How to set a PPC Budget

When I first meet with a client to discuss Pay Per Click, after all the excitement is over I have to have the conversation of how much, it generally goes like this:

Me: What kind of budget do you have?

Clients: Well how much do you think we should spend?

Me: You can spend as much or as little as you want, how much does your average sale cost you at the moment?

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Future of SEO with the content publishers?

It seems to me that more and more we can say that the future of SEO is with the content publishers. By content publishers I’m not talking about people that can knock out a couple of pages a day, I’m taking about those organisations that are creating reams and reams of pages of content every day, ranging from news articles to blogs to pages, this is the future of SEO at the moment.

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Predicting PageRank Updates

You know predicting the next PageRank update is a bit of fun , you’ve got to do it, as a search marketer it’s the expected thing.

Here’s my prediction – it’s going to take place between March 31st and April 30th – that’s a bit of a cop out really as we all know it’s going to update in that time frame. I suppose if I’m going to get pinned down on when the update is going to take place I will probably go for the end of this month – so updating on or around 30th March.

Google has been updating its PageRank algorithm pretty regularly for the last couple of years, so I suppose it’s fair to say they’ll do the same this time round.

Plus it’s not long since Google did a fairly major update in the shape of getting Google Caffeine out to the masses, so I expect they are going to want to do it sooner rather than later to make sure everything is working as it should do.

I’d be interested to hear if you think the PageRank update will take place in April and what makes you think that?

Pros and cons of changing domains

Every now and then there comes a point in the progression of a business’ online presence that the business outgrows its existing domain.

maybe it’s time for a change of brand, maybe the domain doesn’t reflect the scope the company now faces or maybe the domain needs to be localised to give it better search engine reach.

It’s not so bad it the website doesn’t really work, but imagine how hard that decision is when a domain does work, when a domain is at the top of the search results for search terms that deliver real, converting traffic. Hard decision, but if a new domain will give youeven greater visibility then it’s a decision that needs to be taken.

I strongly believe that only by acting boldly and taking the bull by the horn can you make those great leap forwards – admittedly sometimes it goes wrong and you have to track back and undo as much as possible what you did.

There is likely to be an element of pain to changing a domain. Even if the website is the same and all the correct procedures are followed, such as 301 redirects from all the slugs off the old domain, you’ve got an xml sitemap, you’ve submitted it to Google Webmaster tools, informed Google of the change of domains you’re still likely to have some disruption to the search results in the short term, you may see a drop before the new domain rebounds to the positions previously occupied by the old one.

Although you may get more coverage in the search engines with a new domain, especially if it is keyword rich, you may not see any great increase in organic results.

Can you business afford the downturn on the chance that the organic clicks may increase? Personally, I think it’s always going to be a risk worth taking, however recently I saw a drop of around 8% which lasted for 3 weeks, which was having serious knock on effects to the number of conversions being provided by the website.

Fortunately for that business and site the business was able to take the hit with the knowledge that there business would benefit.

Google Caffeine and The Implications for SEO

Google gets ready to launch Google Caffeine. Caffeine is now active in its first datacentre so it won’t be long until it’s rolled out full time.

It’s exciting times – we’re going to have to figure out all the new set of rules. To be fair it’s about time, it’s been a while since the last main update which (in my opinion) was Google’s Universal Search, which saw more maps, more videos, more product in the search etc.

So what makes the launch of Google Caffeine so important? In short it reflect a shift in the way the internet is being used. It signals the end of the page as being the unit of value that has been the standard since search engines started trawling the net.

With the advent of the datastream we see a new way to cartegorise a form of information.

What’s a stream? Think Facebook and Twitter, those quick successions of posts and responces. There is also a greater focus on localisation as well as a plethora of other fun stuff for us to get our teeth into.

What does this mean for search engine results as we know them? Well probably not a lot to start off with, but over time we’ll begin to see them becomming more and more important and we will probably see the bobbing effect of a system trying to restore the balance as everyone gets in on the act.

I leave you with one last thought. Streams are real time. Imagine if the changes you make to you website have a direct effect on the search results? Wouldn’t that make SEO even more exciting.

Making sure people value seo

SEO is an essential element to the marketing role of most marketing departments in most business. The main problem with SEO is that it’s difficult to measure.

It’s therefore important for anyone carrying out SEO for a client or internally to make sure they scream and shout about what they are doing.

Remember often the changes that you make in seoing a website will take weeks to have any real impact, so it’s important to log every single change that you make to the website – you’ve got to be really anal about it, being able to go back is essential, and sometimes you know what? Even this won’t help because your seo efforts are effected by other factors such as the seo efforts of a rival website, or changes to algorithms.

he other thing is you can be adding 20 relevant pages a day with great content however they’ll probably only get what appears to be a small number of visits, maybe a few a day in some cases – so you’ve got to focus on the overall picture and strategy when talking to the decision makers, after all if you can add 20 really good pages a day to a website and you get a few visits to each the seo team are going to be generating some serious traffic overall in a week.

It’s when the accountants get involved that you have a problem – seoing a weebsite is about the future of that website and the busines, it’s not like ppc were the returns are instant, with seo the returns take months and they are incremental and you’ve got to speculate about the success of a page.

If you focus on the individual aspects of seo too much your decision makers will lose sight of the overall bigger picture and start to devalue the seo your are carrying out for them.

As ever in business, and especially marketing, if it’s going to be done you better make sure you can back it up with data and it’s especially true when managing an seo campaign.

The importance of Alt Tags

One of the most important elements when SEO’ing a website is getting the keywords in the alt tags. This is especially true of most modern websites where the pages are built using a generic database.

It’s important that the if you’re using a generic template throughout the site that consideration be placed on which keywords are used – this then has to be balanced out by the text that is being put on the page – the text and the generic alt tags have to be relevant, and on those pages that will go into more detail about your key keywords it’s important that the % of keywords is balanced so you’re not seen as being a keyword  stuffing website – ie a spammer.

Search engine optimisation is a balancing act, and to do SEO right it’s always best not to use templates, to make sure that every single page is specific – however in the real world this isn’t always possible because you won’t have enough man hours in the day to be that anal about things.

The other fatal flaw is to over look them all together, remember search engines do put a lot of weight on the alt tags keywords – some would argue more weight is put on these than the anchor link text – and they get far more weight than title tags do – so don’t worry too much about the title tags!!

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est. 2009

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