Archive for the blog Category

Offshore Support Vessel Website

Offshore Support Vessel Website

a website for offshore support vessel - the Shemarah II LH65

Project:   Offshore Support Vessel Shemarah ii

The Shemarah II is an offshore support vessel working in the petrochemical and offshore wind farm industries.

The clients, Moodie Fishing Company Ltd. were looking for a new website to promote the individual boat Shemarah II, and provide an easily accessible data file, certification and contact forms for anyone looking to charter the boat through their partner site SFF Services Limited.

As well as individual pages detailing the various types of offshore support charters the Shemarah II can work – there was a “blog” function added to the site so that the boat’s owners could easily update the site with their latest news, contracts and further information to back up the boat location application on the homepage.

Part of the contract included us providing SEO keyword research and basic on-page SEO both as part of our copywriting, in the site architecture and page names, image names and various HTML tags throughout the content as a foundation for future off-page SEO.

Beachbody Coach Web Design

beachbody coach michelle whitley wordpress site redesign project

Project: Beachbody Coach Site Redesign

Beachbody Coach Michelle Whitley came to Tartan looking to have her existing Beachbody Coaching website redesigned.

The aims of the redesign were to add a new overall branding and professional / healthy feel to her website – and for it to produce more business for her in terms of sign-ups to her Beachbody coaching courses and to sell more Beachbody product.

Before taking on the project we’d never heard of Beachbody – an American healthy eating and fitness business opportunity in which self employed coaches train and mentor clients in bodily and mental strength, long-term weight control and improve financial self sufficiency through business skills training with an opportunity to earn income through selling healthy supplements and exercise programs.

beachbody coaching nutrition support and fitnessWe quickly realised just how big a thing Beachbody is in the US – and how competitive it is – so we set about ensuring that Michelle’s site would give a more professional first impression through new branding, new site-wide template graphics and clearer calls to action.

Michelle will be providing all the site’s copy and is currently putting together a free product to build an e-mail list.

Tartan will be providing Michelle with social branding in early 2013 with a Facebook Fan Page and Facebook app. to increase her interaction, social reach and potential traffic and particularly to become less reliant on search engines for traffic.

We will shortly be offering specific Beachbody coach web design packages on our new US specific website at – launching mid 2013

The Sky Is Falling Official: SEO Panic Ensues

evil penguin

The Death of SEO

by Alison Macdonald, Tartan’s SEOmonger

Matt Cutts, SEO’s most favourite person in the whole wide word is a very clever man.

At SES San Francisco just passed he was making a little speech – OK so it was a keynote speech. In this wee chat with the enraptured audience he mentioned a couple of fairly inflammatory things.

(But like a bad sales page lets not get onto that quite yet. A quick “previously on ER” moment first.)

As almost anyone involved in SEO will be aware, the now infamous Google Penguin algorithm update happened a while back in April. In internet time that means it came out about 1978.

With Penguin, much of what SEO had been about up until that point got a little penalized. Every SEO forum on the planet was declaring SEO dead and buried. Loads of smaller scale webmasters saw their hard work ruined as their sites vanished from the SERPs overnight and hung up their SEO-hats for good.

These were not happy times. Heck, my good friend lost a site about shawarma recipes.

But 1978 was a long time ago – and since then the mood has changed and people began to realise that SEO wasn’t dead after all. Phew.

Junk link blasts started getting bought again on Fiverr, autoblogs continued to autoblog, authority sites continued to steal content from everyone – and spun articles were getting posted out to all and sundry – except now the anchor text variation knob was turned up to 11. You know – for penguin safety.

Warrior Special Offers and Black Hat traders were selling penguin proof link packages hand over fist. E-books and tools were flying off the shelves. Ha hah! SEO was alive and well! Take THAT Penguin!

Of course, some where still rattled and kept an eye on the skies for news of yet more doom.
Questions were asked again and again. When’s the next Penguin Update? How long till the next update Matt? Matty – whens the next Penguin?

So when Matt Cutts took to the stage at SES there were a few questions on one or two of the attendees lips.

Here he was, spotlight on the head of search spam at Google – and as an answer to when the next algorithm refresh was coming he looked coldly down to the audience, menace dripping from his tongue*:

you don’t want the next Penguin update.

As a shocked hush spread amongst the aghast SEOs present Matt continued, the Google “engineers have been working hard,” on this update before adding in what was almost a hiss – that the next few updates will be “jarring and jolting” for webmasters and SEOs alike.

