The Attention Show: SEO or PPC, Which is Best for Your Business?

 

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Businesses and organizations of all sizes are realizing the importance of online marketing, especially through search engines. According to Jupiter Research, a Forrester Research Company, 81% of users find their desired destination through a search engine.

Clearly, it’s important for your brand to have a strong presence in the search engines, ensuring that you’re in front of your target audience. However, do you use SEO or PPC to get in front of your target? If done correctly, both can get you on the front page of the search engines for targeted terms and in front of your desired audience.

SEO for PR Professionals

A large (and growing) number of companies are deploying some form of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Because of this, these companies are dissecting their communication practices with the hopes of harnessing the power of the internet. Companies of all sizes are taking down the silos and integrating online campaigns with their offline campaigns and vica versa. Additionally, lead generation via the web is becoming more important than ever, even for those who were not traditionally considered part of the sales funnel, like PR. If you’re in PR, then you’re in luck. There are plenty of opportunities for you to show measurable results, but only if you know how to take the wall down and mesh your PR efforts with your company’s SEO strategy.

So, what does SEO involve?

SEO is a lot of things, it’s making sure your on-page dynamics such as Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, H1-H6 Tags, linking issues etc… are exactly what they need to be. SEO also involves off-page dynamics. Where are your links coming from? What are they linking to and not over optimizing your “anchor text”. When these two dynamics work together, SEO takes shape and you will see the volume and quality of traffic coming to your site via search engines increase. This of course is under the assumption that you have done some initial keyword research and have determined what phrases you want to target.

Many PR departments aren’t to worried about on-page dynamics such as website structure. However, the PR department does influence a number of areas that can determine your SEO success or failure. This is where the opportunity lies for your PR team to contribute and benefit from a company’s SEO strategy.

Influencer Engagement (Bloggers)

Most bloggers include links to relevant websites within the different articles they write. This goes for media websites as well. Additionally, many of these influencers have already done the leg work and created a community who all have the same passion.

Let’s take an outdoor lifestyle influencer (blogger) as an example. Let’s say this particular lifestyle blogger’s website gets over 5,000 unique visitors per day and also has over 35,000 Twitter followers, 25,000 Facebook Page Likes and 10,000 Instagram followers. You being an outdoor gear company would be a perfect fit and it would likely be quite easy to engage/work with this particular influencer. Creating content and sharing your offering with this blogger’s community.

What exactly should you do? You can encourage all of this by engaging yourself:

Link back to relevant posts, retweet/favorite tweets from community influencers. Additionally, you should be working just as hard to position your company as an authority or influencer online. This will put your business on other’s radar screens. This “top-of-mind” presence can translate into important visibility and publicity opportunities.
Develop relationships with bloggers and link back to their own blog from your company’s blog. Do this only when it makes sense.

Stay on top of what community influencers are talking about and what the people in those communities are engaging with.

Language

Understanding how online audiences communicate with your business, your products and services, even issues they might be having and using a consistent voice in your online communications is one of the blocks SEO was built on. What PR pros need to understand and utilize is the keywords that the SEO team ID’ed.

Tactics you can use:

Write news releases with search engines in mind and include the keywords your business identified.
Offline, and much like your content, when talking to news outlets, reporters, influencers or any external party, the one talking should include those keywords. Keep this consistent in your organization as well. By “training” all employees to use a certain language (keywords), increases the chances of various blog posts and articles consisting of those keywords along with your company name and a link to your site. If done correctly, this could all work together and become a great way to gain inbound links to your site which is necessary for SEO.

If you have a blog, keep it up to date! Consistently posting on your company’s blog puts you in a favorable position with search engines. Your blog can work double time when you mesh important keywords into blog posts. Doing this will force your blog to work as a communications tool as well as a visibility tool.

With this crossover, how does one effectively manage each and every task? Well, just like any real life relationship, communication is key. As the SEO team works more closely with your PR team the two departments will need to communicate. A LOT. What you don’t want to happen is have each team perform the same task without the other one being updated with developments. Communicate while working on joint projects otherwise you will be duplicating the workload.

Conclusion

It’s no secret that engaging content which is targeted at the correct audience won’t just increase brand awareness, but it will also encourage people to share. Content has really become the glue that binds SEO and PR together. These, at the core, are the two main goals of any search engine optimization or public relations professional. Additionally, any relationship a PR expert makes with an influencer could be a game change for your SEO team. In its simplest, joint PR and SEO goals may develop stronger digital marketing plans which assist in ultimately spearheading brand visibility.

SEO Campaigns: What You Need and Where To Start

Have you ever asked yourself “I know I need SEO, but I don’t know exactly what I need”? More and more businesses are starting to realize the value in search engine optimization. As a result, the demand for SEO’s has increased.

What do you hope to get out of an SEO campaign?

