What pages are the most popular?
  • What is the conversion rate?
More on Google Analytics https://moz.com/blog/absolute-beginners-guide-to-google-analytics   Up Next2. Complete SEO Guide – Off-site SEO  

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Everything You need to know!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be overwhelming. There are so many guides, blog posts, and tutorials out there, so much information to absorb. I subscribe to the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle). That is, 20% of the effort for 80% of the outcome. This guide is intended to teach you everything you need to know about SEO without overwhelming you with the minor details. I will structure the content of this guide according to the timeline of events that would take place during a Web development / SEO campaign. We will focus entirely on White-Hat techniques and quality SEO so you don’t run the risk of a penalty from Google. Google looks at over 200 factors for ranking your website, a Google top ranking could generate a lot of income for your business, alternatively, you can pay for the rankings with Google Adwords but we will save that for another article.

1. Complete SEO Guide – On-site SEO

2. Complete SEO Guide – Off-site SEO

3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO

4. Complete SEO Guide – Tools for SEO

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of optimising web pages for the purpose of getting them to rank higher on Search Engines for specific keywords. Getting to the top is largely down to the reputation of the website online and how relevant the pages are to the keywords searched. Nobody can guarantee a number 1 ranking on Google, there are techniques and guidelines which can be followed to “manipulate” these rankings and that’s what this guide will try to show. Most of the time, websites get to the top by having a good reputation, whether that reputation came about organically as a result of being a big brand such as Nike, or it could be from clever SEO for a small business. Reputation can be increased by the number of quality web pages that link back to your website, what we refer to as backlinks. The higher quality these web pages are, and the more relevant they are to your site, the more value search engines such as Google will place on it. Be careful with companies who promise a guaranteed no.1 ranking as no one can guarantee this. Having said that, given enough resources, time and money, most companies can get you there or pretty close… most of the time. In short, basic good practice SEO:
  • Have good quality content, relevant keywords on the page and a good website structure
  • Get other high quality web pages relevant to your site to link back to your page.
  • Update your website with fresh content.

Why Search Engine Optimisation?

All this effort but why? Google has about 65% of the searches, followed by Bing with 17% and Yahoo at 13%. Those are the top 3 search engines and between them, they will drive the most traffic to your website, for free. Depending on your market, the combined search for your business can be anywhere from hundreds to even millions per month. There couldn’t be a bigger marketing platform for your business.

Who should do Search Engine Optimisation?

Having a website online, unless it is a huge brand is a bit like having a shop in the middle of a forest that nobody can find. Anyone looking to get their business, website, content, exposed on the online market should be looking to do some SEO. You can either hire a third party such as an agency or a freelancer, or you can try do it yourself or hire an SEO agency (I recommend this liverpool seo). Hopefully with the help of this guide, you can! Next:

1. Complete SEO Guide – On-site SEO 2. Complete SEO Guide – Off-site SEO 3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO 4. Complete SEO Guide – Tools for SEO

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[email protected] August 21, 2015 0 Comments

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Simplified

Trust me, it does sound simple…

What is SEO?

Getting your Website to rank higher in Search Engines!

demo search result

But How? Give the search engines what they want!

1. Have a very good website (Great content, images, site speed, page titles, headings, URL structure, responsive etc).

2. It’s a popularity contest! Measured by the amount of pages linking to your site and how popular those sites are.

So a good Website with lots of backlinks will get you a great ranking, sounds easy?

So.. What is a Good Website?

A little bit more complicated… Contain Relevant Keywords But don’t spam the page with irrelevant keywords or unnatural content and it should be in the right places (Title, H1, body etc). Readable by Search Engines Make sure the search engines see what you see, you can see a picture of a dog but a search engine won’t unless you tell it with the “Alt” tag. Add a sitemap, be careful with hiding content behind code and don’t block the crawlers with the robots.txt. Good User Experience Search Engines can tell if your website is useful for users. Website too slow? Users leave before entering. False advertising on meta description? Users leave disappointed. Happy visitors, happy search engines. Mobile Responsive Google will display mobile responsive sites higher than non-mobile responsive for users browsing through mobile. That’s a lot of users!

Quick Example of On-Site SEO!

on-site SEO example

On-site SEO example

My Website is Great, How do I become Popular?

