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One of the very fundamental aspects of search engine optimisation pertains to the fact that it is constantly changing. Maybe not daily, not even weekly, but over the course of time there is a strong need to keep up with the latest best practices and to move away from techniques that are deemed to be outdated or indeed counterproductive in some cases.

In the eighteen months that I have worked in the digital marketing industry there have been multiple developments which have not just altered the way that things need to be done but transformed them drastically. This short period can therefore serve as a microcosm of SEO on the whole and underlines the need to monitor these advancements with great diligence.

Caveman SEO –

Going back a few years, the SEO landscape was a drastically different picture to the one we currently have. The industry was still relatively new at this time and there were very little guidelines or restrictions being passed down from the Google Gods above. So, with this being the case and with people allowing their natural tendencies to be lazy to overcome them, the easy route was often taken in order to get sites to rank effectively.

This included buying external links instead of earning them, cramming keywords into every possible part of a website (including hidden places behind certain pages), scraping content that was already being used on other sites whilst passing it off as your own and spinning articles so that they could be used time and time again without having to write them from scratch.

The Age Of The Animals –

Obviously, this had to change. Websites were able to rank easily for any of their chosen terms and so search engine users were not receiving the best service because the top sites were often not the most useful in relation to their search queries. And so how did Google choose to change things? By ushering in its own private zoo in order to enforce a new age of SEO restrictions.

In February 2011 and April 2012 respectively, Google launched two updates to its algorithm that were completely different to anything they had integrated before in the form of two black and white animals; panda and penguin. These updates focussed on low quality external backlinks and the way these were acquired (penguin) and thin and low quality onsite content, including unnatural keyword stuffing (panda). This ultimately meant that the practises mentioned above were effectively outlawed and websites lost their rankings overnight.

A Glimpse Into The Future –

Since then, there have been regular updates to both the penguin and the panda parts of the algorithm, as well as many others that aim to give a better user experience to anyone who chooses to search with Google. And if you want a prime example of the sort of changes that can happen quickly and somewhat unexpectedly in this industry you only have to look back to January of this year.

After many SEOs decided to abuse the fact that content marketing, in the form of guest blogging, could be used to earn valuable backlinks from relevant websites, Matt Cutts (head of web spam at Google) announced that this too will soon become a practice that is frowned upon. Stopping short of saying that websites who practice this in the future will receive penalties, he outlined that guest blogging has become too ‘spammy’ and that it’s time to bring an end to it. You can read the blog post from Cutts here.

The truth is that this is likely to continue in the future. Google outlaws a certain technique, some inventive marketers find a way around the new algorithms, eventually everyone catches on causing the process to become ‘spammy’, and so Google outlaws that technique and the cycle starts over again.

This highlights the constant need to ensure that your strategy is evolving and that you are always up to date with what are detailed to be best practices. Otherwise, not only will you fall behind your competitors in the digital world, you may also find you are hit with a Google penalty that will take more than writing a few lines of ‘I will not do bad SEO’ to get out of.

After working with Marketing By Web for the last 18 months, I am moving on and making some changes of my own in the very near future, and so this will be my last blog post (sigh). However, the show most definitely goes on as we continually develop the best ways to market your business in the digital world. If you are interested in any of the services we offer, including SEO and PPC management, then please call 0800 327 7327.

The times, they are a-changing, as Bob Dylan once sang. Marketing strategies have been shifting for years to accommodate for social-media traffic and search–engine results. The rules of business have not transformed entirely, however. Marketing is still about reaching a target audience and catching their interest. The question is, how can you improve your company’s website in order to bring the numbers in?

We have some helpful tips for you below:

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Your sandwich-board is empty if you’re not ranking on Google.

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Upon entering the domain of Google AdWords campaigns, keywords and Search Engine algorithms, I have to admit I was a little unsure as to where my background in visual design could be applied. I was used to creating illustrations for books covers, magazines and posters, but I soon found out that many of my design skills could be transferred into the digital realm of online marketing.

 

When I joined Marketing By Web I was introduced to web design, email marketing and marketing proposals, all of which I discovered offered the opportunities to apply what I learnt while studying my degree in Illustration. I have always known that Illustration is a versatile profession, but I never predicted that I would have the opportunity to carry out the design work I am doing in my current position as in-house designer.

