The Great British Workforce Revolution 2015

Great British Workforce Revolution 2015

Great British Workforce Revolution 2015 Website

I have just agreed to participate in this year’s Great British Workforce Revolution conference. The conference takes place in London on 3rd June and is organised by Angel News. The conference is targeted at non-executive directors, interim managers and angel investors.

I spoke at the 2013 event and have been asked back to discuss the value in independent directors utilising social media to network in order to find work or business leads.

The keynote speaker for the event is Ros Altmann. Ros has recently been awarded a CBE for her services to pensioners. From 2010 to 2013 she was chairman of over-50s specialist Saga.

Details of the conference, including how to book a place can be found here.



SEO Ranking – A Correlation Study

I have decided to publish some data based on an in-depth study of SEO ranking factors in the UK menswear category. The study uses recent data from a variety of sources. These include, and SEMRush.  Rather than just pure ranking I have used actual estimates of organic search volumes. This volume is taken directly from SEMRush, which estimates volumes by each keyword based on Google’s search volume and estimates a click through rate based on ranking. The correlation study looks at the performance of 10 selected menswear websites and compares them across 11 ranking factors.

The Selected Correlation Factors

Compared to many other studies on ranking factors I have attempted to use less esoteric sources of data. Most of these can be found without a subscription and should accessible to people without a high level of SEO knowledge. The eleven correlation factors and their sources are as follows:

  1. The number of pages indexed by Google
  2. The number of high ranking keywords – SEMRush
  3. Moz Page authority
  4. Moz Domain authority
  5. Total Root links – Moz
  6. Total links – Moz
  7. Facebook Likes – Moz
  8. Facebook Shares – Moz
  9. Tweets – Moz
  10. Google+ clicks – Moz
  11. Google Adwords PPC spend

Correlation Values

Correlation values have been calculated using the “Correl” function in Excel. For the uninitiated correlation values range from +1 to -1. +1 indicates a perfect positive correlation and -1 indicates a perfect negative, or inverse, correlation. A value of 0 (Zero) indicates no correlation. Scores above 0.75, either negative or positive could be considered as strong correlations. Likewise scores below 0.5 could be considered as weak.

A caveat in all correlation studies is that not all correlations are the result of causation. Just because it rains on Tuesdays and Thursday doesn’t mean by naming a day with a T causes it to rain.

The Correlation Results

Each of the correlation factors was tested across the 10 websites in relation to the volumes they achieved. In any event the range of correlation scores ranged from a negative 0.13 to a positive 0.98. The scores were then plotted and ranked. The chart of these results is shown below:

SEO Correlation Factors Mens Clothing

SEO Correlation Factors Mens Clothing

If you click on the correlation factor chart you will be able to see the full sized version.
The surprising result is how at 0.98 PPC expenditure correlates so strongly with search volume. According to this study much stronger than the number of root links (0.75), Domain Authority (0.7) or Page Authority (0.66) as measured by

Against this, towards the other end of the scale, total links and most social media measures, even Google+, are seen to be weakly correlated.

The Line of Best Fit

In order to demonstrate how the data for PPC spend and organic search volume correlates, I also provide a graph. This uses a line of best fit.

SEO Correlation Factors PPC Spend

SEO Correlation Factors PPC Spend

Data Limitation

The first thing to establish is the nature of data accuracy. All the measures used are effectively estimates and are therefore inherently flawed. Each measure used is largely an estimate based on a sample. A collection of samples that themselves are algorithmic. Most importantly, the product that all the correlation factors is measured against is an estimate of organic search volume as provided by SEMRush. As I know from studies of websites where I have access to the real figures, the SEMRush data can be wildly wrong. However, the SEMRush data is based on accurate rankings taken from the data base. Secondly alternative  sources of data, say using Majestic rather than Moz as a source of link data or website authority, may provide alternative values and therefore correlations. That all being said, all sites in the study are treated equally. If there is a systematic error in any one measure, then that error is applied equally across all sites.

Market Power and Brand Strength

The last error is perhaps the most obvious. Are we comparing a comparable set of websites? When you study the “Line of best fit” chart you will notice that the PPC expenditure behaviour of the ten sites can be clustered into distinct four groups. One site spends zero. Four websites spend up to £20k per month. Two sites between £30 and £40k. And two large sites spend between £95 and £120k. In my opinion the spread of PPC expenditures is effectively a surrogate for business scale and market power.

Based on a wider analyses of all of these factors, perhaps market power, or brand strength is the real determinate of rankings and therefore volumes. In the case of the UK menswear market, a bricks and mortar retail network, a presence in above the line marketing channels, digital PR, CRM and email marketing activities are what is effectively being measured. If you were a challenger brand up against an online retailer such as Tesco or Marks and Spencer would you expect to outspend and outrank them with your limited budgets and resources. Having a large PPC budget may be a reflection of how well your perform commercially. Logically, if you perform well in organic search you could create the financial resources to invest in PPC activity. So PPC becomes the product of the correlation analysis, rather than the other way around.

