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The Dynamic Duo: Why SEO And PPC Are The Perfect Bedfellows

UntitledImage by Danard Vincente

The Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing strategies have traditionally pitted themselves against one another. Proponents of each have argued that their approach is better than the other. However, opinions are now beginning to change, with many companies noting the benefits of using both SEO and PPC in harmony.

SEO vs PPC

SEO involves increasing the visibility of a website or specific web page within search engine results, which is perfect for promoting your brand. For more information on SEO, click here. With successful SEO the chosen website will appear more prominently in the ‘organic’, or natural, search results and therefore receive more visitors.

By contrast, with PPC, advertisers (you) pay the search engines or content sites when their advertisement is clicked. This article is a good starting point for PPC beginners. Typically, the prices are fixed for content sites but users have to bid for key phrases on search engines. PPC drives in even more traffic, so employing it alongside SEO can really benefit your business.

Identifying The Best Keywords

Firstly, through the use of PPC, you will be able to see which keywords drive customers to your website. Once the most useful terms have been identified, these can be incorporated into SEO strategies. SEO tends to be a longer-term process. So, using the quick results provided by PPC can help you concentrate your efforts in the most important areas and not waste any time.

If PPC shows certain keywords are providing a lot of traffic, you can then ensure the landing page contains relevant persuasive information on these areas. Creating the best possible landing page will increase both your overall PPC quality score and the number of results you receive through organic SEO.

Identifying Gaps in The Market

Through PPC, you will be able to track which pages your advert is shown on. If it is consistently used on a certain website, a good strategy would be to examine that site’s content. If it includes something relevant to your business which is not incorporated into your own web pages, then you will have found a gap in your marketing. Addressing this issue by writing your own similar content may lead to more traffic and reduce your dependency on advertisements.

This method will be particularly useful for new websites or web pages. New content is unlikely to get the same amount of traffic as established sites. Therefore, PPC advertising could be invaluable. It will bring attention to recent developments, providing the company with keywords to include and ways to expand SEO.

Being Consistent

To ensure that what you have learned from PPC benefits your organic SEO, you need to be consistent with both disciplines. Occasionally, companies introduce better offers on PPC adverts than appear in the organic search results. If you offer a 50 per cent discount in an advertisement, but only 30 per cent off in the organic search, very few people will click on the latter. This will lead to spending more money on PPC as well as reducing the effectiveness of your SEO.

Alternatively, results received through organic SEO may provide some surprising keywords or phrases that can be incorporated into your PPC scheme. This demonstrates the advantages of using them simultaneously.

Investigate Conversions

In order to test whether your marketing strategies are working effectively together, you can investigate the conversion pathways. Instead of simply recording the final advertisement viewed before the conversion, all stages of the marketing funnel are logged. This will show all aspects of marketing, such as email links, different PPC adverts and organic searches, which assisted in driving traffic to your site. Analysing the conversion pathways will allow you to determine the use of each strategy and optimising your marketing.

When employing search engine marketing, it is important to recognise the relationship between different areas and strategies. This is what using PPC alongside SEO provides. PPC allows you to constantly test and develop your website and marketing techniques. This holistic approach will provide stronger results and help you get the most from your internet marketing

Bio:  Rhosanna Jenkins is a committed writer, with a variety of interests, including the rise the online marketing revolution.

Have you using both PPC and SEO in combination for your business? Share your thoughts and comments below.

 

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Is your website just a cute brochure, or do visitors know what to do when the get there?

I couldn’t have said it better:  answer your visitors question:  Why am I here?

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by Seth Godin -

Approximately a million web years ago, I wrote a book about web design. The Big Red Fez was an exercise in shooting fish in a barrel. There was a vast and deep inventory of bad websites, sites that were not just unattractive, but ineffective as well.

The thesis of the book is that the web is a direct marketing medium, something that can be measured and a tool that works best when the person who builds the page has a point of view. Instead of a committee deciding everything that ought to be on the page and compromising at every step, an effective website is created by someone who knows what she wants the user to do.

Josh Davis and others wanted to know if, after more than a decade, my opinion has changed. After all, we now have video, social networks, high-speed connections, mobile devices…

If anything, the quantity of bad sites has increased, and the urgency of the problem has increased as well. As the web has become more important, there’s ever more pressure to have meetings, to obey the committee and to avoid alienating any person who visits (at the expense of delighting the many, or at least, the people you care about).

Without a doubt, there are far more complex elements to be worked with, more virality, more leverage available to anyone brave enough to build something online. But I stand with a series of questions that will expose the challenges of any website (and the problems of the organization that built it):

  • Who is this site for?
  • How did they find out about it?
  • What does the design remind them of?
  • What do you want them to do when they get here?
  • How will they decide to do that, and what promises do you make to cause that action?

