Companies in the UK have ramped up their investment in paid search and SEO this year as the economy has emerged tentatively from recession, according to research published today.
The proportion of companies saying they plan to increase spending on search engine optimization (SEO or natural search) over the next year has increased to 60% from 55%last year.
Pay-per-click search advertising is also buoyant, with 52% of companies planning to raise their budgets for paid search over the next 12 months compared to only 45% who said they would do so in 2009.
While the majority of companies are increasing their search budgets, only 14% said they are planning to decrease their paid search spending and only 4% plan to spend less on SEO.
In late March 2010, rumors were swirling that search engine giant Google, Inc. was preparing to launch its own SEO (search engine optimization) firm. In early April, Google put an end to the rumors and unveiled a plan to open the SEO agency as early as May. Apparently, this project had been in the pipeline for quite some time and Google had done an excellent job of keeping it secret. In light of that, it is easy to believe that those March rumors were in fact Google manipulations, at least an attempt to test the waters before a formal announcement.
Now, Google is assembling a Google SEO team of approximately 100 employees. The company professes that their intentions are noble. Google wants to set the standard for an industry that outsiders so often criticize. Google SEO promises to use only the most ethical practices to increase a client’s PageRank™, and they promise to do it without adding to the spam glut that currently exists on the Internet. However, the fact remains that Google SEO will be the only SEO agency in the world that can guarantee first page rankings because they are the only company that will have access to the algorithm that dictates it.
In addition, early estimates place the cost of this service in the neighborhood of $25,000 per month. Not only does Google have a monopoly on the search engine optimization, they will be fostering an environment of exclusivity. Google will cripple the thousands of small Internet business vying for your attention. That is not to say that it is currently easy for small business but at least they have the opportunity.
So consider the situation where a firm owns the audience and owns the power to give or take away visibility from a business. Now imagine that they offer you the path to greater visibility, at a cost. The nonprofessional might not know the intricacies of antitrust laws but he or she knows a racket when they see one and this is, at least potentially, a racket. Again, Google promises to do the ethical thing but it begs the question, do we want to trust a corporation to do the ethical thing or do we want to legislate law that mandates it?
Are you worried? Well I’m not, maybe knowing Google as well as I do, remember I sold my company to them, I know how rank page 1 for what we want, but it might well put paid to the cowboys out there.
Most companies see SEO (search engine optimization) as a black hole. It’s full of technical terms, and they don’t easily understand it. As a result, they treat SEO as a nice-to-have rather than a necessity, and as an IT project. The executives who control the purse strings can’t easily distinguish between paid and organic/natural search. So, it’s up to marketers to help them understand, because until they do, they won’t spend the money.
Then who’s to blame for your company’s marketing failures? And who gets credit for its marketing successes? The answer should be Search Engine Optimization, along with PPC (pay per click) and every other facet of your marketing programs. It must be held accountable if it wants a seat at the table with the big boys.
Natural search is the most under-spent channel in internet marketing. Even though most site traffic comes through search, it only gets about 10 percent of the budget because natural search is difficult to put a price tag on. Companies tend to just direct their spending to paid (PPC) search.
It’s also important to put a long term plan in place. Rather than work toward a single, final goal, set up milestones which allow you to measure your progress to get you there. This will keep you on the path to success. All kinds of measures will work well – number of keywords, traffic flow, number of indexed backlinks, search engine rankings. Using an easy to follow metric to track your SEO success, and where you need to make improvements will only improve your internet marketing strategy as a whole.
Everyone it seems is a search engine optimization expert these days. Blogs, forums, webinars, seminars, videos, and pretty much every other method of teaching seems to have a tinge of SEO flavour to it. While SEO itself isn’t a terribly difficult concept, in practice, it’s an art.
Most anyone can “brute force” their way with optimization, just following good practices can get you a long ways on the SERPs. Constructive relevant text, a friendly and engaging user experience, and don’t clutter your site with flash animations, and videos (hint: search engines don’t have eyes). Really basic search engine optimization can be broken down into three basic principles really:
Keep it simple
Keep it clean
Keep it interesting
More often than not, when speaking with a prospective client about their website and their honest chances at landing a position for their desired terms, it’s a somewhat uphill struggle when telling them that the oodles of cash they’ve spent on their dynamically interactive and splashy website, is invisible to the search engines. It’s an even longer fight, when you have to tell them that the company they initially hired to optimize their site, and charged them hundreds if not thousands of dollars, did nothing for them.
Search engine optimization is not flash in the pan, it is not search engine marketing (like AdWords), it is not submitting your website to hundreds of search engines. There are three that matter, Google, Bing and Yahoo; and of the three.. the world knows which is king.
