Search Engine Optimisation – or SEO – is always a hot topic because it is so important – it allows your business to be found online with ease. It’s also been a hot topic because in the past, it’s been shrouded in mystery. It’s an area of business people need to be made aware of – if you get it wrong and Google penalises you, the consequences are dire.

In the past, SEO was a challenging game to play; a big industry grew around it which continued to perpetuate the view that if you were going to make it to page one on the search engine results page, you needed an expert who knew how to manage the search engine in the way that no ordinary digital marketer could. This is not the case anymore. Google wants transparency and actively discourages any smoke and mirrors search engine optimisation tactics.

So what is Search Engine Optimisation today?

Here’s a definition – Search Engine Optimisation is a set of techniques applied to your website so that the search engine (usually Google in Australia) recognises your site as relevant to a search query entered by the user. The search results that come from a user entering a search query is called a search engine results page or SERP.

The aim of SEO is to have the links to your pages appear naturally or organically on page one of the SERP.  Consumer behaviour has changed, and these days we don’t usually go beyond page one of the search engine’s results pages to find what we’re looking for. If we don’t find what we want on the first page, we simply refine our search query or keywords. The position of the links on the search engine results page is a result of SEO techniques.

Why is Search Engine Optimisation the business of everyone in the business?

SEO and content are today’s dancing partners – the ice cream and jelly of digital marketing. The SEO process starts with keywords, and it’s no longer just the job of the digital marketing team to think about these keywords. Defining keywords helps a business understand what it represents for its customers – what value or solution the business provides to its customers and what business it is really in.

What do I mean by this? Here’s an example. I recently ran through a keyword exercise with a doctor for her general practice. We started with the big headings; womens health; mens health, etc. Then I asked – what do you do in these areas? The answer I got was thorough and technical – a lot of terms that I could not understand. The next question – if your customers were looking for that service, what would they type into a search engine? That’s when we get to the real value, finding the words that your customers would use to find your product or service. Only then can we build out a strategy for SEO and establish a framework that informs website navigation and where the content will go. Would the doctor have thought she would be part of determining the SEO structure for the buinsess? No, she didn’t. Will the GP be doing the SEO? No, she wont be. But as you can see from the example, she is an essential part of its success.

Any content creator in the business also needs to know the keywords for the business and the SEO strategy. In the case of the doctor’s business, that is going to include the receptionists, the practice nurse and the other doctors in the practice, all of whom write some form of content that will most likely be published on the website (as well as used in other formats).

Link Building is a lot like Public Relations

SEO includes ‘on-page’ techniques, using your keywords in the URL, page title, headings, content and images; as well as ‘off-page’ techniques, which is essentially having other sites link to your site. Anchor text are the words or phrases on the site that links to yours containing the hyperlink to your site. These should be your keywords. You can understand that “click here” or “learn more” won’t do a lot for you. Links and anchor text should always make sense to the visitor. This is a way you can assess quality. If a link or anchor text looks weird or out of place, like it doesn’t belong, then it doesn’t.

If your customers were looking for that service, what would they type into a search engine? That’s when we get to the real value, finding the words that your customers would use to find your product or service

Good linking is helped by having active social media profiles and publishing a quality blog that others link to. But it’s also simply a matter of ensuring that businesses and organisations that you do business with have links to your site on theirs. Look to your partners, organisations that you sponsor, your community affiliations. Does that university business school that your CEO just made a speech to have a link along with the info and pic about the event? Does that sports team you support have a number of links to your site? What about the sponsorship you make to the local training awards program, is there a link from their site to yours? You check and if not, you make the phone call or send the email and ask that the link be made and then you check again. If every organisation you partner with in a variety of ways over time included links from their site to yours, your off-page SEO would be doing well.

What can you do about making SEO the business of everyone in the business?

It’s likely that most people in the business, outside of marketing, have little idea of what SEO is, and even if they do, they won’t think that they have anything to do with it.

Here are my top five tips for increasing the focus of everyone in the business on SEO.

  1. It starts with education. How this happens in businesses varies greatly but even the very simple “paper bag lunch” training session will go a long way.
  2. During your training, avoid technicalities and keep it simple. Playing a keyword game is a great place to start. Choose a topic and have everyone come up with three different words or phrases that they would type into a search engine if they were looking for that thing. Run some live tests and show the results.
  3. Demonstrate how other businesses in your sector are using keywords by visiting a few sites. Show page titles and URLs, as well as content, headings and subheadings and images for sites that have good SEO structure and ones that don’t.
  4. Inform everyone what the target keywords are and benchmark your performance for those. After some dedicated keyword -focused SEO work, celebrate your success as you move up the rankings in Google.
  5. Set a quality ‘link’ challenge. How many links can your team generate over a month or two?

