Although people seem to use the terms WWW and Internet interchangeably, the two are actually very different beasts
There is a belief that the Internet came about through military research. The US government needed to find a way to send the “launch” message to ICBM silos in the event of the telephone network being disabled.
Although the US military contributed to the formation of the internet it was a lot more than this, and was mainly in the academic domain.
In the early 60s various projects in the US, UK and France had the aim of building, and interconnecting, computer networks, particularly the Super Computers of the day, for data sharing and data transmission.
In the early 80s the American National Science Foundation funded a number of supercomputers at several US universities, provided interconnectivity between them and also built a network that allowed by other academic institutions for research. This marked the beginning of the internet.
The first Internet Service Providers emerged in the USA & Australia in 1989 and in 1990 a small number of commercial entities in the USA were provided with private connections to this network. Connectivity increased rapidly, and the Internet as we know it, was born.
The Internet is the structure along which data travels when going from A to B and can be likened to a road network. And, like a road network, there are some routes that are faster than others and even the fast routes suffer from occasional issues and blockages which slows things down.
The World Wide Web
In 1989-90 research at CERN, in Switzerland, by British computer scientist, Tim Berners Lee (now Sir Tim) saw the development of a technology that linked hypertext documents in to an information system which was then accessible from any node (connection) on the network. Sir Tim released his research in tot the world and allowed it to be used without any license fees and this allowed it to become the defacto document standard for the world wide web. This is why all web addresses start with HTTP, it defines the protocol to be used to transmit documents, Hypertext Transmission Protocol although we are now more familiar with HTTPS where the S adds Secure.
Basically, the Internet is the structure along which the data travels (the road system mentioned in the previous section) whilst the World Wide Web is the data that travels across that network, like traffic on a road.
If you need any help with your presence on the World Wide Web, from your website through Search Engien Optimisation (SEO), Advertising or anything else I’ll be more than happy to have a free chat to see how/where I can help your business. All you have to do is call me on 01793 238020, email email@example.com or just search Chief SEO Officer.
Back in the early 80s, when I was undertaking quite a bit of management training I became familiar with 7Ps. Proper Preparation & Planning Prevents Pretty Poor Performance*.
When I moved from IT Support Engineer and Consultant in to Internet Marketing I learned about a different 7Ps, the 7Ps of Marketing:
Sometimes, when I introduce myself as a marketing professional, some conclude that I work with “advertising”. As you’ll see as you read on, you’ll see that advertising is just one part of marketing communications, which is one of the 7 Ps of marketing.
I’ve touched really briefly on the various elements of the marketing mix – but please get in touch if I can help you work through anything in particular, email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 01793 238020.
This is just a snapshot of the breakdown of marketing. But it is good to sit back from your business and challenge yourself with some of these questions.
Is there a market for what you do? How do you know?
Why should people buy what you offer at all and why should they buy from you?
What makes you different from your competition?
Who is your competition – when did you last do a competitive SWOT?
What are the overall growth trends in your sector?
What is your sales pattern? What area of your sales is strongest and why and can you harness this strength elsewhere?
And what area is weakest? What are you doing about it?
How well do you treat your customers?
Which profitable customers can you win from whom? Who? How? Why? Where? When?
Have you built value into your pricing?
Are you competitive?
Is your cost enough for you to work with profit?
How do you set your price?
Will you discount?
How will you avoid being always known for discounting?
What do your competitors do?
Keep It simple
How easy/convenient is it for your customers to buy from you?
Where and how are you currently selling your products and services?
What are the opportunities to extend these?
If you are selling a service on the web, are you supporting with testimonials and case studies?
Are your people one of your main strengths of your business?
Or are you the bottle neck in your company? Are you better than everyone else and does everything have to come through you first?
What type of leader are you?
What is the path for your team to voice their concerns other than coming through you?
Are your people your best ambassadors or are they whinging about you/the business as soon as they are out of the door?
Are they as well trained as they can possibly be?
Did you involve your team when you last undertook a company SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) –really powerful.
One of the vital Ps but often overlooked and often designed for the company’s benefit rather than the customer’s. Ask yourself:
Can your team deliver a consistent level of service to all customers and at all times?
Customer retention is critical.. how failsafe is your process to ensure you don’t lose any?
How effective is your sales process?
What processes have you in place for telephone answering/billing/communication with your clients/recommendations/operations/
Physical Evidence (Brand)
Your brand is defined as
Signs by which you are known and remembered
A bundle of explicit/implicit promises
A reflection of personality
A statement of position.
Have you thought about/discussed what does your company stand for? What’s its personality and philosophy? What’s your one key brand promise to your customers?
Your brand is so much more than your logo. Think about a new visitor’s journey to your web site – does this reflect the look and feel of any communication they have had from you hitherto? Will they recognise this as being part of the same business? Have you had your website made mobile friendly? Really important.
A few hours spent on this are far from fluffy nonsense.
Just a few from the hundreds of options
Face to face
Word of Mouth referral
Telesales as part of a process
Exhibitions and events
Direct marketing and sales letters with appropriate follow up driving to the web
Events and seminars
Advertising but think carefully before you embark here. One off random ads are a waste of time and money! Is it the right target market? Don’t be dazzled by offers…
Website and how are you pushing your web? Does your copy talk about ‘you’, ie the reader? Are you making regular blog posts and updates? Have you considered more SEO, more PPC, back links, etc
Online videos on YouTube – how to/ about/testimonials – so many options.
Social media – which platforms should you invest time in?
So then, back to the management version: Just think how powerful your marketing strategy will be when you combine the planning from my original 7Ps with the focus provided by the 7Ps of marketing.
Combining your marketing knowledge to create a good strategy/plan using the 7Ps of Marketing coupled with the the 7Ps of Management managing implementation will surely lead to improved business performance.
