(Prefer to read? Here is the transcription. Please excuse any typos.)
Denise: You got plugged in the other day didn’t you?
Sharon: Oh I did. I fell for it hook, line and sinker and the thing was though that while I was falling for this title on this article, I have to say I had a right smile because I really respected the skill behind that headline and that’s a topic for another podcast. But the topic on the article was SEO and it got me thinking that so often when we’re talking to recruitment business owners they do mention that there is an awful lot of jargon used in our industry and its true isn’t it? So I thought well, the thing about having all that jargon is that they don’t understand how all the different elements of online marketing fit together. So I thought here, that could be a topic for podcast and I think I know just the right person that could help out.
Denise: And would she be sitting next to you?
Sharon: She would and she hasn’t got any ginger nuts today. She hasn’t!
Denise: Anyway, forget the ginger nuts and let’s just get into it.
So let’s get into this and start demystifying some of those terms that might have been thrown at you over the last few months and probably few years when it comes to marketing your company online. But first of all, let’s just remind you that you can get all this information and download this podcast as well if you go over to the superfastrecruitment.co.uk website. With all our podcasts, there is also a transcription. And if there is one podcast that you probably need a transcription for, it’s going be this one. All this terminology will be written down so can actually refer to it whenever you want to.
SEM: Search Engine Marketing
So let’s just go over each particular element in turn and let’s look first of all at search engine marketing, the thing called SEM. As the name implies, it’s about marketing yourself on the search engines and it includes many different aspects. So let’s just look at these top line and then we are going to drill down to each one of these.
First of all is SEO which is search engine optimisation which is basically a way to enable your web pages to be found online. So it’s basically, how Google finds them and how they rank on the first page of Google.
The second thing is social media. Now social media is split up into a number of elements. A lot of people don’t really appreciate that because social media isn’t just using LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Those are social networks because there’s a networking element to it but the original definition of social media, all those years ago, was basically anywhere where someone was able to comment on an interaction that occurred. So in theory, blogging is social media, so is YouTube, so is Twitter, so is Facebook. All those elements are important. Then I’m going to come on to talk a little more about each one of those in turn.
What we also have obviously is paid advertising which is really important and can work for your business. Paid advertising – classically PPC, you’ll have heard that ‘pay-per-click advertising’ through Google Adwords. You can also advertise on Bing which is the Microsoft platform and of course you can advertise on Yahoo. You can also advertise on other people’s websites as well and you can advertise within LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. So there’s all those different elements that you can use. It can be very lucrative I would say. However, it’s one area that I would definitely say you need to probably get a professional in to help you because you can lose a lot of money quickly.
What other areas are there? Well, there’s the classic one the most recruiters know and use still and those are job boards and job boards still work. Again it can depend on the sector that you are in. There are so many other things that are available now that you can use but again, it’s still worthwhile to make sure that you’ve got your name in Qype and Hot Frog and various other things like that. So those are business strategies not as important as some of the other things were going to talk about today.
And then, here I am on a podcast. It can be really useful if you want to demonstrate your knowledge in a particular sector and become as they call it a ‘thought leader’ in that sector. Podcasts are very good to do that. That’s one of our reasons why we have a podcast because for us, it’s a way of getting information out to people quickly in a medium that’s easy to consume.
SEO: Search Engine Optimisation
So, let’s just go back to the start and start talking about and explaining what SEO actually means and how important it is for you and your organization. So SEO stands for search engine optimisation which in plain speaking English basically means optimising your web pages for the search engines.
Now I think the majority of people will have an awareness of how the search engines work. If not, here’s a quick tutorial around it – And that is fundamentally people sitting in front of their computer and they have a word or phrase in their head and they’re searching for something. So for us it might be let’s just say “cheap flights to Turkey” or “flights on a Wednesday to Malagar” or whatever that might be. If you’re working in recruitment obviously it could be “engineering recruitment companies in the north of England” it could be it “engineering vacancies in Leyland” or whatever that might be. People will sit in front of a computer and they will type that into the search engines.
