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Remember back when the credit crunch was new? Every other blog post, including a fair few of mine, urged firms not to lose faith in online marketing, not to hack at their search engine marketing (SEM) budgets or lay off members of their online PR team.

I still think it’s important to hold marketing nerve. If you are to grow your business then a successful marketing strategy is essential and budget cuts are not going to help.

However, as the country shudders its way out of a historic recession, achieving an estimated 0.1% of growth in the last three months of 2009, it’s time to face facts. Your money need to work harder.

British business is not out of the woods yet and many firms are going to be unable to grow their marketing budgets for the foreseeable future.

So, boost your sales and step ahead of the competition by making sure every penny you spend achieves as much as possible.

Overhaul your pay-per-click (PPC)

Getting the most out of your paid search budget is an art; it requires dedicated time, thought and experimentation.

I meet would-be clients who can’t understand why we don’t funnel all their budget into the most searched-for terms, but it is much more complicated than that.

Highly popular terms will inevitably cost more but they won’t necessarily make a conversion any more likely. However, if you target more specified searches, you’ll often pay less and gain greater numbers of visitors.

Best of all, those visitors will be even more relevant than the ones being driven to your site via a generic, popular search term.

I always offer ‘car insurance’ as a prime example: it is very expensive to place ads for and your visitors won’t necessarily convert.

However, dedicate some of your budget to specific terms, such as ‘car insurance for young drivers’ and you’ll pay less and potentially earn more.

You may also be in a sector that could benefit from Google’s ad scheduling service, were you can pick when your adverts appear.

Only careful analysis of click through and cost will allow you to make the most out of your money.

Be sensible about socialising

No one is a bigger fan of social media marketing than me;  SEOptimise has benefited hugely from a sustained social marketing campaign.

However, I do see many companies dedicating considerable amounts of their time engaging with single customers through social platforms.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful way to build up some loyal brand fans or to overcome negative comments made through Twitter or via a blog.

Yet time is money and it’s important to spend that time where it will have the widest possible reach.

If you need to cut back, perhaps in order to dedicate more time to a successful PPC campaign, then maybe one-to-one socialising can take a back seat – just until you have a bigger budget to play with.

Be confident in the basics

There’s not much point ploughing money into your online marketing strategy if you haven’t bothered with your onsite optimisation.

Basic work like optimising your own pages won’t cost the earth but it will make sure that your website is working as hard as it can. Otherwise, your SEO work will never amount to much – it’s like trying to put a decent roof on a cardboard box.

Remember what actually matters

It may sound basic but I often meet people who have lost track of why they optimise their sites. High visitor numbers are great but that isn’t enough on its own – it’s all about conversion.

Are your visitors doing what you want them to do once they reach your site?

Don’t let your SEO company rest on its laurels just because it’s increased visitor numbers to your pages. They need to be sending relevant consumers to your site; otherwise it’s just a waste of everyone’s time and your budget.

Yes, there is often more you can do on your pages to inspire people to buy, or sign up, or whatever it is you want to achieve.

However, your SEO agency has to take some responsibility for the quality of the traffic you’re receiving.

Don’t lose long-term vision

If you’ve invested cash into a long-term online marketing solution - for example, working on your website’s organic optimisation - don’t drop the ball because there are more immediate returns to be made through PPC.

That may boost your budget’s short-term earning potential, but it wastes whatever you had previously spent on the work you’ve now dropped.

Don’t cut a budget if that will waste money you’ve already spent and damage your long-term strategy.

Kevin Gibbons

Published 9 February, 2010 by Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons is UK Managing Director at digital marketing agency BlueGlass. He is also known as an SEO speaker and can be found on Twitter and Google+.

102 more posts from this author

Comments (10)

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Clive Hawkins

Interesting post and I agree with a lot of your views here. The past 18 months has been a good reality check to focus, work on the marketing spend that gets the best ROI and use this knowledge to develop a more cost effective strategy for the future.

over 6 years ago

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SEO Land

i think you post correct about post-recession in SEO, we can try some self seo our self to control it as well,

over 6 years ago

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Mark Clayson

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine.

over 6 years ago

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Syed Hyder Ali

Dear Kevin,

It is a very nice post. After reading the blog, I got couple of new ideas which I will implement in my marketing strategy.

And I really agree with Clive Hawkins comment. Before recession, we were getting the projects without much hardwork and happy working. But during the recession, our Marketing efforts gone up to 80%. Previously on 2 people use to work on Marketing but now 10 senior people are working to SEO and SMM.

Regards,

Hyder

http://www.winwinmantra.com

over 6 years ago

Tony Thornby

Tony Thornby, Senior Internet Consultant at Living Streams (Internet) Consultancy

I totally agree with everything said but wonder about the alignment between the article title and the content because there is virtually no advice on SEO.

So I thought I'd add put forward two of my own ideas:

(1) Ensure that you are optimising for phrases that are reasonably well searched. I am shocked how many times UK companies that I talk to have paid for high natural ranking for terms that are very rarely searched.  Often this involves adding a location name to a reasonably searched term.  

(2) The best way of checking on return for optimisation effort is not by a spot-check ranking report but your analytics reports on non-paid keyword traffic.  This will enable you to check not just how many visitors you are getting from search phrases around your targeted keywords but also their behaviour on your website (e.g. pages visited, average time on site and achievement of goals)

(3) Don't ignore ideal search terms just because they're very competitive.  I purchasing intent and search volume are high it can be more worthwhile being on page 2 for that keyword than in position 3 for one less frequently searched - 1% of 12,000/month is more than 10% of 400/month

over 6 years ago

Tony Thornby

Tony Thornby, Senior Internet Consultant at Living Streams (Internet) Consultancy

Apologies, got carried away and added a third idea to my comment above - I'm not an analyst who cannot count :-)

over 6 years ago

Alice Morgan

Alice Morgan, Freelance digital marketing consultant at Freelance

Thank you for this. As someone who advises clients on implementing pan-European SEO strategies, I relate strongly to this. Long tail is definitely important - in SEO too, where we want to attract qualified traffic that does things we want it to.

My gut feeling about social media concurs with your expressed opinion about restricted reach, although there is a lot of mileage in the interface between PR and SEO and the potential increase in reach via that.

Developing single keyword strategies is important for this - along with aligning with PPC to improve quality scores (and thereby drive down costs).

I'm printing this entry out to help me explain things, thank you again :).

over 6 years ago

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Rupesh Anbhavane

Hello,

I read your post. It is very Interesting. And i am Sure its very Benificial for me.
We are providing all kind of solution regarding to Website And Website
Promotion. Visit Our site http://seo-servicesindia.com

Thank You,
Rupesh.
Skydel Group.

over 6 years ago

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Rupesh Anbhavane

Hello,

I read your post. It is very Interesting. And i am Sure its very Benificial for me.
We are providing all kind of solution regarding to Website And Website
Promotion. Visit Our site http://designorbit.in

Thank You,
Rupesh.
Skydel Group.

over 6 years ago

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instinctis

Many thanks for sharing these informations about SEO,SEM with the rest of the world, i alone used to do self seo development too, but with the help this online tool http://ministatus.com wich does a great job bringing most of the needed seo data into a single page for a better overview, but i guess one could do it all by hand too and have same results.

almost 6 years ago

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