Category Archives: Online Reputation Management

Can Your Customers Find You On Google?

That might sound like a silly question, but the unfortunate reality is that so many businesses nowadays forget to include SEO and Online Marketing as part of their mandate.

We’re approaching a very important time in the business calendar, when next year’s budgets are finalised and we’re making growth projections and targets for the financial year ahead, and it’s vital that you consider web presence marketing as part of that strategy.

SEO, in its most basic terms, means taking action to ensure that your website is shown when someone searches for your related products and services in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. It’s about showing the search engines that you deserve to be ranked at the top, whatever your industry. If you’re a piano teacher, you want to appear when somebody in your local area types that into the search box, and if you’re an online retro sweet shop, you want to appear when people search for products that you sell. It applies to almost every business, yet only around 20% of UK businesses factor in SEO as part of their marketing plan.

At Zebra Internet Services, we’re all about helping businesses like you make a success of yourself online. For over 20 years now we’ve been working with clients across the world to add value to their digital presence, right through from the initial purchase of a domain name, to looking after social media accounts when business owners just don’t have the time. We’ve worked with companies of all shapes and sizes, from micro-businesses to multinational household brands, and we’re proud of the success our clients have seen over the years.

As well as a website having a strong structural integrity, one of the biggest influences a business can have on Google is a dynamic content marketing strategy. This means writing, sharing and blogging about key trends and events in your industry, and sharing that knowledge across the internet in order to earn serious kudos with the search engines. The goal here is to show the likes of Google that you have a level of influence or authority in your marketplace, and thus you should rank highly for your keywords when potential customers are searching for them.

As you can imagine, this is certainly not an instantaneous process. Just like with human relationships and interaction, respect and authority is not assumed, it’s earned. SEO is nobody’s one-hit wonder, and requires commitment, strategy, and execution if you want it be a success. That’s where Team Zebra come in. Our SEO and Online Reputation team are trained and managed to the highest standard, coming from a variety of backgrounds in technology, journalism, PR and physical marketing. This means they can construct a solution that not only fits your business, but adds value to it.

If you’d like to find out more about Zebra Internet Services, then please visit www.zebra.co.uk, or call our team on 0191 261 2252 today.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Camille Taylor

Camille Taylor is Head of SEO and Online Reputation management at Zebra.

@CamilleTaylor34

Twitter Plans To Redefine its Character Limit – But Why?

We’ve all heard the rumours about Twitter’s recent plans to greatly expand their character limit from 140 to 10,000, but what does it mean and why is relevant to you?

Well, for marketers, this is good news. Twitter has been searching for new ways to boost engagement with its current users and invite new ones for a while now, and this just might work!

While the move was met with initial outrage for long-time Twitter fans who have learned to adapt to the 140 character constraint, marketers have identified it as a great opportunity to engage with users.

We’ve embraced Twitter for what it is – a way to post simple, quick updates and engage with friends and followers. In business terms, this is great. However, if current plans go ahead, Twitter will become a new way to publish all of your content in one place without relying on other publishing platforms and restrictions. So, Twitter becomes a publisher within its own right.

If Twitter does this well, users will be able to consume more content, without needing to click on links that lead to other websites. This is another opportunity for a potential bonus – when someone clicks a link to leave Twitter, Twitter has no way to record their engagement levels and track their actions. By publishing the content on Twitter, the site will have more data for analytics, which is good news for advertisers. Of course, we are expecting for there to be some sort of charge in place for promoted articles.

For eCommerce brands who use social media as a way to draw people in to their website, their practice will remain mostly the same. Although, the kind of content they can create to redirect users to their websites will have huge potential to improve. An article in a tweet could carry a call-to-action button to either redirect to a featured product or possibly buy directly via Twitter.

So, we can start to think of Twitter as more than a way to publish a quick headline to attract readers to the real content, to more of a content sharing website, while keeping all of the familiar things we know and love about it already.

Let us know what you think of the plans @the_zebras!

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Zebra Internet Services

Sam Dawson is Content Marketing and Social Media Co-Ordinator at Zebra.