In short, get Backlinks. Backlinks are other web pages linking back to your site. The more of this you have, the more popular and reputable your site is according to search engines. Example of a backlink?
backlink example

‘Lex Autolease’ – backlink example

Wait, it’s also about WHO is linking to you!

Just like real life popularity contests, it’s also about who you know. The quality of the website linking to your site matters, a single link from a very popular website to yours could be worth a hundred links from unpopular websites. Sometimes, backlinks from spam websites can even damage your SEO.

How do we find out who is worth getting a link from?

My favourite tool is Moz toolbar which is free plugin on Chrome. If you have a subscription you can also use their Moz Opensite Explorer (https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/) . They give the DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority) ratings of the page. By no means are they definitive but it is a good guide for determining the quality of a page, the higher the better.

How do you get Backlinks?

There are so many ways to get backlinks but here are the basics.

Content Marketing

Write a great piece of article, contact sites that would have use for that great article and ask them to link to it. Maybe they are linking to your competitor but your piece is better?

Social Media Marketing

Add and follow friends on social media such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest. If someone finds your article useful, they may use it or share it. Got a great infographic? Post it on Pinterest and ask people to credit you with a backlink if they use it.

Guest Blogging

Offer to write for authoritative blogs and increase your reputation as well as get backlinks from the articles you write. Write great content for them as you would for your own site.

Social Bookmarking

Join forums/Quora/Yahoo answers etc and leave links to your site by way of author bio or through a link in a post. Only sign up to relevant sites and only leave link if it’s relevant and useful.


Heard of Yell.com, Yelp? There are any online directories to submit your business to, check out our list on Local SEO section.

Scout Competition

Using tools like Moz Opensite Explorer we can see our competitors’ backlinks. Study them and see if you can get one too.

Now you know the basics, want to read a more in-depth guide? Check out our Complete SEO guide!

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[email protected] August 21, 2015 0 Comments

DVWA Lesson 2: Command execution (Low)

Good ol’ command execution

First Lesson: DVWA Lesson 1: Installing on Windows. Now we have everything set up on our Windows machine, we can finally begin we some fun! Login in with the password set during the previous lesson, and head towards the ‘DVWA Security’ tab on the bottom left hand side. Continue by setting the ‘Script Security’ level to ‘Low’, and clicking ‘submit’. If you’ve installed DVWA on Windows or Linux, keep in mind which when executing commands! Head over towards the ‘Command Execution’ tab:
  • Try entering ‘’, what happens?
  • Are you able to execute any other commands?
  • No? Time to read the source, located at: DVWA-1.0.8/vulnerabilities/exec/source/low.php

if( isset( $_POST[ 'submit' ] ) ) {

$target = $_REQUEST[ 'ip' ];

// Determine OS and execute the ping command.
if (stristr(php_uname('s'), 'Windows NT')) {

$cmd = shell_exec( 'ping ' . $target );
$html .= '<pre>'.$cmd.'</pre>';

} else {

$cmd = shell_exec( 'ping -c 3 ' . $target );
$html .= '<pre>'.$cmd.'</pre>';


As we can see, the $target variable contains our user input. Fortunately for us it’s not being sanitized when passed to the shell_exec function. Allowing for our commands to cause malicious behaviour. As we’re hosting DVWA on a Windows Operating System we’re able to run commands consecutively by using ‘&’ in-between each one. Try out the commands bellow, or your own, if you feel confident in a Windows Terminal environment. Examples
  • “ & tasklist” – List the hosts current processes
  • “ & netstat -a”- Gives us the current ports opened on the host
Further reading

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DVWA Lesson 1: Installing on Windows

Damn vulnerable what?!

DVWA (Damn Vulnerable Web App) was made by security professionals, for researchers and enthusiasts to practice and learn different types of vulnerabilities in relation to web applications which can also be used for other things such as software activation keys. Before continuing it must be stressed that the testing of DVWA should be done on an isolated host with either VMware or Virtual Box, separated by a Host-only connection. This is for your safety, not doing so could lead to the compromise of your system. You can store the files on an external hard drive or a USB drive. You can purchase USB drives online from Amazon.

