Category Archives: SEO

Update to Google AdWords Ranking Algorithm Catches Out PPC Management Companies

A number of algorithms for SEO and AdWords are released sporadically by Google across the year, and more often than not they do not cause many issues for most websites. Of course, the major updates have been known to catch many companies off guard, often causing ranking issues, but the smaller updates tend to pass unnoticed by the majority of businesses. However, this ‘minor’ update has caused a bit of ripple for a number of companies.

Here at MINT we keep up to date on changes in PPC Management. We develop all of our practices as new guidelines are set out by Google, you will be glad to know that we already took the new change into account.

Ad extensions examples

Examples of Ad Extensions in AdWords

The main update to the algorithm

The main change to the algorithm saw the inclusion of ad extensions as a factor in the positioning decision.

Previously, Google used two factors in their Ad Rank (the calculation that they use to work out how ads were ordered). Now, as well as the maximum cost per click and quality score, AdWords will factor in ad extensions as well.

While clearly a tertiary factor, in the sense that both CPC and quality score take presidency, there are a number of cases where both CPC and quality score are the same, which means that ad extensions will be an important factor for a number of companies.

Ad extensions will play a part when two identical ads with the same bid and quality score are competing. Google believes that businesses using AdWords may now see a lower cost per click and higher click through rate if ad extensions are utilised to full effect.

If you are interested in information on our PPC Management services, please click here. We use ad extensions for all our clients, so you can be assured that we will help you to gain benefit from this and any future algorithm change.

Jamie Smith

Cardiff SEO Tip: 8 Stages of On-Page Optimisation (with Infographic)

Cardiff-SEO1

The process of driving organic traffic to your site is fraught with difficulty. With Google constantly moving the goal posts through updated algorithms, keeping on top of SEO is a continuous battle.

The list of SEO activities can be endless, Including things like:

  • Link Building
  • Geographical Keyword Targeting (e.g. Cardiff SEO)
  • Social Media Optimisation
  • Social Media Management For SEO
  • Keyword Research
  • Error Identification (Broken Link Correction)
  • Content Management
  • Rank Report
  • Load Speed Investigation
  • Site Architecture

And the list goes on!

Lucky, Mint Online Marketing’s Cardiff SEO team has put this great infographic together to show how to optimise on-page content such as blog posts and web pages.

The first and main thing to remember is ‘Content Is Still King!’ You must write engaging, original and unique content for your users. By having great content on your website or blog you will;

  • Provide users with useful, relevant and interesting reading material
  • Encourage users to return to your site
  • Increase readability (which Google loves by the way)
  • Lower bounce rate

Make sure that you conduct thorough keyword research using tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner, so that the copy can be written and optimised around that key-word or key-phrase. Once you have conducted your keyword research, try and put the [exact] term that you are trying to increase ranking for in the Title of you article or blog (and make sure it is included in an <H1> heading tag). The closer to the beginning of the title you can get your exact keyword/phrase, the better. Once you have done this, try and NATURALLY get that keyword in at the beginning of the first line of your copy. If you can’t do that, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world!

The next thing you should do is get your keyword or slight variation of your keyword in your <H2> and <H3> tags. Depending on the size of your copy, you may only be able to get an <H2> in and not a <H3>. Once you have written your copy, run it through a keyword density checker tool, like: Live-Keyword-Analyses. You should be aiming to get between 2% and 3% in the ratio box, as a broad guide.

Now you should go back through your copy and separately:

  1. Bold your keyword
  2. Italicise your keyword
  3. Underline your keyword

The next thing you should do is always include an image. Make sure that when you save the image to your computer, you save it with the keyword as the image filename. Once you have uploaded the image to your post, title it again using the keyword and make sure that you put the keyword in the ALT or ‘Alternate Text’ of the image. For example: Using Cardiff SEO as the keyword your link would look like this;

<a href=”http://www.mintonlinemarketing.net/” title=”Cardiff SEO 8 Stage Optimisation”><img src=” link to where image is uploaded ” alt=”Cardiff SEO” /></a>

Quick Tip: Using bullet points and numbered lists helps the reader to breakdown and more easily read the information that you’re providing. (A few extra Google brownie points for you)

Cardiff SEO On-Page Optimisation Info-graphic

 

Cardiff SEO

 

The next tip for optimising a page is to use relevant internal links. You could always use this opportunity to link your image to another internal page. Make sure that you link to a page that is populated with topic relevant content, but is not competing on keywords. Remember, when you link to the internal page do NOT use the keyword you are trying to optimise your page for! So, in our example, we are optimising this post using the keyword Cardiff SEO. We would NOT use that keyword as anchor text to send people away from this post, but we could use the keyword Social SEO and link that to the Social SEO page.

