Nick Huxsted, Author at Gooey Digital
Gooey Digital

SEO For Small Businesses & New Startups: How To Do It Yourself

We regularly get asked the question: how can I improve the SEO performance of my website?

The question is often followed with the caveat – but I don’t have any budget.

Which is a perfectly understandable and a situation that many organisations find themselves in. Startups are often self-funded, and SMEs may not necessarily have the marketing budget to employ an agency or employee full time.

So for those of you with the inclination, patience and perseverance (sprinkled with a healthy dose of nerdy intrigue) here’s a step by step guide on some of the key SEO considerations for a startup or SME, and some practical tips on how you can do it yourself.

 

The importance of keywords

The topic of keywords has been hotly debated over the last 12 months. Historically the SEO emphasis has been on “exact match” search terms. Put simply, if you wanted to rank well for “big red shoes”, you would create a page on your website that discussed the various benefits of wearing “big red shoes”. Easy.

Now, the search engines have become more sophisticated, understanding the semantic relevance and the relationship between keywords. Meaning that they’re attempting to understand the “intent” behind a users search query.

Under this premise overarching “topics” are increasingly important when compared with the old days of “exact match” keywords.

SEO: Keywords vs topics
Consider both topical themes and keywords throughout your websites content.

For example if you created an amazing piece of content that discusses “what not to say on Twitter”, the search engines would probably understand that you’re interested in information about Donald Trump.

Therefore websites (and individual page content) can rank well for a search query, even if that query doesn’t appear on your website.

Now, simply focusing on quality content that delivers what your audience wants is just as important.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore the inclusion of exact match keywords.

The reason for this is that Google isn’t perfect, and while they do their very best to understand a users intent, the complex relationship between the words of the English language can often befuddle even the very best algorithms.

So the best compromise at this stage is to consider both overarching topic ideas, organising your website structure accordingly, while also considering exact match keywords that can be applied to certain elements of a web page.

The important SEO elements to consider optimising on a page will include (and we’ll come on to these in a bit):

  • Meta-titles
  • Meta-descriptions
  • Alt-titles on images
  • Headings
  • Sub-headings

Key takeaway: Consider “topics” when designing your website and its overarching content structure, while considering “keywords” when optimising specific elements of a web page.

 

Selecting keywords

The next challenge is how to identify which keywords to use when updating the various elements highlighted above.

Understanding the various search volumes for relevant terms will help you determine the best opportunities and where to focus your efforts. The following process will help you examine hundreds (often thousands) of keywords around a particular topic, and once complete you’ll be able to download this important data into a nerdy spreadsheet. Colour coding columns are optional.

1. Sign in to Google Adwords. https://www.google.co.uk/adwords/.

If you don’t have an account you can set one up for free, but if you already have a Google Account (for Google Analytics, Google My Business, Google+ etc..), then it’s suggested you use the same login details to ensure everything is in one place. It also enables easier linking between Analytics and Adwords.

2. Select “tools” at the top and then “keyword planner”.

Selecting SEO keywords via Adwords
Selecting keywords via Adwords

3. Select “Search for new keywords using phrase, website or category”.

Selecting organic keywords via Adwords

4. Enter the keyword(s) you would like to examine.

If entering more than one separate with a comma. What you’re doing is asking Google to examine the search volumes for the keyword you entered, but it will also create a list of similar and popular search terms.

If you enter “big red shoes”, the list produced will inform you what people are typically entering into the search engines around this particular topic. It will also include the average monthly search volume for each keyword.

It’s important to make sure you select the country you’re interested in. You don’t want the monthly search volumes across the world, if you’re target market is just the UK.

conducting keyword research

5. Download the results into a spreadsheet

6. Review and refine your keyword list

It’s likely that you’ll now have a list of maybe 1,000 keywords on a spreadsheet. The only data you really need at this stage are the keywords, and they’re corresponding search volumes.

There may be a few irrelevant terms in there, so you’ll have to go through and tidy up the selection to ensure that everything that remains is relevant to your business.

