The Technical SEO team here at Varn have spent the past few years getting to grips with Google Analytics 4, the new website data analysis system which will shortly be taking the place of Universal Analytics. This is going to be a hugely important tool for anyone working in digital marketing in the coming years, so we have dedicated our time and brain-power to understanding how metrics and reporting have changed, as well as how to get the most from GA4 by setting up event and ecommerce tracking. Not to mention pulling data into custom dashboards to put the most important stats at our client’s fingertips.

Free GA4 Training Presentation

Our Technical SEO experts recently put together a short presentation covering the basics of Google Analytics 4 to introduce the wider team to the ins-and-outs of the tool. We thought this presentation would also make useful and interesting reading for anyone else who may be making the move from the old familiar Universal Analytics to the somewhat intimidating new version. So we’ve added it here for free, to sit alongside our previous posts on how to get the most from GA4 and the GA4 timeline.

Google Analytics 4 – The Basics

This short presentation covers the following questions and topics:

View our presentation here.

Learn More About GA4

Ready to dive into Google Analytics 4? The Varn team can help you get the system set up for your website, pull data into custom dashboards in Google Data Studio, or replicate the reporting you currently use. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Wilkinson Sword has chosen Activation to create their in-store activation campaign for 2023.

Wilkinson Sword is an iconic British brand with a heritage spanning over 250 years, and we were thrilled when they decided to move forward with our striking campaign idea, “No More Hairy Moments”. The campaign launches in stores in January 2023, after extensive development through 2022, and will run throughout the year.

The “No More Hairy Moments” creative platform is purposefully bold, brave, and disruptive to seek attention when it matters. Its goal is to make Wilkinson Sword relevant in situations/events where they would not generally be linked and stand out in these moments in stores.

The creative is unlike anything the brand has done before. The goal is to draw customers’ attention both in-store and online, encouraging them to purchase Wilkinson Sword products and enter the promotion.

This year-long campaign will come to life across many key seasonal events, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and more, across multiple retailers. Each activation highlights a ‘hairy moment’ that the customer might want to escape from and we have partnered with travel brand Secret Escapes to provide the perfect prize.  Each activation offers up to 5 entrants the chance to win £1,000 worth of Secret Escapes credits to plan their ideal escape.

The campaign kicked off in ASDA stores where customers have the opportunity to escape the New Year’s resolutions. ASDA shoppers can see the campaign both in store and online and enter the competition via www.asda.com/win. Future activations will be available across the major grocery and high street retailers so keep an eye out!

Getting traction online can be tricky without the right approach, but with a bit of creative thinking, generating online awareness can be done for even the most seemingly ‘stuffy’ brands. 

Digital PR is very important when it comes to SEO, links are crucial to the algorithm for Google, and other metrics like social mentions and branded mentions are great for building your brand online. 

Digital PR and creative content outreach is one of the key pillars of Varn’s full service approach to SEO, and covers a wide range of tactics and strategies around research and competitor analysis, content creation, and digital PR/link building. 

Here we take a closer look at digital PR and why it is crucial if you weren’t your business to succeed online and your website to rank well in search engines. 

 

What’s the difference between digital PR and traditional PR?

There are a few key differences between digital PR and traditional PR even though they are often two complimentary channels. 

Digital PR is a term which typically applies to more online activities and covers but is not limited to the following:

Traditional PR can often work as a stand-alone push and in many instances targets traditional media like print and television advertisements and placements. The ways that you measure success are also more apparent than with traditional PR. 

Whereas a television campaign or print media advert may have reached a certain target demographic, tracking the actual numbers of people that saw it can be difficult and tracking the revenue impact is often even more challenging. 

Whilst the tracking and right KPIs need to be set up in advance, measuring success is often easier with digital PR. 

Brand mentions social media interactions and link coverage are all easier to track and set key performance indicators against. Other follow-on metrics can also be used like ranking increases when looking at SEO and the potential increased revenue impact from these increases in SERP performance. 

What is the process for digital PR? 

