);

On Site SEO

On site SEO (search engine optimisation) is the term that refers to all the elements that you can control on your website, (as opposed to off site SEO which are page ranking factors that occur off site e.g. external backlinks). On site SEO is vital for improving your search engine ranking and your visibility. 

Obvious tactics for on site SEO include optimizing meta descriptions, title tags and alt tags but it’s crucial not to underestimate content quality, content structure and page performance. 

So, let’s take a closer look at the elements you can focus on for your on site SEO.

on site SEO

Content

Keyword optimisation is the foundation for SEO but we have seen a shift towards long-tail keywords which fit the search patterns of users. So, consider your target audience and the keywords they will be using and create your content around those. 

In Google’s own words, ‘The most basic signal that information is relevant is when a webpage contains the same keywords as your search query. If those keywords appear on the page, or if they appear in the headings or body of the text, the information is more likely to be relevant.’

Keyword frequency is of paramount importance here too, but it isn’t about keyword overkill! Google’s confidence in a page that has a keyword only once, will not be great, but a page that mentions that keyword half a dozen times will show Google that its content is centred around that topic. 

More than proving that your page is relevant, successful content will drive traffic and grow your business. To do this, content must be optimized for high volume keyword but also well-written with the user in mind, in-depth and easy to read. A survey by Demand Metric showed that 76% of online shoppers felt excited and closer to a company after reading its custom content.

User experience

Following on from the previous point, if traffic-generating content makes your audience happy, and if we create websites for people (not just search engines!), then the user experience is key.

On site SEO begins and ends with your user – this is the person who will comment on, subscribe to, purchase and review your services. One way Google calculates this is to look at the amount of time a site visitor spends looking at your content, and this will depend on how long a visitor has to wait for a page to load.

Site speed

Time and time again, on line success comes back to creating positive experiences for your audience, with research by Ruby Newell-Legner showing that it takes 12 positive experiences to compensate for just a single unresolved customer experience. A quick and easy way to address speed issues is to look at duplicate content. This slows down indexing and no one likes to be kept waiting – research shows that a one second delay in page response times can cause a 7% reduction in conversion!

Search engine content delivery networks will address speed issues for a price, but WordPress users could also delete unwanted/unused plugins for immediate results. 

Bounce rate

Tied in with user experience is the bounce rate which is an indicator of the effectiveness of your landing page to visitors – if your site is not engaging or, in the case of e-commerce sites, attractive, visitors will simply bounce straight off it. To improve bounce rate, improve load time (see above), ensure your landing page copy is relevant to search queries, get rid of pop up adverts and lead with a persuasive hook.

Meta description

This is the short description which appears below a URL in search results and is what search engines use to decide what topic you are talking about and to decide which users to send to the page. A good meta description should be descriptive and not too wordy (<200 characters is ideal), with relevant keywords. With so few characters to work with, use LSI (latent semantic indexing) or synonyms of your main keyword. 

Title tag

Essentially, this is the title of your page and the main heading that appears in search results pages. This is a crucial opportunity to include salient keywords to boost the page in searches.

On site SEO

So in a nutshell we now see what are the basic requirements for on site SEO. This needs to work together with the user considerations, and off site SEO.

Categories SEO

Google Ads And SEO 2020

Google ads And SEO – which is better for my business?

Over the years there has been much debate about the relative merits to your business of Google Ads. and SEO. Both are vital ingredients of any digital marketing campaign and therefore excellent strategies for helping to drive traffic, but which is better for you? The answer is not as easy as the question in this case! Your marketing strategy is influenced by factors including budget, product, industry, and revenue to name a few. Here, we take a look at Google Ads and SEO to help you decide which is best for you.

Google Ads and SEO

Google Ads (previously Google AdWords)

Google Ads is an advertising platform which, as its name implies, is owned by Google. The PPC (pay per click) platform allows marketers to reach leads. 

Google Ads works by displaying an advert in Google search results which is triggered by a keyword search e.g. when someone uses one of your target keywords in your target geographical location, your site will appear as a paid ad. in the results. If someone subsequently clicks on your advert, Google will charge you. This cost may deter many but, statistically, 60% of all clicks are received by the sites in the top 3 ad. positions, so a lot of business can be gained through PPC. 

