Search Engine Optimisation – on page and off.

So everyone knows about Search Engine Optimisation. Right??
Yes, it’s getting your website or a specific home page at the top of a search engine list. This is the “organic” search where no money is paid to the search engine and yet you’re still at the top or near the top. This of course in turn means extra traffic through your website.
So how do some companies do that? This is where the optimisation part comes in. These companies are making sure their sites are optimised or make sure that their sites contain the information that the search engine “spiders” (the programmes the search engines send out to read your website as part of the search) want.
These programmes want the best searches for their customers so when someone enters “pink neon wedding dress”, those spiders are going to be the best service provider ever and find the best quality and informative webpages with the words “pink neon wedding dress” and if that website has pictures or a video of a pink neon wedding dress that’s even better!

Pink Neon Wedding Dress

Pink Neon Wedding Dress

Interestingly, what some people don’t know is that can be done one page and off page. Off page you say, how is that possible?
Well to give a quick explanation of on page – this obviously refers to the website itself and making sure that that it is the best website that it can be. This refers to a number of things such as your layout, making sure it has separate pages for each subject, that your site layout is correct and that there are no error pages on the website (spiders hate error pages!!) and that the website is updated regularly and is weighty with relevant pictures and blogs and keywords. Don’t forget your alt words!
Off page is more interesting though. It’s basically other ways on line of adding weight to your website so that spiders find you more often. The more often these spiders find you and they like what they’re seeing, the higher you can go on their optimisation for their customers.
One of the best off page optimisation tools is getting links back to your page from other websites so loot at where you can have your website listed – yes you can pay for it, think golden pages or other directories. There are also other directories – if you are chemist near UCC maybe the student services could add you to their college information page for students. If they do, you’re on a winner as UCC is highly rated website and this will instantly add weight to your website. Where can you get your website listed to add weight? That’s up to you but do try to have a connection somewhere. Again, if the page naturally ranks high, it gives you a boost.
Koozai gives a good definition of linking here:

Other tools include social media as links from here to your website also adds weight.
An interesting thing is though that if you have interesting but relevant information on your website, other websites may link to you with you knowing it. This really helps with off page optimisation too.
The rule of thumb for optimisation, make sure your website is the best it can be and is updated regularly and has interesting content so that it will draw people to it and give them something to link to. Once you know your website works, get it on relevant website directories. And, if you work on those, the optimisation should take care of its self!

Here’s what a Google Spider Looks like……

Google Spiders

Google Spiders


Pay Per Click or Display advertising – which is best??

Just to clarify they are both types of advertising and they are both going to cost money but the question is which one is the better investment for you. It’s obviously dependent on what you want to achieve from the advertising. Both prove to be effective but it really comes down to how you want to attract your audience’s attention. Some companies will prefer to use both at the same time while some companies will use just one as a targeted campaign.
The first question to ask is – Why do I want to do this? Is it to build brand awareness? To launch a new product?

It’s always best to think of the market you are trying to target. Do you want your advert to be seen as many people as possible or do you want to target certain people who may be looking for something specific?
Display advertising is really a like magazine or newspaper ads, just online and – like TV commercials – with the possibility of moving from static to interactive, flash and video. However, display advertising has a significant advantage over advertising in magazines, newspapers and TVs –
1. targeting options such as demographic and behavioural targeting are available to laser in on your audience and,
2. you can track the performance of your campaign daily to measure metrics such as impressions, clicks and conversions to calculate your ROI.

Karen Millen Display Advert

Karen Millen Display Advert

Display Advertising Tips

On the other hand, Pay Per Click is a type of sponsored online advertising that is used on a wide range of websites, including search engines, where the advertiser only pays if a web user clicks on their ad. Hence the title, ‘pay per click.’
In a way, PPC advertising works like a silent auction. Advertisers place bids on keywords or phrases that they think their target audience would type in a search field when they are looking for specific goods or services. When a web user types a search query into the field of a search engine that matches the advertiser’s keyword list or visits a web page with content that correlates to the keywords or phrases chosen by the advertiser, the PPC ad may be displayed on the page.

Karen Millen ppc, Pay per Click

Karen Millen Pay per Click

In search engines, a PPC ad is generally just above or to the right of the search results where they can be easily seen.

