Search Engine Optimisation – On Page and Off

14 Dec

So, you’ve started your business, you’ve set up your website and your tweeting and facebooking as fast as your fingers will allow but there is still no activity on your site and chasing the tumbleweeds in your shop is the only thing keeping you sane. What’s gone wrong? More often than not a business will have neglected to adapt their website for search engines to make them as searchable as possible. It is, without overstating the point, the single most important thing you’ll do in your life besides remembering to breath.*

*Slight overstatements may appear in this text

*Slight overstatements may appear in this text

  • So how does a company go about SEO?The obvious starting point is to make your website as efficient as possible. At the end of the day creating traffic to your page is the goal and when consumers get to your page it must, at all costs, be navigable by the least tech savvy person. Therefore segregating your website into easy to use pages is hugely important. Give everything its own page and separate all these pages into tabs at the top of your home page. A well-constructed site will lower the bounce-rate off your page and should improve conversions.
Excellent segregation of website into tabs and menus

Excellent segregation of website into tabs and menus

  • Talk of SEO can get perilously complicated. Terms like metrics, sitemaps and the dreaded 404 error can seem mind boggling for the uninitiated. To the layman a 404 error is simple having a web address to a page that doesn’t exist. These are easily avoided and doing so will improve the SEO of your website no end.
Losing the plot

Losing the plot?

  • The title of your website, the description that appears in blue on the Search Results page, should be extremely clear and concise. This is your quick descriptor of the website. Keep it concise (70 characters) and appropriate to what the page is about.
Search "Hot Birds"

Search “Hot Birds”…not what you had in mind?

  • Offline efforts to optimize your website can’t be ignored either. Any activity that can provide traffic to your page is good. This can extend to handing out flyers and business cards with your web address printed on them. Attention grabbing advertising creates the best traffic.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98EJx7OKqLI
  • Heavy content for your website is also a key addition. Therefore using images (and remember to give them titles and edit the alt tags) and video is very advisable.
  • A key tactic for SEO is gaining links to your page from reputable sources. The more outside links your website contains the more favourably Google will rank your site.

Now go….and with these tips…be the best website you can be.

He doesn't even have a website and he still feels this confident!!

He doesn’t even have a website and he still feels this confident!!

 

 

Pay-Per-Click or Display Advertising: Which Is Better?

28 Nov

It is one of the age old questions in life, much like who would win in a smack-down between Batman and Superman or which would be better, invisibility or the ability to fly? Whereas these have very obvious answers (Superman & invisibility) the question of whether Pay-Per-Click or display advertising will take a little more discussion.

I told you already....PPC is the best!!!

I told you already….PPC is the best!!!

So what are the benefits of each type of advertising? Obviously they are many and varied. CEO’s do not want to part with their money unless they are reaping some reward and, like many things in life, the success of your strategy depends hugely on the outcome you are hoping to achieve.

PAY-PER-CLICK ADVERTISING:

In the red corner: PPC advertising! This can be a hugely effective and cost efficient form of advertising. It is based around the principle of knowing exactly what your target market is and buying up advertising space around keywords in, most notably, Google Adwords.

PPC advertising around Plumbers in Cork

PPC advertising around Plumbers in Cork

PPC Key Strengths:

  1. There is a very broad reach with this kind of advertising, you are not relying on prior knowledge of your company but acting on the need for the service you provide. Anyone who is looking for your service should find your business.
  2. It is very accurately targeted. You will not appear on completely irrelevant searches
  3. It is cost effective; you pay only when there is a click through to your website.
  4. PPC is extremely measurable. The use of Google Analytics can really help you refine your advertising and ensure you are targeting the right markets.
  5. There is an extra measure of control over what you produce. The ad will send you to a website that you are free to deign in anyway. You are not confined by the advertising space you can afford.

DISPLAY ADVERTISING

And in the blue corner we have Display Advertising. This kind of advertising is hugely effective for gaining awareness for a campaign or product launch. It is used for attaining a profile for the product or service you are producing. It mostly consists of static images and web banners but increasingly interactive banners are being used containing video and audio elements.

