The 43 Best PPC Management Tools As Voted For By Experts

Paid advertisements are a great way to drive targeted traffic and relevant people to a website.

However, if you’re new to the PPC game or have not optimised your campaigns to their full potential you could be throwing money away!

There’s a whole bunch of management tools out there that can help with optimising your PPC campaigns but how do you know which ones are the best?

In this article, I asked 21 PPC experts for the tools that they could not live without.

Their answers include a wide range of free, paid and free trial option tools. Take a look…

 

1. EXCEL (PAID)

– As recommended by Melissa Mackey of Gyro, Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Philip Wendell of Click Click Media, Heather Cooan of Infusionsoft, Aaron Levy of Elite SEM, Lisa Sanner of Point It, Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing, Euan Brock of Screaming Frog and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

We’ve all used Microsoft Excel at some point in our online lives.

You may be forgiven for thinking that there’s not a great deal it can do to help improve the efficiency of a PPC campaign… but you’d be very wrong!

Knowing the ins and outs of Excel and fully utilising it is crucial for creating and understanding data whether you’re just starting out with PPC or you’re a fully-fledged expert (as proven by Excel claiming top spot!).

I couldn’t live without Excel. I love it and I’m always looking for more ways to expand my Excel expertise.” – Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing.

 

2. ADWORDS EDITOR (FREE)

– As recommended by Justin Freid of CMI Media, Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing, Melissa Mackey of Gyro, Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Philip Wendell of Click Click Media, Aaron Levy of Elite SEM, Euan Brock of Screaming Frog and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

Ooh so close! Number 2 in our list is the free AdWords Editor.

Needing to make mass changes to an account? Wanting to implement a new AdWords feature across all your accounts to improve their performance? AdWords Editor is THE ultimate time saver and you can even carry on working when offline.

Working in the agency world, being able to quickly update ad text, make bid changes, add/remove ad text or keywords in a short period of time can help tremendously. – Justin Freid of CMI/Compas.

 

3. GOOGLE ANALYTICS (FREEMIUM)

– As recommended by Larry Kim of WordStream, Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Lisa Sanner of Point It and Euan Brock of Screaming Frog.

Another Google product and another firm favourite for those in the know when it comes to PPC; Google Analytics is a crucial tool.

Well over 10 million websites across the world use ‘GA’ and there are hundreds of reasons why. You can track everything from organic website visits to the demographics of users who click a certain button on a Wednesday afternoon, for example. Potent.

Analytics is great for looking at accurate ecommerce data related to campaigns as well as helping provide insight to building new campaigns and looking at top performing pages/products. – Euan Brock of Screaming Frog

 

4. SEMRUSH (PAID)

– As recommended by Zac JohnsonMona Elesseily of Page Zero Media, Phillip Wendell of Click Click Media and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

SEMrush is an industry favourite for both SEO and PPC insights. This versatile, competitive intelligence suite has a multitude of paid features.

You can use SEMRush to generate analytics reports that allow for understanding your competitors’ strategies, utilise powerful tools to estimate keyword difficulty and cross-examine many domains all in one nicely-presented package.

SEMrush is an extremely versatile service with a great selection of analytical reports and tools for Organic, Paid and PLA competitive research. Why learn from your mistakes when you can benefit from your competitors’ success? Yulia Shevardenkova of SEMRush.

 

5. BING EDITOR (FREE)

– As recommended by Aaron Levy of Elite SEM, Kirk Williams – ZATO Marketing, Melissa Mackey – Gyro and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

Not quite matching up to it’s Google rival when it comes to votes from the experts, it’s Bing’s Ads Editor. Just like it’s AdWords cousin, the Bing editor allows the user to make huge changes to your campaigns in one fell swoop and upload them in bulk.

“For working with any level of volume, the editors are simply unbeatable in making changes en masse.” – Aaron Levy of Elite SEM

 

6. ADALYSIS (PAID)

-As recommended by Chris Haleua of Adobe, Melissa Mackey of Gyro and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

AdAlysis is a hugely powerful advert testing platform for AdWords that offers a 30 day free trial. The tool allows you to easily find advert insights, increase workflow, automate tests and much more. This tool was one of the favourite ad testing tools amongst experts.

“AdAlysis is my favourite PPC tool for testing” – Chris Haleua of Adobe.

 

7. ADWORDS SCRIPTS (FREE)

– Sam Hurley of Midas Media, Euan Brock of Screaming Frog and Christi Olson, founder of iSEM Consulting

Google AdWords Scripts are an amazingly efficient and underrated way of optimising your campaigns. Not only can you generate historical Quality Score reports and automate account health check ups, you can also find underperforming keywords and use insights to improve them.

A great time saver if you’ve inherited a large account. See all broken links in a simple spreadsheet report. – Sam Hurley of Midas Media

 

8. GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER (FREE)

– As recommended by Margot da Cunha of WordStream and Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

In at number eight is Google AdWords Keyword Planner which allows you to get keyword ideas, see performance insights and generally plan Search Network campaigns.

We’re just surprised this isn’t higher up on our list as Keyword Planner is many an Expert’s go-to for keyword and ad group ideas, as well as historical data. It’s also completely free to use.

Keyword Planner is a great tool for researching keyword variations and taking your AdWords account further than just the broad search terms. It’s also great for seeing average search volumes, competition & average CPC’s around a variety of keywords. – Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

 

9. FACEBOOK POWER EDITOR (FREE)

– As recommended by Michelle Morgan of Clix Marketing and Heather Cooan
of Infusionsoft
Facebook’s very own ‘Power Editor’ tool allows the user to create multiple ads at one time and have ‘precise control of their campaigns’. However, it’s recommended that if you don’t have to create hundreds of ads at a time, you should simply use Adverts Manager instead.

Power Editor is only currently supported in the Google Chrome browser but it’s completely free to download.

Facebook campaigns used to be pretty laborious but the new editor makes things so much easier and allows for easy scaling through campaign duplication. Definitely a must for Facebook (and Instagram) advertisers! –Michelle Morgan of Clix Marketing

 

10. BING ADS INTELLIGENCE (FREE)

-As recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft and Chris Haleua of Adobe

Bing Ads Intelligence is a keyword research tool that allows you to easily digest the performance of keywords on the Yahoo Bing Network.

It’s free to download and allows you to work with keyword lists of up to 200,000 words, align ads with Bing’s policies, tailor your bidding strategy and much more. No wonder so many PPC Experts loved this tool!

