10 Google Secrets Revealed from the Inside

7 Jul

Google is a business that nearly 100% of people come in contact with every single day but it is still shrouded in mystery. From rumours of slides in the canteen to a visit from the Queen, the London offices seem like a pretty interesting place, one that I was majorly excited to explore. I got to attend the two day Google Partners Sales Conference last week and it was eye opening. Navajo Talk were identified by Google as a “High Potential Digital Agency” and were lucky enough to be the only Northern Ireland Digital Agency there!

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Stalking is good

Ex-Googler, Joel Kremer was on hand to guide us through all things SEM and got everyone thinking about how to personalise your approach before the sale. Who knew a personalised football top could go down so well with a CEO of an international organisation (Lesson 1). It was challenging to cyber-stalk Eric Schmidt, come up with a digital idea and pitch it to the room but it proved to everyone the importance of researching every potential client before you meet them. This internet is our oyster – use it.

Swag always goes down well

As I entered the room for the first time at the sales conference I was pretty happy to see Google had provided a little swag for all in attendance. I didn’t expect it to be the sole talking point during the first break of the day. Every advertising Executive in the room couldn’t have been happier to get the freebies. It’s worth remembering that a very simple (and cheap) momentum can go a long way to impressing clients. We know everyone is after a Navajo Talk pen…it even comes with a secret feature!

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You should take a step back

As an advertising agency with hundreds of ideas always spinning around it can be easy to plough head-long into meetings and insist that clients do everything but next time, take a breath and take a step back. The clients’ needs should be considered first because once you know the parameter in which you will be working, ideas can flood out that will actually drive your clients’ key goals.

Google have a bring your dog (Doogler) to work day

Having been to a couple of training days before I was well prepared for the usual “tell us something interesting about you” but I wasn’t prepared for lifts that have no buttons inside or ‘Bring Your Dog (Dooglers) to Work Day’ – complete with professional photos on the day. Walking in, I knew Google Partner Training was going to be a great step for Navajo Talk.pic3

Tools like Prezi and Emaze can change your presenting ways

90% of the time presentations are dull, dull, and dull but Joel was keen to emphasise that a little more effort at the presentation stage can go a long way. Prezi is easy to use and is much slicker than Powerpoint, plus it will make you pitch stand out from the generic corporate templates by using clever visual tricks to zoom in and out of slides and it seamlessly adds images and videos.

Emaze is a cool tool to spice up how you show information to people. It makes presentations more infographic-like and is a great to use for a 3D effect presentation.

Presentations should NEVER be more than 15 slides because if they are, you’re doing more talking than listening and that is not the way to get the best results for clients (Lesson 2).

Luckily Navajo Talk have been doing this for a while, we use this new design to show clients exactly why we are the best.

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There is no slide in the London office

Contrary to popular rumours that were swirling around the group, I can confirm that there is no slide in the canteen and Google London BUT I did find out that some other agencies have Pick-A-Mixes and swings in their offices to break the ice with clients – definitely worth some thought.

You need to know how much an hour of your time is really worth

Many businesses charge by the hour but do you really know how much an hour of each member of staff’s day costs? It’s time to work it out, the results can be quite surprising. One agency at the sales conference charged half the cost of their agency hourly rate for graduates but once they worked hour the true cost of an hour to them,  they realised they were actually LOSING money on those hours.

Work doesn’t have to be boring

Meeting rooms are usually the most dreaded place but a dance studio or woodworm room can keep things a bit more interesting. Think about the spaces you use in your office and how staff as well as clients interact with it.

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Formal procedures are dull but hugely important if you want to grow

Every organisation is filled with what we think is non-consequential paper work. From CRM systems to timesheets, it is a part of office life that no one enjoys and I, in the past have regularly dismissed them as pointless. However when you take a step back and really look at growing your business it becomes apparent that there is a strong need to delve into the data and realise what the conversion rate of your business actually looks like. Also, other members of staff should be able to pick up accounts when necessary and the easiest way to do this is through a CRM system.

