The Midcounties Co-operative Travel

Coop Travel Logo

Who are The Midcounties Co-operative Travel

Social Media, Online PR,  and usability analysis and enhancement

The Midcoutnies Co-operative are the largest independent UK co-operative. Their gross sales are in excess of £738 million. They cover a wide range of areas including West Midlands, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.


How We Helped

Odyssey New Media were asked to help Co-operative Travel ( improve their SEO efforts in order to maximise their organic search presence. A large part of our optimisation efforts involved completely re-writing and expanding their content,  In addition we have been involved in elements of Social Media, Online PR,  usability analysis and enhancement.

The focus was to increase organic search traffic and online sales from organic search.





Who are Marval

Established since 1989, Marval Software ( are acknowledged by both the ITSM industry and by its customers as being one of the best and most experienced Solutions Providers for IT Service Management.

Marval deliver web-based ITIL® process compliant integrated IT Service Management software.  It also provides ITSM consultancy and ITSM education services.


How We Helped

Odyssey New Media has assisted Marval Software since 2010.  During this time we have helped Marval significantly improve its cross-channel marketing efforts.

Odyssey has assisted Marval in improving the following core digital channels:

  • Search marketing – SEO & PPC (as well as their Social Media).
  • Analysis and consultancy on website development.
  • Consultancy on website re-designs and re-development.
  • Conversion Rate enhancement analysis and recommendations.


The focus has been, and continues to be, on generating quality leads and enquiries throughout the website.

Knowledge Powered Solutions

Who are Knowledge Powered Solutions

Knowledge Powered Solutions ( offer knowledge management software solutions to help business improve customer experience and deliver operational efficiencies. Their solutions can apply to many industry sectors including: help desks, web self service, contact centres and more.


How We Helped

Odyssey New Media were asked to work alongside another Digital agency in order to help manage Knowledge Powered Solutions’ Google AdWords PPC account as well as help out with their SEO efforts, online PR and usability analysis and enhancement.

The PPC account had previously been managed badly by an overseas marketing company and performance was very poor so a lot of analysis and refinement has been undertaken in order to get it to work and generate quality leads for KPS.

The focus was not for numbers of leads but rather the quality of leads.


KPS logo


NeutraHealth Plc

Who are NeutraHealth Plc

NutraHealth Plc ( is a wholly owned subsidiary of Elder Pharmaceuticals Ltd. They operate a healthcare businesses which includes brands and own label manufacture.


How We Helped

Odyssey New Media were known to Neutrahealth Plc from the time our Owner & Managing Director – Rob Stoubos worked for them. After leaving Neutrahealth Plc to run Odyssey New Media full-time, we were asked to continue working on the SEO, PPC and Social Media activity for three core brand websites:


Why Business Owners Need to Remove Intrusive Interstitial Ads Pre 2017

If your business uses intrusive interstitial ads on its website, then now is the time to consider removing them. Google’s ranking algorithm is about to be updated and will view intrusive interstitials as a negative ranking factor.

Business owners have until January 10th 2017 to remove intrusive interstitials, if they do not wish to have their webpages penalised.


What are Intrusive Interstitials

Google is about to crack down on intrusive interstitials on the mobile web and this type of advert usually opens as a webpage is loading in.

A statement from Google expresses that “Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller.”

Google further states that “While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.”

Pages that continue to use intrusive interstitial ads may be penalised from this date, and in mobile search results, they may not rank as highly.

Removing this type of ad should not be overlooked. The importance of this action becomes apparent when we consider that more searches are made from mobiles, compared to searches made on desktops.


Problematic Interstitials

Examples of Interstitials that make content less accessible


Problematic interstitials are easy to identify and will generally be one of the following types of ad:


  • Pop-ups that cover the main content immediately after the visitor navigates to a page or while they are browsing the page.
  • Standalone interstitials that have to be closed before the page’s content is visible.
  • Layouts that show the above-the-fold portion of the page as an interstitial, while the original content is in-lined underneath the fold.


