2015 Reality Check

In the days leading up to and following 31 December 2014, my social media feed was flooded with declarations of what 2015 will and will not be and what people will and will not accept in the new year.

Reality check: Your year will be what it will be…

Set your goals and work your tail off, knowing that you’ll win some and lose some. You’ll win some easy ones and you’ll slog your guts out for others with not even a hint of progress.

Don’t. Give. Up!

Your success is not determined by how boldly and loudly you stake your claim at the beginning of the year, but by how hard and consistently you work at it all year long – even when it’s ‘not working’.

Don’t get discouraged when it feels like it’s all falling apart. It’s not really falling apart; it’s just reducing the sum to smaller parts to make it easier to work with…

By all means map your success, write your goals and share them with the world – I do every year – but high-five the stuff-ups, the failures and the frustrations as an essential part of the game…

Happy New Year!

What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process of improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s paid search results. This is different from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s natural (organic) search results.

SEM can include paid keywords such as Google AdWords and other forms of direct payment to search engines and other firms to ensure high rankings for selected keywords.

Here is a quick checklist to consider before you commence an SEM campaign:

  • Do we have the expertise to manage an SEM program in-house?
  • If we are going to outsource SEM, how will we evaluate the supplier?
  • What keywords are important to us and are most likely to produce the highest quality traffic and conversions?
  • How will we cull and distill the long list of potential keywords into a concise, potent and manageable shortlist?
  • What are the current search frequency, demand, competition, pricing and value of our preferred keywords?
  • How will we manage the keyword bidding and budget?
  • Who will analyse and report on the effectiveness of our campaign?
  • Who will monitor and adjust the campaign as keyword effectiveness changes over time?
  • How will we track traffic and evaluate the success of the campaign?

What would you add to this list?

Contributor:

Michael Field, Managing Director for Michael Field Pty Ltd.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s natural (organic) search results. This is different from Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which is paying for your website to rank on the first page for prescribed keywords.

SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories:

White Hat

These are techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design and produce meaningful search results for consumers. These techniques include keyword rich copy, hyperlinks and user-friendly navigation. These techniques are Google-compliant and produce results based on relevance.

Black Hat

These are techniques that are designed to ‘game the system’ in the hope of producing a high page rank regardless of the search term. These techniques include link stuffing, keyword cloaking and hidden pages. These techniques are illegal/non-Google compliant and will result in the offending website being black-listed by Google – meaning your website would be lucky to be found on page *9,376 on your preferred search terms.

* Not an actual statistic but indicative of the severity of the punishment meted out by Google

Contributor:

Michael Field, Managing Director for Michael Field Pty Ltd.