Your Brand Matters – And This Is Why

You might not consider yourself a ‘brand aficionado’, but chances are, you’re fooling yourself.  Every time you search – no matter what you’re looking for – Google comes up with a list of sources it thinks you might be interested in.  Regardless of SEO – regardless of all the keywords and all the meta tags in all the world, if you’re represented with a brand or a name you recognise, you’re probably going to click on them first.

Go ahead – deny it.

 

This is important to bear in mind from the other side of the playing field.  If you’re a small business, how would you suggest appealing to your public through basic SEO?

  • Simple keywords?
  • Plenty of healthy links?

Sure – it’s a start – but if you’re going up against big boys in your trade or in your line of expertise, you may as well throw up the white flag now.

Throw that in with what’s happening to Google searches as of late – oh, yes – they’re changing again.

Recent data shows that Google is changing the game, albeit in a different way to their usual algorithm shifts.  While simple search queries may have previously brought up small, independent entities and blogs, broad terms are being met with bigger fish, trusted sources, informative articles – all in an effort to help make finding the right answer that little bit more efficient.

This also means that – with the dawn of the knowledge panel – you know the ones – searchers are being given the answers they need without actually needing to click anywhere.  This means that you’re going to take a further hit.

Industry boffins are predicting that the click-per-search percentage is set to dip from 60% to below 50%.  In layman’s terms, this is very big indeed.

This means that Google is keeping more and more searchers on-page – and unless you do something, this means smaller fish like you are going to get less and less chance to impact upon the public.

In this day and age – with Google evidently (and very clearly so) putting algorithms together to help searchers find answers easier than ever – and with these knowledge panel changes and the drop in click rates, it’s getting harder for smaller businesses to stand out against more recognisable names.

This why – while basic SEO and all the bells and whistles are still HUGELY important (let’s not forget that), you’re going to need to focus on your brand, too.  Perhaps more so than ever before.

The game’s changed.  It’s no longer enough to be, say, an ‘affordable painter and decorator in Penge’.

You’re going to need to be THE painter and decorator in Penge that Penge searchers are going to immediately recognise and trust.  It’s all well and good getting to the top of Google’s holy search ladder, but without that sense of brand – that recognition –, you’re doomed to get cast aside.  Especially when the searcher might not even need to click on you.  It’s all about increasing your chances.

So – what now?  How do you combat Google’s search streamlining – and the bigger fish?

Firstly – once again – don’t ever discount basic SEO.  It evolves, it works, it brings necessary results for businesses time and time again – and it conquers half, if not two-thirds of the battle.

That last little stretch is going to be all about getting your name out there in different ways – being your brand.  Developing a unique identity.  Be the go-to guys on social media – your clients are all over the internet,  you need to get them to your website.

This is where your traffic will feel inspired – and once they search, they’ll remember you.  Lead with simple, straightforward branding and marketing – dump the clichés and the same old spiel.  No one wants to hear it.

Take a look at yourself.  Your brand.  Would you be inspired to click if your result came up against, say, a world leader in your trade?  Maybe not – meaning it’s high time you shouted your brand, your ethos, whatever you’ve got – from every soapbox going.  Show people who you are – build that image – and let them come to you.

Don’t panic – but do be smart about branding, and be smart about it now.

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SEOmers is a Suffolk based SEO and Marketing Company. We're known for straight talking, no fluff approach about website performance. If you would like a chat about your website, please do get in touch on "01473 760140"

Did you know that we send out monthly tips and tricks via email? No selling, No marketing. Just quick tips on how to make your online performance work better. SEO & Marketing Email List Here

Do you want to see some of our latest reviews from clients who have great success by working with us as a team.

Facebook are about to stop you from running ads

Facebook remains a seriously valuable resource for small businesses and, as a result, there’s never been a better time to start focusing on your social media strategy. They’re also pretty hot on making changes to business engagement on the platform, which obviously means that if they’ve got punches, you’re going to have to roll with them. Their latest move is to penalise businesses who are – for want of a better word – failing to inspire their customers. Facebook Pages come with various bells and whistles – one of them is a pretty solid rating system, not unlike Google’s, where your customers and clients can rate you out of five. Get an average score that’s hard pushed to reach two or three, and it’s likely Facebook is going to try and push you to try harder.

Customers are now in a very powerful position to be able to directly feedback to Facebook themselves if they’ve bought products or services from you via a targeted advert. Adverts are big business on Facebook these days – and they’ll share any negative feedback they receive from your customers so that you can – effectively – learn to improve. If, upon receiving feedback from Facebook, you fail to get your average up, they can pretty much close down your ability to advertise full stop. Harsh, but fair.

