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Can You Really Beat the Algorithm? 7 Google Search Secrets Revealed

With the average small business spending around $75,000 a year on digital marketing, it’s hard for startups to compete. Without Google search secrets to take advantage of SEO algorithms, you could be going into the red just to get attention to your site. Search engines are valuable tools but if you don’t know how to take advantage of their inner workings, you could lose out to your competition.

Here are four ways to stay ahead of Google’s search algorithm.

1. Unique Content

If Google wants one thing from you and your site it’s for you to have lots of unique content. Because Google’s web crawler is seeking to index every single page of the internet, they’ll know if you’re reusing or rehashing content. You can’t cheat the algorithm that’s seeking out new and unique content relevant to your audience.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, become a resource about your industry. Start a blog that’s chockful of information about what people ask you the most about your business.

Instead of leaving a boring and underwhelming FAQ page kicking around your site, create a blog where each one question has an answer in the form of a post. This way you can keep your URL constantly refreshed with exciting content for your clients while feeding the SEO beast.

Unique content will help you to set your brand apart from other brands in your industry. When you answer the most pertinent concerns that people have about products and services in your industry, you provide value. When the answer to those problems leads back to your own products and services, you can sell services in a sincere way.

2. Prioritize Linking

One of the things that Google wants to know about your URL and your pages is that they have some relationship to the rest of the internet.

The internet was started with just a small network of computers that were hardwired to one another. The originating code and ethic of the internet were to ensure that everyone was always contributing to a community. The internet isn’t a one-sided conversation like television or radio.

Take your time to populate any posts that you write with links that can help to support the information that you’re sharing. The more reputable your sources are, the higher you’ll rank. When you connect your information to highly reputable news and information sites, you’ll show that you know what you’re talking about.

Avoid connecting to sites that are purely commercial or e-commerce pages. This will lower the ranking of your pages.

When you’re sharing information, stick to the facts. Pepper the most important keywords in your texts and include information about where you’re located. This will help you get the edge when to comes to searches originating from your area.

3. Get Some Guest Posters

Having a few well-known bloggers to guest post on your site will give your page some extra clout. When you connect with a writer or blogger who is well known and has their own following, you can cross-pollinate. You can double each other’s following when you write a guest post for them and they write one for you.

Guest posters help you in search results by showing off your products and services on well-established sites. These are difficult to acquire compared to paid links and ads, so by trading guest posts with writers, you give each other a bump.

Contact other writers in your niche and see if they’ll trade articles with you. Build relationships over time so that you can continue to stay connected as you each grow your base.

Some sites need writers and will be happy to add you as a guest blogger. Your presence will help them to add content to their sites and you’ll be able to get your name out there.

This kind of network can only yield positive results as more people see your name and find links to your products and services. When you mention products and services, be sure to keep your use of keywords and links organic. Selling too hard will make you look too desperate and will lead users to pass right by.

4. Seek Reviews and Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are vital to the survival of any brand in the contemporary internet environment. When you search for products and services on Google, you’ll often get links that lead you directly to certain brands and companies near you. Along with the names and addresses of these companies, you get reviews.

If this happens and you don’t have good reviews under your belt, you could be losing the attention of hard-won customers. Getting customers to find you is difficult and resource heavy. If you lose them before you get the chance to make your pitch, you’re tossing marketing efforts down the drain.

Reach out to your most loyal customers and ask directly for them to write testimonials or reviews. Some brands will even run in-store promotions for when you like or review them on social media. Whatever works for you, make the effort to collect more reviews.

While you can’t exactly hack the algorithm on search engines with this method, you can ensure that you get a lot more hits by showing off reviews. Without enough good reviews to buffer against a bad review, one wrong move could do serious damage to your SEO ranking. Collect positive reviews to combat this potential.

Google Search Secrets Will Save Money

A few Google search secrets will help you get ahead and stay ahead of your competitors. When you provide the kind of content that Google knows their users want to see, you’ll be able to claw your way to the top of the rankings,

If you’re struggling to get the attention you deserve on search engines, check out our guide to outsourcing SEO efforts.

Even Santa Would Shop in Airdrie with These Christmas Events Ideas

Christmas accounts for as much as 30% of sales for some retail outlets.

That’s why it’s a great idea to seize the day and cash in on the holiday spirit.

While the holidays might be stressful for some people, it’s the time of year when everyone is ready to spend money, as well as quality time with their friends and family members.

In this blog post, we’ll give you some of the best Christmas events ideas, both online and off, to help boost awareness of your brand and store.

1. Host an Online Advent Calendar

Try an online advent calendar, but instead of giving away a present each day, give away a discount or free gift with purchase every day.

This one works best for users who are almost entirely web-based, or who have high volumes of web traffic.

Each day that people log on, they will be treated to 15%, 20% or a small gift like a lip balm with their purchase.

Don’t tell them ahead of time what each day has in store, but do promote your online advent calendar ahead of time. You can promote it as “25 Days of Savings,” or other such names that makes it obvious what kinds of gifts people can expect.

2. Christmas in July

Host a Christmas in July party, or a Christmas before it’s actually Christmas season. While adults might roll their eyes at the “oversaturation” of the holiday, kids will always be excited to participate in anything Christmas related.

For your Christmas in July event, roll out some of your Christmas items and let people preview some things that will be coming to your store in December.

You can even do this online, giving future customers a preview of what to expect from your store during the Christmas season.

3. Host Santa!

Hosting Santa is a fantastic way to get people into your store. This is especially the case if you run a photography studio. This also works well for pet stores or children’s stores.

While many malls and communities will host Santa, you can coordinate with them to have him in your store for one day.

Let shoppers know St. Nick is coming to town by advertising when you expect him, and his merry band of elves, to show up.

If you run a pet store, having people bring their pets to visit Santa is also a fun activity. Many national pet store chains do this, and it has become a very popular idea. It’s also a great way to ensure that you get a lot of customer traffic into your store.