Non-Problematic Interstitials

Examples of Interstitials that would not be affected by the new signal
Not all interstitials are problematic. Here are three types of interstitials that are not problematic:

  • Interstitials that are incorporated in response to a legal obligations, such as age verification interstitials or cookie usage interstitials
  • Top or bottom advert banners that don’t take up too much space and that are easy to dismiss
  • Log-in dialogues on sites where the content is not publicly index-able or the content is behind a pay wall


Why Intrusive Interstitials are Important

Google has focused on intrusive interstitials as part of its strategy to improve the user’s experience, which is one that is more and more likely yo be taking place on a mobile device. These ads are just part of an overall strategy that business’s need to respond to, in order to rank well in SERPs.


Currently, Google has identified that 85% of pages in mobile search results are mobile-friendly. This means that the content on these pages is readable without zooming, and tap targets/buttons are appropriately spaced for touch screens.


Business owners should begin by checking if their website is mobile friendly. This can be done by using the mobile friendly test and mobile usability report, found in Google’s Search Console.


Is your Business using Intrusive Interstitials?

If you need help removing intrusive interstitials or optimising your website for mobile search, then Odyssey New Media can help. Contact Odyssey New Media today at or call us on 0844 500 6911.

5 Google Ranking Factors you shouldn’t overlook in 2016

With 3.5 billion Google searches made everyday, it is more important than ever to understand the Google Ranking Factors that affect the position of your website, in search results.


The Google Algorithm has 200 major ranking factors and here we take a look at 5 Google ranking factors that you shouldn’t overlook in 2016.


1. Links

Links going into your site still impact ranking significantly and when quality and page relevance issues don’t exist, it is probably the most important factor of all. Domain diversity is key with the number of domains linking to your website correlating directly to its ranking.


2. Content

Content that is topically relevant will of course rank better but it is long form content that can lift a website up through the search results. Each webpage should concentrate on the topic in depth and cover just a single topic. Longer content ranks higher with webpages on the first page of search results typically containing almost 2,000 words on average.


3. RankBrain

RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence system, which Google confirmed that it had been using in October 2015. RankBrain interprets search queries to find more relevant results, even if the search phrase doesn’t match the words on a webpage.


RankBrain does this because it understands complex ‘long-tail’ search queries and how they relate and are similar to other unconnected complex search phrases. This adds weight to the power of long form content, where pages without a keyword can still rank higher than other pages, if the topic is discussed in detail.


4. Mobile Friendliness

Since May 2016, mobile friendliness has played a more important role on mobile search results. Webpages that are relevant and mobile friendly rank highly and with more Google searches being made though mobile devices (50 billion per month) than a desktop, its importance cannot be overlooked.


The page speed of mobile pages will be ranked separately in the latter half of 2016 and this hints that mobile friendly sites will rank higher than those that are not.


5. Local Search

Local search is directly affected by the popularity of your business. The most powerful indicators of popularity includes Google Reviews and Profile Views.


Other important Google ranking factors

There are many other Google ranking factors to consider and the most important of these includes having a HTTPS URL, as discussed in our post ‘How SSL Certificates and Dedicated IP Addresses Affect SEO’.


In addition to this, content with at least one image will rank better than content without an image, although having more than one image does not further improve rankings. Exact match anchor text still has a strong influence on Google rankings and although Click Through Rates (CTR) do not affect ranking, as it is too easy to falsely replicate, it indirectly affects ranking as a low bounce rate will improve rankings.


Improving your Google rankings and SEO content writing

Do you need in depth SEO analysis, management and content writing for your website? If so, please contact Odyssey New Media for help at or call us on 0844 500 6911.

How SSL Certificates and Dedicated IP Addresses Affect SEO

Two elements that can affect the SEO of online businesses are SSL Certificates and Dedicated IP addresses. Here we take a look at how these interwoven elements could help your business appear higher on Search Engine Ranking Pages.


SSL Certificates

An SSL Certificate is required by businesses for ecommerce and for collecting customer’s personal information online. The SSL Certificate works as a security token and this is used to protect customer information that is private and moved across the web.


Essentially, an SSL Certificate provides security for customers and that builds trust. Websites that have SSL certification are identified with a green lock or green-coloured bar in the address bar of the user’s web browser.


Website visitors and consumers are today understanding that a green lock or green bar indicates that the business ‘s website they are using is safe, their credit or debit card details will be safe, sensitive information will be encrypted and the website can be trusted as genuine.


Since 2014, Google has used SSL Certificates and HTPPS in its ranking algorithm. Putting these elements into place will help protect emails and domain names from phishing scams and they ensure that it is hard, if not impossible, to clone their website.