 

On completing my degree I really wanted to find a position within a creative design agency, as I thought finding a permanent job as a designer anywhere else would be difficult. In the short time that I have been with Marketing By Web I have learnt a vast amount about design in a marketing environment and my skill set is expanding rapidly. A couple of months ago I couldn’t even spell HTML but now I have gained the knowledge to both develop and design email-marketing campaigns from scratch, which is very rewarding.

 

I am very grateful for having the opportunity to join the team at Marketing By Web as it has taught me that design work can appear in some unexpected places. The amount that I have learned and the guidance I have received from the other members of the team is invaluable. I can confidently say that I am very much enjoying my time within this marketing company.

 

If you would like to know more about how the content writing and illustration team at Marketing By Web can help with your email marketing and SEO in Bristol, why not visit our contact us page, or give us a call on 0800 327 7327.

If you’ve been researching SEO, I’m sure you’ve been told loads of useful advice about keywords and title tags and then you’ve probably been given the most important, but extremely vague advice to be a brilliant writer and write things people want to read. So, how do you do that?

When you write a blog post or any copy for your website, you are competing with a lot of external noise. Instant messages are flying in, news is breaking all the time not to mention the buzz of life from the ‘real world’. If your writing doesn’t grab their attention from the first word and strap it down and hold it there, they’re off. So here are my top tips for, err…strapping down your readers.

Writing for the internet

1.       Crafting an engaging start

The key to grabbing people’s attention is to jump straight in with the crux of what you want to say. A lot of people take a while to warm up before they actually start talking about the subject matter, so a good tip is to take the second paragraph as the start. You’ll be surprised by how often that makes a more lively beginning.

Another great way to start, is to present your readers with a problem they might have experienced. The promise of a solution lurking somewhere in the text below will get them mentally prepared to hunker down and read rather than being enticed by the latest hilarious Buzzfeed.

2.       Structure

Imagine you’re telling your friend the story or point you want to get across. What’s the first thing to come out of your mouth? You will naturally begin with a summary of the story to get them interested before you launch into the finer detail. Perhaps you finish with a conclusion and reflect on how you feel about it. Perhaps you finish with a question. The important thing is, they’ll be hooked by the time you get to the end.

3.       Style

If you have to ask “does that make sense?”…it doesn’t! People’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be. If they have to try to work out want you mean, the chances are they’ll go to the next link in their search results hoping someone else will spell it out.

When it comes to tone, that depends on your audience, but generally people will respond well to a more light hearted and easy to read style. Most people’s experience of writing harks back to their school days, but you’ve got to learn to shake off that academic style. Lots of clauses separated by commas, hyphens and brackets can be confusing (i.e. bracketing commas). You don’t want your reader to forget the start of the sentence by the time they’ve got to the end. Remember, if they have to read it twice, they won’t.

4.       Length

It’s a good idea for a piece of writing on the internet to be at least around 300 words, so it’s more likely to be deemed substantial by search engines and therefore thought to carry useful information. But that isn’t a license to get carried away, writing novella sized blog posts. We want the reader to get to the end, where they’re much more likely to share it with their friends and peers. If you just think about what you’re like when you read a newspaper: start an article, get a little way through, TURN, start an article, half way through the first para…TURN. Go easy on your reader, give them a fighting chance of getting to the end.

5.       Ending

The ending is like the parting hug after a conversation, your reader should leave feeling fulfilled. Tie up all your loose ends in something that feels final, and if you’re lucky, even witty. But in the pursuit of being funny, don’t take the reader on an endurance ramble to get to your punch line, they might not get there.

And with your blog posts, don’t forget a call to action, to get people commenting and interacting with your site. So on that note, post your reaction to these tips in the comments and feel free to share some of your own, after all sharing’s caring.

At Marketing By Web we have a team of content writers who specialise in writing SEO content for the internet, helping our clients climb the search engine rankings effectively. If you would like any more information on the services we offer including SEO in Bristol and AdWords management then get in contact us today.

Let’s start at the beginning. A time when Google started out with only one intention; to help people online find useful information or businesses across the world.

They soon became the world’s largest search engine and revolutionised the way people go about their everyday life!