The only reason to build a website is to change someone. If you can’t tell me the change and you can’t tell me the someone, then you’re wasting your time.

If you get all of this right, if you have a clear, concise point of view, then you get the chance to focus on virality, on social, on creating forward motion. But alas, virtually all organizational sites are narcissistic and (at the same time) afraid and incomplete.

Answer your visitor when he asks, “Why am I here?”

 

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How Important Is Support On Your Site?

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In the modern era of technology, one of the things that a lot of websites will now offer is a 24-hour support service to all of their customers and potential clients. Although this seems like a good thing to have, there are a number of points that you need to take into account before you decide whether it would be something that would be worth it for you in the long term. Here, we will explore more about if having on call support regardless of the time of the day is right for your business.

What queries will you have to deal with?

The first thing that you need to consider is what kind of queries may be asked. If the usual things are quite general, then you might find that it is sufficient to simply have a page where common questions are answered, and a call line or email support that aims to respond to users within a 24-hour period. There are a number of very successful websites that choose to do this, and it can work well.

What about if there are urgent issues?

If it is likely that your customers would have urgent problems, then you might find that offering 24-hour support is worth it. A live chat feature or a phone line may be sufficient. However, it might be that you can offer a 24-hour call out service where you charge premium rates. This could be ideal if you offer a service that people require all hours of the day.

How many customers do you have?

You also need to consider the number of customers that you have who are active at night. It is likely that you would have to pay somebody a wage if you wanted an all day and all night support contact, and this means it is important that you ensure you are making the right choice. Hiring somebody is going to cost a lot of money so you would need to do some sort of feasibility study. If you are only a small company, you might find that it would not be worth it. However, if you find you are getting a number of email queries during the night that are urgent, and that would be beneficial to hire somebody this will be the right move.

Offer the customer what they want

The most important thing to think about when you have a website that aims to sell services is whether you are giving the customer everything that they need. If you are, this means that not only are they going to be happy with the service that you’re providing, but they would also be much more likely to recommend you to other people in the future. So, if you feel that it would be worth it in the long term, support would be a great idea. However, it very much depends on your company, the size of the customer base, and the nature of the queries that would likely be handled.

Kristian has plenty of experience working with those offering IT support London. He has worked with several developers, and also offers some of these services as well.

 

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Learning How To Spot MLM Fantasies

pyramid23Ever heard something that was just too good to be true? Sure you have, and online there are all sorts of ‘too good to be true’ occurrences;  Many of which come along in the make money quick or the infamous ‘get rich quick’ schemes. What do these type of schemes offer that are so appealing in the first place? They offer false hopes, dreams and premises – just like pay day loans.

So what is a MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) scheme anyways? MLM companies can be summed up pretty easily with a one basic concepts:

Do you have to pay to sign up or to join a “team” and then make money by signing others up?

If the answer is “yes”, and there is no product, or if there is a product that you are supposed to sell, then the answer is “YES” you are probably then dealing with a MLM company.

MLM companies can be very sneaky, and in my time as a youngster in the Internet business, I have had the pleasure (which was not so pleasurable) of both working for these companies and almost ‘joining the team. But before we get into my personal experiences with these companies, let me first take a minute to discuss the difference between an illegal Pyramid Scheme, and a totally legal multi-level marketing scheme.

Pyramid Schemes – Wikipedia definition

In Pyramids schemes, people are making money by simply signing other people up and getting them to ‘join the team.’ There is absolutely no product involved, and all you are doing all day long is convincing other people to sign up with an initial fee so that you can make money off of them instantly for doing absolutely nothing but signing them up. The kicker is that you now make money (a certain commission percentage) off of the people that they sign up as well. The problem with this model, as you will eventually start to see, is that the people that are at the bottom of the pyramid are always screwed. Because after all… what happens when there are no people left to sign up to join the team?

The Difference with Network Marketing – Wikipedia definition

“I would rather earn 1% of 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”

- John Paul Getty (American Billionaire)

Sounds good when you hear it right? This is a quote that is usually passed around the network marketing venue, and it is one of the most powerful selling tools out there that the network marketing crowd has in their arsenal. Using this type of logic, it is very easy for someone to convince you to sign up for a MLM, as all of the sudden, making money seems to be so magnificently easy (which is what most MLM companies are banking on).

The only main difference, the difference that makes MLM a legal business model rather than an illegal Pyramid scheme is the fact that they actually have a product for you initially when you sign up. Usually what it is, is a sales kit that you are supposed to go around and “sell” to people, but really what it is truthfully, is a front for what you are really trying to do in the MLM business, which is sign up other people to join the team. It’s almost like money laundering when you think about it.

I am not saying that there is no legitimate MLM company out there; all I am saying is that there is no legitimate MLM company out there that I myself have come across. And with that said, here is a link to 100 of the top MLM companies out there.

I would like to isolate one of them, that being  www.website.ws, because being that I have been in the Internet business for quite some time now, it really appeals to me as I am able to see right through it.

What this MLM company is, is a company that tries to promote website solutions and domain registration services (As well as hosting I believe), but you still have to ‘sign up’ to get your products, and once you do you automatically qualify to begin signing other people up to join the team.

Right off the bat, you see the all telltale signs of flashy MLM companies that go really hard at getting you to sign up as soon as possible and pull your money in like flashy marketing videos, good looking people, and the image of being able to make money fast. Language like, “WOW this is AMAZING!” goes a long way in the MLM world. Now this being said, this is one of the most ‘legit’ MLM companies out there, as they offer a ‘product’ however there are some things that are giveaways about this company right off the bat.

For example the extensions that you  can buy, which is the .ws domain extension, does NOT stand for “WebSite” which they try to portray it as using sneaky language. It actually stands for “Western Samoa”, and the whole ‘solution’ that these people sell is really just a front to get you to sign up for the network marketing team. Because after all, there are way better website and hosting options that are out there (with better pricing points and no ‘join the team’ costs) than this MLM company. My advice, stay away from all MLM companies.

BIO: This article was written by Philip Rudy. Philip works for a digital agency, working on their online marketing and website needs. The digital agency (Traffic Digital Agency) has an array of different clients ranging from truck driver recruiters to lawyers that sue debt collectors.

 

 

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Working With The Competition: How Staying Friendly Makes Business Sense For Struggling Creative Freelancers

IMG_2699Whatever your story, whatever your industry, little businesses in a post-recession economy are often advised to be apocalyptically ruthless. It may work for some, but what if we all took a different approach to try and dig ourselves out of the financial hole we’re stuck in? This alternative philosophy has been successfully practised by Tenessee-based burger brand Pal’s Sudden Service since 2000, when a Business Institute was launched to provide practical advice and workshops to promote their company amongst competitors, and it has made waves in the restaurant industry, with others following suit. As the Institute’s President, David J, McClasky states, welcoming your competitors with open arms can be more than just a philanthropic gesture: “No matter where a customer goes, if they have a good experience eating out, then they eat out more often,” he says. “We figure everybody wins when businesses are run at excellent levels.”

This mantra can be especially important in creative industries and an artistic approach to the 21st century’s financial challenges could be your most unexpected source of inspiration. If you have spent time previously studying the arts, you’ll understand the importance of co-operation, critique and collaboration, so just how should that be different once you have left education?

Collaboration in Practice: The Freelance Photographer

Take freelance photography as a strong example. It’s a demanding field which requires extensive technical knowledge and relentless passion from the individual, plus an unwavering desire to achieve outstanding results for each and every client. Working alone or perhaps with a micro-team around them, a freelance photographer will be responsible for all areas of his or her business, from booking shoots and meeting clients to more mundane tasks like banking and bookkeeping. Everyone has their own strengths and being required to fill such a variety of roles can take its toll, so it’s no wonder that many photographers in this position often feel overwhelmed. If this scenario sounds familiar, discussing your business with others can help you assess your approach to your work, enable you to get to know cameras and setups for use in your own projects, tackle common working issues, or even just help you offload the general stresses and strains of working on a freelance basis. You’ll be putting your work into perspective and developing valuable bonds with others around you.

Learning To Give and Take as a Business

So why should you take the time to forge reciprocal relationships with those who would traditionally pose a threat to your business? Well, being generous enough to share knowledge, experience and, crucially, contacts may equate to naivety and foolishness in some people’s minds, but consider your own personal benefit. Networking is paramount to establishing oneself as a professional company or brand, and open, assured lines of communication inspire confidence, helping boost your income and get clients. If old friends suddenly become your competition, shunning them can be counterproductive.

Furthermore if there is an ambitious job you don’t quite feel ready for, recommending a rival photographer rather than putting your own reputation into jeopardy is just common sense. As an artist may collaborate with somebody working in another medium to execute the best piece of work, this could be applied to business. Working together on a project with a competitor will allow you to combine your specialist skills to make for a more rounded enterprise, even if it is only temporary.