Naps in work are essential

It may not seem like one of the most obvious thing but Google know how to invest in their employees and how to get the most out of them. If one of the largest organisations in the world can let employees have a nap in a “Sleep Pod” whenever they want, your company can too. It doesn’t have to be a nap, just letting staff nip out to the corner shop when they need to can be all the reward needed. I also got to chill out in the library looking out over London, definitely a place I could get into the zone and let my creative juices flow.

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Of course there are still lots of secrets Google keep to themselves…like what’s behind this door….

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Your customers are people – simple but true?

2 Jul

Tim McKane

One of the most difficult things for people in business to do is to put themselves in the mind of their customers. Divorcing yourself from your own products and services and putting yourself in the mind of an existing or potential customer is difficult.

The Amazon mantra is start at the customer and work backwards. It works, and not just for marketing, but for business strategy too.

You are in the agri food sector, and you have a great idea for a new product. A brilliant idea. People will really want frog flavoured ice cream. They like fish food made by Ben and Jerry’s, so frog will be a big seller. Then ou take a leap of faith and your team develop a really exciting taste, the package design is done. The retailers are all for it (stay with me here), it is on the shelf, and it stays there, in the frozen cabinet, £4.99 a litre, then half price, then no price and you are back to the drawing board. What about a new strawberry ripple?

Of course people don’t want frog flavoured ice cream. All their behaviour tells you that. But what’s more than that, if you think about them, you may well find that there is a flavour of ice cream that they are just waiting to try.

Your customers are people. That is such an obvious statement, but one that is sometimes overlooked. They react as people to your products and brand. They are illogical, influenced by huge numbers of interactions from family and friends to advertising and fashion. Why does someone have a favourite colour? What made them follow that team? What do they think they look like in that outfit?

In the 70’s there was a campaign for the Fiat Strada that won lots of advertising awards, Built by Robots. Beautiful film, sold no cars. Why because people did not want to buy a car built by robots, that had not been touched by human hand.

The great thing about digital marketing and the fact that so many people use the internet every day, is that that it produces data. A search for frog flavoured ice cream produces 688,000 results, but thankfully not a product. So that tells us – park that one – lets move on.

Spending time finding out about your customer and what they are interested in is a valuable way to use the tools that we have to produce great digital marketing.  It is why digital marketers are moving up the ladder to seats at board level, because sometimes they know more about what is going on than the others in the business.

Stop wasting money. Use these keyword research tips.

1 Jul

Dee Jardine

Google Ads is an online market place filled with opportunity, but only if you can effectively target your audience. It’s important to pick your keywords wisely to make sure you get in front of customers who might actually make a purchase, rather than those with different intentions.

If you aren’t sure what we mean by any of the below check out our previous Adword’s blogs, Getting started with Adwords and Adword’s jargon busting.

Selling a dress should be simple. Bid on the keyword “dress” right?

Wrong! Firstly as so many competitors are bidding on the keyword “dress” it will cost you around 68p per click. If for every 20 people who click on your ad one purchases a dress at £10.00, it is costing you £13.60 to sell the dress.

Secondly, the keyword “dress” is not very specific. You might be selling a ladies “little black dress” yet your ads are showing in front of those searching for a child’s dress, men’s formal dress shirt, or dress fabric.

Thirdly, your target customer might not be searching for a “dress” they might prefer to type into Google “cheap dresses for going out”. Try to think like your customer and do your research.

So how do we find keywords that work?

At Navajo Talk we start with the Google Adword’s Keyword Planner Tool to generate keyword ideas and figure out what we can afford to bid on with a client’s budget.

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We select the “search for new keyword and ad group ideas” option and enter as many relevant keywords we can think of.

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We then click “Get ideas” and Adwords generates lists of related ad groups and keywords we might like to bid on. We usually choose to view the keyword ideas rather than ad group ideas to keep things specific to our own campaign.

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As shown above we try to pick keywords that our customers are searching for but that are also relevant to our budget. You can also get keyword ideas and track your performance against competitors with the use of Keyword.wordtracker.com.

You can choose which keywords you want to add to your plan on Google Adwords, however we find it much easier to tweak match types, bids and sort ad groups with Adwords Editor. So we usually download the suggested keywords to an Excel CSV, and once we’ve chosen the keywords we like export them to Adwords editor. You can download Adwords editor for free if you don’t already have it.

What do you mean by tweaking match types?