I am sure there is not a day goes by that we don’t rely on Google to help us shop, locate or track down a particular business or person, even if we are not directly aware of it? Google are continuously pushing the boundaries to explore ways to enhance the online experience for potential customers and bridge the gap between online and the real shopping experience. The world is certainly becoming a smaller place as new and exciting products are released including Google Earth, Google Maps and then Google Street View.

Well now they have released the next phase of connecting prospects to businesses, attractions and many other points of interest, as they roll out the new Business Photos programme. This is an extension of Google Street View, the service which allows you to wonder down a street, but now you will have the ability to peek inside and look at the restaurant, hair salon, hotel or any other business before you perhaps visit in person.

This product offers a panoramic view of the interior with the option to ‘stroll’ through the store and even zoom in on products. The imagery is amazing, providing crystal clear quality so you will gain the feel of the business before you decide to venture out.

Imagine you are booking a holiday and wanted to see the hotel, local bars and restaurants from your armchair, well this will allow you to do it from anywhere in the world. I know you are probably thinking “fantastic, I will start snooping around right now”, but as this is still in its infancy, it will be a while before most businesses and sites are covered. However, be assured that Google are expecting coverage to happen rapidly just like Google Street View.

Google Business Photos will link to your Google Map Listing so it’s easy for potential clients to find and can also be embedded on your website; offering a professional and expert tour of your business – how powerful is that?

Please click on the link and see it for yourself.

If you want to be one of the early adopters of this product then follow the link to find a Certified Partner in your area and book your shoot. (Prices usually start from £250)

 

 

Remarketing is a relatively new tool in the internet advertiser’s toolkit (Display network remarketing became available only in 2010). It offers the ability to reconnect with people who have previously visited your website and show them relevant ads across the web and now, when they search on Google. The main premise, is that if they have previously visited your website, they already know a bit about your company or brand and are more likely to buy, sign up or contact you the second time they visit, especially if you show them ads for products or services they have already shown interest in previously. Remarketing ads can deliver higher click through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates and lower costs per conversion.

There are different versions of remarketing available depending on your advertising goals, campaign types and the type of website you have.

Adwords remarketing Google image

Display Network Remarketing

The first and most long standing version of Adwords remarketing is Display Network Remarketing. Here you show image, text or video ads to people who have previously visited your website while they browse the web. Use Display Network only remarketing campaigns for this type of campaign so that you can keep targeting broad enough but focus on the audience you want to reach.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

 

In June 2013, Google rolled out its latest “remarketing lists for search ads” (RLSAs). Ideal for improving the results of your search campaigns, you show ads to your previous site visitors whe

n they search on Google (not just when they are on other websites as with Display Network Remarketing). There have been some impressive results from the test cases carried out by Google before these campaigns were rolled out to the likes of you and me. These campaigns can be set up in your existing search campaigns or as separate search campaigns. They offer the ability to set bid adjustments for people who have already visited your site and the option of tailoring ads specifically for them. It can also be worthwhile trying additional keywords that may be too general for your ordinary search campaigns, but may well result in conversions in a remarketing campaign. You will need to have “Search Network only – All features” as your campaign type. Here are the set up instructions for this type of campaign.

Dynamic Remarketing

Dynamic remarketing is the last remarketing option in Adwords. It is only for advertisers who have a Merchant Centre account – so great for e-commerce sites. Ads are dynamically generated from your Merchant centre and shown to your previous website visitors who visited particular pages of your site. They are constructed from your product images, product titles and prices. Here is some detailed advice on set up

So How Do You Get Started?

The first thing to do is add a piece of code to every page of your website; often the footer is a good place to do this. It is called a “remarketing tag”. It collects cookie details from people’s browsers on a specific computer as people visit your website and adds them to your “all visitors remarketing list”. It does not specifically identify individual people. It is worth noting that Google has minimum list sizes before remarketing ads start to show. For Display Remarketing the list size must include a minimum of 100 coookies. For Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, the minumum list size is 1000 users before ads will start showing.The search list does not include users who are signed-in to Google in order to protect their privacy and for this reason your Display remarketing list and your RLSA remarketing list may not match in terms of numbers. Depending on your campaign type, you can add either the Google Adwords tag (necessary for the RSLAs) and/or the Google Analytics remarketing tag. Both will work concurrently. They offer slightly different benefits. You can check that your tags are added correctly using Google Tag Assistant .