Don’t worry too much – if you’re the sort of person that learns from their experiences, you’ll likely only see a small reduction in the number of ads you’ll be allowed to run, and Facebook will keep in contact with you in an effort to bring you up to code with their community standards and even customer expectations off-site. This is a move which seems to be an attempt to nip spates of misinformation in the bud – meaning that if you’re even thinking about launching an ad campaign on the platform that outright misrepresents your services, you really should be thinking again.

We think Facebook’s move here is pretty fair – it’s helping to balance fair competition, and we’re all for making sure business who want to succeed – fairly, and through honourable channels – do so. Facebook advertising is a bit of a golden goose – it’s a huge chunk of your user engagement if you’re already invested, and this latest move is pretty clear – if you fail to improve on customer feedback, you’re going to feel the repercussions

Thank you for reading this article. You are welcome to share it

SEOmers is a Suffolk based SEO and Marketing Company. We're known for straight talking, no fluff approach about website performance. If you would like a chat about your website, please do get in touch on "01473 760140"

Did you know that we send out monthly tips and tricks via email? No selling, No marketing. Just quick tips on how to make your online performance work better. SEO & Marketing Email List Here

Do you want to see some of our latest reviews from clients who have great success by working with us as a team.

7 WEBSITE MISTAKES TO AVOID BEFORE EVEN HAVING ONE

No one ever said getting started online was easy – but we’ve all seen a few disasters in our time.  Some of the ways in which we start out on the web really do us no favours whatsoever – and while some of these factors can be fairly easy to spot, a lot of them go unnoticed, astonishingly regularly.  Let’s take a look at seven of the biggest ways you can really set yourself back before you really get started.

 

Avoiding Your Homework

Too many people are keen to jump straight in and build a catch-all website and fill it with content that appeals to a wider competition – this really is doing yourself a disservice.  What you should be doing is plenty of research – honing your online presence to a specific need an audience to capture their interest and to provide them with a one-stop shop.  Don’t just guess – do your homework.

Avoiding Any Planning Whatsoever

This is a big one – plans do matter, and when it comes to ensuring that your business and brand survives online, you’re going to need to know where you want to go and what it is you want to do.  This is essential for communicating with web designers as well as your prospective clients – build yourself some goals, set yourself some targets and be ruthless – reward yourself at the small milestones but for your own sake, think big – don’t do this on the fly.

Letting a Website Fester

Yep – one of the biggest ways you can truly shoot a website in the foot before getting started is leaving it to its own devices.  You’re not going to start ranking highly for keywords people are searching for on Google unless you partner with a professional who knows what they’re doing, or at least work on it yourself – Anyone can rank “rent elephants in Ipswich” but if no one is searching for it, it is not SEO or marketing. 

Keeping Your Network Tight

You’re likely to be tempted to market your brand and your social media to your family and friends – this makes sense particularly if you’re just starting out and are unsure about what you might be doing – but you’re going to need to start branching out and approaching people who are beyond your network to get long-term success to come to you.  Facebook isn’t being particularly kind to businesses right now with regard to proposed changes to the News Feed – and you should take advantage of really branching out.

Working With the Wrong People

This goes for all walks of life and work – but work with toxic people who are more about their own success and less about yours and you’re only going to dwindle.  Partner with firms and professionals who offer genuine support – build mutual relationships for long-term success! You want the right men, not yes men! (or woman). 

Poor Money Management

When you’re promoting yourself online, you may be tempted to leap into something like Facebook promotions – but a lot of these social media campaigns – the funded ones – aren’t as simple or as cut and dried as something like Pay Per Click.  Facebook promotion, where you pay a premium for a few added likes or shares, can have a habit of getting a little bit out of grasp – so be careful!

Taking the Cheap Route

Spending less now on what might be getting sold as professional SEO for a bargain rate might sound worthwhile, but long term, you’re in for a world of poor results.  Cheap, poorly-realised SEO is hardly worth the money you fork out for – go with reputation and a firm that has a cast-iron plan – don’t be afraid to invest more in getting factors such as your long-term SEO sorted out sooner rather than later – or you’ll be paying for it in the long run. Found a website for £50 for your new e-commerce store? Are you sure the exact same template hasn’t been used in 163 otehr websites? Will it grow with your business? 

Thank you for reading this article. You are welcome to share it

SEOmers is a Suffolk based SEO and Marketing Company. We're known for straight talking, no fluff approach about website performance. If you would like a chat about your website, please do get in touch on "01473 760140"

Did you know that we send out monthly tips and tricks via email? No selling, No marketing. Just quick tips on how to make your online performance work better. SEO & Marketing Email List Here

Do you want to see some of our latest reviews from clients who have great success by working with us as a team.