Quick Tip: If you are using a CMS like WordPress then change the Permalink to include your keyword.

Last but certainly not least, you need to optimise the Meta Title, Meta Description and Meta Keywords. Try to keep your Meta Title under 66 characters and your Meta Description under 150. If you exceed these character limits, the additional characters will not display in Google search results and will appear ‘cut-off’.

Congratulations, you’re all optimised!

Jamie Smith

LinkedIn: The World’s Biggest Business Expo

Here at MINT, our social media management department handles a number of LinkedIn pages for our clients and are often asked how we can utilise the social network as part of a marketing strategy. In fact, we are asked so often that we decided to write this blog which will take you through how businesses should approach LinkedIn from both a company and personal perspective.

Firstly, imagine the LinkedIn platform is a worldwide, on-going business show or networking event. Now think of companies that attend exhibitions and what they normally need to ensure a successful, productive experience?

Social Media Management

The most important aspect to exhibiting is having the salespeople and representatives at the event to speak to new people, garner interest in the business and create leads. In this LinkedIn-expo analogy, a personal page acts as the salesperson. It is down to the business owners, CEOs and other members of a business to create their own LinkedIn personal pages and actively connect and engage with other relevant LinkedIn members.

These personal pages must be well-formed with a good amount of information about the individual and the company they are representing. Much like meeting people at a networking event, someone who is just going to talk about how great their business is is going to get very boring, very quickly.

Finding connections can take a bit of time as email addresses are often required and not all connection requests are accepted. However, once a connection is made with someone it is important to interact and engage with them through direct messages or commenting on their posts. Like in all networking events, attendees will assume the majority of the people they meet will want to try and sell them something, so don’t be afraid to give them your best sales pitch once you have gone through the general chit-chat.

Now we have the representatives of the LinkedIn business show sorted, the next thing any good exhibitor needs is an exhibition stand; this is where a company page comes in.

What many business people don’t understand is that a LinkedIn company page doesn’t work in the same way as a Twitter, Facebook or Google+ business page. LinkedIn does not allow users to go actively engage with other people or businesses through a company page so they should be viewed as the exhibition stands at this huge, virtual networking event.

Mint Online Marketing - SMM

Visit MINT Online Marketing on LinkedIn

Obviously, a ‘stand’ should stand out from the crowd and in an actual business event this can be done by adding flashing lights, dancing monkeys or fireworks (not suggested for indoor events!). But on LinkedIn the best way to maximise a page is simply through ensuring the page has a decent logo and cover image, and includes as much information as possible. The more a potential client knows about what a business does, the more likely they are to purchase.

As company pages can’t be used to go out and look for followers, it’s important to drive new personal connections towards the page, much like salespeople would aim to do at a business show.

LinkedIn groups are also a great way of networking and gaining new connections. In our LinkedIn business show, these groups should be seen as seminars or workshops where relevant and like-minded, industry-relevant people will be congregating.

LinkedIn is a brilliant platform to find and develop potential business leads, but users have to be prepared to network, schmooze and pitch. If you decide to attend the LinkedIn Virtual Business Show and sit in the corner quietly without an exhibition stand, you’re not going to generate any leads.

Go out and mingle, tell people about yourself and your business, and create some great, valuable leads.

Do You Really ‘Like’ It? A Reaction To Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’

Last night, Channel 4 broadcast ‘Dispatches: Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans’, an exposé of social media fakery and deception that was, for a social media manager, highly disturbing.

fake like

And it seems I am not the only one to find the information that the documentary discovered highly shocking. Social networks and blogs are awash with comments, opinions and, in some cases, sheer outrage.

If you haven’t seen it, here are some of the key findings that were most shocking:

  • You can ‘buy’ 1000 Facebook ‘likes’ or Twitter followers for just $15 from a Bangladesh-based company
  • At these ‘click farms’, employees each had around 1000 fake profiles which allowed them to log in and out and ‘like’ pages as many times as the client had paid for
  • Soft drink giants Coca Cola were alleged to have bought YouTube views but the company have gone on record to deny any of these allegations
  • Celebrities are often paid to endorse products or brands through their personal Twitter pages, with the amount you pay based on the number of followers the celeb has
  • Freebie events are set-up to which celebrities are invited to grab some of the goodies on offer on the basis that they will hopefully tweet at the brand and therefore give that brand a fantastic amount of exposure, driving sales and website traffic.

While I was watching this last night, I was dreading coming in the next morning as I half expected to have every client on the phone asking if we dabbled in any of these dodgy dealings. Thankfully, I haven’t heard from any of them yet which either means they didn’t watch the show or they trust us.

I am hoping it is the latter as, here at MINT, we believe that every part of online marketing, not just social, should be done in an authentic, ethical and transparent manner.

In social terms, every ‘like’, follower or +1 should be earned the right way; through hard work, being an engaging member of the social community and giving people a reason to have an interest in what we and our clients do.

While growing our clients’ fan base on the social media accounts is part of the whole strategy, it is not the main concern. What we look for and love is engagement with others; creating conversations, spreading information and posting the odd GIF of Jim Carrey dancing in a tutu.

Here at MINT we also know that our audiences and the majority of social media users are far more savvy, sceptical and analytical when it comes to things like a relatively unknown brand having 20,000 ‘likes’ or a celebrity tweeting about how much they love wearing a certain brand of jock strap. It’s like the old Abraham Lincoln and the internet joke: you can’t and shouldn’t always believe what you read on the web.

However, these revelations shouldn’t make you distrust all companies on social media. There are some companies that do absolutely fantastic work that provides their brand with a strong, likeable identity, gives their customers another way of engaging with their brand (for better or for worse) and build huge audiences because they have earned every single fan/follower.

Social media will always be open to fakers and fraudsters, but 99% of agencies out there are dedicated to creating authentic and engaging audiences that will be of huge benefit to their clients in terms of brand awareness, brand identity and hopefully sales. It is important that we all remember this and trust in agencies and companies to do things the right way and weed out those who look to cut corners and cheat the system.

If you haven’t yet seen the show, you can catch-up on 4od for the next 29 days.

The 20 Top UK-Based Online Marketing Agencies on Google+

After the success of our Twitter top 40, we thought we would switch our attentions to Google+. For this top 20 list we simply ranked the agencies by their +1 count.

When this list was first posted in June, MINT were placed in 3rd but we have now climbed up the list to 2nd! MINT would also like to congratulate all other agencies that made the list.

  1. SEO Positive
  2. Mint Online Marketing
  3. Strategic Internet Marketing
  4. Ocere
  5. Studiowide
  6. Bigfoot Digital
  7. WSI Internet Marketing
  8. iProspect
  9. Latitude Express
  10. Splice Marketing
  11. MonkeyFish Marketing
  12. PushON
  13. Kenshoo
  14. SocialB
  15. Mediaworks
  16. Coast Digital
  17. Global Web Design SEO
  18. Firehoop
  19. Prodo
  20. theEword

(Figures correct as of the 18/06/13)

Have we missed your online marketing company? Think you should be in this list? Post directly at us on Google+ and, if you meet the correct criteria, you will be added.

Click here to contact MINT via G+

Why Social Media is SE-Oh So Important to Your Page Ranking

seo like

When it comes to online marketing, social media is often viewed as a frivolous, unnecessary and luxurious tool that is time-consuming and ineffective when compared to SEO. You may be correct if you look at social media as a stand-alone form of online marketing, but if you change your mind-set and look at it as part of a whole SEO strategy you will begin to see how crucial being social can be to your business and its SERP.

Firstly, it’s important to recognise the latest Google update and how it has once again re-moulded the SEO landscape. Google are continuing in their efforts to make SEO more ‘ethical’ and it seems that means creating more unique content, sharing and engaging with other internet users and proving your business’ ‘authenticity’.

Social media activity is having a far more direct influence on Google rankings than in the past as information such as your follower count on Twitter or the number of ‘likes’ your business page has can determine which page of Google your website is placed. In fact, you may see a 7% rise in your search ranking if you bag yourself 50 Facebook ‘likes’ and 70 shares.

