SE0 – Search Engine Optimization – On-page and Off-page

 

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SEO is short for search engine optimization or search engine optimizerSearch engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.  SEO helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be found by the search engine.

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It is common practice for internet users to not click-through pages and pages of search results, so where a site ranks in a search is essential for directing more traffic towards the site. The higher a website naturally ranks in organic results of a search, the greater the chance that site will be visited by a user.

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On-page SEO

In search engine optimization, on-page optimization can be referred to the factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.

Content, Title Tags, URLs and Image alt text are key areas in achieving the best possible ranking in the SERP for all website administrators. Content must be relative and updated and include as many buzz words regarding the product or service being searched for on the search engine. The title tags, URL and Image alt text must be consistent with the content created and contain similar buzz words.

 

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Off-page SEO

Once the on-page search engine marketing strategy is implemented, the attention is turned to off-page SEO, also known as content sourcing. By identifying the areas where your ideal buyer spends his time and offering targeted educational content curation in the form of whitepapers, blog posts, videos and webinars, we drive targeted traffic straight to your website.

This two-pronged SEO marketing approach results in your business getting found by more of the right buyers than ever before, thus increasing traffic to your website and generating more business overall.

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Pay-Per-Click or Display Advertising – Which is best?

Pay per click marketing, or PPC, is a pretty simple concept: Search engines like Google and Bing allow businesses and individuals to buy listings in their search results. These listings appear along with the natural, non-paid search results.  These ads are sold in an auction. You bid what you want to pay for a click on the ad. Bid the most and you have a chance of ranking number 1 in the sponsored results.

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In its most basic form PPC advertising is a great way to get visitors when you need traffic and you need it now.  But like everything else there are pros and cons to PPC when measured against Display advertising.

Why PPC is good

Pay per click advertising is good in that it can generate traffic immediately. Spend enough, get top placement, and potential customers will see you first, essentially that is how the system works. If potential customers are searching for the key phrases on which you bid and you’ve placed a well-written ad, you will get clicks the moment the ad is activated, thus potentially increasing sales and awareness.

PPC advertising is a fast medium of advertising as take for example; with some systems, such as Google AdWords, you can generate targeted traffic within a few minutes of opening an account.

PPC can also be very cheap if you are lucky as sometimes, you can find keyword ‘niches’ for which the top bid is around €0.10. Therefore it sometimes happens that you can generate traffic to your site for a fraction of the cost of any other form of paid advertising.

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Why PPC Advertising is bad

Firstly, PPC advertising can cost a fortune. It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war over a particular keyword and end up spending far more than your potential return. ‘Ego-based’ bidding, where a CEO/marketer/someone else decides they Must Be Number One no matter what, can cost thousands of dollars. Also, bid inflation consistently raises the per-click cost for highly searched phrases.

Pay per click advertising does not scale. If you get more traffic, you pay more money in nearly direct proportion to that traffic, thus your cost per click stays constant, and your overall cost increases.

Display Advertising

Display advertising in its simplest form can be described as a type of advertising that typically contains text, logos, photographs or other images, location maps, and similar items.   In a more in-depth meaning display advertising can be described as by The Internet Bureau (IAB) “a form of online advertising where an advertiser’s message is shown on a destination web page, generally set off in a box at the top or bottom or to one side of the content page”.  Display advertising is priced in two ways; CPM (cost per mile/cost per thousand ad impressions; and by Ad Impression (the number of times an ad banner is served/ad views). Some common forms of display advertising involves billboards, posters and fliers.

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An example of Display Advertising off-line

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An example of Display Advertising on-line

What can we achieve through Display Advertising?

  1. Brand Awareness
  2. Direct Response
  3. Sales
  4. Lead generation
  5. Social media integration
  6. Awareness

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From the graph we are presented with current as well as future projections of Google and Facebook levels of display advertising domination.

Similar to that of Pay-per-click, display advertising can overlap in terms of pro’s of both of the different types of advertising.  Evidently both forms posses positive features, thus it is up to  the business and its budget as to which form of advertising to choose.  The key thing for a business to remember when debating which form to undertake is which advertising strategy will result in a wider reach to audience and thus generate higher sales through brand awareness.  If you’re aiming for high website traffic and effective branding, then you would benefit from a display advertising campaign. However, if you are focused on attaining high ROI and highly targeted traffic, then you would be more successful with a PPC campaign.

