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12 Tips for Social Media at Christmas

Christmas  Celebration Party Xmas ConceptAdding Christmas spirit to your social media channels is a great thing to do. With more and more people shopping online and especially through their mobile, social media is an increasingly influential channel which should not be ignored. Taking the time to plan your social media during the weeks before Christmas can help boost engagement, increase sales and is a great way to have some fun and show your brand’s personality. Here are 12 of our top festive social media tips.

1.    Give your profile a Christmas make over
This is a simple one but can make a big impact. You don’t have to go over the top, but simply adding a festive spin to your logo and or your cover photo can help get people into the festive spirit. People browse social media a lot at this time of year, so refreshing your cover photo can motivate people to click on your profile. Always ensure that your brand remains recognisable and that you continue to reflect your brand personality in a seamless way. Always use your cover photo to reflect your brand or a key selling point. Do you have a Christmas promotion or seasonal products? Then social media can be a great place to highlight this.

Ensure all your social channels look similar to maintain a theme for a consistent, professional look.

2.    Giveaways and Competitions
A popular method to increase engagement and brand awareness is by hosting a giveaway or competition. You could run one big competition that lasts throughout the festive season or create excitement with multi-day giveaways (e.g. 12 days of Christmas or an advent-based giveaway).

In addition to being lots of fun, running a giveaway over several days will entice people back to your page. If you are offering a prize that would make a good Christmas present, ensure the cut-off date for entry ends early enough that you have plenty of time to pick a winner and get their prize sent to them before the day itself.

3.    Christmas Offers
Christmas is one of the biggest purchasing seasons of the year. People expect to see offers and promotions so create an offer if possible. Create some urgency by running short promotions, such as for one-day only. You can also run several offers within the festive build up. Don’t feel like you must stick to one.

The benefit of running several offers is that not only does it grab the attention of the customers but also helps providing valuable information for your business about what offers work with particular audiences. You can then use this information for future promotions.

When planning promotions just be careful to not run too many at once as this can cause customer confusion and have the opposite effect.

4.    Create conversation
Social Media is named social media for a reason. The platforms are designed to facilitate communication and Christmas is the perfect time to start a conversation with your followers. Ask them what their favourite thing about Christmas is or what their favourite festive film or food is? Although the questions may not be directly related to your product or service, it helps create excitement and shows that your brand is sociable and approachable.

5.    Have great customer service
As Christmas is such a busy time, you may have an influx of customer queries to deal with. Always ensure you respond quickly and as helpfully. Even if you are dealing with a complaint, dealing with it efficiently and politely could lead to them becoming a repeat customer. Ensure you have enough manpower to deal with the increase in customer queries, even if this means hiring temporary staff. Customers will be eager to know when their parcel will be delivered so make sure your opening hours, delivery information and returns policy and clear and easy to find.

6.    Make the most out of hashtags
You can improve your reach by using festive hashtags. If you are running a Christmas campaign, then you can create your own hashtag. Encourage your customers to use this hashtag when they purchase products and use a hashtag as part of a competition to significantly improve reach and engagement.

7.    Try Paid Ads
If you have a particular product or message you want to push, then consider using paid ads. They are available across the main social channels and ensure that your message is being seen by the right people as you can target who sees them. Organic posts from businesses are being less and less due to family and friends’ messages being given higher priority, meaning that paid ads are an effective way of pushing a particular sales message.

8.    Go Live
If your business is doing something Christmas related, then going live is a great idea. Your customers and followers will like to have behind-the-scenes access and live videos are a great way to do that. On Facebook and Instagram, your story can have video content that lasts 24 hours (unless you save it to a highlight) This makes it a great way to reveal offers that only last a short amount of time, answer questions from your audience or just have a chat.

Remember that stories and live videos can be more informal so use it as an opportunity to have a nice conversation with your followers and show your brand personality.

9.    Have some fun
Christmas is a time to have fun. Share the festive fun you have in your office. Share your Christmas playlist or show how your office has been decorated. A popular option is to take part in National Christmas Jumper Day. Not only is it a great way to donate to charity and back a great cause, it is fun to see members of staff where festive jumpers. The cheesier the better!

10.    Keep an eye on competitors
Competition is at its most vigorous over Christmas so always keep an eye on competitors. You should never copy your competitor, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of any marketing tactics being deployed. 

11.    Make shopping as easy & nice as possible
Buying Christmas presents can be stressful so ensure you make it as simple for customers as possible. User experience is a huge factor in online sales. If your website is hard to navigate, slow to load or there are too many barriers, customers won’t return. Always link your social media posts to your website. If you are pushing a particular product, send them to that product page rather than your home page or a page with lots of products on. If you are an ecommerce company, you can tag items directly to your Facebook Business page, which opens up another channel for sales.

12.    Wish them a Merry Christmas
It is tempting to have a break from social media between Christmas and New Year as the traffic may be slowing down. However, continue to post regular updates. Social media activity increases on the days between Christmas and New year as customers are not only looking out for the Boxing Day sales, they are also wishing each other Merry Christmas. So, why not do the same?