Bing Ads Intelligence gives search marketers insane details no other tool does. Want to know the number of clicks in position two for the keyword [cheap auto insurance] or the number of searchers 25-34? The data comes straight from the search engine. – John Gagnon of Bing

 

11. OPTMYZR (PAID)

As recommended by Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media and Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing

Optmyzr is a leading Google AdWords optimisation tool for advertisers, consultants, and agencies alike. It offers a Quality Score tracker, landing page checker and a free trial! What’s not to love?

Me and my cofounders saw the challenges of managing AdWords and Bing Ads first-hand while working at Google and at PPC agencies. We set out to create the equivalent of a swiss army knife for PPC so that account managers could do common optimisation and reporting tasks in a fraction of the time other tools would take. – Frederick Vallaeys of Optmyzr

 

12. ACQUISIO (PAID)

As recommended by Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media and Lisa Sanner of Point It

Acquisio is a popular search marketing platform that enables the user to optimise campaigns as well as offering the ability to report on social, mobile, and display initiatives.

Having reportedly hired a rocket scientist to help design the program, Acquisio claim that: ‘It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to use the Acquisio search marketing platform. It did, however, take one to design it.” Awesome!

13. SPYFU (FREEMIUM)

– as recommended by Sam Hurley of Midas Media and Christi Olson of iSEM Consulting
Spyfu is a brilliant tool for competitor research and both PPC and SEO insights due to the huge database of information that it possesses. See adverts, sources and keywords for over 300 million sites in a concise and smoothly designed interface.

If I’m pitching a new client and need to do competitive research I can’t live without access to SpyFu to dig into apx budgets, keyword lists, and ad copy variations.- Christi Olson of iSEM Consulting

 

14 – 42: THE BEST OF THE REST

The following tools all received a single mention each from one of our experts but no PPC Management tools list would be complete without them!

Check them out…

POWER MAP FOR EXCEL (FREE)

– as recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft and Chris Haleua of Adobe

Microsoft Power Map for Excel is a 3D data visualisation tool that allows for analysing data in a totally unique manner

Plot geographic data on a 3D globe, display it over time, create visual tours and much more all in one handy tool!

AUDIENCE INSIGHTS WITHIN FACEBOOK ADS TOOL (FREE)

Facebook has the richest data out there, which includes point of sale, your matched email and web customer files, and their behaviors. It’s not just what they like or did on Facebook like a few years ago. This the equivalent of showrooming, where you can try on stuff for free in the store and then go buy it elsewhere.” – Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics

 

SUNNY REPORTS (PAID)

– as recommended by Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

SunnyReports helps you to automate customisable and professional AdWords reports. With the ability to easily add the statistics and visualisations that you want and build reusable reports, SunnyReports takes the hassle out of reporting.

DOUBLECLICK SEARCH EXECUTIVE REPORTING (PAID)

When looking to understand market trends, consumer behavior and other cross account trends, Doubleclick Search’s Executive Reporting tool has been extremely helpful. I can easily aggregate information from all or select accounts and splice the data any way I want. This eliminates the need to mess around with large excel files and gets me the information I need quickly to look at SEM from a holistic viewpoint. Justin Freid – CMI Media

 

UNBOUNCE (PAID)

the tool I use for landing pages, it is easy to use, implement, optimise, and create. It’s also very affordable. Kirk Williams – ZATO Marketing

 

BIZBIBLE (PAID)

Bizible allows you to see your campaign data alongside your Marketo data to easily track leads and spend to closed customers. This has made my life much easier when making optimizations in my lead gen accounts. – Michelle Morgan – Clix Marketing

 

SEOBOOK’S PPC AD KEYWORD WRAPPER + PHRASE BUILDER COMBO (BOTH FREE)

Plug all your existing keyword ideas into Phrase Builder which concatenates them, creating brand new experimental terms. Now, copy this list and enter it into Keyword Wrapper to quickly grab every combination of broad, phrase and exact match. See how they each perform in AdWords and apply the search terms report. The broads can be used to investigate elusive, less competitive terms which achieve clicks. Boom! – Sam Hurley Midas Media

 

MERGE WORDS (FREE)

– Ryan Lees – Limelight Digital

Great for building out campaigns with longer tailed keyword variations and doing it quickly. For example, adding location keywords onto the end of a bulk amount of broad keywords in one go. – Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

 

ADSTAGE (PAID)

AdStage is one of the few campaign management solutions out there that has LinkedIn API access. In AdStage, we’re able to see LinkedIn performance and track conversions. AdStage has been a major victory for my clients who advertise in that channel and want to actually track through to a conversionMichelle Morgan – Clix Marketing

 

KEYWORDTOOL.IO (FREE)

Search Query reports are the oil changes of PPC. They need to be done on a regular basis to both prevent problems and improve performance. Using a suggestion tool like Keywordtool.io can get a lot of the work out of the way ahead of time. It’s a common tool for positive research, but underused for proactive negative keyword research. Insert your search term, remove it from the results and see what junk you want to exclude ahead of time. –Aaron Levy – Elite SEM

 

MARIN (FREEMIUM)

– as recommended by Lisa Sanner of Point It

Marin Software is a cross-channel advertising platform that allows you to Optimize your Search, Social & Display ads across channels and devices.

With Marin you can simplify your workday and ‘Win the battle for revenue across search, display, social & mobile.’

SYSOMOS (FREEMIUM)

My agency currently utilizes Sysomos (for social listening), and by tapping in and understanding what your target audience is talking about on social media can help you find new keywords and phrases to target both through paid search and content/organic that may not be spit out by Google’s Keyword Planner.
Justin Freid – CMI Media

 

ADWORDS WRAPPER (FREE)

– Ryan Lees – Limelight Digital

AdWords Wrapper speeds up the process of keyword wrapping and makes life a lot easier when building out your ad groups with a variety of keyword match types. – Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

 

SEARCH TERMS REPORT (FREE)

-As recommended by Margot da Cunha – WordStream
Search Terms Report is less a standalone tool and more a feature within Google AdWords that helps marketers fine-tune their campaigns.

Utilising Google’s Search Terms Report helps you to understand the searches that are triggering your adverts and helps you to learn what the intentions of the users performing those searches are.

KENSHOO (PAID)

– As recommended by Lisa Sanner of Point It

Kenshoo is a huge name in Digital Marketing and in 2015, brands will reportedly generate over $350 billion in sales through their award-winning ‘Infinity Suite’.

Kenshoo also claims that each second, web users click 4,000 Kenshoo-served ads across the world. Those stats don’t lie!

WORDSTREAM’S 20 MINUTE WORK WEEK (FREE)

– as recommended by Margot da Cunha of WordStream

WordStream has created a great little checklist, accompanied by a handy video, that helps you optimise your PPC accounts.

They have produced a workflow guide outlining the tasks that will make the most impact on your bottom line.