We’ve been over this in our getting started blog in more detail. The match type decides how accurately your keywords need to be typed to show up for a user’s search. You can choose between, broad, phrase and exact match. Broad match, as it suggests, gives you the opportunity to get in front of a larger audience, however it might result in a lower click-through rate, more irrelevant clicks, a higher bounce rate and wasted money!

Exact match however means that if a customer types your keywords in another order, or with something additional before or after they will not see your Ad. Phrase match is the happy medium and in most cases for us the preferred type, it allows for your Ads to appear in search when a user’s queries includes more words before or after your phrase. We highly recommend pairing exact or phrase matches with negative keywords to increase the relevant click through rate.

Downloading Adwords Editor allows you to simply select the match type you want, but if you’re not going to use it you’ll have to get familiar with the below symbols and edit your keywords accordingly.

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What are negative keywords?

As illustrated in the above table negative keywords are those terms that we don’t wish our ads to show for. Seeing as we are selling a little black dress, we don’t want our women’s dress to show in the search results for formal dress, as people will click on the ad, costing us money, to then click straight back out of it when it fails to meet their needs.

You can also use negative keywords to avoid appearing in the searches of those who have no purchase intent, e.g. those looking for advice, freebies or a job.

How do I know if my keywords are working?

Review you keywords on a daily basis once your ads are up and running to check how effective they are. If the bounce rate is high, check the wording of your ads to make sure it is not misleading, and check your landing page to understand why it is not meeting customer’s needs. For example if your advert is for a little black dress but when your customer clicks on it they are sent to a full product listings page they will be frustrated and click straight off your website.

Click through rate gives an indication of how enticing your ads are to customers. If your click through rate is below 1% take a look at your ads to see if they could be written more persuasively or would be more effective in a different rank/position. You might need to adjust your bid.

Keep an eye on your costs, are you making a return on investment or are you spending so much on a single click that you are failing to make any profit from the sales you are making. Reducing your bid or picking less popular keywords will reduce your audience but may increase effectiveness.

I’m typing in my keywords, why can’t I see my Ads?

Google will try to spread your budget throughout the day; therefore your ads are being shown, just not for every search. We recommend not searching for your own ads are this will reduce the click through rate of your ads. Google Adwords allows you to view ad with the ad preview and diagnosis tool, which will not affect your statistics.

In the Google Adwords dashboard, the clicks, average ad position and search impression share stats are all far better indicators of how your keywords are performing. So stop searching and start analysing.

 

Adwords Jargon Busting

23 Jun

Dee Jardine

If we are going to go into some detail on about Adwords over the next few weeks then we should probably make sure you know what we’re talking about! We apologise in advance if we insult your intelligence with some of these.

Here’s a list of common Adwords terminology those in online advertising bat about.

Ad Group – a section with in your campaign specific to a product or service which you can group into related keywords and tailored Ads.

Keywords – words or phrases that people search for online. Select the keywords you would like your Ads to show for and build your Ads around your keywords.

Search Network – made up of Ads that appear alongside Google’s and Google partner’s (aol etc) search results. Ads in this network are text only.

Display Network – made up of Ads that appear on Google partner’s websites and apps. These Ads can be in video, image or text format.

Maximum CPC (Cost Per Click)/Bid – the most you are willing to pay for a click on your advertisement from a specific keyword.

Average CPC – the average cost of a click on your advertisement. This is often less than the maximum CPC you set due to you quality score and maximum CPC your competitors have set for the same keyword.

Impressions – the number of times your Ad appears in search results or on a placement on the display network.

CTR (Click Through Rate) – the percentage of impressions that result in clicks to your website. Anything over 1% is generally considered good. CTR = (clicks/impressions)

Bounce Rate – the percentage that users click on your Advertisement and click straight off the page without navigating the website any further to view more pages or complete a transaction.

Quality Score – Quality score is determined every time your Ad is eligible to appear in search results. It is based on an estimate of how relevant your Ads are to a users search, depending on your landing page, keywords and the Ad itself. Factors such as a higher bounce rate will lower your quality score as it indicates that the Ads did not meet the searchers needs.

