This week we caught up with the director of FIMA Digital, Marc, who works as an SEO consultant on the south coast of the UK. We spoke to him about the current state of SEO, and how businesses can make sure that they are working with a bona-fide SEO Company that will work to help get them effective online results.
Hi Marc, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed today. First off, could you introduce yourself, who you are, and what you do?
Thanks! I run an SEO agency and digital marketing firm in Southampton. I’ve been working in the online world for nearly 15 years. I started off working for web design agencies; firstly as a web designer, then Web Design moving onto being a project manager. More recently I was living and working in Switzerland for an American company called Garmin – I was their online marketing manager for Europe.
4 years ago I decided to go it alone and move back to the UK. I set-up my own business helping companies improve their online visibility. That’s how the FIMA Digital company was born SEO is my true passion when it comes to online and digital so it seemed only natural that I offer these services out to potential clients.
What advice would you give to a company who are thinking about employing an SEO company to help them with their search engine rankings?
There are many proclaiming to be search engine optimisation specialists in the online world, and in truth it’s quite easy to pass yourself as an SEO expert. However, the proof is in results at the end of day. However, you are not going to get any results until you actually start working with an SEO company so you need to do your background checks.
For example, when new clients approach me I always send them a list of our most recent projects to show them proof of what we can do. Thankfully I have some fantastic customers who are more than happy to provide testimonials and recommendations for any new pitches that I need to make.
Another thing, it’s not a case of “if we build it they will come”. Businesses looking to work with an SEO consultant need to have a degree of patience and understanding that SEO isn’t always an immediate gain. The only company in the World that can truly dictate where you appear on Google, is Google themselves.
As an SEO agency we must exercise best and safe practices, keep up to date with the latest search engine algorithms, and work to the Google terms of service. Of course, it’s not just that – an effective SEO should be able to understand their client’s business inside and out, know the competition, be creative, and be able to identify the best and most relevant opportunities to support the SEO strategy.
What hints and tips would you give to a local business trying to establish themselves in the search engine rankings? What’s working for you and your clients now?
I have actually put some hints together on the FIMA Digital website blog detailing just this, but can summarise some of them here.
Firstly, on-page SEO. In 2017, the content on your site is 50% of the SEO strategy, whilst 50% of the work occurs off the website. Business owners can really improve their chances of ranking well by simply putting themselves into the mind-set of the potential customer and thinking what search terms they might be using. If you know those, then make sure that you satisfy those terms in your website’s content. I have so many clients come to me wanting to rank their website for a specific keyword, yet it’s not even referenced on their website properly.
If people need inspiration then use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool – this will suggest keywords for your business, as well as related terms too so is a great place to get a head start.
When it comes to off-page factors a website will need relevant and authoritative links back to it in order to rank well. I always explain that the way back-linking works is to imagine them like votes. However, not all votes are equal. Today’s SEO climate means you need to carefully earn the back-links to your website. If a local business can get links from their clients or business partners then this is typically a great first step as the niche relevancy should be there.
Another very important factor are the Google Places for Local Listings. These are the results which will appear when a local search term is entered into Google. You can tell them apart from the standard natural search engine listings because they are in a block on the first page, and include a business’s website address, links to customer reviews, and full address and telephone details.
Appearing near the top of these results also requires some external SEO factors. These include items such as business directory citations from the popular Yellow Pages style websites, how optimised your Google Plus business page is, how customers have reviewed you on the web, and how optimised the content itself is on the actual Google Local Listing page.
What’s been the most satisfying SEO project that you’ve completed whilst running FIMA Digital?
I don’t want to give any names out, as I keep most of the clients I work for close to my chest. Recently I’ve been working on a website for personal injury claims firm based in the UK. Personal injury has to be one of the most competitive markets in the search engines – purely due to the amount of money a solicitor or lawyer can get from a valid lead.
Over the last month I managed to get the most competitive keyword in a particular personal injury field ranked at number one in Google – and this is competing against all the big legal firms who have some massive marketing budgets.
My client is now reaping the rewards of the SEO campaign with some excellent leads and has seen their monthly average income increase by 60% over the last 30 days alone.
What current SEO strategies are you working with to give your client’s good online visibility in the search engines?
One of my favourite SEO tactics at the moment is ranking YouTube videos in Google. Google owns YouTube and seems to give video content favourable ranking position in listings. What I like to do is create a video with my clients which targets some of their main business keywords. I then treat that video just like any other SEO project, so optimise it with relevant back-links, embed it on authority niche websites, and so on.
What I tend to then see is that it’s possible to rank the client’s YouTube video up behind their official website in the rankings. This means that I can then get the client both the first and second position on Google, as their video will appear in the second place. Of course, this then means they will start to dominate the first page of search results which converts to more potential customers for their business.
The video doesn’t always have to be anything amazing, sometimes just a slide show approach with some audio added will do the trick. Here’s an example embedded below (or watch it direct on YouTube) of a video I put together for FIMA Digital. It now ranks high up on page one when people in Southampton search for SEO. It complements the position of my actual website very well.
Lastly, what are you predictions for the SEO industry over next two years?
That’s always such a difficult question to answer, because the search engine landscape is constantly evolving. I do honestly believe that it’s going to be a tough time for a lot of SEO consultants because many of them will probably continue to use out-dated strategies and methods which just don’t work anymore. For companies like FIMA Digital that’s probably a good thing though because it should mean more business for us.
For more information about FIMA Digital and how they can help your business in Southampton with SEO services, please visit: