As a recruiter I have gone through a journey. Gone are the days where I could solely rely on newspapers and company websites to find and attract talent. Although these methods are still used, with the growth of the Internet and social media combined with a competitive market, I recognise that social media recruitment is an essential tool to finding top talent. Not only do I recognise this, I am excited by this!
How do we know this?
A global social recruiting survey completed by LinkedIn found that more than 50% of jobseekers now use social media to assist them in their job searches. With this in mind, it is important to understand and develop a social media recruitment strategy. Not only is social media an important recruitment tool to attract and source top quality candidates, it’s also an exciting opportunity to create and develop your digital presence.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Optimisation (SMO) are no longer an optional choice for many organisations competing for the increasingly internet savvy consumers. Do you have a digital strategy and a social media policy? Do you know that if you don’t manage your social media presence chances are your customers will manage it for you and not always in a most favourable way.
As part of the University of Salford’s commitment to delivering the best digital training available, Salford Professional Development have developed a one day ‘SEO & Social Media Marketing Essentials‘ course. This course is aimed at busy executives who want to have theoretic understanding as well as some basic hands on practical exercises which will highlight the essentials in SEO and Social Media Marketing. This knowledge will enable you to develop a better understanding of your customers behaviour online and help you to develop long term plan and implement basic techniques for management of day to day social media engagement. Working from your business objectives you will be able to draft some key performance indicators for your online presence, identify key social networks for your organisational use as well as conduct some basic Social Media Optimisation. The main focus on this course is to offer you a broad overview of search and social media marketing and help you to start working on your long term digital marketing strategy as well as plan for use of techniques.
The course will be taught by Dr Aleksej Heinze, Aleksej is a co-director for the Centre for Digital Business which is part of The University of Salford’s Business School. He currently works on an international projects Passport to Trade 2.0 which helps businesses to understand International Business Culture and develop new business opportunities in Europe using social media networks.
The course will also feature Martin Cozens who is the Managing Director for Banc Media. Based in Old Trafford, Manchester, Banc Media are a Search Engine Marketing company providing Pay Per Click & Search Engine Optimisation. They specialise in a measured & transparent approach, focussing on ROI for our clients through researched search engine marketing.
Martin Cozens: “We develop close relationships with our clients, proving to become an integral part of their business, smashing targets set by them and showing real return on investment in the products we supply and the search results they gain. Developing these relationships is what makes our business stronger and helps our team grow further to providing the very best service.”
Their clients include:
Lufthansa’s business rewards air miles scheme SACP
Cruise1st – a leading cruise holiday provider operating in the UK, Ireland & Australia
FADS.co.uk – the nationally known online furniture retailer that was on the high street in over 800 stores
Breens Solicitors – a renowned law firm operating out of Merseyside for both private and business clients.
SEO & Social Media Marketing Essentials is based and delivered at the state of the art teaching and training facilities in the heart of the UK’s Media hub at MediaCityUK, University of Salford. This cutting edge facility is on close proximity of the BBC, ITV and many other top digital and media agencies.
This course costs £299 + VAT.
Want to know more?
If you wish to enquire about this course, simply get in touch with Robert Goodison at Salford Professional Development on 0161 295 5407 or email R.Goodison@salford.ac.uk.
This course is aimed at busy executives who want to have theoretic understanding as well as some basic hands on practical exercises which will highlight the essentials in SEO and Social Media Marketing. This knowledge will enable you to develop a better understanding of your customers behaviour online and help you to develop long term plan and implement basic techniques for management of day to day social media engagement. Working from your business objectives you will be able to draft some key performance indicators for your online presence, identify key social networks for your organisational use as well as conduct some basic Social Media Optimisation. The main focus on this course is to offer you a broad overview of search and social media marketing and help you to start working on your long term digital marketing strategy as well as plan for use of techniques.
This course draws on the content used as part of the ten week evening course in Search and Social Media Marketing but does not include the level of detail necessary for senior individuals who are responsible for managing strategic plans
I’ve seen the practise of SEO described as both an art and as a science, and indeed one of my primary considerations when enrolling on the SSMM course at the University of Salford was to ensure I received an authoritative, impartial, and academically applied grounding in the subject rather than a purely commercial one.