Rank/Average position – The position in which your Ads appear in search results. If your average position is 1.5 your Ads typically show in the first or second Ad listing. Your Ad rank is determined by your quality score times by the amount you are will to pay per click and compared to others bidding on the same keyword.

Creativity – a challenge and an opportunity.

23 Jun

Tim McKane

So there you are…in a small café in Malaga, sipping your coffee and anisette, when a small man walks in carrying some paintings. He approaches and opens a canvas. The painting is weird. It is all angular people, who look nothing like real people. There are bits of noses and eyes distorted around the canvas. It is terrible.

Except it is by Picasso. He has taken formative painting and turned it on its head, and if you had bought that painting for a few pesetas, your family could now retire in total luxury, as the painting would be worth millions.

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Being creative is a challenge. Buying creative work is an even bigger risk, as your points of reference have to be put on the back burner. If you are looking at, or hearing something totally different, completely new, you will find it hard to absorb it and enjoy it. Creativity is difficult to enjoy. The critics hated early Picasso. They didn’t know what he was up to, and so rejected it.

In digital marketing the challenge is now to create new and relevant content, but is it to be creative in the nature of art, literature or music. Television advertising has been pillaging the popular music canon for years now, taking songs that are well known and attaching their brand. (I have hear Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin and Darling be Home Soon by John Sebastian – the Joe Cocker version is worth a listen – during the World Cup, for Dior and McDonalds.)

With online content marketing there is a huge challenge to get people to look at, listen to, or read your content (like this blog). If I went off and tried to write like Joyce wrote Ulysses, then you wouldn’t have got this far.
Is this blog actually creative? Well, I am creating is, as it didn’t exist until I typed….thi…s…letteR.
But creating something is not necessarily being creative, as in proposing a new idea, challenging normal thinking, or inventing a new piece of technology.

People will read things that are of interest to them, but will remember if they are well written, original in their thought process, and come at a different angle. Your customers will want you to engage them, and therefore you will need to know what they are interested in learning, and reward them for spending time with your brand. Simply pushing sales messages will not do it, you need to push engagement that will lead to a sale.

Here are five tips to creating content.

1. Take some time to think about your customers – actual ones, people you know, and think about how they interact online.

2. What are they buying your product for, how can you help their lives. I wrote an ad once – “When John Smith installed Unibol Software, his golf handicap went down three shots” the benefit to John was more time, less worrying.

3. Tell a story or two. Like I just did. In number 2.

4. Look at what your competitors are up to. Do something different.

5. Take a risk. Being bold creates memories. Put a man in a gorilla suit, behind a set of drums, with a Phil Collins track, and sell chocolate.

Getting started with Google Adwords advertising

10 Jun

By Dee Jardine

Adwords can be a bit overwhelming when you first get started.  However it’s definitely worth the effort. It’s a great way to promote your business, manage your spend, review results and tweak as necessary.

There’s so much detail we could go into, check out Google partners learning material if you want more in depth info. Today we are going to keep it short with a brief overview, but over the next few weeks we’ll go into more detail on those all important stages.

1. Goals

Make sure you get the most of your money by having goals from the outset.  Do you want your Ads to result in direct sales, capture data or create awareness of your brand.  You need to decide this sooner rather than later as it will affect your choices in the next stages.  For example if you want brand awareness you will want a wider audience, however ever you want direct sales you want to keep things specific.

The biggest mistake we see is when people jump in and bid on the most competitive terms without thinking about how many clicks they need to get a return on investment.

e.g. You know that on average, 2% of visitors to your page will go on and make an enquiry, you have a £50 per day Adwords budget, but you are bidding on a popular term at £5 per click. Your budget will be used up after 10 clicks and you’re looking at a cost per enquiry of £50, which you might find a bit expensive?

2. Account set up

Setting up an account is the easiest part but there is still room for error.  Take your time, make sure you select the right currency and time zone because if you skip this part you won’t be able to change it later.

account set up

3. Campaign

When you first set up a campaign you will be prompted to select your settings.  The two main types of campaign are Search and Display, or you can use a combination of both.  Search Ads appear alongside Google’s and Google partner’s (aol etc) search results, as shown below and are text only.

search Ads

Whereas display ads can be media rich; images, video or text and can appear on websites and Apps within the Google Network, as shown below.

display ads

You can select the region you want your campaign to run in, the language and set a daily budget.  You can also choose whether you want your Ads to appear on mobile devices or desktop only, this is especially handy if your website is not mobile friendly as you would not want these Ads to appear on mobile search if they eat into your budget but provide limited return on investment.  Alternatively you can target specific mobile devices, such as iphone user only and target an Ad specifically to them.

