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Slow and Steady Wins the Race: The Road to Olympic and SEO Gold

Many prospective clients we speak with come to us seeking immediate results with a turn of a knob here and tweak there. Though Seach Engine Optimisation is our bread and butter, it is an industry that is constantly changing, and adapting to that change is part of our job on behalf of our clients to keep them in the game against their competitors. So unfortunately the implementation of SEO services is not as simple as doing a specific set of actions for a client and cashing their cheque without a second thought; it requires careful testing and re-testing, evaluating the needs of their customers as well as close discussion with the client themselves. Just as we expect that our clients treat each and every one of their customers as individual and unique consumers, we treat all of our clients differently.

So one must not expect SEO to be an added on feature to boost one’s business; something that can be bought or tacked on to give a quick boost. Yes, you may obtain some brief success but that is all it will be; brief, and I can’t overstate the temporary nature of that success enough. SEO must not be ‘turned off’ when you see that your website traffic is up; it is integral in seriously redirecting focus and initiative towards exploring new goals, markets, and avenues of income.

I thought I would bang you over the head once more with something Olympic-themed to explain the long-term game. Watching press clips of various athletes speaking of how they have trained for years and years, their whole lives building to these few weeks, brought to mind the steady process required for your business to properly reap the full rewards.

We have many enquiries who expect the world immediately though they do not recognise that this requires a long-term relationship. That is why usually, I Say! Digital will offer initial services that are smaller and cheaper so as not to falsely present clients with promises of the impossible. Then once we can prove that we can make a difference, we can move forward and discuss additional services.

Business is all about the here-and-now. What does it matter if you were doing well this time five years ago, if you’re close to failure now? Similarly, no athlete wants to peak too early whether in their career, or in one race; effort and conditioning is preserved for when it really matters; when everyone is watching and when most is at stake. No business wants to do well temporarily and then simply fall away like a runner who trails further and further behind having at one time led the pack. The bigger the mountain, the greater the victory.

Why doesn’t a track-runner just strap a rocket to their back? The SEO equivalent is obvious keyword-stuffing on a site; and seeing someone get away with it while you’re doing the right things can be a bitter pill to swallow. Some of the more sneakier, covert tactics like hiding text on your site by disguising it as the same colour as your background are more along the lines of performance-enhancing drugs, which don’t show up on the surface as clearly. While these black hat tactics are promised and utilised by some agencies, Google will see this and (if not immediately) will penalise you. Stigmas related to quick fixes or cheats in the sporting world can ruin a reputation, and the same can be said for black hat techniques for businesses who risk ruining their own image by taking on the wrong SEO agency.

Visit our contact page to find out how to find us and get in touch to discuss the proper way to get you found.

How We Use Social Media – Meeting the Team Part 1

Recently here in Peacehaven, we have undergone some changes; we have said goodbye to Cat (congrats on the wedding!) and are awaiting the arrival of our new intern and dog (two distinct members, I assure you). In this new series of blogs, I decided that, following this re-structuring, we would get to know each member of the office, looking at how they use social media in their day-to-day lives.

I thought I would begin by interviewing…. myself, so we could ease in to things slowly. So here we go; I promise not to sound too much like Jekyll and Hyde.

Paul

So Paul, what is your role at I Say! Digital?

I began an internship here in May, and have recently been offered a full-time position as a team co-ordinator. I perform quite a range of tasks from content writing which includes proof-reading, corresponding with contributors, managing social media accounts, some PPC, proposals, maintaining our own site, offering ideas to increase business and the odd bit of taking things to the recycling point. Pretty much anything that helps business chug along day-to-day. Going forward I’ll be a project manager on a few things too.

And what social media networks do you use?

Well Paul, I use the biggies like Facebook, Twitter and Google+; though with G+ it has taken me a while to get into and integrate into my routine. It was more when I began my internship here and started to follow those in the SEO and social media industry, that it became a worthwhile pursuit. I’m also a keen Redditor, because it collates everything that appeals to me in one site, and I like the idea of an internet democracy which votes on what is quality content.

Any that you stay away from?

