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The world of online marketing is a crowded one, and everyday businesses are being bombarded with messages from different companies vying for their attention. For your business to be seen by the right people at just the right time, you need an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy that will help promote it in all areas where people might find value, commonly being search engines like Google.

You may have heard of SEO as a general digital marketing solution, but there are different avenues to explore including organic SEO and local SEO. This is why, within this article, we want to answer the question 'What is the difference between organic and local SEO?'

What is organic SEO?

Organic SEO is the low-cost investment that creates excellent content and does not require any advertising. It involves optimizing web pages by writing high quality, highly relevant material to make it rank higher in search engine results page (SERP).

The strategy includes incorporating meta tags that represent keywords of your business or blog posts so that they can be found easily on Google when someone searches a keyword related to what you offer.

Organic SEO also incorporates backlinking through guest blogging or commenting on blogs within the industry because these links show how popular this site has been among online communities thus helping them appear more legitimate with their competitors who may have spent thousands of dollars for paid ads but ranked lower than an organic website ranking well based solely off social media shares.

Here's some examples of Organic SEO methods:

Provide high-quality content:

In today's digital age, content is king. Without quality content that provides a great user experience, you won't rank as high on search engines like Google and Bing because they want to provide their users with the best possible experiences. To accomplish this, search engine algorithms need to determine the most relevant content in relation to the term the individual is searching for. To ensure that the content is quality, it should be very informative with a word count that at least matches or exceeds competitors. The content should also be completely unique and offer things that can't be found elsewhere.

Use multiple forms of media:

To add to creating rich content for users, utilising different forms of media on your web pages enhances the usefulness of your content. People digest information differently and being able to provide several different ways of understanding that information infers that your content is much more user-friendly as it incorporates the attitudes of many different people. Providing images, videos and graphs are great examples of how you can improve a page significantly.

Example of images in SEO content 1

The image above just shows how images can complement content as well as other things like videos and tables.

Enrich pages with keywords:

One of the most well-known ways of generating organic traffic through SEO is by incorporating keywords into your content. Beginning with some keyword research, you can understand the terms that prospective customers use to find goods and services that you may provide. By mentioning these keywords on your page, you can expect your content to be more relevant to people searching those keywords.

Of course, you have to be careful not to overdo including one specific keyword too much on the page as that can have a negative effect. However, using semantic keywords related to your main keyword can help get around this and once again improve the performance of the page.

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This image shows a small snippet of the use of the keyword 'SEO vs Google Ads' in different areas of the page.

Build links internally and externally:

Backlinks refer to the links between different web pages that are highlighted commonly through coloured text. By creating quality content, you can expect other websites to refer to your work with their own content.

Because your content is a reference point, people will usually create a backlink so it allows users to go straight to the source material, which again enhances the user experience.

Internal links work in a similar way but they are used across your own website, linking certain pages to others. One of the best examples to find this is through Wikipedia.

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This small snippet above is from Wikipedia when you enter 'search engine optimisation'. As you can see, the blue text highlights links that take you to another page on the website.

Enhance your user experience:

Everything you provide on your pages should be geared towards making the content as useful as possible to the people that are searching for it. Yes, many of the previously mentioned methods contribute to that, but there are other more obvious ways that you can accomplish this.

One thing that has become a lot more important in recent years is the readability of content. To make your content as easy as possible to see and understand is to make your user experience superior. It could be as simple as changing your font or spacing out text content better so the user doesn't feel overwhelmed.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of making sure your business gets found on search engines like Google and Bing, by people searching for it in their locality. The main thing that sets Local SEO apart from regular old-fashioned organic SEO is its focus on location-based searches to improve local rankings.

Google searches for these location-based terms are different than regular search queries. For instance, Google can tell the geographic location of a person by tracking their IP address so they provide results that suit your area and include local businesses you might not have been able to find otherwise.