Google Ads focuses on device bidding. This means Google separates bids on desktop, mobiles and tablets, allowing them to be distinct from each other while still dependent on one another. This focus allows you to have a distinct marketing budget for each type of device you run your campaign on, giving you greater freedom and flexibility with your budget. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

SEO is the process used to get your website rankings higher in all major search engines, unlike Google Ads which is dedicated to Google only. 

In order for your website to rank well in searches, SEO will optimise your site content so that it appears higher up on the search engine results page (SERP). How high up you rank is dependent on many factors, including keywords and quality content, site security and user experience, as well as mobile compatibility and load speed. 

An effective and successful SEO campaign will improve your site’s expertise, industry authority and user trust, increasing organic growth and gaining higher search rankings. 

The roles of Google Ads and SEO

Google Ads and SEO each have a different role to play in your marketing campaign which are unique yet complementary. Used properly, these two platforms can work well together. When you look at each side by side, you can see how they compare:

FEATURE GOOGLE ADS SEO
Placement Ads placed in search results of Google owned and partner sites only Placement only in search results
Traffic Traffic generation for campaign duration only Ongoing traffic generation
Cost Charges for every click on your listing No cost for people to click on your listing
Time Faster results Results take longer to achieve but may be longer lasting
Tracking metrics Tracks instantly Tracking takes longer
Keyword selection Works for all keywords Works for all keywords

Once you have established campaign goals and budget, whether you decide to follow the SEO only route, or the Google Ads route is a matter of choice. However, when used in conjunction with each other, SEO and PPC Ads can increase your visibility as both will increase the opportunity of searchers finding your page. The two together will also boost traffic to your site – PPC creating immediate traffic and SEO attracting long term traffic. And, Google Ads keywords can be used to optimise SEO as bidding for the same keywords that you target with SEO means double the exposure for those keywords. Google Ads can also be used to test keywords, helping you to determine the keywords which are the most effective for a SEO campaign.

Don’t view Google Ads and SEO as competitors but allies in your marketing campaigns. Used well, the two together will only be an advantage for your website by combining their individual merits to bring you better search results.

Google Lighthouse For SEO

The benefits of Google Lighthouse for SEO and site performance

Introduced in mid-2018, Lighthouse is a Google tool that analyses web pages and their performance. Lighthouse’s primary focus is web applications and mobile sites, but the information it provides and the recommendations it suggests are useful for making any website more efficient. With over half of mobile users bouncing away from a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load, it’s easy to see how anything that will increase website speed and performance should be taken seriously. 

Google Lighthouse for SEO is available as a chrome extension. You can also use ‘inspect’ when performing right click of your mouse on any open web page. Plus there are other individual websites that offer the test as well.

Google Lighthouse For SEO
An example of a Google Lighthouse for SEO report

The Lighthouse tests (or audits) cover 5 areas of performance – accessibility, performance, best practice, SEO and progressive web apps – and scores a website when viewed on the lowest common denominator i.e. a weak 3G signal on an older, slower device. Simply put, it views a page with the same eyes as a user on an old phone with a poor connection. Although this may feel like setting a page up to fail (after all, the most optimized page would struggle in such a scenario), the idea is to improve speed. If Lighthouse can improve the performance of a page under such poor conditions, imagine what it can do on the latest device on the fastest network!

The audits yield scores out of 100. A good result is 90-100, an average score is 50-89 and a poor score is 49 and below. Any score of 90 or above will, according to Google, place you in the top 5% of top-performing sites. 

How can Google Lighthouse be applied to SEO?

The Google Lighthouse for SEO check will run a simple SEO audit to uncover basic SEO issues. Once complete, Lighthouse will offer suggestions to solve the issues. 

Current SEO checks are an ongoing, evolving, works in progress and currently look for:

  • a <title> element
  • a <meta name=”viewport”> tag with width or initial-scale
  • a meta description
  • a successful HTTPS status code
  • page load times
  • image sizes
  • links with descriptive text
  • legible font sizes
  • indexing issues e.g. blocks
  • unwanted plug ins

Additionally, there are also extra, manual checks that can be carried out, again with suggestions for solutions. 

Google Lighthouse for SEO isn’t the one-stop tool to use above all else, but it is a very valuable addition to your toolkit. Unlike other tools which give a static high-level overview of your site, Lighthouse is more fine-tuned and offers instant feedback, based on real-world usage.  Although the SEO checks are basic for now, they are welcome nonetheless. 