But there are few quick wins when it comes to marketing, the more you work at it, the better it becomes. So, remember to take time away from working IN your business, (doing the business stuff) to work ON your business, doing the stuff that makes your business better. Set aside time on a weekly basis – little and often on a regular basis.
Remember though, I’m an Internet Marketing specialist although I’ll be more than happy to talk over other elements of your marketing activities and help where I can, Digital Marketing is where my skill set lies. If you have any questions, call me on 01793 238020, email email@example.com or just search Chief SEO Officer
*Oh, and of course we didn’t learn “pretty poor performance” we used a far more pithy term than “pretty”
A lot of the work that I do for my clients is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This involves working on websites to move them higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Most of the time, when talking about SEO, I talk about Google because Google is, by far and away, the most used search engine on the internet. Notice I say “used” rather than “loved” simply because a lot of people use it because it’s Number 1 but they don’t trust Google due to the amount of data it grabs and the huge power it wields.
But enough of the pre-amble, I want to tell you that there are other search engines available and there may be excellent reasons for using them. If you regularly check Google Analytics, or other web analytics applications, you may already be wondering about the traffic sources that appear.
And if you are not regularly checking a web analytics program to understand how your website is performing, the see me after class.
From my perspective, the work that I do on SEO actually works for ALL of the search engines out there so, without further ado, and in strict alphabetical order, here are the world’s top search engines
Ask.com – Founded 1996
Ask.com, started out as Ask Jeeves, a butler style service to help you find the answers to your important questions. Ask Jeeves has quite some history. It was founded in 1996 but in 2006 dropped “Jeeves”. Ask uses a unique algorithm to help you find the answers that you are looking for. It is designed to answer questions (hence the name) and favours expertise on a topic – instead of popularity
Baidu – Founded 2000
Baidu was founded in 2000 and is the dominant search engine in its country of origin, China. They have a market share of 75% in China whilst Google comes in with 3.76% – which is surprisingly high seeing as Google is banned in China. As with most Chinese entities, they are heavily policed which means certain images are censored and pro-democracy websites are blocked. Even so, if you are looking to break in to the Asian market, Baidu is were you have to be.
Like Google, they are investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence and self-driving cars. Sound familiar?
Bing – Launched 2009
Bing is Microsoft’s search engine, it was launched in 2009, which was when it replaced MSN Search. Later that year they also started providing search results to Yahoo, added AOL and Ecosia to the list of sites they support and Bing accounts for around 10% of US searches.
They are competitive in the Ads market too, although their total share of the market is small, compared to Google, so the impact is a lot less
DuckDuckGo – Founded 2008
DuckDuckGo is the search engine that looks after your privacy, touting itself as “the search engine that doesn’t track you”. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you, and it doesn’t collect or store any information about you either.You’ll still see Ads (powered by Microsoft) but they won’t be personalised, based on your browsing history.
Ecosia – Founded 2009
Ecosia was launched in 2009 and it’s the first environmentally friendly search engine, and is actually CO2 negative. To achieve this Ecosia donates 80% of profits to tree-planting projects which means that for around every 50 searches carried out on Ecosia, a tree is planted.
Ecosia have also built a solar power generation facility so that it can run its servers on clean, eco-friendly, energy.
Ecosia buys search results in from Bing and tweaks them with their own, unique, algorithms.
Google – Founded 1996
Founded in 1996 Google is the search engine of choice for millions around the world and has over 86% of the search engine market globally. As well as powering Google itself, the company also provides search results to a range of smaller search engines, such as ASK
Google has tremendous computing power but it comes at a cost to the environment.
Huge data centres dotted around the world use huge amounts of electricity and although Google is working hard to mitigate their environmental impact a lot of CO2 is generated by every single search.
Search-Wise – First Seen 2005
If you watch a lot of TV, particularly Dr Who and EastEnders, when actors are using a search engine they’ll use Search-Wise to carry out their internet searches.
Search-Wise is actually non-existent. It has a “home” page that has been mocked up and that’s all you ever see – there’s no technology behind it. Search-Wise is a digital prop, that’s all.
Start Page – Founded 1998
StartPage may just be the perfect search engine. It was launched in 1998 and is based in the Netherlands.
What makes it the almost perfect search engine is that, like others in this list, it buys in its results from elsewhere. StartPage actually buy their results from Google but StartPage’s USP is that it doesn’t track you, doesn’t pass your IP address to Google and doesn’t use trackers to gather data about you.
This means that you get the benefits of access to all of Google’s search nous but none of the privacy threatening downsides. See what I mean when I said that StartPage might just be the perfect search engine
Yahoo – Founded 1994
Older than Google, once upon a time, Yahoo was the Number One search engine and was a mighty company. How things change. Yahoo now buys results from Bing and has about 3% of the global search market. Although a small percentage, that 3% translates in to 1 billion users, 600m of whom use Yahoo on their phones and tablets.
In a cross business deal, Microsoft makes use of Yahoo’s Ad engine
Yandex – Founded 1997
Yandex is a Russian search engine, Yandex standing for Yet Another iNDEXer and the domain Yandex.ru was launched in 1997. Yandex is where you need to be if you are targeting Russia for business.
Yandex is also popular in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Belarus. It’s available in both English and Cyrillic.
In 2011 Yandex went public on the New York Stock Exchange and the search engine currently powers 42.35% of Russian searches
What can you learn from this
The reality is that no single search engine covers 100% of the World Wide Web although Google probably has the most comprehensive index. However, it’s a trade off between depth of coverage and the value you place on your privacy.
What I can say, though, is that if you are looking at targeting China or Russia you really need to focus your efforts on the search engines that cover these territories, Yandex and Baidu, for maximum visibility
If you need help with making your website more visible in the search results, increase visits to your website AND increase your profits then all you have to do is get in touch.