How does Google then work? Well, what Google does is it sends out its spiders in the way that it works and they ‘crawl’ the search engines and ‘crawl’ all the web pages within the search engines. What it’s looking for is actually matching a key phrase like say “engineer recruitment company” with some content on a website. That’s simplistically how it works.
To do that, I always like to think of it as the analogy of a filing cabinet. We all have filing cabinets. I don’t think we’ve quite yet got to a paperless society and in our filing cabinets we’ll hopefully have a filing system so we’ll have our drawers and in the drawers we’ll have files and then our files will be subdivided and that’s basically how Google works and how it looks.
Now it’s really fascinating for us that we notice that in a lot of the recruitment companies that we come across, less than 25% of them have actually got their web pages properly optimised. And all that means basically is having the right keywords and phrases in the areas on their web pages were Google looks. So like a filing cabinet, Google for the title.
It might be interesting for you to go and have a look at your web page and find out what your home page is actually titled. Because quite often, web developers and web designers still leave a home page as ‘home’. Well that’s going to be pretty challenging to find instead of having your company or brand name and what you’re known for, whatever that might be.
So if it’s Acme Recruiting and you are a sales and marketing recruitment company then that really needs to be in your title because that will really help Google to be able to identify you. When there’s somebody sitting in front of their PC searching for a sales and marketing recruitment company called Acme then they can find you. Sounds very simplistic but it’s something that a lot of companies still don’t have on their website. So each page needs to be optimised and this is known as – lovely jargon term here for you – on page optimisation so that’s really important. So that’s the first step that you need to get handled.
You also heard various statements about “content is king” and of course, people go online looking and searching for information so your website and your web pages need to be that repository of information. That’s why we always always encourage people to have blogs on their site which are dynamic content can be added on a consistent regular basis. Somebody looking for something of relevance to them at that particular time can actually find it on your website and it just makes it so much easier for them. It also then starts to help brand you as an authority.
So okay, you’ve got content on your site. The other thing that Google looks for is it looks for links. Now the thing about links is links are also a sign of authority so I link to you, you link to me… For instance on our website Super Fast Recruitment, we link to other websites where there is great content that we want our readers (and listeners actually with our podcast) to go and have a look at. It adds value to them. So that’s one of the great benefits of links.
And of course, when Google sees that there are a number of links on your website then they see you are becoming an authority. So that’s really important that you do have some form of link building as part of your web marketing.
I would say it’s still important but it’s not as important as it used to be because there are a lot of other elements that come into the mix. I always like to think of links as like the old-fashioned referral system that probably still goes on. You know – I know you, you do a good job so I recommend you to my friends. So that’s how the link system actually works.
So that’s search engine marketing. Sometimes you have heard it called the organic listings. So if you sat in front of your computer screen now and you just type in a search term, you will notice that on the homepage of Google quite often you’ll find on the left-hand side, there’ll be a number of links and those links are various web pages also known as the organic listings then on the right-hand side, those are all your pay-per-click ads which we’re gonna come on and talk about in a little while.
And then, actually at the top you will also find some pay-per-click ads and you’ll find something else known as a Google Places Listing which I am going to explain in a little while. So those are known, as people call them, the SEO listings. And people love to call them the free listings. They’re not because they take a lot of work to get your web pages ranking. However, they can be incredibly effective in generating new business for you.
What’s the percentage of people that click on the SEO listings to the left hand side versus the paid listing? Well again, it can vary. It used to be as high as 70% of people clicked on the organic listings. Again, it can depend on the market but generally there’s a high percentage of people that click on the organic listings than on the paid listings. So we’ll explain a little bit more about that in a while.
Google Places Listing / Google Business Listing
So, what next? Let’s just briefly talk about a Google Places Listing. Now a Google Places Listing is often known as Google Maps and depending on where you are, you can claim your Google Business Listing. They are free just go on to Google and google “Google Business Listing” and you can set it up for free. And what it does is basically you add in all your business details and your address. You’ll be able to position this little mark so it shows where exactly your company is. You can add some key phrases that you want to be found for and other sort of information… maybe some images of your organisation, say your place of work and people within your company and then you just have to have it verified by Google.