Google uses geo-location information from people's smartphones or computer browsers in order to determine what type of data its users want when searching online. This way, it provides certain types of content like restaurants near me which make it easier on them instead of having an entire internet full of all possible places where food could be found.

Here are some examples of Local SEO methods:

Submit your company to local directories:

One of the best methods for local SEO involves submitting your company to local directories, popular examples include Yell and Yelp. The great thing about this is that it is usually fairly easy to set up as well as being incredibly cost-efficient.

Because there are so many directories that allow you to list your business for free, you are able to be represented across many different areas without putting a dent in your marketing budget.

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Above is an example of one of our listings on the free directory website Spoke.

Utilise Google my business:

Another free service that Google provides is Google my business. This is incredibly useful as it supports businesses without their own website as well. By registering on Google my business and filling it out with as much information about your business as possible, you are able to appear in search results on Google when someone searches with a location-specific term.

SEO in Essex

Here is the listings from Google My Business when you enter the keyword 'seo essex'.

Create location-specific pages:

If you do have a website, you can create sub-pages branching off of your main services to cater towards a certain service area. Let's say you provide a service that operates across several counties in England, you may want to create a page for each location with unique content that allows you to rank for searches related to that location.

Keep your NAP profile consistent:

A NAP (Name/Address/Phone number) profile refers to the representation of your name, address and phone number across several different digital locations. The idea behind this being a useful technique is that it bolsters your other local SEO efforts.

The important thing to strive towards is to make sure your NAP profile remains consistent, meaning that whether it be on your actual website, on a directory or on a Google my business profile, your name, address and phone number do not differ.

What should be my focus - Local or organic SEO?

To decide whether you need to utilise local SEO, organic SEO or both, you need to think about the search intent of your prospective customers. This means to decide whether they are more likely to do a local search or an organic search.

Organic search is based on relevance, links, and other factors. Organic search is the best way to reach a large audience, as evidenced by featured snippets and e-commerce stores.

ppc search result

After just entering 'ppc' as the keyword, you can see that with organic search, the results are solely driven by Google Ads results as well as organic results which you can see at the bottom of the image.

Local searches are a little different—they take into account the user’s intent when they enter their query in addition to information relevant for that area. While local searches still serve informational needs for consumers, they also contain heightened purchasing intent when it comes to products in your immediate area.

local seo search result

Above is an example of a local search, because a specific location has been included in the search. As a result of this, the Google map shows up with Google My Business profiles as well as ads at the top, followed by organic results below.

With this in mind, you should be able to determine what your target market is after. For example, if you are providing basic services within a specific area, it clearly wouldn't be wise to try and rank across the country as it will be misleading to potential customers.

However, if you were in the business of selling products worldwide, you would more likely want to target general terms as opposed to localised ones so you're not limiting your audience. Again, this is all dependent on each individual business as circumstances can always be different.

Using both Local and Organic SEO in harmony is of course the most ideal situation providing you have a large enough marketing budget.

SEO vs Google Ads

 SEO vs Google Ads: It is the big, debate everywhere, and everyone seems to fuel it with their own hard, opinions and brash tips and tricks.

Before we jump in, Google Ads and SEO - short for search engine optimisation - are two separate ways to boost your online presence and get your website, content, or business out there to thousands of potential leads, customers, and people. 

They're different in the fact that SEO is all organic, meaning that you have paid for none of your clicks, leads, or customers directly, and that you have used the very best parts of your brain to formulate a great website with great descriptions and titles to impress google enough for it to go: "hey! i like this website and many of the pages inside it - let me show it to more people!"

Google Ads on the other hand is PPC (pay-per-click), with you setting a budget where google places your created ad into an auction-like arena where your ad and others metaphorically battle it out to rank top. The winners are always those who set the right budget, but above all, have the most high-quality and relevant ad out of the bunch. The ads that win are placed at the very top of every keyword they won the battle in, always placed above your organic results where the SEO comes to place.