FACEBOOK AD PLANNER (FREE)

– as recommended by Larry Kim of WordStream

Facebook Ads are notorious for their precise, laser targeting and ability to target the exact demographic that you wish to view and engage with your brand.

Facebook Adverts Manager is the social media giant’s very own tool for managing adverts and analysing their performance. There is now an Adverts Manager app, too.

OPTIMIZELY (PAID)

– as recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft

Optimizely, or Optimisely if we’re using the Queen’s English ;), is an enterprise-level A/B testing platform that helps you personalise and optimise pages across desktop, mobile web and mobile apps.

Used by such high profile companies as Sony, The New York Times and NBCUniversal, there’s no doubting it’s prowess!

BOOMERANG FOR GMAIL (FREEMIUM)

Boomerang helps you empty your inbox by adding scheduled sending and integrated email reminders to Gmail.

Tracking client correspondence is as important as optimising campaigns –Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics

 

BASECAMP (PAID)

– as recommended by Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics
Basecamp is one of the most respected project management and collaboration tools out there. If you’re working on a collaborative PPC campaign and want to share information or changes made in the account then Basecamp is perfect!

Features include: To-dos, files, messages, schedules, milestones and much more.

CHANGE HISTORY (FREE)

– as recommended by Heather Cooan of Infusionsoft

Another feature of AdWords rather than an individual tool, Change History is a hugely underused view that can be found in the ‘Tools’ menu.

The tool lets you see changes in the campaign such as when it was paused, which user added or removed keywords and budget changes.

MONITOR BACKLINKS (PAID)

– as recommended by Zac Johnson

PPC Experts can analyse where their site is ranking in Google and based on the search volume, competition and CPC decide what keywords should be optimized more for PPC. In Monitor Backlinks, you can also see where competitors are ranking organically for the same keywords. Felix Tarcomnicu of Monitor Backlinks

 

GOOGLE ANALYTICS SOLUTIONS GALLERY (FREE)

as recommended by Elizabeth Marsten of CommerceHub

The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery features dashboards, custom reports, segments and other insights to help you make the most of Google Analytics and utilise the data provided.

This tool is great for both PPC newbies and experts alike and is another tool that is greatly underrated.

US CENSUS DATA (FREE)

As recommended by Elizabeth Marsten of CommerceHub

Data is always vital when it comes to starting a PPC Campaign and the more you can gather together the better.

Whilst the United States Census Bureau’s website might not be everyone’s go to PPC ‘tool’ of choice, reliable data is a huge commodity online in 2015!

ADZOOMA (FREEMIUM)

– as recommended by Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

With Adzooma, you can manage and optimise Google, Facebook and Microsoft Ads quickly and gain an advantage over your competitors with a digital advertising platform. Whether working individually or giving the entire team access, Adzooma analyses your accounts 24/7, using machine learning to improve performance.

ADOBE MEDIA OPTIMIZER (PAID)

– as recommended by Chris Haleua of Adobe

Adobe Media Optimizer is an ad-buying solution that allows marketers to choose the best mix of ads depending on your budget.

It’s automatable and even suggests the best way to deliver the content to your audience. Take a look.

LONG TAIL PRO (PAID)

– as recommended by Zac Johnson

Long Tail Pro is the keyword research software that enables marketers to find the best long tail keyword ideas. Boasting over 70,000 users, this competitor analysis software has a multitude of features including, but not limited to, pay-per-click analysis, real-time filtering and a rank checker.

GOOGLE PLANNING TOOLS (FREE)

Google has a variety of planning tools on their ‘Think with Google’ site that is great for road mapping any campaign, especially a PPC one. For example, Google Trends uses real-time search engine data to help you understand user search patterns. The ‘Consumer Barometer’ tool displays the source of purchases and details the process from start to finish.

My favourite collection of tools is Google’s Planning Tools, especially Trends & the Consumer Barometer, as they can help you understand an audience. Adam Devlin of Google

 

KEYWORD MACHINE

– as recommended by Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

Keyword Machine is a powerful and easy to use PPC tool for search marketers that specialises in improving ad relevance, accelerating campaign builds and improving ad copywriting.

Which is your favourite PPC management tool?

The Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Startup SEO 2019

A no nonsense manual to help small business owners get started with Search Engine Optimisation.

A Guide To Google Analytics Attribution Models

If you were wondering which attribution model to use for your business, there might not be a correct answer. An attribution model is a tool in Analytics and Google Ads that can be used to assign credit to the different touch-points on a path to conversion. Understanding your customer buying behaviour is important.

Let’s quickly compare 2 products and the paths a customer might take before finally making a purchase.

 

Product: Mobile Phone Charger

A mobile phone charger is a low risk purchase and requires little research. When buying online, a customer is unlikely to do much research and make a decision relatively quickly.

Product 2: New Car

On the opposite side of the scale, a new car would be classed as a high risk purchase and requires a lot more research. If the customer doesn’t know what they want, they need to do some digging. Consider the various options that are available within their budget. Then from there, they may find a few options. Once they have a shortlist of cars, they then need to find where the value is. Which has the least mileage? Which colour do they like the best? They might then take it for a test drive. The cycle may take weeks or even months before the customer makes a purchase.

The key takeaway here is that some products are more important to a buyer than others and the journey they take to reach the end of the funnel can look very different. So from an organisational perspective, there are questions to be answered.

Where did the customer first come into contact with us?

What was the last touch point before the sale was closed?

How many times did they visit your site in between and through what channels?

It can be quite hard for all parties to come to an agreement on which attribution model is best, as everyone wants to take credit for the acquisition. So what is the best option? Let’s dive into the different models and review some scenarios where they would fit well.

 

Last Click Attribution

How it works?

A Last Click Attribution assigns all the credit for a conversion to a single touchpoint, can you guess which one? Yes… the last click! The channel that produced the end conversion takes all the glory.

Why would you pick last click attribution?

This model is good for businesses that ultimately want to determine what channel is closing the sale. This is particularly useful when the buying cycle is shorter and the conversion comes soon after the initial touchpoint. One possibility could involve a sales promotion that stimulates an immediate action (Buy 1 Get 1 Free Today!).

Last Click is the most commonly used attribution model. This is mainly down to the fact that this is the default model used by Google Analytics & Google Ads. Be aware that this doesn’t mean it’s the right attribution to use.

 

First Click Attribution

How it works?

I know what your thinking…First Click Attribution sounds quite similar to Last Click Attribution. Well it is quite similar, except it’s exactly the opposite. All the credit goes to the channel that attracted the customer in the first place.

Why would you pick first click attribution?

