Here at Liberty Marketing, our expert PPC team deal with quality scores every day, but many people overlook this handy indicator. So why is this a quality element of good old Google AdWords? And why should everyone start to show a little more interest in it? We’ll tell you why.

What exactly is a Google AdWords quality score?


Quality scores are the key to any successful pay per click campaign. And every AdWords account has them, it’s just about learning how to utilise them. 

Every account has quality score measures which looks at key performers. These help to determine bid prices and positions. Google describes quality scores as, ‘an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad.’

So the job of a ppc professional is to ensure relevance, to keep that great quality score and conquer the world.

But can a poor score do any damage?


A poor quality score can affect you in many ways. The major thing is that it determines eligibility, so a poor score could mean your ad won’t get displayed. Then of course there is the risk of high cost-per-clicks (CPC) and terrible volumes. 

A good quality score is the key to affordable and well placed ads, as CPC, broadly speaking, reduces as a quality score increases. 


There’s more than one quality score though…


Indeed there is a number of different quality scores and there are a number of ways you can directly influence these. That’s why you need to get to know them in depth. The keyword quality score is the one you want to keep your eye on though!

(image: Star Infranet)

Keyword quality score – Google AdWords keyword quality score measures effectiveness of a given keyword and presents a result of between 1 and 10. This is calculated using historical data from Google, or if you’ve been running a campaign for some time, from significant historical data gathered in the account. 

Account quality score – This looks at the current and past performance of the account, looking at the click through rate (CTR) in particular. If you’ve performed well in the past then it is assumed you will in the future – it’s like a recommendation. 

And the better you continue to do, the greater your score will grow, and better the benefits will be. This can take months to do, but trust us, it’s worth the wait. 

Ad quality score – This performance indicator is what it says on the tin – it looks at the quality of your ad. 
Top tip: Check the CTR for each advertisement and pause those that aren’t performing. If active they can drag your score down. 

Mobile quality score – Last but not least is mobile. With an increasing number of people using their smartphones, rather than a computer, to trawl the web, it is important to analyse an ads performance on these devices. 

What else could be affecting my quality score? 


You can’t start building your quality score without first learning what factors determine it. We’ve mentioned click through rate and relevance, but have you thought about your landing pages?

A sites landing pages should be optimised to encourage interaction, and should direct users through the site and the buying journey. You can direct a horse to water, but if the water’s dirty, you can’t make it drink. Even the best ads will have poor results if a site cannot convert the interest. 

Keyword relevance and loading time of these landing pages will also affect your score, so make sure to have your site copy well written, optimised and without site errors. 

So, how can I improve my score?


Now you know why a poor quality score is a bad thing, we’re assuming you’ll want to know how to improve it. Well, there are a number of ways of doing this, but here are a few top tips to get you started: 

Know your score – Find out what your score is by logging into your Google AdWords account and clicking on the keywords tab. On the right hand toolbar, click ‘customise columns’ and ensure that ‘qual’ is ticked. This will assure that your score appears when you view your account. 

Track your score – Check your score on a regular basis – has it gone up or down? What could have influenced this? This is a great way of finding out what works for each campaign. 

Keep it small – If you are going to play around and run tests to see what influences your quality score, do so on a small scale. Or even make a duplicate to use.

Improve your CTR – Do keyword research, use quality content and think about your target audience. 

Change match type – Think about match type. Google AdWords has a broad choice for you to use, but ‘broad match’ is generally the most widely used as the default option. 

Relevant Ad Groups – Depending on the number of ads and keywords you have, you should have several Ad Groups set up. These allow you to micromanage your campaigns and make small changes, while tracking results. 

Negative keywords – CTR is all about success rates, so eliminate the chance of your ads appearing when you don’t want them to, with negative keywords. This can cut out irrelevance, and superfluous views, improve your bounce rate, and consequently enhance your CTR and quality score.  

Track your keywords – Keyword popularity can change and often appear in patterns, so make sure to keep an eye on them. Regular keyword research is essential. 

Liberty Marketing’s Guide to Your Google AdWords Quality Score


Hopefully after reading this guide you have a better understanding of what a quality score is and how it can help your business. Google doesn’t like to share its secrets, so the exact formula for quality score success is a mystery. But after years of experience, we think we’re pretty clued up.

