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With bonfire night just behind us, we’ve been thinking about things that ‘should never be forgot’ in the world of digital marketing.

Here’s our round up of some common SEO and SEM mistakes people make that can cause their marketing plans to go up in flames!

SEO mistakes that should never be forgotten!

Search engine optimisation is an ever moving landscape, and it can be easy for website owners to get left behind. There are never ending algorithm updates and regular changes to the way search search engines display information, not to mention spam updates and evolving technologies. While keeping up to date with the latest changes is good for business, there are many typical mistakes that unsuspecting website owners may be falling foul of, completely unaware!

Read on for some of the SEO mistakes that can hurt your online visibility and conversion rate.

Not having a mobile responsive website

Having a mobile responsive website is essential in this day and age. It’s easy to check if your website displays nicely on mobile devices. Simply view your site on any up to date smartphone or tablet or use the website inspection tool. If the elements don’t stack up in a uniformed easy view and you have to zoom in and scroll to read the text, you should be thinking about a redesign.

Why is a mobile responsive website important?

Global mobile internet usage is 59.72% according to Statista, and that is the number one reason why you should ensure that you have a mobile responsive design! With nearly 60% of global internet use taking place on mobile devices, if your site isn’t responsive and delivering a good user experience, then you could be losing out on some serious web traffic. This is especially true for ecommerce websites. Conversions matter, so if your visitors experience a clunky, awkward and uninspiring session, they will simply click away and shop elsewhere. 

Furthermore, the search engine that takes the lion’s share of internet users, Google, uses mobile-first indexing. This means that Google will use the mobile version of the site first for indexing and ranking. As a result, a non-responsive design will suffer in the SERPs. This by all means isn't new news, as Google have been doing this since 2019. However, judging from the number of outdated sites on the internet, it appears that many website owners have been left in the dust when it comes to staying on top of website evolution.

If you need a website redesign, there are plenty of tried and tested CMS platforms out there to help you spruce up your site and ensure it is compatible with mobile devices. They include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and Shopify, plus other well known platforms such as Wix and Squarespace. 

It’s worth noting though, that website migration shouldn't be taken lightly. This is because significant changes to your site architecture, content, UX, UI or even switching to a completely new CMS have the potential to disrupt your organic search results, for better or worse. 

If done properly, your new site might do a little dance around the SERPs before settling down in a better position. However, if the site migration isn’t taken seriously, you could see your organic positioning tank down the SERPS (search engine results pages). If you need help with website design or migration, then contact us to find out how the team at Bell can help!

Mobile responsive website design

Missing & Duplicate Metadata - Page Tiles & Meta Descriptions

Ensuring that you have optimised and compelling unique page titles and meta descriptions is important for SEO. It might seem obvious, but many website owners overlook this aspect.

Understandably, large sites and ecommerce websites can have hundreds or thousands of pages, so keeping on top of a seemingly simple aspect of website maintenance is sometimes not as easy as it might seem.

Why are they important?

Page titles and meta descriptions provide a unique opportunity to promote your product or service in search engine results pages. Think of them as mini text based adverts that are designed to entice a user to click onto your website. They are also a key aspect that indicates to the search engine and user the subject topic of the page or product. 

How can you tell if they are missing?

There are many tools available that will crawl your website so you can analyse your metadata such as Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Sitebulb, Ubersuggest, and more. Find the missing or duplicate meta then fix and optimise it to help improve your position in organic search results. 

Not setting up canonical URLs

Ensuring you have canonicalized your URLs is something that webmasters often overlook.

So, what exactly is canonicalization and why does it matter? 

Search engines, like Google, don’t like duplicate or similar content. This is because if there are two or more pages talking about the same subject matter on one website, it won’t know which page to rank. Furthermore, having duplicate or similar content can cause issues with content cannibalization. Think of this as internal competition within your site with two or more pages competing to rank for the same keyword.

Ensuring you have implemented canonical tags across your site will tell the crawl bots where to find the master URL (the canonical URL). If you don’t implement canonical tags then the search engine will choose the page that it deems to be the canonical URL, which may be different to what you have intended. 

SEM mistakes that should never be forgotten!

If you’re using paid advertising to support your web presence and drive revenue, then here’s a brief summary of some common SEM mistakes that should never be forgotten!

Setting up very high CPCs compared to allocated budget

To make profitable conversions through PPC, you need to make sure you keep a close eye on your CPC. Cost per click can go up or down depending on factors such as competition and seasonal changes, and what used to be affordable may not be so affordable now! If the cost outweighs the profit, then you can find yourself in a sticky situation.

Why is CPC important?

Your cost per click will define how quickly you use up your daily budget. If you are bidding on expensive keywords and have a low budget, then you can expect to see your budget disappear quickly, resulting in your website having to rely on organic traffic to see it through the rest of the day.

On mobile devices, paid ads dominate small screens and this combined with searcher laziness and unwillingness to scroll down a page will mean that you risk losing potential traffic to your competitors if you’ve run out of budget.

How can you fix this?