On a broader scale, however, a healthy business climate needs to be at the forefront of industry for a more stable future. Shying away from banker-esque cut-throat gluttony could be the first (deceptively simple) step in achieving great opportunities for every small business.

Where would we all be without a little help from our ‘friends’? Anna Layne knows first-hand the tribulations facing small businesses and how important it is to glean as much help and information from her competitors. She currently works on behalf of Trinity Photography, a Glasgow-based wedding photography firm that’s risen from small foundations to achieve a great reputation in the local area.

 

 

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How To Make Sure Your Staff Are In It For The Long Haul

tug-of-warThe best businesses have loyal staff that have been there since day one. They know the company like the backs of their hands and no situation or problem is unfamiliar to them. The longer you have worked somewhere the better you know the role and the company and there for the better you do your job. Every employer would love to have staff stick around for years to come but people often become bored and move on. So how can you ensure your staff stick with you through thick and thin?

Set Out  A Clear Career Path

Many companies loose staff because of the lack of progression they offer.  People do become tired of doing the same thing over and over and if there is no opportunity to move forward they will seek opportunity elsewhere. As a business owner you should encourage your staff to apply for promotions and work their way up in the company. In order to keep staff happy and motivated you should set out a clear structure when it comes to moving up the ranks.

Offer Rewards

It can become very tiresome for staff if they work hard and that hard work constantly goes unrecognised. A simple thank you or well done is a good start and goes a long way, but a great way to really keep staff happy and motivated is to offer small rewards for good work.

Consider monthly awards in the form of a title and a small gesture such as a bottle of wine or vouchers, for example ‘employee of the month’. This means your staff will get the recognition they deserve and is an excuse for a fun monthly get together.

Consider Staff Quarterlies

A great way to say thanks is to host an evening of fun once every three months. It is something for staff to really look forward to and is a great way to encourage staff bonding. You don’t have to do anything huge, maybe just put some money behind a bar or book a meal. Tell everyone the date and time and see your staff let their hair down for a night of fun.

Offer Bonuses

At the end of the day your staff are there to earn money, and money does make people happy. A great way to encourage staff to go above and beyond at work is to offer bonuses measured by how well they are doing.

Staff really appreciate being paid on time and the right amount. Mistakes do happen but that can cause great problems when people are expecting money. Ensure these mistakes don’t occur by making use of payroll services to keep staff happy.

Eilidh MacRae works for Trace Payroll who offer payroll services.

 

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Getting Respect Working From Home

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How often have you been working at your home office, when your brother calls you wanting to chat, or a friendly neighbour comes over to ask you for some help? You’re working at home, but everyone seems to think that your work involves sitting around the home doing nothing all day but answer some emails or occasionally talking on the phone.

What can you do to stop these distractions so you can work, and even get some respect for your home business?

Set a Schedule at Home

If you have regular working hours, you can post them on your office door, inform your family and friends, and if anyone comes over to chat during your scheduled work time, you can politely ask them to leave. This schedule will help people realize you are working, and make your business look more professional.

Even better having these regular working hours will help you be more productive if used properly. By focusing on your work at a regular time everyday, you train your mind and body to go into working mode. If you you plan your work hours when you have the most energy, it’s even better.

Remember that this doesn’t have to be a 9-5 work schedule, play around with it at first to find out what hours are best for you, and then stick to it.

Dress for Success

Since the inevitable stereotype of working from home is a person working in his or her pyjamas, try to break the image by wearing comfortable business casual clothes.

You want to be comfortable while you work, but wearing clothes that are too casual, will make you appear less serious, and can make you feel a bit too relaxed to work at your peak efficiency. By wearing business casual, you keep the comfort, but if a neighbour, client, or family member drops by they’ll see that you are treating your work professionally and it gives you an advantage. If they see you wearing old jeans and a sweatshirt or worse actual pyjamas, it will be very hard to convince them that you are working.

Learn to Say No

Sometimes people don’t take a hint, you can tell them that you’re working, print up a super-sized schedule for your door, explain that you’re about to talk to an important client, but they still want to talk.
In this case, you have to firmly tell them that you do not have time to talk, go out for coffee or even let them in your front door. Try to be polite but firm when you do so, don’t tell them you don’t want to talk, simply say you are working but can talk to them when you are done. Give them your schedule and explain that between certain hours you are unavailable, but you’d be happy to talk after work.

Your at home business is important, and people need to realize that working from home actually involves working. So treat your job like a regular job and insist others follow suit, even if they disagree with you.

Dan Clarke is a business coach, specializing in helping people who work at home expand their business, solve problems and find a great work/life balance. Find out more about him at his website, Be Happy Working at Home.

 

 

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