How B2B Marketers are Successfully using LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional network.  It is seen as a new means of meeting business people or contacts in a bid to recruit or carry out some lines of business with other business personnel.  It is expected of most individuals in professional occupations to have entered the world of LinkedIn due to the importance and necessity of it in today’s B2B market.  It is also encouraged in many universities and colleges across the country for students to set up a LinkedIn page in order to assist them and give them the first step into the world of work.

LinkedIn is available in 20 languages which expands its availability and reach to various global business partners in numerous parts of the world.  This acts as a medium for building global relationships and partnerships for many businesses across the globe, as global business is becoming further popular due to new mediums of social media and the World Wide Web.

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When looking at social media as a whole, each social media platform has its own merits.  For example, the sheer scale of Facebook, the ability to distribute news quickly via Twitter and the significant growth in Google Plus and the SEO benefits it provides.  However, when it comes to generating qualified leads and conversions most B2B marketers agree that LinkedIn is the current platform to use

This year 43% of marketers have found a customer on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn has allowed connections to open up between people without having to get a collection of similar minded people in the same room together. LinkedIn is a great place to go to find industry leading professionals and who influence them, allowing you to interact with the professional community. LinkedIn has become one of the primary channels for businesses attracting and engaging other business.

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In the last 8 years YouTube has taught us…..

 

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It is hard to imagine that up until 8 years ago YouTube did not exist.  For many alike, there was a time when they can’t remember life without YouTube as it has become such a key resource in social and digital media marketing today.  YouTube as we know originally started as a video-sharing website, but has expanded since and now continues to grow as a site with many and for many uses for both businesses and individuals.

YouTube today has become much more than a video-sharing website, as its purpose and role has expanded as a whole.  I will outline some of the many things YouTube has taught us; us being both businesses and individuals in the last 8 years..

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Marketing has become a key feature in the YouTube scene by both businesses and ordinary individuals.  YouTube has allowed businesses and individuals to promote and advertise themselves on the World Wide Web and as a result increase and expand awareness of that business or individual.  YouTube allows for new ways of promoting goods/services/events, etc.   This form of YouTube marketing can be considered different to traditional means of advertising in that YouTube clips are both visual and allow you to hear, i.e., allow for customers to see vivid demonstrations for goods/services.  For example the most commonly searched “how to” on YouTube are make-up tutorials, hair-style tutorials and cooking demonstrations.  This allows for customers/viewers to experience a new means of learning and carrying out tasks.  Marketing is continuously evolving and YouTube has contributed to this evolution and new mediums of carrying out marketing and marketing promotions.

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Moving away from the marketing aspect, YouTube has now allowed for a new medium of listening to music and even watching television.  You can see the music video as well as hear the music, which has moved on from the traditional radio or CD means of listening to music and just being able to hear the song. The most viewed video on YouTube was the “Gangnam Style” by PSY, which accumulated a whopping 1 billion views plus, which in turn resulted in the song receiving more publicity and promotion.  More recently YouTube has moved to having certain TV programmes on its site.  For example, I watch the soap-opera Emmerdale on YouTube as  I don’t have TV3 player on my mobile phone, so YouTube serves as a useful purpose for me in that aspect.

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YouTube today acts as a “voice”, as it allows people to share their views, opinions, music, home-videos, etc online.  For example, Justin Bieber – now one of the biggest names in the music industry in the last  number of years, first put his songs and singing on a clip and uploaded it to YouTube, where the artist Usher spotted him and later signed him to a record label and as a result Bieber is now one of the biggest male artists of the 21st century, due to him uploading a simple personal clip of him singing onto YouTube.  Video blogging and educational videos have also become common uploads on YouTube in the last number of years, as it is seen in colleges and universities across the country YouTube is used as a common source to display examples and information to students during lectures.

YouTube in the past number of years has also taught us about how videos that go viral can ruin an individual’s reputation.  This is seen in many instances today as a result of a video uploaded to YouTube, then viewed many times and as a result shared on Facebook and Twitter resulting in the video going viral.  These videos are usually clips that should not have been uploaded onto the internet in the first place.  For example, the most recent viral YouTube clip “going wrong” was a clip of a young girl from an affluent background who was out in Dublin, talking about her father being a former partner in KPMG and having a high paid salary.  This video was broadcasted all over the country, and as a result it reflected poorly on both the girl who clearly had consumed too much alcohol, and her father’s former employer.