Why You Should Apply SEO to Your Social Media, Too

The power of social media can hardly be denied – you only have to look at the fact that Facebook now has a staggering two billion users to understand that the reach potential is incredible.  However, it’s never been particularly clear nor cut and dried with regard to how much of an influence social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more have upon Google’s rankings.  With this in mind, however, SEO and web development experts such as ourselves have needed to keep an open mind with regard to the potential that could well lie in wait.

Social media may not necessarily have direct impact upon Google rankings – as far as we know – but the potential it can have upon ranking factors and search listings lies in the fact that it’s an incredible platform for sharing content and, therefore, for earning links.  All SEO experts should therefore be more than ready to utilise social media for its promotional power rather than for its content – and this means that you can use it to promote your own links and earn citations from other social media pages and accounts who wish to link to you.  There’s never been a better way to get seen, read and visited – and regularly attending to your social media presence can help to build your brand and thus increase awareness of you in social platform search and more.  Facebook, for example, is its own little world away from Google.

Social media does have a role in Google results in the form of personalised SERPs, for example, if you were to search for a brand or celebrity, you may well be supplied with links to their associated public profiles.  This should never be overlooked – social media presence has such an impact upon public consciousness nowadays that it can directly impact upon your authority and worth – so keeping up to social matters can only help to improve your profile.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that social media can be treated as a completely alternative entity to Google search – as it can work hand in hand with SEO to help build a healthy, popular brand that can be found on the majority of the big platforms your audience is likely to be using.  Social media targeting can be run completely separate to SEO – but in a world where the two are running parallel to one another in getting word spread about local businesses and useful services, it remains to be said that pairing the two together can’t do any harm – and we’ll show you how.

Thank you for reading this article. You are welcome to share it

SEOmers is a Suffolk based SEO and Marketing Company. We're known for straight talking, no fluff approach about website performance. If you would like a chat about your website, please do get in touch on "01473 760140"

Did you know that we send out monthly tips and tricks via email? No selling, No marketing. Just quick tips on how to make your online performance work better. SEO & Marketing Email List Here

Do you want to see some of our latest reviews from clients who have great success by working with us as a team.

The Visual Differences Between Experience and just having the Tools

Cadwell ParkAnyone who has spoken to Dan over the years will know that he is very much into motorcycles. It’s no secret that he is often at race tracks with his mates, having a bit of downtime. (no pun intended, that’s his photo on the left)

On his late night social travels, he spotted a few posts from a chap called Steven Morgan. He was sharing photos of him and his son enjoying a motorcycle track-day, Steven was on his ‘proper bike’ and his son on an electric motorbike, It looks like a really good day out between father and son.

Dan spotted one of the photos Steven shared. He is holding his son, perched on his electric bike over one of Cadwell Parks most famous parts called The Mountain it’s the real reason why anyone on two wheels goes to the track, it’s simply amazing.  You can clearly see Dad holding up his son. Dan offered to remove Dad from the photo, he said he’d try his best but he isn’t a graphic designer, he just has the tools which is PhotoShop in this case.

Steven was really happy with Dan’s attempt but Dan wasn’t. if you look close, the crash barriers on Dan’s attempt isn’t that great, he isn’t a designer or claims to be one just because he has the toys.

The post caught the eye of Craig Grew from KeaKeative. He decided to have his own ‘attempt’ which took him less than ten minutes. He sent Dan two or three versions of the photo, each one getting more and more fine tuned to detail. Our point is hopefully a really clear one. We can all buy the tools but we can’t buy the skill and experience that comes from someone who really knows their trade inside out, and still keeps learning the craft they sell.

The photo went from simply removing Dad from the photo to ‘smudging’ the front wheel to make it look like he is moving forwards.

(Open images in new tab)

 

So, you might be asking whats the point of this post? In our industry, we are littered with a lot of businesses selling websites, marketing and all sorts. Just because you have the tools, it doesn’t mean you are an expert. They might have a hammer and chisel but can they really carve the fine detail of the Appennine Colossus in Italy?

The finest, sometimes barely noticeable fine detail of your brand or services can have the most impact. So when you want to ‘have a go’ at something, just because you’ve Google’d a guide or downloaded an amazing tool, just ask yourself… Is the fine detail better than someone who does it for a living? More to the point, will you even notice that the fine tune is missing?

 

Thank you for reading this article. You are welcome to share it

SEOmers is a Suffolk based SEO and Marketing Company. We're known for straight talking, no fluff approach about website performance. If you would like a chat about your website, please do get in touch on "01473 760140"

Did you know that we send out monthly tips and tricks via email? No selling, No marketing. Just quick tips on how to make your online performance work better. SEO & Marketing Email List Here

Do you want to see some of our latest reviews from clients who have great success by working with us as a team.