Now that thats clear, maybe you can begin to ponder the most common of questions: "which one is better?"

Don't get worked up in that question - its a whole battle in itself: you don't need to go there.

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What Google Ads looks like within the search results page.

A SEO & Google Ads Scenario

So okay, let's put the size of the business aside for a minute and imagine two businesses are competing in the same sowing industry: one company is called SowingCo, and the other is called KnitForU. Now, SowingCo detests the idea of spending money on ads, so they use SEO alone, while KnitForU decides to listen to those pesky blogs about how SEO is dead and decides to choose Google Ads exclusively. 

Okay scenario set, right?

SowingCo finds that they have to put in a lot of effort to really push for good SEO, and the task ahead is daunting, especially when those Ads hang right above the organic rankings. However, after a few months, their website begins to rank higher and higher and they begin producing leads. Now, they sell sowing products, which don't sell for too much, so SowingCo doesn't even have to worry about the cost of these leads because they're all organic (for now). They pump in some SEO work, and boom they're beginning to make money. So far - they're very happy with SEO!

Now, there is KnitForU rustling through the endless steps to set up their Google Ads and then suddenly: boom - they do it. they've set up their account, made a campaign with various ad groups, with plenty of great ads, and the Ads begin popping up instantly. They see how they get quick results, and they notice SowingCo just beneath their ads. They are very happy with Google Ads bringing in their targeted leads, being above SowingCo.

Sounds all great?

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Well, Here's The Problem...

KnitForU notices how expensive their Ads are in comparison to the price of their products and begin to worry about their ROI (return on investment). They're making a profit, but they've heard SowingCo doesn't have to spend much money at all on their leads. They also begin to notice that their brand name is completely overshadowed by KnitForU in the organic ranking. They brush it aside because their Ads still run at the top of the screen.

SowingCO now taking over the organic rankings, are over the moon. Business is well and they have put SEO on this grand pedestal they keep recommending to all their business friends at their annual Christmas party, much to everyone's distaste. They notice, however, it is very hard to maintain. It's getting more and more time consuming and content creation is getting harder as the bowl of ideas runs dry. Soon, SowingCo begins to drop in ranking simply because they are struggling to manage it all and they realise truly how inexperienced they are. So, they hire somebody for their SEO. Happy days, right? Well - no. the reason they didn't want to use Google Ads is because of the cost and now look at them: paying an entire wage they can barely afford just to maintain their organic ranking. They also found that it took too long to start wielding results, but they brush that aside because it's been a few months now and it's fine - they like to say.

Yeah...

Both companies realise that there are pros and cons of both, and in the end, they settle for a good blend of both. They find that their leads fluctuate from time to in both categories, but SowingCo can now relax their SEO, gaining a boost from Google Ads, and KnitForU recaptures their top rank for their brand name and the mixture of organic and Google Ad sales help soften the ROI, giving them a long-term hold on their online future.

You see, even that example isn't a solid one, because it requires a small/large business to find what works best for their industry, size, and capacity. but whatever you do, don't put one aside for the other. This isn't a debate, but more of a misunderstanding between two sides. SEO isn't dead, and Google Ads isn't unnecessary. They have their pro's and cons, just like anything else

Alright - we'll drop the scenario for some proper facts and points you may seriously consider when finding your sweet blend between Google Ads and SEO. For example, did you know that 72% of marketers on the Internet state that SEO is the most effective tactic for content marketing?

In fact, let's list some pro's and con's down below, just so we can grasp the facts which people may point out and either praise - or hate about both Google Ads and SEO.  

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Here's Some Pro's & Cons:

Google Ads Pros & Cons

The Pros:

  • Instant results for your business
  • Can appear on various formats, like display, video, search, and app , unlike organic results.
  • Easier to micro-manage and control.
  • Businesses make a good average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads
  • Using various Ad formats drives an 80% higher rate of physical store visits for local businesses

The Cons:

  • 80% of users actually ignore advertisements on Google.
  • Is not a long-term solution.
  • Can become expensive quickly.
  • Stricter policies on what is accepted on your site and ad.
  • Takes time to master and gain experience with.

