Remember, back in the distant past, when we spoke about longer tailed search queries and how search was adapting to deal more efficiently with sentences rather than just staccato phrases or words? Remember when we heralded Google’s Hummingbird update and salivated at the thought of the juicy information we would receive in our Google Analytics accounts? We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the exact phraseology used by the people out there who were looking for exactly what we offer. Of course, we were thwarted quite dastardly in this plan by Google’s perfect timing to make keywords for organic data ‘not provided’ by switching all search to HTTPS. But it was the start of a quite interesting new chapter…
We then all trundled along, finding other ways to dig deeper into the customer search journey and help identify (and of course reach) our ideal target audiences. All the while, voice search was growing bigger and stronger until, BAM! We find ourselves very much in the middle of marketing shift towards the spoken word.
The Growth in Voice Search
Voice search is by no means a new concept. Google launched its voice search capabilities in 2008, but since then, voice search queries have grown by thirty-five times! And this growth is set to continue.
If you are lucky enough to own a teenager (or pre-teen) then you’ll be only too aware of the idle fingers of the current generation – why spend time typing a search enquiry on your mobile phone (even though the keyboard size is designed for your smaller, adolescent hands) when you can just ask Alexa? Today’s youth are preoccupied with mobile devices of various sizes and capabilities and when it’s too much effort to use those idle fingers to find the nearest pizza joint, voice search is very much their ‘go-to’ facility.
It all boils down to this – we can speak much faster than we can type and today that means a lot, because today we are all busy, short of time and overworked. Shaving off precious seconds here and there all adds up so step up voice search in its modern state, with around 90% word accuracy.
What does this explosion in voice search mean for search?
Well, for starters, there will be more natural language used and even as we speak Google is developing its algorithms to respond to follow-up questions without the searcher having to again state the context.
Secondly, more searches will be performed on a mobile device. Lets’ face it you’d look pretty ridiculous asking your PC at work to find you a dry cleaner’s to drop your suit off on the way home, but pick up your mobile during your lunch break and it’s easy to keep your dirty laundry private rather than air it in public.
Finally, search will become more local. Statistics tell us that the majority of people who use voice search are using it to find a local product, service or information, so now is the time to ensure that your website can be found in the local area you wish to target.
Voice Search and SEO
What do you need to do to ensure you don’t miss out on vital traffic from voice search queries?
- Make sure your website is optimised using natural language and answers the kinds of questions your prospective customers might be asking – an FAQs page is a great way to include this information
- Make your website mobile friendly – this is an absolute must now that so many people use mobile devices to access the internet. If your website isn’t mobile friendly not only will it be less likely to figure in Google’s search results but it will also be off-putting to visitors due to the difficult navigation and small typeface.
- Improve your local SEO – so that you can be found in the search and map listings for the services you offer in the local area.
Voice search is here and it is the future. There is no doubting that, so don’t ignore the power of the spoken word, make sure your marketing strategy is catering for voice search queries. Speak to SEO it Right today on 0121 308 0219 to devise a plan to get your business where it needs to be.
If your company has been using only traditional marketing methods to generate new business, you need to read this!
2017 is the year of change and improvements. Marketing strategies have grown beyond word of mouth and Facebook posts. Let us show you how your business can reach new heights using digital marketing strategies.
Why Digital Marketing?
- First and foremost, digital marketing is a tremendously cheaper marketing method than the traditional offline methods – just think about those print runs, radio campaigns and television ads that you couldn’t afford 15 years ago! Digital marketing is much more accessible, even for those with small marketing budgets.
- It’s a great way to increase your online market share
- **According to Hubspot By 2016, more than 50% of money spent in the US will be influenced by online marketing campaigns. ** How long before we can say the same thing here in the UK?
What is a digital strategy?
Having a digital strategy is, in essence, a plan. It allocates time and money to all the relevant platforms and helps you to gain insight into statistical data which will help you to reach your goals. Market your business using multiple platforms like Social media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Email Marketing, SEO PR, and so much more.
How to begin building a digital strategy
- The first thing you need to do is be clear on your aims and objectives.
- Analyse how your company performed in the previous year.
- Research your target audience and preferred digital media channels
- Create your content
- Allocate paid advertising budgets
- Create a timeline
- Evaluate and improve your strategy
Why you NEED to set aside a budget for an SEO and digital marketing company to help you
- By now, you must understand the importance of digital marketing. One thing that will help you reach that increased ROI is a thorough and well thought out digital marketing strategy.
