Posts tagged: seo

Small business SEO – Digital Marketing Strategy for Ivory Promise Brides

4 January 2018

Pnina Tornai wedding dress from Ivory Promise BridesDuring the Christmas break, I’ve been helping out Ivory Promise Brides in Bolton with their small business SEO strategy. Like a lot of small companies Ivory Promise have a WordPress website. They are selling designer wedding dresses from the likes of Pnina Tornai, Eve of Milady, Naama & Anat, Blue by Enzoani, Mon Cheri and Charlotte Balbier. 

I hadn’t heard of these designers before – but they are really impressive and there’s clearly a market here for affordable luxury. The shop are also offering competitive prices and exclusivity to the UK or Europe, so there is a clear value proposition. They have even had enquiries from Dubai where people will fly across the world to their shop in Bolton to see their exclusive dresses.

The first thing I did was try to define who the buyer persona is and then think about the appropriate channels, content and data in order to inform the digital marketing and SEO strategy. This is of course from our very own #Passion4Digital Buyer Persona Spring (shown below) from our book Digital and Social Media Marketing: A Results-Driven Approach. It’s ideal for Small business SEO strategy or indeed for larger companies!

Buyer Persona Spring - useful for Small business SEO strategy

I logged in to their WordPress dashboard and then looked at the data they have from their social media channels, Google Analytics and Google Search Console to start snooping around for data and insights.

What I found was that the site was driving a pretty reasonable amount of traffic, but not really generating many enquiries or conversions. The majority of users are female between the ages of 25-54 and generally from the UK. They were browsing the site usually on mobile (60%).

Small business SEO - demographics

Analytics shows that the buyer persona is female, age 25-54 and usually on a mobile from the UK

I’ve also recently been reading the excellent book E-Commerce Website Optimization: Why 95% of Your Website Visitors Don’t Buy, and What You Can Do About it. Ivory Promise isn’t an ecommerce site in that, it doesn’t sell through the website, so the goal is to generate interest and enquiries. That said, there are a lot of useful insights in the book around user experience, copy optimisation and testing. Basically, the book advocates testing and subtle changes, which can make a big difference.

I formulated a list of things for improvement such as:

  • Install the Yoast plugin for SEO and use to optimise pages
  • Do some keyword research using Keyword Planner and Search Console
  • Split the product pages up so that each could be SEO optimised
  • Create unique titles and meta descriptions based on keyword research
  • Create and encourage more external links including from social media, suppliers and others
  • Make sure the pages are mobile friendly, no errors and explore AMP (accelerated mobile pages) through an AMP plugin
  • Add a contact form and make the contact page clearer and linked from key pages and AMP
  • Take into account the buyer persona in terms of use and behaviour
  • Added a goal in Analytics for the contact page and derived keywords used, demographics, traffic etc.
  • Various other tweaks, copy changes and others
  • Sat down with the client and talked them through the changes and what needs doing on an ongoing basis

Pleased to say, soon after the changes were made, page views have doubled and the shop had a record day for enquiries through the website. Still much work to do – but I think this goes to show that some small changes can make a big difference. It is still a work in progress of course, but shows that you don’t need to spend a fortune, sometimes some small tweaks and attention can make a difference. Have you got any similar experiences or thoughts about small business SEO? We also run short face to face or distance courses in Search and Social Media Marketing. Please Drop me a line on any of this, I’d love to hear from you!

Ad blocking should be banned

22 November 2016

ad blocking should be bannedOk, so ‘Ad blocking should be banned’, maybe a little over dramatic, but Internet adverts are the main source of revenue for most of the websites. The majority of websites are free to browse which is thanks to the advertisements displayed on the web pages. This model of internet has been steady over the last two decades. As time goes by, ad companies have become more and more aggressive in their approach and this has led to the use of ad blocking software rising dramatically.

At the present time, if you open a web page, you are to likely to see many ads based on your browsing history, cookies and other private information. More annoyingly, many ads are simply deceiving, forcing the users to click on them to view the original content. No one will disagree that the digital ad business has now reached a point where the users find the ads an annoyance rather than useful.

This atmosphere has given birth to ad blockers. You just install software or a browser plug-in to block the ads from being displayed. This prevents the ads from displaying and also prevents hefty ads from eating up bandwidth and lets pages load faster. Ad blockers are gaining more and more popularity. From old players like ‘AdBlock Plus’ to Opera’s new, free built-in blocker. The rise of ad blockers is threatening the economic model that the internet is based on. For these reasons maybe ad blocking should be banned. Read more…..