In order for a website to have an SSL Certificate, it needs to have a dedicated IP address or static IP address, which in turn leads to other improvements in SEO.


Dedicated IP Addresses

Business websites use a hosting company to put them online and often no attention is given to the type of IP address that will be used. The IP address could be either a dedicated IP address or a shared IP address.


Shared IP addresses can be used to host multiple websites, all of which share the same IP address. The hosting server determines which website to display, based upon the URL entered. When a dedicated IP address has been issued, the website has its own exclusive IP address and the website can be located using both its URL and IP address.


However, it is not the dedicated IP address itself that improves search engine rankings. It is the fact that having a dedicated IP addresses means that the website’s loading speed is improved, as the IP address isn’t being used to host numerous websites, potentially being viewed by thousands of visitors.


A website’s loading speed is a factor that is assessed by the search engine algorithms of Google and Bing. A dedicated IP address will also reduce the website’s downtime and number of server crashes.


It is clear that SSL Certificates and dedicated IP addresses play a part in SEO, while offering enhanced performance and security for website visitors and consumers.


Odyssey New Media can help you with your SSL, Servers and SEO Efforts

Odyssey New Media ( can help you setup hosting, install your SSL and improve your SEO efforts through expert SEO management. Contact Odyssey New Media for help at or call us on 0844 500 6911.

Top 7 Tips to Writing Good SEO Content

The key to a successful website is content. It can’t just be any old content though. It has to be good quality content. This is the type of content that gets found in the search engines, shared, and keeps visitors on your website. Poor quality content does not do that. In fact, poor quality content may do a lot of harm to your business. Thankfully, producing content which is loved by the masses is not actually all that difficult. If you bear the following tips in mind, you will be well on your way towards giving your site a bit of a content spruce-up.


Tip One: Think About What You Want to Write

Before you start typing, you need to have a plan. You need to know exactly what you wish to put in the content. How detailed this plan is will be up to you. I suggest that you think about the following at the absolute minimum.


  • The title. – This is actually the most important element of the content that you produce. The title is the element which compels people to read more. Make it eye catching but descriptive. Tell the reader exactly what they should expect if they read your content. Take the title of this article. It tells you exact content that you will read. You will discover seven tips for producing better content. You are reading this because you expect those tips.
  • What is the goal of the article? – The title that you come up with well tell you a little about the overall goal of the article. You wish to go beyond this though. Are you looking to produce an informative post (like this one!), are you looking to promote a product or service that you sell? Are you looking to share a little bit of news? How is this piece of content going to impact your business? For example, an informative post tends to be designed to pull people into the website via the search engines or social media, same with news-related posts. Discussions of particular products or services are designed to make a sale.
  • Who is your target audience? – Who are you writing for? This will dictate your writing style. The way in which you will write for a lawyer will be completely different than, say, if you were expecting a teenager to read your content.
  • What do you wish to cover in the article? – Make a list. It doesn’t have to be detailed. You just need to know what you will be writing about. Think of this as similar to the essay plans you used to produce at school.


Tip Two: Keep It Short

Long content is not great for websites. People hate to read huge passages of text on a screen. You can get away with it in some cases. It is, however, suggested that you try to keep posts to a maximum of 1,500 words. Any more than that is too long. Most pieces of content should focus on one very specific point. If your article is getting too long, you may wish to break it up into a series of articles. This is a great way to keep people coming back for more and more.


Tip Three: Write For Your Audience, Not the Search Engines

A common misconception is that you should be writing for the search engines. Don’t do that. It isn’t quality content. When you write for the search engines, the reader of the content will know. The content will be almost ‘robotic’ in nature. Content produced expressly for the search engines is never going to keep visitors on your website for long. This does not mean that you can forget about those keywords, however. A good tip is to write the content in a natural manner. While you are doing so, forget about the keywords. Once you have completed the content and given it a bit of a clean-up, you can then start to incorporate the keywords wherever they will slot naturally. Don’t go overboard. Continue to read your content to make sure that everything sounds as natural as possible.


Will this have an impact on your search engine positions? Nope! Well, it will. It will have a positive impact. Search engines are smarter than ever before. In fact, they are getting smarter each and every day. They know how to recognise good content and ignore content which has been produced primarily for the search engines. Good quality content will always be ranked higher in the search engines.