Once you have content to reach out with (be it survey data, products, commentary or infographics) it is time to put together the target publication list. We work with the client to understand their ideal placements and tie it in with data on sites that we know move the needle when it comes to SEO value. 

Before we start with the outreach, we ensure we have a list of ideal target rankings that we want to improve. You need to drive the right keywords to the right pages, which is why developing a proper keyword map is crucial, this is typically done as part of the Technical SEO onboarding process in the form of an audit. 

Once we have developed the list we work through it in our quality control process then start with the outreach. Leveraging a tool like Buzzstream is great as you can scale the outreach and gain better insights into how each campaign is performing. 

After that comes the outreach, email scheduling software helps you greatly scale up the efforts, from that we can then get a more targeted plan together to get placements on sites depending on the individual publications content guidelines and tone of writing.

After the outreach, we report on the links attained and over time are able to measure the impact on rankings. If we are working on an ongoing campaign, then these reports are more regular and can help build up a better picture when it comes to the digital PR impact on SEO in terms of rankings. 

The diagram below shows one of the key differences in the method of outreach for digital and traditional PR. Whereas with traditional PR you want to get the content in front of the right audience straight away, with digital PR you are just as concerned with getting coverage on high-authority websites and increasing your rankings within Google. This way you are able to interact with potential customers when they are browsing content, but more importantly when they are seeking out relevant services that you want to rank for. 

How to measure success? 

When it comes to measuring success with digital PR, the following metrics are great to have within your reporting toolkit: 

All of the above are great ways to measure the success of campaigns, of course the ultimate aim is to build revenue and grow the business in a profitable way, but with more top of the funnel activities like digital PR having the above metrics to benchmark against is a great way to show the value of campaigns to clients and senior management. 

Some of our digital PR case studies 

Digital PR is a great way to create noise in your industry whilst also benefiting your SEO, at Varn our approach to digital PR is as transparent as it is effective. We always report on campaigns, and some get amazing results, others a slightly more muted, but we are always up front with performance. 

Some of our favourite case studies include the Thought Clothing Black Friday survey push and the Festival Bag from Paper Bag Co. These are examples of two great digital PR tactics: 

The above tactics are great for getting a large hit of links from news relevant sites and also consistent links to support your SEO over the long run. 

Get in touch to learn more 

Digital PR is a growing industry and is a very important part of a strong ongoing SEO strategy. If you would like to learn more about digital PR and the benefits it could bring to your business then get in touch with a member of the Varn team. 

We have put together campaigns in the past which have driven great results for clients both in terms of coverage and impact on SEO. Our campaigns are set up with performance in mind, which is why we are trusted to deliver on our promises. 

It’s said that what happens in the US, takes 5 years to happen here. Personally, I think its MUCH quicker than that!

90 million Americans will be freelance by 2028. Up from 59 million today (36% of the entire US workforce). For a combination of reasons, the world keeps moving towards a freelance work-style. Even though highly-educated, highly-skilled, better paid than 70% of the entire US workforce (and therefore higher tax-payers) governments everywhere still continue to misunderstand and largely ignore them, despite their estimated $1.6 trillion contribution to the global economy.

Most freelancers have to fend for themselves. 63.6% are under 34 years of age – and have never experienced a recession. This video

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/roysheppard_freelancing-freelance-economy-activity-7015388336827551744-OSXi?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

I posted on LinkedIn offers urgent advice for all freelancers. Not just young ones.

Please share with any freelancers who might find this helpful.

(Sources: Forbes, CNBC, Upwork and Edelman Intelligence).

If you, or members of your team, are hoping to develop a career in digital marketing, or perhaps considering a switch to a more marketing-focused role, funded support is available.

Starting in January, UWE Bristol is delivering a 12-week course designed to provide individuals with high-impact workplace skills that they can immediately use to support businesses. On completion of the course, learners will gain the internationally recognised DMI Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing.

