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More Companies Are Using Twitter for Customer Service

Twitter is quickly becoming a popular customer service method for many top brands, a new study finds.

Research from social media analytics firm Simply Measured shows that 30% of the of the companies in the Interbrand 100 — which ranks businesses based on financial status, how the brand influences purchasing decisions and how strong the brand is — now have dedicated customer service handles on Twitter as a way to divert negative attention and activity away from their primary brand account.

The study found the 30 brands with a separate customer service Twitter feeds have received more than 198,000 inbound tweets in the last quarter, and sent out more than 82,000 support responses.

Among top brands that have adopted a customer service handle, Ford and Nike top the list, replying to more than 70% of inbound tweets.

In addition, the research shows that Microsoft is the only brand that regularly responds to customer issues in under an hour. While not as fast, UPS and American Express also had relatively quick response times. The average response time among all top brands is just over five hours.

Overall, the study discovered that requests for customer support on social networks increased by 25% over the last three months, which prompted top brands to increase their activity by 33%.

"With more and more consumers using Twitter to get help and make decisions, it’s important for brands to maintain an open communication channel and measure their customer service efficacy," said Adam Schoenfeld, CEO of Simply Measured. "Top companies are paying attention to that and investing to respond and support their customers on Twitter."


This article originally published at BusinessNewsDaily here

What Comes First - The Web Design Or The SEO?

This really is the chicken and egg question of the internet age but depending on who you ask will determine the actual answer you receive.

A graphic designer based website development company will argue in a majority of cases that the design comes first of course. And let's face it without that aesthetically pleasing to the eye design a visitor will bounce off your site within a matter of seconds or so they would have you believe. But then that raises the big question of how did they get there in the first place?

The most common web development curve goes along the lines of website gets designed ..looks great let's go for it. Needs some content ok, copy and paste something out of our corporate /company leaflet.....time passes and no traffic!

And then more time until eventually perhaps 6-12 months later the situation is either so dire or the company are spending a fortune on Adwords that finally the SEO expert gets called in (or somebody gets intrigued by one of those SEO e-mails that seem to hound webmasters these days), and before you know it you are on a 6 month search engine marketing campaign to try and rescue some website rankings.

Is this really the best way to go? The thousands of business owners that have been through this exact cycle will certainly argue that it most definitely is not, as this hope and pray web development criteria delays any websites success by months and sometimes years, and even more frighteningly results in thousands in lost profit, turnover and ongoing prospect capture.

What is really laughable though is that if you actually read the sales pitch on any one of the myriad of web design companies own websites many of them blatantly claim to be SEO experts as if it is a badge of honour or perhaps a must have tick in the box but a quick check of their portfolio soon reveals that if they are the search engine marketing experts, then it is clearly evident that their clients are definitely not on the receiving end of this claimed expertise.

So what is the real answer, can you really optimise a website before you launch it? Absolutely, web design and SEO should go hand in hand and the thought process of optimising a website and SEO friendly website design should form the foundations of the web development brief right from the outset, as it is the site structure, and ultimately the content that will capture free organic web traffic and also mark the website as a potential authority site or an also ran.

The search engines don't care about what the site looks like but so often this initial chance to make the best impact when the site first gets indexed is wasted, if all the search engines find is a poorly optimised site with scant regard paid to any SEO requirements or keyword capture.

Extra time and money spent on pre development SEO (which should at the very least include keyword research and SEO copywriting) gives an outstanding return on investment as invariably when the site goes live and gets indexed it will achieve a far better website ranking from day one and even in some cases a page one result straight away.


If a web designer is not promoting web design SEO as part of your initial client brief then they are selling not only themselves short but also the client, if they don't have the expertise themselves then best practice would be to team up with a non competing SEO professional to give the client the best possible start and return on investment on their new website.

And to any business owners who are commissioning a new website, if your developer does not offer this service then find one who does as a little extra investment will see your website many months ahead of where it would otherwise be.