Pay per Click Ads

Pay per Click Ads

If you have a flashy advertising message that you want to broadcast, perhaps display advertising will work well for you. However, if you have a very specific target demographic that you are trying to reach with keywords or phrases, search might give you the better advantage.
So which one works best ? It’s whichever one works for you and what you need!

How B2B Marketers are successfully using LinkedIn?

LinkedIn now has over 1 million users in Ireland. That’s a good number for a “Professional” social media platform. This is a particularly high number given that there are 1.9m Irish Facebook users and just an estimated 385,000 Irish twitter accounts.

LinkedIn enables you to make the best use of your professional network and helps the people you trust in return. It’s no secret that LinkedIn is a great place to network professionally and to post and find new jobs. It’s also a great place to get an answer to questions and to build thought leadership.

LinkedIn is also a good way to identify influential individuals at specific organisations. A search for your target business or title on LinkedIn will identify people you may already be connected with, either directly or through your connections. LinkedIn is a great tool to leverage your existing contacts to connect with people and find potential customers online.

LinkedIn, Network, Business

LinkedIn, Network, Business

So what do you need to do to grow your online network, get your organisation noticed, and build sales?

The first is to make sure your profile is as professional as possible so that people want to connect to you. Make sure you include all the up to date information about you and your business. You can also include some key words about your business (this helps to make you profile easier to find if a potential customer is looking for something specific).

Remember to tie in any business apps that you might use, like SlideShare or a business blog.

This is may be the first impression that someone will get of you and your business. Use a good clear professional profile picture. LinkedIn is no place for pictures of your children or that picture of you dressed up from Halloween. Don’t bother. It would be better to use the company logo than those. But, remember people do business with other people not with companies.

The next thing is to ensure your business has a page under the company pages. Maybe it’s just you and your laptop but having a company page allows you to post news for your company and not have everything as part of your profile. This too needs to be as professional as possible and should include everything about your company including the logo, contact details and a list of products. This is also the place to add videos or product promotions if you have them.

The company profile should be updated regularly. Posts can be about the company but can also be information that reflects the company’s vision such as thoughtfully chosen articles, maybe from a thought leader that you follow.

LinkedIn, Cork Indpenednet, Business

Cork Indo LinkedIn

Make connections to people you know, friends colleagues, people you went to school and college with. A good tip, is if you are out networking and meet a person of note, look for them on LinkedIn and connect to them afterwards with a “It was great to meet you” note. This is a good way of building new connections.

Join groups that are of interest to you and that you want to participate with. Groups are like little networking rooms on the site. The more times you participate in the group, the more connections you make. Making these new connections online is great but if you can, try to meet them off line after wards to strengthen these relationships.

Groups allow you to ask questions but also to answer them. Don’t be afraid to help if you can but only if you want to share. (Sharing is Caring, remember!)

A good point, if you can offer advice, do so, it helps you be seen as a Thought Leader in your area. If you people know and trust your advice, they are more likely to come to you do business.

Endorse other people that you have worked with previously. This is like on line reference so only endorse if you are willing to stand over it off line. If you had people write receommendations for you in the past or say that your service pr product is great off line, ask them if they’ll do it online for you. They can only say no.

The biggest thing to remember is people do business with people so be personable, professional and polite at all times!

Here’s the very lovely Lewis Howes, to offer some more LinkedIn advice…..

In the last 8 years YouTube has taught us……

YouTube has evolved in leaps and bounds since it was founded in 2005. Originally a concept of three ex-PayPal staff, they started a site that would allow people to share videos online. They received funding in 2005 from another PayPal staffer, which further developed initiative.

In 2006, YouTube became one of the fasting growing websites, even surpassing even MySpace’s rate of growth at the time.

It was also in 2006 that Time Magazine named YouTube, “the Person on the Year”, surprising a lot of people.

However, the purchase of YouTube by Google in the same year for US$1.65 billion in stock that cemented its future. Eight years later it’s still here and the question asked now is where or what is MySpace, it’s no longer relevant like a lot of other websites.

However, I’m getting away from the point of this post. What has YouTube taught us?

It’s taught me a lot more than I would like to admit, how to apply eyeliner, how to do the plough pose and how to build a time machine! Ok, so maybe not the last one but it’s there if I want to find out!

Really, YouTube has taught us about sharing content and our story but like most fashions it’s can’t predict what’s going to work and what’s not.

