There have been a number of these top ten tips recently in various guises, so given the new blog I thought it time we started the Ten Tips section to the blog, where we will cover a range of topics from SEO, Tools, PPC and the like
First up however is Search Engine Optimisation ( SEO ), as that is whereand the two other Pavilion Communications lads have our heritage.
1) Do you Keyword Research properly
Probably the most fundamental part of SEO. Good keyword research is essential before going ahead with any campaign. Research should be focussed around:
- Relevance – The amount of misfocussed campaigns out there is staggering. Yes the main focus is often about getting traffic into the site, however SEO is often used as a direct response tool rather than a brand awareness tool (and hence tactical usage is going to be affected accordingly) – and thus your use of keywords should reflect this. High volume often means generic phrases and loss of relevancy. This is not to say don’t go after them – but keyword choice should be based on ROI, rather than just traffic.
- ROI – Mentioned above – however a good target keyword list should include a combination of generic and product/service specific. To use the process of conversion for a recent LCD TV I purchased. Initial searches focussed around what LCD/Plasma TV’s I could buy. This involved searches such as plasma tv, lcd tv with little or no consideration for brand. By the next stage of my buying stage – I knew I wanted a 37′ LCD, meaning that the focus of my search was that much more focussed, and the propensity to buy that much higher.By the time I puchased a shortlist had been decided on, and we ultimately decided on a
Toshiba 37XV555DB- 37″ Widescreen 1080P Full HD LCD TV – With Freeview.
By this time my propensity to buy is at its highest. However by having visibility at all points in this buying cycle I am increasing my chance as a TV vendor to sell my product to you (all other things being equal). It should also be noted that 36% of searchers associate top listings in search engines with brand leaders – so whilst there is a direct response angle here – it is worth noting the brand angle here.
2) Tailor your SEO round your requirements
Possibly could have put this one in the option above, however its a question I often ask clients – that is.
What do you want to get out of your SEO campaign ?
- Increased conversions
- Increased traffic
- Increased rankings
Yes increased rankings can and often do result in increased traffic, however this may not necessarily result in increased conversions – thus the motive behind any SEO campaign needs to be established early in order to guide the SEO activity in the right direction
3) Understand the channels at your disposal
Blended Search (or universal search) has significantly increased the amount of different assets at a marketeers disposal. New channels such as
- Flight information
- Local Search/Maps
- Merchant Search
are all part of the mainstream SERPs and thus should be considered alongside your traditional search engine optimisation activity. The activity of integration optimising with these channels in mind has been dubbed digital asset optimisation or DAO
These channels are often used in particular contexts for example
- Maps results are often returned on geographic searches -’advertising agency manchester’ will return MVMediagroup or Mediavest Manchester as one of the searches.
- Products results will be returned on more specific product searches. For example LCD TV, Toshiba TV etc. These results are pulled from the Google Products section of Google and are populated via XML feeds
- Video/Image results often returned on more generic or Brand focussed terms. I used to do some work with Lexus Cars and this was one area where considered during initial planning in particular.
These results when included in the SERPs have a considerable effect on user behaviour, as highlighted during the Enquiro research from earlier this year (Gord Hotchkiss (one of my favourite bloggers). However it is not just the effect these have had on CTR and SERP behaviour, but also the effect it has on time spent on the Search engine results pages themselves. Time spent on blended search pages can be up to 3x times higher effectively meaning your landing page starts on the SERP’s themselves.
4) Know what your competitors are doing
This can be important in a number of ways.
- Know what your competitors are focussing on – you will have a steer on where potential keyword opportunities may exist.
- Understand where there activity is focussed. Generally I would suggest most campaigns have a weakpoint whether it is the on-page or the off-page activity. Understanding where these factors lie will give you an indication of where, where and how much activity needs to be focussed.
- Understand if they have any weakpoints. If your competitor is using blackhat/greyhat techniques its best to understand this now – and plan accordingly..
5) Benchmark, compare analyse and re-optimise
Possibly going more long term on this one – however at the start of your search engine optimisation campaign
- Benchmark your current performance – this gives you a basis for future analysis (dont forget to logout for these – or at least have a commonality for measurement
- Set KPI’s and try and stick to them.
- Analyse your performance against your benchmark and KPI’s.
- Adjust your campaign accordingly if required.
- Be creative – if your campaign has stagnated be creative try new channels or alter the focus
Above all enjoy it. Search Engine Optimisation is not a short term win – it takes a long time, however if you do the initial steps well, you give yourself a far better chance of succeeding