Friday, 1 November 2019

What’s the Difference Between SEO and SEM?


Unfortunate as it may be, most of the 2 billion or so websites up and running right now attract little to no traffic. Shocking at first, but less so when considering that just a couple of major search engines direct around 95% of the web’s collective traffic.

So it’s really no surprise that competition for the top spots with Google and the like is ferocious. Climbing the rankings means implementing an effective marketing strategy, which brings two distinct options into the spotlight:

1. Search engine optimisation (SEO)

2. Search engine marketing (SEM)

Often confused as one and the same, SEO and SEM are in fact quite different. But if you’re serious about appearing prominently in the rankings, you’ll need to bring both into your digital strategy. 



SEO Vs SEM

In a nutshell, SEO refers to the activities and initiatives implemented to boost a website’s appeal in the eyes of the major search engines. By contrast, SEM refers to paid search advertising programmes, which most commonly manifest in the form of PPC advertising (pay-per-click).

Why is SEO important?

Taking a look at SEO first, search engine optimisation affects the extent to which visitors will find and visit your website organically. In this instance, ‘organic’ means you didn’t use any form of paid marketing, advertising or promotional materials of any kind to attract them. Instead, they found you ‘organically’ because you’re clearly the best match for their needs.

SEO is important because it is an ongoing strategy that boosts not only traffic volumes, but also brand recognition, authority in your niche and the potential to drive better conversion rates. Organic listings in the search page results attract exponentially more attention and interest than their paid counterparts, making SEO a must for small and large businesses alike.

What is SEM?

At the opposite side of the spectrum, search engine marketing is all about paying to have your ads positioned prominently at the top of the rankings. Rather than attempting to appeal to the major search engines by improving and optimising your website, you instead pay them to showcase your message in accordance with your chosen keywords and search terms.

SEM differs from search engine optimisation in that it has the capacity to deliver an immediate influx of traffic. The moment your ads go live, they begin directing traffic to your landing pages accordingly. This can therefore be ideal for generating an initial burst of interest in a new website, advertising a temporary promotion or introducing a new product.

On the downside, the benefits of PPC advertising are usually limited to the period during which the campaign is operational.

The Best of Both…

Essentially, therefore, you’re looking at a free and organic search strategy geared towards long-term benefits, alongside a paid initiative that can deliver near-immediate results. A strategic combination of both clearly represents the ideal approach for any business out to improve their exposure.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Why PPC and SEO Campaigns Should Be Run Simultaneously

It is common to come across a debate regarding which is better – PPC or SEO. In reality, you can do with bringing both of them into your marketing strategy.

But the question is still there – which one should you prioritise? For some businesses, it is a case of bringing an SEO marketing strategy underway, wait some time until it starts generating traffic and then move on to PPC. For other companies, it is the other way around.



Both PPC and SEO have the potential to generate Internet traffic in generous volumes. Nonetheless, anyone trying to maximise their ROI may want to consider running both SEO and PPC campaigns at the same time.

Here is why:

SEO Will Take Time

For starters, even an outstanding SEO strategy takes time to reach fruition. What is more, it’s fundamentally impossible to predict how much time it will take for an SEO strategy to reach a certain result. It will simply take as long as it takes. Meanwhile, there might be a little to no difference when it comes to the traffic your website is able to pull in.

By contrast, PPC is about immediate impact when you happen to need it most. Rather than sitting and waiting to see what happens, your PPC ads will be published both instantly and prominently. While your SEO marketing strategy is working hard to get the job done, your PPC ads deliver a steady and strong stream of traffic.

Paid Ads Will Appear More Prominently


No matter how great your SEO strategy is, you will always play second fiddle to the paid ads. In fact, you are unlikely to reach the top of the search rankings for the most popular keywords. It is important to bear in mind that above all else, Google is out there to make money – that’s a fact. This is precisely why Google gives those businesses who hand over cash priority in the search result listings.

With a PPC marketing campaign, you have the chance to position your ads at the very top of the search results page. If the best you are managing so far with your SEO campaign is tenth position, you may find PPC ads very useful for boosting the traffic to your page. That is also something that can help your SEO marketing strategy – Google considers page hits and visitor numbers into its indexation algorithms. So again, a combination of PPC and SEO wins the day.

Lessons Learned

Lastly, PPC campaigns could be used to learn important lessons for your SEO strategy, and vice versa. By monitoring their respective progress, you will tap into a world of invaluable data for the improvement of both campaigns.

Especially when it comes to keywords data and analytics, a PPC campaign could be worth its weight in gold. Google usually reserves the most valuable insights and data for those businesses willing to pay for it. Therefore, your PPC ads can teach you more about your business audience than your SEO strategy alone.