I’ve never really used things like Foursquare because I didn’t have a smartphone until recently so it seemed a bit pointless to just sign in to being at home or work. I’ll probably start using that a bit more especially when going to conferences, like Brighton SEO, in the next few months. I’m not a huge Pinterest fan either as it all seems a bit disorganised and random to me, though I occasionally come across a really great image that becomes my screensaver.

What do you gain most from social media?

I’m a huge television geek, and watch loads of obscure shows from America. I like being able to stay up late when they’re broadcast over there, and see what people on Twitter are saying while a show like Breaking Bad or Community airs. Because I don’t really know anyone who watches the same shows as I do (everyone else has a social life), and don’t have the proverbial water-cooler around which to talk about them, I can bring the water-cooler to me, so to speak. I like the idea of getting instant reactions rather than wait the next day. It’s also really cool to see the variety of places that bands I like are in at that moment. It took me a while to get into the way Tweets were so fragmented and broken up but now it’s plain sailing.

Why did you choose social media to be a part of your career?

I never really considered it because, to be honest, it seemed too good a prospect to even consider a viable option. It was only through being an administrator for a music society at University, where we used social media to plan for events and get discussions going, that I gained my first experience outside of my personal leisure. I had a really terrible experience in my first grad job, which wasn’t media-related, and realised that doing something that you really get a sense of fulfillment and personal satisfaction out of  means so much more and so I looked into it. It’s been hard starting over and learning a lot of background that I didn’t previously in my degree, but it’s been completely worth it and I actually enjoy listening to podcasts about SEO and social media in my free time; on my commute, I can easily go through ten episodes of geeky chatter about relevant updates.

So you use social media during your day?

Pretty much from when I wake up to when I go to sleep, more so now I have my snazzy phone. I can keep in touch with what my friends are up to without sending a long message to each of them with the same questions. What is quite nice is a lot of the tools or sites I use at work are different to those I use in my free time, and with changes occurring every month in this industry, it’s a cat-and-mouse game of grabbing people’s attention. The best part is when you completely forget that not everyone is in tune with social media, especially in our line of work where many business owners don’t realise the potential in having an online presence. Walking clients through the fundamentals of our SEO services is enjoyable, but when you can see how passionate they are about their own business and you show them that they can express this in a way that can actually impact their bottom line, it’s fantastic. Often the perception is that a social media or SEO strategy will be additional work which is completely the wrong mind-frame.

“SEO-lympics”: Social Media in business during the Olympics

seo olympicsThis year, the Olympics will be on everybody’s lips and subsequently at their fingertips too as they tweet their thoughts and update their Facebook profile photos with photos of themselves at these events. Simply, these will dominate the trending topics as something always has to.

While everyone will be enjoying these events, hopefully in the sun, business must go on. In industries and companies of various sizes, work will trudge along in order to keep in touch with current customers, while aiming to reach new ones as well. To do this, it would make sense to take advantage of these current sport and cultural events and jump on the bandwagon to get some publicity. Just like television advertising is currently littered with brands calling themselves the “official shampoo of the Olympics” or the “official bathroom cleaner of the Olympics”, social media will be provide a great advertising platform, but eve more current as updates may be posted at a moment’s notice.

But why is this important? Last November, Google highlighted the importance of content that reflects the very latest news and events with its Freshness update, where SERPS will prioritise the most recently-updated content which is relevant to what is happening right now. It is widely known that Google loves fresh content anyway. Meanwhile Facebook is once again planning to update its Timeline look by testing an interface where your basic details are not listed underneath your profile photo but on top of your cover photo; people often complain that these changes are infuriating and unnecessary, however one must appreciate that Facebook is at least attempting to evolve and keep people on their toes before they get bored and leave.

So we understand the importance of being on the cutting edge. While we are brimming with huge happenings this summer, we always need something to talk about and distract us from work and boring conversations on our tiny screens. So how will social media compliment our summer 2012 experience? And how will businesses make the most of it? Here are a few suggestions.