The Importance of Social Media for your Business

Today, social media is everywhere. It’s a big part of how we interact with friends, family and colleagues in day-to-day life.

In recent years, social media has become a more fun, quick and convenient way for people to interact with businesses. One of the real benefits for you as a business is that social media marketing is an easy, cost effective way to maintain relationships with your customers and boost your online reputation to a wide audience.

The areas for engagement on social media are practically limitless. Whether your business is small or large, or you’re quite new to business in general, you can reach the people you want to speak to. Of course, all businesses want to grow, so this is good news for attracting new customers! People love to talk and social media is an excellent way to make conversation. When good feedback is shared, your customers are promoting your business from an unbiased point of view, which is great for brand awareness.

Using social media from a learning point of view, it’s important to stay competitive and up to date with what is going on in your industry at the moment. Social media is a useful way to see what your competitors are doing, how they’re engaging with their customers and what their customers are saying to them.

While social media is easy to monitor, we understand that keeping on top of your accounts can be a time consuming task which can mean engagement falls behind when you have so many other things to focus on. If this sounds familiar, then we have a perfect solution! Zebra Internet Services offer a full social media management service which means you can rely on us to engage with your customers, monitor and respond to their feedback and comments. Whether you’re quite a small business, or you’re not fully familiar with social media for business, we can help to keep you on track. Of course, if you’d still like some input into your social media, this doesn’t mean we’d fully take over. You’ll still be able to post whatever you’d like on there too and advise us on the content.

We also offer a full social media training service if you’d prefer to stay in full control of your accounts but feel you could benefit from some training. Our training will provide you with the skills you need to make the most out of social media and make it work for you.

Whatever you’re looking for, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on 0191 261 2252 or contact us on our website.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

 

Zebra Internet Services

Sam Dawson is Content Marketing and Social Media Co-Ordinator at Zebra.

An Introduction to PPC Marketing

Pay Per Click, also known as PPC, is an online advertising method used to drive sales, traffic and conversions for a website or online presence. Every time a user clicks on an ad, the advertiser pays a fee to the advertising provider (Google for example) in exchange for the link through to the website. PPC marketing is most commonly used with Google Adwords, and is primarily used as a quick way to appear at the top of search results for your keywords and phrases.

When managed correctly, businesses can achieve short-term return on investment with their campaigns, and be able to compete for terms that are more difficult to achieve in the organic SERPs.

Sadly, PPC isn’t the most simple way of marketing, and requires a lot of knowledge, training and time if you’re going to do it effectively. Even the language used in this form of marketing can be a little overwhelming, kind of like learning a new language. So, to make things a little easier, here’s an overview of some of the more commonly used terms in PPC advertising and why they may be relevant to your business:

PPC: in a nutshell, pay per click marketing is a paid advertising campaign, where advertisers must pay Google every time a user clicks on their ad. A daily budget is set to ensure the advertiser doesn’t overspend, as some clicks for competitive terms can be very expensive!

Broad match: this is a keyword matching method used in Google AdWords, where an ad is matched with searches which are similar to the keywords in a campaign. For example if a user was searching for ‘buy Christmas socks’, the search may return results which are misspelt or are related to other Christmas searches.

Exact match: another keyword matching method used in Google AdWords, where an ad is matched exactly to the user’s search. The symbol used within Google AdWords for exact match keywords is [Keyword].

Phrase match: similar to exact match, phrase match is a matching method which only shows exact, or very similar phrases in search results. The special symbol used for a phrase match is “keyword”.

Negative match: this kind of matching method ensures ads are never shown with searches which include a specified negative keyword. For example if you are targeting male t-shirts you would have ‘–women’ as a negative keyword. This matching method is used for keywords which are very competitive and can show varied results.

Geo-targeting: quite simple, this term is related to targeting ads to certain geographical regions. For example if a company only wanted to offer their services in the North East of England, they would create ads which only targeted the North East. Geo-targeting can be adjusted at any time during an ad campaign.

Content placement ad: also known as contextual targeting, this process matches ads to relevant sites in the Display Network which use your terms. It’s a simple process where Google’s system spiders every webpage to see if any of the content is relevant to your keywords, language and locations, amongst other factors. This kind of ad only works when a campaign is set to Display Network.