I’ve been a fan of Google’s web metrics tool (Google Analytics) since it was introduced in 2005. For most businesses, it’s free to use. The necessary tracking code is easy to add to your website and provides a wealth of information about your site’s performance but the Bounce Rate is one of the most powerful metrics, a powerful insight into the minds of the people who are visiting your website.
And yet all the Bounce Rate does is record the percentage of people who visit your website but leave almost straight away without doing anything more than viewing the page they landed on.
With 15 year’s experience, my view of the Bounce Rate is as follows
0-20% – Phenomenal. In 15 years I think I’ve only come across 4-5 sites with a Bounce Rate in this area and one of those was only because the site hadn’t installed Google Analytics correctly.
21-50% – Most of the sites that I work with fall into this region. One where between 1 in 5 and 1 in 2 visitors leave the site without doing anything
+51% – Any website with a Bounce Rate of 51% and higher really needs the reasons investigating. These sites are hemorrhaging visitors and, more importantly, opportunities but HOW do you go about analysing a high Bounce Rate and turning things around.
Remember, a 51% Bounce Rate (BR) means that over half of the people that you have persuaded to visit your website, whether that’s by SEO, Google Ads, Social Media (And Social Media advertising), e-mail and video marketing or simply word of mouth are just leaving without doing anything meaningful. If your website were a shop, they’d be sticking their head through the door, shrugging their shoulders and moving on. As a consequence, this has to be worth investigating. After all, if you invest in more marketing, all that’s going to continue to happen is that over half of those you attract will just do as the 51%+ have done before – and leave.
Working to reduce the Bounce Rate. Where do you start?
First, ensure that you have a really good understanding of your website because if you don’t know what you want your website to do for your business how do you know whether it’s doing it – or not.
What are the goals of your website? Here are some common ones.
To sell something
To attract newsletter subscriptions
To encourage inquiries
To allow people to download something
If your website has a high Bounce Rate where do you start looking? There are many ways to approach this, but I always like to start by taking a look at the website itself. What message is it sending to visitors?
Let’s say, for example, that you sell widgets and those widgets are used to attach the engines to an airliner.
Having a large photo of an airliner at the top of your home page probably looks good to you. And, because you know that your widgets play an important part then it sends a message – to you, and you alone. To everybody else all it actually says is “here’s a pretty picture of an airliner”. Questions that could come into the visitor’s mind might be “is this a travel company?” “do they make the whole airliner” – not – “aha, these are the guys that make the widgets that hold this airliner’s engines on”.
Remember, although you may have 3 seconds to get your webpage open in front of your visitor that’s an eternity compared to the 2/10ths of a second that a visitor takes to “get” your website……..or not!
Once happy with the website the next place that I’d look would be at marketing activity. Are the messages being broadcast by the marketing actually delivered by your website? For example, it’s no good talking a two-for-the-price-of-one offer if there’s no mention of it on your website, or if the offer is difficult to find. Visitors won’t look around – they’ll leave (bounce) and may never come back
Now that the marketing messages align with your website, and your website is as good as it can be, it’s time to dive into the data provided by Google Analytics.
Using Google Analytics to troubleshoot the Bounce Rate
The first place I look is the source of your web visitors.
Google Analytics/Acquisition/All traffic/Source/Medium will answer this one
Traffic Sources Key
Any entry that’s tagged “/referral” is where a visitor to your site has followed a link published on a 3rd party website. This could be an indicator as to how your online marketing is performing
CPC = Google Ads
Google Organic = Google Free Search Results
Direct = Either Google can’t identify the source or people have entered the URL directly in their browser
Bing Organic = Traffic from Bing (Microsoft search)
UK Search Yahoo Organic = Traffic from Yahoo UK
Yahoo Organic= Traffic from Yahoo
m.Facebook = Traffic from Facebook on a phone or tablet
Google.com = Traffic from Google.com
Traffic from a third party website
Traffic from a third party website
For this particular website, you’ll see that the Bounce Rate is very high for the majority of traffic sources and particularly high for visitors from Google Ads. With the majority of sources having a high Bounce Rate it would appear that the problem either lies with the marketing that is attracting the wrong people to the site, the website is failing to meet expectations or the problem lies elsewhere.
Bearing in mind that one of the earlier exercises was to ensure that marketing was sending the right message it’s obvious that, for this website, the problem with the Bounce Rate lies somewhere else
Geographical Source of traffic
Navigate to Audience/Geo/Location in Analytics
Scroll down past the map to see the countries where the traffic is coming from. You’ll see the Bounce rate for each source country. If you are targeting the UK and your UK Bounce Rate is OK then the next step is to try to understand how your marketing is promoting your traffic outside of the UK.
It’s possible that your website is attracting visitors from markets that you don’t serve. I have seen a number of sites that have attracted a lot of visits from the USA. When American visitors have landed it becomes immediately obvious that the website can’t address their needs so they leave immediately (Bounce).
The reality is that there is probably very little that you can do about this but it’ll be a relief to see that the Bounce Rate for your target locations is OK.
For this site, the Bounce Rate is high for all countries so the answer doesn’t lie here and the hunt continues
Navigate to Audience/Demographics/Age in Google Analytics
Although Google can’t identify all visitors to your website it’s still worth checking the visitor demographics. You can check that your website is reaching the age groups that your business is targeting.
Again, for the website being used in this blog, the Bounce Rate is high across the board so the answer lies elsewhere.
Navigate to Audience/Demographics/Gender in Google Analytics
Some companies target specific genders and this enables you to make sure that your visitors are coming from your target demographic. Once again, with a high Bounce Rate for both genders, the answer isn’t here. The hunt continues.