This model is good for measuring the success of brand awareness from assigning credit to the campaign that caused the first interaction with the business. This information is handy to have as it can help a brand understand what channels are initially attracting customers.

As an example, if a clothing startup has set up some new marketing campaigns across a number of channels for a range of trainers and a customer first sees the product on a sponsored ad on Facebook, but ends up converting from a PPC campaign, this would give all the credit to the Facebook campaign. The brand can then generate a better understanding of what channels are attracting customers in the first place and focus the spend on those channels to continue to drive awareness.

 

Position Based (U-Shaped) Attribution

How it works?

Using a position based attribution model assigns more credit to certain stages within the buying cycle. Typically, both the first and last touchpoint receive 40% of the conversion credit each and the remaining 20% is assigned to every stage in between. This allows marketers to gain a solid understanding of where the leads are initially being generated, what the customers do after that and then finally where the conversion is made.

Why would you pick position based attribution?

Multi-touch attribution models work particularly well with B2B businesses that have a deeper understanding of their buyer journey. If the funnel is more complex and has several stages, this model supports the continuous development of each stage. This model can help determine where customers are drawn in, where they touch before converting and where they convert. This information can provide insights on whether a channel should have further investment or be dropped altogether.

Position based would be an ideal attribution model to use for a retail brand as the first & last interaction are the stages that help the business see what initially attracted the customer to the product and the point that pushed them through to purchase.

 

Linear Attribution

How it works?

A linear attribution model assigns an even amount of credit to every channel involved in the buyer journey. This model is good to look at when trying to develop a deeper understanding of the stages within the cycle. Linear attribution doesn’t help to determine which channels are the most influential, and for businesses with hundreds of touch-points, this can cause confusion when choosing which channels to focus on improving.

Why would you pick linear?

This model is good for marketers that want to develop a better understanding of the customers journey to conversion when there are just a few channels and touch-points with a shorter sale cycle. A linear model would also give some good insights when benchmarking against other attribution models to see what channels would get more credit when the full picture is considered over the stages that are considered more valuable.    

 

Time Decay Attribution

How it works?

Time decay attribution gives credit to every stage of the buying cycle with more value given to the stages towards the end of the journey. This is a good option if the buying cycle is long term time-wise, to gain a better understanding of what channels are pulling leads through to the final conversion.

Why would you pick last click?

If there are a lot of leads coming through the system and the buying cycle takes a while, this attribution highlights the stage that is impacting customers to push on to the end of the funnel. Focusing more on these channels might help to boost the speed to conversion for potential prospects. Time Decay is known as a lighter last click model. The credit stills goes to the stages towards the end of the funnel.

 

Data Driven Attribution

How it works?

Data driven attribution is a custom model that is bespoke to the business involved. This model requires continuous development and work to help it improve with a stream of fresh data moving in. If you have a good understanding of the buyer journey, the more influential channels can be given more weight when assigning conversion values, which is better than just offering more weight to first and last touches. This model involves more work from the users, with more demand for custom configuration.  

Why would you pick last click?

This model is only available to certain Google Ad accounts that meet specific conversion criteria. It works by analysing data points to determine what the specific weighting should be when a conversion occurs. By comparing click paths or customers who convert and those who don’t, the model determines patterns on the clicks that lead to conversions. It then distributes credit in favour of the converting Campaigns, Ad Groups, Ads & Keywords.

 

Some tips to consider…

What’s the goal?

Look to whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. What do you already know about your buying cycle? If you want to push your marketing efforts to create more demand, look to the data at the top end of the funnel. If you want to find out where the customers are converting, look at the bottom end. Remember, you’re not limited to one type of model so use the different models to their strengths, especially before making any important decisions.

How many touch-points do your customer usually travel through?

The more interactions your customers have before conversion will have an effect on the model that you choose. As an example, you wouldn’t opt for a Last Click attribution for a complex, long-winded buying cycle because it assigns no credit to the channel that initially attracted the prospect, or the stages in between that have nurtured the customer to the final stage.  

How long does it take for a lead to convert?

The more basic models (like first and last touch) fail to paint the full picture when it comes to longer sale cycles. If leads are taking a while to convert, it generally means that the route to the end is more complicated and leads may choose revisit the site several times and compare it against your competitors. There is more opportunity to use remarketing techniques for longer journeys.

Optimise the models to suit your business.

You’re not limited to to one model. Each type of attribution will offer different insights that will influence your marketing efforts. Look at the data you have to find out about your leads and how they interact with your business before converting. Find out what channels are creating demand, which are nurturing the prospects and then what’s finally pushing them through to conversion.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Canonical Tag

Would the main version of the page please stand up?

What does Canonical mean?

The literal definition of canonical comes from religious rhetoric and originally referred to a set of sacred books that were accepted as genuine or preferred.

A good way to relate this to the modern, digital world is when a celebrity is verified on Twitter with that little blue tick next to their names.

No, this isn’t solely a way of further boosting their ego’s (although I’m sure they love it!) it’s actually to differentiate from other people / companies of the same name or users who try to impersonate them.

It’s pretty useful…

Now think of pages on your website that may serve duplicate content or highly similar content.

How does Google know which is the main one?

You need to let them know.

Google themselves say that if you don’t explicitly tell them which URL is the canonical they will decide for themselves, which can potentially be harmful for your SEO and rankings in Google.

What is a Canonical tag?

The Canonical tag is a HTML element that you add to a webpage to tell Google which page is the canonical (priority).

It typically looks something like this:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.limelightdigital.co.uk/” />

As you can see the tag itself is rel=canonical and a canonical tag is often referred to by this name or sometimes even ‘canonical link element.’

As we know, canonicalisation has been around for a long time but the rel=canonical tag itself came out in 2009 and was brought in by Google to stop legitimate duplicate content from affecting websites

Not only does this work for an individual site, but canonical tags can also work across domains.

An example of why the same content might appear legitimately across two domains is a site migration.

In this case you should paste the following line of code into the header of your old site’s page to let Google know that you know want them to prioritise newwebsite.co.uk’s content.:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.newwebsite.co.uk/” />

How are Canonical Tags implemented?

As touched on earlier, you simply need to paste the tag that describes the desired canonical page into the header of each of the pages you want this to refer to.

So for example…

…<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.limelightdigital.co.uk/seo-services/” /> would go in the header of every page that has similar content to that main page.

This could be: http://www.limelightdigital.co.uk/seo-services&sort=pricedesc which is a page that sorts the services by descending price.

Exactly the same content, but we clearly only want the main seo-services pages being crawled, indexed and receiving the SEO benefits from Google.

Canonical Tag Best Practices

There’s several ways to canonicalise multiple URLs asides from the rel=canonical tag itself.