7. Reviewing the SEO competition of keywords

The data that will be missing at this stage from your spreadsheet is how competitive each keyword is in organic search. It’s important to note that if you want to do this properly, it would be worthwhile investing in a keyword research tool like SEMRush that you can use to determine this level of competition.

But, if you don’t have the budget for that, you can make some assumptions based on a few factors:

  • Single keywords (e.g. shoes) will be virtually impossible to rank highly for (far too competitive).
  • Keywords with a higher search volume are likely to be more competitive.
  • For a new website, or if you’re an SME without much SEO activity to date, going after a particular niche would be advisable.

keyword research

In the example above, and if we organise the keywords by volume, we could (and we have to stress that this is a fairly crude technique for conducting keyword research) make some assumptions that:

Red: Keywords are competitive

Yellow: Medium competition

Green: Niche search terms that are likely to be lower in competition, and may be worth considering as part of your content strategy. They’re also be easier to rank highly for.

Blue: Maybe a nice topic idea for a blog post

By repeating this process for all products and services that you offer, you can start to build a strategic approach for:

  1. What type of content you need on your website
  2. How you apply the various keywords to each individual page on your site
  3. Which keywords to use when updating your meta-data and headings etc

Key takeaway: If you have a new website or you’re new to SEO, go for very specific/niche search terms that will have less competition, and create compelling content around those particular topics.

 

Assessing keyword competition

Once you’ve whittled down your keyword selection to some interesting keyword that you want to explore further, it’s a good idea to test your competition, and how difficult it may be to rank for these terms.

As mentioned there are a number of tools that can be used to speed up this process, however most are “paid” options that require a subscription license.

These options are easier and more efficient (a good example would be SEMRush or Majestic SEO), but if budget is a consideration then the process can still be achieved, although there is slightly more manual work to be done.

Free competitive analysis option:

  1. Install the MOZ extension on Chrome or Firefox. https://moz.com/tools/seo-toolbar
  2. This will install the Moz button (top right on the image below) that when selected will give you some of the key competitive metrics of the various websites in the search results.

seo keyword competitiveness

Beneath each search result you will find a grey bar that highlights the terms PA and DA.

PA: Page Authority relates to the overall authority of the website “page” that appears in the search results. The higher the number, the greater the authority of that page.

DA: Domain Authority works in a similar way, but refers to the overall authority of the website.

Both metrics are important when determining your websites ranking position, and by comparing the performance of your website, with that of the websites appearing on the 1st page of Google, you can start to understand the competitive metrics of each keyword.

For example if all websites on the 1st page have a Domain Authority of 70 or more, and your website has a Domain Authority of 10, you can make the assumption that competition will be tough.

However in the example above, we can see the competition for “professional clown shoes” is relatively low, with DA’s ranging from 24 to 29. If your website is either close to those figures, or above, you can consider this a potential keyword target.

 

Domain and page authority explained

Both Domain and Page Authority are determined by:

  1. The age of a website
  2. The number, and more importantly the quality of links pointing to that page or website.

While there’s no official definition, as a general guide, Domain Authority for a website will be as follows:

1 – 10:

A new website or a website that has very few links pointing to it.

10 – 20:

A website that’s probably quite new, maybe with a few directory links pointing to it.

20 – 30:

A website that’s relatively ok, potentially with some dedicated SEO (or time) behind it.

30 – 40:

A good quality site and likely to be the threshold for many small or medium sized businesses. Active SEO work is likely to have been undertaken

40 – 50:

A well respected blog or website. Medium/large sized business.

50 – 90:

The domain of large businesses, very well respected sites and high quality blogs.

90+:

National newspapers, social media sites and some of the best sites in the world.

Key takeaway: Building your websites Domain Authority can take time, so be patient and set yourself realistic expectations.