What are your tips to encourage your organisation to focus on SEO?

 

 

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Beth Powell

Beth Powell is the founder of Digital Marketing Club, a coaching and support program for marketers and non-marketers that provides direct answers to your questions about your own digital marketing and gets your roadblocks unstuck.  She has become known as the go-to person for clear explanations about how digital marketing works and how businesses can use the various solutions to improve their marketing and grow their business. Beth is a sought after conference speaker and author of the soon to be published book “Drive More Business: A 5 step Guide to Digital Marketing for Auto Dealers”. For more information, email [email protected].


Want to know the truth about PR?

Education is the key to creating understanding and ridding those pesky negative preconceptions that can often hound and taint many a sector and industry.

This is generally the role of PR, to pro-actively develop, action and maintain a strategy of communication that hits the right audience, with the right tone, the right information, and all at the right time to maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and the public.

Only the other day a client said to me they would never have received a request to quote from their dream client without the help of PR. Another said they didn’t have to hire a business development consultant thanks to the work of PR and the credibility it has given them.

This isn’t just great news for me but validation that the industry I work in does achieve what it says it does. But PR as an industry suffers from negative preconceptions, and I challenge those every day by doing a good job to dispel them.

Successful PR takes time and experience and the honest truth is PR isn’t easy; PRs just make it look that way.

So here I’m sharing with you 5 truths about the PR industry that many people just aren’t aware of:

1. It’s more than just writing.

Some days can be purely devoted to research. As a PR pro being informed and educated on a wide variety of topics isn’t just required, it’s essential. Some days it’s about problem solving and looking for solutions. Other days it can be devoted to looking for and creating opportunities for your clients.

2. It’s stressful. 

Whether it’s making sure results are achieved, being organised, staying on top of your tasks, working with different personalities, and managing those inevitable last minute demands, PR can be a juggling act based on integrity to do and achieve the best for the companies you represent.

3. It isn’t 9 to 5

Say goodbye to fixed routines. Being pro-active is the key but reactive equally so. You have to be able to react quickly and that can mean working during unsociable hours. Sometimes a response, a story, a statement is needed NOW, and no, it can’t wait until the morning.

4. Proving your worth.

Not everyone understands the importance of PR or the skills and attributes needed to provide it. ROI is generally king and the sole preserve of the sales department, but it’s important to demonstrate how ROI comes from PR activity too. Without reputation and credibility how would a company survive? It isn’t tangible people cry, reputation is tangible, it’s an asset that attracts and retains customers – what are customers worth? What’s your reputation worth?

5. Anyone can do it

Where do I begin?! You must be a self-starter, be able to spot opportunities, be a good listener, good communicator, good at developing relationships, be discreet, take responsibility, be creative, skilled, knowledgeable, a quick learner…

…The list goes on and any self-respecting recruiter will tell you not many people have all those qualities rolled into one. The number of people I have given the opportunity to fashion a career in PR and they just didn’t have the will-power, drive or inclination believing the job was just too demanding and not the glamorous party they were looking for.

If actions are the result of the perception of facts then PR is the part of your business that is working to create, change, challenge or reinforce perception. Your reputation doesn’t clock off at 5 and neither does PR.


Do you admire those succinct communicators, the ones that find it incredibly easy to leave modestly at the door as they talk about themselves, or the ones that are so passionate about what they do they hypnotise you with positivity? They’re engaging aren’t they?

Communicating is essential in order to attract new clients, as well as retain them. In the world of PR this is called ‘engaging your audience’. Public relations has a very specific role here; and it can carry out that role on many different levels, and with differing degrees of success.

You don’t have to be a motivational speaker, or an exhibitionist, just consider the importance of engaging communication – it helps build solid relationships, creates wider understanding and awareness, and invites open and honest conversations.

Here are three tips to help you create engaging communication from your business and be more engaging in your PR:

1. Be transparent

That means no sales fluff or hyperboles. Just be honest and let others within your organisation; customers, and advocates, learn about what’s going on in your business. Communicate your future plans, growth, investments, successes and achievements. Sharing this information is valuable PR, it helps create an understanding and awareness about who you are and what you do but more importantly it creates trust and loyalty as you form genuine relationships through genuine dialogue.