Impression: an impression is counted every time your ad is placed in Google search results, and other websites or apps. When using Google AdWords you are able to see how many times your ad has been potentially been seen, although this doesn’t necessarily always end in a click-through to your website.

 

This of course is only a tiny insight into the terms and processes used in PPC advertising. If you’d like to learn more, contact Zebra Internet Services today, and ask about our Pay Per Click Training courses. We also offer full PPC setup and management for clients who prefer third party management of their online marketing, in addition to organic SEO campaigns and Social Media Marketing strategies.

 

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Camille Taylor

Camille Taylor is Head of SEO and Online Reputation management at Zebra.

@CamilleTaylor34

The Importance Of Search Rankings For Businesses

When you type in a search query or keyword into Google you expect to see relevant results with the top results being the most accurate to your search. The positioning of these results are known as search engine rankings. The team at Zebra Internet Services have gathered their knowledge to explain why rankings are so important for businesses.

Relevancy

Where your website is ranked for each keyword search is based on how Google crawls your pages and indexes them. It’s vital that the copy and content on the page is relevant to the keyword search, you don’t want your page to be mis-leading. For example, if you had a page on your site which sold gardening tools, you wouldn’t want ‘kitchen tools’ as one of your keywords as you would be attracting the wrong kind of visitors who would immediately leave your site once they realise it’s not relevant to their search query. This can damage your brand if people associate your site with regular wrong results, they will not use your site in the future.

Trustworthy

Research conducted by HubSpot last year found that 75% of people don’t scroll past the first page of search results. We believe this is down to trust, users believe that Google will bring the most legitimate websites to their query in the top results (unless of course they are paid for), and if not, they will reword their search until they get the results they want to see. Therefore, it’s important that your web copy and Meta data is up-to-date and that it describes the content on the page.

Authority

Google not only crawls your website based on your keywords and copy, but also by how many quality sites are linking to yours. The more quality websites you have linking to your website, the more authoritative Google views your site and this indicates that you are a professional in your area of business, which in turn pushes your website up in the rankings.

In order to attain positive rankings, you need to bring in the experts, such as the team at Zebra (not to blow our own trumpets!). So, if you are interested and want to find out more how Zebra Internet Services can help search rankings for businesses today, contact Zebra. As well as our online reputation management services, we also offer domain names and web hosting and VPS solutions, visit www.zebra.co.uk to find out more.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Stephanie Hutcheon

Stephanie Hutcheon is Content Marketing Co-ordinator  at Zebra Internet Services.

Unravelling Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation, also known as SEO, is the term given to a process which attempts to improve the organic visibility and ranking of a website in search engine results. Here at Zebra Internet Services, we offer online reputation management which covers all of the search engine optimisation best practices.

The SE part of SEO is the process when a search engine sends out its crawlers across the web to gather all of the content and information it can, in regards to a user’s search query. The crawlers then bring all of the content back to the search engine which then builds an index. The index is then fed through an algorithm which tries to match all of the data in your search and provide you with the best possible websites. Some of the most important factors which go into a search engine’s algorithm are as follows:

  • Link Authority Features – this factor relates to the number of quality links coming to and from your website and how trusted these links are;
  • Link Features – this includes factors such as the PageRank (PR) of the links coming to your site and the quality of the links sources;
  • Keyword and Content Features – this area looks at the quantity of content on your site and whether it will relevant to the search query, based on keywords;
  • Social Metrics – social metrics looks at the quality and quantity of Facebook shares, Tweet links and Google+1s of your site links;
  • Brand Features – this factor looks at your brand as a whole, and looks for mentions of your website and brand in the news, press and media.

The O part of SEO comes in many forms. One area of optimisation is content; this includes writing quality copy for your website ensuring that your keywords are highlighted throughout (not keyword stuffing though!), and that you have internal links linking to different areas on your website. In order to improve your organic visibility, it’s highly important to actively write and share your articles about your business, both across social media and the web to quality publishing sites. This enables greater chance of your articles being read, which in turn will increase visits to your website.