If you have any further questions about Google AdWords quality scores or would like to enquire about our PPC services, get in contact


(image: LinkedIn)

Do you ever get the feeling you’re being followed? Well, many people are indeed being cyber stalked. No we don’t mean by a jealous ex-partner on social media, but being followed by pesky image ads. Learn how to implement a PPC campaign the right way with these easy to follow remarketing tips.  

Frequency Capping 

A lack of control of ads may not tempt customers but instead scare them away. No one likes the feeling of being haunted, whether online or not. 

Google does not cap the frequency of ads by default but this is such an easy thing to do. Control how many times an ad appears within a certain time frame with a frequency cap. To do this, navigate to your campaigns section, advanced settings, and then frequency cap. We’d recommending restricting your ad to appearing around 3 or 4 times.   

If you are not using Google, frequency capping is especially important, as you could buy 1,000 impression and only end up reaching one person. 

Custom Segments

Let us set the scene: You are sat at home one weekend and you are extremely bored. You want something to do so you look up your local cinema. You don’t fancy any of the films on offer but one is set in an exotic location, which gets you thinking about how lovely a holiday would be. So you spend the rest of your time researching and maybe even booking a short trip.

While you find that fantasy location, you are likely to be followed by adverts for the latest cinema deals and film releases. But that ship has sailed; you are no longer concerned about what you are doing today – you’re going away on holiday soon! The ads are wasted on you.  

Most internet users will go through multiple ‘search sessions’ in a period of time. Therefore when remarketing it is important to filter using custom segments and to target specific topics – in this case, travel. By remarketing this way, your ads will only appear during relevant searches and will only target potential customers when they are most likely to be interested.  

Ad Variation

If an ad doesn’t grab the attention of a potential customer the first time they see it, what can you do to interest them on future viewings? Well, one nifty technique is to use image ad variations. 

Most companies are now catching onto the idea that multiple sized ads means they can fit onto more sites. But different themes, layouts and colours in the same ad group can also be greatly effective. Everyone will have their own visual preferences and some styles may be simply more appealing to some than others. By creating multiple versions and rotating the ads you have a better chance of a conversion. 

Negative Audience Lists 

If someone has just bought something from your website it is very unlikely that they are going to return and buy more straight away. They won’t have even received the goods yet. Advertisements for your products or services are, as a result, likely to become redundant. 

Use negative audience lists and you can block your ads from showing to these customers for a set period of time. This should be at least a week. It’s okay to target them in the future but don’t pester them in the meantime. 

 

Stick to these 4 remarketing tips and you won’t only advertise to your potential customers but you’ll convert them too. There’ll be no more scaring them off and over to your competitors. Take control of your advertising!

 

(images: Developers and Internet Marketing Synergies)

 

Here at Liberty Marketing we frequently blog about Google Adwords, quality scores and all other good PPC related things. And it is for that reason we were shocked to realise we haven’t talked about Ad Builder before. 

So here is our ultimate guide to Google AdWords’ Display Ad Builder – you’ll be using it like a pro in no time. 

So what is this Ad Builder?

The Display Ad Builder is a handy tool within Google AdWords, which allows users to create professional-looking image ads in minutes for completely free!

You can choose from a number of templates and customise the colours, fonts and layouts, as well as using stock files or uploading images straight from your computer or website. The possibilities are endless. And these ads can easily be updated or replaced at a click of a button. 

Why use Google AdWords’ Display Ad Builder?

Provides the ability to create customised ads in a number of styles, sizes and formats.

These ads can be placed on websites that are relevant to your business and hopefully attract people who are interested in your services.

The Google Display Network will place ads on news sites, blogs and other webpages across the internet in order to target potential customers. 

You can track your campaigns and their results as they run, allowing you to also keep an eye on your budget. 

Higher potential earnings.

How do you use Ad Builder?

1. The first step is to log into your Google AdWords account. 

2. Navigate to your campaigns and click on the display campaign you wish to work on. This cannot be a ‘search only’ campaign though. 