Summer 2019 - Online Marketing Statistics

The 2019 summer is already proving to be a fascinating period in the world of web marketing statistics. Or at least, fascinating if you are keeping up with the major topics like artificial intelligence, influencer marketing and the power of online video.

So here is a short summary of just a few revealing statistics from the past weeks that attracted our attention.

AI marketing is set to explode by 2022

A recent study by Forbes Insights and Quantcast suggests that online markets worldwide are planning significant investments in AI over the next few years. More specifically, around 535 of web marketers have the intention to spend more on AI in the next 4 years, while 17% intend to invest heavily in AI. More than half of those studied declared they had personally observed improvements to customer retention since introducing AI. Particularly when it comes to customer service, AI is dramatically transforming the way businesses improve their online user experience.



More children than ever before want to be influencers
The social media influencer as an idea didn’t even exist a few years ago. Nowadays, a study by Awin suggests that nearly 70% of children between 11 and 16 have aspirations to become social media influencers. Additionally, 155 of children have the intention to build careers on YouTube. Both of these numbers are higher than the number of children who want to become vets or teachers. But while children are dreaming of becoming the next huge social media success, nearly half of the parents involved in the survey had no idea what a social media influencer is all about or how it works.

Blue Monday appears to drive strong online retail sales

Online retailers seem to have taken full advantage of the most depressing day of the year – January 21. Turning to online shopping as a distraction from the gloom elsewhere, EmpathyBroker reported a noticeable increase in shopping-based online searched compared to a typical Monday. This amounted to around 30% heavier shopping traffic than the typical for a less-depressing Monday at any other time.

YouTube’s revenues from ads are still on the up

As every year, YouTube has once again achieved some impressive revenue growth – an 11% increase in 2018 compared to the previous year. Media and entertainment brands contributed in excess of 30% to YouTube’s advertising revenues.

Video reviews are preferred to textual write-ups

Lastly, a recent study by Small Business Trends confirmed the potential influence and value of quality video marketing. In this case, the study revealed that nearly four times more people prefer watching a video review of a product that simply reading about it. Along with the simplicity to deal with compared to block after block of text, a video review can help build a deeper connection with the viewer and can deliver much more detailed visual product information.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

5 Steps to Becoming an Influencer in Your Business Field


It is no secret that influencer marketing has the value and power to earn just about any company superstardom in no time at all. Similarly, everyone is aware that the world’s most popular influencers are right now raking enormous sums of money, for simply recommending the services and products of the brands they’re working with.

On one side, you have businesses which are desperate to work with successful and established influencers. On the other side, you have influencers with the power to drive public opinion through positive or negative publicity. 



So you can argue that the Holy Grail will be for the company itself to become an influencer in its field. After all, who could be better to promote whatever it is you sell than you yourself?

Unsurprisingly, becoming an established influencer is not an easy job. It is far from impossible, but it is quite the undertaking. In most cases, influencers do what they do as their full-time job – not just a fun side project. Therefore, managing a business and being a successful influencer can be viewed as the ultimate balancing act.

Nonetheless, if you consider you have what it takes to be an influencer in your field, here are five steps how to get started:

1. Build knowledge

Nearly 90% of the working hours of an influencer are spent carrying out research. If you want to be an influencer in your field, you will first need to develop comprehensive understanding of said niche. Additionally, you will need to be close to the cutting edge of the field so that you can accurately tell what is coming next. If there is even a single person out there who understands the industry better than you, you will struggle to establish yourself as a key authority.

2. Make your voice and face known

Even with all inside knowledge in the world, you can’t just burst onto the scene and expect to become an instant authority. Instead, you will need to spend time becoming an essential part of the community, making your voice heard and offering people the opportunity to get to know you. Create and publish high-quality content on a regular basis, while gradually building both your business identity and your audience.

3. Network like crazy

Always keep in mind that no influencer has ever succeeded by living in a vacuum. Instead, established influencers network like crazy and try to surround themselves with individuals who could help them achieve their goals. Especially in the early stages, you are going to need all the help you could get.

4. Dedicate your time to the cause


Don’t even consider approaching your influencer efforts as a side venture or something to do when time permits. Just as is the case with any other occupation, you will need to set aside some time in your schedule every day to dedicate to the cause.