Web Browser Issues
Navigate to Audience/Technology/Browser & OS in Google Analytics
Web browsers are complicated pieces of software and it’s not unusual for websites to hit problems with some browsers and not others. This screen looks at the browsers used by visitors to your website and the Bounce Rate per browser. If a particular browser has a high Bounce Rate, but only delivers 5% of visitors (or fewer), it’s not worth paying too much attention. The cost to investigate, and resolve, the problem probably outweighs the benefits
This website is performing poorly in all browsers so the problem isn’t here either and the hunt continues.
Navigate to Audience/Mobile/Overview in Google Analytics
We are all used to accessing the web on our phones, but how well does your website work on small screens. It’s possible that this is the cause of the high Bounce Rate.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Desktop visits have a Bounce Rate in the comfort zone (44.50%) whilst phones and tablets are well above 50%.
Take a detailed look at your website, using your phone. Try to act as a customer and see whether you can spot any problems. Is the site slow? Is the navigation poor? Is excessive scrolling required?
Ask friends, colleagues, family to do the same, and feedback their findings and thoughts.
Next, take it up with your web developer.
Navigate to Behaviour/Site Speed/Overview in Google Analytics
I think we have gotten to the nub of the problem. This is a slow website. Although the server is quite slow to respond (0.36 seconds) the technical elements (screenshot above) taken to find the website and start to open it on a device are still under 1 second so the problem lies with the content of the website itself.
Navigate to Behaviour/Site Speed/Page Timings in Google Analytics
This page looks at the performance of every page of your website and details the speed of each page as a + or – when compared to the site average. It helps to identify poor performing pages.
Navigate to Behaviour/Site Speed/Speed Suggestions in Google Analytics and Google will provide information and recommendations as to the actions you should take to improve the speed of your website. This might be a list that you take up with your web developer
Another way to identify issues is to put your website URL into https://www.webpagetest.org . This site runs a speed test three times and then displays the results as a waterfall graph, highlighting the speed of each element of a website, enabling you to identify problem areas.
So, there you have it, a detailed look into the Bounce Rate, and the ways that you can use Google Analytics to identify issues so that you can take corrective action.
Thanks for reading and you need more help with your website’s Bounce Rate or anything else to do with your web marketing all you have to do is get in touch. I’ll be only too happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Advertising of the Pay per Click (PPC) type has been with us for a while now. Yahoo was one of the first to offer it, quickly followed by Google and Google is now probably the most well-known provider with its Google Ads product (formerly known as Adwords).
You (the advertiser) design an Ad to fit the constraints of your chosen platform.
You agree to pay the host platform, whether Google, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. a certain amount of money every time your Ad is clicked on. This is your bid.
You pay (an agreed) fee per click (every time someone clicks on your Ad). Because of the way that the bidding works, this is unlikely to be the full amount of the amount that you have bid
The amount that you have to bid is in your hands, the amount that you have to bid varies depending on whether you want to be at the top of the first page, the bottom of the first page, or elsewhere in Google search. Other variables that impact the cost you’ll have to pay include the number of companies competing with you AND the amount of profit in a particular sale. The more profit there is, the more you can afford to pay per click
I’ve worked on campaigns where we’ve paid a few pence per click and on others where the clicks have cost many pounds
The top three PPC platforms are Google, Facebook, and Linkedin, but which is the best?
They all work in pretty much the same way. You decide how much you are willing to pay every time someone clicks on your Ad and you set a maximum daily/monthly budget so that you have total control over costs.
There are no minimum campaign lengths and no minimum spends. Allied to the ability to start, pause, and stop your campaigns whenever you want/need to, your budget is totally under your control.
Where should I spend my advertising pounds, which is the best?
The reality is that there isn’t a “best” platform per se, the best is the one that most effectively reaches your target market.
If you are a Business to Business (B2B) supplier then Linkedin will be worth considering and if you are in the Business to Consumer (B2C) sector then Facebook would probably be your platform of choice
However, if you have a limited budget then the most effective option is probably Google Ads – and a quick look at the numbers demonstrates why
In 2019 93% of the UK had access to the internet. With an adult population of 52.5 million, this equates to a total internet reach of 48.82 million people.
Facebook has 32m active users in the UK and LinkedIn 27m. These are fantastic numbers. And you get to choose who your Ads are shown to. You can choose from a wide range of demographics to ensure that your Ads are properly targetted.
where they live/work geographically
their interests (Facebook)
the ages you want to target
the genders you want to target
job descriptions (LinkedIn)
However, there is no way of knowing who in your targeted audience is actually looking for the things you sell or the services you deliver but you are only paying when someone clicks on your Ad – so that’s OK then, isn’t it?
Are you Missing out?
As we have seen, the Social Media reach of Linkedin and Facebook is fantastic, as are the advertising controls, ensuring that your Ads are only displayed to those in your target demographic groups. But you ARE missing out.
Google is used by around 95% of the UK’s internet users, so that’s around 47m people, 15m more (nearly 50% more ) than Facebook and 20m (74%) more than LinkedIn,
And your Ad is only shown by people who are searching for the things you sell or the services you deliver.
Which makes Google Ads, in my opinion, the best place to spend your advertising money.
You might say that I am biassed but I actually manage campaigns across all 3 platforms and the results demonstrate that Google does provide a better return, provided your campaigns are properly managed.
And that’s the crux of the matter. Without effective management, you may as well simply send Google a cheque every month or just burn your cash because your campaign will just not work
With attention and careful management, however, you should be able to make a Google Ads campaign deliver a plentiful supply of new customers to your website.
But your website MUST be good at converting these new opportunities into leads, inquiries, opportunities, and sales.
Thanks for reading and remember, if you have any questions about PPC, need help with your PPC campaign or want help launching and managing one all you have to do is get in touch. I’ll be only too happy to answer any questions that you might have
I started providing SEO services in 2001 and things were a lot simpler than they are now. Back then it was all about keywords. Keywords in the Keyword Meta Tag, keywords in the Meta Title and Meta Description and Keywords liberally scattered throughout the content.