3. Click on the ‘+ AD’ menu and then ‘Image ad’. Here you will be prompted to choose how to create your image ad, where you should enter the URL to the homepage you wish to promote. Click ‘Create an ad’ and Google Display Ad Builder will crawl your website and create a display ad that matches your websites branding colours, fonts and images. This may take a few minutes. 

4. The next page that appears will be populated with ad templates containing the sites content. Hover over the designs or ‘show more’ until you find your favourite design and select it. 

5. From here click the ‘6 sizes’ link. This will allow you to preview your ad in different sizes and select the ones you will be using. 

6. You can now edit the design so it looks just right. You may not need to do this if you are happy with the pulled results, but we usually change ours a little. Don’t forget to save your changes and that they appear in all ad sizes. 

7. Before you put your ad out there for all to see, make sure to review the content and formatting. It may appear slightly different as a shape can change the look. Then if you are happy with the results you are all done. You now have some striking image ads. 

The different types of display ads

Although image ads are usually the main focus, you can also create ads in a variety of other formats. 

Text ads – This is the combination of a headline and two lines of text, similar to that used on the search network.

Rich media ads – These are interactive adverts which often use animations. A common RMA is a moving carousel of products sold by the featured company.

Video ads – This type of ad works well if you want to advertise on YouTube.

 

So now you know how to use it, have a go for yourself. Or give us a call and we can help you out with your PPC instead!

 

(Image: AdWords

All great businesses have great PPC marketing strategies. But what can these companies do to stand out amongst the rest? Well, let’s take a look at a few examples of when brands got PPC right. Here are the 5 Best PPC Adverts of All Time – according to us: 

1. The guy who used his skills to get a job 

  

 

Getting your first step into the marketing industry can be tricky – you want to prove you are creative but at the same you don’t want to be too ‘out there’. Well, why not take tips from this guy?

Alec Brownstein, 28, from New York bagged himself his dream job using $6 worth of advertising. Brownstein was a copywriter searching for a ‘creative’ agency to call home. He created PPC ads which would appear when anyone Googled creative directors of leading agencies. He then hoped they would Google themselves and see the ad. 

The ad was seen by all bar one of those targeted and he received two job offers by the end of the year. As an added bonus, Brownstein won awards from The One Show and The Clios for his self-promotion.

2. The brand that advertised to improve its PR

 

 

Some people may see it as taking advantage of a bad situation. But for the purpose of this blog, it acts as a good example. 

Back in 2010 after its oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico, BP invested heavily in its PPC budget to combat the swell of ill feeling surrounding the oil giant. Ads targeted keywords such as ‘oil spill’, so that when the latest news stories were searched BP would appear at the top of the results page and provide its own ‘spin’ on what it was doing to help the disaster. 

Although profiting from disasters is a question of ethics, targeting current affairs to set PR search volumes is rather clever. Start thinking about the big events coming up and you may be able to create relevant associated ads.   

3. The brand that harnessed YouTube and the power of celebrity

YouTube is the world’s largest video-sharing website and utilising the ads on this platform was a clever tactic by The Perfume Shop. 

The retailer overlaid celebrity videos on YouTube with adverts for their celebrity endorsed perfumes, such as Sarah Jessica Parker and the perfume ‘Lovely’. This use of a YouTube targeting Tool was the first of its kind and changed the fate of PPC on YouTube for the better.

The campaign was very relevant, and so very successful. Brand awareness went through the roof, with great direct responses, a +236% ROI and 9 million views. Not bad!

4. The singleton who took online dating to the extreme

Matt Simpson was down on his luck when it came to the ladies, so he decided to do something about it. The digital marketer created a number of Google ads which targeted a demographic that he thought would be his type of girls. 

The ads were aimed at single women, 28 to 34 years old, who lived within 25 miles from his home in Tempe, Arizona. He also looked at interest groupings with maximum reaches of hundreds of women, such as:

Yoga, Bikram Yoga, etc. 

Buddhism, meditation, metaphysic, etc. 

Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, etc. 

The details of those who clicked on the ads would then go through to a Facebook fan page. This $20 punt led to 60 clicks and 5 leads. Did this master plan pair our entrepenurial lothario with his happily ever after? Unfortunately, we don’t know – he refused to say if he fell in love. 