Search engine optimization involves a number of things; from website audits and on-page content recommendations to link building programs and everything in between. Additionally, there is no cookie cutter price for SEO and it is based on what is included and to what extent.

When looking for your vendor, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Here are 3 factors to consider when reviewing what your search engine optimization needs are.

SEO Goals

Goals

First and foremost, identify your business goals. While traffic and rankings are important, it is not the only thing that matters. At Good Monster, we always steer the conversation towards your overall goals, including revenue. SEO campaigns include plenty of elements. By evaluating and understanding what your business goals are, you will be able to make the best decision regarding the SEO services you really need.

Do you want to gain local visibility? Do you want to increase conversions? Maybe you want to build brand and product awareness. Each one of these questions brings a new and different SEO strategy to the table.

Onpage

Site Performance

One of the biggest ranking factors is the performance of your website’s on-page elements. Anytime we get a new client, we assess these on-page elements by reviewing analytics, content and other factors. It is important to understand exactly what needs to be optimized so that your website can beat out your competitors.

Check out your traffic trends, including conversion trends and any other analytics that you think will help you better understand your needs. This will also help you in the budgeting process. If you know your site needs a lot of work on-page as well as off-page, the more involved the strategy and campaign will be.

Limits

Know Your Limits

The best ability is availability. A huge frustration for us with any client is having them tell us they have a number of resources such as tools and people in place, however, when we finally start a campaign, we hear crickets. All of a sudden, there is no response, there is no one on the other end to do what we need them to do.

Know your limits.

When you identify where you might be lacking, you can relay that to your SEO provider to address the areas of need. For example, if your site is lacking content and you don’t have resources in house to create it, you will need to rely on your SEO agency to handle it.

This works the other way as well. If your SEO agency wants to write content for you but you have a content team on staff, you will most likely only need some editorial guidance. This will keep your content team on the right path, targeting the right topics, with the right keywords to help drive traffic and increase conversions. In this case, a full on content strategy/campaign will not be needed.

Any business that knows they will be needing a full SEO campaign must be aware and understand each factor before they start. It will create a more successful SEO campaign for all involved.

But what if your business is new to search engine optimization. You’re still in the planning/vetting stage and you want to make a few subtle changes that can impact your search ranking.

You’re in luck. Take a look at some elements that contribute to your search ranking.

Make Your Website Responsive Already!

You have undoubtedly been told how important a responsive website design is, especially for your conversions. Two years ago, Mashable actually called 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design. Knowing how important this is, you would have thought more than 18% of the top 10,000 sites on the web implemented a responsive design. But they didn’t.

Why is it so important? With so many consumers using mobile devices, your site needs to look great on both a desktop as well as smartphones and tablets. A responsive design is also beneficial for Google. With the Mobile Friendly label Google puts up with sites in search results, Google ensures that more users click on responsive sites as opposed to non-optimized sites. This is a way Google sends more traffic your way IF your site is responsive.

Social Signals

Social media and search marketing used to live in two separate silos. In many instances, marketers are partly to blame having to decide on one or the other. It is not that simple anymore. It wasn’t long ago when Matt Cutts said social media had limited impact on search rankings, claiming Google does not have permanent access to social media websites. One year later however, we now have the data sharing deal between Twitter and Google. This means you’ll soon see more tweets in your search results.

To say we have little control over the lords of search and social media would be an understatement. What we can control is to optimize social media with the hopes that the search lords eventually cave to social media and tie social media to search results.

So what does this mean?

  • Include social sharing buttons on all your pages. If you are an e-commerce website, be sure each social share button is easily noticed on all product pages.
  • Include social sharing buttons on your email newsletters. This is your own army of brand ambassadors so make sure you allow them to talk about your content with their friends.
  • Make sure, when possible, your content on social media has a URL that links back to your blog or website. This will enable you to measure which social media platform led to an increase in traffic.

Reviews

Sticks and Stones… It Matters

In a July 2014 consumer review survey by BrightLocal, they found that 88% of respondents trust anonymous online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family. Who said don’t talk to strangers? Additionally, in recent data found by Bazaarvoice, they found this trust in strangers increases among Millennials.

With these insights in mind, it is important to showcase what consumers already think of your business. Displaying these reviews and testimonials prominently on your site is certainly beneficial. To generate these reviews and testimonials, solicit recommendations, reviews or ratings through a simple email per week or right after a consumer make a purchase. Doing this ensures the users experience is still fresh in their minds and your chances of a thoughtful review increases.

Sending out emails in order to get a mountain of reviews is difficult. So how can you make this process as pain free as possible?

  • Include a direct link to the review and rating page right in the email.
  • Take a page out of Amazon’s book and create a system for getting reviews inside the email itself.
  • Incentivize the reviewers.