4. Christmas Events Ideas: Make Christmas Cookies

If your store appeals to families, or sells any kind of homeware or home baking items, host a day to bake Christmas cookies. You can even host workshops in order to show customers how to make more intricate cookies than they might find online.

If you have people from several different countries working at your store, you might even use this time to have them introduce some new recipes to the community. Invite people to come to learn to make classic Christmas cookies and a special treat.

You can either charge for the class and have people sign up in advance, or simply just have it as a drop-in event. When participants finish, they can get a discount to use in the store. You can also show off some of the items you used in the recipe or used to bake the recipe that you have in store.

If you have ovens available at your store, bake the cookies in the store while the customers wait. Or, wrap up the batter well so that each child or family can take it home to cook on their own time.

5. Christmas Crafts

Everyone loves crafts, and parents will always treasure anything their children made with their hands. Host Christmas crafts for families or for young children to come and have fun in your store.

This event can operate similar to the cookies event, in that you can either organize it as a drop-in, or you can have people sign up for the class ahead of time.

Again, use this as an opportunity to show off items you have for sale in your store. Give out discounts to those who have participated, or a free item.

6. Christmas Hashtags

Feeling festive but your business is all online? No problem! You can stay in the holiday spirit by using a wide variety of Christmas hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They’re very popular during the holiday season, and people will definitely be clicking on them to find others talking about the holidays.

You can look at a list of the most popular Christmas hashtags here, and start getting in on it as soon as you start stocking Christmas items.

Participate in conversations organically instead of just advertising your products. If you get good engagement with potential customers, people will be more inclined to check you out rather than if you just advertise your wares.

Getting in the Christmas Mood

There are endless Christmas events ideas that you can employ to get your customers in the festive mood. You can even get special Christmas packaging or Christmas bags for your customers to give them even more of the holiday cheer.

If you’re ready to start talking about your next Christmas event and how we can help support you, reach out and contact us today! If you want a sample of our work before you dash off that first email, have a look here.

Marketing vs Advertising: What’s the Difference?

Marketing and advertising are two necessary components for making your business grow and thrive. Marketing vs advertising isn’t a competition as much as a comparison. Too many businesses lump them together.

It’s best to think of marketing as a giant umbrella that covers many different divisions. One of them is advertising. It’s a very important aspect of marketing, but its only one slice of the pie. Who doesn’t like pie?

It’s important for businesses to differentiate the two. This helps create a marketing plan that is efficient and effective. Believing marketing is just advertising is like eating an omelet with just cheese and leaving the ham, bacon and sausage out. You’re missing out on a tasty meal.

Marketing Vs Advertising: Why the Confusion?

There’s a reason why marketing and advertising are often compared. Before the digital revolution, many small businesses primary method of marketing was advertising. It all started with local newspaper advertising. Radio and television ads came next, but that was all they did.

Small businesses were limited when it came to marketing options. Many didn’t realize what they were doing was marketing. When the grocery store created a float for the local parade, it was a form of marketing. The float was part of the civic pride and they didn’t even realize it was also marketing their business.

This is called public relations. It’s when you do something that makes your company look good to your customer base. Many times public relations incorporates social responsibility as well.

This is when the company does something that gives back to the community. It could be a can drive for the local food bank or building solar panels to power your factory with green energy and then releasing that news via a press release.

Advertising Isn’t Chump Change

When someone uses advertising, they’re using a paid ad in a specific medium. There are many mediums for advertising including newspapers, radio, television, online, billboard, and even bus benches and taxi cabs. It’s anything that a business pays for that’s designed for customers to see. This entices them to visit the store or website.

The cost of advertising depends on the size of the ad and how long people see it. A small ad seen once in a weekly newspaper will cost less than a full page ad seen five times at a daily newspaper.

Look Mom, I’m on “the Google”

Online ads are a little different. The primary method they’re shown is through a pay per click approach. Google, Facebook, and other agencies use this method. You bid on specific keywords, phrases and target audiences and create an ad based on these targeting measures.

Other companies also bid for these phrases and you compete for placement. Your bid and your ad score work together to get you placed. Online ads include search ads placed at the top and bottom of search pages. Mobile phones and apps show mobile ads. Websites show display ads. Video ads are videos you can show on YouTube and other sites.

There are many different types of advertising for the Internet. There is even more to marketing.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is a blanket term for anything you do to promote your business to customers. These methods could cost money or they could be free. They’re all aspects of your marketing plan. It could be word of mouth from customer to customer or search engine optimization for specific keywords on your website.

The marketing blanket includes advertising. It’s a step by step process that has many moving parts. Each of these parts acts independently. They also work together to create an overall marketing plan.

Marketing is anything you do to create an interaction between you and customers. It includes social media, advertising, market research, public relations and more. Marketing is more like a quilt than a blanket with each aspect making up a patch on the quilt.

Digital marketing is an offshoot of overall marketing. It deals with efforts on digital platforms.

Marketing Goes Digital

Anything you do to promote a business or website online is digital marketing including advertising.

SEO

Search engine optimization is the effort to make your website more visible on organic search pages, primarily Google. It includes keyword research and implementation on your site, the creation of valued content and user experience on your website. Over 50 percent of traffic comes from organic searches.

Social Media

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media platforms engage and interact with existing and potential customers. Everyone watches those crazy cat videos and shares with everyone and their cousin.

You don’t need cats to get social media traction… but it doesn’t hurt. Social media posting is free, but if you want to reach more people then use paid options such as paid advertising and boosted posts.

Here is an instance where two separate marketing areas interact.

Reputation Management

There are many business listing and review sites on the Internet. Many times they rank well in searches. It’s important that your listings are correct. People may get the wrong information about your site and that could keep them from your website or business. Reviews are also important as they impact how people see your business.