- It can be a daunting task to do yourself
- You’ll save money in the long run
- Work alongside a professional to gain a fresh perspective
- Utilise their resources and evaluation techniques
Last week, we welcomed year 10 student Jack into the office to spend the week on work experience. Having worked extremely hard in his time here, Jack has summed up his week in his own words:
I’ve always dreaded my work experience and have always been worried about going to spend 5 days in a completely new place, with people I’ve never met before and not a clue how it would turn out. I came to SEO it Right worried of what I would be doing. In the end though, my worrying came to nothing and after a nervous few months of waiting for work experience I’ve enjoyed my time at SEO it Right and have learnt new facts, stats, skills and been educated in the importance of online features like blogs, social media and website usability all in a single week. One of the most important things that I will take away from SEO it Right though is the experience I have gained and the comfort I’ve found in a typical workplace environment.
On my first day I was worried, but when I was dropped off I was reassured by the welcoming of the staff and settled in quickly. I was introduced to everyone and shown around, I was told what I’d be doing and looked through a help sheet that benefited me greatly as I was able to plan what I was going to do for my next activity and how. I was then left alone to focus on a website usability study where I found how different features of a website can affect the user and the big impact it has on a potential customer of the business. I found programmes like Google Mobile Friendly Test and Google Speed Test when writing it and managed to finish my usability study with over 5000 words. I also completed a mock interview which was like a tutorial of an interview and showed me how to answer questions. I left on my first day confused of why I was previously so worried and looking forward to what the next day had to offer.
When my second day came around, I was looking forward to finding out about how social media impacts a business and was then shocked to find out how important it can prove to be. I was fascinated as I started my Social Media statistics sheet and found interesting facts and even worked out my own. For example, the number of people on Facebook is 25 times the UK’s population.
By my third day, I was relaxed in the office and was comfortably settled in. I finished finding statistics, found what makes a good website and started to make plans for a video. I started to really gain from the experience of being in a typical workplace environment.
My fourth day was one of my favourites. I started working on my video, focusing on what makes a good website. My favourite part of making the video was the editing process; this is something I often enjoy and did again this time. I called the video “The Good The Bad Of The Websites” and made a mock-up logo for the video. I enjoyed putting it together and think I did a good job. That day after I finished my video, I made a new infographic (something I’d learnt while at SEO it Right) about social media and how we use it in today’s world. I then went home able to reflect on another great day of work experience.
On the 5th and final day, I started the morning by completing this blog post. I’ll soon present my video to the team and eat cakes at the SEO it Right picnic to end the week in a great way.
Thank You to SEO it Right for allowing me to come and do my work experience here and for making me feel so welcome.
It’s been an exciting week at SEO it Right as we have welcomed Catrina to the team!
Catrina is 20 years old and is currently in her second year of studying Digital Marketing in Lisbon Portugal. She will be with us for the next 6 weeks to help us with all things digital.
We sat down with Catrina to talk about her first week in the UK as part of the SEO it Right team:
Hi Catrina! How have you enjoyed your first week at SEO it Right?
I really love it! The team are great and have been very welcoming. I was soon set the challenge of designing images for social media. I really like the feel to the team; they want to learn and grow professionally.
Are you enjoying studying marketing in Portugal? What do you like most about your course?
Yes, I’m really enjoying it. When I chose the course, it was much broader than just marketing, but during my studies I have become more and more interested in marketing and I always read as many articles about this topic as possible.
In the future, my wish is to be a designer. As part of my course, I had to create a product and set its concept, packaging and everything else. This helped me to realise that I would love to work on designing packaging and prototypes, as well as websites, logos and animations.
How are you finding it living and working in another country?
It’s my first time away from home, but I have been very lucky with the internship and the team here, as well as my home and host family. It’s very good to be here and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot over these six weeks.
What do you like most about the UK so far? Is there anything you miss most about home?
I haven’t travelled very far yet, but what I like about staying in Walsall is that it is a small town with many parks and open areas.
I do miss my family. This is my first time being away from them and out of my comfort zone. I came to a place where the language is not my mother tongue and I am a long way away from the people I love most. All the rewarding experiences will make being away from home worth it over the next 6 weeks!
Which parts of your experience so far have you most enjoyed?
I have really enjoyed my internship so far. The schedule is really great, the people are amazing and I have daily challenges where I can give my best. Every day is a different day.
I have enjoyed learning what’s involved in a normal day for each member of the team, but especially what Riz does. I loved learning how it is possible to see where people are most likely to click on a website using heatmaps. This helps us to discover where the most interesting content on a website is and helps us to improve websites by looking at the most clicked areas.
What would you like to achieve during your time with SEO it Right?