 

Updating your meta-data and headings

As a brief bit of interesting yet pointless history, meta-data was traditionally used by libraries when they converted their catalog data, to digital databases. In the 2000s, as digital formats became the norm, the term metadata was used to describe the storage and classification of digital data.

Yay!

The overarching term “meta-data” applies to both “meta-titles” and “meta-descriptions”, both an important element of SEO.

Meta-titles

The <title> tag is still widely accepted to be one of the most important on-page optimisation factors.

Meta title example
Example of how a meta-title appears in the search results

The search engines place great emphasis on the title tag for assessing the relevance of the content on the page. Put simply a meta-title that includes “Big Red Clown Shoes”, is more likely to rank well for that particular term.

  • For many new websites, or relatively small sites, this is still an area that’s often neglected, but so easy to fix!
  • As a general rule however, there is greater weighting given to key phrases at the left of the title tag.
  • By using the data and information you gathered during your keyword research, you can update the meta-titles for every single page with the keywords that provide the best opportunity for ranking improvements.

Key takeaway: If you only do 1 thing to your website, it would be to check and update every single meta-title, for every single page throughout your website. Keep the character limit under 55.

Meta-descriptions

Meta Descriptions, although no longer a primary ranking factor, are still an important consideration because they can help persuade an individual to click on your search results, driving clicks and additional traffic to your content….and yes we clicked on the result below!

Example of how a meta-description appears in the search results

Key takeaway: Give people a reason or a compelling proposition to click on your search result. Using words like “discover, find out, understand, how to” can often help. Keep the character limit under 160.

 

Headings & Subheadings

In very simple terms, each heading on a page is typically classified as an H1, H2, H3 etc. The most important heading is the H1, and should include relevant keywords that you would like to rank for.

The importance of the various headings decreases as you move down the page.

heading hierarchy for SEO

Key takeaway: While it’s important to consider the inclusion of keywords and the search engines when writing your headings, don’t forget the user. All headings should be compelling and grammatically correct.

 

The importance of links

Now that you’ve done completed your keyword research, and applied those keywords to some of the more important elements of a website, you can turn your attention to building links.

Most people in the world of SEO believe that links are one of the most important factors for determining the rankings of a website. Yes the world of SEO is changing, and writing quality content is fundamental to the success of any SEO campaign, but links are still important!

The simple premise is that getting another website to link to you is one of the hardest “signals” to manipulate.

Essentially each link is an endorsement of the quality of your site, but every link will have a varying degree of effectiveness on your rankings that are dependant on:

  • The trustworthiness of the linking domain.
  • The popularity of the linking page.
  • The relevancy of the content between the source page and the target page.
  • The anchor text used in the link.
  • The amount of links to the page.
  • The amount of domains that link to the target page.
  • The amount of variations that are used as anchor text to links to the target page.
  • The ownership relationship between the source and target domains.

How to build links

There are many techniques for building links, and while they vary in difficulty, SEOs tend to agree that link building is one of the hardest parts of their jobs. Some of the common techniques include:

  1. Directory links (low in value but beneficial for improving local rankings in the Google map)
  2. Partner/supplier links
  3. Broken links
  4. Press Releases
  5. Guest Blogging
  6. Writing great content

It’s best practice to use a variety of link building techniques, but be careful! Building poor quality links can do more harm than good. If a website looks poorly designed and contains awful content, chances are you don’t want a link from them.

They key consideration for link building is:

YOU NEED SOMETHING ON YOUR WEBSITE WORTH LINKING TO

Great content for SEO

This is a key point and something that’s regularly overlooked by many people.

If you’re writing a guest post, you may want to reference some further research to reinforce your argument/point. If this in-depth research sits on your own website (maybe as a supporting blog post), then it provides a natural linking opportunity that provides value to the reader.

Or, if you’re running a competition and the prize is an internship at your company, think about creating a competition page on your website that can be used as a natural linking reference when promoting the competition through PR etc.

Key takeaway: If you’re new to link building, a good place to start will be guest posting, providing the editors of an external website with high quality content.

