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Penguin 4.0 – What You Need to Know

After the usual nervous wait, Google announced that the latest update to the Penguin algorithm was released on September 23, 2016.

If your business or organisation has a website, then Penguin 4.0 is relevant to you.

In this blog post, I’ll look at some of the key aspects you need to know.

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You Can Do It Fast Or You Can Do It Slow

So you want more customers.

In that case you’ll need more leads and more prospects.

OK so how are you going to get them?

Well there’s two ways – a quick way and a slow way.

Or I could phrase that another way – there’s the way that involves spending some money and there’s the way without spending money.

So it really depends on how quickly you want to do it.

The slow way

If you’re not in a hurry you can rely on your website appearing high on the organic listings on Google, so that when your prospects are searching for a solution to their problem, up you pop.

So we’re talking about SEO or search engine optimisation.

The problem with SEO is that not only does it take a considerable length of time to achieve those rankings, but Google also regularly changes its search algorithms which means that one day you can be ranking well and the next you’ve disappeared into the back of cyber space. I know I’m talking from painful personal experience.

But now the question is how do you get onto the first page of Google and it does have to be the first page because anything else will not deliver you any meaningful volume.  Not only do you want to be on the first page, but the top half of the first page.

The answer is simply to have the best website in your area of business.

That’s it – just have lots of high quality content, delivering masses of value to your visitors. On top of that you also want lots of high quality people linking to the site.

These characteristics will tell Google that yours is an authoritative site which is worthy of a high ranking because you offer the best solution to their searchers queries.

But that’s a long term strategy.

You probably want traffic and customers right now.

So what’s the other option?

The fast way

The fast way to generate traffic is to buy it.

That’s right you have a marketing budget and you go out and advertise in a range of ways.

The thing now is to ensure you spend your money wisely.

Designing the ad is just one part of the process. There are plenty of other aspects you must pay attention to if you’re going to get a return on your investment.

Remember the way your sales funnel works online is to drive people to a landing page where they give you their contact details in return for a report or white paper.

Below is a list of things you’re going to have to think about.

  1. What are you going to promote? You must have some offer or report of sufficient value to motivate people to give you their contact details. That’s the first thing you have to think about.
  2. Your landing page is the next thing on your list. Sending people to some generic, badly designed page will just lead you to wasting your money. Take great care writing and designing a killer landing page and you’ll get boat loads of sign ups.
  3. Once you’ve got the sign ups, what are you going to do now. You need a system in place which builds trust and credibility, making you the number one choice when they’re ready to buy.
  4. Where are you going to run your ads. With the proliferation of pay per click media, there are all sorts of options these days. Not all of them are necessarily on line. Don’t forget our old friend off line.
  5. Once all this is in place, you need to write and design your ads and get the campaign live.

Blimey there’s lots to do, so you’d better get busy.

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PPC or SEO?

We all want our websites to feature on the first page of Google but with a limited small business marketing budget how do you go about making it happen?

Basically there are two ways to achieve it.

1.Search engine optimisation

2. Pay per click advertising

So how do you know which to focus on and where to spend your money?

Search Engine Optimisation

There are two aspects to SEO – on page and off page.

On page focuses on the things you need to do on your webpage to enable Google to find you when the appropriate search terms are entered. These on page elements include issues such as keywords  and meta tags.

The off page elements are the things you do elsewhere on the web to prove to Google that you are an authoritative site to which searchers should be directed. The most important of these is the external links coming into your site.

SEO is a complicated and expert process which will usually need to be outsourced to an SEO expert.

Pay Per Click

PPC advertising however is something which with a little bit of practice you can probably handle yourself.

PPC ads or sponsored links are the ones that appear on the right hand side of the page and at the top and which appear in blue.

Basically PPC is a bidding process in which you decide how much you are prepared to pay for a click. PPC is a skilled process and although there are lots of other criteria involved, as a generalisation the more you bid the greater your chance of appearing high up on the page.

While SEO is a long term strategy, PPC allows you to appear on the first page within hours of setting up your campaign..

An important thing to point out is the trust issue. People trust the organic listing more than the paid for. Research consistently shows that users are far more likely to choose the organic results rather than the paid advertising links.

On the other hand, PPC is an effective and really the only realistic short term way of driving traffic to your site.

But a word of warning. It is very easy to burn a load of money for little result if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The first thing you should do when you start out is to set a conservative daily budget – say £5 or £10 per day. When this amount has been spent you ads will stop being displayed. This allows you to assess the impact your campaign is having without risking too much money. If it’s working well, you can increase your budget.

The next thing you will want to limit is the geographical area your ads are shown in. If you operate in a limited area, you only want your ads to show within that area.

Equally important are the keywords you select. You must make sure that someone searching against those keywords is actually looking for the services or products that you sell.

Having said all these things when used as part of an effective small business marketing strategy, PPC can give your business a rapid boost.

To sum up – long term, SEO is the most sustainable and ultimately most effective way of getting onto that first page and it’s also much more satisfying to know that your website is ranked by Google to be worthy of its first page positioning as opposed to simply buying your way there.