Funded by West of England Combined Authority, each week will focus on a specific area of digital marketing to develop fundamental knowledge and then enhance those skills through interactive activities. The programme begins on 11 January 2023, running weekly on Wednesdays. SME fees are 90% subsidised at £300. Learners must live or work in the West of England and be over 19 years of age to access the training.

Employers can put employees forward, or employees can apply individually. As learners move through the training they will develop a portfolio of work based on existing work-based problems to enable the learning to have an instant impact.  They will also be supported with a personal development plan to support career development.

Spaces are limited so early registration is recommended.

Bootcamps are open to individuals and businesses located in the West of England region (Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and Northeast Somerset, and North Somerset). While each cohort has a primary targeted audience, we will consider applications from anyone who meets the basic eligibility criteria of being based in the west of England.  You should also:

Once registered onto our digital marketing bootcamp, learners automatically become a member of the DMI which means they will get access to an extensive toolkit of resources, e-books, podcasts, lessons and much more, all of which can greatly support learning and careers beyond this training.

Course Content:

Access full information and register your interest here: https://www.skillsforfutures.co.uk/inclusive-digital-bootcamps.

We are delighted to have won the Best Use of Search B2B and Most Innovative PPC Campaign at the UK Search Awards 2022 UK.  

The UK Search Awards took place at the Bloomsbury Big Top in London this month, November 30. The evening is the premiere annual event for the digital industry in the UK, celebrating the best of SEO, PPC and content marketing across the country. 

The two awards were in recognition of our work driving global revenue for an ISO consultancy firm based in the UK. It follows hot on the heels of Launch winning PPC Campaign of the Year for the same client at the UK Agency Awards in October. 

The judges said: “The Launch campaign had a great innovative approach with value-based bidding. They had clear, ambitious targets which were all achieved. Overall, an impressive and successful campaign.” 

Jaye Cowle, Founder and Managing Director of Launch, was delighted with the award: “Our mission is to be the happiest performance agency. I believe that happy people do great work, and by empowering our team to do their best, we continue to get impressive results for our clients.”  

See the full list of winners on the UK Search Awards 2022 website here. 

Writing for marketing purposes is a little different from other types of writing. You can forget some of the rules you were taught at school, but that’s not to say grammar and fact-checking should go out the window. Longer pieces such as feature articles and business blogs might be a bit daunting for those new to marketing, or even those who are suffering from creative block, so here are a few top tips that might not only help get you started, but also keep the words flowing.

Have a plan – For longer pieces it’s helpful to start with bullet points. Map out what you want to say to make sure there’s a sensible flow to the whole piece. You may be perfectly confident in everything you want to say but pouring out what’s in your head onto the page, without planning the structure first can be a costly mistake. Bullet points don’t need to be massively detailed, and don’t need to take hours of your time, but they might save you hours of editing, so they’re a worthwhile investment.

Just write – Once you have your broad structure, start writing. I have worked with many copywriters in the past and some feel the need to agonise over every sentence to make them word perfect as they write. But when you have finished the whole piece, sentences will get cut and you will find better ways to phrase the points you’ve made. So, the important thing is to make a start.

An empty page is so much more intimidating than a page full of copy. You can and indeed should always edit when you’ve finished anyway, to make sure the piece works as a whole and flows as you intended, so you don’t need to aim for perfection on your first draft. I’m not suggesting you produce substandard work, but if you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to perfect every sentence as you go, you will leave yourself no time for the all-important editing process. I have witnessed deadlines being missed before because a writer was so determined to achieve perfection, which obviously isn’t going to meet anyone’s objectives!

Get your facts straight – Whether you are writing a profile piece on your business, or a blog about an important issue in your industry, it’s often useful to include some facts and figures to provide context. To give you an example, when I write an article about blogging for business, I might start with a statistic about how many businesses blog. With some words wrapped around this figure, it shows readers why it’s important that they read on. Or why I am writing about that topic. It also demonstrates that you have done your research and what you say can be trusted, building authority for the brand you’re writing for.