 

Guest blogging: content ideas

The first stage of getting a guest blog accepted is to come up with a selection of post ideas that you can use when pitching to bloggers and editors. A good technique is to use any keywords identified during the keyword research, and enter them into Google.

For example “how to write a great guest post”.

At the very bottom of the search results, Google will often show a selection of similar searches that are relatively popular, and can be used as inspiration to help refine your ideas.

guest post ideas for SEO

By clicking on these results, you can essentially keep going until you find a long-tail search term that you can:

a) write about with confidence

b) is suitable for your target audience

c) would potentially appeal to editors

Key takeaway: Thoroughly research any website you’re considering pitching ideas too. It’s important to understand their guidelines, their tone of voice and if they’ve already posted an article that discusses one of you ideas. They’ll likely reject any article that’s previously been covered.

 

Finding websites to pitch your guest post ideas

Once you have a list of around 10 topic ideas, you can use Google to find suitable blogs/publications that accept guest posts. Most websites that typically accept guest posts will most likely have a page on their website titled:

  • “guest post submissions”
  • “submit your content/article”
  • “write for us”
  • “contributors”

By using a combination of these terms, we can quickly find websites that accept guest posts.

For example “write for us + travel blog”, gives the results below, and you can use this list to pitch your content ideas to.

seo guest pitching ideas

Key takeaway: It’s recommended that all targets, dates, contacts, email address and pitches sent are stored in an excel spreadsheet. This can help when following up and recording who/when you have pitched to previously.

 

Getting posts accepted

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t immediately hear back. Bloggers can sometimes reply weeks after a pitch, but a usual timeframe will be a few days.

Similarly not everyone will get back to you, and the process can seem time consuming to begin with, but if you start to build relationships with bloggers and editors, it becomes much easier to get posts accepted in the future.

Eventually you can have a network of contacts that you can regularly submit content to.

Key takeaway: Never have more than 10% of your total links coming from a single domain.

Words for titles

The title of a post is just as important as the content.

It’s the first thing a user (or editor) see’s and certain keywords can help with click through rates and the popularity of a post. Try to use words like:

  • Discover, Explore, Find Out and Uncover
  • “How to” posts and “Top 10 Tips” are also popular and regularly accepted by editors, but not always relevant for certain websites.
Examples of compelling blog titles
Examples of compelling blog titles

Writing content

Good grammar and spelling is obviously important. An editor will not want to spend ages making amends; the first draft you send over should be ready for publication.

People also read content differently online, they tend to skim so keep paragraphs shorts and break large chunks of text up with interesting sub-headings.

The opening paragraph is the most important and should succinctly summaries the entire proposition of your post. The rest of the article will reinforce this main premise, and the conclusion should again summarise your key message.

Don’t be afraid to use humour, it can often help get picked up if the post is quirky and funny, but most of all the content should be interesting, helpful and above all unique. Editors don’t want a re-hashed version of a popular topic, they tend to want something new and interesting.

Including links in your article

There are a few options to include links in post. Some sites will accept them in the main body of the copy, others will have regulations where you can only submit links in an “author bio” at the end of the post.

Key takeaway: From an SEO perspective, links in the body copy are the most effective. Similar to internal links on your own site, the higher up the page the better. But if you’re linking to your site, you will need to ensure that the page you’re directing readers to is relevant and is in context with the rest of the post.

Always ask yourself “am I adding value to the reader?”.

 

Not all links are created equal: no-follow

Unfortunately, not all links are created equal. Theress an attribute that can sometimes be applied to links called the “nofollow”.

If added, you won’t notice any difference if you’re a user, but by looking at the code of a website (right click on the page, and select “view page source), you may notice the following attribution on a link.

<a href="http://www.example.com" rel="nofollow">Example</a>

In accordance with Google’s guidelines, any paid links (e.g. sponsorship links) should have the no-follow attribute applied to the link (this is done from the publications you’re pitching to, not yourself).