The True Cost of an In-House SEO Campaign: Why an SEO Firm Can Increase Your ROI

When a company is considering embarking upon a search engine optimization campaign, the first discussion that normally is had is whether to take care of the campaign in house or to hire an outside SEO firm. Handling an SEO campaign in house is an attractive and popular option for many companies – after all, the staff is already being paid to perform other functions, so the company might as well use its resources. In addition, a company may in fact have technically savvy people on staff that know at least a little bit about SEO, making the choice to take the campaign in house appear to be a no-brainer. But the real issue is how to compare the actual cost of an in-house campaign if you are expecting the same type of results that you would get with an outside SEO firm.

In House or Outsourced – Consider Your Resources

There are several basic assumptions that can be made about any company that is interested in SEO in general. First, the company likely wants to see immediate results from the campaign – or, at the very least, results as soon as possible in the organic search engine rankings. Quick results, by necessity, mean that the company has to have immediate skill available on hand.

And immediate skill, it is important to recognize, means something different than having a staff member who has a technical background but who will take several months to learn about SEO and the best way to go about it before starting a campaign from scratch. In this case, there is no way the company will get results for several months – or longer. Meanwhile, an SEO firm that has experience and expertise and that specializes in this very specific discipline can begin the project on day one and bring results far more quickly.

In addition, a company will want to ensure minimal risk to its website. However, in order to make sure that the site is not placed in jeopardy of being penalized by one of the major engines, the person running the campaign must have experience with SEO and must be well versed in the terms of service of those engines. Again, handing off the project to someone with no or little experience in SEO can backfire because he or she may risk introducing dangerous changes onto your site based on outdated information or simply on a lack of understanding.

Analyzing Your Company's Situation – What's Your True ROI?

At this stage, a company that wants to take its SEO campaign in house needs to analyze its situation. Does the company have someone on staff right now with extensive SEO experience, preferably with an SEO firm? Moreover, does that person, assuming he or she exists, have the time to devote in his or her schedule to begin undertaking the SEO campaign immediately? Bear in mind that an SEO campaign is not something that can be worked on as a side project or in someone's spare time, particularly when that person has a primary job function with which to be concerned. SEO takes a great deal of time and management in order to not only achieve results but also to maintain and improve those results over time. You also need to determine whether this person has the clout – or access to those who have the clout – to get the necessary changes to the website made and to get buy in for the entire SEO initiative.

If your company cannot answer a solid yes to all of the above questions, then you need to compare the relative costs. It is likely that your company has a finite budget for this initiative – everyone does. Therefore, the company must determine if it can afford to bring a full-time expert in SEO onto the staff – someone who generally commands a salary of near or above six figures – or to pay an existing staff person to handle the project. On the other hand, an SEO firm with an excellent reputation can cost around $30,000 per year for full optimization of your website.

But this issue goes beyond cost and also encompasses your total return on investment. Even if you have a person on staff with extensive SEO experience and a great deal of time to devote to an SEO project, and even if they have the clout to get changes implemented on the site, they still will only be working on one site (along with any other job functions with which they need to be concerned). On the other hand, an SEO firm will have many sites – possibly hundreds – to work on, which means that it will constantly be staying current with all of the best methodologies and will be able to immediately apply new tactics to these sites to get the best possible results. Plus, the SEO firm will not have other functions to take care of, because SEO is its entire focus.

Conclusion

There are, of course, companies that successfully handle SEO campaigns in house. But when an SEO campaign falls to somebody that already has a separate job function and that is new to SEO, it can take much longer to get things started than it would when working with an SEO firm hired for this specific purpose. In addition, an internal person cannot necessarily guarantee that a site will not get penalized – the terms of service for the major engines are constantly changing, and it's the job of the SEO firm to stay on top of this. What's legal today may be illegal the next day, and an internal staff member may not have the resources to know what has changed.

Finally, it is important, when comparing the cost of outsourcing to an SEO firm vs. handling the campaign in house, to make a real comparison of the actual cost involved in terms of your company's annual spend based on hours, ROI, and the opportunity cost due to the length of the campaign – whether it's handed off to a new, inexperienced person or to someone with an SEO background who has other duties to attend to. And in the end, let's face it – if you're not getting the results you want, it's always much easier to end a contract with an outside SEO firm than it is to fire someone internally.