Tip Four: Check the Content!

Whenever you complete a piece of content, you should give it a proofread instantly. If you spot any glaring errors, then fix them. It is then suggested that you leave the piece of content to sit for a day or two. You can then go back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. At this point, you may start to notice that large pieces of content need to be changed. It is not uncommon for me to go back after a couple of days and completely rewrite everything. I think of new, slightly better, ways of saying something. You have to know when to call it quits, though. You can’t forever be editing a piece of content. If it is error free and reads well, it is probably ready to be published.


Finally, run the content through a ‘checker’ such as Grammarly (it is completely free!). It will check for any spelling or grammatical errors. It is not perfect, but it gets the job done.


Tip Five: Use Subheadings

Good quality content is easy to navigate. Make sure you use subheadings. This will enable the reader to quickly browse to the section which they are most interested in. Even if your content is not ‘browsable’ like this, you should still break it up. Paragraph after paragraph is not pleasant to read.


Tip Six: Use Reliable Sources

When you are producing your content, try to quote relevant sources. I know it can seem a little bit strange to ‘link’ to other websites from your site, but it works. Firstly, linking to authority websites will tell the reader that you researched the content. This tells them that the content is reliable. In addition to this, the search engines love when content links to reputable sources e.g. Wikipedia and similar sites. You may actually notice a boost in the search engine results because of this. This means more people landing on your site, hopefully buying whatever you have to offer.


Tip Seven: Be Original

Make sure that your content is original. You should never just ‘rewrite’ articles that you find online, tempting as it may be when you are looking to save time. Instead, give the content your own unique spin. You do not even wish for it to follow the same structure as any other article found online. Perhaps the best way to get around this is to utilise a variety of different sources during the research stages. It is suggested that you try to cover ground that no other article has before. If you are an expert in your niche, this should be relatively simple. Good quality, unique content stands out from the crowd. If you are known for doing things a little bit different from the norm, people will come and visit your website. You may even notice a little boost in the search engine results.


Finally, in a bid to stay original you should always run your article through a service like CopyScape (not free, but affordable). This will allow you to see if any elements of your content are the same as others pieces of content found online. If they are, make sure you change them! ‘Stolen’ content is the shortcut to getting your website shooting down the search engine results page.


These are just a few tips to get you started in content writing. It is a lot to digest. I know. However, you will get the hang of it. The more you write, the easier it will become. As you start to become better with producing content, try to incorporate new elements into your writing. Throw in an image or video every now and then. It will make your content far more appealing to look at. If you continue to produce high quality content, you will notice a huge boost in the number of people coming to your site. This means more money in your pocket. That is always great, right?


Contact Odyssey New Media for help with writing SEO Content for your website

Odyssey New Media provide SEO content writing services. If your business needs help with improving your SEO onsite content as well as your SEO inbound strategy then you can contact Odyssey New Media for help at or call us on 0844 500 6911.

Improve Local SEO with Schema Markup


One of the easiest ways to improve local SEO efforts is to use Schema markup ( Schema code can be added to a website and it helps search engines to identify text that is critically important.


Schema markup is used by search engines such as Google, Bing (the default search engine for Windows 10 devices and the Cortana assistant) and Yahoo. These search engines use this information, in conjunction with other information, to order local search engine results.


Schema markup can be used to confirm information such as the business name, phone number and address. The code can be used to go way beyond this though and examples are highlighted later on, in this ‘digital marketing how to’.

Schema code essentially allows search engines to recognise this important information easier and more precisely, as the code indicates that an address is an address. The code can be implemented to quickly help a business’s SEO efforts. believes that only 500,000 to 1,000,00 million domains are using its code worldwide (0.15 to 0.3 percent), meaning that your local competitors are unlikely to be using the code, which is open source and sponsored by the major search engines.


Schema markup code

The Schema markup code is placed in the background HTML and is not visible on the business’s website itself. The code can only be viewed by website visitors who look at the website’s source code.


When Schema markup is used to identify content that is visible on a website, it doesn’t change how that content looks.