Tackling a new art or science project can seem very daunting though, and as the weeks rolled by and multiple layers of influence in the online marketing sphere were revealed, it dawned on me how search engine marketing has many parallels with the world of sport – the concepts of which I can understand much more easily. My sport is football (soccer, if you must), but I think the principles can be extended to virtually any sport you follow – let me know if I’m wrong!
So how can a football team’s success on the pitch mirror a website’s performance on the Google playing field?
The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) can be viewed in much the same way as a football league table – the most successful at the top, and with each page back, we can think of lower and lower divisions in the football pyramid. Just as smaller clubs still have their own supporters, so less well-optimised websites will still possess devotees, but the “big boys” at the top will continue to attract the majority of attention and new fans. It is thus the ultimate goal of each club to move up the rankings and become number one.
The Tactical Battle
Christmas trees, diamond midfields, flat back-fours, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3? If these don’t sound familiar to you then they are a selection of tactical formations football manager’s choose to line up their teams, in the hope they will best perform in that way.
A website owner needs to employ tactics in the same way, from how their site is structured (about Sitemaps) to the keyword strategy they employ. Keywords are like the best players on your team, and you want them to control the action on your website, so it is important you select the most “talented” ones you can – and play them in their strongest positions!
A number of tools are available for keyword research, and just as football clubs scout for new players – website owners need to search for terms which will strengthen their “keyword squad”.
Football managers will often check out their opposition to gain a measure of their relative strengths and weaknesses, and via tools such as Open Site Explorer, online marketing managers can do the same to gain a competitive edge.
Style of Play
In order to engage fans and keep them paying at the turnstiles, it is important to offer them a good experience. A fluid style of play with dashes of flair and inspiration, allied to displays of commitment and honesty will satisfy most football fans – and so too, quality content must be the basis of any website aiming to attract supporters and to keep them. Provide a dull, dreary slog and don’t expect to sell many season tickets.
Optimisation of imagery, copy and load speeds are fundamental to an online operation, and a grasp of the basics with a clear vision of how a site “should” work are required before any grand notions of growth and progress are considered.
Unless your team is blessed with the backing of a billionaire benefactor, getting to the top and staying there is perhaps unrealistic, as the resources available to you cannot compete. Every season though, we hear of David versus Goliath clashes where the little guy wins.
Aristotle spoke of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, and this in football relates to teamwork – everyone pulling in the same direction, with no prima donnas or shirkers in the team.
In the field of marketing, if all aspects of the business are “on message” then success is more achievable. In the online competition for Page ranking, niche or well reasoned keywords can bring success to smaller enterprises who cannot compete head on with large multinationals.
Resting on Laurels
Once a level of success has been achieved, it must be tempting to soak up the glory of a job well done. Be warned though, the competition does not sit still. After a long journey to the top, and will more resources to call upon than most, Manchester City were satisfied with their squad and playing style and changed very little form the formula which brought them success. Their rivals though, Manchester United, invested and adapted resulting in a reversal of fortunes for the neighbouring clubs in the following campaign.
Liverpool F.C., for so long the dominant force in English football, failed to move on from their last championship-winning team and allowed it to become old and stale – they have never fully recovered since, as rivals became more successful and generated more revenue.
Huge high street stores such as Comet and HMV have both failed to move on with the development of online business to disastrous effect.
It is strategically vital to nurture a website in line with developments in the industry and market place, because being left behind can have dire consequences to the visibility and hence profitability of internet traders.
Rules of the Game
Football has a host of governing bodies from FIFA on the world stage, to UEFA in Europe and the FA in England. All have regulations, but the game has generally consistent rules of play which all must obey.
Search Engine Optimisation has no official rule book, but, in the Western world at least, Google can realistically be viewed as the governing body. Such is Google’s dominance as the search engine of choice, that satisfying the demands of its “algorithm” (a tool employed to measure the authority and worth of websites) can be likened to playing by the rules.
Infringements to the laws of the game in football can result in penalties and suspensions, as can infringements to Google dictates when optimising websites. There are many cautionary tales on the web relating to Google’s “Panda” and “Penguin” penalties.
Just like the offside rule in football, Google’s considerations for it’s algorithm are widely confused – but if everything were clear cut and predictable, the beautiful game would not be so exciting, would it?!
This Manager’s Future
My client, Idyll Home, are a relatively young company, and I suppose could be considered a lower division team at present. There is plenty of talent and ambition there though, and I hope to utilise the skills and knowledge acquired on the #SSMMUOS course to push for year on year promotions to the Premier League!
