Clients often ask us about paid for search engine marketing (SEM) versus organic search results. The two are very different methods for bringing traffic to your website.
Firstly with paid, you can choose platforms like Google Adwords or Bing Ads. Organic, sometimes called “natural” listings come from the content of your website (and structure etc) being picked up by the respective search engine and then listed underneath their advertising areas.
At Clickingmad we have over 16 years experience in dealing with both types of Search Engine Optimisation.
Showing off here: On the search term “Search Engine Promotion” we are on the first page – without paying Google. A “natural” or “organic” listing.;
and you can then see the other Adverts on the bottom of the page. Again paid for.
I had a thought tonight. I would look at some old posts and website pages that we have created over the years and see how they are doing in search. Some of these pages are years old.
Here is an extract:
Pay Per Click – What is it?
This is the process by which advertisements are shown in a search engine’s results and then paid for for every click, on a basis of how many times they are clicked; hence the name.
Google’s version of this form of advertising is called Google Adwords and is likely to provide your company with the most exposure due to its domination of the search engine market.
Adwords is a very measurable method of advertising your website so it will be easy for you to track your progress and indeed, control your spend.
Google Adwords appear at the top and bottom of the search results, as shown below.
Google Adwords – how does it work?
You create an advertisement in the Adwords control panel and then decide how much you will bid for that advert to appear.
To get started you will need to create a Google account which is straightforward.
You then set up a campaign in Adwords and decide your daily budget that you are prepared to spend bringing visitors to your website.
How much is too much to pay?
We came across these phrases that seemed rather a lot of money was being spent on – PER CLICK!
Online live roulette – £75.02
TAC compensation – £70.19
No win no fee accident compensation – £66.75
Discounting accounts receivable – £64.90
I wanted to update that information with the latest prices I can find.
I thought I’d start with money – it used to be very expensive:
mortgage – £11.07
loans – £13.09
Remember – these are PER CLICK, so each click on your advert will allow Google to charge you that sum of money – each time.
Then I thought “what about gambling?” So…
roulette – £29.00
online gambling – £171.69
Then the most I have ever seen:
Live blackjack – £318.02!
This is scary stuff. Therefore I wanted to be number 1 for 1 week for all the words above, I would have to pay them £64,479.35. In one week!
To put your mind at rest and indeed in the real world however we have recently been managing a campaign on behalf of a client that who sells shoes online and they have been charged on average 32p per click.
So the moral of the story. If you are going to spend literally hundreds per click on Google Adwords, you’d better me making a massive profit and converting 100% of your website visitors !
I wrote a proposal the other evening, for a client showing them how we go about effective
It’s not just on your website…
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Whilst writing the proposal I thought about how far we have come, not only in the 12 years that Clickingmad has been providing SEO services, but also in the way we now use Search Engines; this will be my 20th year of involvement in the Internet. (In my opinion you’re as young as the computer you use. No ageist jokes here thank you!) Our individual expectations of a Search Engine’s ability to satisfy our incessant demand for information has grown every year but I also think we have become almost blasé in expecting the Search Engines to actually understand our needs.
I recall a phrase used many years ago that still holds true today: GIGO. (Garbage In – Garbage Out) So why do we expect search engines to really know what we want to find? All search engines are computers, just plain ole’ pcs (well more like servers, but that doesn’t matter for the purpose of this article). Why should we expect dumb computers to understand what is our heart’s desire? I think we expect too much.
Apparently there are over 10 billion web pages currently published, and as I write this many more thousands have “gone live”. So we now have a vast sea of information that we expect poor old Google to help us through to that nugget that we seek. Ok, Google has become a behemoth in the world of search, there are even movements working actively against Google, mainly in the US and mainly sponsored by other search giants or well subscribed websites. They are actively trying to reduce Google’s dominance over 70% of the activity we all do online, i.e. Search.
My question in this article is: Does Search Engine Optimisation work in today’s Internet?
The reason for posing the question is due to the fact that;
1) Google will say that if you have great content, regularly updated and if not unique then authoritative, then your website will be of interest to Google users, i.e. people doing a search within Google.
2) Yahoo will say that Bing provides the results for its search results. Ok, so we now have to ask Microsoft, the owner of Bing. Bing says; “Bing website ranking is completely automated. The Bing ranking algorithm analyzes many factors, including but not limited to: the quality and quantity of indexable webpage content, the number, relevance, and authoritative quality of websites that link to your web pages, and the relevance of your website’s content to keywords. The algorithm is complex and is never human-mediated.” (Bing Webmaster)
I think that last sentence is critical when you compare Bing against Google. To repeat, Bing says that the algorithm is “never human mediated”.