Here is an example of Schema markup code:

<span itemprop=”openingHours” content=”Tu,Th 16:00-20:00″>Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-8pm</span>


Schema Labels

There are many Schema labels that can be used to help improve local SEO rankings and some of the most useful of these are shown below:


  • priceRange
  • award
  • department
  • addressLocality
  • addressRegion
  • servesCuisine
  • additionalProperty
  • geo


Schema Relevancy for Different Types of Business Websites

Schema markup code also exists for identifying local events and reviews. Reviews can be rated with a number of stars and this information is shown in Google search results.


To ensure that a business is correctly identified and thus will generate relevant local search engine traffic, its business type can be labeled and some of the most common examples are shown below:


  • ChildCare
  • DryCleaningOrLaundry
  • EmploymentAgency
  • FinancialService
  • FoodEstablishment
  • HealthAndBeautyBusiness
  • InternetCafe
  • LegalService
  • SportsActivityLocation
  • Store
  • TravelAgency


Contact Odyssey New Media for help with your Schema markup code and SEO


Odyssey New Media is a digital marketing agency, based in Birmingham. We provide a wide range of online marketing services to help you improve your visibility on the internet. If you require SEO services, PPC services or anything else relating to digital marketing and development, then please contact us at or call us on 0844 500 6911.


About The Author

Robert Stoubos – Founder & Managing Director at Odyssey New Media, a leading Digital Marketing Agency based in Birmingham, UK. With over 10+ years experience in Digital Marketing Rob has is a results-driven marketer with the skills required to successfully implement cross-channel digital marketing campaigns that generate increased brand awareness, sales and ROI. Specialising in search marketing i.e. SEO and PPC. Other channels Rob has experience and interest in include Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Social Media and Website Conversion Enhancement. If you want to improve your sales, increase sales leads and grow your customer base then contact us today and see what we can do to help your company acheive your goals. Email or Call us now on 0844 500 6911.

How Proximity Marketing with Beacons will change SEO

Beacons and proximity marketing behaviours are about to change SEO over the next 12 to 24 months, making it essential for retailers and businesses to adopt this emerging technology.

Here we take a look at how beacons will play a role in digital marketing and how search engines may rank local search queries, through the data provided by beacons.


What Beacons are and how they work

Beacons are small Bluetooth (BLE 4.0) signal transmitters with a localised range. They can recognise when a smartphone is nearby and are designed to allow retailers or businesses to communicate with shoppers or clients.

Deployed in-store or in-reception for businesses, beacons use push notifications to show nearby clients ads, discounts, promotions or any other message that the business may wish to share.

Android and Apple iOS smartphones have had Bluetooth BLE 4.0 built in since 2013, and dual-mode beacons can now simultaneously transmit data to these devices.

The beacons themselves, are managed via a beacon management system, which allows the control staff to customise notifications, the proximity to which a push notification will be issued and the timing to deliver that content.

The latest beacons have Wi-Fi, giving a secondary communication method to interact with clients, while making beacons IoT devices (Internet of Things).

Next, we take a look at how beacons can and will be used to affect search engine rankings and provide more specific digital marketing messages..


Previous Search Queries

A client or consumer’s previous search engine queries could be identified by a beacon and this information could be used to push more relevant information to the client, who is using a smartphone or tablet.

For example, if the device owner has searched for a specific brand or product previously, then the beacon could push a notification or advert to the device owner about that brand or product.


Beacon Data and Google

Google could collect beacon data, either directly from the beacon or the consumers device, including the exact location, foot traffic and interactions, and use this information as a ranking factor for local internet search results.

This beacon data could be added to the already strongly influenced Google local search results, which are ranked upon where the person is and what is around them. Beacon data could affect search engine results in real-time.


Facebook Likes

Beacons could also in the future, use Facebook data to see what friends have liked and use this information. For example, if a smartphone user walks into a store, the beacon could know that their spouse has recently liked a product or brand and push a tailored ad based on that information.


SEO and Digital Marketing

Beacons can also simply be used to collect data on who has been where, without at that time pushing a notification or ad to that person. Digital marketers and search engines could then use this data to target specific marketing to them, at a later time or even on another device.

Digital marketing consultants could use footfall and proximity data to develop SEO strategies based upon the in-store products or displays that attracted clients attention the most.


Beacons and the Future

The way in which beacon data is used and its role in SEO is set to become more influential in the near future. However, beacon technology already exists and software updates will be used to tap into their potential.


Therefore, new beacons will not necessarily need to be deployed to take advantage of what is likely to be ongoing evolution.

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