Posted on February 17, 2021
I was recently interviewed at Surrey Business Affairs, the monthly business show presented by Jackie Mitchell.
Here’s the audio recording of our interview and below you can read the transcription in which I explained our agency’s best practices to provide holistic SEO for small business.
It’s Surrey business affairs with Jackie Mitchell. I’m pleased to welcome to the show Silvia del Corso from PinkSEO Marketing.
Many thanks for joining us and welcome to Surrey Business Affairs.
Before we go on to what PinkSEO Marketing does, it would be really interesting to find out a bit about your background, because I understand you’re from Italy.
That is right. I apologise for the accent, I know it is strong, but it’s nothing I can hide actually.
And yes, we moved less than five years ago from Tuscany to West London.
We used to live near Pisa, in a seaside village. Italy is a lovely place, but it’s not easy to run a business there in these times. My husband and I founded and ran a digital agency there for six years and it was quite challenging.
So, we decided to start a fresh new life here and we’ve really never regretted choosing to do this. Actually, it is something that we should have done much earlier because life here has been amazing!
We were easily able to find a new, lovely place to live, to make new friends, and I launched my SEO Agency, PinkSEO.Marketing as a brand new business.
This meant starting with a completely clean slate. No existing customers, no connections, everything was started from scratch.
Well, that is very brave, well done you!
So, what is your actual background, though? How did you get into digital marketing?
Well, you should know I started from a completely different background because back there in Italy, I studied languages. I can also speak French, German and Spanish.
Having studied foreign languages at the university, my initial job was in tourism. I was a hotel contract negotiator with tour operators around Europe.
But then the internet came, and the tourism industry was very severely affected. Now, it’s been affected just as much for the second time with the current situation. But back then, and I’m talking about 10 years ago approximately, the internet disrupted the industry completely. Bookings weren’t made by the travel agency any more, people were making them online. No more catalogues of the tour operators, they were all different things, and everybody was booking their holidays online themselves.
Then, you started PinkSEO Marketing in 2016. How do you help businesses?
As an SEO agency, we work with small businesses, by optimising their websites, either if they are
- new websites that will be launched,
- or if they are existing websites, from which they’re not getting any business leads.
In this case, they are missing out on opportunities, not being found online and using their websites basically just as glorified business cards.
In these times, particularly, people are searching for everything on Google, because we are doing everything online.
With SEO, the aim is to make sure that when someone is searching for something on Google, our client’s sites can be found easier than the competitors.
This makes a lot of difference in terms of revenue. If your site is the one which is being found, you are the one who can get the lead, the contact, the opportunity.
We work on their sites from a
- and a content perspective.
In the first case, to explain it in a very simplified way, we make sure that they will be easily understandable/crawlable by Google.
For the second task, instead, we optimise the sites so they can match what the potential customers are searching for.
This can only happen if the site uses the right type of language, the words that the customer is searching for.
Basically, SEO starts with understanding the audiences need and what they search for on Google.
When we start showing business owners what people search for on Google, this is, for them, always an eye-opening moment.
Very often, they think they know that they were searching for this. Instead, they find so many differences looking through prospective clients’ eyes. They find so many elements they never expected, and we help them understand which ones definitely need to be featured on their site.
This way, websites then become even more helpful because they really can help the clients find what they really need.
How can businesses get higher in the Google rankings?
Well, there are things that need to be considered as real priorities, fundamentals.
We were talking about keywords, and this is definitely important.
Make sure that you know what people search for and you use these terms on your site, in all the relevant positions.
The crawler bots are robots, programmed to search certain parts, which are a lot but they’re very clear, for example
- the images,
- the descriptions on the pages, and so on.
I always say that
on a website, businesses shouldn’t play hide and seek.
You should never hide what you want to be found for. You really need to put it clearly, not hidden.
Also, content needs to be expressed with clear language, not artificial. It needs to convey a sense of trust, and professionality.
Secondly, it is crucial to pay attention to user experience, making sure that the user really finds the time they spend on your site valuable.
Google is now using several AI/machine learning elements within the algorithm and that track how the user actually interacts with a site. So, they can see if the user spends a lot of time on the site, if they check a lot of pages, or if instead, they bounce away.
The first cases are positive signals; the latter will damage your rankings as Google will deduce that the site shouldn’t rank so well for that keyword and may soon demote it.
Could you possibly explain to us about backlinks? What they are?
Backlinks are third party links that your site will receive from somebody else’s website. Simplifying it very much, they are an element of appreciation, like a recommendation, an endorsement, that your site gets when another domain is linking to your site (if they are good-quality sites).
You must consider that Google’s life is not easy, because they need to find out, among the billions of websites that exist for any given keyword, which are the top 10 to rank on the first page.
So, all things being equal in terms of content optimisation, the sites which have the highest endorsement, in terms of being linked by other websites, they have the highest chances to rank better.
You can compare it to when you are looking for a professional service, as a lawyer. If many people recommend the same name to you, and particularly people important to you, whom you trust, then you get curious and you may want to have a chat with this lawyer.
The same happens with Google: having a lot of good quality websites linking to yours in a very relevant context, this will grow Google’s consideration/trust. We really use the word trust in terms of the domain.
Could you tell us how do you charge for your services?
We generally work on a monthly retainer with our clients.
SEO is something that goes on overtime. Every action is always measured and tracked. We need to measure what happens in terms of ranking on the keywords as a consequence of the changes that we do on websites and month by month, we will track how this grows.
This will help us refine the strategy if something is going very well or if something may be needed for a slightly different type of approach. As everyone knows, SEO is a long-term strategy which does take a little bit of time.
But you also offer online training sessions. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Yes, we do offer SEO online training. Working with small business owners, I really believe that this is an element of empowerment for them.
Small business owners should be able to understand how SEO works.
Most are slightly scared of it as if it was “an obscure science” but it’s not. It’s coding and content, UX and providing value.
Once they understand how it works, they can use best practices when they’re doing DIY changes. They will not just be dependent on somebody else to help them. If they want, they can outsource SEO and be relieved of it, taking some of the workload off their shoulders.
However, at least they should be aware of how the system works. They can do a lot of things on their own, particularly in moments like this one in which they may need to keep their budgets limited.
Knowing the basic rules also helps when they outsource it because if they know how it works, they can understand what’s going to be done, why and what to expect.
(Photo by Carin Thakrar Photography https://www.carinthakrar.com/)