5. The company that hopped on the bandwagon

In 2010, Argentinian footballer Carlos Tevez announced that he wanted to leave Manchester City and return to his home country. The luckless millionaire was homesick and couldn’t settle in the “small and wet” city.  

Teletext Holidays jumped on the back of this and created a PPC ad targeted at those who had the same feelings as Tevez. Those who searched for news on this subject were conveniently given a link to the opportunity of a trip away. 

How to perfect your PPC

If you handle your own PPC campaign then you may be able to learn something from the above examples. And to help you get on the next ‘Best PPC Adverts’ list take a look at the following tips:

Enable sitelinks – they are quick, easy and won’t cost you any more money

Log your performance and track results multiple times a week

Set aims and objectives for performance

If you are an ecommerce business make sure to track revenue too

Make the most of remarketing through Google Analytics

Integrate AdWords with CRM 

Use a renowned Digital Marketing agency – like us!

 

(Images: img flip, YouTube, Hubspot, Econsultancy)  

In 2014 we’ve already seen the success of the Winter Olympics in Sochi and we still have many sporting events to come including the World Cup in Brazil and the Commonwealth Games in sunny Scotland.

These sporting events are also big social events. We plan to book tickets using instant messengers and we brag about our good seats to friends – or we moan about that missed opportunity through posts or tweets before keeping up with the news on other events that we can’t attend.

Sporting events mean big business for social media, so let’s take a look at their influence in a bit more detail.

Sport and Sponsorship

Sports teams have long been commercially sponsored by major companies. For instance, we have the Barclay’s Premier League, the Heineken Cup and of course the Npower Test Series.

And with increased digital influence on our lives this sponsorship is becoming more profitable than ever for both the sponsor and the performer who can launch specialised campaigns alongside the big events. But what does that mean for social media users?

Well, it shouldn’t affect our newsfeeds too much. There will still be the heavy flow of conversation on the current hot sporting topic except now the posts or tweets will be branded with the sponsors’ name or logo.

Increased Followers

As well as marketing the sponsors, popular sporting events will often encourage supporters to follow their favourite teams on social media. These teams will have dedicated social media teams who will live tweet from events and keep you up to date with any breaking news.

At the beginning of a season the number of these likes or followers of a page will grow enormously.Football and the members of the Barclay’s Premier League see the biggest growth.

We’re coming to the end of the season now and the social media presence of these teams has grown hugely over the last few weeks. Currently the big 5 teams on social media are:

Twitter:

  1. Arsenal: 3.73million followers
  2. Chelsea: 3.68million followers
  3. Liverpool: 2.61million followers
  4. Manchester United: 2.31million followers
  5. Manchester City: 1.66million followers

Facebook:

  1. Manchester United: 46.3million likes
  2. Chelsea: 28million likes
  3. Arsenal: 23.4million likes
  4. Liverpool: 18.4million likes
  5. Manchester City: 11.6million likes 

David Moyes’ sacking from Manchester United has seen social interaction rise to huge levels recently. In fact, Manchester United’s Instagram post announcing Ryan Giggs’ appointment as manager achieved the club’s highest ever amount of likes: 

We bet you tweeted about it, didn’t you?


 

Increased Interaction

If the number of people following or liking pages increases then surely interaction should grow too?

A great way of testing this on Twitter is looking at the number of tweets per minute (tpm). During London 2012 the tpm hit a record-breaking 74,000 when Usain Bolt won the 100m final. And across the pond in the US the 2013 Super Bowl saw the record tpm reach 185,000 during play.

In a year the number of tweets jumped hugely, so what figure do you think the World Cup will produce this summer?

The World Cup 2014 and Social Media

At the last World Cup in South Africa, the tpm reached a relatively 3,051 tpm when Andres Iniesta scored the winner for Spain, but we expect those stats to be smashed out of the park in Brazil this summer.

80% of internet-savvy Brazilians usesocial media accounts, and when you combine these feverish South Americans with FIFA’s anticipated global audience of 1 billion people, it’s fair to say that this World Cup will be big on social media. 

(image:Trendsmap and Facebook)



I’m sure that you’ve all heard talk of the Heartbleed Bug on the news by now, but what is it? And how will it impact your e-commerce store? Let’s take a look:

What is Heartbleed?