Some of the recent pop sensations started out on YouTube, Justin Bieber for example. Would they have been famous without YouTube? Maybe but YouTube provides the big break for some new artists allowing them a platform to be heard.

YouTube after all is a social platform and it’s taught us a lot including the following –

–          Don’t spend a lot on fancy video production – some videos that make it into the top lists actually cost absolutely nothing to make. One of the most watched videos of the site’s history is Charlie bit my finger!

It’s been watched a massive 583,606,85 times and it’s so popular you can buy the t-shirt. Make sure the quality of the video is good and if you’re posting to promote or sell something, do spend a little time and effort creating your own YouTube channel for your brand, and giving it distinctive graphics.

–          Keep to your message and your audience and don’t be sucked in by dreams of a viral video – the odds of any particular video going viral these days are tiny. It’s important that you focus on your exact audience rather than trying to please the masses. If you try that you may not please either. It’s key to please your own audience first.

–          Ignore stats that don’t lead to sales or at least website visits – comments are a big deal when it comes to blogs, Facebook, and other social media, but they can be meaningless in YouTube. So are likes and subscriptions. It’s reposts and sharing that’s effective.

–          Don’t do traditional marketing – like most social media channels, people don’t watch YouTube for adverts, they watch to learn, to be entertained and to see what’s new. Internet users and especially YouTube visitors these days have little patience for straight advertising. Be different but keep your message.

–           Be patient – posting videos and watching them slowly build in watch numbers can be frustrating but a YouTube campaign can take a while to build, so be prepared to give it a few months but like other social media do post regularly if you can.

If all else fails, let yourself be entertained…..

Your Favourite TV Programme

Ten Ways small Irish Businesses can use Facebook and Twitter

So you have the social media accounts set up, like everyone said you should – you have a Facebook page to show off your shiny products and services and you even set up a twitter account for your company although you’re not sure about tweeting for your company.

Social Media is now seen as the way to promote your business but don’t be fooled, it will take time and effort on your part to make it work.

Some things to consider:

1. It’s not about you, it’s about your followers – when you’re planning or writing your posts, think about the person that will be reading it. How can you help them, make their live easier or even just make them smile. What do they really want to hear about you and your business?

2. Plan –do try to make a plan for your social media activity, how often will you post, where and when will you post? What will you post? A plan starts things of and allows things to build naturally but always remember your audience.

3. Remember your #hashtag – the hash (#) sign turns any word or group of words that you use to directly follow it into a searchable link, for example #Halloween. This allows you to organise and track your posts topics based on those keywords. They are a very important tool to use for business.

Facebook, Social Media, Twitter, Hashtag

Hashtag Symbol

4. Photos are important – as the old adage goes “a picture paints a thousand words” and this is certainly true for social media. Photos are an easy way to catch your followers’ attention and followers are more likely to share photos with others. You can think cute and funny but it has it be true to you and your brand also.

5. Ask Questions – social media is meant for interaction, it is a two-way communication process. It is best though to start it off lightly maybe a more conversational question and build it up from there to maybe asking questions that can help your business.

6. Be personal but not too personal – it is after all, your business you’re promoting, not yourself. Post about the big order you got in or maybe some behind the scenes photos from your business. If it gives your followers a warm feeling about you, it’s good. There is no excuse though for posting about your personal life, your recent dentist appointment isn’t really going to thrill them.

7. Run Competitions – competitions are fun and they can grow your followers. They don’t need to be run very often but can be a good way to engage with and grow followers.

Facebook, Social Media, Competition

Facebook Competition

8. Piggyback on holidays and #hashtags – focus on holidays or any popular hashtags that could be good for your business. If you have a shop, maybe post gift ideas for Christmas. Using popular hashtags means your post might pop-up if someone does a search on it. This needs to be creative and quirky though and don’t over use it – it gets boring.

9. Don’t confuse Social Media with Advertising – your posts need to be genuine and reflect who are you are. People don’t follow businesses for a sales pitch, they follow you because they are curious about YOU. It’s your job on social media to present yourself and your business in a way that interests readers, so show them behind the scenes, struggles, problems, successes, everything, warts and all.

10. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun!  – people go on-line, in part to be entertained, for a distraction. Don’t be afraid to do that.