5. Have clear goals in mind

Last up, along with a strategy in terms of how precisely you want to progress, you will also need to determine your main objectives and goals. It is crucial to consider carefully why you have decided to do this in the first place and when you will consider the whole venture successful. Like any other business idea, you will need a set of KPIs to be able to measure your performance and progress along the way.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

5 Timeless SEO Strategies You Will Always Benefit From


In the ever fast-paced world of online marketing, SEO strategies come and go all the time. What is supposedly a sure-fire method for success this week often becomes entirely ineffective next week.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean there are no evergreen SEO hacks you simply cannot go wrong with. The kinds of evergreen tactics you will always benefit from if you dedicate to them enough time and attention.



So beyond the temporary trends and passing fads of SEO, what follows are five times strategies that will always benefit your marketing campaign:

1. Publishing Quality Content

The important keyword in this case being “quality” – as in the type of content that holds some kind of value and purpose. It is perfectly possible to post a compellingly written article on any topic and gain precisely nothing from it. Quality means thinking about what matters to your audience, as opposed to your company or the SEO bots you are trying to win over. Just as long as the content you create is relevant, fresh and of interest to your readers, there is no such thing as producing too much of it.

2. Enhancing the performance of your website

Similarly, there is no such thing as a site that performs too well. The fluidity, the speed and overall consistency of your site will all play a role in determining its SEO prowess. If there is anything you can do to improve or speed up the way your website functions, it is something you should be doing. The same also applies to any improvements that can be made for mobile audiences – also a guaranteed SEO element for the indefinite future at least.

3. Focusing on backlinks of value

We are unlikely to see a time when high-profile backlinks will not add up to serious credit in the eyes of Google and co. The days of getting away with low-quality links are gone for good – backlinks of value are the only links that can benefit your SEO campaign. Building a contingency of quality links is not easy, but can benefit your site and your marketing strategy indefinitely.

4. Optimising your social platform activity

While it is true to say that social media does not directly influence SEO, it is nevertheless a strong contributor to your promotional efforts. Posts on the most popular social platforms can drive as much traffic to your website as links positioned elsewhere on the web. Additionally, the more interest you are able to generate, the more likely the major search engines are to also take note.

5. Website improvements and updates

Lastly, there is always something that can be done to update and improve your website. Whether it is a visual design overhaul, simplification of your navigation system or update to the static text content, , it is an effective way of boosting your SEO. Always keep in mind that whatever you could do to improve things for the end user would have a knock-on effect on your overall SEO strategy. Offer a flawless experience for all visitors and the rest will take care of itself!

Monday, 29 April 2019

5 Key SEO Tactics and Trends in 2019

Looking ahead to this year’s upcoming online marketing trends can be daunting and exciting in equal measure. Visualising your success and planning your strategy, though also accepting you are not in for an easy ride.



Nevertheless, the better idea you have of what is to come, the better your chance of making it work in your favour. With this in mind, here is a brief overview of the five key SEO tactics and trends to keep in mind going into 2019:

1. Increased Visibility Competition
The first entry is also the most obvious and arguably the most important of all. Every year, visibility competition grows at its fastest rate. And 2019 looks to be no exception. The search engines are evolving and space at the top is becoming ever more confined. In online marketing stakes, the phrase
survival of the fittest” has never been more appropriate.

2. Old School SEO Tactics Will Lose Value 
You will still need to have a strategy with your on-page SEO, but relying exclusively on old-school methods is just not going to cut it in 2019. Instead, it will be more about the all-round customer experience and the level to which you can foster a sense of genuine engagement with your web audience. On-page SEO will always play a role, it is simply a case of accepting you cannot rely on it alone.

3. Growth of Voice Search
As far as the industry watchers are concerned, more than half of all online searches will use voice search by 2020. Which is only a year away. Which should be a concern for anybody who is yet to give any thought to voice search optimisation whatsoever. Incredibly, the most popular voice assistants on the market today have achieved an understanding accuracy of more than 90% on average. If you are not yet giving thought to voice search, you are in danger of falling behind.

4. Mobile-Optimised Websites Will Gain Value
What this means is that Google and the other major search engines have begun the process of assessing pages and websites firstly from a mobile perspective. This essentially means that if you want your website to rank higher in 2019, you will need to give mobile SEO more time and focus. If you don’t, your content will not add as much value as it could and your SEO performance will suffer.

5. There Is Life Beyond Google
Last but not least, it has never been more important to realise the fact that Google is not where the buck starts and stops when it comes to SEO. It is the biggest and most important by all means, but it is not the only search engine at all. What is more, Bing has started gaining significant traction by occupying a bigger share of the search market in 2018. Therefore, you may want to stop putting all your SEO eggs in the same proverbial basket.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Six SEO Myths to Ignore


SEO may have been around for decades now, but the concept remains a subject of confusion for millions of businesses worldwide. Every year, we’re bombarded with a completely fresh set of ‘rules’ and ‘best practices’ that can supposedly maximise the value of an SEO strategy.