At the moment all of the market power factors identified in the above paragraph are outside of the scope of this present study. However, I shall return to them in a future study.


Search Marketing and Customer Engagement

The aim of search marketing is to engage customers. To attract them to your website and develop their interest. The easiest and most profitable way to do that is to own a strong and relevant brand that delivers brand based searches. Whether the method is paid or organic search, brand based searches have the highest propensity to convert.

Engaging Customers by Matching

Engaging Customers by Matching

Depending on your business’ scale and standing your brand may not generate large volumes of online searches. And secondly, brand searches are not the only way to attract profitable customers. Specific searches closely related to your products and areas of expertise will also yield profitable interactions. And it is this area of search marketing activity where effective SEO and PPC Management will yield the best results.

The Customer Engagement Matching Process

  1. Match brand relevancy and saliency to customer product and service needs.
  2. Match your communication and persuasion efforts to the information needs of customers.
  3. Ensure that your website, and other marketing collateral, is consistent with and renders well on the devices and media used by your target customers.
  4. Ensure you understand how your customers utilise search.
    When, where and how? How search interacts with other elements of the communication mix.

At Simply Clicks our aim is to assist you in making this process as straightforward and effective as possible.

If you would like a discussion about Simply Clicks’ services please fill in this enquiry form.
Alternatively, during UK business hours, please call us on 01233 670006 or 07984 300050.


Fireworks Display Sales Fizz as Mobile Takes the Lead

Simply Clicks is a sponsor of our local rugby club. As part of the sponsorship we provide hosting and websites for their special events. The two most important being an annual beer festival and a fireworks display. Naturally, as an SEO company, we make sure the websites are properly optimised. In many respects, although the fireworks display is the smaller of the two events, it is the more professionally interesting site. Despite being a single page. This week we have really seen the visitor volumes and firework display sales take off.

Mobile Browser Use Ashford Fireworks 2014

Mobile Browser Use Ashford Fireworks 2014

Website Performance

Website visitor numbers for 2014 are approximately 40% up on 2013. However e-commerce sales are up 100%. The most amazing thing about this data is that over 75% of unique visitors have come from mobile devices. Over 50% from mobile phones and over 20% from Ipads. See graphic.

Visitor Sources

The interesting thing is that of the website traffic delivered so far, so little has been derived from social media. In fact 54% has come from search engines, 23% from direct entries and 22% from referring sites. Of this latter category about three-quarters have come from a local Kent newspaper website, an local entertainments website and the rugby club’s own website.

Social media has played a minor role, despite being a major contributor to other much larger website for the annual beer festival.

Key Questions

Two key questions arise from this performance. 1. Why has the website down so well? And 2. Why the surge in mobile traffic and an ever greater rise in mobile conversion levels?

Website Traffic Growth

To answer the first question, I would suggest that the website is a rare beast in that it is dedicated to a fireworks display. Being in its third year, it has overcome any issues with Google and now ranks number 1 for a number of key firework display terms.

Mobile Conversion Levels

The second question may be more difficult to answer. However, I suspect that the age profile of ticket buyers is concentrated in the 25-40 age range. That is the parents of young children. From our other experiences of mobile website sales we have seen that this demographic group was the first to utilise Ipads for online transactions. It looks like they have transferred their Ipad buying habits to mobile devices, especially when the online transaction is quite simple and of low value. The average transaction value is less than £20.

Anyway, there’s still 5 days to go before the actual event. I await with interest how the final performance will turn out.


Christmas Comes Early for PPC Campaign

Christmas at The George in Rye

Christmas Day Lunch at The George in Rye

Christmas has come early for a PPC campaign at The George in Rye. On 23rd September Simply Clicks launched a new pre-Christmas campaign to fill The George with its Christmas Break offer. The Christmas offer sold out after just 14 days.The cost of the campaign in Adwords click costs, excluding management fees, was less than £100.

The offer was for a fully inclusive, luxury break including 3 days accommodation and meals over the Christmas period. The cost of the package was from £395 per person, with accommodation in one of The George’s Queen rooms. Upgrades to a junior suite were available for a total price of £575 per person.

Although the hotel’s Christmas Break is sold out the hotel still has some room for its Christmas Lunch sitting at £75 per head. And further good news for any potential visitor to the hotel is that we are now moving behind the New Year’s Eve break PPC campaign.

Simply Clicks has worked on SEO, PPC and web analytics projects for The George in Rye since August 2006.


