Organic vs Pay Per Click, which is better?

When you’re getting started on building your online presence, building traffic can seem daunting. When your content barely ranks on search engines it can seem like a mountain to climb. Organically building traffic from search engines is just one way of ranking in search results, the alternative is pay per click (PPC).

Getting Clicks

You can rank highly on search engine results far more quickly using PPC than building ranking organically. There is no question this is true. However, the effectiveness of this strategy is dependent upon people clicking on the adverts.

Users are increasingly less likely to click on PPC adverts. Despite their prominent placement on search results, users prefer proven, valuable content (i.e. content that has ‘earned’ its spot high on the search results). Only a small proportion of users click on advertised content when searching.

It’s all About Value

Web users trust your content and attach greater value to it if it has made the 1st page of search results on merit. Users understand your content has earned its place through being useful to many, many other people. Pay per click is a sales pitch and users trust this source less.

PPC is Ranked too

You’re being ranked even if you’re using PPC advertising. Google ranks everything. It identifies the most useful content and ranks it accordingly, this includes PPC adverts.

PPC doesn’t necessarily buy your advert placement on the top of page 1. Your advert is given a quality score which assesses the rate of click through, relevance and the quality of the content on your landing page. This quality score (and the price you have paid) will determine where your advert is placed.

Both Strategies have a Place

Organic traffic is the long term goal. Achieving high ranking on searches infers credibility when it’s done organically. On the other hand, organic search is a long term strategy and you may not see a return on your investment for some time.

PPC is a tried and tested method of kick-starting your digital marketing and helping you get traffic. PPC can only be effective however if you have the relevant, quality content people are looking for.

 

Is Google the best search engine to rank with?

Google is the Daddy of all search engines with over two thirds of all searches being carried out on Google. Of course there are others. The main second string are Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Ask.com and Baidu. But they are small in comparison.

 

Size Matters

You cannot argue with the dominance of Google in the world of search. It is the biggest search engine in the world by far, and is often cited as the best.

Millions of websites rely on Google for traffic. Changes to Google’s search ranking system to improve the quality of search results can lead to seismic changes in how businesses carry out their digital marketing the world over.

People focus their efforts on Google because its numbers speak for themselves. Web users choose Google, so websites choose to focus on ranking highly on the site.

 

A Victim of its own Success?

Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rank on popular search terms.

SEO specialists are continually seeking better ways to optimize ranking for clients, using less popular key words, or local SEO for example. But ultimately, if you want to rank highly for your chosen search term, it is a long term investment.

Google, of course, isn’t in business to help businesses improve their sales, they earn their money from being the most useful search engine to users.

 

A Niche Approach

In the context of such high level of competition for popular search terms on Google, could there be some merit in targeting the less popular search engine?

It all depends on the numbers. If you are in a competitive marketplace, perhaps a high ranking for a popular search term on a smaller site could bring in better (and quicker) results compared to targeting less popular keywords on Google.

This niche approach has regularly being used to sell products and services, why not digital marketing and search?

 

Google is King

Search is a numbers game and when it comes to search engines, Google is way ahead of its competitors. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rank for popular search terms. There is an alternative strategy however, target more popular search terms on less popular search engines.

The proof of the strategy is in the outcome of course, but the choice is yours.

 

 

Why it’s important to use Google +

Your digital marketing strategy is built on building visibility online. Whether that is building communities on Facebook, viral marketing campaigns, promoting engaging content or SEO. Everything is about putting yourself in front of potential customers.

Google + is another method of putting you in front of your customers.

 

But Nobody Uses it

On the face of it, Google + is huge, with over 2bn accounts. However, these accounts don’t necessarily equate to ‘users’ as every new Gmail account is automatically linked to a Google + account. People get a Google + presence even if they don’t want one, and the vast majority of these accounts are never used.

Your customers aren’t likely to be using Google +, but Google does.