5 ways small businesses can make big impact with #SEO

2 November 2015

SEO for small businesses can be a challenge, working in a small business inevitably means you are

  1. always short for time
  2. always focused on hundreds of things at once
  3. always passionate about what you’re doing

Even your job title can feel like a minefield – does Account Manager cover advertiser, marketer, receptionist, sandwich runner, tea maker, cleaner, product developer… etc. etc.?

So when you’re told that Social Media and Search Marketing will make big impacts, you inevitably want to throw yourself into it full throttle and full of enthusiasm. Trying to navigate it yourself however leaves you frustrated and disheartened. I’ve done 5 tweets today, why haven’t I had 3000 orders?!

That’s where the Search and Social Media Marketing Course came in. As chief Tea Maker, amongst many other titles, at Safer Surfacing, I was very keen to learn what impacts a small company could make with SEO. We’re all pushed for time, and time will always inevitably be money to the small business owner, but these five starting points should have you well on your way to that all important Return on Investment (ROI).

Read more…..

Can you teach an old dog new SEO tricks?

1 November 2015

SEO tricks: Can you teach an old dog new SEO tricks?

It was face down on the physiotherapist’s couch that I had my SSMM epiphany.

It was about week 4 of the course and the physio was talking about his own website and trying to improve its ranking. He had recently done some training in New York learning a technique that was not widely available in the UK. He obviously had the makings of some great content and I suggested he get it on his website and have a think about optimising it for some of the more unusual keywords. We also talked about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tricks in general and the many different tools out there that he could use to improve his website and in particular its position on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

It was good to feel that I was starting to make sense of a world I had only stepped into a few weeks previously! Read more…..

Web Design And SEO: Things To Consider

29 September 2015

Once upon a time there lived an Internet whose pages were bursting with whichever keywords and phrases the user deemed important for rankings – this was essentially SEO web design, albeit in it’s primitive stages.

Fast forward to the present day and SEO web design has become a much more complex, multi-faceted feature of the digital landscape. Many processes in web design can now contribute to – or hinder – your ranking performance in Google and other search engine results. Here are just a few of the most important things you should consider when developing your website:

Keywords Are Still Key

SEO keywords in web design

Read more…..

Copywriting for SEO, Social Media, and Charity Ducks

7 May 2015

Soap home page

Although I’m a content writer I’m also expected to lead Soap Media’s social media marketing campaigns and, naturally, I’m Copywriting for SEO – page rankings are always in mind. Some established Copywriters lament the new generation and complain about where the talent’s gone, but Copywriting with Google’s algorithms in mind is now the way of things, and content is primarily about SEO, keywords, and Call to Action (CTA) buttons.

It’s a complex time, and this is what I’ve learnt after four years of SEO, and following two months of The University of Salford’s Search and Social Media Marketing (SSMM) course…

Read more…..

Why I chose the Search & Social Media Marketing Course

27 November 2014

Hmmm… So, which course?  These were my initial thoughts.  Do I do a long distance course or do I stay close to home and come to the building.  By opting for the SSMM (Search and Social Media Marketing) at Media City, I now know, I made the perfect choice.

salford university media city

University of Salford Campus – Media City

It had all the aspects that I was hoping for and none of the ones I feared.  I didn’t want to just do ‘a course on seo and social media’… I wanted the course that would add value to my skillset.

When you leave University and/or Further/Higher Education, the question usually is… “What experience do you have?”… This is usually followed by an answer consisting of erms, buts and opportunity.  In other words, doing your best to prove you are willing to learn.

For probably only the second time in my life, I found myself on the other side of the argument.  As, somewhat fortuitously and serendipitously I found myself knowing a lot about SEO, social media and digital marketing, but didn’t have the academic or professional qualifications or accreditations to back up my experience or prove what I knew.  So it was important on my part that I showed evidence of Continued Professional Development (CPD).

I work in the charity and voluntary sector, so it is vital to spend the limited resources we have in the most productive, efficient and effective way possible.   This just happened to involve social media, website building, search engine optimisation and other aspects of digital marketing.  This is because, these activities can be done on a very limited budget; the challenge being, knowing what to do and having the time to invest.

So began my journey into the world of social media, website building and SEO.  It started off as a hobby with the website/organisation I founded called, Positive About MS (www.positiveaboutms.com) and it’s social media following which now reaches out to about 10,000 supporters!  Subsequently I developed a website called, The Luggie Scooter (www.theluggie.com), which features on the first page of Google and in some cases features in the coveted Golden Triangle section of Google on page1!

