July 13th, 2010.
It often seems to be normal practice to treat SEO campaigns as a stand-alone form of marketing. Groups of shadowy geeks perform magic in the room at the end of the corridor, with sales and marketing teams avoiding them as much as possible at the water cooler.
However, it’s important to remember that SEO is just another form of marketing – and as such planning and integrating your search engine optimisation with your other marketing channels will mean far more coherent and effective campaigns.
All advertising campaigns should have SEO and the company website in-mind. Is it easier for rushed commuters to remember an often random telephone number or a website address?
Do you now see more and more TV and poster campaigns telling people to ‘Google’ or ‘search’ them? With the growing bias towards the personalisation of Google search results, having users Google and click-through to your brand is likely to mean you’re then likely to appear more favourably for them in subsequent searches.
Any increase in brand searches on Google will also (arguably) benefit your site with increased brand visibility after the UK brand update back in March.
- Feature your website address prominently
- Consider asking people to Google/search you – make sure you’re ranking for the term though!
- Maybe target your SEO towards a memorable phrase you can ask people to search for – “army jobs” is a good current example.
Leveraging offline PR campaigns is a great way of getting added value out of both. I’m often surprised how many SEOs haven’t even asked if a client has a PR campaign in place, think of all of those link opportunities that have been missed and all of the great web content that is going to waste.
- Ensure you have spoken to the PR campaign account manager so they know the importance of asking for their editorial to be placed online and understand the impact of links from their content.
- Make use of the content the PR is generating. Ask to get cc’d in on their releases and discuss the scope for them to help distributing your linkbait to their journalists and their media contacts.
- Between you draw up a list of the online properties you want to see your client featured on. Many blogs now have larger readerships than national newspapers – they make-up an important part of both PR and SEO campaigns, you need to make sure you approach these sites correctly with a strong proposition.
Publishing good content is often the stumbling-block that holds-up many good SEO campaigns. The first port of call should be the client, asking the right questions about what’s on their shelves gathering dust can save thousands in content writers fees.
- Encourage staff at the company to make public the results of any research or industry analysis that they have performed.
- Ensure your entire product catalogue or list of services is published on your site. The more you can break this down into component products and services and publish these on their own individual pages the better.
- Consider making any stats facts and figures that you have into an infographic. You’ll find presenting data in a graphical format gets a lot more attention than a simple table of figures.
- Get the entire company blogging. If you can get everyone enthusiastic about publishing great content it takes a lot of the time pressure away from the SEO and marketing teams. Often the real industry experts in the company lie outside of these departments anyway.
- Are there already any user guides, FAQs, or client literature already in existence that can easily be published online?
Keep in regular contact with your sales teams about client feedback. make sure you gather data as much as possible from phone conversations.
- Find out from your sales teams how customers refer to your products and services. Often it’s different to how you refer to them – the keywords that you’re targeting should reflect this.
- Get feedback from your sales teams about questions and objections that frequently crop-up. The chances are that if people are asking questions they’ll also be Googling them too so make sure you add these to the FAQ section of your site.
In any linkbuilding campaign your existing contacts should be your first port of call. High-quality, on-topic links from relevant sites, as easily obtainable as a quick email or phone call.
- Partner companies and suppliers and distributors sites are always worth leveraging for links.
- Encourage your staff to blog if not doing-so already. Either on your own corporate blog or on their own sites. Branding your staff as experts can be as effective as branding your company.
- Check to see if industry association or corporate qualifications sites offer links back to their members
- Make sure you put your company forward for corporate awards, usually even the nominations receive links back to their site.
Image credit – Rachel Creative
Images are a fantastic way to present data and abstract concepts, they’re a much clearer way of getting information across and more people take the time to digest it. I thought it would be a good idea to try to present solutions and explanations to the more common SEO questions that we hear from our clients.
The image covers everything from basic keyword research concepts, through site architecture, page optimisation, link building, SEO tactics, social media, and some basic SEO and PPC clickthrough stats and explantions.
Search engine optimisation and digital marketing for small business isn’t easy. For big-brands people love linking to them without them having to ask, even without them deserving it in many cases.
Small business don’t have that luxury, that’s not to say that the smaller guys can’t compete, they just have to work harder and smarter to get their share of attention online.
Some of my favourite small business SEO tips are below, some are mine, others are from people who volunteered their own ideas on Twitter.
- Optimise for local search. Figure out who are the authoritative citations within your city – ie touchnottingham.com via @APSG
- Concentrate on local search and longer search terms as these give more of a chance with a smaller budget. Google Maps add is a must in your town! via @StuartFlatt
- Be active online. Forge relationships with blog owners, find journalists on Twitter. These contacts will be invaluable when it comes to getting coverage.
- Write content that’s relevant to your business and your customers & keep it up to date. via @picseli
- Get your analytics package in place as early as possible. The more data you have the more you’ll be able to analyse your marketing decisions.
- Utilise your current relationships – reciprocal linking is not perfect, but still has a good effect on local search (imo) via @CMaddison
- Brand yourself as an expert. Write informative articles about your industry. Post them on your site, ask to have your work published on others.
- Try to focus on conversions rather than rankings. Too many small business owners are obsessed with being first, rather than focusing on profits. via @CMaddison
- At the very least ensure your page titles are unique and relevant to the content on them.
- Don’t scrimp on your website, a less than satisfactory site may save cash in the short term, but it’ll cost you in conversions.
- Build your list – capture customer data, segment it, test it and contact them regularly (not too regularly) with useful information, articles, links and offers.