Another area of optimisation is the onsite activities which includes reviewing and editing your site’s Meta data, such as Meta descriptions, title tags and image alt tags. Another activity within onsite optimisation includes reviewing the structural and technical stability of the site, and if needed, developing the suggestions to improve the site further.

So, that’s the basics of understanding SEO, if you’re interested to find out more, and to see how Zebra Internet Services can help your business contact Zebra. As well as SEO in Newcastle, Zebra also offer domain names and web hosting and cloud virtual servers.

 

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Stephanie Hutcheon

Stephanie Hutcheon is Content Marketing Co-ordinator  at Zebra Internet Services.

The Key To Content Marketing

Content marketing is fast becoming the most important trend for digital marketers according to a survey conducted by Smart Insights in 2015. Not only does it inform consumers about a brand or business but it also engages and provides people with expert knowledge, to help them through the buying decision process of many products and services. Here at Zebra Internet Services we have gathered the top reasons as to why content marketing is key for any business.

Promote your business and provide expert knowledge

Content can be anything from articles, blogs, videos, infographics, how-to-guides, the list goes on; basically anything that isn’t a mission statement or press release which can be shared across the web to your customers, followers and fans. The content created is your time to shine; it’s time to show your existing and potential customers how much you know about your business and really share your expertise. The main achievement from content is to inform and teach your readers about your business, products and services, and how they can benefit from using them. You want to make the decision process easier for the customer, not more confusing, so use language that your target audience would use.

Increase traffic to your website

Good content which engages the reader will make them want to visit your website to find out more about your products and services, and even try to dig a little deeper to find out about your business as a whole. Having a call-to-action such as your website, your phone number or email are all good things to include at least once in your content so the reader knows the next step they need to take. Further to this, good content equals sharing around the web, if someone likes what they are reading they will share it across their social media sites and blogs creating a whirlwind uplift of awareness around your brand and business. The team at Zebra are professionals in the social media marketing field and can help to increase traffic to both your social accounts and website.

Increased conversion rates

Usually, we find the more content that is marketed across the web, the bigger chance your business has of converting website visits to enquiries and sales. As mentioned previously, the knowledge which you share in your content will be highlighted throughout, showing the customer you know what you are talking about and you can give professional advice on any question which may arise from a potential customer. Customers prefer to use products and services from businesses who are trustworthy and confident within their industry, so tell no lies as they will catch up with you one day!

Improved ranking in search engines

Finally, we find quality, targeted content to be key for improving website rankings in search results. When producing content you need to ensure that keywords relevant to the content and to your business are included. For example, if you are writing a blog promoting summer gardening tools you need to ensure that ‘gardening tools’ is highlighted throughout with at least a few links to your website to the relevant gardening tool pages. Further to this, the greater your presence across the web, the greater chance of your website, social media accounts and blogs ranking higher in Google and other search engines.

As well as online reputation management, here at Zebra Internet Services we also offer Domain Names and Hosting, Cloud Virtual Servers and Pay-Per-Click Marketing. You can read and follow our expertise on our Zebra Social blog.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Stephanie Hutcheon

Stephanie Hutcheon is Content Marketing Co-ordinator  at Zebra Internet Services.

We are living in a smartphone society!

At first we were unsure whether it was just the team from Zebra Internet Services that noticed the increased usage of mobile phones in everyday life, from walking down the high street to constant use within our home. Thankfully, recent research from Ofcom has confirmed our thoughts that smartphones are now the leading device for browsing the internet, and accessing social media, banking and shopping applications. The OfCom 2015 Communications Market Report which was published in August 2015 discovered a number of interesting statistics – the following facts we find truly noteworthy.

There has been a significant rise in the use of mobile devices over laptops, and in 2014 only 22% of internet users reached for their phone first before their laptop. However, in 2015 this increased to 33% in such a small space of time. It’s not only 16 to 24 year olds that are fixed to their phones either, over two thirds of UK adults now own a smartphone which has risen from 39% in 2012 and now 50% of 55 to 64 year olds in the UK have joined the smartphone revolution.