Some are best practice and have UX / SEO benefits whereas others may cause your site more harm than good.

Each method has a reason behind it and deciding which one to go for should depend on the particular situation.

  • 301 Redirect – You’ve probably heard about 301 Redirects before and may well have implemented a few of them on your website pages. All these are is a status code that redirects users from page A to B without them ever seeing page A. This is unlike Canonical tags which don’t redirect users at all and the two seperate pages still exist. 301 redirects are useful for when you don’t want any user to see a certain page but want to maintain any SEO value it holds.
  • URL Parameters in Google Search Console – Can’t deal with the stress of implementing individual canonicals on thousands of pages? Web devs taking ages to implement your request? Then simply login to Search Console and exclude them from being crawled. Once signed in simply head over to Crawl>URL Parameters and then add the parameter you wish to exclude e.g. utm_source. This will stop any URL with utm_source from being indexed and causing any duplicate content issues.

Not recommended:

  • Block Google from crawling – You’re solving the duplicate content issue but creating a new one by potentially losing any SEO value that your now blocked page may have had!
  • Blocking indexing of non canonical versions – So you’ve listened to our advice above and decided you’d let Google crawl but not index the non canonical page. Well unfortunately this just throws up the same problem as before.
  • 30X redirects – Any 30 redirect that isn’t 301 is simply not best practice. A 301 redirect passes 90-99% of link juice to the new page whereas the other methods aren’t so useful from an SEo perspective.
  • 404 the non-canonical version – Again, with a 404 you’re losing all the ranking signals that the previous page may have gathered by deleting the page. It’s also not great for UX.

When to canonicalise URLs

  • When content is extremely similar or duplicate
  • If content is serving the same  searcher intent
  • If you’re updating content
  • Content is expiring e.g. old product

Hopefully this article has answered a few questions you may have had surrounding canonical tags and their usage. If you have any questions or if you think we’ve missed anything out please let us know in the comments below.

While you’re here, why not check out our blog for more Digital Marketing insights?

Social Media Management For Your Small Business & Startup

In our latest presentation at the Santander Small Business Talk in Leicester, we shared our top tips to help small business owners get started with using social media as a powerful tool to market their business online. Take a look at our presentation in full below:

Running a small business can be very time consuming, from the day to day tasks of admin and general running of the business, marketing can often get put on the back burner. In this presentation, we will show you how to be successful on social media and the benefits of a strong social media strategy

As an agency we work with a number of clients who are very time limited and they often see us as an extension of their workforce. Doing everything at once is impossible so we’re employed to help.

However, we want to show you some actionable tips you can take away.

Why Use Social Media?

You probably already have an idea of what social media is, are actively interested in learning more about it and perhaps even run your own companies social output. but there may be some benefits that you don’t know about….

With everyone telling you that you must get on social media, you can often forget why you’re on it.

  • Brand Awareness (nothing looks worse than a profile whose last tweet is in 2014!)
  • Engaging with your audience (replying to comments negative or positive – finding mentions – we’ll come onto that)
  • Driving website traffic
  • Sales (never promise clients this)

In an ideal world social media would directly lead to hundreds of conversions but it’s not so simple. There’s a lot of steps to consider.

Social Media & The Sales Funnel

Social Media marketing is right at the very top of the sales funnel. Although you may not directly see sales from this, it does contribute. This helps with brand awareness and making potential consumers aware of who you are and what you do.

Planning Your Social Media Strategy

Determine what you want to achieve from your social media strategy rather than trying to achieve all the aims. It’s a lot easier to focus on one KPI than trying to achieve everything at once. Different advertising methods, campaigns and platforms will work for each KPI. Three good places to start with your social media strategy are:

  • Determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Find your brand’s voice
  • Choose the right social media platform

Choosing the Right Social Platform for Your Brand

So, how to choose the right social media platform for you.. It’s not always a good use of your time to try and post on every single social platform out there. Instead, look at where your target audience is. For example, if you’re selling construction equipment, your key audience is less likely to be on Instagram which is made up of a younger audience interested in visually-pleasing imagery. To help you choose, here are some interesting stats to consider:

  • 25-34 years old is the most common age demographic of Facebook users
  • Instagram mobile ad revenue is to hit over £5M in 2018
  • 42% of Twitter users access the app every day
  • 44% of LinkedIn users earn more than £65,000 in a year

Finding a Social Media Voice

You may not think this is necessarily important for your small business. However, a user still expects your brand to act and communicate on social media in a way that can be respected and they can perhaps relate to. Two contrasting examples to look at is the social media accounts of ‘Paddy Power’ and ‘ Cosmopolitan Magazine’. They both use two different styles of voices to target two very different audiences. You can also use your social media voice to make your brand stand out and take a different angle. Think about why someone might want to follow you.

What Not To Do on Social Media

We also want to show you examples of where social media has go wrong for brands so you can avoid doing the same! It’s all about finding a happy medium. Not boring. Not too edgy. Here are some things to avoid doing on your social media accounts:

  • Taking a political stance
  • Spam (automating the same posts / replies)
  • Overly self promote
  • Ignore users
  • Feed the ‘trolls’
  • Forget to proofread
  • Buy followers

Organic vs. Paid Social Media Marketing

Organic Social Media Marketing Benefits & Techniques

When it comes to Social Media Marketing or Advertising you can split it up into organic & paid. Organic refers to anything done without paying the platform you’re advertising on e.g. posting content (aka Social Media Management).

Benefits of organic social media marketing include being able to give your brand a voice, increasing your audience and following (competitions are great for this), driving traffic to your website and supporting your SEO and other marketing efforts. What’s more this is all free to do, so why not give your brand a presence on social media?

Paid Social Media Marketing Benefits & Techniques

Paid Social Media Advertising is usually based on the Pay-per-click (PPC) model of advertising famous on platforms such as Google AdWords. When working with a Digital Agency, they will typically charge a management fee and then suggest a budget that will give your ads chance to show.

Benefits of paid social media marketing include incredibly precise targeting options (especially Facebook), you can reach a much larger audience than organic means alone and you can easily ‘boost’ everything else you’re doing with a small budget.

Standard paid campaigns are super easy to set up and get started with on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can set this up with a small daily budget to start off with and we would recommend paying per click.

Then once you’ve got started with paid social media advertising, you can get started with some more advance techniques to target to your audience. You can retarget al users who have already visited your website, target a list of customer emails and target users who have visited a specific page on your website (eg. cart abandoners).

B2B vs. B2C

Different ad types and platforms can be used to target different audiences depending on whether you’re a B2B or B2C small business. For instance, Facebook carousel ads which show the user multiple products within the ad is effective for a B2C business. Whereas, LinkedIn informative, simple ads may be more beneficial for businesses of a B2B nature.