 

Google Uses it

It is believed Google weights its own content higher than content on other networks. If you are on Google + you could benefit from being active on your account in the following instances:

  1. When someone searches for your company online

Google + profile pages rank higher on the search than your website. If people click through to your Google + page and you haven’t paid any attention to your profile, this will affect the user’s perception of your company and its marketing.

 

  1. Active Google + accounts have an effect on SEO

And here’s the main benefit, Google is in complete control over its algorithm and can rank Google + content more highly than other content. A strong, active Google + account could improve your search ranking.

 

  1. Google + reviews

Google places reviews from Google + above other review sites such as Yelp. Encouraging customers to review your product or service on Google + can help you leap frog more established businesses, simply because you are utilizing Google’s services.

 

Getting Ahead of the Game

Google + is important simply because it is part of Google’s service offering and its algorithm uses the content on the service to rank content. Having a strong, active presence on Google + can help you rank higher than more established businesses for search terms, simply because of how Google weights content on its own services.

Why pick an SEO Agency over a Marketing Agency

The question of whether to choose a specialist agency or a more general service is as old as marketing itself. There are arguments for and against using either, pros and cons associated with both. However, a business needs to consider what outcome it’s looking for.

services-conversion-rate-optimizationA Stronger Focus

As you’d expect, a specialist SEO agency has a tighter focus and therefore will have a more in-depth, up to date knowledge of SEO. Everyone working in an SEO agency (if you ignore the necessary accountants and admin staff) spends their day doing SEO, and nothing but SEO. It would be safe to assume they are good at it.

A marketing agency will have a completely different set up. Depending upon their size, they may have some staff who are SEO specialists, they may outsource SEO, or it may be done by general marketing staff. It’s also likely your contact in the marketing agency will only have general SEO knowledge.

So if you want to deal with an SEO specialist, an SEO agency may be the way to go.

 

Tunnel Vision

On the other hand, SEO is just one part of digital marketing and hiring a specialist agency may result in ‘tunnel vision’. Your SEO agency may make recommendations that are great for SEO but neglect user engagement through great content marketing.

Ultimately it is about what you need. Are you and/or your team confident about either SEO or marketing? Where are the gaps in your skillset?

What’s best for your Business?

Give yourself and your team a quick appraisal, do you need an all-rounder who can help you with SEO and content? In which case you need a Marketing Agency. Or do you have great content which is punching below its weight? In which case you need as SEO Agency.

The type of agency you choose should complement the skills of your in-house team and depend on your aims. There is no right or wrong answer, only what is best for your business.

Please contact us if you are looking for an affordable SEO agency.

 

Does SEO really work?

SEO is a continuous battle with your competition for online real estate. Your direct competitors want the same as you: ranking on the first page of results when your customers do a search. But, over time, the ability to rank highly becomes more difficult. You may still be investing in your content and your SEO but your page ranking is sliding.

It’s important to remember none of this affects the underlying principles of SEO. Does SEO work? Yes it does. Is your SEO working? Well, that’s a different matter entirely.

Barriers to Effective SEO

There are two main problems for anyone trying to engage in digital marketing:

1.     People who use search engines rarely look past the first page of results for a search term. This means potentially hundreds or even thousands of website are vying for 10 spots on the page. That’s a lot of competition.

2.     The competition itself is weighted in favour of those with more time and more money, and who have been doing it for longer. You may never be able to rank on the first page for the most popular search terms, simply because it’s survival of the fittest.

Before you pick up your ball and go home, I can reassure you again SEO does work. It really does.

SEO that Works

There are 3 main principles to effective SEO:

1.     you need to be smart about the search terms you target,

2.     you need to be in it for the long haul,

3.     you need to work towards improving your ranking continually.

To help your SEO have the greatest effect, finding the best keywords or search terms a business of your size and resources can compete in is essential. This is as much an art as a science and, if you are going to invest time and money in it, an SEO Agency or Consultant will be able to find the most suitable keywords.