There are some tricks of the trade to help you overcome expensive CPCs such as:

  • Research less competitive keywords to target - Less traffic doesn't always mean less conversions and if you tailor your ads to target mid to long tail keyphrases you could achieve a better conversion rate because your ad may be aligned more with the users' search queries.
  • Focus on improving your Quality Score - Ensure your ad is relevant to user intent and that your landing page experience is satisfying.
  • Analyse your data - Look at your data to see what kind of users are clicking through and whether or not they convert. You may find that the demographic isn’t hitting your sweet spot, in which case you may be better off putting some or all of your budget into a different advertising platform or reworking your ads to better target your desired audience.

Using the wrong keyword match types

A common mistake people make when implementing a Google Ads campaign is selecting the wrong keyword match types. Here’s a few examples:

If you select broad match types, you may get a lower CPC but you could end up spending your budget on clicks that don’t turn into conversions. This is because although the competition is lower, the relevance to the user can be less, meaning you can end up wasting money. If you are using broad match, be sure to exclude search terms that will send the wrong audience your way by using negative keywords.

Selecting the exact match keyword type will mean that your ad will only appear if the user types in the exact phrase. This keyword match type tends to be more expensive on a CPC basis and you will get less traffic, but relevance will be higher meaning you have a better chance to convert the click into a sale. This is OK if you are looking to drive traffic to sell one very specific product type but it isn't so helpful if you want to appeal to a larger audience. 

If you run an ecommerce site it is especially important that you check your stock inventory when using exact match. There’s no point driving users to your site for them to discover the item is out of stock. A loss for you and a waste of time for your potential customer!

When using phrase match, you must be really careful when selecting which phrases you want to target. This is because if a user types a phrase but their search has an additional word in the middle of it, your ad won’t show up! It will however show if the additional word is before or after your phrase.

With phrase match, the best way to optimise your ad campaign is to think like a user. You can even look at your analytics data to find out how people search for your products or services and then amend your key phrases to reflect real user searches to give you a better chance of your ad appearing.

Need help with your digital marketing?

If you’ve found your business has been making costly marketing mistakes and you need expert help to turn things around, contact our team who can help to kickstart your marketing campaign.

Focusing on improving your website for organic gains in SERPs is a good idea. When done properly and in alignment with best practice, your efforts will not only help to boost your rankings but they will also have a positive impact on the quality of your website and attract a better targeted audience.

Search engines, like Google, put their users first. This means that their goal is to return results that have the most relevance to a user’s search intent. So, it goes without saying, quality content that is focused on the user first and foremost will benefit your website’s overall positioning in organic search. Check out our list of top SEO tools to help you boost your organic search rankings.

SEMrush, an SEO toolbox for keywords, content ideas & much more!

Among the professional SEO community, SEMrush is a favourite tool for optimising websites. Use it to improve content, find the best keywords and identify content and link gaps between you and your competition. It also has a ton of other insightful technical and on page tools to diagnose, fix and optimise your site, as well as features to help with pay-per-click search engine marketing, content marketing and more. Not only this, but you can also track your progress by setting up projects - a great way to monitor your progress in the digital landscape.

Screenshot of SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

A quick glance at what SEMrush offers

Keyword Research: Market leading keyword research tool that delves deep. Covering everything from keyword overview to position tracking, keyword gaps, monthly search volume and CPC. Not only this but it also includes a fantastic Keyword Magic tool that's great for in depth analysation.

Site Audits: Analyse websites from both a content and technical perspective. Check the health status and performance of your site, fix errors and warnings, check Core Web Vitals stats, internal linking, markup and crawlability, to name just a few!

Competition Analysis: Keeping up with the competition has never been more important. With many individuals and businesses feeling the squeeze of the cost-of-living crisis, staying one step ahead is essential to ensure your business thrives.

SEMrush allows you to analyse your competitors in detail. From identifying keyword and backlink gaps to tracking your competitors’ performance, these tools help you create a strategy to either stay on top or chase your rivals in the SERPs to increase visibility and help you take a bigger share of the market.

Is it free? Yes and no! Luckily for those on a budget (and with a small site) you can sign up for a free account. The free version is limited in its offering but is still worth a look if you’re searching for a decent tool to boost your rankings.

The paid version offers the complete toolbox and is one of the leading platforms for anyone serious about SEO. Subscriptions range from $119.95 per month.

Answer the Public - Find out what people are really asking!

Recently acquired by Neil Patel (founder of UberSuggest), AnswerThePublic is a great tool to explore the questions that are being asked about virtually any topic.

User focused content is a major factor for anyone serious about ranking a website. However, since the Helpful Content update was released back in August this year, relevant content that provides more insight and a satisfying user experience is now even more important than ever. This is where AnswerThePublic comes into play. 

Now you can write content that corresponds to the search intent of users and that provides real answers to their questions. A win for your users, and if done properly, a win for your website!

Screenshot of AnswerThePublic infographic

Is it free? You can sign up for a free account but this will limit you to just three searches a day. Alternatively, you can sign up for a paid subscription, starting at $99 per month. 

Free Google SEO tools – Not to be overlooked!

Considering your largest organic market is likely to be Google, it makes sense to get a look at Google specific data and this is the only real way to get the actual data on how your listings perform in Google results pages. Google offers a whole host of free SEO tools to help ramp up your visibility in SERPs. They include Search Console, Analytics, Keyword Planner and Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).

Let’s take a look at how you can use these tools to your advantage.