Before Matt had even had chance to raise his hands up clawlike* and cackle* these quotes were spreading over the Google-run internet faster than pirated content.

From SEOmoz to Search Engine Land there was wailing and gnashing of teeth unheard of since the previous month. SEO was dead. Again.

Fights broke out, flamers flamed and trolls trolled. People swore. Marketers stopped facebook liking their own product launches. It was Armageddon.

In the same way that everyone knows where they were when the Paris Hilton tapes came out – Matt’s latest shot across the bows to anyone involved in Search Engine Optimisation, Internet Marketing or The American Way is going to go down in history.

So, it’s with a heavy heart that I close down our SEO operation, pack up my UAW, Market Samurai and SpinnerChief and bid you adios.

Until next week.

*Note – some of this may have been dramatised

Your Copy and the Time/Quality Conundrum

the importance of good web copywriting

Copywriting, copy and placeholder text

by Alison Macdonald, Tartan’s SEOmonger

You’ve got your new website design. It’s looking great, you’re feeling positive, bursting with excitement… but the copy you promised your designers would be in before the launch hasn’t quite materialised yet.

Sure you got some of it done; the home page, the about us page and a flurry of blog posts a day apart… but then that whole running-your-business-malarky got in the way.


Don’t worry it’s not just you

In fact our site’s been up for a month now and only today did I notice there’s a page still filled to bursting with mock latin.

Google’s been over and had a look at it several times. Ouch

And of course now I’m wondering how many potential clients have seen it and thought “If these tartan web design guys can’t even finish their OWN site why would we let them do ours”?


So how does half finished content affect you?

Badly is the honest answer.

Only today Mussleburgh based copywriter Jamie Graham reinforced what we were thinking:

I have heard of some agencies waiting for months for the client to supply the copy. In these situations it’s surely better to use a copywriter as it will get the website up and running and starting to make a return for the business. I don’t think many people will return to a site that has dummy copy displayed.


So with Jamie’s words ringing in my ear like some Scottish Obi Wan I looked at our unfinished page again and this time examined the web statistics from our server.

It was harrowing. Every single person who happened to venture onto this page left the site. Immediately.

We were leaking traffic like a sieve… and yet this wasn’t the worst thing.


No for that, lets go back to our beloved Google. Anybody wanting to rank their site highly in the search engine wants Google to like them. Google’s spiders will visit your site regularly looking for content, examining both quantity and quality.

If they come across an unfinished page they’ll make a note and come back another time to see if it’s been completed.

A few visits pass and that page is still sitting there filled with Lorem Ipsum text or the words  “under construction”? You’re going to be marked down.

And it’s official. In recent algorithm changes Google has decided that even a single low quality page on a site can bring down the site’s OVERALL quality score.

Unfinished page? You’re going down the SERPs my friend.


Web Copy and Time

But lets say you DO find the time to write all your website copy – is this really the best use of your skills?

Ocean Copy’s Jamie adds:

I also find it hard to understand how clients don’t appreciate their own time has a cost attached to it. For example a Marketing Manager writing the copy to save money isn’t actually saving money; it’s costing his/her company however many hours of their time, which in many cases amounts to more than a copywriter would have cost!


With the best will in the world it can be hard to better the content of a professional copywriter – and while this post wasn’t intended to be an advert for Jamie (!) his words do ring true. Even for us.

Mac builds our websites – he codes and plays around for hours with photoshop – but all the while he’s doing what he’s best at and brining us in revenue.

I work on search engine optimisation, and not stealing Mac’s thunder also do a bit on the design front. But copy? Copy where it matters? Clients copy?

Sure we’ll do it – and in modesty we’ll do it well. Our Emma excels at copywriting but sadly (for us) she’s fully booked on long term contracts with a few clients – so on the copy front that leaves me and Mac.

And that’s how we missed a page. We’re busy. It’s not our most super-special favourite thing in the world. We put it off.

If this is you, keep doing what you’re best at. Realise that your time is more important than the money you’re saving by writing DIY copy. Understand that an unfinished page or unfinished pages are going to harm both your reputation and your ranking in the search engines.

Get a copywriter on board.

Now maybe I’ll go ring Jamie 😉

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Edinburgh

in this example illustration we're targeting phrases centered around seo edinburgh

Search Engine Optimisation in Edinburgh

Using SEO Edinburgh as an Optimisation Example


In this SEO article we’re going to look at the basic end of on-page SEO – for this example we’ll be optimising the page for the search term SEO Edinburgh.