SEO can Drive Sales

Effective SEO can be a lot of work, but it is worth it. Imagine the power of ranking on the first page for ‘best pizza in Cardiff’, or ‘plumber in Wandsworth’. SEO is a powerful tool for driving both traffic to your site and sales to your business. SEO works, how successful it is for you depends on what you do with it.

If you would like more information about our SEO services then please contact us.

Link Building – What does it mean and why is it so important?

services-web-development-services-on-lightWhile it may sound a bit complicated, link building is in essence very simple. A link or hyperlink is simply a connection between two sites. So if you are on a website and you click on something which takes you to another site, then that’s a link. Link building is then the ongoing project of getting lots of these links on external websites to connect to your site, and it’s another important piece of the puzzle for an effective digital marketing strategy.

It’s important for a few reasons, and there a plethora of benefits your website can enjoy from having a professional link building strategy properly implemented.

Firstly, the more links leading to your website, the more traffic your website will receive, all else being equal. Just like more roads to a city mean that more people can access it, so too with websites and links. Potential clients who would otherwise not have come across your services are more likely to find it, and since the exposure is simply greater it will help build your brand across a broader audience.

Not only does link building help people find you, it helps search engines find as well.

Search engines primarily work by looking for keywords. For example, if you were to search for “London jeweller” there are likely to be millions of results, as many, many websites will have these terms on one page or another. In order to determine the rank of these sites, other factors come into play, one of which is the number of high-quality links to the website in question.

Simply put, a high quality link is like a recommendation to Google or Bing or whichever one you prefer (Yahoo anybody?….I thought not), so the greater the number, the higher the rank.

However, not all links are created equal, so ensure your SEO strategy involves only building high-quality links to your site.

services-search-engine-optimizationThe emphasis here is on high quality. Low quality and spammy links fall under the umbrella of “black hat” SEO tactics, which is to say that they violate the guidelines of search engines in order to rank higher. As search engines get smarter, they become more and more proficient at weeding out these tactics, and punishing accordingly. A number of high profile companies (including BMW and Forbes) have been penalised severely for employing these tactics, and it can even go so far that the search engine won’t show that website at all, so failing to ensure their quality can mean major losses to your business.

Don’t neglect the fact that high quality links are easier to get, and easier to maintain, if your site has content that provides real value to customers (see my previous post), which is to say something that people will actually want to link to.

Link building is a tricky process, yet essential when building a solid digital marketing strategy, so make sure that the company you choose to work with has you covered in this area. It is an area well worth investing in as ultimately it will redirect much more of the right kind of traffic to your site while building your brand and expanding your customer pool.

If you’re looking for an Affordable SEO Agency then please feel free to contact us for a chat.

Websites online presence and why you need to be active!

In the current information age, having an online presence is of paramount importance for pretty much anyone. If your business primarily consists of physical products or you find most of customers through word of mouth you may not think that an online presence is relevant to you, but I’m here today to tell you that you’re wrong.

As I’ve written ad nauseum before, being visible online through search engine optimization and so on brings a variety of benefits, the most obvious of which are more traffic and therefore many more potential customers. However, merely being visible is not enough. Your website may be very easy to find, and may even be in top two or three ranked sites for certain search terms, but if your business’ online presence isn’t strong enough, then it’s not going to reach its’ full potential. Being visible is just one piece of the broader challenge of having an excellent online presence.

The first step is to create a top-notch website. Although it’s fairly easy these days for anyone with an old computer and an internet connection to build a rudimentary site, it’s well worth investing in a professional web design service to do this for you. The difference is absolutely huge, not to mention the amount of time it saves from not having to learn how to operate all the various plugins and other accoutrements.services-conversion-rate-optimization

Just think about how much more inclined you are to stick around on a website if it looks slick and has an intuitive interface, compared to a random blog someone threw together on WordPress where half the links don’t work and the background picture doesn’t align properly. Again, your website may be easily found by a search engine, but if it’s lacking in design no one is going to stick around long enough to want to pay for your services.