Mmmm, I wonder if that is strictly true? Google will tell you that it has Analysts looking through its website database, on occasion removing websites that are breaking the rules, yet it uses automation to do most of this but it’s position is that it uses humans to be the final authority. Bing says not.
Anyway back to what I think about the subject of SEO itself. If we consider that the term “Search Engine Optimisation” (if we take the phrase literally) means your website company optimising your website so that it is effectively search engine “friendly”, ‘surely,’ I hear you cry ‘all websites should be search engine friendly?’ Well, yes, of course they should but why then is it not the case?
Unfortunately, like all fads and bandwagons, people tend to jump onto them to garner financial gain and the Internet is of course no exception. In fact it could be argued that the Internet represents the latest, but possibly the largest, bandwagon ever invented. I liken the rise of the web to previous mass communication shifts. If you think of the invention of the semaphore, the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, radio, television, the fax (or more properly known as the telefax, and why isn’t the Internet known as teleweb or telenet? Let’s have a YouGov poll demanding a name change!) The list above have all had dramatic effects on how we communicate over long distances. The Internet is, in my opinion the first truly interactive mass communication tool ever invented. Previous attempts were never aimed at more than the individual receiver of the information. Well maybe TV wasn’t/isn’t, and maybe radio, but hopefully you’re still following my thread, tenuous as it is clearly becoming.
So we now have lots of SEO experts promising fantasmagorical results for your website and “yes for only £9.99 we will submit your website to 30495773628 search engines. And you will be NUMBER ONE!”
Too good to be true? Of course it is, it’s nonsense.
Two search engines are now dominant, Google and Bing, some 80%/20% respectively of mass market search activity. Sure there are others but as I advise businesses, I want to concentrate on where the majority of activity is and not where the select few go to find stuff.
Does it matter if your website is not optimised? Absolutely it does, if Google can’t index your content correctly how can it list your website? How can it record all the brilliant facts that you state and the wonderful offers you currently display unless it can read it?
Does it matter that you have not researched your keywords and phrases? You bet it does, because Bing uses your meta tags to help rank your website. Google – as you know I’m sure, does not use your tags, but WILL use your page titles, your XML sitemap that your website company did for you (make sure they did by the way) your header tags, your domain name and domain age and above all Google uses your website TEXT.
Does it matter if you haven’t got many people linking to your website, from other higher traffic websites? Yes it does matter, because how can a computer tell if your website is worth listing if no one else links to it as a source of good information or product knowledge etc?
Does it matter if you are not using Social Media to help your website reach more potential customers? Yes it does matter because your competitors are doing just that, and they are not doing it just for fun.
If you have understood any of the above and can see that I still think good SEO is important, then this article has been worth writing. If not, then I suggest you do a little research yourself. Think, why is it that those particular websites keep appearing when you do that search? I suggest that they are taking their SEO seriously, they are taking advice from people like me, maybe even people who know what NOT to do as well as what TO do.
The bottom line is, if your website is important to your business you owe it to yourself to ensure it performs as well as it can.
SEO is important: professional advice about it is even more important. Don’t believe everything you are told about this important subject.
Writing quality content for your website for Search Engine Success. By Clickingmad. Website designers and promotion experts.
If you are interested in the performance of your business website you will have heard many times that the “quality” of the content is of paramount importance. Certianly Google has been saying this for many years. I also think its good practice to read your own content and be very harsh on yourself and ask; “Does this page really provide the information in the best way for the visitor”?
I want to explore this further and provide some tips on writing good copy for Search
Engines to index (record), because if they index your content then you are much more likely to be found higher in the search results, which of course is what everyone wants.
As a professional website development company the team at Clickingmad is asked probably 9 out of 10 times questions by clients on how to write effective website copy by our clients. The answer is often easy to come by, dependent on the subject, but still eludes many a website owner.
What does “rich content” mean? (It’s a phrase used by Google, Bing; aka Microsoft and other search engines). I believe rich content to mean several things;
A) Unique. B) Interesting C) Easy to read.
A) Unique content is not a quick fix, you have to think about your product or service perhaps a little differently than you do indoors so to speak. Think about how your customers talk about it. What words do they use to describe your goods and services? How does your trade body talk about them? Use different terminology to describe them. Above all it has to be your own language, do not copy your content from anyone else. Look at competitors by all means, perhaps for inspiration, but always re word what you say so that the search engines couldn’t possible have read it anywhere else. If the content is already in their database, they will know and the will penalise you for it. One way to do this is think about the conversation you light have with a prospective customer or client. Think about the words and phrases you use when talking to them. Use some “unique” selling points that I bet spill easily off your tongue, but that you struggle to write down. Sound familiar?
B) I’m sure you will agree that we can tell when content has been written by someone who is not very good at English, or who doesn’t really know about the subject. I can also tell if it’s been written by a marketeer. Too much spin and not enough substance. Too many buzz words and not enough facts. It feels similar to hearing a script on a telesales call from a call centre; they’re reading the words but they don’t know (or don’t care) what they are saying. Making content interesting is not easy. But it’s doable.
Here is a fictional example of a standard product description for a website selling hotel breaks.
Boring: 2 nights bed and breakfast at the Dorchestering Hotel, Central London. River views and top class service. Book now.
Interesting: Fancy a break at a top class London hotel with all the trimmings? How about watching the sunset over the famous river Thames and looking forward to a sumptuous full English breakfast the next morning after a relaxing comfortable night in your beautifully decorated room? All included. Why not take in a show or museum visit during your 2 night break. Be welcomed in style by clicking here to book now.
See my point? Yes it’s waffling a tad but the facts are all there and it’s SELLING the trip.
Here is a real life example in my inbox from Groupon, a broadcast email provider for retail deals. “When life’s a bed of roses it usually means you have things sweet, or you’re a particularly messy gardener. Blossom into bedding with today’s Groupon for memory foam Silentnight pillows distributed by (name deleted). These Silentnight pillows can be bought as a single, pair, quad, or happy group of eight to provide a soft spot for weary heads. The multi-layered, Memory Foam pillows have been created to react to individual profiles and provide a soft yet sturdy support, allowing folk to sleep easy.”
Now that’s flowery alright, but I think it’s brilliantly written. Quirky, funny and still with all the relevant facts in the offer. That’s what I mean by interesting.
C) Ease of reading may sound a bit obvious. I always read out loud anything I write, well apart from my shopping list!
This is more aimed at your real website visitor but is also relevant to search engines as they often will present an excerpt of your text in their results. Therefore if your content is easy to read the user will get the gist straight away, which is of course what you want. Try not to use too many technical, industry only words. Be very careful over the use of nonsense marketing terms that everyone falls foul of. Examples of which might include; leader [in], holistic, turnkey, outside the box or blue sky thinking, robust, seamless, groundbreaking, empower, proactive, best in class, turnkey, mission critical, ground breaking, iconic, stakeholder(s), industry standard, win-win, best of breed. The reason I don’t like these type of words is that they seem to imply that the companies that use them have a totally unique way of doing things. Which is clearly not true as everyone has competition and some are more than likely able to do things in a similar way to you. If therefore they are being used to pretend to be unique, then that pretence may lead us to the conclusion that we can’t believe anything they say in their website, or press release (where these types of words are most commonly used).
What I want to see are facts, details and proof. Well written and concise, after all none of us have much time anymore to be “flannelled”.
We need (or expect) instant results, accurately describing the product or service that we seek. If highly descriptive or even misleading terminology is used we immediately mistrust the source. Maybe I am becoming cynical in my (not so) advanced years. But tell it like it is. Try to get your website visitor to trust you by telling them the truth even before they make contact. Our main website on www.clickingmad.com is proof of what people really want to see. In our case our Portfolio is the most visited page, after the home page. Clearly visitors want to see what we have actually achieved rather than us saying we are just brilliant etc.
Surely that’s a better way than shallow over used “speak”. Apologies to marketeers (who disagree) out there. Finally, for SEO success write interesting, unique content. For your website visitors write interesting and unique content. For assistance on SEO as a business tool contact a professional company or spend about 4 years learning the subject. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s either cheap or quick, but be assured that it does work, over time.
Clickingmad Ltd is a Website Design and Website Promotion Agency. Started in 2000 we now have 10 dedicated full time staff based in Shropshire and Birmingham offering a wide range of website design, website promotion, ecommerce advice, hosting, search engine optimisation and related services to our business clients. All with a consultative approach. We never sell you something that you don’t need, only what your business needs. Our advice is often as important as any service we provide you. Our principal Shaun Carvill is an acknowledged expert in the Internet, having been involved right at the start of the commercialisation of the web in the UK some 20 odd years ago. If you mix traditional Marketing experience with technical development and programming then you get the Internet. The Internet is not just for Geeks. The Internet means Business!
Our services are taken up by companies large and small and in nearly all sectors. From Estate Agents to Schools, Charities to Engineering companies. Manufacturing and Service sectors alike all receive the same quality Clickingmad treatment. As quality mark holders and members of the UK IT Association (our Principal; Shaun Carvill is also on the board of UKITA) ISO9001 accredited and rigorously tested by many Government and Public Sector purchasing consortiums, we have been accredited to be able to create, build and supply a comprehensive suite of Internet related marketing products and services for our clients.
We welcome all enquiries as we bring our method to a business near you. Give us a call on 01746 769612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your query. Join the growing Clickingmad family. You will be made very welcome.