Client Sees Dramatic Rise in Organic Visits in Q3 2014

Q3 First Time Visits - Taylors Lettings

Q3 First Time Visits – Taylors Lettings

Client Taylor’s Lettings has seen a dramatic rise in Quarter 3 2014 organic traffic. Simply Clicks implemented a website redesign and complete SEO rebuild of the Taylors’ site at the beginning of July. The first quarter’s visitor traffic since the redesign has seen an 80% increase in first time visitor traffic against the same period of 2013.

Simply Clicks has enjoyed a relationship with Taylors since May 2008 when we carried out our first Search Engine Optimisation review of the website. As a result we have web analytics data going back to that period.

Website visitor numbers initially peaked in 2010, 2 years after our original SEO activity. Visitor numbers then began to decline, falling 46% against their 2010 peak. The site then went through a redesign in 2012, via another agency, and this improved traffic by 22% over the 2012 trough. The Q3 2014 figures are also 19% up the 2010 peak, when the property rental category was far less competitive.

Simply Clicks involvement in the project covered the whole LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Php). The basis of the new site is the Genesis framework, Agent Press theme, WP Allimport feed management and some bespoke php based Cronjobs that ensure consistency of data presentation across Taylors Lettings’ site and property industry portals such as RightMove and Zoopla. At the simplest level, good SEO practise was built into the project at every level.


New SEO and Website Development Project

Used Bike Buyer - Website

Used Bike Buyer – Website

Simply Clicks has been appointed to handle the SEO and website development of Used Bike Buyer. Used Bike Buyer does what it says on the tin. It buys used motorcycles from clients throughout the UK.

Simply Clicks took over the PPC management of Used Bike Buyer at the beginning of June this year. The appointment was based on the recommendation of a previous client. Essentially, Simply Clicks’ approach to PPC has seen the cost of Used Bike Buyer’s leads fall by 75%. in the space of 2 months.

The market for buying used motorcycles is currently wide open. Whilst many people are familiar with is car equivalent, We Buy Any Car, the market for motorcycles operates at a much lower level of development.

Used Bike Buyer are based in Tamworth, Staffordshire.


novastris Launches Co-op Mini-Site

Central England Co-op Mini-Site

The New Central England Co-op Mini-Site

Simply Clicks’ client novastris personal accident insurance has launched a retailer specific mini-site for Central England Co-op. The mini-site offers tailored personal accident cover to the staff of the Central England Co-op. Having detailed knowledge of its workforce, the co-operative was able to create a database of all job titles allowing the create of  a quick and easy insurance quotation.

Simply Clicks has been managing the SEO and PPC activity of novastris since August 2013. The Central England Co-op project presents a particular problem from an SEO perspective, as the site is largely populated with duplicate content almost identical to content on the main novastris website. Secondly, the insurance quotes are not available to the general public although the client would like the home page of the main site indexed by Google. The solution has been to create a modified robots.txt file. This allows access to the home page of the sub-domain only.


Google CPCs Show Long Term Decline

Google Adwords Cost Per Click Data - From Q3 2011 to Q1 2014

Google Adwords Cost Per Click Data – From Q3 2011 to Q1 2014

I have just spotted a post on Search Engine Land that refers to the long term decline in Google Adwords’ cost per click rates. See chart. The data refers to Google’s reported average Cost Per Click rates shown in the quarterly accounts.

Just making a visual check shows that Google has a cumulative problem. That is we see annual declines on top of previous annual declines. An example, and I’m using my dodgy eyesight rather than the actual data shows the following Quarterly year on year declines:

  • Quarter 1 2012 = -12%
  • Quarter 1 2013 = -4%
  • Quarter 1 2014 = -8.5%

Well if you multiply  minus 12% * minus 4% * minus 8.5% the product equals minus 23%.

The chart is shown in an article that discusses Google’s reluctance to provide detailed America’s SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) with detailed data regarding the impact of mobile use on cost per click rates. These are typically discounted.

Toward the end of 2013, Simply Clicks’ spotted that desktop based searches were in absolute, as opposed to relative decline. This presented a problem for the clients involved as not all of their sites were mobile friendly. Secondly, the average unit transaction values involved with one client are in the £00s and unlikely to take place via a smartphone style device.

The other area of potential decline is in the growth of new markets, both geographic and new market categories. Part of the problem can also be attributed to fluctuations in exchange rates. Don’t be surprised if Wall Street analysts start analysing the likely impacts of each of these factors.



Google Analytics Moves to Sessions – Goodbye Visits

I notice today that my Google Analytics screen now refers to “sessions” rather than “visitors”. New visits % are replaced by “new sessions %”. The description unique visitors has disappeared to be replaced by “new users”. In some respects this latter description brings Google Analytics into line with Statcounter, my other web analytics platform of choice. I would also suggest it is a description more easily understood by clients than unique visitors.Google Analytics Sessions Screen

The Google Analytics Sessions Screen