The Heartbleed Bug, being labelled as one of the biggest security threats the Internet has faced, isn’t actually a virus or a hack, it is a vulnerability or flaw with websites running OpenSSL encryption; and it’s thought that the issue has been around for the past two years. This error, which is written into OpenSSL, can potentially expose sensitive information such as passwords, email address, and card numbers.

Will it affect my site?

If your site is run using Shopify then you have nothing to worry about. Blogging about the attack, Craig Miller from Shopify said: “We want to stress that merchants and their customers using Shopify are safe from Heartbleed.”
Miller continues: “Because of the rapid response of our operations team … we haven’t detected any sensitive data being compromised.”

So, that’s great news for Shopify users, but what about everyone else?

Well, a vast amount of e-commerce sites have been affected; any website that has ‘https’ at the start of the URL, and has the security padlock, has potentially been affected by this flaw. Take a look at this list from Mashable to see which sites have been flagged so far.

To check whether yours has been affected, you can take the Heartbleed Test.

What can I do if I have been affected?

If your site has been affected by the Heartbleed vulnerability, it is important to take action. Follow these steps to help protect your site and your customers’ details:

• Contact your network admin or hosting provider to upgrade the OpenSSL implementation.
• Have them revoke and re-issue security certificates, and cycle your site’s SSL keys.

It is recommended to also protect yourself as a user by changing your passwords. However, if the site in question hasn’t yet updated their servers then your details could still be under threat. Watch out for the notification from the site – once the updates have been made, you can change your password.
It’s important to also keep a close eye on your online accounts (paying particular attention to banking services and email accounts) to identify any suspicious activity.

Has your e-commerce store been affected by the Heartbleed Bug? How much of an impact has this had on your business?

Did you know that over 90 percent of your online visitors will not convert to sales or enquiries on their first visit? That is a shocking figure when you think about it. Luckily for you, there is a way of pulling these people back into your website and try to make them convert. What kind of magic is this? The magic of remarketing!

©

What is Remarketing?


Very simply, remarketing advertising is where somebody visits your website and a cookie is placed on their browser which allows you to target them with tailored adverts through the Google Display Network (GDN). This allows you to effectively have a second chance (and a third, fourth, fifth etc.) at winning their custom, which is perfect if they left to try and find better deals or do more research on your product. Targeting these customers is great for you, as you know that they are quality traffic who are already looking for the products or services you provide.

How Does Remarketing Work?


Starting this process is as easy as adding a small section of code across your site – this can be done in the header or the footer as these tend to be identical across all pages. This code will drop a cookie (digital not chocolate chip) onto a specific visitor’s browser based on their activities on your site. You can specifically target individuals based on a wide variety of things such as:

  • How long they spent on your site
  • If they left with products in their basket
  • They recently purchased an item
  • Their gender, age or location
  • What device they were using to search
  • You can even pick things to exclude based on their movements on your site


Similarly to PPC, you can pinpoint your audience down to the very last detail. This can help you to target your ads as specifically as possible to ensure that you receive the highest ROI on your advertising budget.

How to Use These Ads?


Using these ads to their full potential can be the tricky bit. There are several different ways you can do this and that will depend strongly on the type of business you are, the products you sell and most importantly the type of people you are targeting. If you take a very simplistic view, the types of adverts you can run are:

© Keith Ramsey

  • Offers – if people visited your site but thought the price was too much or they wanted free shipping then displaying offers like this could encourage them back to buy.
  • Reminders – this is great if your company delivers a service that is required every couple of months, as reminder adverts will drive them back to you to buy the product.
  • Pushing seasonal products – cookies last for 540 days, which makes remarketing excellent for pushing seasonal products like insurance renewals or holidays.
  • Boosting ecommerce – when someone buys from you they are likely to do so again, showing your new products, sales items or new prices could be all it takes to increase your sales.
  • Increase customer service – you can use these ads to provide FAQs, ask them to review your site, promote your other services or invite them back for special VIP offers.


When it comes to buying things online it takes people several hours and a whole load of websites to make up their mind on what they want. By having these ads follow them around the internet, they are much more likely to think of you when it comes to finally buying, and a quick click is all it takes!