Lighthouse can be run on any web page, allowing you to check your performance in relation to the performance of your competitors’ pages. Regardless of whether you are selling a product, there is always competition between sites in similar fields – Google search results are the best illustration of this; if you want to rank higher in Google search results, and therefore be seen sooner, you will be competing with hundreds or thousands of similar sites. Lighthouse is just one tool that may help you have the edge.

Categories SEO

Influencer Marketing 2020

‘Influencer marketing 2020’ is a phrase we hear a lot of in the world of social media but what exactly is it? At its basic level, influencer marketing is a type of marketing used on social media platforms where your business, product or service can be endorsed publicly by people who have a strong following and who have social influence. 

What does influencer marketing do?

Influencer marking can remove the need for direct marketing to a large group of consumers, allowing a business instead to inspire an influencer to spread the word to a more relevant target audience.  

Why is influencer important in marketing?

Influencer marketing creates trust. In 2018, research showed that almost 90% of millennials rely on endorsements and reviews to inform their purchasing decisions. In this age of following our favourite celebrities on every social media platform, what is more impactful than your favourite popstar, film star or TV personality telling you that a certain blend of coffee, or a particular brand of shampoo is great enough for them to use/buy it? This increased trust factor for your brand/product/service will improve conversion rates. Furthermore, the targeted exposure that influencer marketing gives will raise ROI (return on investment) and will increase your reputation online and off.

What is the point of influencer marketing in 2020?

Influencer marketing relies on the power of a given individual’s influence and that individual’s ability to influence the action of their followers. With over 17 million followers on Instagram, James Charles, the teenage make-up artist, has cosmetics brands falling over themselves to enter into partnerships with him. A single post showing him using a certain brand of brush can easily gain 2 million likes and with exposure like that, even the smallest conversion can lead to huge sales! 

What is an influencer marketing strategy?

An influencer marketing strategy will identify people who have a strong influence on your industry or target audience. A partnership is formed with the influencer who will agree to show your brand or product to their audience. Influencer marketing often works alongside content marketing, social media marketing, and other similar forms of brand promotion on social media channels.

How to find the right influencer for you?

With in excess of half a million influencers active just on Instagram, the opportunity for collaboration is vast and the need to find the right influencer is vital. These tips will help!

  • An influencer has to be relevant to your brand and their audience needs to be your target audience.
  • The size of your influencer’s following is crucial – it represents the potential audience you can reach, but bigger isn’t always better if the audience isn’t relevant.
  • In much the same way as you create personas when formulating a content plan, audience personas are a great way to work out who you want to target. With this in place, you can then create a corresponding set of influencer personas.
  • Engagement. If your influencer has lots of likes, comments and shares then their audience trusts them and a healthy and consistent engagement rate means the influencer has a loyal following.
  • The influencer’s tone and style should align with and complement yours. How they present their content will reflect directly on your brand/product.
  • Sponsored content is important to watch for too. Too much and an influencer may lose their engagement rate. Sponsored ads are fine in small quantities but your influencer needs good quality organic, non-paid for content, as well as UGC (user generated content).
  • Do your homework – show your preferred influencer that you have made the effort to learn about what they do, what their chosen channels are and who their audience is. And don’t forget to engage with your influencer too – like their posts, comment on them. Appreciate them.
  • Think about budget. When working with a large influencer, you need a budget. Think about payment structure – would your influencer prefer a one-off, flat fee or would a commission structure work for them?
  • Make your initial contact personal – no influencer wants to receive a generic or mass email that they know has been sent to a hundred others. Taking the time to send a personal message will show you are serious and that you have done your research. Include information about your brand and share your goals for your campaign so that they can make an informed decision.

The Complete Guide To Social Media 2020

Social Media 2020

Social Media 2020

 

So, what exactly are Social Media? Simply put, social media enable us to keep in touch – with family, friends and, more so now than ever before, customers and clients. Sites such as Facebook and Instagram are designed to let you share content in real time and it is this ability to share images, views and events which is transforming the way many small, online companies do business in 2020.

With approximately 40% of the world’s population using social media networks, businesses now realise the importance of their social media marketing, understanding that the use of these platforms will heighten brand awareness, increase website traffic and lead to customer acquisition and retention. But which platforms to use? And how do you use them? Do you need a social media strategy?

There are so many social media platforms available that it can be hard to decide which will suit your business best. There are no right or wrong answers – different channels will yield results for different businesses and the content you publish will depend on the platform you use. 