We’re not saying that this is exactly how you should do it – in fact to illustrate some of the common methods available and using them all on a single page we’ve effectively OVER optimised it.

Because Tartan are an Edinburgh web design company offering ethical search engine optimisation services, our example phrase is something that we would probably go after anyway – getting the phrase ranked highly in the search engines will drive targeted traffic seeking local SEO services. Anything that gets your site traffic for free helps keep your prices competitive or maximises your profits.

So how is the on-page optimisation going? So far we’re at 107 words and have managed to mention the phrase or some closely related phrases 5 times. Obviously this may seem a lot but reading the page back hopefully it doesn’t read as excessive. We’ve done this because phrases mentioned at the top of an article tend to carry more SEO weight than those lower down a page (with the exception of the last line on a page) and so it would most likely be fine if we didn’t mention SEO Edinburgh again. Except we’ve just done it…

seo edinburgh

Tartan: Local Edinburgh SEO

You’ll note the first few times we mentioned our phrase we used it in a bold font and then we italicized it.

Also, the way this website is coded, the page title gets used within an H1 tag automatically. We went on to mention Edinburgh SEO type phrases again in an H2 heading tag followed immediately by an H4 subheading tag.

See that boring tartan image over there? We’ve optimised it by using the phrase in its file name, a descriptive alt tag and a title tag – although we’ve been careful not to use the exact same phrase each time.

The key is to give the search engines a pretty good idea of what the page is about without constant repetition – in fact recent algorithm changes have cracked down hard on this type of excessive on-page optimisation (and artificial off page link building using the same keyphrase in every link).

Don’t do it kids!

While it’s not visible on this page, there’s a page title and page description within the head code of our site. Chances are strong that if you found this page in Google or any other search engine (they do exist) you will have seen the result of this in our listing. The search engine will have displayed a 70 character long phrase containing 2 variants of our target term, because we told them the title to display using this title tag:

SEO Edinburgh: We’re an Edinburgh search engine optimisation practice

In fact by illustrating it again – and then by drawing further attention to it in blockquotes we’re now absolutely overstepping the mark  and we’re running a serious danger that this page is becoming over optimised for the phrase.

Back in the day, over optimisation meant keyword-stuffing – and even though you still see sites ranking highly with huge swathes of keyword links in the sidebar or footer area, this is now a big no-no. Most SEOs suggest never exceeding 2% keyword volume per page – but the fact of the matter is Google’s latest algorithm considers keyword stuffing to be using the same phrase in all the tags we’ve illustrated so far. Even an exact match domain name can send a spam signal in certain niches.

We’re only at 464 words and yet we’ve officially maxed out the phrase. Anything more and the article is keyword-stuffed and we risk some form of penalty.

Don’t worry though. In a regular article or web page you’re probably never going to be mentioning your keyphrase this much – but because this is intended as a basic on-page optimisation illustration we’re really going to town.

We mention our target phrase again in our page description – even though there is no real merit to this with Google, as they say they ignore keywords in descriptions. We also wanted to try and attract clicks so we mentioned that we are low cost and ethical:

Tartan are the local SEO Edinburgh based professional practice delivering low cost search engine optimisation services in an ethical sustainable way

Continuing with on-page methods, another thing a lot of people suggest adding is a link to an authority site such as Wikipedia or a related authority site. In our example we could go for an outbound text based link using the target location of Edinburgh – or the subject of SEO – as the keyphrase. Targeting the full phrase and providing a link to a related site – ie ANOTHER Edinburgh SEO website – would only increase page rank to a rival site – which isn’t good.

Now this outbound link – there is a lot of discussion that the search engines are wise to this trick (of course they are) and on whether this should be tagged as no-follow.

We feel when leaving it as “follow” there is no real loss of link “juice” and you’re showing the search engines that you really rate this site – and aren’t just up to some dodgy SEO trick.


SEO Edinburgh Video

Video is a fantastic on-page medium and with it being so easy to create a video, upload it to YouTube and then embed it on a website you’re missing a trick if you don’t use video. It keeps people on your site longer, another metric that search engines use to see how valuable the content on your website is. A further benefit is that your video if optimised properly in itself using tags, and descriptions targeting your phrase then it may well show up in search results too. Double bonus.