4. Ad Groups

It’s important to structure your campaign properly in order to create effective Ads that target specific queries and customers, so that your Ads are relevant and more likely to convert.  This will also improve the quality score of your Ads, improving the their chances of ranking higher than competitors and also reducing their cost per click.

Below outlines how to divide your campaign into Ad Groups for each product type or service.

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5. Getting your Keywords right

Within each Ad Group choose relevant keywords to bid on and target your Ads to as shown below.

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When choosing your keywords you have to getting into the mind of your customer and what they might be searching for.  For example a fashion retailer might have specific name for a style of wedges,  however if this is industry jargon their customers won’t be searching for it.

Fortunately Google Adwords has a Keyword Planner under the Tools section to help with this process.

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Select to search for new keywords and group ideas. Enter in the keyword ideas that come to mind and the region your Ads will be shown in (as shown below) and hit get ideas.

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Google will then indicate how frequently the search terms you entered are being searched for, how competitive these keywords are and how much you will need to pay per click if you want your Ads to show for these terms.

keyword ideas

Google will also suggest similar terms that people in the area are searching for to give you ideas as to what to bid on.  You can use this to decide what you can afford to bid on with your budget, if a cost per click is more than you are willing to pay for a competitive highly searched term you can pick less commonly searched term that will cost you less.

keyword suggestions

At Navajo Talk we tend to export these keyword suggestions to a Excel CSV document and use this to refine the list to the ones we would like to use for our campaign.  We can then upload this Excel document onto our favourite Adwords Tool, “Adwords Editor”.  The editor allows us to group keywords into Ad Groups, edit the match type of keywords to broad, phrase or exact, and tweak bids to suit our budget, all while offline and without making anything live until we are ready.

Negative keywords

To avoid irrelevant clicks you can add negative keywords to an Ad Group so searches with these words or terms are excluded.  Commonly used negative keywords include words like “FREE”, “REVIEWS” and “JOBS”.  However you have to think about similar products as well for example if your product is “flat shoes” you should add negative keywords like “rent” to avoid showing for queries such as “flat for rent”.

Match types

Selecting the right match type will also ensure you don’t show up for irrelevant queries.

Broad match allows you to target a wider search base as any of part of your keyword can trigger your Ads. It will include close variations such as plurals, synonyms and possible misspellings.  Google will set your Ads to broad match by default, which may be too general and cause more irrelevant click throughs, leading to a higher bounce rate, resulting in a lower quality score and in the long run costing you more.  If you are using broad match to save time as the plurals will be included be sure to use a lot of negative keywords. Broad match can have advantages however for those whose aim is general awareness as opposed to direct sales.

Phrase match allows for your Ads to appear in search when a users queries includes more words before or after your phrase.  For example if your keyword is “red high heels” your Ad will still appear if “Diamante red high heels” is searched for, however if they searched “red diamante high heels” your Ads will not appear.

Exact match means your Ads will only appear when users have search for your keyword and no more.  This means your Ads can be more specific and therefore more likely to gain a higher click through rate.  If your aim is direct conversions and return on investment exact match should be your preference.  However you will have to invest a lot of time into thinking up as many keyword variations as possible to ensure you get in front of your audience.  For this reason we generally prefer phrase match along with the use of negative keywords.

Bidding

Set the most you’re willing to pay per click from each keyword.  You can always come back and tweak this while your Ads are running to ensure your aren’t paying too much.  Often you will pay less than your maximum bid and still rank in first place.  This is because with each search query there is a bidding auction where your rank is decided based on the quality score of your Ads and your maximum bid compared to competitors.

6. Writing click enticing Ads

As well as managing our keywords Adwords Editor also allows us to write Ads specific to each Ad Group and review these ideas before making them live on the campaign.  The editor will also indicate for us if we have entered too many characters.