 

Note that some platforms have different costs per click e.g. Facebook has a much lower CPC than LinkedIn.

Handy Social Media Tools

So what are the best tools to use when posting on social media for your small business? Here are some of our favourite tools we like to use ourselves:

Post Scheduling

  • Buffer (free for up to 3 social accounts)
  • Hootsuite

Analysis

  • Buffer Analytics
  • tweetdeck.twitter.com

Design

  • Canva.com

View our Slideshow here – feel free to share it too!

If you would like help or advice on how to manage your business online on social media, get in touch.

The Ultimate Guide to Growing your Startup Business With Marketing (2018 Edition)

As a Startup Business owner, plowing money into Marketing can be a nervous exercise.

With the huge number of options available to you these days, it can be difficult to know where to start.

That’s why we have created this Ultimate Guide to Marketing for Startup Businesses.

Pick and choose the right marketing avenue for you and your business.

Whether it’s website traffic, footfall or app downloads you’re after…

…or whether you’re in the tech, automative or an even more niche industry, this comprehensive list of tips and advice has something for every Startup business.

Listed below are our favourite articles about marketing for startups by some of the most successful businesses in marketing:

 

1. Marketing Strategy

marketing strategy for startups

Before jumping straight into any marketing method, first things first, you need a solid strategy.

Just as in a game of football without a strong set of tactics you’ll probably end up losing!

Make sure you identify KPI’s from the outset and then try and understand how best to achieve them with each marketing technique.

Will you choose a blend of several methods or focus all your budget on one?

Marketing Strategy for Startups Resources:

How To Develop A Successful Marketing Strategy For A Startup

The Importance of Marketing Strategy for Early-Stage Startups

Startup Marketing Blueprint

 

2. SEO

 

seo for startupsYou may have heard about the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your startup business’ website.

Well, you heard correct.

Marketers see SEO as becoming more effective, with 82% reporting effectiveness is on the rise and 42% of these stating effectiveness is increasing dramatically.

Whether a huge, multi-national company or a fledgling startup, SEO is crucial for getting your website noticed online.

SEO for Startups Resources:

Why Is SEO Marketing So Important for Startup Businesses?

How to Choose an SEO Agency for your Startup or Small Business

14 Steps To Successful SEO For Startups

 

3. PPC

 

adwords for startupsPay-per-Click advertising (PPC) does exactly what it says on the tin.

You pay every time someone clicks on your advert as opposed to paying for impressions or views.

“Controlling and capitalising on search engine traffic is essential to the growth of startups, using AdWords is close to a necessity.” – Brett Middleton, brett-middleton.com

This advertising model is most popular with platforms such as Google AdWords & Bing Ads but is also used by Facebook, Twitter & other Social Media’s

The beauty of PPC is that you can pay as little, or as much, as you want allowing for very controlled tests.

Google Adwords is an appealing proposition to a lot of startups. It’s one of the simplest forms of advertising to understand and it works for B2B and B2C companies. – Mark Spera, Cofounder @ GrowthMarketingPro.com

PPC for Startups Resources:

Does Adwords Work & Will it Work for My Startup?

How your startup should be using Google AdWords

What Type of Google AdWords Campaign Is Best for You?

 

4. Social Media

 

social media for startups

As we just touched upon, Social Media can be either ‘Organic’ or ‘Paid’

Organic Social Media usually refers to Social Media Management and involves content creation, strategy and acting as another branch of a business’ customer service department.

Whereas Paid Social Media refers to a PPC advertising model where you can promote Tweets, Facebook & Instagram posts and much more.

Which you opt for depends on your desired outcomes. Do you want to push competitions and sales or are you trying to communicate with your potential customers?

Social Media for Startups Resources:

Creating a Social Media Strategy for your Startup

Which social media platform is right for my startup?

7 Essential Social Media Tips for Startups

 

5. Content Marketing

content marketing for startups

 

Content Marketing is one of the fastest growing marketing methods and what’s better is that anyone can execute this technique, with the right knowledge and skills.

Content Marketing is the act of creating share-worthy, link-worthy, interesting, educational, humorous or useful content that your audience will enjoy.

Whether it’s to drive traffic, improve SEO or to boost your Facebook following, there’s a number of benefits to this method.

There must be a catch right? Well first you need to understand what your audience want…

Content Marketing for Startups Resources:

What Is Content Marketing?

Why Every Startup Needs a Content Marketing Plan and Strategy

4 Startups With Amazing Content Marketing Strategy

 

6. Email Marketing

 

email marketing for startups

If you want to hit a huge number of your audience in one go then Email Marketing can be a powerful tool.

Compiling a list of emails of potential customers can be tricky but once you’ve done it then compelling Email Marketing campaigns work a treat.

It allows you to land offers, news, competitions, event details and more in a lead’s inbox and this can be much more powerful than other broader marketing

However, as with all marketing, there are best practices and etiquette that needs to be followed or you could end up doing more harm than good to your brand!

Email Marketing for Startups Resources:

Email marketing tips for your startup

The Lean Startup Guide to Email Marketing

The 7 Golden Rules of Email Marketing for Startups

 

7. Networking & Events

Networking for startups

 

Attending Networking Events can be a great way to market your startup whilst simultaneously learning more about your industry.

There are a number of free and paid meet-up events across the country for startups focused on different industries and topics.

These tend to attract local businesses so can be a great way for you to make some important connections.

Make sure you don’t forget your business card!

Networking & Events for Startups Resources:

Five Networking Tips for Startups

The best marketing and business conferences in the UK 2018 (Reviews and Ratings)

Here’s What You Should Do to Make Networking Events Worthwhile

 

8. PR & Press Releases

press releases for startups

 

Public Relations (PR) can be an incredibly powerful way to get your startup noticed, and it doesn’t have to be costly.

Getting featured in newspapers and online publications may seem like a tough ask, but think outside the box about what makes your business unique and a journalist may just fancy writing a story about you.

PR & Press Releases for Startups Resources:

Eye-catching PR for your small business needn’t be costly

Why Most Startups Don’t ‘Get’ Press

A Beginner’s Guide To Public Relations For Tech Startups

 

9. Branding

 

branding your startup

Choosing your companies branding is often one of the first jobs a startup owner will do.

It’s also what customers will first see when they visit your website, store or read promotional material about you so it needs to makes a lasting impression.

Like with a lot of things today, it can be done on the cheap but are you prepared to risk your brands image to save a few pounds?

