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FAQs: Natural / Organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation – a.k.a. SEO – involves undertaking a multitude of tasks in order to achieve top search engine rankings for targeted keywords. This ensures your listings are highly visible to online users when they conduct a search using targeted keywords, thereby greatly increasing the likelihood that your listing is the one that is clicked on.

What is meant by Natural or Organic SEO?

This simply refers to search engine optimisation that is carried out without having to pay the search for high ranking listings or positions. If optimisation is performed correctly, high rankings are achieved naturally within the search engine. The use of pay-per-click advertising and black hat techniques (i.e. unethical) to obtain high ranking positions in a search engine is not considered natural or organic.

What is accidental SEO?

Accidental SEO is when an entity obtains top ranking positions in a search engine for a keyword by pure luck or accident. There has been no effort on the entity's part to achieve a spot in the Top 10 (first page) – the most visible rankings. No particular keywords have been targeted.

What's the big deal about accidental SEO?

Accidental SEO provides businesses with a false sense of security. Business should not feel they have fooled the system. At any time, top spot positions, obtained via accidental SEO, can be lost. All it takes is a competitor to undertake SEO for the same keywords and your listing will be dislodged and potentially lose high visibility. Performed correctly, SEO ensures high rankings are more stable and possess higher resistance to changes or modifications in search engine algorithms that determine where listings should be positioned.

Is it possible to obtain high rankings by just placing a mass of content on the Web and crossing our fingers?

Yes and No. Historically, this technique would have worked. However, a change in search engine algorithms now means that quality is much more important than quantity for obtaining top ranking spots. Your business might also achieve high rankings due to accidental SEO. As above, though, this is a risky strategy.

Why is Search Engine Optimisation so important?

Because this is how the majority of online traffic now uses the Internet. That is, most online traffic now conducts searches using a search engine to locate what they are looking for online. This sits in opposition to the direct typing in of a URL. These searches are mostly taking place in the most popular search engines – Google, Bing & Yahoo. Consequently, if your business listing is not located within the top ranking spots on these search engines, you are missing out on serious traffic.

How long will it be before I see the effects of SEO?

This depends on a number of factors; however, it can be as little as a couple of weeks to up to a year. It is vital that search engine optimisation remains an ongoing activity. Once a campaign ends, ongoing results cannot be expected.

How many / what search engines should be targeted?

This depends on a number of factors as well. Most importantly, of course, is where your target audience / customer base is. If in Australia, it is safe to start with Google – the most popular search engine – and also consider including Bing and Yahoo. It is also important to not become overloaded. Effective SEO requires ongoing effort, and targeting too many search engines for your capacity will simply result in poor outcomes.

Should all the relevant keywords be targeted in an SEO campaign?

The short answer to this is no, unless your budget is unlimited. A professional SEO firm will identify those keywords that online users / your prospective customers are most commonly searching for. These are the keywords that are most profitable to your business, in that they attract highly qualified leads. It only makes smart business sense and maximises your return on marketing investment dollars to target those keywords that are going to pull in the most sales.

Should both single and plural keywords be targeted for SEO?

Yes. Because online users conduct searches for both single and plural forms of keywords, each should be targeted. This is only necessary if the keyword is relevant to the online space, is a popularly searched keyword and is appropriate to your SEO goals.

Can I achieve Top 10 (page one rankings) for all relevant keywords?

As above, you could; however, you would need an enormous budget. It is essentially only necessary to target those keywords that will attract the most highly qualified prospects that are more likely to convert to sales. This will guarantee the highest possible returns on marketing investment dollars.

Why isn't my website achieving top rankings in the search engine results?

There are many reasons for an underperforming website when it comes to SEO. Without conducting a thorough SEO audit it is difficult to say. Suboptimal SEO performance could be due to such factors as poor Web design or it is also possible that you have undertaken Black Hat technique and been penalised.

 

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FAQs: Pay-Per-Click Advertising Management

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising?

Pay-per-click advertising, also referred to as paid search, PPC and sponsored links, is paid for each time an online user clicks on the displayed advertisement. It is a popular online marketing tool, as it is very flexible in terms of being able to cap and keep a close eye on the budget. It is also very flexible in terms of being able to modify the keywords being targeted.

Where will I see my PPC advertisement?

Google PPC advertisements are positioned above, to the right and below the natural / organic search results that are brought up.

