My talk was in conjunction with my new book, Anti-Sell – essentially a condensed talk version of the book, giving sales and networking tips to freelancers and small business owners who struggle with (or simply downright hate) sales.
Shout out to @steviephil for a fantastic talk yesterday covering the perils of self-promotion. Some great advice for those with sales phobia – like myself… Eeek. Did I mention that he's written a book? pic.twitter.com/xHyNbIPjyv
Intro from Steve: I don’t often publish guest posts on SEOno, and in fact I’ve only ever published two (way back in 2013), but my buddy Gus approached me about using this post as a guest post and – given that it’s related to his recent Cardiff SEO Meet talk – I thought it made a lot of sense. Over to you, Gus…
If you work in one specific digital marketing area such as SEO, PPC, content, social or even in related jobs such as designer or brand manager, chances are that you had a conflict with someone from other departments. Each department tends to have such specific views on how things should look and what’s best for the business and clients that it’s hard to not be protective sometimes.
Taking a step away from your role, we know everyone contributes to a good digital marketing strategy. SEO brings traffic at no cost, PPC allows you to convert quickly, brand managers protect and improve how people perceive your brand, a designer makes a website you can navigate well and trust… You get the picture.
Here at Wolfgang Digital, we’re big on integration – in fact, it’s one of our company pillars. As per my talk during Cardiff SEO Meet in March, here are a few ways to integrate SEO and PPC, whereby instead of viewing them as two separate department, you can learn from each other to ultimately improve your KPIs.
How much would your SEO traffic cost… if you had to pay for it
SEO is a difficult channel to prove ROI. A lot of our work gives a return in the long run, so clients tend to be more sceptical investing, only to have to wait several months before you can demonstrate results.
Once you start getting results, you can show how much traffic and conversions have improved – but it’s also possible to show how much money you saved in the process. How so? Just calculate how much they’d have to pay for this traffic with PPC.
I know we don’t have the same data as PPC, so you can take a sample from Google Search Console (tip: use their API and get up to 5,000 keywords instead of 1,000 from the basic interface). Then multiply your traffic by the CPC cost from your own Google Ads data. It’s much better if you can use the actual numbers (the estimations from the Keyword Planner tend to be off), just put them on a spreadsheet, use a VLOOKUP formula to match the keywords and find out how much money was saved.
Use your high PPC converters to find the best focus for SEO
How do you know the best keywords and topics to prioritise? Sure, search volume is one place to start, but aren’t conversions even better? I’m an SEO, so moving rankings and increasing traffic makes me proud, but my client wants to know how many leads or products I helped them to sell.
If you’re unsure where your efforts would have most impact, here’s an idea: compare which PPC keywords are bringing conversions but where your organic rankings are poor – Anything from page 2 onwards is a great place to start.
The way to merge this information is the same as the point above: do a VLOOKUP on Excel to match the keywords. You need a keyword tracking tool for your rankings, so pick your favourite. I use a few paid tools that can do the job, but for something quick where you just want to pick the current rankings once, try this free tool created by RankTank.org (no registration needed and you can get your rankings via Google Sheets in seconds)!
You’ll have a table like this one:
Better crawling affects your PPC too
Crawling has been a hot topic in SEO over the last years. Can Google find your important pages easily, do you link your important pages well internally? What isn’t discussed as much, is how crawling can also influence PPC. This was a theory we had at Wolfgang and although no Google rep confirmed, we were encouraged to test and see.
Our theory was, if Google can crawl your website more effectively from an SEO perspective, this should be the same for PPC. We tested this for one of our clients, DID Electrical. The first step was an audit and a not-so-common case where the client managed to quickly implement the most urgent technical tasks required on their website.
Paid ads costs are (among other things) based on your quality score, and the higher the score, lower the cost per click. We started tracking the quality score with a script and this is what happened:
Four weeks later, the quality score moved from 9.1 to 9.5! This meant the average CPC went down by 21% and the audit paid for itself in just a month, not even considering yet the benefits for SEO. This was part of our winning Best Integrated Digital Campaign at the DMA’s in Ireland in 2019.