Good branding encapsulates your business and it’s values whilst simultaneously making you look professional and increasing trust in your customers

Branding for Startups Resources:

The Secrets To Branding Your Small Business or Startup: What You Can Learn From The World’s Best Brands

Why Most Startups Get Branding Wrong (and How to Fix It)

8 components of branding your startup

 

10. Web Design & UX

 

web design for startups

If a website visitor has a bad experience on your website then, more times than not, they will leave and visit a competitor’s site.

Whether it’s a poorly laid out categories section, an inability to filter products or (the worst crime of them all!) a slow site, then customers will be put off.

We live in an impatient age where users demand only the best, quickest websites.

Make sure you invest in a beautiful, easily navigable site or those PPC ads your spending money on to drive traffic to your site will be a waste!

Web Design & UX for Startups Resources:

How to Increase Sales Through your Website

Does a startup need UI/UX design before it reaches product/market fit?

20 Hard-Hitting Startup Websites That Get Visitors To Take Action

 

11. Offline Marketing

 

offline marketing for startups

Now, we know we’re boiling down a lot of different marketing methods into one section here and offline marketing could probably have it’s own guide!

But modern startup companies realise that there best way of competing today is online rather than TV, Print, Radio or other media where you’re competing against big brands.

“Offline Marketing is still important to startup companies in 2018, for sure. Building an online site is easy, but building a business takes a lot more than that, and you have to be wherever your customers are when they are ready to learn about your product.” – Hesson, Arcadier.com

However, there is still a number of ways you can market offline without a budget.

The resources below explore some creative ideas as well as some mandatory marketing methods that work for every business:

Offline Marketing for Startups Resources:

Effective Offline Marketing Ideas for Startups
5 Ways That Offline Marketing Is Still Critical For Startups

Why Startups That Don’t Do Offline Marketing Fail

 

12. Telemarketing

telemarketing for startups

 

Telemarketing (or Cold Calling) has a bit of a bad reputation.

Mention it and people instantly think of pushy sales people from a foreign call centre spamming you with calls all day and night.

We’d never recommend doing that, but as with all marketing, it’s about finding a happy medium.

Some of the biggest companies in the world started out with cold calling and below they explain how, when done well, it’s extremely effective…

Telemarketing for Startups Resources:

Social selling or cold calling? Why tech startups should do both

From cold call to $17 billion startup: How Uber got started with sales calls!

Cold Calling Tips & Techniques for Startups

 

13. Guerrilla Marketing

 

guerilla marketing for startups

No, this has nothing to do with getting gorillas to do marketing for you, we’re sorry!

Guerilla Marketing actually refers to an advertisement strategy done in an unconventional way with little to no budget.

It involves creative, often disruptive, techniques that grab the imagination of the public in a more personal and memorable level.

But before you go out spray painting your company logo around your village, take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts below:

Guerilla Marketing for Startups Resources:

Guerrilla Marketing for Startups

18 Of The Most Memorable Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns

Guerrilla Marketing Tactics to Help Put Your Startup on the Map

 

14. Contests

competitions for startups

 

Need to grow that Social Media following quickly?

Want to grow your email list for future marketing?

Competitions, Giveaways and Viral Contests are the answer.

There’s a number of terms and conditions you need to adhere to make the competitions legitimate and these offer from site to site, so make sure you read up…

Contests for Startups Resources:

Why Facebook Contests Can Help You Grow Your Startup

3 Social Media Contests for App Startups

How to Grow Your Business With Giveaways and Viral Contests

 

15. Referrals

referrals for startups

 

With the variety of marketing strategies available out there, it might come as a bit of a surprise that one of the most relied upon is still the good old fashioned referral.

A referral is when a previous or current customer or some connection that you have recommends your service to someone else.

“Referrals are crucial for a startup business. Getting more referrals not only keeps you in business during the early stages of your startup, they help you build a better product that suits the needs of the market. Making sales solves a lot of problems.” – Ralph Jean-Paul, Managing Editor @ startupmindset.com

They have a much higher chance of becoming a paid customer if they’ve been told how great your service or products are by a trusted pal rather than your own adverts.

So how can you get more referrals?

Referrals for Startups Resources:

6 Ways to Get More Referrals for Your Startup Business

7 ways to generate referrals

How to Create a Great Referral Program for Your Startup

 

16. Upselling

 

upselling for startups

Ever worked in a restaurant or café growing up?

The one message that your boss would of drilled into you is that when someone orders their food, always offer them something extra to go with it.

This is known as upselling and it’s very powerful as there no one more likely to purchase from you than someone who already has.

Whether you’re upselling nuts or olives as a starter in your job as a waiter or a pair of shades to go with that new summer t-shirt a customer has just ordered on your startup fashion site, the principle remains the same.

Upselling for Startups Resources:

What is Upselling?

Startup sales: Upselling 101

How to be an upselling master and impact your revenue

 

17. Niche Influencers

 

influencer marketing startups

Identifying and utilising niche influencers in your industry can help spread the message of your brand to a targeted audience and boost your visibility.

Whilst many influencers require payment or something in exchange for access to their audience, this can often be worth it if they’re your ideal customers.

It’s essentially the same idea as big brands such as Nike hiring elite sports stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo to talk about how amazing their latest football boots are.

However, we’re simply focusing in on a much more niche influencer who requires a free pair of jeans rather than millions of pounds.

Niche Influencers for Startups Resources:

Is Influencer Marketing Right for your Startup?

Why Influencer Marketing is the Next Big Digital Growth Strategy

5 Influencer Marketing Strategies For Startups With No Budget

 

18. User Generated Content

 

ugc for startups

Why create your own content when you can get your audience to do it?

One of the big time saps for startup owners trying to market themselves is creating engaging content for their customers.

User Generated Content (UGC) is the term used to describe any form of content such as videos, blog posts, images, audio and other forms of media that was created by consumers themselves.

Why not get your audience to create the best advert possible for your new product and use the winner’s as the official ad with the them receiving a prize in return?

User Generated Content for Startups Resources:

4 Startups that Know the Power of User-Generated Content

How User Generated Content Can Grow Your Brand

User-generated content for startups

 

19. Online Communities

 

forums for startups

Where better to converse with customers than on forums and online communities?

Discover what they like or dislike about your product and get honest feedback about your services.

Forums are also great places to post links to your websites and answer any questions people may have about your industry, positioning yourself as a thought leader.

However, online communities are notoriously wary of anyone who seems overly self promotional so make sure you follow the etiquette and refrain from spamming message boards with adverts.

Online Communities for Startups Resources:

8 Do’s and Don’ts for Marketing on Online Forums and Message Boards
6 Ways Online Communities Boost Business

How to Use Online Forums

Did we miss out a crucial Marketing method?