Keywords have always been important in SEO and that is still the case, but if your business has ignored using social media it is missing out on many precious opportunities. With social media pages usually having a very high page rank, placing keywords in the profile description will allow companies to boost website traffic and increase effectiveness of SEO at the same time. Google also look for passive and justified keywords in the tweets and other posts you share, so social media can help build the link between your business and key search terms.

Content marketing is the perfect fit for Google’s ethical SEO mission, but creating and posting articles on your site is just part of the optimization process. First and foremost, by keeping a watchful eye over relevant social communities and trending topics your business can see exactly what people are talking about, find out what the hot topics in your industry are and create tailored content that is interesting to your audience and easy to find by search engines.

Once the content has been published to your site, you should then promote it via you social media networks. Not only will this drive traffic to your website, but it will also reduce the time it takes Google to find your content from 2 hours to 2 seconds. You can even cut the indexation time of your content by 50% by simply posting a link in a tweet.

By promoting your content via social media you also give the audience a great opportunity to share what you have created which will deliver your website a fantastic SEO boost. Gaining social shares is a fantastic way of giving your business a temporary rankings increase as the current Google algorithm contains a freshness portion that is triggered by people sharing content.

In terms of social SEO, Google+ is a goldmine of opportunities that you would be foolish not to make the most of. Launched in 2011, Google+ has struggled to break into the mainstream social media market in the same way Twitter and Facebook did. However, as overlord of the search engine rankings Google are now enticing many people and businesses to their social network with increased SEO benefits such as a 15% rise in the rankings for businesses with a G+ business page. You can also embed a whole host of followed links into your profile which are becoming more and more sparsely available across the web.

So when you’re considering your SEO strategy it is important that you don’t totally disregard social media or see it as a separate entity. If running Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ accounts seems like too much of a drain on resources and a social media manager is not an option, try and work at least one social media account into your plans. Which social media platform you choose to utilise is for you to decide but if you are looking at being social purely for SEO you should look no further than Google+.

5 Top SEO Tips for Businesses Who Want to Attract More Customers (2013)

top-seo-tipsIf you are a business owner, one of the main things keeping you awake at night is likely to be ‘how to attract more customers’ for your business in a cost effective manner. Attracting new customers for little cost is a real art, and those business owners that have mastered this art are almost certainly heading for success.

Attracting targeted traffic online using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a proven way to grow your business customer base in a very cost effective manner, but can be very frustrating if you don’t know how. Here are 5 top tips to help you nail the art of SEO in 2013 and start attracting more customers.

1. Build the foundations of your SEO campaign with effective Keyword Targeting:

Keyword targeting is a fundamental part of almost all online marketing techniques. Keywords form the foundations of ‘search’, with people using ‘words’ as the primary method for finding content online.

If you target sub-optimal ‘keywords’, your SEO campaign is destined to fail before you even start.

Pretty straightforward, right? Wrong!

Of all the client websites we review as part of our weekly work here at Mint Online Marketing, we only find a small % (less than 10%) successfully targeting the optimal keywords for their business, products or services. Most have not conducted any formal keyword research and of those that have, the keyword research has not been conducted in what we would deem to be an effective way.

You need to be clear about what you are really looking for in an ideal target keyword(s). Here are the 3 key elements you should consider:

a) High monthly search volume: ideally, you want to target keywords that have a high level of monthly search volume. When you analyse keywords, be sure to use the ‘EXACT’ keyword match type setting, or at worst ‘PHRASE’ match; do not ever fall into the common trap of using the ‘BROAD’ match type, as the search volumes presented will be inflated and misleading.

b) High keyword quality: there is no point targeting high volume keywords that are low quality. Keywords should be as closely targeted as possible to your business, products and services. Think about the buying intention of the people using the keywords you are researching; are they at the start of the buying cycle, simply looking for information or are they closer to the point of buying?

c) Low or acceptable level of competition: which is better, targeting a keyword with 10,000 monthly searches and very high competition, or a keyword with 2,000 monthly searches and 1/20th the competition? In many cases it will be the latter, especially if the keyword quality is the same or better. Do NOT confuse Adwords (PPC) competition with SEO competition, these are 2 very different things!

Have you conducted a thorough keyword research exercise for your business covering the 3 key elements above? If not, get in touch today and see how we can help you.

