Business Tip of the Month: Search Engine Optimisation

This month’s business tip is supplied by Mark Rouvray of Activ Web Design Kingston. Mark has plenty of valuable tips on online marketing for your business. Please read on for advice about SEO and how to get in touch with Mark. 

SEO is dead! Really? 

SEO tag cloud

Many theorists have reported the demise of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as a method for improving website rankings on Google search results. However, in practice, many small businesses are still finding that SEO is clearly working to give them substantially better rankings than their competitors. Although the methods employed for search engine optimisation have changed over time to keep up with Google’s latest algorithm for indexing, the reported death of SEO seems somewhat premature.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search engine optimisation is comprised of two parts: on-site and offsite. On-site SEO is all about making sure the website has been built correctly in order to promote the key marketing search terms. Those terms need to appear in all the right places and be coded in a way that gives the correct emphasis for Google. The on-site SEO is about 30% of the overall battle to improve rankings.

It is essential that this is done well or all other efforts will be ineffective. The other 70% of the effort is known as offsite SEO and is about promoting the website across the Internet for those key search engine marketing terms – helping you to build a wider online presence.

How important are search engine ranking positions (SERPs)?

Research shows that on average, the websites on the first page of Google for particular search term get 99% of all clicks. That leaves a very poor 1% for all the other website on the rest of the Google search results. In fact, the higher you get on that first page of Google makes a significant difference.

The top three websites will get 65% of all clicks and the no.1 website will get 40% of all the clicks – so every extra improvement in rankings really counts. In addition, the natural search results tend to be trusted over the paid ads (Pay Per Click) with 40% of people saying they never click on paid ads.


Determining your key search engine marketing terms

The starting point for any SEO work is to determine the most relevant key search engine marketing terms for a business to target. There are three key factors to take into account.

1) The search demand for that particular keyword. There is no point in putting a lot of effort into keywords that rarely get searched.

2) The competition online for those specific keywords – often competition will be high if the search demand is also high. Sometimes you might be lucky to find an opportunity where demand is reasonable for a search term and yet online competition is not as high as some of the other search terms.

3) You need to assess the likelihood of converting any interest generated by that search term into business and the value of that business to you. Search terms that more specifically relate to your services\location and also imply an intention to look for paid goods or services (e.g. consultant, services, advisor, buy) are likely to be better.

The most common mistake people make is to target the home page of the website for their key search engine terms when in fact they should structure the website so that individual pages are focused on different search terms. In general, it is best to have a page focused on just one or two key phrases rather than all your phrases. That way it is easier to optimise the page for Google and it provides well written, targeted pages that will be presented to potential clients who search for your services.

SEO can seem complicated and daunting for a small business and engaging a supplier can seem even more confusing. However, ultimately it is quite simple – it’s results that count. Any reputable SEO supplier should be able to show you clear results achieved for other small businesses like yourself and you can then determine whether they can do the same for you.

Don’t be influenced by false promises of guarantees for number one positions because logically there can be no guarantees. Nobody can control your competition who may spend more money on SEO than you and nobody can control Google. Don’t let anyone tell you they can fix your SEO in a one-off exercise – it requires ongoing work over a long period of time.  Ultimately, it is a worthwhile investment in your number one marketing asset – your website.


Mark is owner of Activ Web Design (Kingston & Wimbledon) and provides a personal dedicated support for small local businesses that want to grow through professional online marketing, including web design, SEO, mobile sites & apps and email marketing.

Mark Rouvray – Online Marketing for small businesses
Activ web Design (Kingston)
Mob: 07813 935955

This Month’s Business Tip: Call Handling Services for SME’s

Did you know that up to 50% of people who hear an answering machine tend to hang up the phone?

You could be missing half of your calls!

So this is YOU. You are a small business, just about to break that ceiling of being a start-up company to an established business. Your business has been going for about 2-3 years. You have met your targets, business is now making money and you have the dream within reach.

Now, imagine you are standing in front of Sir Alan Sugar; you are in the middle of selling your famous widget and your mobile rings! Or even worse, the calls go straight through to your answering machine!

Trying to get hold of you is Richard Branson! He is returning your call to set up an appointment because he is also, interested in stocking your widget.

What would you do?

How does Richard Branson feel, getting a dodgy answering machine hearing, “SORRY I missed your call…..blah, blah……..”? Or even worse – an SMS saying “Sorry, I’ll call you later”.

Do you think he would leave a message, call you back?

How do you feel when it happens to you? I know how it feels to get an answering machine, especially when I am conducting some telesales. Sometimes, you can’t blame people for thinking – Is this person avoiding me????