Is there an Advertising strategy not featured that you’d swear by?

If so, please let us know and we will include it in the post!

How to Choose an SEO Agency for your Startup or Small Business

Startup’s and small business owners have a lot on their plate when they’re just starting out.

There’s a whole host of expenses to shell out for before they even begin to consider their own marketing.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be an incredibly powerful tool for Startups when executed correctly.

However, there are a number of pitfalls to watch out for and ways that you could end up paying for a bunch of services that end up having no effect on your business or sales at all.

Whether intentional or not, some agencies will not deliver the results that their client is looking for.

This could be down to incapabilities on their side but a lot of the time it can due to the agency themselves not understanding exactly what they have signed up for.

For that reason, in this article we have highlighted 11 things to consider when hiring an SEO or Digital Marketing agency for your startup.

Tick all of the boxes below and you will have yourself a top quality agency that works in tandem with your business and helps you achieve your business goals.

How to hire an SEO

*But before all that, check out this video from Google themselves!*

1. Educate yourself on SEO

Before you start quizzing an agency on their credentials and asking them for examples of awesome results they have achieved, you will need to know what they are talking about.

You can quickly brush up on the SEO basics by reading handy online SEO 101 articles.

Scout the web for video tutorials, forum questions and Twitter chatter and before you know it you’ll have a relatively decent understanding.

Whilst a lot of SEO complexities that an agency talks about may still go over your head, this at least gives you a head start when setting out KPI’s later on.

2. Google your Potential SEO Agency

What better way to see how good an SEO agency is at doing the services that they offer than checking out how well they rank in Google?

Try a few keyword phrases and variations to see where they rank.

E.g. If you’re looking for a local SEO Agency in Loughborough, simply search for ‘SEO Agency Loughborough’ and see where they are.

However, don’t hold it against them if they don’t rank for said terms as they may be a new agency and ranking for SEO is probably the most competitive term there is!

3. Check out your Potential SEO Agency’s Website & Social Media Channels

An SEO Agency’s website is their shopfront.

Is the website up to date, well designed, easy to navigate with regular blog posts added?

Although this doesn’t necessarily correlate with how they will work with yourself, it’s not a great impression if the agency you are hiring to provide you with creative content has a barren blog.

It’s the same with their social accounts, can you trust them to run a Facebook campaign if they haven’t posted themselves since 2015?


4. Check if they have a Google Partner Status?

To qualify to be a Google Partner agency you need to have a certain number of employees that have passed their Google online exams.

A Google Partner status means that the agency you’re dealing with has a strong level of knowledge in SEO, PPC & Digital Marketing in general.

An Agency will tend to display this at the bottom of their website as a badge of honour so keep an eye out for these.

There are also similar badges for Bing Ads, RAR Awards and more.

5. Find out if they specialise in your niche and fit your industry?

Whether it’s by location, size, industry or services, SEO agencies often specialise in certain areas.

Make sure that the agency you go with has experience and expertise in dealing with yours and the knowledge of what you do as this instantly puts them months ahead of others.

If you’re a startup, for example, then there is some great SEO Agencies’ for Startups that will be much better qualified to deal with your small business than a bigger agency who only deal with companies that have huge marketing budgets.

Choose what’s right for you.

6. Understand Budgets & Pricing

Like with most online services, there is no fixed fee that you should expect from an SEO Agency but there has been research done into the subject to give you a rough estimate.

In the UK, the average monthly cost is around £300 upwards and anything below is considered “cheap”.

It also depends hugely on what you want from your SEO and what business goals you have.

Top level, content-lead SEO contracts can be much more expensive but tend to deliver better results whereas cheaper and quicker packages won’t deliver the same, naturally.

7. Examine your Goals and KPIs

If you take one thing away from this article then let it be this.

Understanding your own business goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) is crucial to selecting the right SEO agency.

SEO can help improve: keyword rankings, website traffic, online sales, form submissions, brand visibility & more.

Which ones are important to you and your business?

Judge your agencies’ performance by these factors and make it clear to them that you’ll be doing so.

8. Checkout their Case Studies & Client Reviews

The majority of SEO agencies will have a Case Study section of their website where they display their successes and exactly how they did it.

If they don’t, what are they hiding?

Make sure they are helping clients improve what you would like to improve with your business.

If they’ve helped someone boost organic traffic by 50% year-on-year but there’s no mention of sales and that’s your most important KPI, then should you be working with them?

how to choose seo agency for startup

9. Ask for a free Proposal & Audit

This is a great test, not only of their knowledge and expertise, but also their commitment to you.

If the proposal is thin and they refuse to give you even the smallest SEO audit for free, are they really interested in you and your work?

On the other hand, if the proposal looks tailored to your business you can tell straight away that they have done their research.

Check the audit to make sure they have highlighted enough issues and what work they have stated they will carry out.

10. Reports and Communication

Ensure that your potential SEO agency commits to regular reports and ongoing communication.

A good communication schedule looks something like the following:

First 1-3 months (Whilst initial work is carried out and agency learns about your business)

  • Daily emails
  • Weekly phone calls
  • Monthly meetings
  • Monthly reports

After 3+ months (once a rhythm has been set and initial issues corrected)

  • Weekly emails
  • Bi-weekly phone calls
  • Monthly reports
  • Quarterly meetings
  • Of course this is all adjustable and based on personal preference but remember, many agencies will bill you for this time.11. Utilise Established Relationships & Referrals

    A recent study has found that, whilst 43 percent of businesses who hire an SEO agency stated that company attributes factored into their decision, 45 percent of choices were based on established relationships.

    So whilst, thought leadership, knowledge, staff experience, reporting, transparency, customer service and everything else mentioned above was important, most businesses still go with referrals.

    What’s more important to you?

    After you’ve done your due diligence you’ll have a much clearer picture of which agency is for you or at least what type of agency you want to work with.

    For more Digital Marketing help for Startups check out our blog

How to Improve your Quality Score in 5 Simple Steps (2018 Edition)

No longer does the size of your budget completely dictate how often you will show for your desired keywords or phrases. Google has made this change in their policy to improve results for their users.

How We Grew Your Smile Direct Internationally, Increased Leads By 4218% & Improved CPA By 94%.

In this case study, we’ll be sharing with you how we helped Your Smile Direct increase the presence of their start-up business internationally, grow their leads and achieve a huge increase in their ROI.

How We Grew Priority Plumbing’s Revenue 350% in 9 Months

The construction trade industry in the last 5 – 10 years has grown immensely online with leading retailers such as: Screwfix, B&Q, Travis Perkins, Tool Station and many more investing heavily into e-commerce websites and digital marketing.