Then people came up with ways to “game” the system, to effectively cheat the search engines into giving them a better result than they were probably due. If you’d like to learn about one of these Black Hat techniques you should read my post on Keyword Stuffing.
Since those early cowboy days of SEO, many things have changed. The profession has cleaned up its game (although Black Hat SEO still exists if you want to cheat the system and eventually get kicked out of the Search Engine Results Pages – SERPs) and the search engines regularly update their algorithms – the software that decided where a website deserves to sit in the Results pages.
As things have changed, the number of SEO myths has grown and these are the ones that I most frequently encounter
SEO Myth 1 – It’s no longer about keywords
This has been around for a while now. Not only does Google examine more than 200 “signals” when ranking websites it frequently tweaks theses “signals” to ensure that you and I get the most relevant results for our searches. Every time something changes, a crowd of people claim that “Keywords are dead” or “SEO is dead”. Well, I’m here to tell you keywords are NOT dead and neither is SEO.
In fact, keywords are the fundamental rock on which all SEO is based. There’s no magic or mystery about them, they are simply the words you and I enter into our web browser when searching for something and so it’s critical that these words and phrases are embedded in your website, in the places the search engines look. This enables Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, etc to match searches to relevant websites
SEO Myth 2 – it’s ALL about keyword density
If you carry out a web search for “Keyword Density” you’ll find a number of sites telling you that the ideal keyword density is between 4 and 5%. This means that for every 100 words on your web pages, 4-5 of them should be keywords.
Please don’t pay ANY attention to this. If you do, you’ll fall foul of one of the cardinal rules of web development, that your website is for the visitors to your site and search engines are simply a tool to deliver those clients and prospects to your site.
If you focus on keyword density, and other SEO focused metrics, you’ll have switched content focus from creating great content for site visitors to creating content for the search engines and your content will suffer. I have worked with many sites that have fallen down this particular rabbit howe. Their site has ranked really well in the search results, the search results have delivered many visits but those visitors have left the site very quickly (Bounced in Google Analytics terms) because the content wasn’t focused on their needs.
SEO Myth 3 – it’s all about buying backlinks
Back-links, hyperlinks published on third party websites that bring people to your website are the foundations on which Google was built. Originally called “Back Rub”, Google originally ONLY ranked sites based on the volume of backlinks. The thinking was pretty simple. If I link from my site to yours then I must believe that something on your site will be of interest/value to visitors to my site and, like any good democracy, the more votes (backlinks) your website has, the more popular and better it must be.
When Google was launched, backlinks remained a fundamental way that it ranked websites (and it remains so today). As a consequence, a whole industry built up around providing backlinks, including “Link Farms”. Web pages that just looked like phone directories, with each page simply featuring hundreds of links to websites. In the early days, this was quite successful and you could buy thousands of links for a few hundred dollars.
That was until Google realised that quality was far more important than quantity and started analysing where the backlinks originated. From then on, purchased backlinks became a major no-no. Backlinks MUST be relevant, so a link from your local butchers to a website providing marketing services is not relevant, for example.
For the butcher’s example above, it’s not likely to attract a direct penalty but will probably just be ignored by Google so the effort expended on acquiring that link will have been wasted.
If you take it to the next level and start purchasing links, Google WILL find out and your website will be penalised by being pushed DOWN in the results pages. This could be critical, with only 50% of search engine users ever going beyond the first page of results and just 10% making it to page 3 and beyond, a demotion to page 5 is almost as bad as being deleted.
Myth 4 – posting the same content on many different sites will boost your ranking
“Back in the day” it was common for a blog article to be posted on a number of websites that claimed to be regularly visited by journalists, and so promised a lot of “eyes on” fresh articles. The publisher’s dream was that they’d be contacted by journalists for more information. The goal being to be mentioned in an article that gets published by the national, mainstream, media amplifying the visibility of the business. The reality was than no journalists visited these sites and the actual goal was to simply build backlinks.
As Google improved its technology it recognised these for what they were, backlink building opportunities, and woe betide your website if you had had the temerity to pay to have your post published.
From here, another myth developed, that multiple placements of identical content will be penalised. Myth 14 explains this one in more details
SEO Myth 5 – You have to write at least 1,200 words on every page for optimum SEO
If you read enough posts about SEO you will ultimately come across one that talks about the number of words contained on pages that come up in Position 1 on Page 1 of Google’s search results pages. (The holy grail of SEO if you like).
Typically they’ll tell you that top pages contain 1,200, 1,600, or even 2,000 words. That’s a LOT of writing, but don’t despair. You don’t have to write so many, or you can write many more. The reality is that there is no magic “ideal” word count that will get you on the first page of the search results. It’s much more about relevance and quality.
Look at it this way. If I tell you, or you read, that your page has to contain 1,200 words, you’re going to write 1,200 words no matter what. And if you only need 600 then your page is going to be so full of padding and filler that even were your page to feature highly in the search results and attract loads of visits, no one is going to read it.
And at the other end of the scale, if you actually need 3,000 words to get your message across and you’ve heard that the ideal page is 1,200 you’re going to edit the heck out of your content and you’ll probably remove most of the value. So, again, even if your page features highly in the results and you get loads of visits, most won’t stay because the content doesn’t make a great read.
What’s the solution? The simple solution is to write as many (or as few) words as you need to communicate your message and sell your idea. My only caveat, if you have to write a lot of words you either need to be a very good and persuasive writer OR hire a copywriter to do the work for you.
SEO Myth 6 – SEO is dead
At least once a year someone pontificates that “SEO is dead” and I worry about my future. Then I relax and realise that SEO has quite a few years to go yet. it’s a long way from being an Ex-SEO, left this mortal coil, kicking up the daisies and every other quote from Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot” sketch.