Now, put yourself in this position. You are still standing in front of Alan Sugar sorry Sir Alan Sugar, and your mobile is now diverted to a virtual assistant or Call Handler. The phone is then answered “Good morning XYZ Widgets. How can I help you?”. Richard Branson then asks to speak to you. “Please excuse Mr/s Jones, but he/she is in a meeting. Can I help in any way, Mr Branson?”

Mr Branson, sorry Richard, then says that he would like to book that appointment. How do you think he would feel if that person then says “I can do that for you Mr Branson, let me check the schedule. When would be convenient for you sir?”

I know that I would definitely prefer the above than an answering machine!

And how much do you think this would cost? What if I told you this could cost as little as £1.00? Would this be the best pound you have ever spent? I know it would sound like a good investment to me.

Now this is not everyday practice for most of us who run a business, but the help or assistance is practically the same. If you are in a meeting it would be more professional to have someone actually answer the phone and take a message. In this day and age, I feel that we are moving ourselves away from old school personal contact and relying too much on technology, emails and answer machines.

On top of this, the service you offer to potential customers or clients is something many businesses should consider as marketing. Even if the person calling isn’t a client or customer they should still be left with a certain image.

Furthermore, what about those days, when you really can’t get anything done? You have a pile of paperwork which you MUST get through. We have all had days when the slightest thing can distract you. If you are like me, and hate admin, when a call comes in its hard not to show your frustration about the call getting in the way of the thing I am in the middle of doing.

What about when you want to take a break or long weekend. What about breaking up for Christmas?

No matter what business you are in, you can always get your calls answered in a profession manner and maintain a professional image.

How to choose the right Call Handling Service

There are many different services offered by many companies, but I would suggest calling Janine from Zeb.PA. first, and there are 2 main reasons for this:

1. Zeb.PA is an independent small business, who understands each of their client’s individual needs.

2. Zeb.PA is much more than a telephone answering service. They provide vital admin and support functions virtually. A PA service that acts as an integral part of a business, meaning they can handle more than just an inbound call.

Sorry…..3. Zeb.PA is offering a FREE Trial of their services!


But, if you are going to shop around, then ask someone you know if they have used a service. There is nothing like a personal recommendation. Then test the services of that recommendation they are using.

A good professional call answering service can leave you feeling (as a potential client or customer to the business you are calling) confident that you are dealing with a good reliable and professional business and you are happy to buy their services because the person who answered the call spoke to you in the way you would expect to be dealt with.

A good call handling service will be able to help your potential clients. If you use a service like Zeb.PA, they could even book client appointments, chase up payments (credit control), and set up a call transfer if the caller is Richard Branson. This service can be provided anytime, anywhere. If you want to, just divert your calls for an hour a day or even for an entire month, a call handling service can help your business. NOT TO MENTION ALL THOSE DAMNED CANVASSING CALLS FOR PPI!

A call handling service isn’t for everyone, but if you have a lot of inbound calls, or calls to your mobile number, then having someone who can screen the calls saves you a heap of time.

Take a look at Janine’s Website, and think about it…… How much better would your day be if someone at Zeb.PA was looking after your calls?

Tel:     020 8234 6104



Don’t forget to ask for a FREE Trail and let her know that you got her number from Omni Local.

Business Tip: Vision Boards

Vision Boards

I try to help everyone in my daily life, and one of my favorite things is shooting ideas from the hip. Some are creditable and some seem completely mad….either way doing something is always better than doing nothing. I suggested to someone a while ago to have a vision board and they had no idea what I was talking about. The topic of a vision board also came up during one of the many networking meetings I went to. So in this blog, I am going to show why you would want one, how to make one and will explain how they work!

So what is a vision board?

A vision board is a set of images, notes, inspirational quotes or clippings that are located somewhere for you to look at every day. It’s a bit like a cartoon story board, but for life.

Some like to have their vision board in their place of work, where they can see it at all times. There are different types of vision boards, but I am talking about a desire type of vision board. This is designed to help you achieve everything you want out of life.

A vision board should be the center of everything you want to be, desire, achieve and to have in your life. Your vision board is extremely personal and something which you can’t just copy. The images, quotes and anything else included on your vision board should be your true desires and represent everything you dream for.

It’s a daily reminder of what you want out of life for yourself, and possibly your loved ones around you.

Why would you have one?

I would reply, “Why not? What harm can it do?.” If you have ever been to my office, you will see I have a very simple one. I have 3 sheets of paper on the wall. The first sheet is my business for sale. It details turnover, profit and the eventual sale price. The second is the car I will buy when I sell the business and then the third one is the house I would put a deposit on with the change of buying the car. Now mine is very narrow but it works. When it’s hot outside and my friends are in a beer garden, I look at my vision board and it motivates me to stay and get the job done!

