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SEO and PPC Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Last June, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) required that search engines deliberately and visibly label paid advertisements so that consumers have the fair option to click or not.  In November, we saw one of Google’s first attempts to comply with the FTC’s new guidelines when search engine results showed advertisements precisely labeled “ad” in the same yellow color as the second “o” in Google.  Some of those who saw it called it a soft roll out, and some called it beta testing, but what everybody did (or didn’t) see was Google’s reluctance to comment about this possible new feature.

 

Google HummingbirdIn 2013, with the advent of Google’s new algorithm, Hummingbird, SEO strategies were forced to shift from pushing keyword- stuffed meta tags and buying back links, to producing relevant, high-quality, and well-written content, in an uproar that was startlingly called “the death of SEO.”

So what do these changes mean for the future of these online marketing avenues?  How will “Ad” labels affect click through rates (CTR) and what will the implementation of Google’s new algorithms mean for SEO campaigns?  While many Content Strategists turn their nose up at Pay-Per-Click advertising, and many proponents of PPC scoff at the patience needed to watch a SEO campaign evolve, perhaps the most telling factor about the future of online marketing avenues is that SEO and PPC are not mutually exclusive.

 

Instead of having marketing strategy that favors either PPC or SEO, consider the following: Imagine a user searching for “apple pie recipes” in Google.

PPC Apple PieOn top the user sees Google’s golden yellow “ad” label beside a search result and clicks.  The user is met with a well-crafted story about the history of this particular apple pie recipe.  The user clicks a few more times before purchasing apple pie mix, or perhaps even a cookbook of old American recipes, like this particular pie.  Now imagine that the user scrolled past the paid ads for “apple pie recipes” to a result whose description reads “guest blogger Jane Smith shares her family’s apple pie recipe,” and clicks.  The user reads the guest bloggers story and is invited to “check out” the guest’s blog where the user then recognizes a banner similar to the one marked by Google’s yellow “ad” label.  The user may or may not click, but at least now feels that he or she is part of some unspoken network where apple pie recipes can be sold, bought, told and shared.

 

apple-pie-slice-a-la-modeIn 2014, it is safe to say that in the grand debate between PPC vs. SEO, the business who decides to employ both strategies will come out the winner.  The surge in the popularity of mobile devices and laptops means that both PPC and SEO strategies will need to focus on having thoughtful mobile sites and applications that pay attention to local searches.   Google has also started to favor content linked to Google+ accounts which simultaneously proportions interesting options for PPC display and banner ads. Pay-per-click ads can be avoided and ignored, yet they drive traffic at a faster rate than SEO.  While SEO strategies do not spend money on traffic, money is instead spent on strategy and eloquent content and the results come at a slower rate.  Use them together to have a fully-integrated, online marketing campaign is a decision that should be as easy as apple pie.

 

BP-branding

Important Steps When Rebranding a Company:

Whether it’s because you made mistakes in your previous business, sales are low, or your market has shifted, it’s important to know the steps it takes to rebrand a company. You may not know what rebranding entails, but GUESS WHAT?! You will! So, without further ado, here are the important steps you should be aware of!

1. Be Ready For Change: Rebranding a business requires you to shift your way of thinking, meaning a clean break. You need to be open to adjusting the way you currently do business. After all, if you are only making subtle changes that aren’t apparent, then what’s the point of rebranding? Exactly, there is none.

2.Determine Who You Want To Be: Be clear about the problem you are trying to solve, so you can take the steps to figure out who you want to be. Why doesn’t your current brand fit who you are? What is the purpose of the business, and what are the goals? How do you want customers, staff and the industry to feel when they see your brand? How do you think you are perceived in the market place, and how do you want to be perceived? These are important questions you will need to answer.

3. Talk to People: You will need to ask your customers, employees, business partners and industry experts their opinion about your current company—it’s products, services, and brand. You will need to find out what they like and don’t like.

research-competitior4. Research Competition: First, you will obviously need to know who your competitors are. Ask yourself, “How do we want to be seen when compared to them”? What do you like about their brand? You will need to figure out what makes you STAND OUT from your competition. You will need to do both quantitative and qualitative research. Find out who your customers are based on age, location and gender. Rethink your customer base. It’s important to understand your market!

5. Create an Action Plan: Write down what is currently wrong with your business, how you want to fix it, and the timeline for implementing all these changes. Identify your niche in your market place. Identify who is going to manage this process. MAKE SURE YOU COMMUNICATE! Get employees to contribute because the new brand is going to touch everyone in the company. Be realistic with costs, and if you don’t have the resources DO NOT do it yet!

6. Inventory List: Make an inventory list of all the things you will need to update and change as your rebrand. You will need to change your logo, business cards, letter head, maybe your e-mail address and URL (if you do a name change), your website, and social media pages.

7. LAUNCH Your New Brand: You will need to set a date for an external launch. It is important to launch the rebranding internally first. Plan a “roll out” for all the items on your inventory list. Announce the rebrand with a Press Release and through social media for your customers, prospects, and local and industry news.

It’s safe to say, rebranding requires a lot of time, effort and resources, but it is sometimes necessary. Take your time, do it right and hopefully you have a good outcome!

References:
http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/11/how-to-rebrand-your-business_pagen_2.html
http://www.fastcompany.com/1771299/rebranding-101
http://blog.studiothink.com/2013/03/how-to-brand-your-business-5-steps-to-rebranding/