SEO Training for Kent SMEs

Simply Clicks has recently undertaken SEO training courses for two Kent based SMEs. The two business were involved in entirely different market categories. One mainly B2B and the other focused B2C. Both companies were extremely hands on when it came to website management and carried out regular content creation as well as updating and maintenance of their websites. An added bonus was that both websites were WordPress based. WordPress, although originally a blogging CMS, is highly flexible and pre-disposed towards optimisation. And WordPress now has a number of well known SEO plugins.

Borehole Drilling in Kent

Drilling for a Borehole in Kent

Website Performance and Analytics

Only one of the websites had analytics in place. And the one that had Google Analytics installed had not claimed their site from Google Webmaster Tools – now Google Console – so that no data was available regarding individual keywords. The good news was that both businesses had live PPC campaigns on Google Adwords. This meant I could gauge visitor behaviour in response to certain keywords.

Kent Personalised Cakes

Cakes For Any Occasion

Cake image courtesy of Little Birdie Bakes

Website Navigation and Structure

One website had been created from scratch by its owner using a prepared template supplied by their hosting provider. This meant more help was required with sorting out issues to do with navigation structure and URLs. WordPress has a structure of posts, pages, categories and tags. Posts are using for daily run content, whereas pages are intended for more permanent material. Posts are sorted in categories, and have tags attached, whereas pages can be defined as parent or child depending on folder structure and the navigation menu.

Optimising Content

The second website had been built by a professional designer. Therefore the optimisation task was more focused on improving content and aligning this with meta tags.

In the case of both websites, there was much to be done in the way of image optimisation. File sizes had to be reduced, file names changed and image alt tags introduced or amended.

Off Page Activity

Both websites were essentially target at a local market. Either the major towns of Kent, or the adjacent counties of East Sussex, Surrey, Essex and south east London. There appeared to be little real off page activity by any of their competitors. My recommendations were to put regular effort into blogging including copy and images of any successful commissions.

A Training Course Testimonial

Both clients appeared impressed with what they had a achieved during the training course. The acid test of whether they have acquired sufficient skills during the course is whether they go on to optimise and improve the performance of their websites. In both cases I have received training feedback that this is indeed the case. The best response I could expect is a testimonial and I show this below:

“Having attended a one day course with David on SEO I have a much better idea of how to get our website to the top of the listings without having to pay for PPC. His instructions were clear and I’ve been able to put his advice into practice straight away with good results”.

OT Drilling Ltd
Sittingbourne, Kent

From my end it was a pleasure to be involved in the learning process of two small enterprises. I’ll watch with anticipation to see if their businesses grow.


Google Adwords Certification Bootcamp

How to Think Like Google

Yesterday I attended the Google Adwords Certification Bootcamp in London. Organised by Google, the bootcamp is held with the sole purpose of getting as many digital agency delegates as possible to pass their Google Adwords Partner certification. The training course was led by a course leader with a number of years experience of managing Google Adwords. The course leader affirmed on several occasions that the exams would be passed as long as the delegates “Think like Google”. The more experienced PPC managers were also told to forget about any of their unorthodox approaches and to focus instead throughout on Google’s officially recommended approach.

The Google Partner Badge

The Google Partner Badge

The Benefits of Being a Google Partner

Once delegates pass both the Adwords Fundamentals and Advanced Adwords exams they, and their agencies, are entitled to display the Google Partner badge on their websites (See Google Partner image). This links to a central register controlled by Google. As Google Partners, they also gain the benefit of increased marketing support.

Each exam tests delegates across approximately 100 questions relating to their understanding of the following subject areas:

The core components of both exams are as follows:

Adwords Fundamentals Certification

  • Introduction to AdWords
  • Account Management
  • Campaign and Ad Group Management
  • Keyword, language and location targeting
  • Ad Formats
  • Budgets and Bidding
  • Measurements and Optimisation
  • Managing Multiple Accounts
  • Performance, Profitability and Growth

Adwords Advanced Certification

  • Ad Formats
  • Ad & Site Quality
  • AdWords Tools
  • Performance Monitoring & Reporting
  • Optimising Performance
  • Performance, Profitability & Growth
  • AdWords API

The Google Certification Pass Rate

Both Google exams require an 80% pass rate. Despite working with Google Adwords since 2004, and also having successfully led many PPC training courses, I have never previously taken either exam. The course was held for about 50 delegates. Fortunately I passed both exams and, as a result, the Simply Clicks website now carries the Google Partners badge.

Key Observations from the Training Course

My key observation is that the training course is well organised by Google, with lots of good content. And from participant feedback it appears that most delegates passed both exams. I certainly improved my knowledge of areas such as display and mobile search. However, in many ways, the course does not teach you how to manage a PPC campaign. At no point are you asked to analyse any data, structure a campaign or write an effective ad. The exam merely sets a minimum benchmark of quality.

The good news is that attending the course has increased my appetite for learning more about digital marketing. And my next step will be to start the process of preparing for and taking the Google Analytics exam.


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.