The next step is to make sure that you have high-quality content on your site apart from the basic services that you have on offer. You don’t want a site that merely looks and feels good, so the more great articles and blog posts you have, the better. This is beneficial in two ways.

First, people are more likely to stick around your site, revisit it and pay for your services if there is content worth reading.

Second, having high-quality content makes for superior link building, and your site is far more likely to be shared on social media, blogs, forums and so on. This means more people with similar interests visiting (thus more likely to be paying customers), and since search engines use the number of links as a factor in ranking sites, you’ll get more traffic through that route as well. To keep customers intrigued, you’ll have to make sure that there is always more fresh content to keep them coming back.

It’s all too easy to negate the importance of an active presence, a tangible experience which customers and readers will remember and relate to, however given the rise of social media and the fact that every individual has a web-based personality, no matter your business this strategy is absolutely crucial to success.

We’re Fibre Marketing and we offer affordable SEO agency services, contact us today if you need to build your online presence.

What makes a good SEO agency?

If you’re just getting started with building the online component of your business, the vast numbers of digital marketing agencies that exist can make selecting one that’s right for you a daunting task. Well fear not, as today I’m here to give you some pointers on what to look for and when to run for the hills when you’re searching for a good SEO agency.

First and foremost, try and select an agency that actually understands you and what you’re trying to achieve.

services-prize-on-lightThere are many indicators of this compatibility but making sure that you get along with the actual real people that you interact with is a good start. It sounds obvious but you really don’t want to spend time working with people you don’t like, especially as a high-quality SEO strategy can be a long term project as your business evolves.

Check out the employees, check out what other projects they’ve done, their specialities and what other customers have said about them. Although customer reviews are useful, don’t put too much emphasis on a few good recommendations from a stranger. Remember that anyone can quote the positive reviews and happily forget to show you the negative ones.

Instead, focus on the real value that the agency has provided by looking at their previous projects. Do those websites rank well? Do they have great content that makes you want to revisit the site?

It’s also a great way to determine whether the agency is a good fit for your project, if they’ve handled similar ones to yours in the past, it’s probably that you’ll be in good hands.
Within SEO there are a variety of techniques that can be utilised. Make sure the agency that you go with has a strong focus on quality over quantity (in particular with link-building, where multiple low quality links can be damaging overall) and only uses “white-hat” SEO. The so called “black hat” techniques that you may have heard of refer to less ethical and more aggressive practices which focus more on manipulating search engines rather than providing value to the humans who use them. They frequently violate the terms of use that search engines enforce, and while in practice these can work in the short term, they can also get your website blacklisted by the search engine company, so that it won’t show up at all. Needless to say, forget the short term gains and avoid agencies that use these at all costs.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the website of the agency itself. Of course if they can’t take care of their own website, how can they take care of yours? You’d be surprised by how often someone advertising their copywriting ability has terrible copy on their site.

However if it has great copy and shows up first in Google when you enter its’ name, then the agency probably knows what it’s doing.

So there you have it, armed with this information you should have no problem finding the right SEO agency that can bring your business online success.

Why does my website need SEO?

Ask yourself, how often do you look past the first page of results on Google? If you’re anything like most people, the answer is almost never. For all intents and purposes, those latter pages simply don’t exist. Good luck getting anyone to visit your new niche website or blog if you’re still floundering on page 10 of any search engine.

This is where SEO or search engine optimisation comes into play. It is the strategy and techniques used to optimise a website in such a way that if you were to search for certain terms (for example: “digital marketing” or “London pet shop”), a relevant website would show up, preferably in the first few results. A website with a solid SEO strategy becomes more visible and therefore attracts more potential customers. If it doesn’t then you’re not going to get much traffic at all.

services-strategy-on-lightIt may not sound especially important, but getting ranked well in search engines can mean the difference between a website flourishing or crashing and burning. Maybe you have a new online marketing business with stiff competition, or maybe you’re an aspiring blogger writing on the vicissitudes of being a post-millennial, the simple fact is that you can be the absolute best at what you do, offering the best products at the best prices, but if the search engines can’t find your website then no one can.