2. Share positive stories

Everyone loves to hear good news. We like to read it too; so consider how your business can communicate a positive vibe. Do you have a fantastic human interest story just waiting to leap into the public realm? Maybe you’ve achieved something wonderful for charity, maybe a good deed has transformed someone’s life, or maybe your company expansion plans will create masses of local employment opportunities. Communicating positivity in the face of our perpetually negative media can seem like a challenge, but try it, we all like things that make us feel good and secretly the media does too.

3. Find your enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is like a huge smile, once you’ve shared it it will be carried on. Embrace what is good about your business and be enthusiastic about it. I know there’s trepidation here, but ignore those endless rows of people that make it their job to dampen the spirit of enthusiasm. Think about your company values, good service, staff development, great after sales care; and tell everyone about it. Trust me its worth sharing, and once you do others will share for you too.

There you have it, engagement, just share your stories and celebrate communication – you’ll be an engagement expert before you know it.

Colette Lowe is the Founder and owner of Chew PR. Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. She is based in Wakefield, England.

photo credit: How to Earn Customer Loyalty By Focusing on Customer Experience via photopin (license)


I love working in PR because it does and achieves wonderful things. When I receive feedback from a client that says: “Thank you for your advice, we put it into action and it went down a storm! We never thought we would accomplish what we did, thank you.” – Now that’s a priceless comment!

This company achieved a full page spread in their local newspaper based on our advice and input concerning media relations. Never before had they attempted this, believing they weren’t good enough, interesting enough or newsworthy.

They achieved what they deemed to be the unachievable and also received a huge dose of recognition and credibility – I love PR for having the power to do that.

How did they achieve this? They developed a story that was authentic and relevant to their audience.

PR should be authentic and relevant to your audience

Here I share with you 3 PR savvy tips to help you achieve the unachievable.

1. Be interesting

How can you make your story interesting but keep it authentic and rich with content that is relevant to your audience? Be honest with yourself, is the story you are contemplating interesting? Maybe you have a hero in your business who has achieved amazing things, or a product that makes your customers’ lives easier. Just think of the most gripping stories–they can be exciting, scary or enlightening, as long as they engage.

One of my clients didn’t think they had much to announce this month so we got talking about business and developments. It turned out they had achieved new business on national scale. From a provincial business they developed into a UK-wide business! We were able to develop a piece of communication around this to ensure the audiences they wanted to engage with knew about their capability and credibility nationally.

2. Be unique

Maybe you have a new service or product, or have achieved something unique to your industry. Maybe you are the only company in your industry to reach a particular milestone. Perhaps your recent new starter is unique – for example, the only male in a female environment? Maybe your product is the first of its kind off the production line. It isn’t good enough to create corporate fluff dressed up as a good story. Think about how you would want to read about yourself!

Only last week we identified a story that demonstrated my client’s business performance and innovation in their market with their investment in electric vehicles. This is a worthy piece of communication for my client as they are the first company in their sector to make this investment.

3. Be newsworthy

Putting aside scandal and conflict, which the media love to focus on, ask yourself: Is my story really news? Is it bang on trend, an opinion piece, or hard-hitting? Is it filled with human interest and local interest? Ensure it is timely, and by that I mean current. Your stories need to be fresh and relevant to the media channel you are engaging.  Success was easy when we worked with a high school who organised a school trip to England’s chocolate capital to experience making chocolate as well as learning about its history and heritage. No, it isn’t hard-hitting news, but it’s full of human interest, relevant to the geography of the school and let’s face it–who doesn’t like chocolate!

If you can identify a few of these PR nuggets, you’ll be achieving top quality PR results that will connect you to your audience, create more understanding about what you do, and develop your reputation. You’ll be loving PR just as much as me!

Colette Lowe is the Founder and owner of Chew PR. Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. She is based in Wakefield, England.

Photo credit: Cara Melody


PR develops a conscious relationship between you and your customers. For it to flourish it has to be open and honest.

But making a positive connection isn’t easy without genuine dialogue.

So to fully appreciate that special connection  your public relations strategies can bring, turn your back on the superficial and open your heart to the boundless opportunities PR can offer you and your business.

If you’re ready to develop strong relationships with your customers that accomplish so much more and will build brand loyalty then consider these three main points to get you started:

Emotional connection

Having an emotional connection is vital in any relationship. Without one, it’s highly likely your relationship will not stand the test of time. When in business it’s important to act with integrity, compassion, and let the personality of your business, and the individuals behind it, shine through in your communication. This allows you the opportunity to create friendships that are built on trust.

Invite those journalists out for a coffee or your next event without pushing an agenda and see how the relationship develops. Wear your heart on your sleeve to connect emotionally with your audience and give them insight into how hard you work and the unique value your business has. It’s not just a product or service, it’s like your baby. Let them see that.

