I’m always happy to answer your questions. It’s 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’ve connected my 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, Linkedin, or Twitter.
From time to time, I use Q&A’s as a basis for articles so that that future clients can benefit. This publishing also saves repetition for the more common questions.
Our typical client and visitor is a seasoned expert in the oil and gas industry. They’re either an owner of an SME in their specialist area, or are responsible for advertising or the company website. While they’re 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 eight items that keep coming up again and again:
1) What type of SEO support do you provide?
Out of the Box Innovations isn’t solely an SEO company. Since it’s so essential to every website, we spend as much time on SEO as anything else.
We advise on SEO strategy and provide services such as on-site optimisation, keyword research, competitor research, link building campaigns, and content marketing.
Almost all of our previous clients are oil and gas or alternative energy related. We’re working on projects that facilitate a higher 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 healthy SEO benefits in itself.
The increase in citations and URL hyperlinks will have benefits, but a primary objective is to raise awareness of each others companies. We join forces with companies with complementary services and products, then help each other with cross-promotion. If you do require a full SEO service, we’re confident that there’s no-one more experienced in our vertical.
2) What are backlinks? What are the benefits of having them?
Backlinks are URL hyperlinks. For clarity, switch the words around. Call them ‘Links back’ because they’re a link back to somewhere else on the web.
Here’s a backlink leading to an article about backlinks!
Backlinks go wherever we deem them appropriate. They’re 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’re saying.
Some of benefits of backlinks are as follows:
We can cite a source; so that if the reader thinks we’re 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 the text.
We can link to others as a recommendation and ‘hat tip’ to the work that they’ve done.
We can link to other work that we’ve done, to keep the reader engaged in our message, rather than moving on to another person’s 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 backlinks as a quality signal in their algorithm.
They effectively count links as ‘votes’ for a particular page on the web. Of all the different components to a search result, this is the most significant factor in the placings. There are more than 200 various factors in Googles algorithm, all with a different weighting.
If there are two 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).
An interesting part of the way that Google counts these ‘votes’ is that they’re not all equal in weight. Unlike in a democracy where circus clowns votes count as much as an Astrophysicist, Google would weigh these votes. So, a backlink from a government or educational authority might be worth three 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, Google’s actual algorithm is a secret).
3) We already do our SEO and social media – How will it benefit us as a company if we work with you?
If you’re already doing these things, then you’ll understand the benefits. You’ll also know that there’s no ‘finish line’.
Just like an arms race, all competitors keep going to become stronger and more powerful and influential. If you see benefits, then you’ll 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’s 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 primary, or strategic.
Please bear in mind that more prominent social media management and SEO companies often charge companies thousands, or even tens of thousands of pounds/dollars every month.
The main benefit in dealing with Out of the Box Innovations is in our knowledge of the oil and energy industry, and the established community-related cross-promotion. Our deep industry experience helps with the primary purpose of promotion and collaboration.
6) I understand what you’re 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’re 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 the same rate, their internet exposure would 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 aren’t?
7) How will I know if I’m receiving a good ROI?
In advance, no-one knows how much benefit will be attained by expanding their online presence. It’s why we recommend a smaller work scope and low price point for initial work. After improvements have been made, and plans are progressing, visitor referrals can get tracked, and numbers evaluated.
It’s also likely that you’ll 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??
It depends on how competitive your niche is. If you’re in a more competitive space, you won’t suddenly overtake the larger companies. Some got established over time, and others spend thousands every single month on SEO or social media management.
In smaller niches, then ten backlinks might cause an excellent movement. A 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 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, and then there’s a process of outreach, promotion, content creation and syndication. We can test and scale, and we double down on winning strategies and shelve less productive techniques. We keep doing this until we find a long term strategy that suits your business and your customers.