SEO Pros & Cons

The Pros:

  • 61% of mobile users are more likely to contact a local business if its site is SEO optimised.
  • SEO is a long-term solution.
  • 51% of searchers are at more chance to buy items from mobile if the website is SEO optimised.
  • SEO creates 20 times more traffic potential than PPC does on all devices.
  • Organic traffic accounts for over 40% of all revenue.

The Cons:

  • Results from SEO will take time to come through.
  • SEO is unpredictable. The algorithm changes constantly.
  • Less access to reports on audience, conversions etc.
  • SEO isn't guaranteed to reach a 1st page ranking.
  • Show below ads at all times.

In Conclusion:

Try both. 

Maybe eventually you'll form your own harsh, brash opinions on which one you believe is best and argue endlessly till you collapse; but one thing is for sure: don't brush one or the other off, even if one aggravates you to the core. You'll quickly realise that using the two in cooperation yields great results. You may see that one does better than the other, but that is no reason to throw the lesser away.

I go back to my first point: it's subjective, and there will always be a different answer for different businesses, 

Here's a blog about Google Ads which may help with your choice: Click here!

Payment Gateway For Your Online Shop

As a business owner with an e-commerce website, you know how important it is that the whole transaction is smooth, quick and easily accessible. We go through a payment gateway comparison for your online shop.

Browsing and buying your product/service is key to the customer experience, but what about paying for it? How do you ensure you create a good quality end-to-end customer experience, which is also good for you? Which payment gateways will work best for your business and be economically viable at the same time?

Read on for our comparison of some of the best known and most used payment gateways:

stripe logo

Stripe

Stripe is the new kid on the block having only been established in 2010. It doesn't have an offline option but has a lot of flexibility online including being able to create regular subscriptions and offer mobile payments which put it ahead of some of its competitors.

Pricing with Stripe is good, in the fact that there is no monthly fee, the fees are fairly transparent and quite low in cost. You will find though that fees are the same for credit and debit cards, and that it's fairly complex to integrate; so, it is probably not the best option for small businesses.

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PayPal

PayPal is one of the big players and seems to have been around forever. A well-trusted brand, PayPal has fairly simple payment mechanisms, and is easy to use, and so is better for the small business owner rather than Stripe.

One of the key differences between PayPal and Stripe is that PayPal fees tend to be slightly higher.

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Sage Pay

One of the key benefits of Sage Pay above the other payment gateways is that you can also use Sage Pay at the point of sale and on the telephone so it's great for diverse use.

Sage Pay comes with the brand of the Sage accounting software, so it's well trusted. Sage Pay has a flat fee per transaction, rather than a percentage of the transaction cost. This means if you're making bigger sales this is likely to work out better for you.

The downside is that opening an account isn't always speedy. It can take up to five weeks to activate and authorise accounts, so one of the other payment gateways would be a better option for taking transactions quickly. It also has a monthly fee, so again better for organisations with a larger turnover.

worldpay logo

Worldpay

Worldpay offers a global payment system and if you're a larger business making international sales, this is a very secure option. It's well-known, trusted and offers fraud screening.

There is a monthly fee, although with larger numbers of transactions charges can decrease, therefore this benefits a business with bulk sales. It isn't really ideal for small businesses, and it can take some time to set your account up, but it's a good option for large, global e-commerce organisations.

Having compared the four, you'll see that if you're a small business with limited technical knowledge PayPal is likely to be the best option for you. If you operate outside of the e-commerce world and need telephone or point of sale payments, then Sage Pay is the one that offers this seamlessly.

Stripe is great for flexibility and taking multiple types of digital payments and Worldpay is first class when it comes to large, international companies.

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