Be useful – It can be tempting to make your copy all about you, but the most interesting copy offers thoughts, opinions, advice, or market information that are useful to your target audience. It’s sometimes helpful to think about one person – someone you would really like to work with – and write for them. What would they like to know? What would make their lives easier? Don’t take your experience for granted – other people want to know what you know. If you identify who you’re writing for at the beginning of the process and keep them in mind throughout, it will also help you ensure you stay on message for the entirety of the piece.

Edit. I read any piece of written work I create multiple times once I’ve finished it, making sure I have a break in between readings too. It is possible to stop seeing what’s right in front of you when you are constantly looking at the same piece of work.

Sometimes you get so caught up trying to get just the right phrase and then fall in love with the way you’ve said something that you lose sight of the fact it doesn’t fit in that spot or isn’t relevant to the overall argument of the piece at all. This is less likely to happen if you have written your bullet points up front, but we all veer off course sometimes.

Read your copy through on completion by all means – I always find reading it out loud helps identify any glaring errors – but then move onto something else, go for a walk, have your lunch, or ideally come back to it the next day. Take a break from the copy before completing your final one or two edits. The more changes you make, the more likely you are to need to take a break before reading it through again.

Writing longer copy can be a daunting task, especially if you have to do it consistently with regular marketing features or business blog posts. But if you take it one step at a time, plan it carefully, remember who you’re writing for and why you’re writing it, and edit it at the end, you will soon have the pages of copy you want.

 

  1. People read your copywriting, not computers

  2. Produce top-quality content

  3. Create copy people want to link to

  4. Create content readers will want to share

  5. Improve your SEO title

Want to increase the amount of search traffic to your website? Create content that doesn’t just appeal to your target audience but also the search engines they’ll be finding it through, by using these top 5 SEO copywriting techniques.

Did you know SEO used to have a bad rep for degrading content search-ability. In fact, SEO was responsible for the abundance of robotic, low-quality 300-word articles that were prevalent online ten years ago. That discouraged authors and editors from utilising SEO, and possibly still does in certain places of the internet today.

However, SEO has come a long way since then and the relationship between SEO and content are mutually dependent. A single highly-ranked piece of content can increase website traffic for years to come. The lifespan of content shared on social media or via email newsletters is substantially shorter.

Additionally, without content, SEO is mostly useless. One of Google’s top three ranking criteria is high-quality content. It’s exceedingly challenging for a site to rank for anything other than its business name without content.

So, what is the best way to combine SEO with content so that you can capture your audience and keep search engine algorithms happy?

We have created a list of only the top 5 SEO copywriting techniques to ensure the search engine algorithms can’t help but rank your content.

1) SEO Copywriting Is For People, Not Computers

Which should you do when developing fresh content? Write for search and then optimise for people, or write for people and then optimise for search?

According to statistics from Databox, more than 3/4 of SEO copywriting professionals say that writing for people is their top priority when producing content. Often, when people think of SEO, they think of very technical algorithms. Which is partly what SEO is. But ultimately SEO is just programmed to show people more of what it thinks they want to see. So the important thing to remember is – ultimately, you’re writing for people.

Only 21% of writers say they prioritise writing for algorithms and search engines. What does this tell us? The second your content starts to feel “spammy” means you’re failing at SEO.

Adjust to your target reader and THEN optimise.

2) Produce Top-Quality Content

Even the best SEO strategy won’t be able to salvage poor content. Nevertheless, amazing content will still rank even if it wasn’t created with the best SEO practices. People, traffic, and organic sharing is ultimately what helps your content rank well.

Set out to produce material that you sincerely feel will be the finest online resource for that topic area. Holding this kind of standard entails going above in terms of execution, writing style, and research.

3) Create SEO Copywriting Others Want To Link To

You must create content for people looking for something to link to. This could be to support an argument in their own blog or research, and they need something to back-up/support the argument they are making.

This will also encourage more back linking. A backlink is a link from another website to your website/blog. A backlink is a reference comparable to a citation. The more backlinks, the more Google will see your content as authentic, not spammy, and something that people will want to see.