Not to mention, all manner of myths and untruths – some of which are downright dangerous.

So just to illustrate how things are looking from a 2019 perspective, here’s a brief rundown of six dangerous SEO myths that are still doing the rounds with gusto right now:

1. Quality content alone is more than enough

First up, you cannot and will not achieve SEO glory without plenty of outstanding content. Nevertheless, you cannot run an effective SEO campaign on quality content alone. Content matters – and matters a lot – but is nonetheless just one of many components you need to address. Try to avoid putting all of your eggs in the same proverbial basket.


2. It’s all about the keywords

Likewise, getting too bogged down with keywords in general isn’t a good idea. Keywords are a critical element of the successful SEO strategy, but cramming in as many as possible and damaging the quality of your content in doing so is a risky tactic. Not to mention, the kind of tactic that doesn’t tend to curry favour these days with any of the major search engines.

3. More pages = better rankings

Contrary to popular belief, more pages will not necessarily guarantee more prominent SERP positioning. Unless the pages add genuine value and quality to your website, they won’t do a great deal for your SEO profile at all. Creating more pages simply for the sake of it is a common tactic, though one that’s unlikely to do you any favours.

4. Pictures are pointless

Just because search engine spiders cannot yet crawl the content of website pictures doesn’t mean they’re without value. The reason being that all major search engines now take into account various aspects of the user experience, which includes the provision of a rich mixture of media. What’s more, SEO-rich file names and alt-tags can and should be used to your advantage.

5. Mobile focus is overrated

If anything, it’s the exact opposite. Evidence suggests that not nearly enough business owners worldwide are yet giving mobile focus the attention it deserves. With mobile web traffic having comfortably overtaken desktop traffic, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the importance of mobile SEO focus.

6. It’s not necessary to hire help

Last but not least, it’s highly unlikely that any in-house effort that lacks extensive specialist expertise is going to get the job done properly. It just isn’t going to happen. Contemporary SEO is an infinitely more complex and challenging concept than it was even just a couple of years ago. You can’t make things up as you go along and expect to get by – nor can you rely on a half-cooked strategy to deliver positive results. If you’re serious about making the most of your SEO strategy, hiring help comes highly recommended.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Smart Content Marketing

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to content marketing is the following:

Every web user presently online around the globe is online for a specific reason.

There is a surprising number of businesses that assume that every second web user is online with no specific purpose in mind whatsoever. Drifting around with no requirements or intention, thus wide open to their tempting offers and suggestions. The reality, however, is much different.



Whether it is for socialising, entertainment purposes, seeking services or researching products of any kind, there is always a reason for going online. This in turn means that to some extent at least, there is something specific every person in question is looking for.

Exactly who fulfils their requirements and expectations comes down to one simple thing and one thing alone – quality content.

Value and Quality

Online webmasters and businesses in general can throw all the hype they want at their target audiences. But without genuine value and quality to back it up, it is an exercise in futility. Above everything else, the crucial thing to remember when implementing a content marketing strategy is that web users will always respond best to websites that are providing them with some sort of help.

It can be help filling some minutes with quality entertainment, help with researching services and products, help with buying services and products and so on. Web users in general like to know that after each engagement or experience with an online entity, they come away better off.

Which is exactly why the most successful content is that which delivers benefits and value of some kind. How-to guides, tutorials, infographics or pretty much anything unique that can’t be found elsewhere.

Web marketers who exist for the sole reason to separate consumers from their hard earned money rarely find success – those who try to satisfy the needs of their audience usually perform much better.

The Psychology of Selling

Studies and the experience of millions of online businesses worldwide remind us that strong customer relationships could be forged if you help them solve a problem. If you’re willing to offer support and advice that is relevant, useful, transparent and accessible, you will stand a greater chance of standing out as a leader and authority in your field.

This means that next time they need any support or help along the same lines, they will most likely gravitate in your direction.

In a way, it is the classic example of selling without really selling in practice. Rather than bombarding your audience members with marketing materials, you are instead focusing on what they really want. And by doing so, you stand out from the crowd as an authority in your field.

So rather than focusing on and investing in the kind of hype that will most likely lead to nothing, think about how your business and your website could provide valuable and genuine help, for the benefit of your web users.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Why Buying Web Traffic Is Rarely a Good Idea


All websites could benefit from a little more traffic. Irrespective of how successful your online business may be, more is always better. After all, no right-minded business owner would happily turn down the prospect of additional sales.