Display Advertisng

Display Advertisng

Display Advertising Key Strengths:

  1. Display advertising is very effective creating brand awareness. If you have a new product on the market the exposure of this kind of advertising is hard to beat.
  2. You acquire a very direct response with display advertising. If the consumer likes it then they’ll click on it.
  3. Conversion of interest to sales is very high.
  4. It is also a very good way of generating leads for future sales. Again, awareness of the product is helped hugely by the advert appearing in suitable places around the web.
  5. Display advertising is hugely adaptable to Social Media which is a huge consumer market.

THE RESULT:

IT’S A TIE! As so often happens in heavyweight bouts the honours are even. Both forms of advertising have their strengths, it is up to the company to figure out which suits their campaign best. Generally PPC is very effective for services and appliances. Services like plumbers and electricians do not need to pay for constant advertising, when they are needed people will search for them.

Garry wanted a full page banner ad....he was advised against it

Garry wanted a full page banner ad….he was advised against it

On the other hand Display advertising is dominant when it comes to campaigns such as new product launches, informative campaigns and anything that the public won’t already have knowledge of. The interactivity of display advertising can also be an ace up the sleeve for display marketing.

Coming soon: Godzilla Vs. Garry the Plumber (Pictured above)

Google youTube video explaining Google Adwords

How B2B Marketers are Successfully Using Linkedin

13 Nov

For many businesses making contact with other industry organisations is essential to building, maintaining and expanding their own organisation. Achieving inter business connections has become much easier with the evolution of the internet, however there is one place in particular where an organisation can go to really make the most of the online potential for network building. That place is Linkedin.

Slide showing the tools available on Linkedin.

Slide showing the tools available on LinkedIn.

 LinkedIn is the ideal format for B2B marketing. It is a social media platform yet it has a very different tone to that of Facebook or Twitter. Professionalism is key and a company can use a wide variety of tactics to show itself in a professional light. It is a place to position the company as a thought leader in its specific field of expertise, which is one of the key ways businesses are using LinkedIn, according to Josh Graff, Head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions across Europe.

You'd have to trust this guy....Look how bright his idea is.

You’d have to trust this guy….Look how bright his idea is.

Perhaps the best tool in LinkedIn’s arsenal is its group pages application. Any business can join any group related to its own industry. It can also set up a brand new one and invite other businesses to join this group. The value of this strategic visibility cannot be underestimated. Your business can post content, ask and answer industry questions and request endorsements and testimonials that are invaluable to building a positive reputation within the industry. A perfect example of the power of these pages is HP who set up the HP Business Answers page which now excels as a peer-to-peer advice forum. This page helped HP to become the first company to gain a million followers on LinkedIn.

And boy did they party that night

And boy did they party that night

There are many other elements on LinkedIn that make it invaluable to B2B Marketers, as Steve Rayson says, “When it comes to generating qualified leads and conversions most B2B marketers agree that LinkedIn is the current platform to use” If your target market is there than you need to be there too. In this way you can improve brand authority, create sales leads and establish a top class network of industry contacts.

Never again will you turn up to a business meeting to find out you have been dealing with a seal along.

Never again will you turn up to a business meeting to find out you’ve been dealing with a seal along.

As seen in the above clip LinkedIn has become the most important professional social media site by offering a vast range of useful tools for any business to utilise. The inter-business contact is invaluable for companies of all sizes. On the down side, cats are often left homeless on LinkedIn. It’s just not cat that friendly.

There's always Facbook

There’s always Facebook

In The Last 8 Years YouTube Has Taught Us That….

26 Oct

In the modern era it is impossible to think of a world without YouTube. It has become so ubiquitous that it has been put on the same list of ground-breaking innovation as the wheel and Penicillin. The video sharing website, established in 2005, has grown inexorably since its inception to the global behemoth that it has become today. The site is the first stop for everything from marketing to music, video blogs, software tutorials, films and interviews. And cats. Lots of cats.

So, other than knowing that cats actually rule the world, what have we learned from YouTube? Here are 3 of the most important things to know:

1. Footage no longer has an expiration date.

Gone are the days of the short news cycle. With the advent of YouTube the general public now has a platform to repeatedly watch video footage of events that may have happened weeks, months or even years prior. Therefore poor unfortunates who get caught out on camera face the prospect of this footage being replayed for years. High profile blunders in the YouTube age may never stop being replayed by someone,somewhere. Mass media may move on from the incident but with YouTube the general public may never forget….

2. Everybody has a voice.

If there is one thing to take away from YouTube it’s that not everyone should be allowed in front of a camera.