  • Firstly install Xampp for windows. Then continue on by opening up the Xampp Control Panel, either placed on your desktop, Program files or already started on the bottom left of the screen. Lastly, start your MySQL and Apache services.
  • Extract the dvwa folder to this location C:\xampp\htdocs\dvwa. We now open our webrowser and enter ‘localhost/dvwa’ ( into the url bar. If we are presented with a mysql.error() that means the database was unable to be created, but easily fixed in step 3.
  • Go on over to C:\xampp\htdocs\dvwa\config\config.inc.php and use your favourite editor to open the file, scroll down to line 20. We now enter the default PHPMyAdmin, in the db_password field, replacing the current one with nothing. Leaving it empty (no spaces)
  • Jump to your browser and go to, and click ‘create Database’ Then go to localhost/dvwa/login.php and enter your user name ‘admin’ and password ‘password’.
Next LessonDVWA Lesson 2: Command execution Low

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Without social media marketing your startup is predisposed to deterioration

So you’ve started your own business, you feel so good that you are now officially an entrepreneur and you’re convinced your business idea is so good that the money and success will come rolling in. Or maybe, on the other hand, you’ve reached a spot where those good connections have all been milked and you’re not quite sure how to get things moving. Whatever the case, one thing you MUST be aware of; neglecting social media marketing will have you going for a direct head-fall in no time. Think I’m exaggerating? Maybe, or maybe not. Read on to the end of this article and decide for yourself. I’ve spent a lot of time researching and experimenting with social media. I’ve met business owners and entrepreneurs of all sorts and I’m 100 per cent convinced that most would agree with me; deciding against a social media strategy will have you missing out on a whole lot of benefits for you small business. Stick around and let us take a look at all the great stuff you’re depriving your start-up of when not using social media marketing. Oh, and just so you know, this is not another one of those top five benefits or step by step articles to help you if you decide to implement a social media marketing strategy. This is a warning of what could and most probably will happen if you think you don’t need to use social media to market your business. So, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

You will never know what your prospective customer thinks or wants

Whatever marketing strategy you’re implementing, your starting point is always your target audience. You need to know who they are, what they do, where to find them, where they live and so on. Or you may actually want to reach out to a global audience; but how will you do that without social media? Having a website is just not enough. Having good connections all over the place is also not good enough in the long run. Yes, you have a great product or service; yes, you provide top quality and it’s going good, for now. But stagnation is not allowed nowadays. A business needs to develop and expand in order to be a successful one. The social media lets you get close to your audience. You can get to know them better, what they talk about, what they really want and much more. If you don’t know any of this, how will you improve, how will you increase your revenue if you don’t know how to please your potential customer?

Valuable traffic to your website will cease to exist

You probably know how important SEO is. You may have already taken most of the crucial steps technically. But Google is not ranking websites like once upon a time. To put it simply, you need to acquire a good reputation on the internet in order to rank high in the SERP’s. Logically, what other way can you expand that good reputation other than via social media. Other parts of your marketing strategy (if you have one) will allow some visitors to your website, real life referrals, advertising and whatever. But having a good social media marketing strategy lets your voice be heard all over the place. The visitors keep coming in and coming back. Without social media marketing, what traffic can you expect, seriously? How will you use your website to increase sales and grow that start up? Do you really think you can do it without social media?

You’ll lose valuable data for tracking the use of your website

Website metrics show you valuable data about the use of your website and the visitor characteristics. Google analytics has so many options that will not only let you see who’s visiting your site, but also what content and products are generating more traffic, what social media posts are creating more referrals etc. Without so much of that valuable data you will never know what’s working in your marketing strategy and what’s not.  You’ll never be able to improve your product or service. You will prohibit the growth of your business which will not only cause the loss of good reputation but also the loss of money because you’ll be spending it on ineffective advertising campaigns.

So you want to build your brand but you don’t want to use the social media?



Right, so you don’t care if you seem like a trustworthy business or not…

Saying that your goal is to build brand awareness and then saying you’re not using social media marketing, is funny and sad at the same time. Do you really think that in this world of ongoing competition your brand will be able to stand out just because of the quality? That’s a belief of the medieval times of marketing. Today, quality is just not enough. The communication that the internet provides has provided us the opportunity to demand more. Today people demand communication. Audiences demand to be listened to. A client must have their expectations met, otherwise you will be given a bad reputation; and that’s all via social media, whether you use it or not. Now you can choose to ignore that or you can start respond to the negative comments by showing your prospective clients that you actually care about their opinion. The social media is full of opportunities for building brand awareness.

Whatever, so you’re saying social media marketing can help me with lead generation?