With competition in all sectors at an all-time high, businesses worldwide are resorting to various weird and wonderful tactics to boost web traffic. One of which being to buy traffic in bulk.

 


On paper, it sounds like a relatively simple tactic with obvious appeal. You hand your cash over to a service provider, who in turn sends a predetermined number of visitors your way. It could be 5,000, 50,000 or even 500,000 visitors – a quick, easy and affordable boost that could make a huge difference.

Or at least, so it seems.

Think of it this way – if it was really so easy and effective to buy web traffic, wouldn’t we all be doing it? Or to put it another way, if it was possible to buy all the web traffic you need at an affordable price, why waste money on conventional marketing and advertising?

The short answer is the obvious answer – it isn’t quite as easy as it seems. In fact, it’s comparatively rare for buying web traffic to be an advisable course of action.

The following four reasons going some way to explain why:

1. Zero targeting

First of all, there’s nothing to gain by sending a whole bunch of entirely untargeted traffic to your website. Sending hundreds of thousands of visitors your way is all well and good, but what if not a single one of these visitors have any real interest in what it is you do? Unqualified prospects are about as much use to your business as no prospects whatsoever. Hence, any traffic you buy that isn’t meticulously targeted may prove to have zero value.

2. Heavy penalties

In most instances, those who sell bulk web traffic provide their services by way of automated bots. Or to put it another way, the visitors that come your way aren’t in fact visitors at all. At least, not the kinds of human visitors of any real value to your business. Not only does this mean little to no positive impact, it also leaves you and your website wide open to heavy penalties. When the likes of Google and the other major search engines detect these kinds of tactics, they’re not in the habit of letting them go unpunished.

3. Scam potential

This is also an area of the digital marketing spectrum that is rife with scam tactics. Find yourself at the mercy of a substandard service provider and the consequences could be catastrophic.

4. No guarantees
Along with all this, there are absolutely no guarantees that you won’t be wasting every penny of your investment. They may promise to deliver hundreds of thousands of profitable visitors, but there are no guarantees they’ll deliver even one. And if you’re unhappy with their services, there’s precisely nothing you can do about it.

If you want to drive more visitors to your website, there are hundreds of safer and more effective avenues to explore. Nevertheless, if you do decide to go ahead and buy website traffic in bulk, you need to be extremely careful when choosing a provider.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Five W’s (and One H) of Perfect Product Descriptions


By its very nature, the term ‘product description’ is misleading. The reason being that one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to simply describe your products, rather than communicating their primary selling points.

When you think about it, you can describe almost any product in minute detail, without describing any of its benefits or applications. Realistically therefore, product descriptions shouldn’t be used to describe your products, but instead sell them by way of merit.

One of the best ways of penning perfect product descriptions is to focus on the Five W’s approach. Call it cliché, but it’s a consistently effective way of ensuring you communicate everything that matters to the prospective buyer.



Irrespective of what it is you’re selling and who you’re attempting to sell it to, these are the Five W’s (and One H) that can ensure you get the job done right:

WHO

First up, you need to clearly communicate who the product has been designed for. What kind of demographic are you targeting? What are the interests, expectations and priorities of your ideal buyer? Your product description should be tailored to both appeal to your ideal customer, while clearly communicating the benefits of the product to their demographic.

WHAT

You’ll then need to give a concise yet compelling account of what it is your product does and what sets it apart from comparable products on the market. Along with its basic attributes – features, dimensions and so on – your product description should communicate the purpose and value of the product in question.

WHERE

Slightly simpler, this refers to information regarding where the product can or should be used. Has it been designed for use in a very specific scenario, or is the ability to use it anywhere and at any time one of its selling points? Help build a mental picture of the product in use for your customers, by communicating where they’ll be using it if they buy it.

WHEN

The same also goes for when – what would be the ideal time for using your product and why? Has it been designed to maximise convenience or enjoyment while travelling? Is it an everyday household essential they’ll be using on a daily basis? Or is it something altogether more special for an altogether more special occasion?

WHY

The last of the W’s is also the most important – why should they purchase your product? What will it do to improve their life? Does it solve any specific problems? What makes it both unique and superior to anything else currently on the market?

HOW

Last up, the nature of the product you’re selling will determine whether you need to detail how it works. In the case of technology and gadgets in general, at least a brief overview of its method of operation could be useful.

And there you have it – five simple steps for coming up with concise yet convincing product descriptions. Once again, it’s a good idea to get out of the habit of simply describing the product itself, focusing instead on its benefits and unique selling points.