One thing’s for certain about SEO though…it’s a funny old game!
With the demand for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) skills on the rise and the average UK salary paying £32.5k a year, it’s no wonder more and more people want a career in the SEO industry. The question is however, how do you get a job in SEO?
If you type the phrase “how to start a career in SEO” (and that’s including inverted commas!) in to Google’s web search, you are presented with over 2,500 pages of content in the search engine results page (SERP). With so many websites giving their own advice on which is the best way to begin a career in SEO, it’s hard to focus on what you really should be doing. This post covers the definitive steps you should be taking in order to maximise your employability in the SEO industry.
1. Start reading… Learn the basics
At first glance learning SEO seems like a near impossible task. With so much reading material available through the internet and with certain web sites charging for this privilege, it’s difficult to be sure of which material is worthwhile reading.
One thing is for sure though, you don’t have to pay to learn the basics. There is a wealth of free information out there in the form of e-books, blogs, videos, and web sites that are worth paying attention to. Google’s SEO Beginners Guide is the perfect place to start as it is written by the people who’s search engine you will be mostly optimising for. It’s a no-brainer really. Another great place to start reading up on the basics (and the more advanced) is the highly reputable and popular SEOmoz. With over 18,000 likes on Facebook and over 100,000 followers on Twitter you get the impression that they know what they are talking about. SEOmoz provide a comprehensive Beginners Guide to SEO that is easy to read and digest for people new to SEO. Both guide’s are available for download and best of all they are free!.
2. Get Advanced… Familiarise yourself with HTML code
Arguably this should be an ongoing step, and form part of your basic learnings but with the advent of WordPress and other WYSIWYG editing platforms, knowledge of HTML is no longer a pre-requisite. There will definitely come a time though when you will need to edit HTML code directly so it’s important (and often a required item on a job description) to know your way around.
3. Start Practising
The numerous ebooks, blog posts and learning materials you have accumulated in steps 1 and 2 may leave you a little overwhelmed. They say practice makes perfect, so now would be a great time to piece together your understanding of SEO by getting your hands dirty and putting it into practice. You could either build a site, and experiment with the different SEO tactics you have learned to date, to attempt to get it to the top of the SERPs or create a personal blog in a platform like WordPress and start practising from a content creation angle. If you’ve got friends in business who have a web site, offer them some free SEO advice. Small businesses and charities that are on a tight budget will be more open to listening to some free advice and may even let you have a go at optimising their website… for free of course.
Tip: For some real-world work experience, check out the Analysis Exchange. They offer a great opportunity for people to develop their web analytics skills, a sure-fire way to boost your CV.
4. Keep Listening
Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving and there are always opinions and new techniques worth listening to. If your “beginners handbooks” are gathering dust, swap them with some more advanced reading materials, found on sites such as Search Engine Land and SEOBook to stay abreast of the latest insights and to generally stay sharp. Moreover, it is advisable to visit Google’s Webmaster Guidelines as these are updated quite regularly whenever they make tweaks to their algorithm.
Tip: Keep an eye on Matt Cutts’ Blog – he regularly hosts Q & A sessions on new Google algorithm changes.
5. Just dive in
Get involved with discussions; which include answering questions on Q & A forums and being involved with relevant groups/threads on forums and commenting with your own opinions on other blog posts. Don’t just comment “great post”, elaborate, give your opinions and ask further questions. SEOmoz, SEObook, and Matt Cutts blogs are definitely ones you should consider bookmarking. Quora is a question and answer website, where anyone can ask a question and anyone can answer. Many industry professionals are actively involved so you never know, the likes of Rand Fishkin could be answering your questions! The Warrior Forum is a highly popular marketing forum where you can find people talking about anything from programming to mobile marketing and just about anything in between.
6. Attend a course
So far all of your knowledge has come from the sources available on the internet which is great, I mean it hasn’t cost you a penny. However, you can’t exactly put this down on a CV can you? Although there isn’t actually an official SEO certification available, and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future, there are SEO courses out there. But which one should you choose? Well a lot of these courses are aimed at businesses rather than individuals starting up on their own and the majority of the courses only run for one day.
From personal experience, Salford University’s Search and Social Media Marketing Course is a must for anyone starting out in the SEO world either as an individual or as an established company. Not only do you get free refreshments and sandwiches, you get 1st class lecturing from the head of Salford Business school, guest speakers from the marketing industry, and official US based global leader SEMPO training course material. This course is sure to give you the knowledge to stand out from the crowd.