A couple of years ago they would send you a text message with a little code number and then you can put it and you were then good to go straight away. Now, actually you have to wait a couple of weeks. They’ll send you a postcard with this sort of little number in, all very simple, add it in and then literally within a couple of days you’re listing will appear. Now what’s really good about that is it helps to dominate the search engines as well.
Going back to our example of Acme Recruiting, if I google Acme Recruiting then I’m obviously going to have my listing multiple pages on the left-hand side and then on the right-hand side, I’m actually going to see a nice big map with a big marker stabbed to where I am. So that’s real dominance and again it’s free. Make sure that you claim your Google Places Listing particularly if you are a local recruitment organisation and you want to dominate your particular geography. That’s important too.
Let’s talk about everybody’s favourite next and that is social media… Huge buzz around social media… Social media does work and the reason it works is it’s all around engagement. In today’s sort of marketing environment and marketing world, people have different views on how they engage with people and how they make purchasing decisions. And a lot of that is around how you know somebody, how much you trust them. Well, the great thing is that can now accelerate online and social media enables you to do that. So let’s look at the different elements of social media.
I mentioned a little bit earlier in this podcast the fact that social media involves a number of different elements. Let’s look at the one of the first elements which is blogging and having a dynamic page on your website. It’s not just done by trendy people who want to get their “okay, yeah” message out there. Blogging is done by business people that actually want to get their message out there and get found by the search engines. Google loves blogs by the way.
Now when we talk about blogging, I’m talking about having a blog page as part of your site. I’m not talking about having one of these free blogs like blogspot.com or WordPress.com because you don’t own that site and I would strongly recommend that you don’t have anything like that as your main blog page. So blogging – great! It enables you to brand yourself as a thought leader, put lots of content on your website that you can send people to all the time. Hint: Very useful thing to do!
YouTube / Video Marketing
Next thing is YouTube. Now video marketing is big at the moment and one of the reasons it is because people love it. You know, YouTube is the biggest search engine now globally after Google. So that is saying something to you about visual media. People love to see you things. About 40% of the population is visually preferenced. So make sure that you’ve got some videos. People love videos. If you have visual media on your home page you are much more likely to appear on the first page of Google.
Twitter (Micro blogging)
So what else is there? Well there is everybody’s favourite Twitter which is a micro blogging platform and you can tweet to your hearts content and follow related people on Twitter and post out messages. It’s great for interaction. Yes it does work for recruiters.
Google seems to like Twitter as well and it’s another way to brand yourself online because ideally what you want particularly from a branding point of view is every time somebody googles your company name you want to have multiple listings on that first page of Google. So people will say “Ahh, this particular recruitment company has some authority. They have some leverage. They look real because they’ve got a Twitter page they’ve got a Facebook page, they’ve got whatever.” So that is one of the elements of using social media to really help brand you as an expert. So that’s Twitter – we can post things out, you can post job out, you also need to engage with people as well on Twitter so that’s important.
What about Facebook? Well, we talked to a lot of recruitment companies they’re just not particularly fussed about Facebook. I would say, yes it is really worth having a Facebook Fan Page if the likes of Dell and Microsoft have Facebook Fan Pages then I would suggest that an innovative recruitment company also needs to have one. Are you going to generate lots of candidates and clients through Facebook? It depends on your market. I am not 100% certain. However, what you will do is you will get engagement and Google will see that you are a major player.
You only need to Google some of the major companies and you will see a number of listings and on the first page of Google, one of those is likely to be that company’s Facebook Fan Page. So from a search engine respectability point of view, having a Facebook Fan Page is very useful and it’s very easy to manage and maintain as well. So that’s Facebook.
So we’ve talked about Facebook, Twitter… The biggie for recruitment companies is LinkedIn. Still I think a lot of recruitment companies do know how to use LinkedIn. Obviously there’s all the different page versions of it which is really important and obviously there’s your LinkedIn feed where you can post great content, reviews to articles, and obviously you can connect with people. So LinkedIn is obviously a very important place to be when it comes to social media.