Negative reviews may keep people from trusting your business or visiting your site. Good responses to negative reviews can turn it into a positive. It shows your business cares about the customers and their experience.

It also shows you care about how your employees conduct themselves. Sites such as Yelp and Facebook are popular for reviews. People trust online reviews as much as opinions from friends and 90 percent of people check out reviews before buying.

Drive It Home… One Headlight Optional

It’s important all your marketing efforts work towards a common goal. This is where your marketing plan comes into play. It governs all your marketing efforts and keeps them on track for specific goals.

For example, if you have a sale and want to promote it, then social media, advertising, content marketing and more all create a buzz for it.

If you want to learn more about marketing vs advertising and how they work together to better your business, then visit our website.

#BlackFriday or #GivingTuesday: All, One, or None? How to Choose Your on-brand Holiday Social Strategy

Are you ready for the holiday season?

It might feel like you have plenty of holiday prep time if you’re talking about buying gifts and planning menus. When it comes to capitalizing on the holidays with marketing, though, it’s time to get it in gear.

The days after American Thanksgiving are among the most crucial in terms of a company’s holiday sales. It seems like every year we add a new holiday, too. So far we have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday.

Chances are that you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with a good holiday social media campaign for all of these. It’s usually best to choose one or two and concentrate your efforts.

The problem is that you have to decide which one. Let’s compare the two that seem to be the farthest apart: Black Friday and Giving Tuesday.

Comparing Holiday Social Media Promotions: Black Friday vs. Giving Tuesday

Before you throw your team full-bore into a social media campaign, let’s compare two of your key options.

Pros and Cons of Black Friday Promotions

While it started in the US, Black Friday is now an international shopping phenomenon. If you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, here’s what you need to know.

Pro: A Larger Holiday Social Presence

By a wide margin, Black Friday is a more well-known holiday than Giving Tuesday. As a result, you know that more consumers will be actively looking for promotions on that day rather than on Giving Tuesday.

When it comes to social media, the Black Friday shopping day is even more important. As people browse social media on their phones, they can find your promotions and click on them for a fast and impulse-driven purchase.

If you think people don’t use mobile devices for shopping, think again. Last year, 64% of shopping traffic on Black Friday came from mobile devices. That’s a huge audience for your social media campaign to capture.

Con: Hefty Competition

While the massive popularity of Black Friday means a larger consumer base, it means more competition as well.

With so much money up for grabs, countless retailers nationwide are launching Black Friday campaigns. That means even if someone is looking specifically for Black Friday sales, it will be tough for your campaign to stand out.

Pro: Market to a Captive Audience

Black Friday presents a rare opportunity for retailers. On a normal day, you have to convince consumers to do two things: first to spend money at all and second to spend it on your product in particular.

On Black Friday, that first part is already in the bag. Consumers have a shopping list, and they’re actively trying to buy as much as they can on that day to get ahead on their holiday shopping.

As a retailer, this means you’re working with a captive audience. It takes far less to convert viewers or users into paying customers, so it’s a huge opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Con: Not Everyone Is a Fan

If you jump onto the Black Friday train, be aware that not everyone thinks it’s a fun and lighthearted tradition.

To some, Black Friday and the chaos it incites are symbols of a materialism they oppose. Others see it as a time when retailers take advantage of customers by misrepresenting their sales.

Before you choose to do a Black Friday social media campaign, think about how you’ll deal with the potential backlash.

Pros and Cons of Giving Tuesday Promotions

If you want to get away from the materialistic image of Black Friday, Giving Tuesday is on the other end of the spectrum. Charities are front and center on this shopping holiday. In many cases, retailers donate a portion of the day’s proceeds to a select charity.

If you’re thinking about getting involved, here’s what you should consider.

Pro: Gain Ethics Points

If you’re looking for a great PR move, Giving Tuesday is right in your wheelhouse. It’s an opportunity for you to show your philanthropic side and appeal to your customers’ moral compasses.

It will depend on the cause you choose, though. If you promote a charity whose cause is near to many of your customers’ hearts, you gain an even better reputation in their minds.

Con: Risky for Your Bottom Line

Giving Tuesday is a bit of a gamble. Let’s say you choose to donate 10% of the day’s profits toward a charity. You’re gambling that the promotion will increase your sales to make up for that 10% hit.

While it’s a safe bet that 10% discounts will pay off, 10% donations aren’t as solid. You’re placing a bet that your customers will care enough about that charity to buy more when there’s a donation at stake. If they don’t or if they’ve blown their entire budgets on Black Friday, your bottom line will suffer.

Pro: Not as Much Competition

As we mentioned, Giving Tuesday doesn’t yet have the massive clout that Black Friday does. It gains more and more awareness each year, but the two still aren’t comparable.

In some respects, that’s an advantage for you. While the internet will be flooded with #BlackFriday, #GivingTuesday has less competition for your digital marketing.

As an added bonus, Black Friday happens first. That means you’ll have three days of solid marketing time after to the chatter about Black Friday has died down.

Con: Need to Handle with Care

As much as you stand to gain on Giving Tuesday from a PR perspective, you have a lot to lose as well. Many charities and causes have some degree of political flavour, whether they lean right or left.

To avoid alienating customers, it’s a good idea to choose a cause that’s as politically neutral as possible. If you do choose to get more political, analyze your demographic to find out if most of your consumer base aligns with what you believe.

Finding a Direction for Your Shopping Holiday Social Media Campaigns

Without a doubt, it’s smart to take advantage of the season with one or more shopping holiday social media campaigns. Choosing which ones, though, can be tricky. The pros and cons above can help.

If you prefer to leave your holiday marketing in professional hands, contact our expert marketing crew today.