How does PPC differ from Natural / Organic SEO?

Apart from PPC being a paid form of advertising and natural SEO being generally free, PPC is often used as a method of rapidly generating online qualified leads. Natural SEO, however, is more oriented to long-term results and strategic planning. Depending upon the scenario, PPC is used at the start of a campaign to attract leads. And, once search engine optimisation results reach a certain level, PPC is either modified or phased out.

What are the most popular PPC services offered?

The two most popular PPC advertising programs are run by Google (AdWords) and Microsoft (AdCenter).

Are Google and Microsoft the only search engines that offer PPC advertising?

No. There are other search engines offering pay-per-click advertising, such as: Ask, AdBrite and Kanoodle.

What search engine should I use to run a PPC campaign?

This depends upon the country in which your target market is located. Different countries use different search engines. For Australia, however, the most popular is Google.

Will I be guaranteed of top spot / listing if I advertise using PPC?

If you pay / bid top price for the positions, you will be guaranteed of top positions. However, it is not always necessary to achieve / pay for the top position in order to obtain the results you require.

How much will I have to pay for PPC?

With PPC, a business can set a daily budget that can be capped. This budget can be modified at any time, depending on the requirements of the campaign. Prices are essentially set for each keyword in accordance with how much demand there is for them. That is, the more competition there is for a keyword, the higher the price will be and the higher you will need to bid.

What is the waiting time between the times the advertisements are launched to the time they will be seen online?

There are no waiting times. Once a campaign is launched, you will basically see the advertisements instantly.

What are the most important elements in a PPC campaign?

There are many elements that contribute to making a PPC campaign more effective. For example, the targeting of "relevant" keywords is fundamental. If not, users will conduct searches for other keywords in your business' online space and they will never encounter your PPC advertisement. Content in an advertisement must always be compelling. If not, users will not be motivated to click upon the advertisement. The landing page that an online user will be directed to from the advertisement must also be well designed and user friendly. It doesn't matter how much effort is put into a PPC program, if the user is being directed to an inadequate webpage, sales conversion will not occur.

Will a PPC campaign work if I just set it up and leave it?

No. Successful PPC campaigns require ongoing effort. To achieve maximum results and outcomes, PPC campaigns must be continuously managed and monitored. At any time, competitors can outbid you for you targeted keywords. Upon monitoring the campaign, you might also find out that the keywords you are targeting are not attracting highly qualified leads (i.e. those that are more likely to convert into sales).

Should I use natural / organic SEO or PPC?

As per one of the top questions, PPC and natural SEO are quite different in a number of ways. For this reason, they can be used in a campaign together to produce maximum results. Alternatively, PPC can be used to rapidly generate qualified leads at the start of a program and then slowly phased out as natural SEO starts showing results. It all depends upon what your Internet marketing goals are, what you are selling and what your competition is doing online.

I see PPC advertisements all the time online. Are they even clicked on by online users?

The short answer is unequivocally yes. They are a very valuable Internet marketing tool and, if employed properly, can be incredibly profitable.

Can I target local customers with PPC advertising?

Yes. PPC advertising can be performed on a local, national or global basis to target your customer base.

 

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FAQs: Social Media Marketing (SMM)

What is Social Media Marketing?

As you would expect, Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the use of social media to market a business, brand, product, service or individual (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Digg). It is particularly concerned with the generation of qualified leads.

In what ways does Social Media Marketing differ from traditional marketing?

The use of social media has also brought with it a new way of marketing. Rather than directly selling, social media marketing involves rapport and relationship building with existing or prospective customers. Of course the ultimate goal is to generate highly qualified leads in order to increase sales; SMM is a very soft form of selling. SMM is used to engage, educate, inform, acquire feedback, build brand, create buzz, demonstrate expertise and generate interest.

What's the difference between Social Media Marketing & Social Media Optimisation?

Whereas SMM is primarily concerned with the overall generation of qualified leads, Social Media Optimisation is related more to making a website more social media friendly, thereby promoting the sharability of the website on those social media. In the process, this will contribute to ensuring your website, via social media usage, will be more highly ranked in the search engines.

What would you say is the biggest benefit of using social media as a marketing tool?

Although there are a myriad of benefits when it comes to the use of social media, one of the main advantages is that it is an unobtrusive method of marketing. That is, if implemented correctly, your target market will not feel as if they are being force fed sales rhetoric. Instead, business must educate, engage, compel and / or entertain the consumer.

What are the major benefits of using Social Media Marketing?

Providing a platform in which communication takes place between your business and target audience is perhaps one of the most valuable advantages. With the unprecedented uptake rates, the likelihood of your target market being present is extremely high. SMM indirectly promotes lead generation. It also promotes brand awareness and provides an extra channel through which existing content can be syndicated. SMM is also important in order to keep up with competitors.

What's the best social media platform to use as a marketing tool?

There is no definitive answer for this. Because each social media platform and scenario is different, the platforms that you implement within your campaign will also differ.

With thousands of social media platforms, how many should I participate in?

Because effective SMM requires continual input, monitoring and management, maintaining a successful social media campaign can be time intensive. For this reason, participation should be limited to what is doable. Some suggest participating in no more than five platforms; however, for other organisations, this would be considered excessive. It is important to remember that like much of the Internet marketing arena, quality over quantity wins out.

In what ways does SMM contribute to my ROI?

Achieving maximum return on marketing investment is a fundamental goal. Social Media Marketing can generate qualified leads that result in new customers and sales, assist with the retention of existing customers; and, provides statistics that show what's not working and where cuts can occur.

If SMM is about engaging with customers, why participate in video marketing (e.g. YouTube)?

Video marketing is extremely beneficial when it comes to deriving benefits. In the first instance, any existing video content the business has can be shared with existing or prospective customers. Video marketing can contribute positively to search engine optimisation and can also direct highly qualified traffic to your website.

Can advertising be placed on Social Media?

Yes. Advertisements can be placed on such platforms as Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Should I be concerned about Online Reputation Management and Social Media Marketing?

Like any online activity, your business should always act with care. Although the potential positives of participating in social media far outweigh the negatives, there are certainly opportunities for reputation harm. Ongoing monitoring is an essential component of social media participation. This not only refers to the monitoring of your own accounts, but also the monitoring of any other chatter that is occurring throughout the platform surrounding your business.

Why am I not achieving great results from social media participation?

There could be any number of reasons that your SMM campaign is not realising objectives. For example, your target audience might not actually be on the platform, the social media platform is not suited to what you're trying to achieve or the actual campaign has not been implemented correctly. Whatever the reason, a good social media marketing firm will be able to audit your current campaign and ascertain why it is ineffective, suggest available options and also implement these options.

Does SMM really offer hypertargeting?

Yes indeed. For example, whether your account is being followed, liked or subscribed to, the individual that has done this is extremely interested in what you have to offer. These are generally existing customers that intend on being repeat customers or prospective customers that are extremely interested in your product or service.

 

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FAQs: ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the practice of ensuring that a business, brand, product or service has positive online mentions associated with it. These positive mentions should receive top listings in search engine results and, as such, are highly visible. To achieve this, negative or irrelevant online mentions – that are taking top positions – are either removed or dislodged and pushed lower down in the search engine rankings. In order to realise this, search engine optimisation is a critical component of ORM.

Is Online Reputation Management different from Online Profile Management?

Depending upon the definition, Online Profile Management is typically considered a form of ORM. That is, Online Profile Management usually relates to the management of an individual's online profile. It could refer to a celebrity, business owner or manager, an investor, partner or even an employee.

What are the main objectives of ORM?

The ultimate goal of ORM is to replace low value listings (i.e. negative or irrelevant mentions) in top ranking search engine positions with high value listings (i.e. positive mentions). In most scenarios, there are several main objectives for carrying out ORM. These include: strengthening a business' or brand's online profile; removing, dislodging and pushing negative mentions or irrelevant mentions out of the Top 10 or Top 20 listings on a search engine and defending or protecting your business, brand or person from malicious, deceitful or unintentional listings / mentions.

Why should I bother about Online Reputation Management?

The answer to this is basically common knowledge. Because a negative online reputation will harm your business' bottom-line. Negative mentions can damage a person's character, while irrelevant listings in the top rankings can prevent the real story of the business and brand from being told.

What can be done to manage my online reputation?

A lot. As mentioned previously, negative and irrelevant listings are pushed down in the lower rankings. It's a well-known fact that most online users do not proceed past the first page of search engine results. As such, by pushing non-positive mentions from the first or second page of search engine results for a particular keyword search, it is highly probable that the listing will not be viewed. In other situations, and where possible, negative listings will be completely removed from the Internet.