Work is required, and will always be required, to ensure that your website is as #SEOFriendly as possible so that it appears as high in the search listings as possible and drives sufficient traffic to your website
SEO Myth 7 – It’s all about Social Media these days
It’s really easy to believe, that with over 2.3Bn active users, Facebook has removed the need for a website and so SEO is no longer required.
If you follow this path, you’ll be missing out. In the UK about 32m people use Facebook. With about 90% of the UK population using the internet, ( that’s about 58.5m people) you’ll be missing 26.5m people.
And that’s just the people who don’t use Facebook Lots of Facebook users (about 70%) still turn to search engines when looking for the things they want or need. So, it’s not all about Social Media, if you just do Social, then you are missing a huge audience.
SEO Myth 8 – Pictures don’t do anything to help your SEO
Although the search engines are slowly rolling out Artificial Intelligence to help then understand the content of a picture, your images contribute greatly to the optimisation of a web page.
However, you need to optimise your pictures properly. The file size has to be small enough so as not to slow your pages down, need to have SEO optimised image names, AND have optimised Alt Tags. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive my free e-Guide to image optimisation.
SEO Myth 9 – SEO is a secret magic masked by smoke and mirrors
When SEO was growing in awareness, a lot of people delivering the service hid their actions behind smoke and mirrors, making it appear as if it was something mystical, something that could only be implemented by members of some deeply secret inner circle.
I think the main reason for this was to mask their techniques (some of which may have been gaming the system for quick results but which would lead to penalties being applied) AND so that these cowboys could charge more for their services.
The reality is that EVERYTHING you need to know is “out there” on the internet if you know where to look and who to trust. But do you want to spend time learning about SEO, sorting the wheat from the chaff and then learning how to implement it on your website AND keep it up to date or would you rather bring in someone who knows what they are doing, leaving you to do what you’re good at? Running your business, converting leads into sales, and making a profit?
SEO Myth 10 – It’s not a problem if your website is slow to load
It’s a HUGE problem if your website is slow to load. 3 seconds is the goal – why?
The internet has robbed people of their attention span. Most people simply won’t wait any more than 3 seconds for a web page to open. If it’s slow, they’ll simply go elsewhere.
And it’s worse than that. You have about 2/10s of a second for people to “Get” what your site offers and if they don’t “get” it almost straight away, they will head off elsewhere.
Because of this, Google will push slow sites down the results pages. After all, thee’s no point sending people to a website if all they are going to do is come back to their search results to go somewhere else.
A slow website is one of the reasons behind a high Bounce Rate in Google Analytics
SEO Myth 11 – You Must have perfect SEO to rank on Page 1
With Google examining more than 200 “signals” to determine where your site comes up in the search results pages, and the majority of those being known ONLY by Google thee is no way that your SEO can ever be perfect.
And you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better than your competitors. That’s why I’ll look at your competitors if I am working on your SEO to see what can be done to beat them.
And if you strive for perfection, you might never get anything completed. remember, perfection is the enemy of good
Joke 2 men in the forest were faced by a huge bear charging towards them. One gulps and says to the other “we can’t outrun this bear” and the other one says. “I know, but all I have to do is run faster than you……byeeeee”
SEO Myth 12 – Running a Google Ads campaign will boost your SEO
Google Ads and Google Search are two totally separate parts of Google and there is NO interlinking at all so running a large (or small) Google Ads campaign is NOT going to improve your SEO.
It will, however, give you a quick opportunity to get your business to the top if the first page of search results (In the Ads section) if you need quick traffic to your website
SEO Myth 13 – SEO is a one-time thing
No, no, and thrice no. SEO is constantly changing and you (or your search optimiser) should constantly be looking for ways to improve your SEO. After all, if you started out and were better than your competitors (See Myth 11) and they improve their SEO, they will outrank you so you need to stay on top of things.
SEO Myth 14 – Google will penalise your site for duplicate content
Myth 4 looked at the posting of content on a variety of websites with the aim of building backlinks to your website.
From this came conversations that if Google caught you doing this then they would penalise your website. This simply isn’t true. However, a very real danger of having multiple copies of the same thing is that it will dilute your search results because Google won’t know which is the most important page.
So, examine your content, and if you have more than one copy of the same thing then you need to let Google know which is the most important and the Canonical tag is the way to do this.
A canonical tag (aka “rel canonical”) is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or “duplicate” content appearing on multiple URLs
Thanks for reading and remember, if you have any problems with your SEO please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’ll be only too happy to answer any questions that you might have
It looks as if we are looking not at the beginning of the end but at least the end of the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. The government has slightly relaxed lock-down and hopefully will further relax things as the infection rate and number of deaths continues to fall.
There is no doubt that the UK government has thrown a vast sum of money supporting businesses with the aim of helping them survive coronavirus and ensure that they are able to restart and ramp up.
However, nobody knows how the economy will recover. There’s been talk of a quick return to business normality in a V shaped return.
However wise minds think it could be a U shape with the economy bobbing along the bottom until things pick up, a W shaped return should there be another peak of infection or even an L shaped recovery, which would be no recovery at all.
With over 20 years of supporting small businesses I have been through a number of recessions and know that businesses that really WANT to trade, and even increase their market, can do so provided their business is fit and well and ready to return to the fray.
What I do know is this, there will a lot of companies hunting for new business but a lot of them will have just re-opened and be hoping that what worked before lock-down will work post lock-down.
You have an opportunity to pull ahead of your competition
And it’s not difficult. You can take advantage of one of the government support packages to give your marketing activity a boot. The coronavirus Bounce Back loan is perfect for this.