I would like to further develop my design skills and learn more about what makes a good image for social media. I am looking forward to learning more about how search engine optimisation works and how to define an online strategy for a business.
I’m ready to absorb as much information as possible over these 6 weeks, and I’m sure I’ll finish my time here having gained much more knowledge and ready to work in the digital marketing industry in the future.
What would you like to achieve in your career?
I’d love to study design and apply these skills to digital marketing and start a company that could serve other enterprises with the skills I have developed, creating business strategies and putting them into practice.
For now, I intend to create a website to help me learn more about web design and development and train my competence in it.
It has been fantastic to have Catrina here. During the last week, she has been very eager to learn and has produced some great work and asked many excellent questions.
We will touch base with Catrina again next week!
On the 30th of April, SEO it Right will celebrate 6 years in business. Having first been set up as a specialist SEO company by our Directors Adam and Frances Berry, we have now evolved into a digital marketing agency, offering a wide range of content marketing, SEO, social media, PR and paid advertising solutions to small businesses all over the UK. One thing that has stayed the same is that we still find any excuse for cake!
To celebrate our 6th birthday, we have put together a list of 6 tips to help you build your online presence.
1. Decide on your goals
Firstly, it’s important that you establish your goals for both the short-term and long-term future. With these goals in place, as you create a strategy to grow your online presence, you can regularly turn to your goals to see how your online efforts are helping you to move forward. Rather than just building an online presence because you’re expected to, be sure to build your presence strategically so that you can work towards your business goals as a whole.
2. Build a solid website
To develop your online presence, to start with you will need a solid platform, i.e. a great website. Your website is a central place where people can learn more about your business, find out how to contact you and engage with your content.
Your website should:
- Say what your business is about in a clear message
- Contain all of your contact information
- Be optimised for search engines (SEO)
- Be mobile and user friendly
3. Provide value for your audience
Make sure the content that you are publishing is valuable to your audience. Whether this be on your website, through your social media channels, videos or a podcast, make sure that your content is of a consistent quality and provide your audience with useful information. Be the solution to their problems.
4. Be social
The internet allows you access to a huge audience. Social media can be a hugely effective way to reach your target audiences.
Being social means that you should work out which social media platforms work best for your business and regularly post and engage. As with creating any online content, consistency is important; you should develop a consistent voice and continue to provide the same value for your customers. Using social media effectively can help you gain fans and followers and once you have gained an audience, social is also a fantastic way to reach and engage the followers that have developed trust in you and like your brand. The more conversations you can draw up with your audience, the stronger the relationships that you build.
5. Always look to improve
There’s no way that your marketing materials will be perfect straight away, so don’t be afraid to publish! Your content will improve with every piece that you create if you are continually looking for ways to improve and optimise what you do. It’s a long process to work out exactly what does and doesn’t work – even the big brands are still learning from their mistakes, big or small.
6. Track your progress
Tracking your progress is the best way to know if your efforts for building your online presence are working. Be sure to track website visits, social media follows and engagement, look for spikes in traffic and look for trends.
To find out more about how we can help you to develop your business’s presence online, or to learn more about the range of digital marketing services we can provide, feel free to call us on 0121 308 0219 and our team will be happy to help.
Snoops, the youngest and only four legged member of the SEO it Right team is 3 years old today. He may be fully grown, but he is still as mischievous as he was as a puppy and always keeps us on our toes when he visits the office, stealthily sniffing around Riz’s desk.
Many happy returns of the day Snoops!
Ask anyone what they think of SEO and you may sense a negative response in the offing. Even if that person has an SEO provider they are completely happy with, the 27 spam SEO emails they receive each day from India and other far flung places has probably contributed to giving the industry a bad name in their eyes. If connotations of spam were not bad enough, the issue is supplemented by the underhand tactics our search god Google uses to manipulate SERPS to suit none but their own needs. With changes to Google algorithms causing loss of rankings, loss of visibility, loss of sales and in some cases the loss of a business, there is a lack of trust in the marketing strategy that provided this visibility in the first place.
Call it what you will but it looks like SEO has become a dirty word.
For a long time the term ‘SEO’ hasn’t sat particularly well with internet marketers, purely because the name itself suggests we optimise search engines. We don’t do this because if we did we’d have spammed the hell out of Google and got the search giant to slap a manual spam action on itself! We optimise websites for organic search but that is now, only the beginning of the story.