Can I find out where the negative mention originated?

Sometimes. Generally the initial phase of ORM – that is, being able to identify the source – can sometimes remedy the negative listing immediately. However, in most cases, the source of the negative listing will remain anonymous. This is where the practice of search engine optimisation is extremely important.

Can you get rid of all negative mentions online?

No. In most scenarios, it is not possible to eliminate all negative listings. This is especially the case where third parties are involved. There are, however, numerous offsite techniques that can be applied to ensure these negative mentions are not highly visible online. In these instances, advanced SEO techniques will be used to dislodge high ranking negative listings.

How long will ORM take?

One of the most common questions asked, the positive effects of an ORM campaign will depend upon many factors. In some cases, however, positive outcomes can begin to take hold as early as a couple of weeks. Search engine optimisation is not an overnight solution; however, a properly implemented program is a guaranteed method for dislodging negative mentions from highly visible positions.

How do you know what a high value, positive listing is?

At Zanity, we acknowledge that the value ascribed to a listing is a subjective matter. Although negative listings are typically obvious to all involved, the area surrounding a positive or irrelevant listing is less clear. A client might therefore ascribe low value to a listing that would otherwise be of high value in another situation. Due to this, one of the first steps in the ORM process is that of consultation. We meet with the client to ascertain mention values.

What is the difference between Online Reputation Management & Online Reputation Repair?

Online Reputation Repair involves applying various techniques in order to repair a current problem regarding a low value listing/s. In other words, the horse has already bolted and immediate action is required. Online Reputation Management, on the other hand, does initially involve any type of repairs that are required, but also involves ongoing monitoring and management. If there are any issues, immediate action can occur before the problem becomes out of hand. And, due to the viral nature of the Internet, problems can spiral out of control with extreme haste.

 

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FAQs: SEO Audit (Health Check)

What is an SEO Health Check?

A Search Engine Optimisation health check involves the auditing of a business' current IM activities, identifying weaknesses, highlighting available campaign opportunities and delivering expert recommendations.

What's the point of performing an SEO Health Check?

Like any business activity, firms must carry out auditing to achieve optimal results and maximise their return on investment (in this case marketing investment). Without auditing and continual improvement processes, IM activities will be underperforming and ineffective. This ultimately results in a loss of generation of highly qualified leads and sales.

What are the benefits of an SEO Health Check?

While the adoption of audit recommendations and implementation of suggested practice will ultimately result in increased sales due to a highly functioning IM campaign, there are other benefits of having an SEO Health Check conducted. For example, it can show a business where they can reduce costs and make savings ; take advantage of available opportunities in their IM campaign that they might not have otherwise known about ; and reveal practice that will retain existing customers and attract new prospects.

What features of my IM campaign can be audited in a Zanity SEO Health Check?

A Zanity SEO Health Check is highly customised. That is, the various elements of your IM campaign that are audited will depend upon your business type, your current campaign and your IM goals. It could involve an audit of your : website, Google natural / organic SEO, practices being undertaken by your competitors, an international landscaping to establish industry best practice, social media, pay-per-click advertising, online intellectual property protection and safeguarding, your online profile / reputation, new and emerging technologies, traditional marketing online opportunities, green Internet marketing; email marketing and other relevant elements.

It's all well and good to conduct an audit, but can Zanity help with the findings?

As a full-service IM firm, we are able to implement the recommendations we arrive at. Our experts are the best of the best in the industry, offering high level advice and guidance. We have conducted audits and followed through on practice recommendations for small and large firms across a myriad of sectors.

Whom has Zanity audited?

Some clients we have audited IM campaigns for include AFL, Melbourne Cup, NEC, Bartercard, Godfreys, Domino's, Ron Barassi, KPMG, Singapore Government, Lenard's, Adelaide FC, Windsor Smith, 7-Eleven, Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, PETstock, BP, Toyota, Baskin Robbins, Essendon FC and Law Council of Australia.

How will the finding of the SEO Health Check be presented?

Zanity provides a comprehensive report, demonstrating its audit findings. Apart from the presentation of these findings, a proposed Action Plan will also be offered – tabling one-off and ongoing services and timelines. At Zanity, we make sure our findings and recommendations are presented in a clear, easy-to-understand language, guaranteeing you are making the best decisions and taking the best and most successful path as you move forward.

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