Obviously yes! Communicating with an audience effectively not only gives you the possibility to get to know your clients better and to promote your business, but it also provides a means of referrals. A potential client that likes what you’re doing will tell their friend and they will tell their friend and so on. Just like in the real world, on the internet the social media is the best way to manoeuvre that word of mouth effect. According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report of 2015, by Michael A. Stelzner Founder of Social Media Examiner “By spending as little as 6 hours per week, 66%+ of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.”
Social Media Marketing Importance

Social Media Marketing Importance

Still think your business doesn’t need a social media marketing strategy?

Well think again. Here you’ve been given just a small number of examples of the benefits social media marketing, (there’s plenty of articles that speak of the benefits around) besides the amount of money and resources you can save by using social media. And for the sake of giving you folks that aren’t into social media a wake-up call; here you’ve been given the examples of what you are losing out on. You’ve been warned; neglect your social media marketing, your small business will deteriorate (maybe).

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[email protected] August 21, 2015 0 Comments

The Importance of UX Design

Ever wondered what UX Design is? You have probably heard your tech-savvy friends talking about it during a conversation – where you already have no clue what they are talking about. Not quite as confusing as IQ, PQ and OQ acronyms for the quality control industry but UX stands for User Experience. The experience of being the clueless odd one out is frustrating. Most of the time it makes you feel dumb. Continue on reading, as I’m keen to share what I know and enlighten you about the subject regardless if you’re just curious or wanting to branch out from your old discipline of design. So let me guide you through the “What”, the “Why” and the “How” of the subject. Basically the baby steps for now, because we’ll be here till the proverbial cows come home.

What is UX Design?

Starting with the question of ‘what is it’? It’s a User-Centric design discipline with several facets that need to be addressed and the User’s Experience (UX) is at the heart of it all. I know what you’re thinking… that was quite a mouthful to digest. Don’t worry, as I’ll break it down for you. As illustrated in the diagram below, it expresses a multitude of facets that create the user experience. It’s quite a detailed and thorough process; you’re essentially conceptualizing an experience and then creating it. As you can tell I’ve been emphasizing a particular word that is a defining factor amidst all of this: Experience. Because that’s what it’s all about. The most common example of user experience is an interaction between the user and a systems user-interface, such as using a smart phone. You swipe left, swipe right and you press on the particular app you want to use. An easy experience for anybody. Features like this contribute to constituting a user Experience. However that is merely the beginning, as UX DESIGN essentially aims for a positive and memorable experience for the user and this is when the other factors come into play, even before the interaction. A good example for good UX is the iPhone by Apple. The iPhone UX is so simple it contributes to the brands image, reputation and fits very well. Fun fact even the marketing contributes to a good UX (such as stepping into the apple store itself).
the spectrum of user experience design

The spectrum of User Experience Design

Why UX Design?

At this stage you’re probably wondering why is it such a big deal? It is a big deal. To put it quite simply: we are dealing with and catering to the needs of the user. It’s not rocket science. To justify the need of good UX is easy, because it has a several facets that constitute the experience as a whole. Websites have become bigger, more complex and brimming with additional features – this has taken away the simplicity from the user experience. Not only have websites have become bigger and complex but they have become more accessible from different devices other than just desktop computers; such as through mobile, tablets, and even the television! This has created a need for greater UX Design to tackle these problems. To simplify what is complicated, and to give users a better experience without sacrificing the additional features, and making it accessible on the many new platforms available.

How can UX be done?

Now we must conclude this article by settling the question of “how can this be done?” As I said before, it’s quite a thorough process. There are several tasks that a UX Design performs at different parts of the process, such as evaluations of a current system, Option A VS B Testing, surveys, wireframes and prototypes. The list goes on.
wireframe example

Example wireframe

For now let’s look at the technique of Wireframing as an example. As you can see this technique is pretty simple to grasp, because all you’re doing is just simply plotting how where features will be placed prior to development. If you’re resourceful enough, you can also do this on pen and paper.  Take into account these wireframes are derived from evaluations, testing’s, surveys etc.  So take your time at this part of the process. At this point the importance of UX DESIGN should be abundantly clear. I hope this article helps you as much as it helped me sharing it. Images credited to the respective owners: UX Spectrum – http://randsinrepose.com/archives/a-design-primer-for-engineers/ Wireframe example – http://webarmy.co.nz/portfolio/ For a more in-depth read on UX check out this great UX Checklist

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