This essentially stops any link equity being passed from one site, to another. If these rules weren’t in place, then large businesses with deep marketing budgets would simply climb up the rankings by implementing a paid/sponsorship link campaign.

Some websites automatically apply this no-follow attribute to guest posts and you can check to see if this is standard practice for a website by installing this extension to Google Chrome:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/meta-seo-inspector/ibkclpciafdglkjkcibmohobjkcfkaef?hl=en

Key takeaway: A healthy link profile should contain both follow, and no-follow links. But at the time of writing, followed links are more likely to help with your SEO rankings.

We’ve just begun to scratch the surface on SEO, but by following these steps, you’ll stand a good chance of improving the visibility of your website, and providing great quality content for both search engines and users alike. And that’s really the key to everything. Always think about creating great content, and always think “am I adding value to the reader”. If you stick by those principles, all you need is some hard work, patience and the occasional thesaurus.

 

The Most Annoying Words On The Internet

The English language is a beautiful thing. Shakespeare, Dickens and 34 years of Countdown are all proof that wondrous words are wonderful. They can simultaneously create elegant works of literature, while providing comforting afternoon entertainment as you cozily dunk a digestive biscuit into a cup of warmish, sugary tea.

English (or more specifically words in general) have of course been used for both good, and the not so good. On the side of all things positive, Martin Luther King’s famous speech helped to change a nations view on civil rights, and Donald Trump’s recent presidential campaign is a reminder to all of us as to what would happen if a chimp accidentally ate a tube of glue.

And it’s the same with the Internet. Yes language evolves and we should warmly accept the new words that are added to the English Oxford Dictionary (about 4,000 every year); but there are some words and phrases that should arguably be stopped before they have the opportunity to totes mess shit up.

Here, in our very humble opinion, are just a few of them.

Totes

A shorter more convenient form of the word: totally.

The word is most commonly used by teenage fans of One Direction, probably from LA. If you used the word 190 times a day, this shorter abbreviation will save you approximately 26.6 seconds. Just enough time to watch Harry, Liam – or one of the other ones – riding a skateboard before jumping into the sea in slow-mo. Totes amazeballs.

totes

Blue-Sky Thinking

Blue sky: To illustrate the freedom to think without preconceptions.

There is a wealth of office related jargonium that is often over-used, and “blue sky thinking” is a fancy and rather irritating alternative for “having a think about stuff”. Rather than making you sound smart and creative, its use conjures up images of having a business meeting on top of a campervan after eating a bag of mushrooms – but maybe that’s the point.

brent

Obv

The abbreviated form of the word: obviously.

Mainly used in text messages by the Kardashian’s, people with Chronic Finger Fatigue and stock brokers who are trying to predict the On Balance Volume of stock prices. To avoid any confusion if Kim suddenly decides to enter the world of banking, Obv should be removed from all non finance related conversations.

obviously

Cray-Cray

Arising from the term “Crazy”.

Calling someone “Cray Cray” is an indication that their craziness just got real. This ultimate second power of crazy implies that a person is SO crazy that they’re either too cool for school, or literally bonkers. It’s often difficult to tell where one stops, and the other begins.

frustrated

Chillax

A combination of the terms “chill” and “relax”.

Considering most slang related terms are abbreviations created to save time, Chillax is longer than both Chill and Relax. Ironically this causes increased levels of stress and cortisol production.

angry

If you have your own personal pet-hates or peeves, just blue-sky it and let us know.

The Beginner’s Guide To Writing a Brilliant Business Blog.

Every piece of digital marketing advice tells you to do it. Other brands seem to be brilliant at it. And the whole thing is turning out to be much harder than it looks. Writing a business blog for your website that’s readable and interesting has benefits from driving traffic to cementing your reputation as a expert in your field – but where do you start?