The Top 8 Digital Marketing Issues You’ll Commonly Face

You’ve done the best research, formed the best plan possible, and executed your marketing strategy with glorious perfection, like a boss. It’s a masterpiece, the Mona Lisa of marketing campaigns, and you are Leonardo da Vinci. And now, naturally, you sit back and enjoy the most smooth-sailing campaign to ever hit the market.

What’s that? The sailing’s not so smooth? You’re having trouble getting leads, training your team, and proving ROI?

It sounds like your perfect campaign sort of hit the fan, so to speak. But don’t worry.

So this marketing thing wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be. That’s the bad news. The good news is, everyone else, and we mean everyone, is having the same problems you are.

And here’s the even better news. We’re going to share with you all the most common marketing issues marketers face so you’ll know what to expect going forward. Aren’t we nice?

Read the list below so these marketing problems won’t catch you off guard.

Problem 1: Where My Peeps At?

When Hubspot polled thousands of companies about their top marketing challenges, only one was reported by more than half of all participants. 63% of them reported “generating traffic and leads” as the number one problem marketers face.

Companies are struggling to get enough demand for their supply of product or content. Why is this? Because the internet is just too darn big.

Here, your marketing choices are limitless and your audience is everyone in the world. It’s hard to know where and how to focus your efforts.

So what do you do? Pay deep and continual attention to market research and don’t try to be everything to everyone.

Know every statistic about your ideal audience. Know what devices and apps they’re using, when they’re using them, and for how long.

What social media platform do they prefer? What do they like to see there? Find out exactly what they want from you, and then give them the highest quality version of it that you can.

In short, marketing analytics are your best friend – IF you can interpret them, that is. (We totally rock at analytics, btw, so we’ll be your best friend if you’d like)!

Problem 2: Is It Working?

You have so many wheels turning in so many different campaigns. How can you track which ones are working and which ones aren’t?

This is the second-most common marketing problem. Proving the return on investment (ROI) of marketing activities is a complicated challenge. And if you can’t prove ROI, you can’t effectively budget or strategize your campaign.

The answer, therefore, is better analytics software. Lucky for you, analytics technology has gotten way better than it used to be at tracking sales.

It’s also grown to become more advanced at linking more types of analytics together. This gives a more accurate picture of what impacts your returns and how.

All your digital marketing analytics should be linked to the same analytics software. That includes social media marketing, ecommerce, and website analytics. If they’re not linked, you need new analytics software.

Problem 3: You Can’t Make the Scene If You Don’t Have the Green

Many companies, especially smaller ones, have trouble getting funds for their marketing campaigns. This is mostly due to the point we just covered. No one wants to invest in a marketing tactic with an effectiveness that can’t be proven.

But if you can prove the ROI of your marketing efforts, you’ll have no problem securing funds. And the key to proving ROI is top-notch analytics software (plus help from awesome nerds like us).

Problem 4: You Can’t Be Good at Everything

A successful website is essential to any digital marketing campaign. So why are so many companies having trouble with it? Quite simply, they either don’t have the know-how or manpower to do it right.

The ever-changing world of search engine optimization (SEO) is a whole other campaign all by itself. SEO refers to the tactics used to make a website rank higher on search engine results pages (SERP).

To create and maintain a successful website requires expertise and up-to-date knowledge of SEO. We know you’re an expert at marketing. But you can’t be excellent at everything.

Therein lies the problem. Many marketers try to manage their own sites without this in-depth knowledge or without knowledgeable people working on it.

The obvious solution is to get knowledgeable people working on your SEO. Either put your own, SEO-competent staff on it or outsource to professionals. Your website’s crucial to your digital marketing efforts; you can’t afford to skip this step.

Problem 5: Knowing What’s Good for You

Ok, let’s see how you’re doing so far.

You’ve gotten better analytics software, one that links all possible analytics to marketing returns, and you’ve hired the right people to maintain your website. You’re doing great!

But even when doing your best, you can’t anticipate changing technology, glitches, Murphy’s Law, etc.

New problems will always pop up, requiring some other app, software or device to solve it. The problem most companies have with this is figuring out what technologies they need and whether or not they’re reliable.

This is another situation where hiring awesome, professional help is a good idea. Pros are on top of the situation before you even find out about it.

You can straight-up ask them yourself if their software can solve your problem. They can even refer you to customers they’ve helped with the same problem.

Or, if you like to live dangerously, you can trust online reviews of marketing solution software and hope for the best. If it doesn’t work out, though, you might end up wasting a lot of valuable time.

Problem 6: Team Training Troubles

As digital marketing evolves, so must your company. Each change demands retraining or rehiring: two sides of one really sucky coin.

Both mean finding (and funding) the time for training. And turnover means starting from scratch.

The best solution is to set up an hour or less of training updates at the same time every week. You update your leaders, who then train the rest of your team. An alternative is requiring your team to take training courses.

New hires are more difficult. You want their training time to be short and intense.

The shortness will cost you less money (especially if they quit). And the intenseness will weed out those who might quit anyway.

Your other option is the next problem: hiring people who are already the best.

Problem 7: The Top Talent Gamble

Hey, wait a sec. Why not just hire better-qualified people?

It would save the time and money required for training newbies, right? You’d think.

But trying to find and hire top talent that isn’t already employed, may cost just as much as training from scratch. Then, add to that a higher salary.

The solution? Be as specific as possible in your career ad.

Think about the exact position in your company you need the top talent in. Require a very-specifically-described skill set for the position. That is, write the job description for that one, perfect candidate you want.

Post to a niche-specific job board that’s just for digital marketers, like growth.org, and voila! You let the perfect candidate find you.

Problem 8: Your Target Is Everywhere

Have you ever sent a text and then afterward realized it autocorrected to a completely wrong message? Then, you already know the biggest challenge of marketing internationally.

Most companies aren’t familiar with the markets and cultures of other countries. They don’t know how to appeal to them, so their attempts at advertising end up sending the wrong message.