Google Search Console, an essential for your SEO toolbox

The Search Console is a totally free SEO tool that allows you to measure the organic performance of your site across Google results pages. It covers everything from clicks, impressions and positioning, to what key-phrases were used to find your website.

That's not all. The Search Console also allows you to have an overview of the health of your site. Examples include:

  • Where your pages are in the SERPs
  • Track trends in your search visibility
  • Detect and diagnose potential Google bot crawl errors
  • Analyse the backlink profile of your website and remove toxic links
  • Review your site's mobile usability and Core Web Vitals scores
  • Monitor potential Google penalties and security vulnerabilities

If you have an Analytics account, be sure to link it with your Google Search Console to obtain additional data insights relating to your organic traffic. It is also one of the most direct ways to know if your site has been penalised by Google or has major issues impacting visibility in SERPs.

Google Analytics, an SEO toolbox to better know your audience

Google Analytics is a must-have for enhancing your SEO strategy. It’s free and allows you to analyse audience behaviour on your website. Insights into user behaviour can help you sculpt your strategy and identify positive performance and areas of improvement. 

Key metrics include:

  • Visits
  • Page views
  • Traffic source
  • Devices
  • Geographical origin

Analytics also offers you functions to measure the user experience on your site, such as the average page load speed, the terms entered in the internal search or the user journey from arrival to departure.

Unlike Google Search Console which measures performance within Google's results pages, Google Analytics tells you what people do once they arrive on your site, as well as where they have come from.

Knowing your audience better means that you can adapt your SEO strategy by offering content that is targeted to users, and therefore improve the user experience on your site.

Google has an Enterprise version of Google Analytics priced around $150,000 per year for Enterprise businesses, so you know the free version of this tool which includes most elements is a must.

Remember that Google is changing the current version of Google Analytics to GA4 next year, so if you are using GA already you need to change over, otherwise from July 2023 you won't have any data. If you need help to transition, feel free to get in touch with us to help you with this. Email us at hello@bell-digitalmarketing.com to find out how we can help you.

Google Ads, an underrated free SEO keyword research tool

Google is the master of search so it's hardly surprising that their own data is extremely valuable. Keyword Planner is a tool primarily used for planning advertising campaigns; however, it also lends itself well to keyword research for organic SEO. Identify keyword difficulty, search volume, trends and CPC (cost-per-click) to name just a few metrics. What’s more, because the data is straight out of Google, you can trust its accuracy.

To tip: Use a Google account associated with your campaigns to allow you to have more precise search volumes.

Google Business Profile – A must have to boost your local SEO

Formerly Google My Business (GMB), Google Business Profile (GBP) is a service for business owners to gain visibility in SERPs. It is intended to be an overall snapshot of your business and is also a place where customers can leave reviews. It was primarily created for ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses who have a physical location they can list in Google Maps.

Set up an account, create a listing and map location, then pack it with informative information such as posts, offers, opening hours and photographs.

Currently these listings will appear on the right-hand side of Google results on desktop, or just underneath sponsored ad listings on mobile devices. You must make sure that you keep your profile up to date with relevant information including helpful FAQs. Ensure the listing also targets some of the main keywords you are looking to rank for. 

For Google Maps and the Local Business Map inserts in Google results, quality information and the number of Google reviews (and their average rating) will help your business get returned higher in Maps results.

Page Speed ​​Insights, a tool to correct your technical SEO

Finally, let's look at an SEO tool that is often overlooked - PageSpeed Insights. This tool allows you to test your page speed and see what real users are experiencing when they visit your site. 

The quicker the load speed the better, and this essential SEO tool allows you to test on both mobile and desktop. It provides useful insights into performance issues along with helpful tips on how to improve your website’s score. Page loading speed not only has a direct impact on bounce rate and user experience but it can also influence overall conversions. So fixing speed issues using the advice given can provide some quick wins.

Need advice on how to improve your organic search results?

If you need a helping hand to improve or maintain your positioning in search engine results pages, the team here at Bell Digital Marketing are here to help. Contact us or email us on hello@bell-digitalmarketing.com for expert assistance.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates, or get in touch for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. 

You are probably familiar with Google Search – 86% of UK Internet users use it. But do you know about Google Search Console, the essential tool complementary to Google Analytics?

Today we are going to review the tool’s main features and explain why it’s essential for monitoring your website’s performance. Let's go!

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help website owners monitor, maintain and spot problems with their site's presence in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

For optimal monitoring, we recommend consulting the tool regularly (or failing that, subscribing to follow-up emails) so you can react quickly in the event of a problem.

How to configure Google Search Console

Sites do not automatically connect to Google Search Console. You need to have a Google or Google Workspace account to link your site. The two types of registration are:

  • Domain property – This allows you to track your entire domain and subdomain variations
  • URL-prefix property – This works by specifying the start of a URL. Any URLs that begin with that prefix are then included in the property.

Once your domain has been added to Google Search Console, you need to prove that it belongs to you. There are several options available. You can:

  • Go through your site’s HTML file (this requires access to your website’s source code)
  • Change the DNS settings on your domain host account
  • Use Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics
  • Add a verification HTML tag to the <head> section of your homepage

How to link Google Analytics and Google Search Console

To further the analysis of your SEO data, it is also possible to connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics. It’s quite simple to do. Simply open your Google Analytics account, go to “Admin” and in the “property” table, click on “property settings”. Once there, go to “Search Console”, click on “Adjust Search Console”, then add and save the relevant property.