Facebook

By number of users, Facebook is the largest of the social media platforms with a user base of over 2 billion and counting. The introduction of Facebook business pages transformed it from a purely social network to a legitimate marketing platform. 

Short videos work well on Facebook but they need to be engaging and relevant – live videos are really popular, as are posts that feature pictures and not just text. 

A Facebook business page will help drive traffic to your website and is invaluable for increasing your organic reach.

Instagram

Giving Facebook a run for its money with more than 1 billion active users, Instagram is one of the most current social media platforms. As a visual platform, Instagram needs high quality, stunning pictures and videos to really work well and attract immediate attention for your business. 

Hugely popular on Instagram are live videos which can be adapted for question and answer sessions, as well as interviews and how-to tutorials. 

Business friendly shoppable posts and stories make Instagram a relevant platform for today’s businesses and offer a versatile approach for your marketing. It is also the most popular channel for influencer marketing as over 65% of marketers choose it. 

LinkedIn

As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn wins hands down for B2B marketing. Industry experts and field leaders come together on LinkedIn to share their expertise, knowledge and opinions and it is THE place for current, informative, industry content. 

Opinion pieces are popular on LinkedIn, as are information articles and industry headlining news. For any B2B business, Instagram is second to none for key lead generation. 

Twitter

Originally a text-only platform, Twitter’s strength lies in short, frequent and relevant tweets. Twitter’s dynamics rely on regular tweets and for it to be used successfully as a marketing tool, you will need a timetable for scheduled posts. Without this consistency, you will lose the interest of your audience. SproutSocial cites the highest global engagement on Twitter to be from 08.00 to 10.00 on a Friday morning. 

Successful content on Twitter includes updates on the latest from your brand, witty jokes and memes, and crisp one-liners. It is also a great platform to link through to content on your website. 

Social media 2020 can be a minefield for the uninitiated so put the legwork in before you launch yourself  and your business out there. Look at your competitors (their audience is your audience!) – which platforms are they using? What are they posting? What’s their engagement like? Are they using hashtags? Which ones? What tone are they using with their audience? What calls to action are they using? 

Taking the time to conduct your research will help to inform your social media marketing strategy by helping you to choose the platforms which will work best for you. 

Have fun!

What is Google Ads, formerly known as Google Adwords?

Google Ads, originally known as Google Adwords is Google’s online pay per click advertising where advertisers produce adverts for their own list of keywords for users to click on. Using Google Ads can help you get to position 1 on the Google search engine with a day, without having to go through months of SEO work. Google Ads usually sit at the top of the SERPs (search engine results page). You can see an example below of where the paid for, shopping and organic listings all sit.

Google Ads

Search adverts for Google Ads are shown against keyword searches based on an auction model – the advertiser bids a maximum that they’re prepared to pay. The priority with which Google shows adverts takes into account aspects such as the relevance of the landing page, the advert copy and the click through rate. The algorithms that determine adverts placing are always changing so it is necessary to stay on top of the updates. Google shopping adverts are usually based on a feed that is generated from the backend of the website and is then sent through an API to the Google Merchant Center. Once there the Merchant Center will use the feed to produce the shopping ads. Google will then show the product ads based on the keyword searches that the customer uses.

What are the challenges when using Google Ads search for eCommerce?

  • Increasingly complex to manage as scale and sophistication grows – bids can vary bids by device, repeat visits, location, gender, age, audience remarketing etc
  • Cost per clicks can rise significantly year on year (YOY)
  • Return on investment (ROI) can be hard to maintain as spend grows
  • Revenue increases YOY become harder and more dependent on other factors such as on page category merchandising, product pages and website customer journey.

What are the challenges when using Google Shopping for eCommerce?

  • The success of the product ads is closely tied to the quality of the data feed
  • Influencing the products chosen to be shown can be difficult due to Google’s own search algorithm
  • There are usually 3 types of customer browsing the product adverts – low intent to buy, medium intent to buy and high intent to buy. The idea is to create different shopping campaigns based on the users different intention to buy. This is a very difficult process and involves a lot of work with all the various keyword searches the potential customer types in
  • Increasingly competitive (expensive) environment due to success and also false offering websites
  • The need to have a high impression share and be competitive is strong due to the ability to influence sales further down the buyer funnel

If you have any questions regarding Google Ads please don’t hesitate to contact me.