The introduction of 4G from EE in 2012 found more users using their smartphones to do their shopping and banking online (55% of 4G users), watching more TV and videos from their devices (57%) and sending more photos via SMS (49%) and interacting via instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook messenger (63%). O2 and Vodafone jumped on the 4G bandwagon in 2013 and by 2014 subscriptions for 4G internet shot from 2.7million to 23.6 million by the end of the year.

The mannerisms of how and when we use our smartphones is changing too, so what exactly is acceptable? 55% of people in the UK still think it’s unacceptable to check your phone during dinner, and here at Zebra Internet Services we totally back this up, food always comes first at the dinner table! Unfortunately, 4 in 10 people have this dinner table habit. As well as table manners, 34% of adults check their smartphone within 5 minutes of waking up, whether this be for work emails or social media browsing. Although we can be fixated with our mobiles, 38% of people choose to write a birthday card to their loved ones in comparison to 15% using social media and only 7% sending a text.

As well as over taking laptops for the chosen device for browsing online, smartphones have also replaced digital cameras and are the most popular device to take photos from. 89% of 16 to 24 year olds and 60% of adults are snapping photo shots at any chance. In the past year alone in the UK, over 1.2 billion ‘selfies’ were taking with 31% of adults openly admitting to participating in this global craze!

So, there’s our round up of our favourite statistics from the report. Here at Zebra Internet Services we offer online reputation management, domain names and cloud virtual services. For more information please visit www.zebra.co.uk.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Stephanie Hutcheon

Stephanie Hutcheon is Content Marketing Co-ordinator  at Zebra Internet Services.

 

Facebook Instant Articles: What does it mean for content marketing?

A new Facebook initiative is set to transform the way that people read news articles online. Though the initiative has already rolled out in America, the BBC and the Guardian were the first media companies in the UK to sign up for Instant Articles, which has been designed to streamline the process of reading articles through Facebook.

We all know that Facebook is a major player in the online world, so it’s not surprising to hear that the social networking site has become an increasingly important source of traffic for news publishers producing online content. However, Facebook itself has admitted that the process of reading articles published through the network on mobile devices is one of the slowest parts of the app.

When you read an article on Facebook through a mobile device like a smart phone or tablet, you have to click on a link that takes you to an external web page. Users doing this have to wait around eight seconds for the article to load, which in internet terms might as well be hours! Following the Google Mobile update last month, the focus on mobile internet access has never been stronger and so it’s clear that some changes need to be made.

Thanks to the internet we are all living in a more fast-paced world, something that’s impacted on the attention span of the average internet user. We no longer have the patience to sit and wait for an article to load up – we expect it immediately.

So how will Facebook Instant Articles work? Instead of an external link, news stories will now run within Facebook for what the company describes as a ‘seamless loading experience 10 times faster than the current system.’ Since making the announcement several news sites have signed up to the initiative, including BuzzFeed and the National Geographic. For the European publishers that have signed up, articles will be published through the new system later in the summer.

From an SEO perspective, Facebook Instant Articles seems like it may be too good to be true. Concerns have already emerged surrounding the initiative, specifically how much user data Facebook will gain access to. Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s vice-president of media partnerships and global operations, claims that the initiative will provide further insights into how people read stories and how they engage with content. Facebook Instant Articles allows publishers to bring their branding through to the social network, giving readers the illusion that they’re on the site the article came from.

Facebook Instant Articles is also set to support traffic measurement including Google Analytics, allowing these publishers to access audience data, which then drives their advertising campaigns. On the whole, Facebook Instant Articles seems more like a new way for people to read content rather than completely transforming the way that articles are written and published, but it does suggest that the social network is on its way to being a major channel for the publishing of content; perhaps in the future it will be usable by individuals as well as major organisations like the BBC.

At Zebra Internet Services we’re always interested in any major changes to the way that content is produced and published online, but traditional content marketing efforts remain just as valid as they ever were and Facebook isn’t the only major publishing source out there. Of course, with mobile phones becoming so important over the last few years and Facebook dominating mobile advertising space, it’s definitely something that we’ll be keeping an eye on.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Camille Taylor

Camille Taylor is Head of SEO and Online Reputation management at Zebra.

@CamilleTaylor34