Proof if proof were needed

Proof if proof were needed

Youtube has become the ultimate platform for free speech, as highlighted here by The New York Times It is the modern day soap box that almost anybody on the planet can use to get their views across. Whether good, bad or completely insane, YouTube allows everyone to get their opinions heard, to be trend setters and opinion makers. This freedom of speech is at the very core of what YouTube stands for. As Shankar Soma points out in his article Youtube can be hugely useful for creating business content but it can also be used on a multitude of other topics. Here a blogger teaches us about how to edit a music video. Its quick, bite-size information for a generation of public whose attention span is increasingly more bite-size.

3. Originality Trumps Banality.

The most successful and memorable business campaigns on YouTube are dripping with creativity. You could be advertising the most run of the mill product but if its done with creativity and ingenuity people will share it with friends. Viral marketing hits have paved the way for a whole new way of advertising that has evolved in the relatively short lifespan of YouTube. One of the original and most memorable campaigns would be that of Old Spice.

This video alone has been viewed 46,832,209 times. The ingenuity of this advert, and subsequent sequels, breathed new life into a brand that had become stale to consumers. This single advert managed to appeal to both men and women, young and old because it is hilariously funny and creatively alive with ideas. Now the old image of Old Spice is completely rejuvenated because of the campaign. YouTube has allowed this kind of phenomenon because the video is constantly viewable, but it will only be viewed if the content is worth constant reviewing.

With this knowledge YouTube can be one of the most useful tools for anybody with a creative mind and something to say. And if all else fails, film you cat.

10 ways small Irish businesses can use Facebook and Twitter

10 Oct

The opportunities that social media affords a small Irish businesses are huge and can generally be taken advantage of with a very small budget. Here are some key points for businesses to remember when entering the Social Media world:

10. Suitability:

A small Irish business must first consider whether Facebook and Twitter are the right platforms for their enterprise, as highlighted in Lauren Indvik’s article where she shows some key points for businesses to account for. While Facebook and Twitter may be perfect to spread the profile of the likes a Beautician or a Hair Salon, a Funeral Home or Taxidermist may not reap the same benefits.

Taxidermy

Taxidermy may not get customers clicking

9. Offline hype generates online traffic:

Once a business decides to use the Social Media platform it’s essential to create traffic towards your page. This can be done through more traditional means by advertising the page with radio adverts or simply flyers and posters.

Dentists guerilla-marketing

Creativity helps attract attention

8.Research: 

Yours is not the only business page on Facebook. Use this to your advantage and see what other companies are doing. Investigate and see what works and what doesn’t, what would be suitable for your business and what would be at odds with the tone of your page.

This certainly appeals to one target market...but could alienate everybody else
This certainly appeals to one target market…but could alienate everybody else

7. Build a rapport:

Small businesses have the advantage of being able to have a personal touch and rapport with their clientele. Positive feedback and interaction from a customer opens up their contact list to the business as perspective future clients.

6. Facebook Ads:

Facebook ads are the most obvious way to get your company known. Adverts should be optimised for what you want to do on your site, i.e. App uploads, Likes or sales.

Like! Like! Like!

Like! Like! Like!

5.Twitter Ads:

Again Twitter ads are hugely important. Businesses can advertise deals,offers, competitions or company information through promoted Tweets or promoted accounts.

Who could resist?

Who could resist?

4. Offers, Deals, Promotions:

Customers love offers. Here Emily Wilson shows how to create a Facebook offer and how to maximise its effectiveness for you business.

Online offers are always a good way to get people to the business page

Online offers are always a good way to get people to the business page

3. Creating good content:

Twitter is the perfect platform to spread bite-size information for customers consumption about your business. Creating heavy content will also have the knock on effect of improving your Search Engine Optimisation.

Tweet offering deals and also gaining followers

Tweet offering deals and also gaining followers

2.  Public Forum:

The more involved a customer feels with a company the more likely they are to use your business. Offer a suggestion box to customers and always be ready and willing to respond.  People expect almost instant responses from online sources.

Megaphone

A business needs to be willing and available to listen to its customers

1. Don’t Get It Wrong:

Nellie Akalp here outlines some pitfalls that small businesses can fall for. Being overly promotional is a huge mistake. Customers will quickly tire of an endless stream of self promotional Tweets and links.

Customers are quick to reach for the big red button

Customers are quick to reach for the big red button

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