If you are a small to medium sized business that has been effected by the pandemic then it is highly likely that you will be eligible. You must be
is based in the UK
established before 1 March 2020
adversely impacted by the coronavirus
And that’s it. The loan is 100% backed by the government and so the ultimate risk to lenders is negligible.*
You can borrow between £2,000 and 25% of your turnover, to a maximum loan of £50,000
And here come the best bits
There is nothing to pay for 12 months, and the loan attracts no interest either
Then you pay the balance back over up to 5 years at an extremely attractive interest rate of just 2.5%
What could you use the loan for
You could use the loan to play for a completely new website
You could use the loan to fund some training
You could use the loan to pay for professional support and consultancy
You could use the loan to pay for your SEO
You could use the loan to fund a Pay per Click campaign such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads etc
IT could be used to pay for a complete rebrand
Printing of marketing collateral
Running a mail shot campaign
You could could mix and match any from the above – as the following example demonstrates
New website – £3,000
12 months SEO support – £2,160
Google Ads campaign – £500/month -£6,000 for a year
12 months Social Media management – £2,880
12 months email marketing support – £2,160
Total £16,200 + VAT
You would pay nothing for the first 12 months
Then just £303.75 per month for 60 months bringing your total borrowing in at £17,229.38 – a loan cost of just £1,029.38*
That’s just £14.30 in interest per month, over the lifetime of the loan
If you wanted/needed less, here’s what £10,000 and £5,000 loans look like
Monthly Cost – £187.50
Total Cost – £10,635.42
Total Interest – £635.42
Monthly interest equivalent – £8.83
Monthly Cost – £93.75
Total Cost £5,317.71
Total Interest £317.71
Monthly interest equivalent £4.41
Don’t delay, start today
But I wouldn’t put it off. Only the government knows when the loans will need and your competitors may already be seizing this opportunity and as more companies take advantage the waiting list for your chosen professionals will be growing
Note that you are only eligible for one Bounce Back Loan so please make sure you have every eventuality covered.
I am yet to hit peak capacity but I’ve already had a couple of client take advantage of the Bounce Back Loan and have asked me to ramp up the marketing and coaching work that I do for them
So, don’t miss out – plan what you want to do. Get in touch for a quote, apply for your loan and then we can get started
Get in touch for an informal chat by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) by phone (01793 238020) or ask me on Social Media – Linkedin or Twitter and I’ll be only too happy to talk. Thanks for reading and I hope you stay well
*I am not a financial adviser and you should take expert advice from your accountant, business adviser or other professional before proceeding. My figures come from the Lloyds Bank Bounce Back Loan Calculator
Enterprise Online Marketing Solutions accept no responsibility for any action that you might take after reading this post.
It seems that every week I am asked whether “X” would be a good thing to do, or perhaps “Y”. “What do you think Andy?”, “which path would you take?”
The reality is that even after 20 years of experience, I don’t know with any great certainty. All I can do is reflect on past experiences and understand how a particular course of historical action could be overlaid on contemporary actions and offer some thoughts and guidance.
The key question, though, is this. When it comes to most forms of marketing, how do we know what works and what doesn’t?
The reality is that we don’t – until we give it a try.
But before you try any form of new marketing activity you need to really understand your expectations. What do you want it to do and what do you NEED it to do. You should approach it with a plan in mind, the 6 Ws.
The 6 Ws
Who, What, Why, When, Where and hoW. There are loads of variations on a theme but here’s a simple example as to how the six Ws can help with the initial planning of your new campaign. And to use a cliche – “fail to plan, plan to fail”.
Who are you looking to reach (personas can really help identity and visualise your target market
What are you looking to sell to them
Why would they choose you as their supplier rather than your competition
When will they be ready to buy
Where will the marketing be posted/published?
How will the sale take place & delivery occur. How will you measure the performance.
You should always have a goal because, as the cliche says, “without a goal, how will you know when you have arrived”
The 6Ps could also apply – Proper Preparation Prevents Pretty Poor Performance
OK, I’m done with cliches, for now, back on topic.
I have worked with many people who strive for perfection. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the focus on perfection has a time and place. From a marketing perspective they
– have an idea
– create an outline,
– add flesh to the outline
– review it
– ask others to review their plan
– make changes to reflect people’s comments
– and go around the circle again & again
A camel is a horse designed by committee
Seeking absolute perfection can be a trap, the danger being that you want a horse but end up with a camel.
This often means that the plan at the end looks nothing like the initial plan, that the initial goals have become forgotten and the time taken to refine and finesse the plan means that key opportunities are missed or have made it likely that the plan will never be executed.
My preferred approach is to come up with the campaign aims, agree them with my client and quickly work back from there to understand the target market, which platforms they are likely to use and to understand the best ways to put my client in front of them.
I sometimes get it wrong. I’ll have explained my plans to the client and explained the risk. If a plan is going to fail I like it to fail fast. I accept that it’s OK for a plan to fail, it really is. However, this approach will only work with goals that are understood and research to understand why the goals were not met.
From there, you can take the learning, update and improve the campaign and go again.
So, Why IS marketing like the Space Race
NASA would follow the route to perfection. Testing each individual component of the Apollo program (for example) then they’d put some components in to a module and test the module. Then they’d put some modules together in to an assembly and test the assembly.
Then they’d put some assemblies together in to a stage and test the stage. Then they’d test the stages, assemble them in to a 365 ft tall tower of power and launch the rocket.
And even after all this testing there were still problems – look at Apollo 13, and the two Space Shuttle disasters for evidence.
Elon Musk and Space X take a different approach. Elon came up with the idea of a reusable rocket. It was designed, a rocket was launched – it failed. The reasons for failure were designed out of the next iteration. There was a different failure. The reasons were investigated and designed out and now launching, AND landing, Space X Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets is as near normal as you will find and progress continues.
At the time of writing Space X are planning on returning US Astronauts to the International Space Station using an American rocket for the first time since the Space Shuttle was withdrawn from service.