Avoid this by gaining marketing expertise in the countries you do business with. There are several global marketing books and other learning resources you can learn this from. But it may be more practical to hire a qualified marketing expert for each country.

Next, optimize your website and ad campaigns for the language and culture of each target country.

Kick These Marketing Issues to the Curb

Now that you know the most common, current marketing issues, they won’t catch you off guard. Instead, you can face them and say, “Enguard!”

Ok, we’re sorry; that was terrible. The point is, plan for these issues now and you’ll be ready when they happen.

Now read 8 creative marketing strategy examples to inspire you.

SEM Guide: What is Search Marketing?

Being visible online is important to every business, whether you sell business services or sweatpants.

To launch your brand to online success, you likely need some form of search marketing.

When people think about search engine marketing, often times they focus on optimization techniques known as SEO. But SEM is distinct from SEO and is an important part of any internet marketing plan.

Here’s the skinny on SEM.

The Language of Search Marketing

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a practice where marketers essentially purchase authority within search engines through advertising, keywords, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns.

It differs from SEO in that search engine optimization focuses on your organic ability to earn a ranking on a search engine.

A winning search marketing strategy has both SEO and SEM.

SEM vs SEO, Yo!

As mentioned above, SEM and SEO are different because one is a service you pay for, and the other is an accomplishment you earn. Both are important to your marketing strategy.

Here are some key terms and strategies in the SEM vs SEO world that will help you differentiate between the two.

Did Someone Say, “SEM Strategies?”

Below are several popular strategies for building an online reputation with SEM.

  • Paid Search/PPC: the process of buying keywords that will put you in front of your target market
  • Landing pages: purchasing succinct landing pages that offer a great user experience (UX) for customers
  • Local SEM: purchasing 360-degree videos and ads on Google maps, things that will help you appear in more local searches

Well, What About SEO?

Here are the most common terms and strategies used in the SEO world today.

  • Keywords: selecting and using the keywords you want to rank for in your content
  • Organic rankings: use on-site SEO strategies like content marketing and seamless navigation to boost your page organically to top rankings
  • Local SEO: using free and organic strategies to get on local ranking sites, like adding your business to Google maps
  • Site indexing strategies: having a well-functioning site that creates a great UX is a good way to ensure it is indexed by Google
  • Link-building: link-building is an organic SEO strategy by which links from other sites drive traffic to your site and increase its authority with Google

As evidenced above, there are a number of similarities between SEM and SEO strategies. The differences, however, are distinct enough that both should play into a search marketing strategy.

SEM: Some Translation Required

So, that’s SEM in a nutshell. But what does that mean for you? How do these terms translate into something useable for your business?

He Gets an Avatar! She Gets an Avatar! Everybody Gets an Avatar!

At the foundation of any marketing campaign is the customer, and SEM is no different.

To start your SEM journey, you need to first understand who is buying your products and services and create a customer avatar.

This can be done from scratch or from a template.

If you haven’t taken inventory of who is buying a product or service in a long time, a good way to do that is to utilize free tools within the Facebook Business platform.

Start with an existing list of customers and emails. Put that into a new campaign in Facebook’s ad manager, and watch Facebook develop a profile of demographics from your list.

If you don’t have a list, run a Facebook ad campaign and use the analytics built-in to Facebook to determine who is likely to interact with your campaign.

Or pick a look-a-like audience. For instance, our sweatpants manufacturer might choose “people who like Fabletics.”

Once you’ve used Facebook to capture an audience you can pull the analytics to begin filling in your target customer avatar.

Cough Up the Dough

Once you know who’s most interested in your products and services, the rest becomes much easier.

The key to a good paid search campaign is selecting the right keywords to purchase. In order to do that, you need to do keyword research that is heavily based on what you’ve learned about your customer.

For one, you can use social platforms like Twitter to see what your target audience is talking about online. That should give you an idea of what they are interested in.

Then you can jot down a list of hashtags and work backward from there, using any number of free resources to drill down the best keywords from the hashtags.

You can also turn to other blogs and see what they are writing about. What keywords are your competitors using? If your direct competition wants to own a keyword, then consider if you should compete on that keyword too.

After you’ve narrowed down your list of most valuable keywords, you can start making purchases based on search volume and competitiveness.

When you select the keywords you want to focus on in your Google AdWords or Bing account, your ad will appear on search results for those keywords.

It will look like organic search results, only there will be a notation showing that it is an ad. And when people click through you will be charged, hence why this is a form of PPC.

Your Best PPC Campaign

When it comes to SEM, PPC is a big purchase category. However, in most industries, the click-thru-rate (CTR) is less than 1%.

It’s no surprise people prefer being in the top of organic search results and that’s why it’s so important to utilize both principles of SEM and SEO in tandem.

They said, when structuring a PPC campaign, make the following considerations:

  • Ad Campaigns: This is the largest group of like-ads, perhaps you want to run a campaign of seasonal sweatpants and fall patterned leggings because these categories have similarities they would fall under one campaign
  • Ad Groups: The ad groups are a division which campaigns can be broken down into, perhaps one ad group focuses on seasonal sweatpants and the other group is for fall coloured leggings
  • Keywords: For each ad group, you should have a subset of keywords that make up the campaign

By breaking down your campaign into Ad Campaigns > Ad Groups > Keywords, you can target the right market segment and make the most of your ads.

Holla at Your Search Marketing!

When it comes to search marketing, you have to have both SEO and SEM. But the difference between a successful campaign and one that falls flat is in the details.

Pay attention to what your customers are looking for, and appeal to that. Whether you are optimizing or purchasing pay-per-click understanding your customer base is key.

For more information like this for your Calgary, Alberta business, click here.

The Top 6 Benefits of Digital Marketing

The benefits of digital marketing are more apparent than ever in 2018. Digital marketing can help increase your brand exposure as a business.

In fact, more than 1.1 million small businesses have taken off in the past four years.