Ad text

The headline should say exactly what the product or service is so that potential customers can easily identify that it meets their search criteria.  Compelling text Ads show what sets you apart from your competitors and should include a firm call to action,  for example “Order By Midnight Today For Free Delivery” or “Buy now for 20% Discount: Limited Offer”.

The above is just an outline to get you started, otherwise we could be here all day! Next week we’ll look more closely at choosing your keywords.   Alternatively if it all seems a bit too much get in touch with us at Navajo Talk.

 

 

Who should “do” your SEO? Lessons from the Smart Business Show

3 Jun

by Jonny Cameron

who should do my SEO

“Improving your site’s visibility in Google’s search results” was the name of a talk given by two Google employees in last week’s (May 29th-30th) Smart Business Show in Northern Ireland. But were the tips actually valuable, or about as much use as a LinkedIn endorsement?

The Google employees are cool, with branded tee-shirts, floppy hair, Spanish accents and even more Spanish-sounding names (I think they may have been Spanish). A talk by Google, on how to rank better in Google, meant that swathes of obsequious business people filled the small room to scribble down notes and in most cases, satisfy themselves that their business was about to start ranking highly.

The fundamental question that all beginners want to know is:

“How can I rank higher in Google?”

And this is the question that Google seem so keen to try and address (in a side-stepping “we’re not telling you” sort of way), but in actuality they should be answering the question:

“How can I drive more sales from non-paid search engine traffic?”

Consequently, the question asked in the name of the talk wasn’t really answered and did little but help to fuel people’s preoccupation with rankings.

They said some useful things.

A run through Google Webmaster tools is always useful, it tells you how Google crawls your site, if there are any areas for improvement or if there are any serious errors.  Features like the data highlighter are much underused for things like events and customer reviews. Using these features will certainly give you a greater chance of making sure people choose to click on you vs. a competitor, providing you are ranking towards the top of page one (how do we rank there again?)

The central emphasis of the talk was also on usability. A bad user journey means people will not stay on your site for very long, the relevance will decrease and so, most likely, will your search engine rankings.

“If you take away one thing from today, it’s usability!” were the last words before people put the corporation’s tax controversies to one side, half heartedly applauded and shuffled off to put their learnings into action.

They also said some, not so useful things

The problem with the term“Improving your site’s visibility in Google’s search results” is that it is a bit vague. What constitutes an improvement? Implementing some of the technical recommendations and creating persuasive user journeys will certainly help.

But, the elephant in the room was link-building. The more quality links, from relevant, authoritative sites that you have, the more non-paid search engine traffic you’ll get and the closer you’ll be to selling more. We see it time and time again.

So why not tell people? It could be that it is a practice that has had so much abuse in recent years (building thousands of links using doorway sites) that Google are now keen to clamp down on all link building. Matt Cutts recently poured scorn on guest blogging. But how about if Google emphasised the importance of quality link-building as part of a wider marketing strategy, building relationships, synergies and adding real value to target customers. Wouldn’t the internet then be a better place? Better sites would get better links.

The thing I disagreed with most however was the advice that:

“The best person to do your SEO is you”

Replace the word SEO above with any other business activity and the statement seems ridiculous.

The best person to do your accounts is you

The best person to deliver goods to customers is you

The best person to do your cleaning is you

They even went as far as to say in a previous session, a man stood up decrying his experiences with an agency, compared to when they had an in house person “doing their SEO”.

There are bad agencies out there, but a good agency can “do your seo” a heck of a lot better than you and you’ll know this because you’ll see a clear return on investment. You’ll see that you’ve sold more from non-paid search engine traffic.

SEO isn’t a one-off, easy activity that once done, stays done. It’s marketing and it requires strategy, time and if you have it, a bit of money! By all means “do your SEO” if you have the following:

  • copywriting
  • link-building
  • marketing and PR
  • website usability
  • keyword strategy
  • social media marketing
  • mobile marketing
  • content marketing
  • time!

Saying that the best person to do your SEO is you, because you know your business best may well be true. But successful businesses need to know their customers. Insight, data and purchase intent are all things that a good SEO will tell you! In ten years time you could know your business better than you know your own family, but if you don’t know your customer, you aren’t going to get very far.

What misconceptions about SEO have you come across?