Is your social activity converting into sales?

social-media-failSocial media seems to have taken over our lives, and not just our social lives. We’re told that we can’t possibly operate without having a social media presence, and if we don’t have legions of ‘likes’ on Facebook than we may as well be in the last century because nobody will want to buy from us.

Is that really true though? And how can you make social media work for you instead of being just another chore that you’d rather not do?

The first thing you need to consider is whether your efforts on Facebook, Twitter or wherever are actually getting you any sales. If not – what’s the point? It doesn’t matter how many people like your business page if nobody clicks through to your website and buys anything.

Before you give in completely, make sure you’ve got to grips with your social media strategy. Have you got a target customer? If so, where do they hang out? Are they likely to be posting selfies on Instagram or chatting away on Twitter? There’s not much point focussing all of your efforts on one stream when in fact all the people you need to be connecting with are on another one.

Check out the competition, too. Look at the type of thing they post on Twitter or Facebook, see if they have a Google+ profile and study them. What are they doing to get interaction? Really spend time working out what works for your competitors and give that a try. If your competitors are also conspicuous by their absence, you can either assume that they didn’t get anywhere either, or decide to try and buck the trend.

If you are noticing sales coming through one platform but not the others, don’t think you have to conquer them all just because they are there. Focus on what’s already working and make it even better. If you’ve noticed that you’re building up a nice little community on Facebook, nurture it. Don’t drop the ball while you try and do the same on Twitter, because you’ll lose momentum. Stick with what’s working for you.

If nothing seems to be working and you haven’t noticed any benefit at all from your efforts on social media – why not just drop it for now? There are plenty of other ways that you could be working to build up your business and generate sales, we all survived without posting selfies and pithy quotes for each other’s amusement before Mark Zuckerberg took over the Internet, and you know – not everyone is actually on social media anyway!

What Online Marketing Feels Like to Smaller Businesses?

At SEOmers, we tend to work with small businesses that have a very limited budget. We love the thrill of helping our smaller clients get a foot in the colossal Google door by using nothing more than elbow grease and ideas. We’re planning a post on how it feels to get ‘one up’ on the gargantuan Google, however, we spotted this photo on reddit.com (comments may contain naughty words). We think this photo sums it up perfectly.

juqik3b

Does Social Media Help With Google Rankings?

Social Media and Google RankingsSocial media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have become a big part of most business’ repertoire in the last few years; the race not to be left out in the world of shares and likes is fuelled by a feeling that if your business isn’t on one or more of the big social sites, you’ll miss out somehow.

Social media can be a useful tool, especially if you like cats, and have a burning desire to find out which American president you were in a past life. But at the same time, just having a social media account or two won’t make a huge difference to your Google rankings, and this has been confirmed by the people who should know – the experts at Google. Knowing how to use social media to your advantage, however, can do your SEO a big favour.

People will still be able to find you even if you don’t have a Facebook page or Twitter profile, but you can really make social channels work for you once your potential clients have found you. A lot of your web traffic will come across you by searching Google with unbranded keywords, but if they are interested in you, they’ll have a look on Facebook to see if you engage with your customers on a business page, or check out your reviews on one of the many review sites.

If you know how to use resources like Twitter properly, you can get them to work to your advantage. Find the people you really want to connect with – experts in your industry, popular bloggers, influencers and prolific tweeters, and befriend them so that you can butter them up a bit. If you can get them to give your products a great review on their website, or post some content for you, you get the double whammy of exposure for your brand, plus more followers on social media (people are like sheep, if they see that their favourite blogger is tweeting you a lot, they will more often than not follow you too).

Another way of making the most of social media channels is probably less obvious; testing your brand and product names. Find out what’s popular and what works before you settle on the final name of a product range, mess around with slogan ideas and get a feel for the best keywords by seeing what gets more shares, click-throughs and likes.

 

Whats Better? Social or SEO?

One question we get asked a lot is if SEO is better than focusing on social networks. It’s one of those questions that we sometimes hate answering purely because the answer is normally ‘DO BOTH’.

SEO is right on top of the list when it comes down to gaining relevant leads that actually convert into a sale. Do your research, it’s a well known fact. However, does that mean that you can simply ignore social media? Well no, not really.

Social media is like the icing on the SEO cake. People can find you without knowing your brand (via some keywords like ‘buy whatever product”), they research your brand before they hand over their hard earned cash. This is where social media can kick in. alongside helping gain sales from the social networks themselves.

We found this infographic that pretty much covers some valid points when comparing SEO against the Social networks. We think it hits the spot and it’s easy to digest so why not share it?
seo-vs-social-media