As a reminder, the main difference between Google Analytics and Google Search Console is the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) they track: Google Analytics tracks your site’s traffic and the behaviour of visitors, while Google Search Console tracks the positioning of your site and any errors.

Screenshot of Google Search Console

Top 5 Google Search Console features


Track page and query performance

The main feature of Google Search Console is tracking your main pages and keywords, to detect which perform best in SERPs. This happens directly in the “Search Results” section, where you have four KPIs:

  • Clicks, which totals how many users click through to your website
  • Impressions, which aggregates the number of times users see your URL in Google Search
  • CTR (Click-Through Rate), which is calculated by dividing clicks by impressions
  • Average position, which, as the name suggests, is the average position of your website in SERPs. 

That's not all: in addition to this "summary" you can also refine your search based on:

  • Queries, which compiles the queries most searched by Internet users 
  • Pages, which groups the pages that appear most often in SERPs
  • Country, which details where organic users come from
  • Devices, which shows the technologies people use to arrive at your website
  • Appearance in search results, which lets you know if the result presented to the user was enriched or not
  • Date, which summarises the site's organic performance by date
Search Results Screenshot

Submit a URL for indexing

Google Search Console allows you to check if a page is indexed by Google, and, if not, crawl the URL for indexing.

To access this feature, simply copy/paste the relevant link into the search bar at the top of the page and press enter. Once the URL has been parsed, you can:

  • Test the URL live, to see how Google rates your page
  • Make sure your page is mobile-friendly and free from structured data errors
  • Request indexing

Indexing requests are limited to ten per day. If you create and submit an XML sitemap (use the sitemap section) you can list as many pages as you like.

URL inspection screenshot

Check the correct indexing/crawling of the pages

There is another way to check whether your pages are correctly indexed: the Search Console coverage report. This will help you better understand coverage issues and whether a page is in the index. There are 4 pieces of information here:

  • Valid: the pages concerned are properly indexed by Google
  • Valid with warnings: the pages concerned are indexed but they encounter problems (for example, a page is indexed but is blocked by a robots.txt file)
  • Error: the affected page is not indexed because it has errors
  • Excluded: the pages are not indexed because of a specific instruction, like your sitemap.xml file

Common errors in the coverage report include:

  • URL not found (404)
  • Server error (5xx)
  • Detected but not indexed: the URL in question is known to Google but has not been crawled yet
  • Crawled but not indexed: the page has been crawled by Google robots but has not been indexed (it may be in the future)
  • The URL is blocked by your robots.txt file
  • URL designated “noindex”: the URL in question has a “noindex” direction, which blocks the indexing of the page

A site with a large number of errors and excluded pages may have indexability or quality problems. It will therefore be necessary to investigate further to see what is affecting your crawl budget.

Google Search Console Indexed Pages Screenshot

Check if your site is optimised for mobile browsing

With Google’s mobile-first update, it is essential that your site is optimised for mobile devices. Fortunately, Google Search Console can help you identify any errors that users may encounter.

To check this, head to the “Mobile Usability” section. There you will find any errors listed by Google. Common errors include "clickable elements are too close together" or "text too small".

Note that since Google’s Core Web Vitals update, you can also find out if your URLs are fast enough for mobile and desktop users. To do this, simply head to the “Core Web Vitals” tab.

Mobile usability on Google Search Console

Find out if you have received a penalty

Does your website no longer appear in Google Search? Have you noticed a sudden and dramatic drop in traffic? Then it’s possible that Google has imposed a penalty, or “manual action”, against your site.

To check, go to the “Manual actions” tab in Google Search Console. If a green tick appears, everything is fine (and the problem is elsewhere). If you see an error, go through the information provided and correct it as soon as possible.

Most penalties are now algorithmic and don’t show in Google Search Console. Read our blog about Google’s Helpful Content Update to learn more.

Manual Action screenshot

Conclusion

Google Search Console is a powerful tool. It is essential for any site owner to understand how their site is performing in search results and is one of the rare places to actually see the search queries your site pages are found by. It allows you to properly monitor your SEO strategy as well as identify errors that could cost you traffic and ranking opportunities.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates, or get in touch for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. 

Netflix is getting a new ad-supported subscription tier from November. This new lower priced tier comes after Netflix recorded a decline in subscribers for the first time in a decade.

The company has said it won’t be advertising to children or promoting cryptocurrency, gambling or political messages. They have also said that advertising will be limited to 4 minutes per hour and displayed in a pre-roll format.

What does Netflix hope to achieve?

By adding an ad-based subscription tier, Netflix is following in the footsteps of Hulu, HBO and Amazon. The company hopes to tap into a new market of viewers, broaden its pricing strategy and increase ARPU.

ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is a metric used to calculate how much money a company makes from each viewer. This can be increased in a couple of ways, including charging a higher price for subscriptions, lowering costs and introducing additional revenue channels, such as advertising.

Man eating popcorn watching Netflix

What are the benefits of advertising on Netflix?

Reach

There are multiple benefits for advertisers on Netflix. The first is Netflix’s huge reach. The company currently has over 220 million subscribers worldwide. What's more, the vast majority of subscribers share their accounts with family and friends.

