Here’s a really nice article which might be of use to those a bit unsure about the whole “SEO” business. Answers to 18 SEO Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask on the Hubspot Blog covers topics from What is SEO? to What is the difference between index(ing) and crawling?. My main criticism, given the level at which the article is pitched, would be the How long does it take to see results from SEO? answer, which suggests that you might see changes you’ve made reflected in a few days. You probably will do, but the question should probably have been How long does it take to see changes I’ve made reflected in the search engines? Most beginners define “seeing results from SEO” as “getting my website up to the top of the Google results from nowhere”, and this can take months, and possibly years.
So as we know, Google is no longer sending us the search terms which people used to find our site – at least not through Google Analytics, anyway. If there’s one thing we all need to have learned from the data while it was provided, it’s just how much of our Google traffic came from searches on our company name. I’ve seen sites where 95% of all visits from Google had just typed in the company name, and 50% to 75% is not unusual.
At the other extreme, however, are the one-off searches which make you think “why would anyone type that into Google?” and “why would Google then suggest our site?”. Inspired by this article on the Hubspot blog, here are my all-time favourites. These have all been typed into Google and have led people to the BMON website. I shall miss knowing about them.
1. “can you recommend a company to do our adwords bmon”
Er… yes. I guess we can.
2. “careful with that axe”
One for the teenagers, there.
3. “do you switch the kitchen light out with your chin”
One for the Half Man Half Biscuit fans, there.
4. “google adwords more visits than enquiries”
The MD’s just asked why we don’t have a 150% conversion rate.
5. “how many businesses use online marketing”
6. “here you go a half”
Cheers. Don’t mind if I do.
7. “how do you delete everything of google”
I’m sure some other search engines are working on that right now.
8. “irritating emails”
9. “can a panda hurt me?”
Possibly. They don’t realise their own strength, you know.
10. “can you find out more for us?”
I’ll do my best. Now what’s the question?
11. “do up your buttons”
Yes. I do not want any scruffy readers, you hear me?
12. “example for how tolk salsman with costemor”
My advice is to stick to the verbal presentations, for a start.
13. “fish just resting”
As opposed to working hard in the marketing department?
14. “great unanswered questions”
Gosh, er …how do the road gritters get to work, perhaps?
15. “my website vanished”
Don’t look at me.
16. “police car drawing up”
I’m sorry officer, I was looking at the BMON website…
17. “chris rand death of marketing”
We all want to be influential, but that would be remarkable.
18. “he call me dear online”
There’ll be a police car drawing up outside his house soon.
19. “how long should i try magazine advertising”
About 45 years, ending around 2003, I’d say.
20. “who are you if no bodies looking”
If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound?
Keep an eye on LinkedIn advertising. Those of you who use LinkedIn regularly will need no convincing that it’s an interesting possible option, but for those of you who don’t, it’s important to accept that many of your prospects and customers do use the site a lot of the time. And you may be able to benefit by being there.
Traditional LinkedIn advertising has just put little panels on the side of a page, like Google AdWords on the search network but with a small image. LIke all good advertising nowadays, it works on a pay-per-click basis, so no response means no charge. That’s great, but LinkedIn can offer so much more, and it’s beginning to do so. Firstly, it can take advantage of something which most other advertising outlets don’t have: it already has all their users’ details. So if prospects are interested in your product, all they have to do is to click “Yes, get in contact with me please”, and LinkedIn can pass on their details without any forms needing to be completed:
Now comes the ability to put messages in LinkedIn users’ newsfeeds. Again, if you’re not a regular LinkedIn user, you may not be aware how the service now looks, and it’s worth catching up. So if you have a post on your company page which you’d like people to see, you can select an audience to promote it to, and put the post in their newsfeeds. In the old days we’d have called this “advertorial”, but there’s no doubt that it’s a professional and acceptable form of advertising. There’s more on how to set this up in the article How to Use LinkedIn’s ‘Sponsored Updates,’ a New Type of Ad for Company Pages on Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing blog.
As a former journalist and magazine editor, my inclination is to follow my news-writing training and use the “inverted pyramid” method for technical articles. I also advise others to use it too. This involves getting the main information up front, and introducing progressively less important stuff as the article goes on.
However, in Why the Inverted Pyramid Doesn’t Work for Business Blogs on the Hubspot Inbound Internet Marketing blog, the author argues that online, people dont consume information in the way the inverted pyramid presents it, and certainly for more general articles, other approaches should be considered. I’m not going to argue with that, as the alternatives presented make a lot of sense, and I probably don’t write these articles in inverted pyramid style either. “List articles”, which always work well online, are a good example of a different technique. One of the commenters on the article even suggests using the same principle as presentations: “tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; and then tell them what you told them.”
Whatever your view, planning what style of article you’re going to implement is always a good starting point before you start typing.
An interesting new tool provided by Google will only be of use in rare instances, but it’s worth knowing about, especially if your company has engaged in cheap “search engine optimisation” (SEO) in the past. What bad SEO services tend to do is to plant links on some really “spammy” websites – a technique which might have had some short-term success once upon a time, but which has little effect nowadays and – critically – is moving towards being actively counterproductive. If your website’s “backlink profile” (the list of sites which link to you) is full of dodgy sites, which you’re quite certain are harming its performance in the Google results, you might like to take a look at Google’s “Disavow Links” tool. This lets you ask Google to not consider such links. It’s not supposed to be some sort of recovery system if your site ever plummets down the Google results because it falls foul of a change in Google’s ranking algorithms. That’ll probably be too late. If you’re worried about what might have happened in the past, I’d get a reputable SEO consultant to examine your site before doing anything, but on the off-chance that they suggest using the “Disavow Links” tool, it is a legitimate approach. As I said, this tool is unlikely to be one most companies will ever need, but if you want to know more, There’s a good background article on Hubspot’s Inbound Internet Marketing blog here.