If you think about it, the vast majority of people find out what they need to know not through word of mouth, but through the internet. Google alone processes a mind-boggling 40,000 search queries per second. We’re talking about a simply incomprehensible amount of information flowing every day, in an age where everybody has the attention span of a goldfish (if they’re lucky) and probably won’t make it past the first page or two as a result.

So how does the process actually work? Search engines function by using complicated algorithms which are used to rank websites based on their relevancy to the search terms entered by the user. Believe it or not, those specific algorithms are actually closely guarded secrets, so that nobody can take advantage of them, as the potential for abuse is immense.

In the early days of search engines it was simpler, but search engine companies soon became wise to the variety of techniques – some ethical and some definitely not, known respectively as white hat and black hat SEO –  that could be leveraged to redirect and manipulate online traffic to one’s advantage. In essence, SEO is coordinating and systematically arranging the variety of keywords, page titles, links and so on in a way that Yahoo or Bing or of course Google can find amongst the myriad other content out there.services-analytics-alt-colors-optimized

Nowadays the algorithms are more sophisticated than ever, and utilising an effective SEO strategy is a considerable challenge. Successful websites have to rank well, or they won’t be successful at all. For better or worse, this is the way that information flows in the 21st century and in order to connect with the right potential customers or viewers a dynamic and intelligent SEO strategy is essential.

Why quality content is important for any website

No matter the niche your business may fill, whether you’re a stay at home mom blogging about the latest and greatest in baby products, or trying to make waves selling your new e-book online, you need an online presence if you want to succeed in today’s business world. Even if it’s physical products you’re peddling, having a great website that has quality content is an absolutely essential part of a successful business strategy. Quality content isn’t easy to come by, and it can be well worth paying for a professional service to take care of it for you.

What do we mean exactly by quality? This topic is more or less limitless, but there are a few main criteria which should be fulfilled.

Firstly, it must be well written. If it’s not, it will destroy any air of professionalism on your site. If you have a great service but can’t describe it in proper prose, you won’t sell it, and it’s as simple as that.services-webdesign-optimized

Second, it has to be relevant and targeted to the right people. People have a pretty limited attention span as it is, so few if any are going to be inclined to sift through pages of vague and ineffectual content. You need to address the potential customers or visitors that you actually want to attract, and stay on the topics that will keep them interested and reading. This ties into the last and most important criterion, which is that the content must provide actual value. If it’s not worth something to the target audience, get rid of it. We humans are generally more intuitive than we’re given credit for, and if most of your content is worthless prevarication then don’t expect a lot of traffic.

Just as people become more and more attuned to separating the wheat from the chaff of web content due to the sheer amount of it out here, search engines do too. It used to be the case that you could simply stuff a heap of keywords into your content, Google or similar would find your site, and voila, lots of traffic and then money.

Nowadays, not so much. Although keyword stuffing does work to some extent, Google and similar sites (although does anyone use those?) are constantly iterating their algorithms to be ever more sophisticated and able to avoid such nefarious tactics.

So not only will high-quality writing attract more people by virtue of being well written and informative, but search engines will rank these pages higher as well, which again leads to more traffic from the right kind of people. And those who do read and use your website will be much more likely to come back.

So committing to consistently having top tier content is the long term play, and it’s important to keep producing content that’s fresh and useful to ensure repeat visitors to your site.

Given that everyone and their mother now has a website, there is simply an enormous amount of content out there to compete with. To make your website stand out takes a professional service which is committed to consistently producing great content. With the rise of services like Squarespace almost anyone can commission a half-decent website, but filling it with quality content is another task entirely. It’s altogether too easy to focus on making a site look good while neglecting the meat of the project. If you want success for your website, it’s truly vital in the current environment to fill it with premium web content.