Superfast West Yorkshire held an Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Masterclass for fourteen delegates of the Women and Broadband Programme which was skilfully presented by Pascal Fintoni. Esther was one of the delegates who attended the SEO Workshop hosted at The Media Centre in Huddersfield and this is her overview of the presentation.
Pascal Fintoni split the SEO Masterclass into two halves: 1) how to have the best search presence and then 2) what you need to create a successful search campaign. This workshop was absolutely jam-packed with informative and inspirational information, advice and actions to implement within your own business. It was brought home to us that in order to have a successful search campaign (to be found on and favoured by search engines like Google Search, Google Maps, Google Images etc) it is imperative that your search presence (digital/online presence) is up to scratch and ready before starting a campaign.
These are a few pointers which Pascal talked about in part 1, about building trust and authentication online:
“It takes time to build trust, especially online. Many business people expect instant results but in reality it doesn’t work like that. SEO is not a sprint, but a long march”.
It was a point which was repeated throughout the workshop that “because people don’t trust the info online as easily as they used to, you have to put the time and effort in to prove you’re authenticity and ensure you’re in the space your customers are in as well as the space they expect you to be.” Pascal continued to reiterate that SEO isn’t just about keywords but ensuring you are covering and been found for the correct “search results”.
Whether using Google, Bing, Yahoo! or Ask Jeeves, it’s important to research what your target audience is actually searching for! What may be obvious to you might not be obvious to a general searcher who’s looking for your services. Pascal continuously introduced the Ladies That Launch delegates to new tools, apps and websites which help research and improve search engine optimisation and lets you see what’s being “Googled” or relevant search terms to you and your services…
Something that really stuck out to me was how important it is to get the foundations correct regardless of it taking 3 months or more. If the foundations aren’t correct then moving on is a waste of time.
“The goal is to build trust. People will check you out on the internet (eg. Google), people will search for you AND your business and they will find out about you from others. Is your online presence ready for people to see?” – Pascal Fintoni, Superfast West Yorkshire
A few questions to consider:
- Does your online presence (website, social media platforms, blog, articles, reports, reviews etc) represent you properly?
- Is your website etc ready for people to come to and find out about you, what you do and how to get hold of you?
- Are you just telling people how good you are or do you have third party recommendations?
- Are you been found through the search terms you expect?
- What comes up when you put yourself and your business into a search engine (eg. Google Search)
As the SEO Masterclass continued I did a quick search on my mobile Google App for a couple of variations of Social Progress. These are what I found:
- Social Progress: Google Search | Google Images | Google News | Google Maps
- Google looks at “Social Progress” as a phrase rather than a specific business name
- There is also another business with a similar name which has it’s image mixed in with ours too – this doesn’t get the best/most accurate result
- Social Progress Ltd: Google Search | Google Images | Google News | Google Maps
- This is a more specific Google Search and picks up lots of relevant and correct links for Social Progress as a business
- Images are directly from the website and relevant social media platforms like Pinterest and also Eventbrite – these are due to the names of the actual images being picked up by Google
- News is still general
- Social Progress Huddersfield: Google Search | Google Images | Google News | Google Maps
- 2 relative news articles linked to this “search term” which are quite old
This is just scratching the surface of the workshop on Monday and a small percentage of what is involved in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The main thing to me, as I’ve said already, was the emphasis of making sure your overall online presence is absolutely spot on and ready for anyone looking for more info about you. It takes time to build trust and content that demonstrates your authenticity online. If the foundations aren’t set correctly or rushed, there’s no point wasting time on promotion and advertising because once people get to your website they’ll take one look and click straight off. SEO and social media aren’t about overnight success! They work together to build the online community that will eventually become your advocates.
So how does SEO relate to social media? Well, the principals are very much the same and actually, they both work together not separately! Pascal wasn’t talking about paid advertising or “pay per click” or “AdWords”. He was specifically talking about how you can optimise your “searchability” to ensure you’re being found for the right reasons and found easily by the clients you are targeting. You don’t pay to do this, it just takes time.
If your website and social media look unprofessional/inactive/confusing/untidy and reviews are negative etc OR the content you post is all promotional and sales-y, this is not going to encourage potential clients to trust you, your product or business – especially if they’re digital. However, if your website and social media look professional/branded and is clear to read, welcoming, positive AND includes third party recommendations (testimonials, reviews and general engagement from other people) this builds your credibility as an authentic company – even better if you can see the people behind the company too!
“Approach this from a behaviour point of view: think like your customer and identify what platforms, websites and online spaces they are in. Don’t waste time on something or somewhere your clients aren’t!” – Pascal Fintoni, Superfast West Yorkshire
There’s a lot of homework for us all to do from the Superfast West Yorkshire SEO Masterclass – Women and Broadband which will probably take weeks (if not months) to chip away at. Pascal continued to explain that it takes small steps to build your SEO and will be a continuous part of your digital presence which you refine over time. Most ladies in the room were from small businesses who had families to look after and businesses to run too so this will most likely be a long journey for all of us – fitting in the homework as and when we can in order to make the vital changes and updates needed to ensure we are refining our online presence and maximising our searchability from the perspective of our clients – not ourselves!
“Be visible and credible at the time people need it – now!” – Pascal Fintoni, Superfast West Yorkshire
Janet Bebb will be presenting the Superfast West Yorkshire “Blogging for Business” workshop on Monday 7th March for delegates who are registered on the Women and Broadband Programme. Click here to find out more about the blogging workshop on the Women and Broadband website and to book.
The Superfast West Yorkshire Woman and Broadband Programme is funded by the Government Equalities Office.
You can watch the video below from the Ladies That Launch event which kicked off the Women and Broadband Programme back in October 2015. It was great to see so many businesswomen there ready to take their business to the next level through mentor support and training workshops on the Programme. There were even a few of our friends there too… Were you there? You might be on this video!