Tip: For an “at a glance” comparison of the courses available in SEO & Inbound Marketing bookmark this great post from the David Naylor blog.
7. Engage in Social Media
Chances are you are quite active on Facebook already, but for more professional social media activity, recommendations include Twitter, LinkedIn and more recently Google Plus. Google Plus has amassed around 40 million users and the majority of these are “first movers” that are heavily involved in the tech industry. This has led to a very active core of users posting regular digital marketing blogs and updates. All of these social media tools will provide you with great sources of SEO information.
TIP: Many SEO jobs will require social media optimisation (SMO) as part of the job role, so it makes sense to be actively involved and have an understanding of how they work so you can show off your knowledge in an interview.
8. Speak to Industry Professionals
Contact industry professionals and ask them for their advice. Ask them how they started out, they may reveal something that you could use to propel your career.
Mark Johnson, a Digital Insight Consultant at Latitude kindly took the time out to offer some industry advice for this post… “If you plan on building a website, before you do make sure you have a strategy and a clear goal of what you set out to achieve. Don’t rush in and always do your market research”. He also adds a bit of technical advice by saying, “Make sure your website is hosted in the right place (UK clients = UK IP address) and is URL friendly”. A great tip that should be applied to step 3 in this post .
Tip: A great place to meet industry professional in person is via the Manchester SEO (meetup). This meetup provides a fantastic opportunity to talk to like minded people who can offer you advice and point you in the right direction.
9. Apply for jobs
Now with all the SEO knowledge, tools and self generated experience you have developed it’s time start applying for jobs. Finding that perfect first job isn’t that easy. In fact your first job might not specifically be in SEO. For example, the requirements to become a PPC executive aren’t quite as demanding becoming an SEO executive. However, by being a PPC executive you can build up the experience and develop certain skills such as keyword research, analytics, & reporting that are required to be an SEO executive.
Tip: Now for when you get selected for an interview check out this blog post for an idea of what questions to expect.
10. Don’t just stop there….
Always look for ways to continually develop yourself no matter what level of knowledge and skills you have. It’s a competitive field out there so you must continually grow and stay fresh. You can achieve this by constantly engaging in the steps covered in this post, over and over again. You could even concentrate on one area such as the increasingly important link building and become an expert in that area.
In a recent SEOMoz Whiteboard Friday session, the topic was exactly what we’re discussing here – so for a visual representation of some of the topics covered, and to give this post one final element of depth you can view that below!
Each one of these steps could actually warrant their own detailed post but this is a summary of the key steps an SEO newbie should take. Sure, there are more which is the beauty of the SEO industry. The learning possibilities are almost endless. However, by following these 10 steps anyone’s arsenal will be well equipped with vital SEO weapons that employers look for and will ask about in an interview.
It would be interesting to know what you think about the steps covered in this post. If you are already in the SEO field, what first steps did you take and did any of these steps apply to you? Please feel free to comment below.
Well, compiling effective link building strategies is just one area of what can only be described as a minefield when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. PJ Web Solutions are a company for whom I currently work. Whilst they have always known how important link building is, PJ Web Solutions are only now attempting to become more proactive in their approach rather than being reactive and look for a source of information that separates the "wood from the trees" when looking to develop an effective link building strategy. It is for this reason why this blog post was born, it will separate the mindless array of junk that is posted on various websites and spam emails detailing ways of building links and will focus on what I regard as the ‘Top 5 effective link building strategies.
5) Effective Link Building Strategy : Internal Links
When a lot of people think of link building strategies they tend to always think about links that link back to their website. Which is fine, however it is integral that the way your own website links to other pages within your site, are structured logically and create content silo’s which ensures that new pages you create are crawled by Google and indexed correctly.
4) Effective Link Building Strategy : Manual Link Submission
Manual link submission is important when developing an effective link building strategy, especially, if you can use non-financial methods of persuasion. It involves manually navigating to relevant websites in your industry and finding a point of contact to request a link to your website. A good starting point is to search for your targeted terms and choose non-competitive websites to request a link from.
3) Effective Link Building Strategy : SEO Directories
Mindlessly submitting your website to as many directories is not a good element of an effective link building strategy and it can be argued that it could even have harmful effects on search rankings. Unfortunately, I am very much in agreement with the idea that if the directory is free then it is not likely to be worth submitting your website to. There are, however, directories worth submitting your site to such as Yahoo and Dmoz.