So you can see SSMM was something I fell into and something I just happened to enjoy too, not realising at the time it would become Web 2.0.

However, all this experience didn’t give me what I needed, which was a way to quantify what I know and give me a recognised professional accreditation and/or qualification.

The Search and Social Media Marketing course

Right from the first week of the course I liked what I saw.  From the email communication prior to arrival, to the structure and general feel of the class.  It was just what I hoped it would be.  There was a structure to the whole course and it was clear what the course would give you.  I thought it would be more formal and not as comfortable, but I was pleasantly surprised.   I really liked the layout, atmosphere and the general way of teaching.

One of the reasons I opted for the course, was the opportunity of interaction with the course leader (Alex Fenton @AlexFenton) and the chance to ask questions in person.  This also exceeded my expectations.  You could speak in person, via social media, on private linkedin groups or by email.  It gave you further reassurance that you weren’t just going to be given course notes with a presentation.

Guest speakers

The format of giving you a presentation on the subject matter, followed by a talk and Q&A session from an industry professional worked really well and I got more than I expected from it.  We got the opportunity to hear from the likes of Phil Morgan (@PhilipMorgan) & Tom Mason (@totmac) from Delineo (@Delineo), Aisha Choudhry (@AishaZulu) from Fast Web Media (@FastWebMedia),  and the UK’s Number 1 best selling small biz marketing author; Dee Blick – pictured (@DeeBlick) of www.themarketinggym.org.

 

dee blick pic

Dee Blick – Guest Speaker

I also felt the course was well pitched and did exactly what it said on the tin!  Initially I was apprehensive that parts maybe too basic or complex, however this was not the case and it was helpful that Alex Fenton would sometimes spend more time on certain subject areas than others, based on the group and what we needed.

It was never a case of times up and that’s it, you got a chance to review what we’ve already discussed and check your understanding.

One of the many revelations to me personally was the benefits and features of using Google Drive, something I was neither keen nor found necessary to use before I went on the course.  Google Drive allowed you to revisit slides and talks from previous weeks and made it very easy to review course notes.

I found it very refreshing and useful that information on the course and was freely shared by Alex, and that was what I had hoped for.  If there was something you were not sure on, there was always the opportunity to revisit it out of class time, with informal group sessions.

Overall, this course has filled in those missing gaps from my own learning’s and has also introduced me to industry terms and given me a chance to quantify what I already knew, by putting names and phrases to the processes I was practicing.

Furthermore it has opened up my eyes more to the idea of Web 2.0 and the importance of Digital Marketing.

Hopefully, this has helped you regarding your professional development course choice.  Feel free to share this post or share your views, I am @mrkazlaljee on twitter and you can use the hastag #ssmmUoS

More information & booking details for the Search & Social Media Marketing Course  &  Salford University location at Media City UK – Video

Why Public Relations is becoming the new SEO

20 November 2014

HatTrick Logo 2014

 

Why? Because when you strip all the marketing terminology back we’re simply storytellers and Google loves a good read!

HatTrick has from day one been about embracing change; constantly looking at ways of doing delivering communications differently, through to investing in new technology to ensure everyone in the business can seamlessly deliver global brand campaigns. It’s that hunger for change that led me onto the Search and Social Media Marketing professional course at Salford University.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve I was hungry to learn more about how PR and Search have emerged and how HatTrick as an international communications agency, based in Manchester could connect the two disciplines together.

Learnings

From the course I’ve learnt that while once, many considered SEO to simply mean getting inbound links to your site to boost visibility on Google search results pages; nowadays this is no longer the case. Today, as far as Google is concerned it’s all about relevance, influence of the site and quality content. Some elements of the course were sounding very familiar and I was right to feel this way because this is exactly what PRs have been doing all along and why I believe that public relations is becoming the new SEO.

Here’s why:

As PR professionals, a key aspect of our role is analysing the client’s audience and then finding the right channel or publication to target with well-written and engaging content. The change in media landscape over the past ten years and rise in social media channels has opened up more opportunities than ever before for placement of content in order to build brand awareness and reputation.

Given that PR has always owned and managed communication channels, the responsibility of setting strategies and delivering content through social media naturally has become a daily task of a PR consultant. According to Google guidelines, having a strong Social Media presence is just as important as having an updated website.

By identifying and pushing out content to online influencers, naturally encourages them to share it with their followers. The more active a brand is in seeding out across social media channels, including Google +, Facebook and Twitter, means there is more chances to obtain higher rankings.