2. Make sure your On-page SEO is 2nd to none.

On-page SEO is the art of optimising your website so that it is Search Engine friendly and gives you the best opportunity to rank prominently. It should be broken down into 2 main areas of focus:

i) Keyword optimisation.

This area of On-page SEO involves optimising the pages of your website to make your site as targeted as possible in respect to the keyword(s) that you wish your site to rank for.

Elements include:

a) Page specific keyword optimisation: front loading your meta title with your primary target keyword, including your primary target keyword twice in your meta description, ensuring you have one h1 heading which includes your target keyword, keyword optimising image ALT tags, a well weighted keyword density, bolding the first instance of your keyword in the body text etc…

b) Site wide keyword optimisation: ensure you publish good quality contextually related content regularly, avoid duplicate page content between pages on your website, avoid duplicate page titles or descriptions, follow a sound internal linking strategy etc…

Is your website correctly keyword optimised including page specific and site wide factors? If not, get in touch today and see how we can help you.

ii) User experience.

Search Engines, like Google, want to rank websites which provide a fantastic user experience for their visitors. If you were designing a Search Engine, you would want to do the same, wouldn’t you?

Your website will rank better if it loads faster, works well in all major web browsers, is mobile device optimised and has no broken links, for instance, as these elements will all improve the overall user experience for your visitors.

Your website should be clear, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. Good content on a poorly designed and structured website will be perceived as average content at best; yes presentation really does matter online as in life generally.

To find out if your website ticks the user experience box, you could try the following:

a) Analyse your analytics: Check the ‘bounce rate’, ‘average time on site’ and ‘average pages per visit’ metrics on Google Analytics. Are these stats where you would like them to be, or do they leave room for improvement?

b) Ask friends, colleagues, contacts for honest feedback: Don’t just rely on your own opinion as this can be subjective, and familiarity can blind you to issues. It is best to ask for feedback from people who meet your target customer profile, and who have not seen the site before.

c) Get feedback on www.usertesting.com: There is a service called www.usertesting.com. For a relatively small cost, you can get 3 people to complete a specified ‘task’ on your website (such as finding certain information, submitting an enquiry or purchasing a product). They will send you a video and rate their experience. This information is invaluable and very enlightening, and can really help you to make step changes which will enhance the user experience of your website and make it easier for visitors to achieve the ‘goals’ you would like them to achieve.

Is your On-page SEO up to scratch? If not, get in touch today and lets talk about how we can help you.

3. Publish better content on your website than all of your online competitors.

Content is KING! Search Engines want to give ranking prominence to websites with the BEST quality content, so if you don’t have an active content strategy for your website you are not actually doing the very thing that Search Engines want and expect you to do.

Read the paragraph above again. Then again. Gone are the days when you can rank (and maintain ranking) a website that has poor or even ‘average’ quality content. Your content MUST be better than that of your online competitors in order to succeed. Why should any Search Engine rank your website higher than sites with better quality content? You don’t have a God given right to rank, you need to earn it!

What actually constitutes ‘good quality content’ can differ depending on your niche, so analyse the top ranking websites around you. However, the following factors tend to be widely accepted as part of the content quality equation:

a) Well written: not just grammar and spelling, but content that flows and reads well, drawing the reader in.

b) Informative: your content should have a distinct purpose and answer a question(s) for the reader.

c) Popular: publish content that people will want to ‘like’ and ‘share’ with others.

d) Fresh and unique: your content should be fresh and unique, for obvious reasons.

e) Authority: authority is something that can only be built over time, with effort and consistency. Google are starting to rank Authors (‘Google Author Rank’), so now is the time when you can start to build your authority ahead of your competitors ready for when authority matters even more than it does already today. Build your well before you get thirsty!

Is the content on your website better than all of your online competitors? If not, get in touch today and lets talk about how we can help you.

4. Make your Brand the most popular in Social Media.

Social Media has risen to prominence at an exceptional rate over the last 5 years, and is now used by the majority of people on a daily basis. As this surge has taken place, and such a large amount of web content is shared and consumed by people on Social Media sites each and every day, Search Engines have had no choice but to start taking Social Media Signals into account in their ranking algorithms.

It is clear to see that popular website content is shared online using Social Media, and top influencers (people or Brands) in every niche have a significant number of highly engaged ‘Followers’. Therefore, if you truly want to be seen by the Search Engines as an ‘authority’ or an ‘influencer’ in your niche, there is no point doing it ‘offline’ – you need to be building your presence in Social Media. Right now! This trend is only going to go in one direction, and at an increasing rate.