Your vision board may be to keep you on track, have a sense of a target or even something to dream about on a stressful day. Nothing wrong with having dreams right?

How do you start building a vision board?

You will need:

A source of images – Internet, magazines, photos showing any image of what you want.

Poster Board or Space on a wall

Glue or Blu Tack


This is a lot of fun! Seriously, the sky is the limit. I would advise you to sit down and really imagine where you would like to be, what you want to be and most of all how you feel about getting everything you truly desire. You need to make sure you have no distractions, turn off the TV and switch off the phone. This is all about YOU!

Like all projects, I always say start at the end. Imagine what your life looks like and then work back from there. Build a list of everything you want. Forget about the images or statement to be too big or unachievable.

Do a real brain dump of absolutely everything you want. I would suggest making a large pot of your favorite coffee, tea or open your favorite bottle of wine, and scribble down everything!


Get as many magazines, images, quotes or statements as you can to match or represent everything your heart and soul desires. You can do this in stages, and you may not find the perfect image which matches what you want, so always be on the lookout for the nice things you are looking for. Go for it….Don’t hold back. GET MORE THAN YOU NEED. Don’t forget to clip out any words to text that you find positive, and anything which makes you smile.

You then need to go and find a space big enough for you to stick all your images to. You can buy a poster board, or canvass, but simply making a space on a wall is good enough. Just remember the location is important.

Then find a really nice photo of yourself. Make sure it’s a good one! Nothing from bad hair days or hungover from the night before….A really nice photo of you at your best! (I’ll come back to why later).

Now that you have all your desires in text or images, start taking out anything which you are not really interested in. Make sure the images you have are what truly represent what you want. If you have two or three images of the same thing, then it is clear that’s what you’re looking for. You have to try and keep hold of your dream here, but be clear about what you REALLY want.

Now start sticking these chosen images to the outside of the board or space and leave the centre empty. If you are someone who likes things to be formal and really organized, you can have images of health in one area, wealth in another, happiness in one corner and so on. I would just suggest getting started and making it happen. Once you have everything you truly desire stuck to your vision board, place the good photo of yourself in the centre.

The idea behind this is that when you can see yourself, surrounded with images of the things you want and who you want to become, the house you want to buy, the holiday you are looking for… your mind is tricked into thinking that you must have that lifestyle.

It may take a while, but if you are truly dedicated to everything you want out of life then your whole life will start to work towards the goal you have set yourself.

You only get one life, why settle for second best?

I’d love to hear if you have had any experience with building your vision board, or if you want any advice. Give me a call or drop me an email.

This Month’s Business Tip: Writing an Advertorial


Top tips and advice on writing a successful advertorial

Advertorials work much better than a plain old advert. It works better because not only do you get

more focused attention from the reader, but you get to demonstrate your personality, how

professional and qualified you are, and you also get you to explain why the reader would need your

your product or services.

A great Advertorial can build trust from the reader’s point of view, while you generate need or

desire for your product or services.

Writing a great advertorial must serve 2 purposes:

1. You must have something that the reader can relate to and a topic which means something

to the reader.

2. Your Advertorial MUST generate interest from the reader and prompt them to call you.

Too many times many advertisers write great editorials and offer valuable advice, however they get

no response. The main reason is because the reader does not need to call, as there is too much

information or too much advice. On top of that, there is no evidence of a strong call to action.

Below are some tips on how to create great Advertorials –

1. Make sure you have a great headline! This must stop your ideal reader in their tracks and

grab their attention. It must be clear, precise and the reader must understand within a

second what you are writing about.

2. Once you have a great headline, then you must keep the attention of the reader by having a

strong intro. Make sure you drag the attention into the rest of the editorial. You can use this

part of the editorial to identify and align yourself with the readers and their pain points,

objections or fears.

3. Advertorial must not over sell, but don’t be afraid to talk about the process of why people

should buy your products or services. Just don’t overdo it, don’t use clichés or promise

anything which seems too good to be true, and avoid using slogans at all costs.

4. Don’t give everything away! Give just enough information, which creates either need or

desire for what you are talking about, and make sure they have enough information to know

– what, why when, where. You need to make sure that they call you. If you are struggling

with editorial, then use a case study or build a story which demonstrates what you do, but

make it from the point of view of your customers.

5. If you are going to use a story of what you are selling, think about the seasons, time of year,

the type of reader and what kind of people are reading the magazine.

6. Relate to the reader. Build editorial that can relate to your ideal target audience. If you are

in the business of selling to Mums, then make the editorial read in the style that Mums want

to read. If it is Mums you want to attract then use specific language that is more feminine.