Follow the priniciples, don’t get discouraged, and if you’re getting traffic but not making sales, check your premise first, before blaming the vehicle. And don’t be handily fooled by those saying they know the “secrets to SEO” and will share (for only $49!!). SEO is as much an art, as it is a science, and the differences between the artists and the weekenders, is fully evident on the SERPs.
In the last 3 years I have been told the Internet is a Fad and recently Social Media is no better, I think the following video says it all. Here at Fresh Traffic we can help you, not only with social media marketing, but with online branding, SEO and Internet Marketing Solutions.
We are the leading company in Winnipeg, Manitoba supplying these services.
Sure it rolls of the tongue, just like the late night informercials selling juicers and vaccuum packing machines to help save you storage space. But can you really teach or inform a room of, safest to assume, people who’ve never heard the term before?
Doesn’t seem to make a lick of sense when you think of it as such, and anyone who is truly in the know in the industry will tell you, SEO isn’t something you learn, teach, or even give a strong idea of, over a long lunch.
Say it with me – Search engine optimization is not quick fix. It is not flash in the pan success in advertising. SEO is long term, strategic success in online marketing. It’s a long term plan, with very real, very measurable results in driving traffic to your website.
Recently, it’s seemed that an additional misunderstanding of SEO is that it doesn’t sell your products or services well enough. Optimization isn’t a salesman so to speak, SEO is more like the car the salesman used to get to your home in order to sell you the goods. It doesn’t matter if the salesman (your website) arrived in a gleaming, brand new, state of the art shuttle (SEO), if it’s poorly dressed and hard to understand it’s goals and motives.
You may be advised to have a new website built, to have it restructured, or any number of things. Traffic and exposure to the world is our business. We will bring you the people, it’s up to you to sell yourself from there on in.
Not that this is terribly long to read, but to summarize ::
SEO is NOT a get rich quick business model.
SEO is NOT to be taken lightly.
SEO is NOT a salesman, it’s a vehicle to bring you your customers.
SEO IS the best return on investment, marketing wise, that you can use for your business.
SEO IS long term.
SEO IS is becoming increasingly important, every single day.
SEO IS much, much more than Twitter, Facebook, blogging and Adsense.
Don’t be fooled into simple explanations for the artful science of search engine optimization. You do yourself, and the industry a disservice.
With the trend online leaning towards social media as a communication medium for the masses, should it really be any surprise that even CEO’s are announcing their resignations with these methods? Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz, announced via Twitter, that he’d resigned his post. Not in a news release, not in a formal announcement in the papers, Twitter.
In another, unrelated story, it’s been found that the youth of this generation (12-29) are straying from the idea of blogging, citing reasons such as, it’s time consuming, people will just get disinterested, etc. Strangely however, they’re not flocking to Twitter as most may think, but using mobile messaging and browsing means; over half of 18-29 year olds using mobile technology as their main means of online activity.
No, this doesn’t mean SEO is dead, dwindling, or disappearing anytime soon. In fact, it means you need to focus on it even more than ever before as time rushes on. The internet, and it’s generation, evolve, adapt, and absorb information faster than any other before it. Attentions spans are shorter, but if you provide the quality, loyalty is also higher.
The world has always moved, inexorably towards it’s digital embodiment, and that growth is becoming faster each year as technology improves. It’s an age of (mostly) free information exchange, whether it be in business, or socially exchanged, and if you’re not findable now, presenting your best face to the world, you’re going to get lost as the wave grows.
The future isn’t coming, it’s already here. Just like nature wipes out those species who don’t evolve, the same will happen online, if you don’t catch the wave, you’re going to just get swept away. Let Fresh help you stay the course, and instead of being swept along, lead the pack and find yourself on top where you belong.
Caveat emptor “Let the buyer beware”, a latin phrase which basically means you get what you pay for. Sure there are deals to be had, sometimes you find the diamond in the rough, but in the professional business world, if you pay for junk, you’re going to get junk.
Being frugal, isn’t necissarily a bad thing, it can be however, when you wind up making poor decisions to try and save a few dollars. Which, to be honest, will end up costing you more in the end. The reason for bringing up this point is because of the exponential growth of SEO companies in general.
There are definite points to bear in mind when conducting your checks on companies claiming to be providing website optimization. Criteria such as:
Do they have a website?
Is their site even found within Google/Bing results pages for optimization search terms?
Is their site easy to use/navigate so I can find information on the services they provide?
When speaking to a company offering SEO services, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some companies are cheaper than others. However, when it comes to the web, caveat emptor, is just as applicable, and in some cases even more so. There’s no pricing structure assigned to website optimization, no standard flat rate that everyone gets charged. This isn’t a do-it-yourself industry, it’s not something anyone can just pick up and master with a try or two.