Google Maps has a spam problem. From seemingly randomly-left reviews to businesses spamming their Google My Business (GMB) listings so heavily that there’s even a dedicated hashtag for it (#stopcraponthemap), the situation becomes further frustrating when you realise that Google doesn’t (or can’t) do much about the situation. Sure, you can ‘suggest edits’ on Google Maps, but in my experience the process is largely pointless, and if you really need to contact Google to do something, you have to (ironically) contact them via Twitter or Facebook. Huh…
It’s starting to feel like it’s getting to boiling point, with the ne’er-do-well spammy types getting away with their efforts and reaping the benefits.
So when Google announced its Business Redressal Complaint Form a few weeks ago, I did a little eye-roll, said “yeah, ok” and reluctantly gave it a go on a couple of a client’s competitors who are notorious GMB listing spammers, expecting the usual to happen: something between ‘very little’ and ‘nothing’.
Boy was I in for a shock.
What’s in a (spammy) name?
I’ll keep the example anonymous but let’s say my client is a family-run, independent widget seller with two shops in South Wales. Their main competitors are UK-wide chains with dozens of locations across the country. One of them has two locations in Cardiff, while another has just the one. While my client uses their business name properly in the Name field (e.g. “Bonafide Widgets”), the competitors have gone with a “Business Name Keyword Location” approach, with the competitor with two Cardiff locations going as far as listing the sub-location as well (e.g. “Widgets-R-Us Cheap Widgets Cardiff”, “SuperWidgets Cheap Widgets Cardiff Central” and “SuperWidgets Cheap Widgets Cardiff North”). Ugh. Tacky. And frustratingly, they’d often rank higher in Google Maps for keywords – suggesting that this dodgy practice was working well for them, too. No fair.
Despite this behaviour being against Google My Business’ guidelines (see Name > Learn more > Service or product / Location information on that link), and despite me regularly using the ‘suggest an edit’ feature on the three listings to ‘correct’ the business names to be more guidelines-compliant, very little would happen. Either nothing would happen (and I’d simply have to try again), or the changes would only last for a day or two, with the original spammy versions returning shortly afterwards. I was about to try the contact-via-Twitter/Facebook method with them when the Redressal Form was introduced.
It doesn’t take long to report listings, and so, in no time at all, I’d reported my client’s two competitors and their three dodgy listings. At best I was expecting the name changes to ‘stick’ (finally); at worst I was expecting… well… nothing. I’m kinda used to that y’know?
What I got was much, much better.
A few days ago (a few weeks after using the form), I checked the status of the listings. I hadn’t heard anything from Google (no email notification or anything like that) so I wasn’t really expecting anything.
Things started to get… interesting when I realised: I couldn’t even find the listings.
I did a "widgets cardiff" search first of all and couldn’t find them alongside any of the other listings (including my client’s). Then I moved onto checking the actual brand names: "widgets-r-us cardiff" and "superwidgets cardiff". The listings were gone. Gone. Removed from Google Maps entirely. Google was even going as far as resorting to showing the companies’ results in Bristol (an hour’s drive away) due to the lack of anything to show in Cardiff. Ahahaha WTactualF?!
At this point I curious to know the experiences of others. A few people have noted on Local Search Forum that this type of punishment can and should be expected (“[Listing removal is] not really too strange, sometimes a violation report can uncover other violations you are not aware of and Google will remove the listing. Very common actually.”) One individual on that thread – who’d initially reported a similar experience to me – had later noted that the listings had returned, but mine are still unaccounted for.
I completely appreciate that a) it’s early days, and b) I’ve only used it once, so I’m not exactly in any position to draw any major conclusions. So I’d be really, really interested to get the opinions and experiences of others who have also used the tool in its infancy – either drop a comment below or tweet me.
In the meantime though I’ll be doing my best Jafar-as-an-evil-genie impression: