I am always happy to answer your questions. It is likely that If you have a question, others will too. You can ask questions however and wherever you want to.
One of the reasons why I have connected my personal social media accounts to this company website, is so that you can approach me directly. Another reason is so that people can find me and communicate according to their preferences. So, feel free to ask questions at the bottom of this page, or through email, Oilpro, Linkedin, Twitter, or Google Plus. (I save Facebook for cat pictures and to see what friends had for lunch… Just kidding… For personal stuff!).
From time to time, I use Q&A’s as a basis for articles, so that future clients can benefit. This also saves me repeating myself with the more common questions.
Our typical client and visitor is a seasoned expert in the oil and gas industry. They are either an owner of an SME in their specialist area, or are responsible for advertising or the company website. Whilst they are very knowledgeable about their core business, with online marketing they are at ‘learner’ status. They are keen to learn and ask many questions.
Some questions seem to come up more than others, so here are 8 questions that keep coming up again and again:
1) What type of SEO support do you provide ?
Out of the Box Innovations is not an SEO company, whilst we advise on SEO strategy, and provide limited SEO services you couldn’t expect a full service from us in this area.
We are working on a couple of projects that will facilitate a greater level of interaction and support between our friends and clients in the business. The mutually advantageous structure of having a group of oil and gas companies joining together and cross promoting each other has strong SEO benefits in itself.
The increase in citations and url hyperlinks will have SEO benefits, but our primary objective is to raise awareness of each others companies. We join forces with companies with complimentary services and products, then help each other with cross promotion. If you do require a full SEO service, we are happy to recommend you to a suitable company in the Internet marketing space.
2) What are back links? Where do the back links go? What are the benefits of back links?
Bank links are url hyperlinks. For clarity, switch the words around… Call them ‘Links back’ because they are a link back to somewhere else on the web.
Here is a back link leading to an article about back links!
Back links go wherever we deem them appropriate. They are usually used to quote a source, or provide an explanation to something that would be too wordy to explain in the context of the existing article. We link back to offer evidence, examples, credit and sources for what we are saying.
Some of benefits of back links are as follows:
- We can cite a source, so that if the reader thinks we are wrong, they can take it up with the original writer.
- We can help educate our readers, without having to explain every single technical point during the body of text.
- We can link to others as a recommendation and ‘hat tip’ to the work that they have done.
- We can link to other work that we ourselves have done, to keep the reader engaged in our message, rather than moving on to another persons website.
The main benefit for SEO purposes is related to the way that the search engines place different pages in the search results. Google pioneered the use of back links as a quality signal in their algorithm.
They effectively count links as ‘votes’ for a particular page on the web. This is the biggest factor in the search placings. There are more than 200 different factors in Googles algorithm, all with a different weighting.
If there are 2 very similar and helpful articles on the same topic, the one with the more powerful link profile will show higher in the search result. (If all other 199+ factors are equal).
The interesting part of the way that Google counts these ‘votes’ if that they are not all equal in weight. Unlike in a democracy where a circus clowns vote counts as much as an Astrophysicist, Google would weigh these votes. So, a back link from a government or educational authority might be worth 3 from a mainstream news website. A typical news website might have more power than a quality brand. The quality brand might have 50x more link power than a brand new site. (These numbers are for example only, Googles actual algorithm is a secret).
3) We already do our own SEO and social media – How will it benefit us as a company if I work with you?
If you are already doing these things, then you will understand the benefits. You will also know that there is no ‘finish line’.
Just like an arms race, all competitors keep going to become stronger, and more powerful and influential. If you are seeing benefits, then you will want more of the same. If you haven’t seen benefits then it might be that your competitors are too far ahead still, and that you need to do more.
Each niche is different, some have very little competition, and some have a lot, some companies will get more benefit than others. We can look at each company on a case by case basis to assess the potential benefit.
4) Does social media activity influence SEO?
Social activity is one of Googles ingredients to their algorithm as a quality signal. In combination with other SEO tactics, social media will help. But it is not cost effective to focus on social media for this reason. Social media signals are weak from an SEO point of view. Social media is for networking and getting in front of target customers at the place where they spend time online.
5) How do you assist in building our social media presence?
Just as with the answer regarding the SEO work, the social media help that we provide will either be basic, or strategic.
Please bear in mind that social media management and SEO companies usually charge companies thousands, or even tens of thousands of pounds/dollars every month.
We will help you, but again, the benefit in dealing with Out of the Box Innovations is in our knowledge of the oil and gas industry, and the established community related cross promotion – we don’t want to oversell our SEO or social media services. We want to keep our eye on the main purpose of promotion and collaboration.
6) I understand what you are trying to do, but as more companies join you as clients, will it not become more difficult for my company to stand out?
At present, all of the oil and gas companies who we are advising are small to medium sized entities that are non-competing. If there were 100 recruiters, 100 trainers, and 100 valve manufacturers then some benefits might be diluted. If someone asked us for a personal recommendation it might be hard to choose. Other benefits such as interacting on social media and cross promotion would be amplified.
If everyone worked on their online presence at the same time and at the same rate, their internet exposure will stay the same. In reality though, new companies are embracing the full benefits of the Internet all the time. We could ask, what if your competitors were all there and you are not?
7) How will I know if I am receiving a good ROI?
In advance, no one knows how much benefit will be attained by expanding their online presence. This is why we recommend a small work scope and low price point for initial work. After improvements have been made, and plans are progressing, visitor referrals can be tracked and numbers can be evaluated.
It is also likely that you will find out how customers found you, because some will tell you. Others will send messages through social media, or will email directly through the contact form on your website. Perhaps the question of ROI will be more relevant after a few months, when you decide whether to increase your efforts.
8) If you assist with SEO for our company will our company appear higher up on the search engine rankings?
Again it depends how competitive your niche is. If you are in a more competitive space, you will not suddenly overtake the larger companies who spend thousands every single month on SEO or social media management.
In smaller niches then 10 back links might cause a nice movement. Again, the main benefit of expanding your online presence is for collaboration and cross promotion, not just to appear higher in the search engines.
Another point to remember is that when starting out online, you won’t know where the big wins will be, and what will be less effective. First you get the basics up to date, then there is a process of outreach, promotion, content creation and syndication. We can test and scale, we double down on winning strategies and shelve less effective techniques. We keep doing this until we find a long term strategy that suits your business and your customer.