There are certain things you need to do to make Google happy. But there are always ways to keep your content style and copywriting original and interesting too.

4) Create Content That Readers Will Want To Share

Make sure to write content that people are eager to share. We don’t necessarily mean with each other (also this is great too) but also on their social media channels.

This is another great technique for producing SEO copy that ranks well. As well as backlinks, you want people to share your content, website and articles on their social media, YouTube and other platforms.

People are more likely to share your content if it offers something different to everyone elses. An example – if you’re writing a blog on the top 10 ways businesses can become more eco-friendly, don’t come up with generic points. Turn the lights off, go paperless, use dishwater to water the plants. These are all suggestions we all know well.

In this instance, come up with some different suggestions that will differ from those of your content competitors. For example, switch to a more efficient energy supplier (something that would make an enormous impact). Or measure and strategically plan how to reduce your carbon footprint (if you don’t know where you are right now, you won’t know how to effectively move forward). Or even become a B-Corp (a non-profit movement helping companies improve their impact on society & planet).

5) Improve Your SEO Title

The most crucial element of your content is your SEO title. This is essentially the starting place. The thing that is seen in the most places. Without an engaging SEO title that stands out on SERPs, you’ll receive fewer clickthroughs, and no one will ever read the remainder of your amazing content.

Even worse, because clickthrough rates are a key ranking factor. The material with a subpar SEO title will struggle to appear on page 1 of search results.

We recommend using your browser’s private mode to search for the phrase your content is aimed at. The SEO title of your competitive material appears in every link you encounter. Then it’s a case of using your copy + SEO abilities or outsourcing, to outperform the rival titles you can find on the SERP.

There are several free websites that we suggest to help you evaluate your titles, give them a score, and tell you how well they rank (Dashword or Netchecker).

To conclude, if you have something on your website, there is no question that it should be SEO optimised.

We Hope You Found These Points Useful!

In our increasingly data-centric world, organisations now have the ability to apply an intense focus on the changing motives and preferences of its current and potential customers in a bid to attract, engage and retain.

Growth marketing applies to the highly personalised approach of using a multitude of channels to deliver individualised messages aligned to customer needs.

A growth marketer employs the full marketing funnel to spot trends, hone tactics, and achieve sustainable growth. The customer-centred, data-driven strategy that takes into account the entire customer journey, from awareness to activation. Public relations compliments this approach.

Traditional PR and marketing strategies are acquisition-based rather than retention-based, with a focus on the firm or organisation. Growth marketing, on the other hand, focuses on both acquisition and retention while being totally consumer-centric.

Growth marketing tries to collect and analyse as much data as possible by utilising engagement tactics like A/B testing. The most effective strategy to consistently target the right audience and accomplish growth is then determined using this data.

Where does PR come in?

Public relations benefits growth campaigns by fostering strong relationships with the public, expanding a brand’s reach, and connecting more people with the company. It works well with growth marketing because both approaches are customer-centric. Additionally, they both work to engage clients through a variety of channels to establish long-lasting, solid partnerships.

Benefits of using PR as part of a growth marketing strategy:

Public relations fuels marketing activity by making sure your brand appears in the optimal locations to reach your target audience. There are several ways that public relations professionals achieve this including increasing online presence, strengthening connections with the media, and leveraging the influence of events.

Growth marketing focuses on increasing a user’s lifetime value. To engage and keep your audience throughout the entire funnel, content creation and content marketing are essential. Growth marketing strategies use a variety of marketing channels to get the correct audience to see appealing content.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of a wider marketing approach. SEO encourages more website visitors and offers opportunities for lead generation by ranking your content higher on Google. Public relations can impact SEO results by creating newsworthy content, creating referral traffic and building links.

Growth marketing benefits

Organisations can gain clients, reach milestones, and experience growth at a rate that is unheard of by using a growth marketing strategy. To obtain client information, growth marketing teams engage in creative innovation. They then create optimised plans for each user category using this data.