Again you are faced with a heap of options as to how long or frequently you want these adverts displayed for. There are many different approaches here, from the bombardment technique, where you throw lots of ads their way for a few days, to the long haul, when you plan for your adverts to crop up 11 months later when they are planning on buying again. Understanding what is best for you will boil down into knowing your company, audience and the products you sell.

If you’re looking for an Award-Winning remarketing agency who can help you get the best possible results then Liberty Marketing can help. We have years of experience successfully dealing with PPC campaigns for clients in hundreds of different industries. Become one of our success stories today, give us a call on 02920 766 467.

When it comes to creating a website or blog, millions of people opt for WordPress. There are various reasons behind why this platform is a firm favourite, as most people choosing it for pure simplicity, ease of use and lots of customisation options.

However, many people don’t use WordPress to its full potential – here’s how you can make sure you’re not one of them:

Find a Great Theme

You’d be surprised at how many people set up their new WordPress site and then leave the TwentyTwelve or TwentyThirteen themes on their blog. There are so many different themes out there to choose from, some are free and others you have to pay for. Have a play around and find a theme that really makes your website stand out from the crowd.

Due to the huge increase in mobile traffic, you want to ensure that your theme is responsive and travels well across different browsers and platforms. If you get a big error message whenever you try to access the site using mobile Safari then something needs to change.

Use Quality Plugins

WordPress itself is a fantastic base to build upon, and one of the best ways of enhancing it is by using plugins. There are thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins to help you with everything from faster loading pages to being able to integrate your social media networks better.

You can find and even build plugins to help with almost anything you can think of, making it a great platform for experimenting. With careful development your WordPress site can become anything you want – whether that’s a community based forum or a high quality ecommerce site.

Brilliant for Blogging

WordPress is a fantastic platform for blogging, in fact that’s what it was designed for. There are significant SEO benefits to having an onsite blog for your business’s website and WordPress makes this as easy as possible.

Instead of having to dig through various coding and FTP issues you can simply create a new page in WordPress and select ‘blog template.’ That’s all there is to it, making it as straightforward as possible for even the least tech-savvy individual.

SEO Ready

One of the biggest perks to WordPress is how easy it is to carry out SEO on it. You can utilise plugins (see above) such as Yoast to be able to add in Meta descriptions and titles to help your website rank for important search terms. It’s also easy to include Google+ authorship which is becoming increasingly important as Google continues to change their algorithms.

Even without plugins, WordPress allows you to customise the URLs, include header tags in your content and include Alt tags on all your images. This makes it incredibly simple to harness the potential of WordPress to bring more traffic to your website and then convert this traffic into sales.

If you’re looking for more ways to bring more traffic to your website then get in touch with Liberty today and find out exactly what we can do for you!

With Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms affecting around 15% of all searches, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re doing things the right way when it comes to online marketing. So-called ‘black hat’ techniques like cloaking, building spammy links and keyword stuffing pages may have worked in the past, but nowadays they’re a quick-fix approach to sliding down the search engine rankings and alienating your audience.   


So how can you smell a black hat rat? What are the tell-tale signs of an agency damaging your brand with nefarious techniques?

1 – They’re giving you unrealistic guarantees

For us, the great thing about working in marketing is there’s no hard and fast answer. You can put the hours in analysing the market, employ some of the industry’s most brilliant brains and create a campaign that you think will really take a brand to the next level. But you have no definitive answer on how well it will perform – you just have to wait and see.

Sometimes it works. Occasionally it surpasses your expectations. Every now and then it doesn’t. So if you have an agency that’s promising the earth to you – whether that’s an incredible surge in customer traffic or ranking first for a very competitive keyword – in a short space of time, you should be suspicious.

Organic SEO is a process that works gradually over the long term. There’s only way to get big results, quick, and that’s through disreputable black hat techniques.

2 – They’re not doing the business for other clients

We know that every agency lives and thrives by word of mouth. Therefore, it’s important to get an idea of the work that your agency is doing for other businesses. Talk to those business contacts who recommended your agency: What are they doing online? Are they getting results over the long term? Have they ever noticed a sharp fall in site visits?

