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Reaching for the top

17 May 2011 / Daniel Selwood , Paul Foxton
Categories: Google , SEO
In the first of a regular advice column, our search engine expert, PAUL FOXTON, answers readers' questions

The man who attends to’s search engine optimisation (SEO) is Paul Foxton. A few weeks ago, he was introduced to readers, who were invited to submit questions on how to improve their sites’ performances on Google – and, ultimately, turn ranking success into paying customers*.

This is the first column in which Paul provides answers. If you’re a tax adviser who wants advice on SEO and/or client conversions, send us an email; you’ll get a response online at the next available opportunity.

David Sutton of Sutton McGrath Ltd, Sheffield, asks…

We are in the process of upgrading our website. How do we get it in the top three on the first page of unpaid listings on Google?

Paul replies…

For which keyword would you like to rank, David? I’d say you’d be best off with ‘accountant in Sheffield’ – a search for which at the time of writing has your site on page two. The top seven results on the first page are firms that are registered with Google Places.

So, the first thing you need to do is to sign up for your own Place (which was covered in Rev Those Engines!), and then add yourself to regional business directories –, for instance – being sure to include your postal address. Asking satisfied clients to leave favourable reviews on listings sites like would help, too.

To rank first in non-Places results, you will need to attract links from quality sites. The ideal would be HMRC’s (or this one, of course), but any reputable online presence will be beneficial to some degree or other. Practical, engaging content could attract some links from worthwhile organisations.

Finally, you should tweak the title tags on each web page, to make them more comprehensive and targeted. Take, for example, the page aimed at business start-ups. The title is currently ‘Sutton McGrath Ltd – Business Start-up Services’, whereas ‘Business Start-up Accountancy Services in Sheffield from Sutton McGrath Ltd’ would more likely lead to Google glory, especially when combined with tightly selected keywords.

Gareth Thomas of Orchard Davies, Cardiff, asks…

Are my website’s metatags correct?

Paul replies…

They’re good, Gareth – as your ranking on some keywords testifies. If you want to maintain your success in that regard, you should add subject-specific content to the pages of your site that currently have simply promotional blurb or no wording at all. And get yourself a Google Place.

*While Paul is an SEO expert, his advice cannot guarantee results - especially not ones of the instant variety.


Categories: Google , SEO
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