Next set up different remarketing lists that you can apply to different ad groups within your account. This could be a list of people that visited a certain page on your website or a list of people that visited your website but who did not sign up for a newsletter or make a purchase or contact you, for example. There is a very useful section on the remarketing lists template and rule builder here.

Create new campaigns where necessary. Here is some useful advice. Keep your display remarketing separate from your search remarketing as user intent varies between the two campaigns types.

When setting up RLSAs, consider your keyword match types carefully. You may want to use more broad match keywords as your remarketing list is already targeted and narrowed down compared to an ordinary search marketing campaign. For those with a constrained budget, broad match keywords used in remarketing campaigns becomes more affordable and potentially, more profitable. See this article.

Great Strategies for Remarketing

  1. Reach all the visitors to your website again – by creating a list where the URL contains your website domain:”yourdomain.co.uk” (this is a useful place to start)
  2. Show ads for different product categories – create lists of people who visited certain categories or pages on your website, for example those who visited your women’s clothing pages as opposed to those who visited the men’s clothing section.
  3. Appeal to visitors who didn’t convert using custom combination lists and perhaps a special offer
  4. Re-engage visitors with abandoned shopping carts by creating two lists of those who put something into their shopping basket but didn’t complete a purchase and those who did complete a purchase. Now combine the two lists so you reach the people who didn’t purchase before but did show an interest in your products. Keep your products uppermost in their minds.
  5. Upsell and cross sell to existing customers/clients – as any email marketer knows it costs less to resell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Use remarketing for this purpose.
  6. Reach customers within a certain time period afer they have bought from you using lists with specific membership durations.
  7. Use location, day/time scheduling and device use to make your ads even more relevant to searchers.
  8. Set up a previous converters list. Bid less or more for them (depending on your business). Prevent them from seeing ads if not relevant any more.
  9. Manage your remarketing campaign regularly.

Summary

Remarketing is growing up. More variations are now available and the recent innovations in remarketing lists for search ads offer new benefits not available before. Many advertisers have yet to dip their toe in the water. Have you tried display or RLSA remarketing yet? What results have you experienced?

Marketing By Web offer remarketing campaign consultation, set up and management as part of their Adwords PPC services. If you would like more information, please click here and fill in our form.

The weird things that celebrities endorse

As I walked through Bristol City centre early this January morning while the shoppers had yet to reach their destination I was amazed to see a sign outside of a national optician. The sign was promoting “One Direction Eyewear”. I almost stopped in my tracks! Although I can say with guilt that I actually like one of their songs I heard recently it made me think if I had ever seen any of them actually wearing glasses? I cast my mind back a month or so ago, I remembered they were on the Jonathon Ross show. Although I could vaguely remember their appearance I still couldn’t actually be positive if one of them have glasses on. So I did as any self-respecting middle aged guy would do and Google’d the show. Sure enough, not one of them was wearing glasses. OK, maybe one or two may have to wear glasses to read but they certainly weren’t sporting any eyewear that particular evening in December. I felt somewhat justified in my incredulity.
So this got me thinking, just how many other celebrities had used their face or persona to build a brand? My investigation was unsurprising in many ways I suppose, that many celebrities who have got involved with branding. It begs the question though just how smart a decision it was to be involved with certain types of products that might come back to haunt you. The ones of interest I found were –
50 Cent has endorsed a flavour of Vitamin Water
50cent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nelly promoted an energy drink called Pimp Juice!

nelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Sharapova has her own line of sweets

maria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katy Perry has an endorsement of crisps

katy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the weirdest surely has to be JLS condoms!

jls

 

 

 

 

 

So my little walk through Bristol town centre on a cold January morning really opened my eyes to just how much celebrity branding goes on. I believe a lot of the time we don’t even think about the association between the celebrity and the product and just accept there must be an association or reason why the celebrity has endorsed it and buy the products with a different “feeling” about them. Even when you suspect the celebrity doesn’t eat, drink or use the product. I guess it really doesn’t matter to the manufacturer as long as it increases the sales.



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