Category Archives: Leeds digital marketing

Getting ahead online with competitor analysis

We were recently approached by a marketing agency to create a report for them. It wasn’t the typical report that we would produce for a client but contained lots of the elements that we were used to supplying.

It turned out that this report was actually going to help an investor with a potential acquisition decision. Essentially they needed to see the position of a brand in a particular online marketplace and in various territories – the type of data that we at Leeds Digital Marketing access every day.

What we realised whilst pulling this piece together, is that we are engaged in competitor analysis for clients all the time but have never offered it as a standalone service. Until now…

We’re now offering a couple of set packages:

  • For clients who may have limited in-house marketing resources but want to make informed decisions about their marketing spend and see what their competitors are doing to get ahead.
  • For marketing agencies that need extra special data that will make them look great in a pitch situation.

Give us a call or drop us a line and let us help you get ahead with competitor analysis.

hands holding digital strategy

SEO mistakes that sites are still making

SEO has changed a lot over the last few years, but many sites are still making the same mistakes and hurting their performance. Here are some of the main offenders.
Almost everyone running a business knows the importance of getting online and getting discovered, and that means investing some time and effort into SEO. However, optimising a site can be harmful if it is done badly, and many organisations are still falling victim to the same SEO mistakes that have been doing the rounds for years.

If you run a website, it is worth checking through this list and making sure you aren’t falling victim to any of these common SEO errors that are still showing up.

Keyword misuse
Keywords are an integral part of SEO, but it’s easy to get them wrong. This commonly tends to happen because sites are using the wrong keywords. For example, both search engines and the people that use them give precedence to long-tail keywords: phrases of three or more words. However, often organisations choose single words and attempt to rank for those.

While this will not help your site rank particularly high, at least it won’t hurt it. However, the same cannot be said about keyword stuffing. Many sites still consist of transparent attempts to feature their keywords as much as possible. Not only do search engines pick up on this – and penalise it – it is also a good way to get a user to leave your site immediately.

Neglecting metadata
The content on a site is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of SEO. The metadata is incredibly important as well, but many organisations neglect it. A good title tag and metadescription will be considered by search engines, so can give a webpage a boost up the rankings with relatively little effort.

One of the most neglected elements of metadata is image alt tags. A search engine cannot ‘read’ an image – it will have no idea what that picture of your product is actually showing – but it can analyse the text of an alt tag and work out what pictures your site is using from that. This makes the tags another great – but easily missed – opportunity for optimisation.

Paying for links
Link farming has got enough bad press that most people are staying away from it. Buying links like this is very spammy and will almost certainly get your site penalised. However, there are also downsides to offering giveaways in exchange for links, such as sending out free products to bloggers who will review it and link back to your site.

This is not harmful, it’s just a really inefficient way of link building. You’re paying out money or sending out products in the hope that the reviews will be positive and the links will boost your SEO. A better method is simply to produce interesting and useful content that is likely to be shared. You’ll get much more links for your money that way.

SEO Experts Leeds

Why SEO experts want you to know about citations

Digital marketing is an ever-changing and evolving industry. Although this makes it an exciting and interesting area to be involved in, it can make it difficult for small businesses to stay on top. With Google adapting its regulations on a regular basis and leading SEO experts often changing their advice on how to adhere to this, it can be a massive challenge for companies to ensure their site content doesn’t suffer.

Often it is the lesser-known aspects of SEO that can make or break a digital marketing strategy. Citations are one of these; able to completely transform your ranking on Google but something that few people outside of the industry know about.

A recent study from BrightLocal found that an incredible 90 per cent of local SEO experts considered accurate citations to be either critical or very important for local search ranking, while 86 per cent said the quality of citations was more important than their quantity.

It also found that industry relevance was the most important factor to use when determining citations, while a third said niche or specialist directories offer the greatest authority.

But what are citations and why are they so important for local search?

Citations are any mention of your business name or details on other websites, whether or not it directly links to your site. They can help you to build authority and helps Google and other search engines to consider your business to be legitimate.

Usually references will include your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP). Giving all these details is better than giving just your business name and address, for example, but a partial citation can still be used.

They are a key element of Google’s ranking algorithms, meaning that if you have a higher quality of citations than your competitors – and are equal on all other factors – your business is likely to rank better than theirs.

Citations are particularly important for industries where there isn’t a high level of digital savvy. Without any other information online at its disposal, the search engine has to use what it can find and citations can be weighted heavily.

However, even if you’re in a competitive industry, where there is a strong online presence, citations are still an important element of your digital marketing strategy.

Citations can support your local SEO strategy but it’s important that all citations are accurate and consistent. The format itself doesn’t really matter but the one on your website should also be what shows up on your Google+ Local page or anywhere else.

As well as reviews and links, Google uses citations as a primary factor when determining how to rank your business in local search results. This means it could make a massive impact on your online presence if you’re not ensuring consistency across different platforms.

Bright Local SEO Citations
SEO Mark – Local Citations
Moz – Local Citations
Search Engine Journal – Local Citations

SEO Search marketing

Google makes ads safer and more user-friendly

One of the main features of Google, and most search engines, is advertising. It is the reason for the online giant’s massive revenue, and most people are used to seeing the yellow ‘ad’ logo next to the first few results each time they Google anything. However, that could well be changing in the near future.