Just remember the editorial should be about them and not you!

7. If you are selling your personal services, then use a good picture of yourself. People relate

to, and buy from people. So if they can see who they would be calling, having a professional

profile picture helps identify who you are.

8. If you have enough text space, then don’t be afraid to have a brief detail about who you are,

what experience you have or why you are doing what you are doing. If you have won any

awards or a qualified profession, make sure the readers know this. If you are part of a

professional association, then make sure you get the logo inserted on your contact details.

9. If you are selling a product, have a good picture of the product or people using your product.

10. Be absolutely clear about what you are selling. Don’t overkill, thread your message or

product throughout the editorial. Use any quotes or testimonials where you can.

11. Be absolutely clear that you want readers to contact you. You can build in a sense of urgency

by closing with BUY NOW or CALL ME BEFORE THE END OF THE WEEK, with a special offer or


12. Try not to include pricing. The only time you should run with pricing is if what you have is

exceptionally great value.

13. This might seem obvious but make sure you have your contact details included and make

sure they are correct. Trust me, getting the wrong email address or not even a telephone

number happens often.

14. Make sure you get your editorial read by someone else, and make sure you check grammar

and spelling mistakes. If you want to give a professional opinion, then you must make sure

you have no mistakes and everything reads correctly.

15. Very last top tip – MAKE SURE YOU GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME! Be clear about the

printing deadlines. If you rush anything, mistakes can easily be made.

Be prepared that your advertorial may not work the first time you run it. You need to gain the

confidence and trust of the readers, while creating need or desire. If you are running a one off

advertorial the readers need to gain confidence and trust your opinions.


● Once you have finished, had your editorial proofread, and published, use the article as a

blog. Post on your website!

● Why not make a YouTube video of the editorial? Make sure you put all the words into the

description. Don’t forget to tag the article for SEO!

● Use the article as a newsletter.

● Promote the editorial and the magazine you are published in. If your target clients or

customers are aware of the magazine, then they are more likely to search for it.

● Post your article on Google+, Facebook and why not tweet a link about it.

● If you are in a professional service, post on LinkedIn.

● Ask for feedback from people you know about your article. This will help you understand

what people actually understand and what message you want to get across.


This Month’s Business Tip: Colour Incorporation in Business

This month I want to talk about the benefits of colour choice when it comes to business. I’m sure you’ll all agree – design flaws and shoddy penmanship are a huge turn-off when it comes to advertising!!

I have designed a lot of artwork for clients and I soon realised what NOT to do. When I compare my earlier design efforts, and I look at Omni Local magazine’s early years – I’ve actually stunned myself with how much the look and feel has improved!!

Colours are a big factor. It says something about a person and their intentions. You wouldn’t send a letter to someone in all red ink – you’re not marking their schoolwork!

Here are some generalised explanations as to what colours usually represent:-

RED – A strong, bold colour to opt for. It has the potential to really grab somebody’s attention – just be careful they don’t assume the worst, as red can seem demanding!

YELLOW – Not always the best choice for professionalism, but definitely positive/eye-catching and shows your creative, more expressive side.

BLUE – A sophisticated way to demonstrate a calm and collected demeanour – very professional. Though overusing the “cool” concept, will be harder to make things “pop!”

ORANGE – Lighthearted, which isn’t suited to all businesses – however, showing your passion and free-spirit can always be a benefit – especially when advertising exciting events.

GREEN – Offers a pleasant, friendly vibe, though can be seem dull when overused – or a clear campaign for environmental purposes; always a positive – but depends on your business!

PINK – Comforting and gender-neutral. It can be stimulating and shows psychological power – though a tendency to overuse can be physically draining and emasculating, for some.

PURPLE – Not always ideal, but adds a rich, quality feel to an advert. Its rare that anyone feels a compulsion to shades of purple, and it works for Cadbury’s!!

BROWN – Comforting and warm – think hot chocolate, oaky wooden furnishings… However, broad usage can come across as heavy, sometimes dull and masculine – so consider your theme.

BLACK – A timeless classic that really does go with anything! It creates the perception of commitment, dedication and excellence. Just don’t overdo it with the plain and simple!!

WHITE – Creates an elegant cleanliness to an ad, as long as it isn’t too empty. Make any colour by laying it onto a white background (hence, most stock photography).

GREY – Some think damp and dull, however, greys or shades like silver and chrome can also bring a very chic and modern feel to adverts or websites.

The benefits of colour consideration are clear – Find your theme, stay consistent and don’t mix in too many colours at once!!

For more ideas on how to get the most out of your business, feel free to get in touch with me directly….
Until then, stay well everyone!