2) Effective Link Building Strategy : Linkbait and Viral Campaigns
Viral content, if done properly, can be a powerhouse in creating an effective link building strategy. It attracts links by other sites referencing the piece of code which provides the back links to your website. For example free code such as calendars etc that people like to embed on their websites can create links back to you! Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc increase the effectiveness of link viral campaigns, as if people like the piece it will be ‘retweeted’ ‘liked’ and discussed gaining more and more exposure.
1) Effective Link Building Strategy : Content
My opinion is that whilst there is no doubt there are many ways to attract links to your site, some free, others paid for, the most effective way of building links is to prepare good, relevant content that people want to read. Content is king and if written well, it will appear on sites such as Digg, it will be retweeted and cause discussions amongst communities and social media channels. If content is written regularly and well, you can build a kind of social empire that people talk about and look forward to reading. Good ways of generating discussion could be, being slightly controversial, or playing devil’s advocate about a topic in your industry.
Always remember that building an effective link strategy takes time and is very much an ongoing process. If you dedicate the time to do things right there is no doubt you can succeed. Make link building fun, enjoy what you’re writing about and rather than it being a marketing chore, you can enjoy building links and driving your site up the search engine results page rankings (SERPS)!
‘SEO for All’ will explain why web pages – all online material, in fact – should be optimised to make them findable and that – much like web accessibility – this optimisation will not be too great a burden. Online material that has been optimised for findability has a great deal in common with accessible material: it tends to feature tightly focused content built on well-structured foundations. Findable and accessible sites tend to feature appropriate and focused architecture, supported by logical navigation and rich links. Findability works for the standardista and for the consumer.
‘SEO for All’ then, not just all webbies, all designers or all developers. Why ‘the missing link’, though? What’s missing?
The Missing Link: Me!
Or what I learned from Salford Business School’s course in Search & Social Media Marketing
What was missing was a personal awareness of the reality of SEO. I’m writing this at the back end of a 10 week, 4 hours a pop, ‘study when you’re bushed and the kids have gone to bed’ course in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Marketing run by Salford Business School just down the road from Manchester City Centre. From the general to the particular. Background and details. Beginner to professional. Well, not really. No one gets to be professional in anything after a mere 40 hours.
Principles, Real Professionals & Sandwiches
What you do get though, is a thorough grounding in the principles behind SEO and SMM (the course is acronymed as SSMM – Search and Social Media Marketing), the detailed techniques used in increasing findability and encouraging buzz and exposure to the various tools of the trade. You also get exposure to the real professionals, in the form of a weekly guest lecture by some of the most influential commercial SEO/SSMM organisations in Manchester. The likes of Latitude, MEC Manchester, PushOn and MediaVest. You also get access to SEMPO (international search engine marketing professional organisation) material and certification; the course fee includes 3 separate SEMPO Institute courses and awards. And sandwiches.
So what’s changed? Well, other than the stunning insight that the vast majority of SEO techniques – and practitioners – are absolutely ethical, the last 10 weeks have shown me that optimising web material so that it is easily findable (or, as appropriate, rises to the top of a search engine results page, or SERP as they are known in the trade) involves processes that, quite simply, complement the whole gamut of web standards.
Why SEO Matters or Here Come the Numbers
Earlier in the year Royal Pingdom reported that in 2009 there were 234 million websites, of which 47 million had been created in that year.
Almost a MILLION new blog posts today. Clearly it’s not the material that’s not there. Sure, the numbers are at best a rough guide. A blog post can be a single line. There’s no quality control. And no one reads it.
Ah…no one reads it.
Does that matter? Well, yes, it does if what you’ve got to say is relevant, reasoned, reasonable and just plain right! Without going down philosophical back-alleys, common sense tells me that most of us write for an audience. Most of us work for organisations that seek to promote themselves. This is not simply a matter of persuasion; in many (most?) cases, our organisations have an audience that are actually looking for the material we publish.
Let’s be clear about this: ‘our stuff’ is better than ‘their stuff’ (if you dont’ feel that, do it again) and we owe it to the public to make sure that when they want information, they get it from us! When statistics show that almost three-quarters of searchers click on a result from the first page of results, you’d better make sure that’s where your stuff sits.