Attention

Just like advertising in cinemas, advertisers enjoy the undivided attention of Netflix viewers. This means advertisers can spend less time focusing on how to hold someone's attention and more time on messaging.

Prestige

Netflix is a household name. So much so that the name of the company is now a verb – you don't watch Netflix, you Netflix. This incredible brand power means businesses that advertise on the platform can easily establish brand trust and authority, crucial for securing return on investment.

Data

Netflix has been around for a number of years but is only now revealing audience data. This rich supply of first-hand data will provide meaningful insights for the brands using its platform.

Conclusion

As an industry leader, Netflix ads have the potential to scale marketing efforts and provide a lucrative channel for marketers. However, as this new subscription tier is mainly for price-conscious viewers, marketers will need to be sure it’s right for their brand and target audience.

Get in touch with our team for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

 

Google releases updates several times a year. Each update is designed to improve Google’s search algorithm to help users find content faster. But very occasionally, Google releases an update specifically designed to undo the effects of SEO – or, to be more specific, black hat SEO.

This latest revamp is called the Helpful Content Update. It is meant to encourage webmasters to move away from search-focused content and focus more on the user.

For years, copywriters fixated on driving traffic to their website have written content to rank on search engines rather deliver useful or informative content to visitors. This has led to an era of duplicate, low-quality blogs and articles.

Google is now on a mission to purge the Internet, and its search results, of this content to make their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) more relevant.

What is helpful content?


Helpful content, or what Google terms “people-first” content, is anything designed to meet the expectations of visitors. It is at odds with “search-first” content, which is written for the sole purposes of ranking on search engines.

Google classes content as “helpful” if it meets the following criteria:

  • It is relevant to your website or business.
  • It matches your audience, their interests and expectations.
  • It demonstrates first-hand experience or in-depth knowledge of a particular subject.

Likewise, Google will penalise your content if it is:

  • Primarily geared towards search engines
  • Highly automated
  • Irrelevant to your niche or audience
  • Written because a topic is trending

Still unsure?


If you’re still unsure about what constitutes helpful content, put yourself in the place of another business or service provider. We like to use the example of a florist.

Let’s say we have a client who runs a floristry business. They are looking to attract more customers to their website so they start writing about as many plant-related topics as possible. This strategy seems reasonable at first. After all, florists know a thing or two about flowers. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right approach.

First of all, not all plant-related subjects are relevant to a florist’s expertise or audience. Readers won’t visit a floristry website to learn about gardening or growing plants. Second, writing about broad topics dilutes your brand’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust). You are much more likely to create content that ranks well by focusing on the things you know and exploring subjects germane to your business, brand and followers.

What to do if the update affects your website


Google’s Helpful Content Update works by crawling your site and categorising all of your content into two groups: helpful and unhelpful. Sites with significantly high levels of unhelpful content will be labelled as such and then any content – not just the low-value content – will perform worse in organic search.

Because the update uses a site-wide signal, it is important that websites affected by the new classifier take immediate action to remove or update any unhelpful content. Websites affected by the update should also keep in mind that as Google’s classification process is automated, it could take several months for their site to return to pre-update performance levels.

To identify the content that’s causing you issues, use the criteria we outlined above to evaluate your copy and blogs. Ask yourself if your content genuinely answers the questions you cover and if those queries are relevant to your audience. Using Google Analytics, look for pages with high bounce rates or very low on-page time. Be mindful that these metrics don’t always indicate low value. Well-structured content can direct users to the right information quickly.

What does good content look like?


Above all, good content is unique and answers a specific question or need. Proper online content should also be well sourced, clear and concise, and grammatically correct. Use the following points to craft your content.

Accuracy

If you’re not sure about a date, statistic or fact, double check it to make sure your content is accurate and up to date. Getting things wrong will not only make your content less valuable but affect how trustworthy your brand looks to potential customers.

Freshness

Don’t forget about published content. If you cite a study or cover a subject that’s constantly evolving, make sure your content evolves too.

Insight

Evaluate how users interact with your content. Are searchers finding the answers they need, or are they exiting the page and looking elsewhere? If your content doesn’t explore a topic in enough depth, go deeper, covering all the points they need and anticipating their next search.

On-page and technical SEO

Don’t forget about user experience. Size images properly so pages load quickly, make sure all of your on-page elements are responsive, and use descriptive headings and alt-tags to help users navigate each page.

What does the future hold?


Google's Helpful Content Update launched on August 25th. It will take about two weeks to fully roll out. Donal Langan, Head of SEO at Bell Digital Marketing, had this to say:

"While it isn't ground breaking that Google’s latest algorithm update is encouraging original, relevant, quality online content, the early reports suggest it has not had a big impact on website ranking as yet. However, Danny Sullivan from Google has suggested that this is a continuing effort that will continue to be refined and become a bigger factor."

"At the moment, it makes sense to review your site content and improve it, because it is likely that future algorithm updates will have a greater impact in this area. Quality, Originality, and Relevance to your audience is never a bad tactic."

Get in touch with our team for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

 
 

 

From Google core updates to viral trends on TikTok, the digital marketing landscape is always evolving. Read our latest round-up to stay ahead of the game and learn what’s sparking conversation online.

Organic search

Google tests new featured snippet layout

Normally Google only shows one source or site in its coveted “position zero” slot. But for the past month or so,  Google has been testing new layouts for its featured snippet listing, sometimes displaying up to four featured snippets for a single search.

Google has very occasionally shown “multifaceted featured snippets” since 2018. But this new testing indicates that Google may be planning to update the featured snippet, replacing its highly sought-after position zero with something more versatile.

This is important news for site owners and SEOs as changing the design of the featured snippet could lead to fewer click throughs and less organic traffic.

Google’s People Also Ask feature returns to normal

Google’s People Also Ask feature is a rich snippet that answers questions related to the user’s search query. It was first introduced in February 2018 and is a favourite among content marketers.

Earlier this month, digital marketers noticed that the People Also Ask feature was turning up in fewer results pages. The exact reason behind the change remains unknown. But according to RankRanger, Google has now returned the snippet to its original frequency.

Paid search

Google introduces four new Performance Max features

Google is rolling out four new features for Performance Max campaigns. The new features are designed to help advertisers diagnose problems and improve performance.

1) Data exclusions

Smart bidding uses conversion data to help advertisers meet their targets. Google’s new feature attempts to resolve issues caused by inaccurate conversion tracking by giving users the option to exclude certain dates.

2) Seasonal adjustments

Google’s new seasonal adjustments tool allows advertisers to modify their bid strategy when they expect a short-lived but significant change in conversion. 

3) Explanations 

The explanation feature is designed to help advertisers identify performance fluctuations and diagnose issues. It also offers recommendations for improving ad performance.

4) Optimisation score 

Google’s optimisation score gauges performance. It allows advertisers to see where their campaigns can be improved and provide recommendations for driving better results.

Technical SEO

Ahrefs suggests almost half of clicks go to hidden terms

Most SEOs trust the accuracy of Google Search Console (GSC). After all, the data comes directly from Google. However, researchers at Ahrefs have announced that you may not be able to trust the platform’s keyword data as much as previously thought. In fact, Patrick Stox, Product Advisor & Technical SEO at Ahrefs, argues you may be seeing less than half of all the keywords driving clicks to your website.

If you’re worried about how much data is missing from your own site, the easiest way to see how many clicks Google isn’t showing you is to use the GSC connector in Google Data Studio. Patrick Stox has made a report in Data Studio that you can replicate.

 

Get in touch with our team for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

With brand awareness cited as a top priority among marketers, and over 3.8 billion social media users online, building a consistent corporate brand across social media is a must in today's digital economy.

What is brand consistency?


If you’ve worked tirelessly to cultivate the perfect brand, you’ll want it to be recognised far and wide. But in order for consumers to know who you are and what you stand for, you need to be consistent.

Brand consistency refers to how a business incorporates its core values and brand identity into its messaging and delivers “on brand” marketing materials across all channels and touchpoints.

Why is brand consistency important?


The biggest benefit of brand consistency is brand recognition. This allows an organisation to foster a strong association between its core messages and visual identity and set itself apart from the competition. Other advantages of brand consistency include:

  • More control over brand perception
  • Greater trust and brand loyalty

What should you do before launching a corporate social media account?

Define your brand and its goals

Use simple, concise language to work out what it is you want to achieve. If your brand has nicknames or variations, use the same one across all social platforms. It takes nine visits on average for someone to make a purchase – make sure it's the same name on each visit!

Know your target audience

Knowing your target audience is crucial for creating social media content that generates followers. Use a profile of your target audience to inform colour choice, tone and which platforms you use.

Perform a social media audit

If you already have social media, assess your previous content, engagement and what is and isn't working. Take these learnings to create content that performs better, optimising for when and how often you post.

Decide which platforms to focus on

If you're just starting out, choose which social media platforms you want to focus on. Don't spread yourself too thin. It's far better to have one account that aces its brand elements than three half-hearted ones.

How to build a consistent corporate brand on social media


It's worth emphasising that building a consistent brand is a process. You won't see drastic engagement or sales growth overnight. But it's worth the wait...

Much of brand consistency can be split into two basic categories: imagery and written content.

Imagery

This is arguably the most important aspect of your branding. This is because humans are highly visual and our brains are better at retaining visual information. The following tips are relevant for profile pictures, header images, event pages, social media posts, graphics and adverts, as well as your website, email marketing and blog.

Colour palette

Use a consistent colour palette across your images, graphics and videos so users  recognise your brand when they scroll past your content. Colour reflects emotion and purpose, so think carefully about how you want users to feel when they see your posts.

Photographs

Take your own photographs rather than using stock imagery. This will help you maintain a consistent style.

Watermarks

Use a watermark or logo on any images you publish to prevent other people from repurposing your content and diluting your brand identity.

Written content

Maintaining a consistent brand voice is essential on social media. To do this, consider your existing customers and the customer personas you wish to target. Are they professional, young, female, or all three? This will greatly impact the language and tone of your brand messaging.

If your social channels are managed by more than one person, it's worth creating a brand guideline. Anyone who speaks on behalf of the brand can then refer to it and use the same language and tone of voice. Include your brand persona, personality traits, specific vocabulary (such as if you use the word client or customer), and any company phrases. You should also define:

  • Tone - Is it familiar, direct or humble?
  • Language - Is it colloquial, complex or niche?
  • Purpose - Is it your brand's goal to sell, educate or entertain?