As well as a platform for individuals to discuss and express their enjoyment, sadness, enthusiasm and disenchantment, businesses will be wise to interject on these conversations. First of all, brands which are purchasing advertising space will be exposed like no other with user-generated photos of their ads and logos being forwarded very, very frequently and not limited to the television coverage as it was a decade ago. Businesses will likely attempt to humanise their images by beginning discussions about a particular event that has nothing to do with their business dealings; there would be no direct attempt to sell a product or inform about their current state, but simply make people aware they exist and are interested in the same things as you. Additionally, with more eyes than ever on their social networks, there are more potential clients seeing a brand’s campaigns. The popular discounts they usually share to their followers via these means will possibly be seen by more people, and may in turn generate more revenue. This brings to mind one classic episode of The Simpsons, where Krusty Burger offers a free burger for every gold medal America wins; while businesses may not be as audacious (read: moronic) and do something similar, they may be wise to offer congratulations to winners as events occur to stay relevant and in tune with what will inevitably be trending at the time.

These are just a few off-the-top ideas and off course will not be relevant to all businesses; it does depend on their specialty or industry, and other factors like location, resources, income etc. A more detailed campaign, tailored to your objectives, like that which we offer at I Say! Digital, would need to be planned and executed with more precision and thought. As well as the events themselves, it will be very interesting to keep an eye on the role social media will play as well.

This will be likely be the first of several articles which tie into the Olympics so bookmark us or keep checking back in the near future for more, and of course share this article with those who may be interested.

SEO and Learning the Basics

It’s difficult to know what to say to people when you’re trying to explain the actual process and meaning behind that magic three letter acronym, SEO. I got into this conversation today with someone who happened to be a social worker and I was trying to best explain what it means. “Search engine optimisation” was my answer to, “what on earth is SEO?”. When I gave him the answer he looked visibly overwhelmed.

Don’t be. If you like infographics then you’re going to love the SEO and marketing resources we’ve been curating at Pinterest, and scrolling through the variety of easy to understand visuals is probably an easier way to show a ‘newbie’ the nuts ‘n’ bolts of how the whole thing works.

How to learn SEO

 One of the most informative of the infographics we’ve collected on this subject for a while (and we’ve seen a few!) was put together by marketing agency Koozai, who gathered a veritable who’s who of SEO and search engine marketing superstars for their personal input. People like Danny Sullivan, Google’s Matt Cutts and Joost de Valk from Yoast (the people behind the definitive WordPress SEO plugin).

The links and information on this single infographic are worth their weight in gold and will go some way to turning the lights on the subject if you feel you’re in the dark and baffled by the terminology and relative ‘geek-speak’ usually spoken of in hush tones. Pagerank, SERPS, Panda updates and the like!

Brighton SEO (where we’ll be in a few days!) get a mention in the round up of SEO conferences too, nice to see our local area getting a shout out and we hope to meet up with a bunch of new faces and contacts whilst we’re there.

Domain Name Tips For New Brands

ISayDigital domain name tips

It may not be something you would be thinking of when naming your new brand but a useful tip if you have yet to decide, is to search Google for instances of your proposed brand. If it’s unique and available then the next stage is to check whether the .com and .co.uk domain reg is available.

Don’t take it for granted that because Google didn’t find it, that it’s available, many people (like us!) buy domains on a whim after coming up with an idea and either sit on the name or ‘speculate’ (ie: hold on to the name for a while in the hope that it becomes valuable).

Make no mistake, having your own domain name is an essential part of your online branding and with a .com costing around £10 a year, you really have no excuse for not owning one!Owning your own domain name and having your own website adds value to your brand and is also added security for your data (because you own it, not someone else).

It’s also important to choose a keyword rich domain name, to help your search to rise to the top of the search results naturally. If you need help choosing a great domain name and getting it registered, it’s all part of our service.

One crucial bit of advice, keep your hands on control of your domain name at all times. Do not give administrative powers or ownership to a third party. Many a sad story has been told about somebody losing their domain name usually by forgetting to renew (put it on auto!) but also by giving admin powers to some fly-by-night webhost, web designer or angry ex-manager. If someone other than you can get access to your domain DNS you could be asking for trouble, so keep those logins safe!

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