If you want to thrive in this economy, it’s important to grow your digital marketing strategies right now.

1. Digital Marketing is Cost-Effective

There is no doubt that marketing your company takes money. You need to fuel your business with real dollars in order to see real results. Digital marketing has slowly become the new norm in terms of how to market your company in the real world.

Digital marketing is a cost-effective alternative to other forms of marketing. When you include targeted digital marketing campaigns, you can save money. Once you determine who your target audience is you can tailor your campaigns and advertisements to be seen by a select few.

For example, a small business can utilize the power of social media in minutes. You can easily run an ad on Instagram where your targeted audience will see your ad show up on their feed based on advanced targeting measures you determine.

This can cost a small business anywhere from $5-$500. The engagement with the ad will be much higher than even the results created from expensive television and radio ads. You will be able to target your ideal buyers in no time.

2. Digital Marketing Hones in on Customer Loyalty

Another strength to note with the benefits of digital marketing includes the development of customer loyalty.

One customer purchasing clothing from your online retail website is the first step in the right direction. Sales are obviously important to you as a small business owner who needs to make revenue to keep the business going.

However, it’s also crucial to hone in on the value with customer loyalty. You want that same customer to return again and again and even spread the word about why she loves shopping on your site in comparison to your competition, right?

Customer loyalty is another aspect of digital marketing that you can work on growing. The digital marketing strategies used by small businesses to grasp the concept of customer loyalty continue to show impressive results.

Turning one customer into a loyal customer is possible with digital marketing. How do you accomplish this? Create a reputation for having great customer service. If you have a huge following on Instagram or even Facebook, be sure to constantly check your direct messages to respond to your customers that way!

Speaking of social media messages, always respond to comments on your posts and engage with your audience!

3. Create a Global Outreach

Digital marketing gives you the opportunity to reach even more customers than you could ever dream of if you focused solely your local and traditional marketing channels.

Give digital marketing a chance because you can increase your customer base by implementing the right techniques to boost your following across the globe.

People living around the world could see your efforts as the Internet continues to be a means of communication to find new markets and explore larger audiences.

Social media marketing will give you the freedom to potentially expand your small business into these new global territories, too.

4. Your Customers are Waiting for You on Social Media

Don’t be afraid of social media! Even if you have an old company, you need to start creating an online presence to tap into the market you are missing out on right now.

With so many millions of people using their phones to purchase on a daily basis, you need to create a space to increase your sales online because over 2.4 billion people use social media platforms on a regular basis.

Encourage your customers to interact with you on social media, too. Offer them incentives to follow your social accounts. Giveaways are a huge way to gain new followers and grow your audience in an organic nature.

Social media has the potential to help you conquer your digital marketing goals once and for all. Of course, with the help of experts at Octopus Creative, you can achieve your goals in less time than you would on your own!

5. SEO Optimizes Your Content

There is no point in spending hours of your time and hundreds of dollars producing content if nobody sees it.

SEO, search engine optimization, is another excellent example of a digital marketing tool to assist you in your journey to grow your client base.

Here is how SEO works:

When a potential customer uses Google to make a search for “fall boots” the top results are shown. You need to incorporate keywords into your content found on your website to boost your ranking according to Google.

Once you channel some important SEO rules into your posts, you will see your ranking improve over time.

It’s difficult to make your retail store show up on the first page without implementing any of the powerful and effective SEO techniques necessary to improve your local SEO rank.

Talk to the professionals at Octopus Creative Inc. for more guidance with SEO related strategies.

6. The Benefits of Digital Marketing Drive Sales

The proof is in the sales. It’s seen within your revenue streams. It’s also proven with the obvious signs of higher growth expectancy in your business.

You’re going to see much higher conversion rates once you begin practising the art of digital marketing. Digital marketing influences conversions as soon as you determine a targeted audience to attract.

These trackable results are set up to show you exactly how much money you have earned through digital marketing strategies put into action. You can see how much money one digital campaign has earned for you through your website analytics.

Tracking your web analytics, using Google analytics, for example, will show you real-time data that can guide you to understand what tactics work and what needs to be changed about your current campaigns for better outcomes in the end.

Why Not Take Advantage of the Benefits of Digital Marketing?

The benefits of digital marketing show you how important it is to consider adding these online strategies to your small or corporate business.

All six of these reasons are meant to prove the power behind creating social media platforms and utilize them to your advantage to draw in new targeted customers over time.

Interested in learning more about digital marketing? Submit a Marketing Discovery Form on our website to get in touch with us today.

Why You Should Invest in Hiring Expert SEO Services

Do you need to improve your site’s SEO? Hiring expert SEO services can help.

You invested a lot of time and resources to build your website and make it perfect. Now comes the hard part – driving traffic to it. There are several ways you can drive traffic to your site – social media, SEO and email newsletters are just a few of them.

With SEO, people are looking for information and they’re looking to buy your products or services. In fact, search engines drive 93% of all web traffic and it has a higher conversion rate than other ways to market your business.

Yet, only a small percentage of websites rank in the top 10 after a year.

Instead of banging your head against a wall trying to figure out how to improve your ranking, read on to learn why you should hire a professional SEO company.

Technical Expertise

SEO is much more than keywords.

Google is said to use around 200 factors to determine search results. They range from your online listings and your site architecture to the number of links to your site & keywords.

An SEO firm can point you in the right direction to improve your search listings. They’ll do professional keyword research and make content recommendations.

They’ll also take a look at the back end of your website to make sure your most important content stands out in search results and your site architecture is clear for search engines.

Better Online Presence

Have you ever looked up a company online and found different phone numbers and addresses for them?

It’s frustrating, and it leaves a bad impression of your business. Potential customers will be confused. It’ll confuse search engines, too.

When you hire expert SEO services, you’ll find that they’ll improve your entire online presence. They can help you clean up your listings across all directories so they’re consistent.