Content Repurposing


If you have more than one social media channel, an effective way to successfully build brand awareness across your socials is to repurpose content. As each platform is built differently, and each platform's audience differs, the way people engage with content will also differ. You therefore need to align your content and profiles with each platform's best practices.

In essence, this means taking snippets of content, rewriting the same information, or marginally altering an image or graphics so users recognise your brand. For example, if you create an extended IGTV video, you can combine snippets into a shorter video for TikTok, or create a slideshow for Facebook or Twitter accompanied by relevant text. See our Northumbria University campaign below.

Instagram post on a smartphone
Twitter post on a tablet device
Social media post

Four tips for acing your social media marketing efforts

 

  1. Talk like a human. Use conversational dialogue rather than corporate. This helps to make your brand more relatable and personal.
  2. Interact with your following. Reply to messages and comments to create an authentic two-way relationship that builds trust.
  3. Post relevant content that interests your target audience. Posting content that doesn't interest your followers will eventually lead to subscriber attrition.
  4. Post frequently. Draw up a social media schedule and stick to it. If you're not visible, you're not building brand recognition.

If you implement these actions on social media, you'll improve consistency and awareness, and demonstrate your brand personality, all of which will help you connect with your target audience. This strategy can be applied to all online channels, including your website, blog and email marketing.

To enquire about content strategy or social mediaget in touch with our team.

 

This article explains why so many businesses are embracing influencer marketing and how it can help you engage audiences, create new content and reach potential customers.

What is influencer marketing?


Simply put, an influencer is someone who has the ability to influence the decisions of a significant number of people, often within a niche. They are trusted by their following as an expert in their field and influence consumer decisions.

Influencer marketing campaigns take place on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and are often seen as a branch of social media marketing. 

The benefits of influencer marketing

1. Increased brand awareness

Brand awareness is one of the main motivations behind working with influencers. 

When an influencer posts content on social media, their users are exposed to your products and services, expanding your reach within the market. This can help users develop a deeper connection with your brand.

2. Builds trust and credibility

An influencer's promotion of your brand or product signifies their approval and endorsement; your brand is relevant and should be followed. This is critical in today's cynical world.

According to a Micro Biz Mag study, 'people are more than twice as likely to trust people they follow on social media to give an honest review of a product than they are to trust the website of the company selling the product.'

3. Visibility and reach 

Influencers have thousands of followers, if not millions. And if you work with the right set of middle and macro influencers, your campaign can reach a lot of people. What’s more, an influencer whose niche perfectly aligns with yours will get your content in front of an audience that is already engaged and open to making a purchase.

4. Reach digital natives

Influencer marketing offers excellent access to Millenials and Gen Z. These profitable demographics live in a digital-first world and are highly influenced by, and open to, social media and influencer marketing within their purchasing process and brand relationships. A staggering 85% of these audiences are 'highly open' to information regarding specific products on social platforms.

5. Content strategy

If you're feeling stuck for content ideas, or need a fresh approach, influencer marketing may be just the solution!

Today many influencers are experienced and talented content creators, with an excellent knowledge of their field, their following and what users respond to. By partnering with influencers, you can create new content that better reflects your brand and the needs of your audience. 

6. Purchasing decisions and sales

Influencers and social media impact consumers at every stage of the sales funnel, from lead generation to purchase. Here's why:

  • Social media is an easily accessible platform.
  • Consumers are increasingly looking to influencers for inspiration on what products to purchase. 
  • Consumers are increasingly looking to social media to validate products and services. 
  • Consumers are eager to try new products promoted by their favourite influencers.

According to studies, 60% of YouTube subscribers follow the advice of their favourite YouTubers on what products to buy, and almost 40% of Twitter users admit they've made purchases as a direct result of influencer tweets. 

To learn more about how to improve your content strategy to increase traffic through your sales funnel, click here.

7. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Inbound links indicate to search engines that your content is relevant and trustworthy. Influencer marketing campaigns can help you build high-quality links, boosting your overall rankings and online visibility.

Speak to our dedicated SEO team to learn how you can improve your business' SEO and drive traffic. 

8. Cost and return on investment

Influencer marketing has excellent ROIs in comparison to other forms of marketing, especially when employing smaller influencers with lower fees and higher engagement rates.

Engaging in longer-term partnerships with influencers rather than one-off campaigns, aside from progressing your credibility and brand awareness, can also save you time and money.

What are the risks of influencer marketing?


If you've gotten this far and your interest is piqued, you may now be wondering, but what are the risks? Here are some of the most common.

Make sure the influencer has a good reputation

If an influencer has a controversial or negative reputation, or has posted offensive or inappropriate content on social media, this will have ramifications for your brand. 

At Bell, we use Kolsquare's influencer platform, host to 2 million influencers across 180 countries, to monitor and carefully select the appropriate influencers for each brand and campaign. This extensive resource allows us to anticipate any potential issues and provides in-depth influencer profiles.

P.S. It's also good practice to ensure that the influencer has an authentic connection to your brand, genuinely endorses you and your products, and that there are no conflicts of interest.

Avoid 'serial brand influencers'

As part of the screening process to select an influencer, research their collaboration history to avoid influencers who have been involved in too many partnerships. A serial brand influencer risks the credibility of your campaign and may not have your best interests at heart.

Sign a contract

This may seem obvious, but it always bears repeating! Influencers can fall short of their promises and disrupt a campaign by:

  • Delaying or missing a publication date
  • Posting unapproved or misleading content
  • Cancelling a campaign at the last minute

Protect yourself with a contract. 

What is the future of influencer marketing?


When it comes to digital marketing, we're all looking to the future and trying our best to keep on top of the latest trends. Here are some we predict.

Larger brands will drop influencers

Experts have predicted that larger brands will be more likely to drop influencers, but smaller brands will continue to favour them for growth and exposure.

Brands will favour smaller influencers

There are several tiers of influencer, including nano, micro, macro and mega. Many brands are already shifting to favour the smaller influencers over the larger. Here's a few reasons why:

  • Brands have a wider pool to choose from. Over the pandemic countless lower tiered influencers sprung up. 
  • Smaller, niche influencers offer brands a more targeted audience.
  • Studies have shown that influencers with fewer than 25,000 social media followers achieve the highest engagement rates. 

Shift in focus

During the pandemic there was a noticeable shift away from excessive, glamorous parties to focus on health, wellness, fitness and beauty. This is likely to continue in the future, with influencers promoting more meaningful, mindful messages to their following. 

Certain platforms favoured

This will shift as social networks come and go. But the current projection is that influencer content will continue to grow on Instagram and TikTok, while Facebook and YouTube shrink. This is because promotional content can feel less genuine, which current consumers reject more easily. 

Check out our blog to keep on top of other trends.


Now you know how influencer marketing can grow your business, what's your next move? Talk to our social media and influencer marketing experts at Bell for a tailored content strategy.

 
 
 
 

Digital marketing is a fast-paced industry. This month has seen a number of important updates, so here is our round-up of the latest news and trends from the world of search.

Organic search

Google Search Console gets a new filter

Man using Google Search Console on a laptop

Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a free platform for anyone with a website. It allows owners to monitor how Google sees their site and optimise for organic traffic. 

Google Search Console has a very well-known, classic layout. But if you’ve used it in recent weeks, you'll have noticed that Google has added a brand-new feature to the performance report.

The new feature is called translated results, and it lets users see which landing pages are being automatically translated by Google Chrome. The results are currently limited to mobile devices and Indonesian, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu languages. But there's a good chance that more will be added in the future.

Google announces a 50% reduction in ‘irrelevant’ results

A person holding a black android smartphone

Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison for Search, recently revealed that Google has reduced the number of what it terms “irrelevant” results by 50% and made improvements to how users interact with the platform:

“Since 2015, we've seen a more than 60% increase in natural language queries in search. This means people can find what they need more easily… using language that's closer to the way we normally write and speak".

The revelation is probably drawn from Google’s internal data. But the findings are interesting and indicate the future of search lies in natural, localised language – a fantastic insight for marketers!

Google introduces new ‘highly cited’ trust label

Scrabble tiles spelling out trust

E-A-T – or Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness – is intrinsic to SEO.  The concept is covered in great detail in Google’s Quality Rater Guideline, and this latest update proves that it, as well as Google’s repeated efforts to weed out misinformation, aren’t going anywhere soon.

The new label works like this: upon users searching for factually important information, a new label will appear in the image carousel of Google’s Top Stories results, indicating which stories have been frequently cited or linked to.

The new badge will allow users to identify which publishers they can trust, and is likely to affect click-through rates and organic traffic. To optimise for this feature, make sure your content is regularly earning links from trusted websites.

Paid search

Customer match lists will soon be eligible for smart bidding

A blurry Google logo

Customer match lists are useful for reaching existing customers. They use identifiers such as the searcher’s email address, phone or physical location to target prospects on platforms like Gmail and YouTube.

Today, advertisers have to manually apply these to a campaign. However, thanks to a new feature coming to Google Ads, advertisers will soon be able to use these lists for smart bidding and optimised targeting.

This is good news for PPC marketers as it will streamline their work and give Google more data to analyse for automation. If you work in an industry with low repeat customer rates and don’t want to use customer match lists, you’ll be able to opt out at the advertisement account level.

Google is changing how smart bidding strategies are organised

The Google logo on a smartphone screen

Starting from next month, Google will rename their existing standard 'Target CPA' campaigns to 'Maximise conversions' with a target CPA, and your standard 'Target ROAS' bid strategy campaigns to 'Maximise conversion value' with target ROAS. 

Ramin Miakheyl, a PPC account manager at Bell Digital Marketing, commented on the news, adding: "This name change won’t impact bidding behaviour. Using 'Maximise conversions' with a target CPA will still have the same bidding behaviour as 'Target CPA', and using 'Maximise conversion value' with a target ROAS will continue to have the same bidding behaviour as 'Target ROAS'."

Content marketing

FAQs are making a comeback

A blue question mark on a pink background

According to RankRanger data and SEO evidence, Google appears to be displaying more FAQ rich results in SERPs.

This means setting up an FAQ page and being more strategic with content – such as writing more detailed answers so users are encouraged to click through rather than stay on Google – could make a big difference to how much space a business occupies in SERPs.

 

Get in contact with our team for more information about how to improve your SEO, paid or content marketing activities. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

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