Credibility is king. A great way to increase credibility for your site is by getting in touch with consumers who regularly interact with your brand and have them discuss their story with your brand. We are not focusing on reviews here. We are focusing on the story. Once you are able to generate these stories, you can create a landing page that showcases top customers and their story with your brand.

Take Down The Silos

Rankings still matter. However, it is important to not lose sight of the big picture and monitor your current positions. Tracking keyword rankings in Google is simply not enough anymore. Be sure to stay on top of all your digital marketing channels and identify how each they will affect your ranking.

The Attention Show Q&A: Landscape of SEO and Components for Success

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Watch the full episode on YouTube here


 

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[powerpress]

What do you do when you want to find a product or service? You google it. If you think about how often you use a search engine to find something, the answer is probably quite a bit. Search engines always seem to answer your question with relevant results. What makes this possible? The answer is search engine optimization.

SEO is important, that we know. But why? Let’s say you are the best law firm in the area. When someone types in “personal injury lawyer” into a search engine, your firm is no where to be found on the first 5 pages.

In this episode of the Attention Show, we dive into the landscape of SEO and its components, discussing how it has changed, ranking factors, driving traffic as well as content and social media.

The Attention Show: Interview with Omar Kattan

“There’s no such thing as a secret sauce. Build up your network, get to know people, share information.” – @OmarKattan

omar-kattan-1


[powerpress]
Omar Kattan has over 20 years experience in corporate and branding strategy, marketing communications and advertising, spanning two regions; Middle East and North Africa as well as Europe. He was instrumental in setting up SEO and Inbound Marketing departments for what is now iProspect, and WPP’s MediaCom.

Over his career he has worked with big name clients including Nestle, L’Oreal, Philip Morris, Dell, IKEA, Shell, Deutsche Bank and VolksWagen. Currently he is the Managing Director and Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital FZE – A Content Marketing Agency based in Dubai, Amman and Cairo.


 Questions:

– What’s the difference between working for a giant agency and a boutique agency?

– What types of clients are you working with?

– What types of marketing are working best for your clients?

– What is the hardest industry to market in?

– How has SEO changed?

– What do businesses need to focus on if they want to be found in Google?

– If a company wants to succeed in building a brand online, what is the most important thing they should they focus on?

Resources:

Local SEO Picture in 2015

 

Google continues to roll out new updates that could be hurting your businesses online strategy, the most recent being Pigeon. This constant change and evolution has forced the local SEO industry to adapt to these new sophisticated updates.

Local search has always been and will continue to be important. Google’s new local algorithm update, has brought a higher level of specificity and accuracy to local search.

What are some things you need to know?

When did it Roll out?

Pigeon rolled out on July 24, 2014. This update changed some local results and altered how Google handles location “cues”. Google is constantly rolling out updates to it’s core algorithms. Pigeon, is an attempt to align Google’s local algorithm with it’s core algorithms.

Pigeon affects Google Maps Search and Google Web Search

Searching for something in Google Maps previously returned very different results when compared to searches conducted via Google’s web search. Once Pigeon rolled out, web search and map search are more connected in terms of search results.

Specific types of Businesses Affected

Darren Shaw of Whitespark and Search Engine Land have observed that many different types of businesses experienced a negative hit from Pigeon. Some of these businesses/niches include:

  • Mold removal
  • DUI lawyer
  • DUI attorney
  • Real estate/realtors
  • Emergency plumber
  • Commercial: Painting, construction, remodeling (anything with commercial in front of it)

What do you NEED to do?

Google is becoming smarter and better at understanding of location and what users are looking for. As changes in local search continue, how can you implement a search engine optimization strategy to best position your business in 2015 and beyond?

Have a Consistent Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)

You will want to avoid sending any kind of mixed signal to Google. Be sure your name, address and phone number are consistent throughout the web. This includes directories, social accounts and even your web pages. Tools like Moz Local make it a bit easier to be sure your NAP is consistent.

Optimize Your “Google My Business” Listing

Make sure your business location is entered correctly on the map so it is easy as possible for users to find you. You can even drag the map marker to your exact business location to make the process even easier. Additionally, fully complete your Google My Business profile with pictures, hours, payment types, website URL, etc.. Lastly, most people will ask someone they trust about a product or service before making a purchase. With Google My Business, be sure to encourage customers to review your business by clicking “write a review” on the local Google+ page.

Build your backlink portfolio

For this tip, view backlinks as “votes”. The more “votes” (backlinks) you have pointing to your web page, the higher authority Google will give it. The more authority Google gives your business, the higher you can rank in the search engine results. To gain these backlinks, you can join local resource lists or directories or even publish a piece for your local business journals website.

Conclusion

The Pigeon update marked significant changes to local search for 2014 and into this year. No longer will citations along with great H1 and title tags suffice. This was only the latest significant update brought on by Google and you can expect many more to come. Take a look and see if your business was one of many that were affected and take the correct steps to regain your ranking.