Category - SEO

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What is Pay Per Click?
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What is Search Engine Optimisation?
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Google likes standards compliance

What is Pay Per Click?

ClickSo, you’ve been researching how to build traffic to your website and you’ve come across the term ‘pay per click’, or PPC. Or perhaps you’ve been talking you your website guy and he’s throwing about techie jargon like it’s going out of fashion. PPC, he assures you, is what you need to get your site ‘on Google’ and getting visitors.

So what is pay per click? and what can it do for your business?
In short, it’s about showing adverts on websites and search engines, to promote your site. You bid what you are willing to pay for a person to click on your advert, which is displayed when somebody searches for a specific keyword. Each time somebody sees your advert and wants to know more about what you have to offer, they click on the link in the advert and they are sent to your website. You pay some money each time somebody clicks on your advert, hence the name ‘pay per click’.

Meet Jeremy, A Real World Analogy for PPC

A good analogy for PPC would be paying a guy to stand in the street in front of your bricks and mortar store, holding a billboard advertising your wares. Let’s call this guy Jeremy.
Each time Jeremy gets somebody to come into your shop, you pay him £1.

The great thing about Jeremy is that he’s really meticulous in his record keeping. He keeps detailed logs of the number of people who have walked past his sign each hour, along with how many people proceeded to walk into your shop.

Jeremy is also really flexible. You can tell him just to hold his sign out on weekends, or maybe just in the mornings. He’s happy to change the wording on his sign to see if it brings more people into your shop, and if you pay him a bit more money, he’ll get right out there under people’s noses and make sure they see your sign. All the while, he’s keeping these detailed records for you to analyse and see which combination of factors works best for you.

As you can imagine, Jeremy is a great asset to any business. Now imagine that Jeremy can do ten times more than I’ve listed above, and he’s a robot. That’s PPC. Kind of.

PPC Platforms

There are a number of different PPC platforms on the internet. By platform, I mean a company which provides a service which allows you to log in and create adverts and set the adverts up to display to a range of people. PPC platforms handle all of the logging of data generated when ads are viewed and clicked on and they display reports to you so that you can make informed business decisions. Finally, PPC platforms provide a billing system which allows you to pay for your ads.

Google Adwords

The largest and most prevalent PPC platform, one which you have likely heard of before, is Google Adwords. If you’re just starting out using PPC to market your business, then you will want to start with Adwords.

Not only do Google provide the most advanced platform to make advertising easy, but since so many people use the Google search engine, there will be no shortage of people seeing your ads, and therefore, clicking on them and visiting your website. In case you’re not aware, your adverts will be displayed above and to the right hand site of search results on the google.com or google.co.uk search engines.

Bing Ads

Bing ads is Microsoft’s answer to Google Adwords. Albeit with less features and less traffic.

I would recommend saving Bing ads for when you have a successful campaign running on Google Adwords and you’re looking to expand your marketing presence.

PPC or SEO?

I have been asked many times in the past which to go with. PPC for the instant, targeted traffic, or SEO for it’s longterm ‘free’ source of visitors.

My answer has always been the same. Why go after half of the market when you can have the best of both? Any good online marketing campaign should cover both PPC and organic SEO. PPC provides you with a definitive, refined list of keywords, which you know lead to paying customers. You can use this keyword list to drive an effective long-term organic SEO campaign.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

You can’t own or be involved with a website without coming across search engine optimisation (SEO) at some point or other.
Every day I receive another email via a contact form on one of my websites offering SEO services from one of many firms in India. So what exactly is SEO?

In order to to help users find what they are looking for, search engines such as Google and Bing must decide what web pages are most relevant to what people are searching for. By applying a good SEO strategy when building and marketing your website, you can do your best to ensure that when people search for information, your web pages appear near the top of the search engine results pages.

SEO can be seperated into categories, on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

On Site SEO

On-site SEO should be a consideration when building your website. If your site is built using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, then this is pretty much just a case of installing an SEO plugin such as All In One SEO Pack.
When writing content for your website, you would typically perform some keyword research first. Keyword research is a pretty deep subject itself, well beyond the scope of this article. If you want to know more about keyword research, check out Moz’s excellent article here.
Once you’ve decided on a good keyword, this is used throughout the content of the article, as well as in the title, META tags etc.

Off Site SEO

Once you have written and published an article on your website, you will need to start building links to it. Search engines such as Google see external links pointing to your website as votes of confidence. The more links you have, and the more relevant those linking pages are to your page, the more chance you have of your pages ranking will in the search engine results pages.
If you have written good, compelling content, then in theory you shouldn’t need to build links to your website. However in practice, it makes sense to tip the scales in your favour and work hard to achieve some good quality backlinks.

Google likes standards compliance

standards complianceOne thing I love about the SEO world is that it’s not an exact science. Just about every man and his dog have their own idea about what Google likes and hates.

I think we’re all agreed on the fact that relevant, contextual links from related so-called ‘authority’ sites are good stuff. Generous use of your keywords through your title tag, header tags and page content are also top of the list in our SEO agendas.

Well, what then? What else can we do to be Google’s best friend? Some recent theories have been thrown about such as:

  • Get contact us, terms and about us pages
  • Add a quick blog to your site and other ‘bulking’ things
  • Put your keywords into image ALT tags

But I’ve never heard anyone state the importance of making your sites (X)HTML compliant. I am confident that the big ‘G’ sees this as a big deal, but Nobody seems to have noticed. Just look how clear Google makes this point in their webmaster guidelines:

Check for broken links and correct HTML

Easy to overlook, but even easier to adhere to. Simply let the W3C’s free online validator take a look at your page and tell you how to fix it. Job done!

And in case you’re wondering, of course I have :)

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