Instagram / Pinterest
Now there are many different social media channels. A couple that you may have heard of are Instagram where you can actually upload photographs. It can be useful yes… and there’s also Pinterest and p-interest some people call it and again this is focused around visual imagery. I would always say if you have any commerce business, you really should have a Pinterest. It can work to your advantage.
There’s a few sort of ninja SEO tactics that you can utilize with Pinterest because you can label all your images. You can have all your images and have different boards on Pinterest. Yeah it’s well worth it if you’ve got a social media company working with you to help you with your marketing then get them to make sure you do have a Pinterest account and you’re uploading images that are all tagged and linked to your company because that just might help you appear in the search engines – so that’s social media.
So, what next? Well, next I want to talk about paid advertising because this is important and becoming increasingly so particularly if you want to target certain groups. So let’s look at the different ways that you can advertise online and the biggest one the people knows about is PPC which is pay-per-click and as the name implies, you pay for adverts.
You’d get this sort of text adverts that appear on the right hand side with compelling copy, calls to action and generally you can enable them to appear when people search on a specific phrase. So let’s just say it’s “engineering recruitment companies” that could be a phrase included within your ad and you will pay a certain amount for click depending on how competitive that phrase is.
Now we’ve used engineering as one example let’s just say we’re using “sales and marketing”. I happen to know because obviously that’s a passion of ours and let’s just say that every time you had an ad up for your sales and marketing recruitment company, every time somebody clicked, it’s probably going to cost you about a pound (£1.00) which probably is sort of okay. It does depend on what sort of copy is on… and when we say copy, were talking about content that’s on your site. How engaging is it? Is there a call to action? The conversion rates online can be a lot less than you originally anticipated.
So let’s just say somebody clicks on your website. To actually get them to pick the phone up and talk to you, may be quite a few clicks before that happens. So you could end up spending quite a lot depending on how good you are at creating all the different elements of the pay-per-click advert. Obviously that’s the subject of a whole podcast in itself. However, there is some thought that the percentage click through rates and the percentage action rates can be as low as 4-5%.
So you imagine that you might have to spend 50 or 60 pounds (£50.00 – £60.00) to actually get some sort of action to take place for one person. So that’s why search engine optimisation is very popular as well as paid advertising. So that’s pay-per-click marketing. It can really really work well.
Now there’s a new element as well for pay-per-click marketing… there’s two actually. One is image marketing. So for instance, what you can do is you can have your adverts appear as images on different websites. Generally, that would be a lot less expensive so that’s one way you can do it. The other one is a sneaky way or appears sneaky where you may have noticed that you’ve gone on to a website somewhere and suddenly it seems as though that particular website is then stalking you around the Internet.
I’ll never forget last year, my great nephew, is a fanatic Al Wigan athletic fan and I was looking for a top for him and I’d gone online to have a look. I’d gone to various websites and I found this website and then I was being stalked online… which is actually quite useful because it reminded me… I was being stalked online by this Wigan athletic shirt that was following me around. What you can do is you can set your account up to leave cookies.
So as people visit your website you can then set that so that you can then follow people around the Internet, showing your image add to them. That could be something that you want to explore. A lot of data around how successful that is and that is one element of paid advertising.
The other way is you can make paid advertising work for you, particularly around Google, is something known as placement ads and that’s where you can say “I want my ad to appear here and I want it to appear here and I want it to appear here.” So you can actually really hone down to where you want your ad to appear. So let’s just say that at Super Fast Recruitment, we decided that we want to buy some advertising, where might we want to advertise? We probably want to go and advertise where recruiters hang out.
So I’m thinking of different websites. It might be recruiter.co.uk, ukrecruiter, it could be any site that would allow adverts to appear. Now, I’m saying this off the top of my head, I’m not sure whether we can get an advert to appear there or not or it could be recruitmentbuzz or something like that. It could be anywhere that we can then get an advert to appear.
Now the other thing that is useful is banner ads. And again, very similar to image ads, you can have banners on different sites with a call to action that would lead people back to your own site. The conversion rate for banner ads depend on what your outcome is. If your outcome is about branding yourself then they are really useful. If it’s about converting someone to be an actual candidate straightaway or a client, that probably takes a little longer but it might be the first time that you can actually use this to actually get those people on to your website. So those are banner ads. We’ve talked about placement ads, we’ve talked about pay-per-click marketing… Now the other places where you can market of course is on the likes of LinkedIn and Facebook.