Read Other Blogger’s Work. 

reading writing

Whether it’s for inspiration, or for finding out exactly what it is you don’t want to do, dedicating some time to find out what others are doing – from full time bloggers to your competitors – is definitely worth doing. If you really hate a blog or writing style, work out if there’s a reason for this. Is it your personal taste, or is it just bad? Think about how you can avoid being similarly terrible, if this is indeed what it is, and take a little time to work what it is about your own writing that will make you stand apart.

Also, if you make sure you don’t steal any ideas (which is very frowned upon in both internet-land and in real life), there’s a world of creativity out there to draw from.  A little time spent looking around what’s already been written should get your brain sparking with inspiration, and let you work out how your voice is going be heard in a noisy market.

Focus.

writing focus blog

Writing content that people will want to read is not something you can do in a spare half hour. You need to set aside time, and then you need to focus, even if your brain is in full rebellion and wants to go watch Corrie or get on with something it thinks is more urgent. You’ll have to be strict with yourself, and let your brain sulk as much as it wants.

Think Around Your Subject.

thinking writing

Now there’s a reason you started your business. It’s your particular area of expertise, something you are passionate about, and something that requires the skills that you excel in. If you find yourself staring at a blank page, bereft of inspiration, with no idea about how to start writing about your brand, think around your business and rely on your enthusiasm for the subject. While “Top Tips” guides and writing about the industry news of the day will always be popular and completely valid choices, there are other ways to engage your audience.

If your industry, craft or service has a long and interesting history, write about this. For example, people working in insurance could explore particularly fascinating cases, those who run a café could talk about the favourite cafés of famous literary figures, and a jeweller may explain the story of the world’s most remarkable precious stones. There’s huge scope whatever your business specialises in, and if you can’t find anything directly to write about then your blog is a brilliant opportunity to showcase your business practises, and let people get to know you and your staff.

Beat Writers Block By Writing.

writers block

Write anything. Type out any words that have the vaguest association with your subject. Brainstorm until your brain hurts. You don’t have to publish what you write and you can edit away later, the trick is to get away from a blank page. Even the most ridiculous gibberish can have a glint of a idea in it, and if not, at least it will make you chuckle reading it back.

Reread and Edit. A lot.

writing editing business blog

Oh, typos, they are nearly inevitable. Everyone does them. And you may think that if you haven’t accidentally replaced the N with a C in “funk” or left out the L in “clock” that it’s fine, and people will be understanding. But unfortunately, they are not. Pedants hide in every corner of the internet and if they aren’t ready to fact-check every inch of your article or pull apart your grammar, even the average reader will find misspellings and typos unprofessional.

While your tone can be conversational, and perfect grammar isn’t always necessary if it’s going to detract from your writing style (lots of people will start a sentence with a “But”, for example) generally you will need to be spot on, or it will reflect badly on your attention to detail. Also, something that you thought was a brilliant idea may, after a bit of contemplation, suddenly seem very ill-advised. Make sure you get at least one other person to look over your work, re-read carefully and edit ruthlessly.

Have fun! 

ha

There’s a reason why people blog in their spare time – it’s FUN. This is a chance for you to write about what you care about, connect with others, and express yourself. Take advantage of this opportunity for a creative outlet, and you could find that writing your blog could become one of the pleasures of running a business.

Title Image Credit- Sharon Drummond 

What Do The New Facebook “Reactions” Mean For Your Brand?

Things are about to get a lot more emotional over on Facebook. After years of resisting a “dislike” button for fear of making the social media behemoth too negative, Mark Zuckerberg has introduced Facebook Reactions – icons that allow users to respond in a much more emotionally expressive manner than has previously been available. While the “Like” button is still in action, the narrow scope of this function (where you were limited to either liking or ignoring a post. Unless of course you decided to comment with your opinions instead, which anyone who’s ended up in a Facebook argument with oddly virulent strangers knows can be a big mistake) led to users demanding more options.