If you want any help with your digital marketing please don’t hesitate to get in touch for an informal chat by email (email@example.com) by phone (01793 238020) or ask me on Social Media – Linkedin or Twitter and I’ll be only too happy to talk.Thanks for reading and I hope you stay well
In these corona virus times I thought I would share a typical day with you. Because of the nature of my work, I am able to continue providing search engine optimisation and other digital marketing services which means that I continue to support to my clients – those who are still trading anyway.
My day typically starts at 8am which is when I get to my desk, boot the PC, switch on the radio (Nick Ferrari’s morning show on LBC) and go and make that essential first coffee of the day.
The first task of the day
The 1st task of the day is to open my dairy to see what appointments are upcoming, what preparations are required and how any meetings are taking place – a physical meeting, a phone catch-up, a video meeting etc.
Next, it’s a look at my To-Do list to see what’s on the agenda for the day.
The hunt for content
Then it’s time for a look at the news to see whether there are any IT/Marketing/SEO/IT Security stories worth sharing and then I start my proper hunt for content for Social Media.
Tools that I use include Drumup.io, Google Alerts, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land.
Drumup is like a search engine for articles. I save some keywords and it finds relevant news articles for me to share. I only use the free account
Google Alerts, another free tool, carries out the same process on Google. I save some keywords and Google emails me a list of new content that includes my saved terms.
Search Engine Watch is a website dedicated to search engines and search engine optimisation. It was where I learned a lot of my craft in the early days. It was started by Danny Sullivan who went on to found
Search Engine Land and now has a pretty high flying job with Google. With both sites, I look for interesting/helpful articles to share
I open each story or article from all sources in a new browser tab. I’ll simply hold the CTRL key down as I click – which forces my browser to open the clicked link in a fresh tab. Then I scan thorough each article to check quality and relevance before using another free tool, Buffer, to add the stories to my social media posting queue. This means that I can easily and quickly build a content list that will be shared by Buffer at a time of my setting.
I may also look at one of my pre-written “Top 10” hints and tips lists. Update the publishing dates, ensure the content is up to date and then upload the spreadsheet to Hootsuite where the platform will share the tips to the platforms of my choice at the times I have set.
Then I’ll repeat the exercise for those clients for whom I manage their Social Media activity.
Now it’s Email time. I open Outlook and work through my emails. Spam gets deleted, urgent mail is responded to, acted on or added to my “To-Do” list – which is on paper. Even though I love my technology, and have tried numerous digital To-Do applications I still find that pen and paper works the best for me.
The To-Do list
Now it’s time for me to look at the top items on my To-Do list and start working through the day’s tasks.
Number one task every day is to log in to ManageWP where I have registered all the WordPress sites that I am responsible for. ManageWP has them all stored in a dashboard and reports which sites have plug-ins that need updating or whether any particular site needs attention.
Once any updates have been applied it’s now time for my second coffee and logging on to a site to start on the required search engine optimisation activity.
This could include a fresh scan of competitor websites to see whether there’s anything different that I should be targeting, another round of keyword research to make sure that I am targeting key words and phrases used by prospects and making sure that all the elements of the site are well optimised, particularly where the client has access to the site and may have added fresh content or swapped out images and a hunt for opportunities to build more backlinks
Second look at Emails
Before lunch I’ll take another look at my emails, delete all the junk, act on urgent ones and “To Do list” those that need action but which are less urgent.
It’s probably about 1pm by now and time for lunch. A poached egg on toast, a two egg omelette, a sandwich perhaps another coffee or glass of water, and a walk in the fields, weather permitting
After that I may turn to content creation, writing a blog post or an email or finding topics for my clients to write about that i can then provide an SEO “polish” to for optimum search engine responses.
I’ll look at the Google Ads, and other PPC accounts that I’m managing on behalf of clients. Making sure that the Ads are performing, that the key words are relevant and that the campaign is as well optimised as possible.
If I’ve written a marketing email I’ll get it approved by the client, upload it to MailChimp (my email platform of choice), make sure the address lists are up to date, create an email and send a draft to my client for approval.
Once signed off, I’ll schedule the sending, Early afternoon, middle of the week, for business clients and early evening, possible on a weekend, for retail clients. Timings determined by the optimum open rates.
The hunt for content continues
Time for an afternoon coffee and a swing back through various news sites, this time tech platforms such as
For tech related articles and Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land again, just to see if anything new has been posted
Back to the Search Engine Optimisation
As we enter the middle part of the afternoon I’ll look another client website and look to repeat the SEO activities for them.
If I’ve received any enquiries for quotations or new proposals I’ll look to pull my thoughts together and send my proposal for consideration.
As the working day draws to a close I’ll take a 3rd look at my emails and respond to anything that can’t wait until the following morning.
I might email clients with ideas to improve their websites, carry out some more SEO on a site, perhaps register a client website with some web based directories and see whether there’s anything I can do to my own website to improve performance
Finally, I’ll update my To-Do list in preparation for the coming day, shut down my PC and have a quick tidy-round.
If you want any help with your digital marketing please don’t hesitate to get in touch for an informal chat by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) by phone (01793 238020) or ask me on Social Media – Linkedin or Twitter and I’ll be only too happy to talk.Thanks for reading and I hope you stay well
Times are tough, I know but having worked with companies through 3 recessions I know that some will thrive, some survive and others go to the wall.
Some will fail no matter what they do but for a lot of companies there are alternatives.
You can accept the status quo and roll with the punches OR you can fight for your survival.
My experience is that those who fight for their survival will come through the current situation fighting fit and with a great chance to thrive because they will be better than they were and they’ll be ready to leap on opportunities that have been left begging by those who simply accepted the status quo.
So FIGHT for your business and if I can help – get in touch.
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