Facebook Sponsor Ads
Let’s talk about Facebook. First of all, you may have noticed recently as you are scrolling through your Facebook on your mobile phone you’ll see all these different sponsors and you think “How the heck did that get there?” and what it is, is you can sponsor ads on Facebook not only can you buy them at the right hand side but you can also get them in feeds. So one thing that you can do with Facebook is you can make these ads very targeted.
So let’s just say that I’ll use an example here again… we’ve used ‘recruiter’… on recruiter’s Facebook page you can actually get your advert to appear to anybody else that’s liked ‘recruiter’. Now obviously that might work very well for us but just think through how it could potentially work for you on Facebook with regards to where might your candidates or clients be hanging out that you could utilize this so you can make it a lot more targeted than Google PPC.
Now, LinkedIn – LinkedIn has a number of ways that you can advertise. Obviously they’ve got classic job ads that you can post on LinkedIn but another thing you can do is PPC advertising within LinkedIn. And what this really useful about this is you can target it down specifically to country, even to company and through sort of different niches.
So for instance for us, we could create a pay-per-click ad within LinkedIn that just appears to recruiters in the UK. So this ad would only trigger whenever it was near a recruiter. So that makes it even more targeted than you would get on something like Google PPC.
Now pay-per-click ads on LinkedIn can generally be a little bit more expensive. However, it depends on your niche. So where an ad on Google might cost you a pound (£1.00), it might cost you 2 to 3 pounds (£2.00 – £3.00) on LinkedIn. However, if you are maybe working in the finance sector where adverts are incredibly expensive, it could be well worth your testing out.
Now here’s a little ninja trick for you as well – if you are putting an ad on to LinkedIn always make sure that you have an image and I’m going to say this because it’s true, but use an image of a woman… a female because no matter what, they seem to get much better click through rates and I know this because I have tested it on enumerable occasions for ourselves and clients and every single time, an ad with an image off a woman on will… it doesn’t matter what age that woman is… will always outperform anything with a geeky little ad off something else or another little image or something like that so that’s fascinating when it comes to advertising.
Google Local Listing Ads
Early we mentioned Google Local Listing and guess what, Google allows us to buy adverts there as well. So you can also buy a Google Listing Ads as well to help make your ads stand out above others.
So well, we’ve gone through quite a few things here. So just to sort of recap and summarize – we talked about podcasting, you are listening to this as a podcast or on iTunes if you have hopefully subscribed or you may be on our website listening to it. You can actually download the content and podcasts… really good. They tend to be very well liked by people that are affluent and are in business. So depending on your sector in recruitment, that is really useful.
For us for instance, just to give you an example – why do we have a podcast? We really enjoy creating content and to be honest, a podcast is very easy because people just need to set me up for a question and I am running… giving out the information because that’s what I love to do. And yeah, it’s very easy to consume. So for us, you know, our target market is recruitment business owners who want to grow their business… very busy people, most of them would have some form iPhone or iPod that they might be listening to when they come in back to the car or whatever they’re doing so they can consume information. So how about listening to a podcast – really useful to do. That may work for your market and that really does help in branding you as an expert in your particular area. So that’s podcasts.
So this is a whistle stop tour to enable you get a real handle on all the different online jargon terms that you use and a way you can use them. We haven’t talked about an awful lot about forums that is another way that you can market yourself online depending on where you are. You know, we’ve used the engineering analogy there. We’ve used you know, sales and marketing.
If you know that your target market hangs out on a particular forum then it might just be well worth it you hanging out there as well answering a few questions. And in a forum you can have something known as a signature link and that signature link can link back to your website and to a particular page on your website. That just might be useful for you. Again, it depends on your market.
So this is Denise, signing off today, longer podcast than normal but you know hopefully there’s some good ideas and you’ve got the real handle now on what all these different jargon terms mean when it comes to search engine marketing. So it’s bye for now!
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