3 – You’ve got dodgy backlinks

Getting the right links to a site is an essential part of online marketing. So why not take a look at the links that your agency is building to your site? Majestic SEO runs a free, easy to use service that allows you to examine your site’s backlinks. Or ask your agency for a monthly list of the links they’re building to your site. Here are some things to look out for:
•    Have you recently witnesses a huge rise in links to your site?
•    Are there a variety of terms being used as anchor text?  
•    Is your brand a common anchor text term? 
•    Are you being linked to by adult websites and foreign pages?
If your link profile looks unnatural to you, then sooner or later Google will decide the same thing and you’ll start to slide further down the rankings.

4 – They’re telling you the wrong things

Nowadays a cohesive, all-encompassing content strategy is pretty much the only way to get great organic results over long periods of time. Therefore, if your agency isn’t talking about content and working with you to bring customers to your site through informative, entertaining blogs, videos and infographics then they’re probably working on some shadier techniques.

5 – Your traffic has dropped

Hopefully, if your agency happens to use dodgy link building techniques you’ll notice before it’s too late. But unfortunately the majority of black hat practices are only discovered when search engine rankings take a huge tumble. As a result, visitors dry up and revenue decreases sharply.

What can I do if my agency has been using black hat on my brand?


The good news is that you can start to build your way back up the rankings, but it will take time to convince Google you’re acting properly. And the sooner you act, the better.

You’ll need to start doing things the right way:
•    Using Google’s Disavow Tool to disassociate yourself from any spammy links
•    Writing online content that informs and benefits your customers
•    Making your website easy to use
•    Diversifying your anchor text, with an emphasis on brand searches
•    Sharing your knowledge with relevant websites through guest blogging
•    Growing your brand on social media

Need help recovering from a Google penalty?

Talk to us, we can help. With fully accountable programs and a commitment to keeping you informed every step of the way, we’re committed to building, and protecting, your brand online. Call Cardiff 029 2076 6467 or London 020 7549 2818 today or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

In recent years, Cardiff has seen a drastic influx of businesses, with major companies like British Airways Engineering, Admiral Group and Peacocks Clothing basing their headquarters within the city limits. There are many reasons Cardiff has flourished as a business hub, here are the most obvious ones:

Lower costs than London

London is notoriously one of the most expensive cities in the world to run a business from – the cost of space is sky high, employees require higher salaries, getting around is extremely costly and everything comes at London prices. Since the economic crash of 2007, more and more companies have been looking at ways that they can save money.

One of the most obvious ways to cut back on costs is to relocate, hence the flood of business to Cardiff. This young capital city offers very reasonable rates, with a much cheaper price of land and lower cost of living – making it very attractive to large companies.

Brilliant infrastructure

It pays to be well connected when you’re in business – this means being located in a city with excellent transport links. Cardiff has just that, with a direct train line to London Paddington that will take a little over 2 hours to complete, easy access to the M4 and an efficient nationwide bus service. All these contribute to making Cardiff a desirable place to establish your headquarters – combining lower overall costs with efficient transport links to help you stay connected.

Top businesses in Cardiff

Anytime things change some industries are always faster than others to adapt; the move to Wales is no exception. There are a handful of industries that have made the move and put their print on Cardiff; in order of prominence, they are:

1.    Insurance
2.    Software Development
3.    Solicitors
4.    Marketing Companies
5.    Retail
6.    Engineering
7.    Energy Companies
8.    Media Companies

There are a number of large companies including Confused.com, the AA insurance, BBC Wales, British Gas and Panasonic Manufacturing who have large regional bases in Cardiff. Many of these have been in the Welsh capital for several years, while others have recently moved in order to reduce the overall cost.

Great local marketing

Another benefit to being situated in Cardiff is that local marketing is much easier and cheaper than in London. This is due in part to having less competitors who don’t have the budget to be competing with larger companies – giving you a better chance of being seen by the public.

There is a strong presence of online marketing services in South Wales, so you won’t have to be going back and forth to London to ensure that your website is ranking well. This is hugely beneficial for companies who put a lot of stock into their online services, as they know that if their website starts slipping then a local SEO agency is only down the road.

All these benefits come together to make Cardiff one of the most popular places for new businesses and existing companies to set up headquarters. Reducing costs while keeping the business running as efficiently as possible is the best way to grow and expand.

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