- Consider using Adwords for initial data collection / keyword selection – find your best converting/most profitable keywords for under £100 via @CMaddison
- Build trust – make sure you’re easily contactable, make sure your site has a prominent address and telephone number on each page, explain why your buying process is secure.
- Find out who your competition is, then find out who links to them using Open Site Explorer – get those sites to link to you.
- Setup Google alerts for your business name. Make sure you monitor these, it’s a great opportunity to ask for links when people forget, or to network with people who are already talking about you.
Datadial are pleased to announce the launch of their online reputation monitoring tool. Designed for business and agencies that wish to monitor the online profiles of their brand, products, key staff and competitors.
We have designed the user interface to be as intuitive as possible, with an emphasis on speed of use and productivity, while at the same time a feature-rich interface gives in-depth data about the source of mentions and enables you to tag, comment or share mentions for further action.
- This service should be seen as part of any effective online marketing strategy.
- You will be able to track and measure what is being said.
- Armed with this information you will be able to see the effectiveness of your campaigns, gain customer insight, learn how your brand, products and services are being perceived and also join in the conversation and, if necessary, react to any adverse publicity.
- The results will help you with planning for future campaigns, enabling fine-tuning and therefore saving you money.
At this point the software is still at a beta stage, so we are inviting as much user feedback and suggestions as possible on design and functionality. Signup to track one phrase is free, so please go here to signup for an account.
June 9th, 2009.
Decent web design doesn’t cost too much these days. With the advent of WordPress and a plethora of free web templates it’s not that difficult to knock together a site that most web designers would be happy to call their own. For some reason there are those that strive to be different, difficult, or deluded.
Here are 30 of the worst sites bandwidth can buy.
I’m actually a fan of MIA, but this site seems to have been designed by the same guy as the site above, though possibly while drunk, asleep, or both.
Evangel Cathedral is a church site that is in dire need of ADD medication – this site is buzzing, literally.
You may need to take motion sickness medication to view the next site. I kept asking myself “Is THIS what Jesus would do?”
This site is actually amazing, there are no other words for it. Why procrastinate over going for a two or three column layout when you can go for five. It’s okay though we’ll make things simply by having 9 forms of navigation.
Sometimes I wonder if people are even looking at what they publish online?
Bad site, but great product! Inflatable churches, shame it’s a whole six months to my next birthday.
You’re looking forward to your big day as a bride. Who do you choose to take care of the outfits for your big day? The site that looks like it was designed by borderline crazy person of course. Missing plugins? I must be missing the one that makes this site readable.
Bright colours hurt the eyes, and godawful design that scares small children. I had to highlight the text just to read it. Under construction apparently, maybe the best option would be to knock it down and start again. If I were a part of Princeton Consultants, I think I’d consider litigation.
Broken links, and I’m not even sure what that is in the background. This site does partially redeem itself however by allowing the viewer to chose music, or not. Not I think.
Lets see how many tables we can fit on a page. Oh look, that many.
Perhaps not as offensive as the previous sites, this site definitely has been beaten with the ugly stick. I can’t believe they have the nerve to offer free backgrounds. That’s like Gordon Brown offering free PR advice.
A big fat obnoxious site, with a monotonic robot voice. This page must have been designed by a former, disgruntled employee. Scrolling, flashing text and graphics actually made me have to take a break from researching this post.
If the appearance of this site means all officers are on the street protecting the citizens of West Virginia, rather than taking web design lessons, then it has my blessing.
Never let so called ‘web conversion experts’ tell you that you shouldn’t put all of your products on one page. Why bother with layout, or indeed logic.
Possibly not the worst site on the list, but hell, these guys are supposed to repair computers, not infect them with awful designs.
This eyesore of a site at least has a nice dog picture- dogs win, web design loses.
Jackson of Piccadilly does not fit in the ugly, flashy, boring or eye-popping categories. In fact, it is rather pretty. It has a lovely face, but no substance. Navigating this site made me want to reach for a coffee. I don’t even like coffee.
As well as the wacky misspelling of the word “wizard” in the site’s name, this is a pretty gruesome site! Not the sort of design that would convince me that they’re the best people to stick a needle in my arm.
This guy actually does web design. In that case I’m a brain surgeon.
Does anyone have any idea what this site is even about? I really am at a loss.
Someone thought that using a colour scheme based on a wounded zebra would be attractive.
Maybe not typical of German efficiency and ingenuity, unless you count efficient as putting as many elements on the page as possible. Actually, maybe those crazy Germans have stumbled on something…….
A site of very few words. I guess they’re letting the pictures speak for themselves. I’m not sure why, but I feel a bit uncomfortable looking at this site. Maybe it’s becacuse I feel like I’m about to get run-over by those trucks.
Yes, more frames, tables, bright colours, marquees, and flashing graphics – you’re spoiling us!
This is actually Aaron Wall’s first site. I guess we all started off like this, myself included, mine just isn’t online anymore
The sparse wasteland of this site is perhaps only rivalled by the grusome design of their building, which they seem to be very proud of for some reason.
Does this chiropractic site instill trust? I think a good rule to live by is if someone can’t sort out text justification then you probably shouldn’t let them play with your spine.
With thanks to…..
I’ve just returned from a frantic couple of days at SMX London. As usual there were some really great discussions on the current trends in search marketing, SEO and Social Media. Many of these made more sense in the bar afterwards for some reason. There will be a complete roundup of the best tips coming over the next couple of days.
Certainly the most thought-provoking session of the day for me, the original version of this was made in 2005, and it’s scary to think how close to reality many of the events and prediction in the short actually are, and how many aren’t too far from reality.