7 Vital Factors To Consider Before Building Your Website And Online Presence

If you want to boost your online success quicker than a New York minute, then keep reading and you will see just how simple and easy it is.

Make no bones about it, your email box is probably flooded with e-mails trying to sell you bulk e-mail addresses or promises to shoot your website to the top of major search engine rankings.

But let me set the record straight. Prepare yourself. The Internet is growing by leaps and bounds, and the competition is fierce. You have to be unique and stand out from the crowd.

Millions of people search the web everyday for information and to shop. However, surprisingly enough, there are several ways to promote your site and receive great results.

Now, don’t get me wrong…this will require you to invest time and energy. But if you do it correctly, the rewards will have you laughing all the way to the bank.

It’s no secret that if you create a website just for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses, you won’t make one red cent.

You want to have a definite idea of what you plan to accomplish by creating any website. Know this: Your purpose largely determines the look and feel of your site, as well as how you will promote it.

Let’s get started…

Define The Purpose Of Building Your Web Site And Online Presence.

Sounds simple right? You may be surprised at how often many people fail to discover the real reason or should I say “motivation” behind building a website and establishing their online presence.

Let’s take a look at some purposes that could be useful to you. Ask yourself…”Does this apply to my business” as you read each one.

1) To make money on the Internet. Obvious, isn’t it? Money is typically the primary motivation for many people to build a web site. Thanks to the hype in the media and the successes of virtual companies such as Amazon, eBay and Yahoo, many believe they too can strike it rich with an online business.

But, like it or not, an online business is just like any other kind of business. As you might guess, you will need to develop a business plan, secure financial support, invest in marketing, and satisfy the needs of your customers before you can turn a profit.

Think of it like this: This Internet is not a moneymaking machine; instead, it is the TOOL – the master communicator that can bring cash to your doorstep.

2) To reduce the cost of doing business. I hate to say this, but most offline businesses are not taking in the profits they want. However, setting up a website has helped them save money when providing information and technical support to their target audiences.

Speaking of which, it’s a lot cheaper to provide a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on your website than to have a live person answer the same questions over the phone repeatedly.

In truth, this saves both you and your customer time. An added benefit is that it encourages people to come back and look at what else you have to offer without costing you further effort.

3) To network with other people. Not many know this, but a lot of what passes for a business or life opportunity is simply nothing more than making connections with other people.

Every successful person knows that it is not just what you know, it’s whom you know that really counts.

Look, you can use the web to network with hundreds and thousands of people simultaneously and within a shorter period of time. Imagine what this can do for your business or your career.

4) To take advantage of the Internet’s promotion power. The web allows you to reach out to millions of Internet users at a fraction of the costs associated with other means and media.

In short, you can dramatically improve your opportunities by taking advantage of the many benefits offered by this world’s fastest growing business communication system.

5) To speed up information delivery. Legend has it the newspaper news is no longer “news” because it falls so much behind Internet time.

Through blogging and social networking, the web allows readers to access different opinions and perspectives other than the ones that appeal to the interest of a specific mass media group.

What’s more, all the information can be made available at any specified time and is accessible by anyone who has Internet access.

Plus, changing information is just as easy and speedy. At the drop of a dime, mass communication can be achieved within the hour.

6) To stay in contact with everyone in real time. Let’s face it; in today’s world of high technology, it pays to be able to stay in constant contact with your employees or co-workers who may be traveling.

While burning the midnight oil, you can give them last minute information that could help close a sale or complete a project. In addition to that, you can post this information in complete privacy online.

All they need is an Internet connection to access the required information without long-distance phone bills and wasting valuable time of other people at work.

You see, web pages serve everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can build your website to match any language and needs that can put you one step ahead of the competition.

7) To offer online education. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, the amount of information available online will soon surpass all the other collections put together, larger than what’s contained in the libraries and museums.


To make a long story short, you can bet that majority of the things ever written or discovered - a major part of collectible human knowledge - will soon be available online.

If you want to make money hand over fist, then building a website and promoting it the right way will help you do just that. What I am talking about is learning how to establish a rock-solid online presence. Once you are able to do this, the rest is a piece of cake.

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