Expert SEO Services Saves Time

When you hire expert SEO services, you ultimately save time and energy. How much time do you have to learn what the 200 factors Google uses to rank websites?

After you learn what it takes to rank your website, do you have the time and resources to implement those changes yourself?

No, you don’t. You have a business to run.

Hiring an SEO company would be a smart move because they already have the technical expertise, they have the training, and they know how to implement an SEO strategy to get results.

Improved Conversion Rates

Almost half of all searches are local. Out of those local searches, about 75% of those will call the results on the first page of search results.

Imagine ranking on the first page of Google and getting some of those calls. What kind of impact would that have on your business?

Even if people click through to your website, there’s a good chance that they’ll contact your business because they’re already searching for your product or services.

That improved conversion rate could improve your bottom line in a big way.

Increase Referral Calls

Many businesses rely on referrals to get new business. For 85% of businesses, this is the top way to drive leads. If your business is part of the 85% of those who depend on referrals, SEO can ensure that you’re getting all of those.

Right now, you might be leaving money on the table and not even know it.

Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes for a moment.

If you’re looking for a particular service, you’d ask people you know. You’ll then get a few recommendations and the first thing you’ll do is look them up online.

If you can’t find that business online or if you find different phone numbers for that business, will you call them? No, you’ll just move on to the next business.

SEO expert services can ensure that your business appears in search results and that your information is consistent across directories and platforms.

That will result in phone calls to your business.

You’ll See How Your Marketing Dollars Are Spent

When you invest in SEO services, you want to make sure you’re getting a return on investment.

The great thing about investing in SEO is that you can track just about anything. You can track keywords people use to get you’re your site and what they do when they get there.

Compare that to other forms of advertising where you invest a lot of money and assume that it works.

You’ll have access to detailed reporting, so you can see exactly how your marketing dollars are working for you.

Stay Ahead in a Constantly Changing World

We mentioned how many factors go into search results. On top of that, Google changes its algorithm frequently, up to 600 times a year.

Technology changes, too. We’ve gone from searching on desktop computers to mobile devices. The next frontier for search is voice search as people use devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo in their homes.

A professional SEO company knows what’s next in SEO and can help you get prepared for those changes.

What to Look for in an SEO Company

When you hire an SEO company, it helps to know that there are good companies and companies who promise a lot and don’t deliver. Here’s how you can tell the difference and hire an experienced company.

SEO Takes Time

When you invest in SEO, be prepared to play a long game. Any firm that tells you that they can get results in a month is probably using black hat SEO techniques.

Understand Your Marketing Strategy

SEO plays a role in digital marketing, but it also works together with social media, content marketing and branding.

Results in SEO don’t happen in isolation, but each component of marketing influences the results of the others to drive results.

A top SEO firm will take the time to look at your entire marketing strategy and implement strategies for each component to maximize all of your marketing results.

Hire Expert SEO Services

An expert SEO services company can help you save time and generate money for your business. They can also improve your overall web presence so it’s consistent to those searching for your business, products, and services.

If you’re ready to hire an SEO services company, we’re here to help. Contact us today.

7 Simple SEO Solutions You Need to Try for Yourself

In 2015, there were more than 1.1 million businesses in Canada. Basically, this means you’re up against a ton of competition as a business owner or marketer.

One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is the process of getting your pages to rank higher on Google and other search engines, which will lead to more traffic and more sales.

We’ve compiled 6 simple SEO solutions that you should try out that will make you say, “Shell Yeah!”

Check them out!

1. Find Your Keywords

The first thing you should do when starting with SEO is deciding on your keywords. The whole point of SEO is ranking higher on search engines for specific keywords and phrases! So you need to make sure you’re trying to rank for the best keywords possible.

This happens through strong keyword research efforts. Think about what people are searching for when they look for your business’ products or services.

What do they Google? If you’re a pet store owner, people might search for “dog store in Seattle” or “pet store in Washington.” So you would want to rank for these terms.

Do some research with a professional SEO tool to find out what people search for most. You can also utilize free tools like Google Trends.

2. Content, Content, Content

Another SEO key is producing content. But it shouldn’t just be any content. It needs to be valuable and relevant.

Find topics that people are curious about in your industry. What topics could you write about that will get people to your website?

Once they’re on your site, you can make an offer to them… which means more cash for you! Yeah, buoy!

You should also produce content on a regular basis. Google prioritizes pages that are fresh.

This also attracts readers because you’re providing interesting and helpful content. Whether these are blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, or videos, content is a huge part of SEO in 2018.

So make sure you have a writer and a designer on your team who can produce these pieces.

3. Load Quickly: One of the Biggest SEO Solutions

The bottom line is that when websites load quickly, people are satisfied. The opposite is also true: when sites take forever to load, people leave.

This will happen to a certain extent no matter what. In fact, the average bounce rate is 26% to 40%. But many sites are at a much higher level, which negatively affects their bottom line.

Google understands this and so sites that load slowly are negatively affected in terms of SEO. This is because, in order for Google to be successful, they want to provide the best experience possible. And if the first couple of search results for a given query all load super slowly, the user is going to get frustrated and go to a different search engine to do their searching.

This is Google’s worst nightmare. So to avoid this. They give preference to sites who rank quickly.

To improve your site’s load times, there are lots of things you can do. Start by optimizing your images and getting rid of pictures with huge file sizes. Instead, compress them using an online tool.

Also, consider switching hosting providers (there is a reason that some hosting options are considered discount). Sometimes this is the core of the issue.

4. Pay Attention to Your Titles and Descriptions

This is a simple thing with a big impact: optimize your page titles and descriptions. These are the pieces of text that tell both users and Google what your page is about.

Every page on your site should be optimized to include that page’s keyword. This helps Google’s bots understand exactly the purpose of your page. So if your pages aren’t optimized in this way, water you doing?