If your content is not being shared in Social Media channels, and your Brand does not have an active ‘presence’ in Social Media – then your content (website) will not be taken as seriously as it could be by major Search Engines, and rightly so.

So start to utilise Social Media in an active and effective manner today, and take advantage of the direct benefit this increased awareness gives you, and also the SEO benefit you will derive from positive Social Signals now and in the future.

Do you have an authority presence in Social Media? If not, get in touch today and lets talk about how we can help you.

5. ‘Think Links’.

In-bound links are like ‘votes’ for your website content, and have long been the primary element Search Engines look for when ranking websites. It is on the premise that content that is linked to from a wider variety of sources, and from high authority sources, is likely to be better quality content. It makes sense.

All the elements above (1-4), executed well, should help you to ‘attract’ in-bound links. But, a good tip is to ‘think links’. If you and your colleagues are always thinking about harvesting links, you will be surprised how often in-bound link opportunities arise.

You may have product or service suppliers or partners that will be happy to link to you. You may be a member of an association or society, that has a website. You may be the member of a networking group. You may have connected with an industry influencer through Social Media, and have the opportunity to write a guest post for them. You may already be listed or mentioned on various websites, but not have a link back to your site in the place where you are mentioned. You may have friends who own businesses, or websites. You may read industry magazines or blogs, and may have the opportunity to reach out to them for the opportunity to write an informative article with a link back to your website.

When you and your colleagues ‘think links’, and always have the potential of harvesting links in your mind, you will be surprised at how many link opportunities arise. So start thinking links today, and move your website’s authority and ranking forward.

Hopefully these 5 tips help you and your business to understand the fundamentals of SEO better. If you have anything to add, please share it.

If you would like any help with your online marketing, or simply to talk – please get in touch today.

Bing vs. Google – How these search engine giants can affect your SEO

google vs bing image

Online marketing strategy SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is an increasingly important and popular way to maximise your business presence online and improve your marketing technique so getting it right is within the interest of your entire business. When it comes to choosing which search engine to focus your SEO strategy on there really is only a choice of two main directories; Google and Bing. With Microsoft working hard to improve their search engine Bing and Google constantly updating their powerhouse of a search tool, it can be hard for any business, particularly smaller ones, to know which would be best for their strategy. Online marketing is becoming increasingly important for any business, search engine optimisation being the main focus of their strategy so choosing the right search engine can make all the difference. Google and Bing offer the same principle for all businesses and the right SEO techniques can get your business top ranking on all relevant searches but does it differ per directory? Does the appeal and visual attraction of Bing encourage people to use their search engine over Google’s very basic and easy to use search bar?

The first very important thing to consider is reputation for your business; Google has 80% of the world’s online market place which can make businesses question why they should register on any other directory, but with the vast number of companies and businesses already on Google comes a rather large benefit for their rival Bing. Bing may only have a small share of the marketplace when it comes to directory but for smaller businesses this is ideal. A smaller number of competition ensures higher ranking almost immediately, with very little SEO involved, perfect for smaller businesses starting out. SEO is largely affected by an individual’s presence and use of social media; the higher their activity generally on sites like Twitter and Facebook, the more traffic and interest is generated back to their site. Bing has very strong social integration’s with Facebook and Twitter, featuring links to both major social media sites on their main search engine page. This integrates any social recommendations into its search engine results page (SERPS) less cluttered, whereas Google has actively avoided any sort of relationship with either sites, choosing to have only access to their own lesser-used social networking site Google +. For the world’s largest search engine this may have been a rather risky move as social media is fast becoming one of the most successful forms of SEO.

Search engines are always working on ways to help businesses approach their SEO in a positive or ‘White hat’ way, Google opting to update their SEO strategy every few months, creating more hurdles for companies and filtering through the spam-type SEO moves. Bing however is less hot on the heels of the ‘Black Hat’ SEO approach, causing their searches to be less quality and more spam-type in comparison. The constant updates run by Google cause businesses to stay on top of their online marketing and can create far more work than first considered which is not great for a small company or business. Ultimately search engine preference is down to the individual and their needs for optimising their SEO strategy; Bing is excellent for smaller companies as it has a small audience but Google ranking is often sought after and speeds up the growth and popularity of a site.

The 360* Approach to Online Marketing

online marketing
One of the main pitfalls businesses often fall in to during their online marketing campaign is the concept of relying too heavily on one aspect of the spectrum.

Too frequently a business relies on a singular approach, it’s these businesses that are often hit by changes in Google’s algorithm. Similarly those who rely too heavily on paid search may be missing out on the benefits of an effective SEO strategy, often all you need to undertake a successful SEO campaign is patience and the relevant expertise rather than significant monetary investment.

The more efficiently all aspects of your online marketing strategy work together the more focus Google will place on the content you share and in turn the higher your pages will rank within Google’s SERPs.

A good place to start is with an audit of your website which can illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of your site. From there, you can re-evaluate your selection of keywords as well as your overall content strategy, you can also take a look at which aspects of SMM would suit your business.

It’s important to question whether your content strategy is working effectively, so it’s a good idea to measure the engagement of your blogs, tweets etc.. How many comments, shares and likes are you receiving on a regular basis.

Google Analytics is a great tool to use to measure the strength of your online presence.

What your business focuses on largely depends on your goals and the nature of your presence but as a general rule it’s a good idea to take a holistic approach that includes as many features as possible.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):

Keyword Research

On-Page & Off-Page SEO

Link Building

Social Media Marketing (SMM):

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Linkedin

Pinterest

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Google Adwords

Facebook Paid Advertising

Linkedin Paid Advertising

Stumbleupon Paid Advertising

Online Press Releases:

Copywriting

Distribution

If your business is neglecting any of these major aspects then it may be time to revise your online marketing strategy.

Top 10 Google Tools for Marketers

google tools

Google offers plenty of helpful tools for marketeers everywhere and it’s good to know that you can use all of them on just one login.

Businesses should certainly look to take advantage of these tools, especially as the following tools are all free to use!

1.Google AdWords

Google AdWords is free to use, but if you’re not getting enough traffic through organic search then you should consider undertaking a paid search campaign.

Essentially you can bid for a specific set of one or more keywords and dramatically increase the amount of traffic your website generates. The fact is, businesses are reliant on Google to generate the highest level of exposure, so launching an effective PPC campaign could be exactly what you need to get your website out there.

2.Google AdWords Keyword Tool

This is an extremely useful tool for PPC, SEO purposes and for keyword research, this tool can help you select which keywords generate the most traffic and what has the most competition to help configure the ideal keywords for your website to target.

It will also suggest additional keywords that are suitable to your business.

3.Google Alerts

Google Alerts offers a useful way to stay on top of the latest news relevant to your market, (we recently covered this on the blog) you can use the tool to let you know when a specific search term is mentioned and choose to have updates as they happen, every day or every week.

You can have alerts delivered straight to your email inbox or your RSS reader.

4.Google Analytics

This is one of the most advanced tools that Google offers and is particularly useful as far as online marketing, web development and blogging is concerned. You can use Google Analytics to learn more about your audience, your traffic sources, your level of social engagement and much more.

This is definitely one of the most useful tools on the web and it’s free too.

5.Google Calendar

This tool offers an easy way to keep up with events in your business’ calendar, you can share events with your coworkers or fellow clients, you can also set reminders and alerts via email for important events.

6.Google Docs

Google docs offers an excellent way to share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and tables with your fellow employees, which can be edited in real-time. This also saves on the amount of paper you need to print and distribute in the office, since any important document can be shared digitally.

7.Google +

Google’s social media platform has developed significantly in recent years, with around 500 million registered users. The search engine is ensuring the social network is incorporated into almost every aspect of the web, your Google+ presence is now an important ranking factor.

8.Google Trends

This tool offers an excellent way of tracking and monitoring what’s trending on the web, which makes Google Trends incredibly useful for blogging purposes and for joining in the discussion on a topic relevant to your business.

9.Google Places

If you want your business to target your local market then Google Places is extremely useful, by adding your business you can encourage others to view and review your business which will help your SERP ranking.

10.Gmail

Google Mail is now the leading mail provider with more registered users than any other provider, it also offers more space than the likes of Hotmail, AOL etc..Gmail is easy to use and offers some useful services such as an intelligent smart filtering system.

As you can see Google offers far more than a simple search engine function, businesses are reliant on the company for much more.