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[Don’t panic but…] The end of average position is coming

Google announced this week that “average position”, a metric that a lot of my clients use to measure their ad effectiveness, is coming to an end.

Personally, it’s a metric that I use sparingly anyway. I prefer to look at ROI – how much did any combination of ad and keyword spend, vs what value did it bring. I think that’s a better measurement of relative success than whether you were at position 7.2 vs 4.2.

However, when clients have been using this metric for years, it’s going to cause some changes in their reporting habits and at least we have until September to draft up the new reports that show two key metrics to replace it:

  • “Impression (Absolute Top) %”
  • “Impression (Top) %”

(More about these from Google here)

Will this be rolled out on Bing?

If you advertise across both platforms, then you’ll know functionality tends to follow through. These changes may or may not appear in Bing, but we’ve there is nothing concrete yet. We’ll let you know if we get any updates on this.

Advice for our clients

If your still actively using average position, then please take the time to review these new metrics in the Google Ads interface and familiarise yourself. They are just as useful in reporting. We’ll include them in your reports from March in addition to Average Position.

 

If you’d like to get started out in PPC we can help you. Find out more about our PPC methodology and service here. Check out our PPC packages for small and medium businesses or for something tailor made for you business please contact us for a bespoke package.

Why do I need SEO?

Why do I need SEO?

People often ask me, but why do I need SEO?

Because the search engines said so. That’s the sad truth of it. Without SEO your site won’t rank on the search engines, which means no-one will find you, meaning your site is as much use as a chocolate tea-pot.

(If you’re not sure what is SEO, check out this post!)

So, what does ranking on the search engines do for you?

Brand Visibility

By just appearing on the SERPs (before anyone actually clicks) people start to see you name associated with the search term they used. If they are early in the buying process this may just be enough to sow the seed. The more terms you rank for, the more frequently your visitors will see your name and the more you are connected to that business area.

Branding

Not quite the same thing as above, through optimisation you can appear for selected phrases, tags lines, and of course your brand name. You can build pages that reflect a particular campaign message for particular terms.

Increased relevant visitors to your site

Note I use the phrase ‘relevant visitors’. I’ll talk more the difference between visitors and relevant visitors elsewhere, but the difference is key. With good optimisation you are going to get more of the right people on the website, at the moment that they are looking for information, and at the very moment they are ready to engage.

Exposure to customers at different stages of the buying process

You can optimise for terms that reflect different areas of the buying process. If you sell umbrellas, you may think you only want visitors who search for ‘buy umbrella’ or ‘cheap umbrella’. But what those people that don’t yet know that it’s an umbrella they need? What those people searching for ‘how do I keep my hair dry when it’s raining?’. And what those people that are convinced they want a completely different product, let’s say they are actually looking for a “hooded rain coat” but we present them with our “10 reasons your hooded rain coat is so last year” guide. Actually, we have an opportunity to influence people at all stages, with careful planning and preparation.

Of course, in a real life example we’re going to way up the cost/benefit of writing a whitepaper on hooded raincoats when you sell umbrellas. But you get the idea.

Exposure on a wide range of search terms

Similar to the above, although not the same. As you start to build up authority and content you’ll find a natural progression in the opportunities that open up. We can analyse these to find even more high ROI areas to exploit. We can of course engineer these to move in the right direction for your business goals. With more visibility comes more relevant visitors, with more relevant visitors you’ll gain more authority. With more authority, you’ll get greater exposure and opportunities, and so they positive cycle perpetuates.

A cost effective marketing channel

SEO isn’t just effective in the above areas, it’s also a really cost effective marketing. SEO has a great ROI compared to other marketing activities because you’re driving relevant visitors over an extended period of time.

Long term vision

SEO offers a long term strategy to bring in customers and leads, vs most online marketing that is time limited.

So, hopefully you can see the plus side to having a great SEO strategy. The next question I’m almost guaranteed to be asked is “so what do you actually do?”.

You’ll have to wait for that blog post to find out!

If you’d like to get started with SEO for your business then feel free to contact us for a no obligation chat. We offer a range of SEO packages if you’d like a tried and tested formula to get going, or we’ll build you a bespoke, competitively priced SEO service if you need something extra special.

 

How long does it take to rank on Google?

This is a question that I am asked very frequently – and to be honest its a tough one to answer without knowing a lot more facts about the website, the business and the industry. Sadly, there is no sure way to answer this question, and there are no guarantees and anyone that makes them is either using black hat techniques that will result in your sites penalisation, or they’re just plain dishonest. I prefer to offer honest, educated guidelines to my clients.

How does it take to rank #1 on Google?

So back to the question, the answer is of course, “It Depends”. But what does it depend on? There are a lot of factors that determine how fast we can get a site showing for a term or set of terms, but here are a few to get you started:

  • The competitiveness of your market – if you’re selling car insurance then getting seen on page 1 for ‘car insurance’ is going to be hard work and you have to prepare yourself for a long term, significant effort. If you’re exclusively selling zebra striped beans to hamsters in New Zealand, I can get you to the top really fast!
  • The keywords we agree to target – I’ll always recommend we look at a three-stage plan. We start with the long tail niche terms. For this example we’ll assume that you sell all sorts of beans, not just zebra striped beans. We’ll start with the niche terms, let say that’s ‘buy zebra striped beans’ and a handful of similar terms. That’s the short term. For the medium term we’ll aim for ‘buy striped beans’. But the long term goal is actually to rank highly for ‘buy beans’. But notice, ‘buy beans’ was in the original targeting, so although we categorised as long term, we’ve already started the optimisation from the outset. The moral of the story is its all about planning, and we just love that bit!
  • The quality of your site infrastructure and what has already been done – yes, if you’ve already had a good SEO team, or have been reasonably proactive yourself, you may already have a great structure and tons of authority – and this will kick start the campaign. Authority comes from a range of sources but inbound links and social signals are the big talking points here.
  • Penalisations – the flip side of the above point is that if you have had a bad SEO and you’ve ended up with penalisations, then you have a long way to go. Of course, penalisations aren’t always the fault of inappropriate SEO strategy, sometimes they occur through attack or misguided efforts. Whatever the cause, undoing the damage requires a special, and careful effort. Again, you need to see the long-term goal in this instance.
  • Content – you’ve heard the expression “content is king”? Modern SEO is based around providing a solid, engaging, relevant experience on your site, and the best way to do this is to provide fantastic content that answers the questions of the audience you hope to attract.

So, is there any guidance on timescales? Yes, in ballpark terms we expect to see an uplift in existing rankings or appearance of new niche terms in months 1-3. For competitive markets you may be looking at 6 months for significant change. But with a quick look at your particular business and objectives I can offer a much more specific and guided answer.

If you’d like to get started with SEO for your business then feel free to contact us for a no obligation chat. We offer a range of SEO packages if you’d like a tried and tested formula to get going, or we’ll build you a bespoke, competitively priced SEO service if you need something extra special.