Everyone’s focusing on quality content

Add to the debate, Google’s recent changes to its guidelines on how websites are ranked on the search engine, also means that SEO professionals are too also now focusing more on creating quality content that people want to share, rather than just link building, in order to get its clients’ sites at the top of the search engine – exactly what PRs have been doing all along.

Do you agree? Nevertheless, regardless of whether the two disciplines are merged together in the future or that SEO may no longer be the answer to traffic-related prayers. Through storytelling content marketing tactics, brands can only now navigate their way through the treacherous SEO landscape of 2015 and beyond with support from a strong public relations campaign.

 

UK Tights, Building A Brand With A People Friendly Site

9 May 2014

Our Origins

The team at UK Tights has been concentrating on SEO since the first day we launched our site. Since then, we’ve run into obstacles and plenty of road blocks, but we’ve learned how to navigate these and make a success out of our website.

SEO is always going to be a difficult thing to get right. Search engines like Google make sure that not all of the requirements for a strong website are published so that people don’t engineer their sites just to get to the top of certain SERPs.

UK Tights decided that the only way to go about making a healthy website was to make small changes and wait until we saw a change in our SEO profile, measuring this using Google Analytics to see if our visitors increased and one what search terms. That way, we could effectively experiment with changes to our website and see what worked and what didn’t.

The Human Element

But really, the best indicator for finding out how a website might climb the SERPs is to look at how people react to your site when you make a change. Search engines try and make their search results as humanistic as possible, so when you make a change that people respond to positively, Google and other engines love it too. One example is bread crumbs. We added bread crumbs to UK Tights, which is a string of links that run across the top of the page so you can find your way back to larger sections when you need to.

Bread crumbs are a common feature of websites and people use them regularly to get back to where they need to go. As soon as we installed this feature, Google picked up on our change and we saw our rankings increase for those terms that were included in the bread crumbs, such as brand names that we sell.

Thinking How The Search Engine Thinks

Google have stated that they want their search engine to think as close to the way a human brain thinks as possible, so they make sure it values the same things a person would value. Write many of one keyword and Google will think you are generating spam, the same way that a person will think your article is not very enjoyable to read.

We at UK Tights found the best way to do SEO was to look at making changes that benefit our customers, especially when it comes to written content. Creating a page for a brand of items that we sold allowed people to look only at their favourite designer and the few hundred words of text at the top we used to talk about their history was something our customers loved. Search engines did too; they saw the brand page and knew we specialized in that brand and they saw that we had written about the history of the designer, so we must be an authority on the topic. This view point helped us immensely and it continues to guide the way we think. Make it easy for the customer or the reader to find what they need and you’ll be rewarded.

UK Swimwear, Putting SEO Quality First

9 May 2014

How We Started Out

UK Swimwear was started just over five years ago as a website for browsing, shopping and choosing all your items of beachwear and swimwear. Founded by the team at UK Tights, UK Swimwear was launched as a supplement to our summer business. UK Tights sees their busiest periods around Christmas, so to help bring in more business, we launched UK Swimwear.

One great part about launching a second site is that most of the lessons we learned around websites and SEO helped us to build a website’s profile immediately. But with UK Swimwear, we ran into more obstacles after our launch.

Where Things Went Wrong

Originally operating under the name UK Beachwear, our site had plenty of links from many different sites, but unfortuantely with Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, these link were deamed junk or spam. Recovering from the Penguin and Panda algorithm changes meant learning a very important lesson about SEO and how to run a business. Quality over quantity.

Many of these links came from sites with very little content and authority and we had to concentrate on dissavowing all of these before rebuilding, but once we removed a lot of this poisonous linking, our goal was to get a handful of links from only the very best sources. We moved towards the biggest fashion blogs and even the online editions of newspapers as well as .edu sites.

How UK Swimwear Recovered

These kinds of sites have immense authority with search engines and as such, they are the place to be when it comes to building your own profile on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

After moving to a new site and starting to build from scratch, we eventually learned how to carefully curate links back to our site by offering quality content such as blog posts to our partners and we almost immediately started out with a better position than our previous site had been at in a couple of years.

UK Swimwear is continuing to climb by using this as our key strategy. We develop our site and our content carefully and instead of asking for a whole bunch of cheap links, we carefully court and talk to the big fashion bloggers to get a good and fair exchange by sending them samples or writing articles for them. This is how UK Swimwear first begin to regrow and it’s our continued strategy for the future.