Uncategorized - 16/36 - Digital Marketing Agency

Google Search Results Changes

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Google has announced 2 new changes to its search algorithm. The first doesn’t seem new to me, although perhaps there is some nuance I am missing. This is the change whereby they suggest similar searches to help you with your query. Like this…

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This is the second step in the Google arsenal to help users change or refine their query. The first is in the predictive text in the search box, where they try to complete your query (in beta testing).

I am not sure where the suggestions are coming from. It seems to be a selection of some of the search terms as per the Google keyword tool, but doesn’t seem to be just the top ones, and some of the suggestions aren’t high volume at all.

The majority of the suggestions here seem to be from branded terms. Which is strange, because if the consumer wanted to choose a brand, surely they would look at the list of search results for car insurance, rather than type in one specific brand in their query. And if they did want to search for a brand, they surely would have done that in the first place?

The technology might be better explained in this post from Search Engine Land, which goes into more detail regarding the new Orion technology which has made these changes to search possible.  While I am not initially impressed by this announcement (as it doesn’t seem useful to me, or ‘new’), I will suspend my judgement as they say they will be doing ongoing refinement which could result in something better.

The second change is that if you type a long query into the search box, Google will now offer you a longer snippet, so that you can see how all the words in your big long query are addressed on the page.  Check out this big long 4 line snippet here…blog-pic5

I wouldn’t expect that this longer snippet will have much of an impact on search at first, considering that such a small proportion of people type in search queries longer than three words. However, as the internet gets bigger, more crowded, and users become more discerning, perhaps longer queries will be the way forward, and Google is just getting a jump on that.

Can Small Businesses Afford Digital Marketing?

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The other day, I googled ‘ good hairdresser Sydney’, as my hair had finally gone that one step too far beyond ‘out of control’.  The results were tres dissappointing. Out of 10 top listings, there were forum posts that were over 2 years old, newspaper articles, and directories which didn’t point to hairdressers websites. There was one actual hairdressing salon in the top 10 natural listings, and a different one was buying a paid position. 

I finally had to go on to Facebook and update my status to ask all my friends simultaneously for a recommendation – this got great results.

Small businesses, for example hairdressers, have a great opportunity online.  Just the same as insurance companies or credit card providers, there are people looking for your product or service online, but the difference is that at the moment, the competition might not be too bad. If you are an early adopter in your field, you have the opportunity of grabbing a large piece of this online market.

This is a picture of the trend for Australians typing in the term ‘ hairdresser’ into Google over the last five years. It is an upward trend which is expected as Google generally becomes more pervasive, but this is also something you could take advantage of.

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For example, if you put together a website for your hairdressing salon with photo’s, location, prices, options and reviews, and then you rank on page 1 for hairdresser related terms, you should expect a lot more phone calls not only when you start, but also ongoing as more and more people embrace the internet as a research tool.  You could also buy some paid positions while you work towards your page one rankings.

What would this cost? Well, MooMu Media, for example, could start you on a white-hat, professional and sustainable SEO journey starting from only $750AUD. This will involve us teaching you all you need to know about how to get your site out there, and we will hold your hand while you do it.  If you don’t yet have a website, we can help you set up one to your budget, and optimise it from the very start.

Paid inclusion, through PPC, is done through Adwords, an account of which can be set up for as little as $10. Then you just pay for whenever someone clicks on your ad. Each click will be worth, on average, under $3, and you can turn this campaign on and off whenever you like.

There is a fantastic opportunity online for small businesses because not only are there increasing numbers of people researching products and services on the web, but also, small businesses can compete with large businesses on an even playing field online. If your site is quality and relevant, then you can rank highly – it doesn’t matter what your advertising budget is.

PPC – Should you put your Keywords in your Title?

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As most people would have noticed, when you type a query into Google, the search results will bold that query in the results they display. This is shown here where I have pasted the results of the query “PPC”.

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The ads with your keyword highlighted certainly catch your eye. Traditional wisdom would say that the second ad from the top might not fare as well as the others, as it doesn’t draw the users attention like the other three ads do. Of course, this is a pretty bad example, considering that ad has been placed by Google.  Google actually has a few versions of their PPC ad, and so here it is again, but with the PPC in the headline

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Which leads me to wonder – since traditional theory would say that having a bold keyword in your ad would result in better results, why wouldn’t Google always do this in their own ads? Maybe because…

  1. Traditional wisdom is bollocks, and actually not having the keyword there is a better differentiator.
  2. Google wants to play nicely against its ad-buyers by not being overly competitive (strange)
  3. Having the Google URL in your ad URL overrides any need for the traditional wisdom
  4. With acronyms, the spelled out version is interchangeable
  5. Google doesn’t put much effort into its own PPC campaign.

My own PPC accounts also go against this traditional wisdom. Campaigns that I am testing have sometimes shown that the most effective title is not a keyword rich one, but sometimes a branded one – even if the brand is not well known.

This could again be because of a differentiating factor. Or maybe because, although the relevance is not there, there is somewhat more dignity and less spamminess in a branded title.  E.g. if you type in something like ‘law firms’, you can see how a spammy name like ‘Best Law Firm’ might not win out. On the other hand, if you type in something like ‘cheap music’, you might not be too fussy about spammy looking ads.

Another factor you need to consider when putting keywords in your ad titles is whether your accounts are finely targetted. For example, the above ad from Google might be from a generic ‘PPC and pay per click’ account, where the keywords could be the acronyms or the full spelling. Whereas if you made at least two ad groups whereby the pay per click spellings show ads with that phrase, and the same idea for the acronym, then you could ensure that the correct version would show the boldened title.

If you have lots of products which it would be inconvenient, or ridiculous, to make individual ads for, then you might want to consider using Google Adwords Dynamic Keyword insertion. This way you can put a bit of code in your ads, and it would display whatever the search user typed into the query box. This can be good to target your ad copy, but could also look spammy if you are not careful in targetting your keyword list.  Misspellings in your ad, even if just a reflection of the query typed, can make you look unprofessional, or in this case, maybe look irrelevant.

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So, while traditional wisdom might say it is a good idea to put your keyword into the title of your Ads, I would advise that as per usual it depends on your industry/business/product. You need to ask yourself:

  1. How do I want my ads to look?
  2. What will my differentiator be?
  3. Is branding more important here?
  4. Can I use dynamically inserted keywords effectively?

And then even after you have asked yourself all these questions, you still need to test, test, test.

Black Hat SEO Tricks

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Black Hat SEO is a method of undertaking Search Engine Optimisation which is considered risky, unethical and unprofessional. This would be because they either break the search engine regulations or misrepresent content between search engine spiders and search engine users.

Most large companies, or those with good reputations, would not want to undertake black hat SEO on their business sites due to the possibility of their site being removed from the search engines (which would be disastrous to most businesses), or due to the fact that some black hat techniques can make their site look spammy or unprofessional.

MooMu Media provides SEO services to businesses who use their website to improve their bottom line, businesses whose websites are important to them. For that reason, we don’t undertake any black hat or even spammy-looking SEO on our clients sites.

Businesses need to be careful when using agencies that do use black hat SEO techniques, and need to understand the possible ramifications of them. Most professional SEO agencies will not use them, but if you are worried you need to make sure your agency is 100% transparent on the work they do, and also check if they are doing any of these…

  • Keyword stuffing – excessive and inappropriate placement of keywords on your page. This might be either visible to users (which is spammy and unprofessional), or as invisible text (same colour as the background, this is twice as bad!)
  • Doorway pages – a landing page built for seearch engines, that a user never actually sees
  • Link Farming – where your site joins a group where you all link to each other
  • Hidden content – using comment tags or no script tags
  • Meta keyword stuffing-excessive use of keywords in the meta data
  • Inappropriate meta keywords – rather than using targetted lists, you just list every word you can think of that might ever be relevant – this is spammy and relatively useless.

As a general rule, proper Search Engine Optimisation should always mean improvements to your site. So you know it will be a white hat SEO technique if, even without benefits to search engine rankings, it would still be beneficial to do it.

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