It’s the difference between a gas jockey at the local pump station and a Nascar pit crew. If all you want is to be found on the internet, go ahead and put your website up. The spiders will crawl it, index it, and place you accordingly based on the site you’ve made and what it contains. If you want to rise to the top, and you have only a vague idea as to what to do, your best bet is to call in the experts. It’s what we do, it’s what we’re known for, and it’s a skillset no one else in town has.
If you’d rather be cost concious, by all means hire the guy working from his basement who’s only charging you **$200 per month and guarantee you #1 in Google. You’ll get exactly what you pay for, but just remember that when you’re lost on the results pages, can’t find yourself in the top 1000.. there won’t be much we can do for you except advise you to probably start over. From scratch, again. Save yourself time, effort, and aggravation in the end; the Freshtraffic team has the skillset, experience, and knowledge to get you where you belong.
**(Not a farce,I found this “service” being offered earlier today)
Search engine optimization is pretty much the big deal in terms of online marketing. It’s a powerful tool, that when leveraged and implemented properly, can almost cement a position for you within the SERPs on Google and Bing.
Writing quality content, building an intricately connected website, working daily to acquire as many backlinks as humanly possible are incredibly powerful means to formalize your place. But like any other business practice, there’s a right way to do things, and a wrong way to do things. What happens, when you have beatufilly written, unique content, and someone unscrupulous comes along and decides to take it for themselves? You find yourself in a situation much like Fresh did earlier today.
We had someone contact us who wanted information on affiliate marketing and how she could make money, online, without a website, with our help. A tad puzzled, we inquired further, and learned that she’d gotten our name from a different website, which had no contact information. Seeing as ours was the only name actually on the site, she Googled our number, and gave us a call. After explaining that we weren’t able to help her in her search for easy money for no work online, we delved into the website url she’d given us and noticed some very poorly lifted content from our website.
Not only, had they directly copied and pasted our content onto their site, they hadn’t even bothered to change any of the links contained within. So, all of the links were there, broken, but contained within the body of which they’d copied. So plagarized text, broken links, as well as links back to our site and some of our pages. The real kicker about it though, is not only does it not work for them in terms of having unique content of any kind, but it also demeans our repuatation online. Just because we didn’t build the site, because it’s found on such a disreputable site, we’re lumped into the same bin as they are.
Some of the more technical aspects, in essence both sites could get flagged for duplicate content when it’s picked up. Generally, the spiders will note it, find that one site is older (in this case ours) and disregard the other. But until it’s determined which site is the owner of the content in question, both sites get marked as having duplicate content, hurting both.
The web is a huge repository of.. everything, but that doesn’t give free license for people to search for the highest ranking sites for particular terms, and help themselves to the (probable) years of successful SEO results. If you find yourself in the position of wanting to rip off someone elses site, be prepared for the consequences.
It seems to be a consistent trend when a new client meets with us, telling us about their incredible website which they’ve paid (sometimes) thousands of dollars to have it built for them, only for us to turn around and tell them plainly “I’m sorry, but this is terrible to work with”.
Having a flair for style is a great thing when it comes to being a designer, but there are some key points which designers should always bear in mind when constructing a new website, whether for themselves, or for a client. It’s time, I think, to cover just the bear minimum of basics for all of you web designers out there.
1. Title and Meta tags
Important to your site, as a note, don’t try and wedge all of your keywords into these places, it can just get you a mark for trying to be overly spammy. Too many marks, and your website can actually start working against you.
2. Avoid frames, keep flash and java to a minimum
Frames are a no-no code wise for a great long time now, it’s sloppy, looks terribly unprofessional, and best to be avoided completetly.
Flash and Java, while they can add some neat tricks or interesting effects to your site, don’t make a lick of sense to Google.
3. Alt attributes
It’s simple, as with Flash and (some) Java : spiders can’t see pictures. the “alt” tag is there for you tell the spiders what it’s looking at.
4. Use clean, valid mark up.
Make your HTML clean and simple – don’t use tables or use lots of unnecessary DIVs. This will improve your load time which is great for visitors and also make it easier for search engines to crawl and find your page’s content.
5. Make use of header tags
Think of header tags like chapter titles within a book, makes it easy to navigate the index of pages contained within.
6. Try descriptive link text
Linking your website together just makes the navigation better, period, for both bots/spiders and a user experience. Try to avoid things like “click here” and the like.
7. Help bots crawl your site
Bots/spiders are pretty good at navigating your site, but just like having an index or table of contents to a book, it’s helpful to have the same in place for your website. A well formed footer, or sitemap only helps our job as SEO’s when you come to us to assist your rankings online.
All of the above tips, are very basic tips that all web designers should already know and bear in mind when constructing a website. But it is always a good idea to brush up on the fundamentals. Because often times, designers can’t see a forest for the trees.