This is also the text that appears in Google search results when your page ranks. So being clear and getting to the point helps web searchers know exactly what they’ll get on that page.

If possible, you should also include the keyword in the H1 on your pages. An H1 is the main header at the top of the page. Google also pays attention to this.

5. Optimize Your URLs

Also, don’t forget about your page URLs. Google’s spiders look at your URL as well to understand the content of your page.

If possible, include your keyword in the URL as well. This will make things super clear.

Don’t make your URL too long. When it’s super long, it’s easy for the bots to get confused. Shorter is better in this case!

6. Don’t Forget Those Links

Link building is one of the fundamentals of SEO. Google likes to see that sites are linking back to you because it improves your reputation in their eyes.

This is especially true when the links come from domains with a lot of authority! So if at all possible, work with large publications and websites to get a link back to your site from them.

The other part of link building has to do with your site itself. Your site should also have plenty of internal links. This shows Google that your pages are related to each other and it helps paint a better picture of what your website is all about.

So go throughout your site and include links wherever possible.

7. Hire an Expert

When it comes to SEO strategy, do you feel like you’re standing at the seashore screaming, “Kelp! Kelp!”? If so, consider hiring an expert!

SEO is complicated and is always changing. An expert from an outside agency will be able to provide information about the latest strategies.

They’ll know what’s working right this moment to help you rank as well as possible. Our team has years of experience working in SEO and is happy to help you! Contact us today to learn more.

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve gone through these SEO solutions, it’s time to make some changes in your business. Implement some of these on your site as soon as possible! In other words, it’s time to seas the day!

Have questions or want professional help? Get in touch with us and we’ll be your marketing sidekick.

Brand Out & Stand Out: Top 4 Benefits of Strong Branding

Is your company lacking the adequate branding it needs? Without those crucial elements, your company might as well be a boat without an oar.

While you’ve thought of a clever business name, a colour palette, and a logo, that proves to be not enough. These days, people want to be intrigued and wowed by brands. They’re no longer buying products that speak for themselves– they want to buy into brands that are authentic and compelling.

A few terms to keep in mind when developing your brand further is quality, credibility, and experience. Think of these keywords as the secret ingredients to your fantastic recipe for creating a brand.

Still not convinced on why branding is important? Allow us to explain the benefits of branding so you can see why it’s vital.

Here we go!

Be the Big Fish in a Little Pond

Rather than be the small fish swimming about in a big pond, strong branding can make you the opposite. To be the big fish, you need to hone in on what makes you stand out in a crowded market.

Whichever industry you’re in, differentiating yourself from your competitors is a must. You and the competition probably have similar products or services but it comes down to your branding in order to make people choose you.

Sure, you can go out and purchase a premade logo for a cheap price. However, you need to have more than that.

Set yourself up for success by thinking beyond a logo. Good branding is more than “nice colours” that you may like slapped together. It’s more than just ordering clip art to be used as a logo.

Think of the reasons you got into business. Was it to empower the local economy and create jobs? How about selling product so you can donate to local organizations?

Pinpoint what makes your business unique by digging deeper. Good brands have clear purposes, remember that.

It’s All About the Money, Money, Money

Obviously, that’s not how that song goes. But let’s be real here: you didn’t create a business to not make money.

When your branding game is strong, that means you can actually charge what you’re worth. Especially when you’re just starting out, finding those customers or clients can be a struggle. No one knows who you are yet so you think it’s a good idea to undersell yourself.

Wrong. So wrong, in fact.

You can’t build a sustainable business if you’re cutting prices all the time just to gain sales.

Solidify your branding first before you launch. That way, you can dazzle those who see you for the first time. They’ll have no choice other than to get on board with your company 😉

If you didn’t get the chance to perfect your brand before you launched, it’s not too late. Revamp it to where you can start charging the proper price of your products or services.

Customer Loyalty Is the Name of the Game

Customers are the heart of every business. They’re the reason other people hear of your company. When they spread the word, it spreads like wildfire. Why?

Because when your friend tells you of a new product or service, you believe them when what they have to say is positive, right? Your friend hasn’t steered you wrong yet, so you trust their recommendation.

People want to connect with brands who also share the same values as them. If you give donations to cancer research, that may be enough for someone to do business with you, especially if they know of someone with the disease.

Not only do the values you abide by win you customers, but the promises you deliver on ensure you of their return. If you promise a new product launch at the end of the month, you best follow up on it.

If you don’t, it’ll be hard to win their trust back. Not to mention they’ll be less interested in another product launch for fear it won’t be delivered when promised.

Keeping your company values and promises in check will be sure to win you more customers. And when more customers have trust in your company, the more referrals you’ll receive.

Having a Solid Brand Means You Won’t Regret it Later

We’ve all been through these days where we can’t seem to make up our minds. One morning we want coffee, the next we’re craving tea. There’s no consistency.

With a brand, you need to be consistent. In order to do that, you need to be content with your branding. That means loving the colour palette, the logo, and the vibes you put out.

If you went for the cheapest options possible when first building your brand, chances are you won’t be happy in the long run. Once you start making money, you’ll see that you want to hire a graphic designer to make you a killer logo. That means you’ll be changing your logo which means that’ll confuse your customers.

If you would’ve set a good foundation in the first place, you wouldn’t have to change anything within a year or two of being operational. That’s why it’s crucial you take your time to build a brand so that way, you can keep it intact for years to come.

That not only saves you time but money as well.

The Benefits of Branding are Hard to Ignore

Whether you spent days or years developing your business, branding is where it’s at. These days, markets are oversaturated so that’s why it’s more important than ever that you stand out like a starfish in a sea full of barnacles.

It’s the key to standing out and gaining more revenue. After all, who couldn’t benefit from an extra doubloon or two?

Ready to take the plunge? Get in touch with us today and see how we can help set you up for success with expert branding services!