Once the trust is there almost anything can be accomplished.

Good communication

It’s got to be open and honest, anything else would be selling everyone short and ultimately start to show the cracks when things aren’t running as smoothly as you’d like. Good communication between a business and its customers builds a solid foundation to move forward on if something does go wrong (knock on wood).

If you’ve already built a good relationship (see Tip 1 again) then they will be more forgiving if you’re honest about it. Good communication is about showing your customers you care, taking the time to communicate and directly relate to them shows you care about them.

Listen

How does it make you feel when you’re not heard? It’s incredibly frustrating isn’t it? Listening is part of communicating and it’s a very important component of a two way process. In a business, listening is a vital skill. Whether it’s your customers or even your own employees, once you start to listen you can tune into their needs and really develop a fulfilling relationship or even improve on your original product or service for the better.

If you aren’t listening to your customers, you won’t know what’s good or bad about your business.

Listen to your people and find out why it is or isn’t being supported. People who feel heard are more likely to promote your product if they receive positive feedback or attention than if their thoughts go unheard. Let them feel the love and they will reciprocate ten fold for a product they feel a connection with.

Good relationships are hard to maintain, that’s why companies embrace PR. By its very nature public relations develops relationships; through consistent interaction and communication PR keeps your relationships alive and therefore allows your brand and business to grow and prosper.

Building brand relationships can be hard, when has good PR helped your business? Tell us in the comments below!

Colette Lowe is the Founder and owner of Chew PR. Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. She is based in Wakefield, England.

Photo source


These days a good business also has to be a media production business as well. A social media strategy should be essential to all businesses and with media rich channels like YouTube, you can become a celebrity in your niche.

A classic example of this is Melissa Maker from Clean My Space. Melissa is a cleaner. She cleans houses. However she has leveraged the power of YouTube to become a celebrity in the cleaning space.

So much so, that she is now making more money from speaking engagements and advertising than from actually cleaning. It’s never been easier to build an impressive presence in your niche.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Know you niche

For Melissa, it was home cleaning. What’s your niche? Identify what your niche is. What can you comment on and what can you provide plenty of helpful advice about? Generally it will be what you are currently paid to do.

2. Select a channel for your message

Melissa chose YouTube. This is ideal for such a visually relevant topic as demonstrating how to clean. If it’s visual then YouTube makes sense. You could also incorporate Pinterest or Instagram. If you are explaining details or interviewing experts then a Podcast might be the ideal medium.

Whatever channel you use, make sure it all leads back to your website. This is your home base for all your media content. So use these available social media channels but also capture email addresses and bring them back to your website for more content.

3. Create useful, valuable content

This is the step that ensures your content will be shared and re-shared. It has to be useful for the audience. The trick in all this is to not to chase sales; it is to position yourself as the expert in your field. By doing it this way, you will attract higher quality sales than you’ve had in the past. People will see you as the ideal provider of the service or product.

Some people worry about what they can create content about but if you are already being paid for a service then you do have valuable knowledge and expertise. The trick here is to break it down to bite-size pieces for your audience to consume regularly.

4. Deliver it regularly and consistently

People like people they can trust. Deliver your content at a regular time each day, week, fortnight, month – whatever suits you. Just stick to it and maintain it. Melissa Maker sends out a new YouTube video every Saturday at midday. People know to expect it and it is delivered. They trust her and know they can rely on her. This regularity of content helps build your subscribers. They know to expect your content and by doing it regularly the word will spread and your numbers will grow.

5. Spread the word

Winking at someone in the dark is the same as creating content that no one sees. You know what you are doing, but no one else does. Once you have created the content you need to share it. You need to Tweet it, post it on LinkedIn, share it on Facebook, email it. Collaborate with people who have the same audience to ensure more people see it.
People will respect the fact that you are staking a claim to a niche and putting your name to it.

If you follow this process you will build your brand, your credibility and eventually be seen as a star in your niche. The key here is being prolific. Stick to a strategy and keep generating content. It won’t happen overnight. This is a year long strategy at least. The more regularly you create content the quicker the result will be. It could take a year though. But don’t let that put you off – the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time to plant one is today. So start now.

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Geoff Anderson
 is owner of Sonic Sight, a corporate video production company. He presents on using video in business and is the author the Amazon Bestseller “Shoot Me Now – Making videos to boost business”. To find out more about Geoff and to learn about the 5 Mistakes to avoid when making videos, visit www.sonicsight.com.au or visit www.geoffanderson.com.au
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