In this update, this is exactly what they have. Now you can love a post, express your sadness, and even let people know your frustration. With some small potential to ruin friendships, (“Why did you say that my selfie made you angry?!”) posts will now show their top three reactions- putting brands in the new position of knowing when their followers and customers have responded negatively to their content.  Or, indeed, absolutely loved it.

fackbook reactions
Image Credit: Facebook

This is fairly unchartered territory. People are famously free and easy with their opinions on the internet, and can be much ruder than they would ever be in real life. This being said, more often than not people on Facebook would either like a post, or scroll past it, even when it elicited a minor negative reaction. The lack of an appropriate response to convey their feelings meant that they simply went unrecorded.

Previously, brands would know by the number of engagements- measured in comments and likes- how their content had gone down, but only in the broadest sense possible. Now, if you were aiming to be funny, you can have a much better idea whether the joke completely bombed by the lack of “Haha” reactions. You’ll also be much more aware if you’ve pissed customers off. Of course, if you wanted to evoke an angry emotion in your audience (perhaps in a “look how outrageous and unfair this is”) then an “Angry” response will be exactly what you were looking for, but generally brands will be aiming to be Loved.

Unfortunately, although you can assess with much more accuracy how people feel about your branded content with Reactions, in marketing terms it’s still a very blunt tool. An “Angry” response counts as engagement as much as a “Love” response does, and at the time being companies have no powers to target their content according to these reactions. So a post may be getting an overwhelmingly negative response – but it’s still engagement, and Facebook will still target your ads at these Facebook users, simply because they have interacted with you.

In finding out more about your audience, and tailoring your content, Facebook Reactions will be an incredibly useful tool. Being able to distinguish between what people have Liked and Loved will give a much greater insight into what goes down really well, rather than just fairly well, and you can assess whether your posts have had the emotional response that you intended. You will also know very quickly if a large number of people have found your post offensive, and it will increase empathetic relationships between brand and consumer.

A potential downside, apart from the current inability to target ads based on Reactions, is a new nervousness when you are creating content. Even a few “Angry” responses that you didn’t foresee or intend could really throw you off your stride and shake confidence, especially given the very public nature of this medium. Here it’s important to remember that not everyone will be a fan. If your pleasing most people, then there’s not an issue, especially as only the top three reactions will be displayed to those viewing your posts.

Targeting your ads accurately so they do not irritate the people for whom they are irrelevant will be a good start in making sure your reactions are positive, and you should be aware that many more people are now going to be empowered to interact with your content. Where the limited emotional range of the “Like” button meant that many people who would see your posts didn’t engage with them, the Reaction buttons gives them much more a chance to do so. This could be a great opportunity for your brand, and this new insight could end up improving your social media presence and benefitting your business.

Changes To Adwords: Organic Search Just Became A Little Bit Harder

After some initial testing, Google have now rolled out their new search layout, removing the paid text ads that we’ve been accustomed to viewing at the side of the SERP’s – and it’s a fairly significant shake up!

Removing up to 10 ads from the side of the results page essentially leaves less “real estate” for businesses to promote themselves. It’s early stages, but we may see a generic increase in Cost Per Click rates as businesses vie for first page positions.

Google have also included an additional paid listing at the top of the page from three, to four ads.

Changes to Adwords

In response to the changes, Google have stated:

“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers. ”

So basically you’re more likely to see this new layout for very popular queries where there’s an intention to buy a product or service. It’s less effective for a user to be presented with four paid ads if they’re in the research phase, or simply using Google to find our how long sheep spend chewing grass.

For brand searches a user will typically see the knowledge graph….

Knowledge Graph

….and for products, PLA’s (Product Listing Ads) will appear.

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 10.42.51

With fewer choices for a user to click on, advertisers on the first page may see an increase in their Click Through Rates, but it may come at the expense of having to ramp up the maximum Cost Per Click you’re willing to spend.

What all of this ultimately means for SEO, is that for some of the more popular queries, the old “first position” in organic search will now move down a place. Long tail search queries appear to be unaffected so depending on your strategy, it could be business as usual or you may see a slight decrease in organic traffic. It’s time to take a close look at Analytics over the coming weeks.

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