Growth marketing, with a focus on whole funnel marketing, may hold the key to creating long-term success in a shifting market. In effect, full-funnel marketing methods see up to a 45% higher ROI and 7% increase in offline sales. It has the benefit of producing more informed decision making as well as generating loyalty and repeat customers.

What does a growth marketing strategy look like?

Growth marketing experts have numerous in-demand skills, such as data analytics, optimisation, analytical thinking, experimentation and even creativity.

Here are just some of the tactics and strategies used by growth marketers today:

Conversion rate optimisation: This is a powerful digital marketing strategy used to draw new visitors to your website or landing page. Your website will be optimised and improved by a growth marketing team to maximise the number of leads you produce.

Split testing: Growth marketing campaigns are all usually rooted in creative experimentation. A/B testing is fundamentally about experimenting across a number of formats, such as social media ads and emails. Split testing divides your audience into two varieties so that you may compare a website or marketing campaign. You can collect statistics by dividing your audience between the two versions and analysing the results to see which version performed better.

Referrals and customer acquisition: A referral programme is a word-of-mouth marketing tactic that involves gaining clients by way of referrals from existing clients. It’s a reliable growth marketing strategy that aims to generate recommendations using straightforward tools like referral links or codes. Word of mouth will automatically start to have an impact as you establish your brand and raise awareness.

Paid advertising: Paid advertising campaigns using tools like social media or Google ads, provides some of the best methods of experimentation. It’s one of the best ways to bring in a new audience while increasing the lifetime value of your customers. Generally, paid campaigns are often the best way to reach people when organic reach is down.

Customer experience is a critical component of your approach. Potential customers want to feel connected to your brand in addition to feeling like they are getting an excellent product or service. Customers who stick with a brand are just as important to a company’s growth as new ones.

Experts in growth marketing are always looking for ways to gauge client satisfaction and enhance the customer experience. And there’s a valid justification for it. It seems that it could cost around 5 times more to acquire new customers than to retain old ones. According to Harvard Business School, profits could also rise by a startling 25-95% with just a 5% retention increase.

Growth marketing can provide brands with a way to stand out from the competition and build a sustainable future.

 

  1. Understand Your London-Based Audience

  2. What Are The Next Steps After Keyword Research?

  3. Focus On Multiple Location SEO

  4. SEO For Your Audience In London

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) refers to the practice of improving your internet search visibility. It is a critical component in expanding your company’s internet presence and climbing the search results on Google. Only 0.78% of Google searchers click on results from the 2nd page, showing how important it is for your business to be on the first page of Google.

SEO is a developing internet marketing technique that relies on keyword research. It is also an effective strategy that allows local business to target local customers. Or bigger businesses to target whoever they want in the world!

For example, if your company is in the London area, you can create a local SEO plan to discover local client demands. Or if you’re not sure how, it might be best to outsource to specialists in SEO.

So, how can you capture your London-based audience?

Understand Your London-Based Audience

You know the location of your target audience – London – but do you know enough about your target audience? The way to find out more about them is to conduct keyword research.

To simply target ‘London’ is too broad of a subject area. You also need to understand understand the search terms most prevalent to your topic or industry area.

Keyword research is essentially the foundations of SEO and everything else relates or is connected to keyword research.

The Next Steps From Keyword Research

As mentioned earlier, your keyword research acts as the foundations of your SEO strategy. Then there are other elements you need to consider to optimise your blog/website articles/relevant landing pages.

This includes:

Multiple Location SEO

Multiple-location SEO, also known as multi-location SEO, entails managing and referencing a business across the internet and carrying out on-page optimisation.

Google will search for a company name, address, and phone number in your content that has been optimised for local consumption. It is critical that your listings are consistent; otherwise, your local SEO effort may suffer.

According to Go Gulf, local information accounts for around 46% of all Google search results. Go Gulf also reported that 72% of shoppers who conducted a local search at that time visited a retailer within five miles of their area.

This demonstrates that multiple-location SEO is extremely useful to businesses in terms of getting new and recurring customers in the local region.

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