Approximately five per cent of users have been noticing something different from their Google experience. Rather than the yellow symbol, some eagle-eyed searchers have seen a green one popping up next to the pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements in their results. This has sparked a lot of speculation, but the situation seems to be getting clearer.

At first it seemed like the green ads were just appearing in the UK, then some users from Germany, Sweden and the US began tweeting claiming to have seen the same thing. Eventually, a Google spokesperson told Searchengineland that this was a “small test”, adding that the company is consistently trying to improve the way it labels ads.

So why might the green ads be appearing across the search engine’s results? There are several theories, but the prevalent one is that Google wants PPC ads to appear more natural, as the green colour blends in with the display URLs that Google naturally shows. This might increase the success of PPC ads, as users might be more willing to click on them if they are not such obvious advertisements.

However, this is not the only ad change Google has implemented recently. The search engine giant also announced it was attempting to crack down on deceptive “social engineering” ads.

The company defines this as ads that either “pretend to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity – like your own device or browser, or the website itself”, or “try to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity – like sharing a password or calling tech support”.

These ads are typically fraudulent, designed to steal users’ personal details or get them to download malware, so it is understandable that Google would want to protect users from this. However, it means that webmasters will need to make sure their sites are as safe as possible to avoid being penalised by the search engine.

Google has said that Google Safe Browsing “may warn users when they visit the site” if it is flagged up as containing social engineering content. This is going to hurt sites with poor security or little control over their ads, so this is something that could have significant consequences for some organisations.

Sources
Webmasters

Search Engine Watch

Search Engine Land

Digital Marketing trends

Digital Marketing trends to look out for in 2016

Making a success out of your digital marketing plans can be a challenge. From ensuring your onsite content is optimised to having the right online presence on social media, finding a cohesive and comprehensive strategy can be difficult. However, although there is still very much a place for traditional marketing in modern business, it’s likely that a company’s digital efforts will become increasingly important for generating leads, conversions and ultimately encouraging growth.

A significant challenge that a number of smaller firms experience is trying to stay on top of developments and advances in the industry. With Google almost constantly upgrading and altering its algorithms and digital marketing trends fading almost as quickly as they spring up, it can be difficult to ensure your brand stays relevant and is using the right tools to engage with your target audience.

This can be especially challenging for smaller businesses. Without the considerable budget needed to fund a creative team, it can seem like an impossible task to keep on top of digital marketing.

Although some trends can be more a fad, and be almost obsolete after a couple of months, for many areas of digital marketing it’s possible to spot ones that are going to stick around for a while. For smaller companies, these should be where to start when thinking about updating your strategy for the next year.

But what are those digital marketing trends? Here are some of the areas that are likely to be a key part of digital marketing success in 2016:

Personalised content

Competition is going to get fiercer than ever. With the recent changes Google has made to its ads, brands big and small are going to be throwing even more money to get their pages to rank well. If you can’t afford to compete with the multi-million pound budgets of international corporations, the best way to ensure you are not lost in the crowd is to become great at reaching your intended audience. This will negate the need to battle it out with your larger rivals, and instead customers will come straight to your for the service they need.

In 2016, one of the best ways to ensure you are reaching and engaging with your target audience is to create personalised content. There are many ways you can make your customers know they matter to you and the best way to achieve it will largely depend on the people you are aiming to bring onboard. Often dubbed ‘relationship marketing’, this method may mean a higher investment of time initially, but the returns are likely to be much stronger and encourage loyalty and advocacy among consumers.

Video

Many companies have been investing in video content for a while now, but things are likely to snowball in 2016 because of one big change – Google is getting involved. Although other sites like Yahoo have already joined the party, this year Google is going to allowing video content to show up in its search engine results pages (SERPs).

As you probably already know, Google already owns YouTube, meaning the impact of video content is likely to become far more important.

Location-based marketing

Alongside the growth of more personalised content, location-based marketing is also expected to become more important. Of course this will rely on having strong methods of identifying and targeting your audience, but it is just one of the ways that companies are trying to fuse traditional and digital marketing.

With all of these digital marketing trends, optimising your website and any onsite content will be crucial to overall success as it allows your target audience to find you, which is the first crucial step in the consumer journey.

hands holding digital strategy

The importance of a well planned digital strategy

So, you have decided you need a digital presence – everyone is online and your competitors seem to be everywhere you look. You may be familiar with SEO (search engine optimisation) and Google adwords or may just have decided you need to look into increasing your digital presence and need help. Social media is all the rage but does it really help businesses? Facebook is something you have probably been keeping your staff away from during working hours.

The first advice I would offer my clients before we discuss different ways to market their product or service is to ask themselves why. Why do they want to implement a digital strategy and what is their main goal. By determining clear goals and objectives and understanding what success looks like it is possible to create a clear, objective based, time managed strategy.

There are many reasons to increase your online presence some of these may include:

  • Increasing a customer base
  • Branding
  • Selling a product or service
  • Lead generation
  • Product awareness
  • Information awareness (a charitable cause)

First ask yourself. what does success look like. Is it a monetary value or do you have other key performance indicators?

Next decide on the resource you have to create this success = time, money and skill sets. Once these are decided (external skills needed, amount of time you are willing to spend to achieve, you can now have the outline of your digital campaign. You have the ‘why’ and the ‘means’ you can then set to researching the ‘how’.