As competition levels swell and progressively more brands demand a place online, marketing has become so much more than simply SEO. Gone are the days of building huge amounts of backlinks to a website using optimised content and specific keywords. Now it’s all about making a great first impression, then sustaining and compounding that level of interest. Websites need to be full of interesting, engaging content to fly under the Panda radar and poor quality links removed ready for the next Penguin refresh to demonstrate to Google that you are on your best behaviour and have learned your lesson. It is no longer sufficient to simply publish content, you need to syndicate it socially, get people talking about it and prove that you are a brand worth engaging with. How do you do this? By spending more money with an SEO, or if you have the budget, hiring an in house team of search and social gurus. Dream on.
If SEO is a dirty word then perhaps you’d rather do it all in house, save yourself the shame of working with these minions from the internet underworld, or, better still, maybe you don’t need it at all? Perhaps that new website that you have spent your entire marketing budget on will deliver all the shiny, new traffic you need to make your fortune online? Again, dream on.
What is often neglected in the debate about beating algorithms and recovering from black-and-white-animal-related nightmares, is the fact that without optimisation, websites simply can’t be found, putting us back at square one. This suggests SEO is not an option, but a given. However, if the term is tainted what should we now refer to our services as? Online marketing? Digital marketing? Internet marketing? They surely do a better job of describing what we do?
Online marketing certainly offers a more precise description – after all that’s what we do – market businesses online, but with the consumer just getting their head around the SEO concept how much confusion will bringing in a new term cause? Many will rightly argue that they have used the term ‘online marketing’ all along but if they had any sanity or financial hunger pre April 2012, they will have optimised the heck out of certain SEO related keywords to ensure when people were searching for a little online voodoo, they showed up on page one.
So call it online marketing, digital marketing or SEO, it means the same thing – it is just the service behind the name that has changed. Search Engine Optimisation helps you reach new audiences, increase traffic, improve search visibility and engage with potential audiences online. So too does digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and so forth. If SEO is a dirty word then so too is any other synonym and if you call yourself an SEO you’ll have a history of spyntax to apply here.
Posted by Frances Berry
2013 was a year that saw numerous events that had a massive impact on SEO and online marketing as a whole. In the past, SEO was essentially about two things; keywords and links. However, this led to large amounts of keyword saturation and link building, not to mention, quite a considerable amount of attempts to game against the system, using what we call ‘black hat’ SEO techniques. Over the past year, Google has made some major algorithm changes that have changed the direction of SEO and online marketing as a whole.
September 2013 was a big month for online marketing, with two major changes to search putting nails in the coffin of the keyword salesman:
First of all, Google switched to https:// privacy settings, meaning that all ever increasing amounts of keyword search queries would show up as ‘Not Provided’ in Analytics. This means that although anyone who uses Google to search for keywords or phrases that might lead to your website can still do so, however, you do not have access to this data. Whilst keyword search data is no longer available for organic search, in a further effort by Google to protect their Adwords revenue, keyword data continues to be available for paid search.
Secondly, Google surprised everyone by announcing the release of a brand new algorithm with no warning. Many argue that Hummingbird will prove to be the biggest change in Google’s algorithm since the beginning. The main purpose of Hummingbird is to allow Google to be able to interpret much more ‘conversational’, semantic language, understanding the intent of a search rather than just recognising short keywords.
The introduction of Hummingbird could be linked with the ever increasing popularity of mobile search. Many people prefer to use voice search on their mobile devices, talking directly into the handset to find what they need. We have started to search questions, not keywords. This means that people are less likely to use short-tail keywords, and are instead likely to search using full sentences that are more familiar to our everyday speech.
Hummingbird plays a big part in changing the way that SEO and online marketing is sold. The future of SEO is no longer based on keywords, but how keywords form a relationship to the intent of a targeted search. Whereas in the past, many in the online marketing community could get away with keyword stuffing to a certain level, the introduction of Hummingbird brings about the importance of online marketers producing more quality, detailed, long form articles that are designed to answer long-tail search phrases.
It could be argued that we are yet to fully see the real extent of Hummingbird’s impact online marketing, however, with search engines adapting to the way that we are now using long-tailed and question-like search queries, Hummingbird has undoubtedly set the stage for a future that is centred on mobile search. Online marketers must therefore adapt their strategies away from short keywords and push out more and more semantic-influenced content in order to capture more traffic. In 2014, we can only expect to see the increasing impact of Hummingbird.
Lots of people like to talk about how SEO is dead. I don’t think there is any truth in this. As far as I can see SEO is just as important as ever and providing you are prepared to abide by the rules and amend your tactics pretty much constantly you can still very much reap the rewards. What is dead however, is the traditional method of selling SEO on keyword rankings and importance.
Whilst keywords are still very much a part of any online marketing strategy as they help us to hone in on what it is that matters to that business and what topics must be covered in the copy presented on that website, they are not the be-all and end-all of successful online marketing.