YouTube has taught us many things, has opened our eyes to new mediums of advertising and ways of doing things.  Time Magazine (Dec 2006) described YouTube as “YouTube is to video browsing what Walmart super-center is to shopping: everything is there, and all you have to do is walk in the door”, which shows the extent of just how far YouTube has come in 8 short years.  YouTube is a phenomenon that has resulted in a new means of listening to music, downloading music, viewing clips, TV, viral videos, etc.  YouTube has grown significantly in the past number of years and will continue to grow in the coming years as YouTube has become a key element in the social media scene as well as the music downloading scene.  We can only hope YouTube will continue to be our Wal-Mart!!

 

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10 Reasons Small Irish Businesses can use Facebook and Twitter

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Social media as we know has essentially taken over the world.  There is not an individual today who does not have access to a Facebook or Twitter account.  According to Forrester Research, Facebook now has a bigger population than that of the United States. It is the number one site where consumers see content about products and services. It truly has revolutionised the world of marketing and essentially is now another part of the marketing mix for the SME sector. It is without a doubt a key contributing factor to a businesses success today, no matter how big or small the company at hand may be.  Recent figures show that 68% of Irish people are on Face-book as well as 11% of adults over the age of 15 having a Twitter account.  These figures cannot be ignored; but act as a foundation for many small Irish businesses to utilise.  Small to medium-sized businesses are living in the past and not taking advantage of the fantastic online tools that they have at their disposal.

Having said that, there are lots of reasons as to why small businesses should be using social media for marketing and business engagement purposes.  I have outlined a few of those compelling reasons below.

1. Branding

Social Media Marketing can create a recognisable identity for your product or service. This is extremely important for a small business in order to create an awareness for their brand on both a local and national level.

2. Word of Mouth Marketing

Although word of mouth can in some instances generate some business, Facebook and Twitter can be used to create a “buzz” around the brand and business, especially in the case of the smaller businesses.

3. Reputation Management

Twitter and Facebook can act as mediums to monitor feedback and the image of the business.  They also act as mediums to display problems at hand and thus allow the business to resolve the problem at hand.

4. Cost Effective Marketing and Advertising 

Twitter and Facebook act as a cheap means to promote, advertise and inform customers and potential clients without the large advertising fee.  As Facebook and Twitter are proven means of advertising and customer relationship building, they are an essential element to any marketing campaign for a small or medium-sized business.

5. Audience

Facebook has an incredible audience of 950 million and still counting. This audience is immensely attractive to Brands and Marketers around the world.  Facebook and Twitter could be considered two of the most “up-to-date” and effective means of reaching target audiences.  Audience is the priority and how best to reach the whole world than using Twitter and Facebook.

6. Common Advertising/Awareness medium

Facebook and Twitter are used by almost every business today, both big and small, thus smaller businesses should follow other businesses and advertise in the same ways they do and to the same extent in order to balance competition and gain new customers and retain existing ones.

7. Scope

Facebook and Twitter have a massive global reach, which can not be said for every means of advertising/awareness building medium.

8. Medium

Both Facebook and Twitter provide us customers with not only visual representations, images, reviews. etc, but also the option to give feedback and receive responses in an instant.  This is what separates these mediums from traditional means of advertising, in that customer response is much quicker and in real-time.  These mediums also provide us with company history, information, etc.

9. Less Formal Means

Facebook and Twitter allow for a company to advertise and inform without overloading customers with difficult to process information, as they truly are customer friendly mediums.  The pages provide the information the customers want in a lighter, more customer orientated mode, which will in-turn attract more customers as these are customer friendly and allow for the customers to connect with the company.

10. Measurable

Facebook and Twitter can be categorised as measurable mediums of advertising due to the critical mass audience that can be associated with these social media pages. A business can track exactly the amount of income that is coming in as a result of a post, and even attach a monetary value your audience and an interaction.  The number of “likes” your company page gets on Facebook is not necessarily a measurable means, as it comes down to the mass audience who are looking at your page and as a result the number of sales and conversions that can be contributed to the customers “liking” and accessing the company page. Twitter on the other hand looks at the number of “followers” your company page receives, but similarly looks at sales and conversions that have come from the Twitter page being accessed by customers.  A company can monitor and respond to its followers using these measurable mediums.

Social media is becoming more and more of a necessity each day for businesses ranging from big corporations down to your average corner shop. Along with a clearly defined identity and already proven to work marketing tricks, social media is a great way of boosting your business both economically and brand wise.