Obviously we’ve not made a video but we love this short and rather odd song about Edinburgh SEO! Good on them. It’s a perfect example of what to do and this company has probably bought a gig on Fiverr to have a 30 second film made using their keyword. It works.

So thats it. Basic and easily implemented on-page optimisation for our keyphrase SEO Edinburgh. The methods are the same whether you’re a Dean Dentist, a Haymarket Herbalist or a Mornigside Musician. Need a hand? Call us today we’re the Edinburgh SEO specialists!

Action Versus Perfection

Back when we were first getting started in internet marketing, a ludicrously successful player in the game told Alan and myself that taking action was the single most important factor in any campaign.

He said do something, anything, to get your product or service up and out there immediately.

Don’t go for perfection, don’t try to get everything “just so” – you’ve got to get it launched and only then start fine tuning your offer…

It’s worked well for us. First in line counts for a lot – especially with search engines.

So with his advice echoing around my head Jedi-style, our Tartan site is now officially launched and live.

We’ve got the important stuff up – and our special launch offer web design prices are there for all to see.

In fact we’ve got our first reputation management commission already – even with an unfinished site that’s still a little ragged round the edges.

Tartan Web Design are open for business.
(what did you expect? a fanfare?)


Updated Google Webmaster Academy Videos

A must watch series of videos for all webmasters

and  not  all  of  them  are  starring  Matt  Cutts:    Shocker!

For anyone running their own website – or taking an active interest in all things Search Engine Optimsation related, this small series of short videos , care of the updated Google Webmaster Academy should be on the Must Watch list.

Some of them are old (but golden) but most are brand spanking new.

So grab a few chocolate digestives, turn off the phone and get ready to drink from the Google Kool-aid…

The good stuff to put on your website…

The BAD stuff. Boo Hiss! Spam!

Different flavours of spam.

Getting visible when there’s not a whole lot of text on your site. (with Matt!)

Site Maps and webmaster tools

Thinly veiled advert for Google Plus.

“Here’s a fun one”

Welcome to the Tartan Web Design Blog


There’s nothing worse than a half finished website – especially when you’re in the business of building websites – so I’ll keep this first blog post brief.

I’m Alan – one third of a brand spanking new East Lothian web design agency.

So brand spanking new that this here Tartan Web Design website is still filled to bursting with Lorem Impum latin and placeholders, the Twitter account has two tweets and no uploaded image, Facebook is empty and void of likes (please do…) and I have no contacts whatsoever in LinkedIn.

So – on behalf of myself, Emma and Alison, I’d like to welcome you to our blog.

We’re three friends who met in geeky circles – all involved in digital content, web design, marketing – in fact all things commercial web. After much too-ing and fro-ing we’ve bitten that bullet, taken our futures in our own trembling hands and set forth together – bringing web design and search engine optimisation to the good people of East Lothian.

The plan is we’re going to be offering free web design to select East Lothian businesses while we fill our portfolio and more details of this will be announced in the next few days. If you’re interested get in touch using our contact form.

As well as web design we’re offering search engine optimisation at reduced rates for these initial free clients – so there are going to be a few companies saving quite a pile of cash over our first month.

Not only is our new website being build but our office in Dunbar is being revamped and spruced up – ready to be a throbbing hive of activity over the coming months.

It’s all rather exciting.

So, without further ado – I declare Tartan Web Design’s blog (and mostly finished-ish website) open.
(cuts virtual ribbon)
Alan Macallister

E-commerce Directory

Free Web Design in East Lothian

free website design East Lothian

Launch offer: Free web design!

Ridiculous as it may seem, we’re offering 100% free web design services to a few lucky local businesses.

We’re a brand spanking new East Lothian based web design company and to get the ball rolling we are indeed offering our web design services free of charge. Nada. Nil. Not a penny.

You’ll get a fabulous new website and we’ll get good testimonials and sites to fill our portfolio.

Don’t worry. Our company may be new – but between us we’ve got more experience building successful commercial websites than our youthful faces would suggest.


The Offer

So what DO you get for free?

We’re not even offering our starter package, good as it is – oh no.

We’re offering some of our excellent basic web design packages and even a few premium web design packages on a first come first served basis.

That’s a custom website, built and published just for you – all artwork, photo-manipulation and editing, all coding and geeky programming, done and dusted.

All you need to provide is some written content and to tell us a bit about yourself, your company and your website preferences – and we’ll do the rest.

Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Free web design offer now closed – thank you

Alan Macallister