Google uses Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to index content on webpages so if you think writing a few paragraphs with the same keyword appearing every few lines is going to get you to the top of SERPS you are very much mistaken. Good relevant content is built around related, synonym and similar keywords – each requiring justification to be on the page. With the introduction of Hummingbird, created to understand more complex search queries, onsite content must now be written to address the potential long tail questions that searchers may ask – moving focus away from more generic keyword search terms and getting people to look at the value of the content itself.
Whilst Google might like to think that Pay Per Click will kill the keyword salesman I think we can all safely agree that in the world of white hat SEO, selling on keyword performance alone is pretty much dead already. Yes keywords still have a role in online marketing but this is part of a wider visibility strategy that simply cannot be achieved and sustained through keyword marketing alone.
If you want a straight talking approach to your online marketing why not give SEO it Right a call on 0121 308 0219 where we can explain more about this.
Posted by Frances Berry
In the world of online marketing, SEO has developed a terrible reputation. There is good reason for this. Alongside the hard working online marketers who thrive by working alongside their clients to create the right campaign for their business, there are also thousands of shady characters that are ready to ride in and scam businesses large and small out of massive amounts of money. These SEO Cowboys are tarnishing the good name of all other search marketers.
The question is, who are these Cowboys? Unfortunately, they can be hard to spot. It is unlikely that they ride a horse, there is little chance that they will announce themselves with the clinking of their spurs, and though they use black hat tactics to rob good honest companies of hard earned money, they seldom choose to advertise this. The whole business of being an SEO cowboy is to trick clients into believing that they are the good guys that will help you make the treacherous journey to the top of search rankings safely and in no time at all. The chances are, you won’t last long on the wagon train.
With businesses being hassled constantly by unsolicited emails and phone calls, it is important to determine what makes a good online marketer. So how can an SEO Cowboy be found? Even without a giveaway black ten gallon hat, it is simpler than you would think to separate the villains from the honest SEO guys. To find out if an SEO agency really know what they are doing, there are a few key things to consider.
- First of all, take a look at their website. What does the website look like, what is the website’s content like and more importantly, how are they ranked on Google? You should expect a good online marketer to practice what they preach on their own website. If they can’t do a decent job marketing themselves online, then how can you expect them to do a good job for you? If a potential SEO company approaches you and you can’t find their website, or it is dated and free of informative content, you would be wise to leave your cheque book in your wallet.
- Are they making unrealistic promises? Very often, if an SEO company is making a claim that seems too good to be true, that is because it is. As many businesses want instant results, SEO Cowboys often feed them what they want to hear, rather than telling them the truth. SEO is a time consuming process, and any company claiming that they will get you to the top of Google for numerous keywords overnight is likely to be using underhand tactics. Even though this may benefit you for a short time, it will do you considerable harm in the long run. Google is never fooled for long.
- It is a worrying sign if an Online Marketer trying to sell their services to you is not open about their strategies, or just bores you with jargon. If somebody claims that SEO is all a highly guarded secret, or talks at you, throwing big fancy buzz words in your face, there is a good chance that they aren’t entirely sure what they are talking about. Many Cowboys are great salesmen, but not so effective at SEO. It is also important to take note of what an SEO agency wants to know about you. A good online marketer should require as much information from you as possible about your products, services, competition, market and relevant keywords.
- Especially in the days since Google Penguin waddled into town, Social Media is an essential part of online marketing. Is your potential SEO company active on their social accounts? Do they use them correctly and effectively? If a suspected SEO Cowboy does not make regular posts, or if they don’t make relevant posts linking back to their website, they may not be too clued up on the latest Google algorithm changes and SEO techniques.
- Perhaps the most important thing to remember about SEO is that content is key. Google loves nothing more than content rich websites. Look at an SEO company’s content marketing efforts carefully to see the quality of their work. If an online marketing agency has a helpful website and a high quality blog on which they post great, informative and relevant articles on a regular basis, this is a very positive indicator that they know how to perform content marketing successfully.
Essentially, a good SEO company is an open company. Online marketers should be able to do for themselves what they claim to be able to do for you, and communicate with you on a regular basis so you both know what’s going on. For SEO to work successfully, it has to be a two way relationship, where the customer gets the same out of their online marketing consultant as they give to them.
Though many people have had negative experiences with the countless numbers of Cowboys marauding as online marketing experts, an SEO company can be a valuable addition to your business. Through honesty, communication, constant research and development, and most importantly, a cart load of hard work, the right company can help your business see excellent growth.