On Christmas Day and New Year, try and post something to wish everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from your brand.

These are just 12 tips for social media at Christmas. It is important you try and make the most out of this increased traffic as it can not only lead to sales but also improve brand awareness and customer loyalty. 

If you would like any more advice about social media marketing, then the DBS Internet Marketing team will be happy to help. Give us a call on 01522 811688.

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How your business can use structured data to optimise your website

Structured Data#

Structured data is code written in a machine-readable format which allows Google and other crawlers to better understand content on a website. This allows search engines to harness this additional information to provide rich snippets in search results providing additional exposure for your business. This blog discusses in more detail what structured data is and how it can be used to help your SEO and optimise your website.

Structured data can help crawlers to understand the basic business information (Company name, address, opening hours etc) but can also be used for more complex information (articles, upcoming events, recipes, products etc). Structured data is organised and tagged into specific groups to help Google and other search engines understand the context and use it to provide accurate and rich results. This tagging is also called mark-up.

How can it help your business?

Having structured data can improve your SEO as it aids search engines and helps them to understand your website and content a lot better which can only be a good thing. We have also seen an increasing trend for people seeking personalised online experiences. Using structured data helps Google provide the most accurate and relevant search results for people. If you use structured data, it is never guaranteed that you will appear on the page, but you are more likely to be more visible to potential clients and it can also help increase your click through rate.

Do you need a web developer to get started?

In most cases it beneficial to involve your web developer to ensure structured data is being used on your website and ideally in a way which is automatically added whenever something is updated on your website such as an event or product (this is especially important if the section is changing on a regular basis so you don’t have to always update the code on the page manually). You can use Google’s Structure Data Mark-up Helper to submit a page and tag different sections of the page. Once you have tagged your page, the tool will generate HTML which you can download and add to your site.

Examples of structured data

  Structured data shows up on search result pages in a range of ways. Carousels are sometimes used at the top of search results to show movie actors if you are searching for a film or will show songs from a featured artist you are searching for. This sometimes happens with products, news articles etc.

Featured snippets are another type which includes information search engines believe is relevant to the search taking place. This may include answers to questions. These snippets do not count as one of the organic results on a SERP, so winning the snippet on a page can mean your business can show up twice on the same page.

Knowledge panels (or knowledge graph cards) are another common type of structured data. If you have every searched for someone famous you will more than likely see information about them show down the side of the search results page which includes a picture, their birthday and more information about their career. This is a popular example of knowledge panels in action.

In conclusion, having structured data does NOT guarantee you to show more on SERP, and does not affect the position of your organic listing, but it can impact where your business shows on SERPS and this can improve your exposure significantly. Incorporating it into your SEO strategy in the long term can help you reap the benefits. Moving forward, structured data is likely to continue to be used more, meaning if you think about starting to use it now, you can get ahead of your competitors. If you do not have it as part of your SEO strategy, you are potentially missing out on opportunities to rank higher. There is no guarantee that Google will provide a rich snippet of the page you are looking add, even if you have added structured data. All you can do is hope Google will use this extra information you have provided.   The main thing to remember is to be patient. You will not see results overnight, which is common with SEO in practice, however you can reap the benefits in the long run.

If you need any more information or help with structured data, then please contact the web development team on 01522 811688 and we would be happy to help.

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Google Ads: Google confirms payment issue


Sankt-Petersburg, Russia, August 31, 2018: Google Ads AdWords application icon on Apple iPhone X screen close-up. Google Ad Words icon. Google ads Adwords application. Social media networkGoogle has confirmed that they are aware of a payment issue that has caused identical payments to be collected twice within some Google Ads accounts. The issue is connected with how they process direct debit payments.

A number of Google Accounts have been affected and Google’s technical team are presently working to resolve the issue.

As of yet, Google has not provided a statement on what will happen next as a decision hasn’t been made regarding this but we will be staying in regular contact with Google until this is resolved.

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Cookie Consent Update- Is your business compliant?


hand about to click on Accept Cookie pop-up message

On 3rd July 2019, the ICO (the UK data protection authority) updated their guidance on the rules regarding the use of cookies and other similar technologies. Here, we discuss in further detail what these new guidelines include and whether you your business needs to make any changes to your website in order to be completely compliant.

What are cookies?
Cookies are text files which typically contain 2 pieces of information: a site name and unique user. They work when you visit a site that uses cookies for the first time, as a cookie is then downloaded onto your computer. The next time you visit that site, the computer checks to see if that cookie is still relevant and sends the information in that cookie back to the website. This all means that the company then knows that you have visited the website before. Some cookies are more sophisticated than others and can record information such as how long you have spent on that website, where you have clicked and what is in your shopping bag, providing the business with valuable information. Cookies are good in the way that companies can use this data to provide a better online experience for their customers, however there are some concerns over privacy and how the companies use this data.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has recently ruled that any consent box that are pre-checked within a cookie banner is not legally valid. If you currently have a cookie banner which involves a user having to untick a box to opt out of cookies, then you need to redesign the banner.

The new guidelines the ICO have released also includes the following information that businesses should adhere to:

•    You can never imply that a customer has provided consent. -  Avoid using statements such as “by continuing to use this website you are agreeing to cookies”. Statements such as these do not comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which requires the customer to clearly state they want to be part of it. Pre ticked boxes, and sliders defaulted to ‘on’ are also not allowed if the cookies are not essential.
•    Be careful with use of banners and pop ups-  Pop ups highlighting the use of cookies to obtain consent are useful however you need to ensure that non-essential cookies are not used if the customer doesn’t click on the accept button in the banner and instead continues to click on a different part of the page. This is suggesting that they didn’t directly give you permission.
•    Cookie walls are not allowed- You cannot use cookie walls which restrict access to a service until the customer consents to cookies. This is because the customer has no genuine choice to opt out, even if they wanted to.
•    Remember GDPR- If you are a company not in the EEA (European Economic Area) but still do business within Europe, you will still have to comply to GDPR legislation which will impact the use of cookies.

Considering these guidelines, it is important for businesses who currently use cookies to evaluate how they use them and ensure they are being presented to customers in the correct way. If you would like any more information on cookie consent or would like help changing your cookie policy then the DBS web development team will be happy to help. Give us a call on 01522 811688.

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David’s trip to Everest Basecamp

This September, DBS Director and founder David Clarke undertook a great challenge and trekked to Everest Base Camp. Being thousands of meters above sea level, long days of walking and torrential rainfall meant the trip was far from easy, but made the achievement at the end so much more impressive.

In total the trip took 8 days to get up to base camp and an additional 3 to get back down. During the trip, there were inevitably highs and lows. When I asked David what his favourite part of the trip was he said he had to be the moment he finally arrived at base camp. What was the worst? Day 7 - as it when the altitude sickness kicked in. Nausea, sickness, headaches and eyes that were almost swollen shut made it difficult to get through.

His daily routine started at 6 am when his alarm went off, breakfast was served at 7 am with the walking starting at around 8 am. Most of the days finished around 3 or 4pm.

David decided to take on such a big challenge as he turned 60 earlier on in the year and he thought it was a now or never thing. Would he do something similar in the future? Apparently he has no plans as of yet. But he is having a good think about whether to do high altitude again or not. 17,500 ft is a long way up and puts a big demand on your body.

Finally, I asked If he would recommend other people giving this challenge a go, “Yes, but it needs a huge amount of training and dedication to do it justice”

Well done David, the whole DBS team are really proud of what you’ve done!

Here are some of the amazing pictures from David’s trip:

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David had to take a helicopter out of Kathmandu as Lukla Airport was closed due to cloud. They ended up landing 600m below Lukla which added to the trek.

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Day 1- The trek began with putting duffel bags on yaks and heading for Phakding

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Day 3:  The group undertook an acclimatization walk to 3900m. This picture was taken on the descent into Namche Bazar. Torrential rain all day did not make the trek easier!

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Day 6: Plastic bottles will be banned on Everest from next year but the photo shows how every bottle of water arrives

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Made it to Everest Base Camp. A whopping 5364m high

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Why is Google Maps not working on my website?


Why-is-Google-Maps-not-working-on-my-websiteMany websites have a Google Map embedded onto their site somewhere, whether this be part of the home page or contact us section to allow potential customers to easily find your business and visit.

If you do have a Google Map embedded on your website, we encourage you to check to make sure it is still working correctly and not showing the following error message:


Google Map error screenshot
What does the error message mean? Well, back in May 2018 Google announced that from July 2018 it would be a requirement for businesses to add billing details with the Google Maps Platform API (an API is something developers can use to request data from another server, for example in the Google Maps case we can send some data to Google’s servers to retrieve information such as driving directions)

You will need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account in order to continue using Google maps. Once you have enabled billing, you will gain $200 worth of free usage per month for Google Maps, Routes and Places products. Although a lot of companies do not exceed this monthly limit, we do recommend that your map configuration is reviewed to ensure that you are not paying any unnecessary costs for getting data from the Google Maps Platform.

Maps are an important thing to have on your website as they are extremely useful, so using Google maps, routes and places are all still great features to use, you just need to make these modifications in order to ensure the maps still works effectively on your site.

The DBS team will be happy to help you if you require assistance with obtaining the API key or if you would just like some more information. Give us a call on 01522 811688.

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DBS named finalists at the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards 2019

Lincolnshire Business Awards 2019- CroppedWe are excited to announce that we have been named as finalists for the Lincolnshire Media Business Awards 2019.

We will be heading to the Awards Ceremony held at the Lincolnshire Showground Epic Centre on 17th October. The awards will see Lincolnshire businesses go head to head for awards across a range of categories voted by a panel of independent judges. The categories range from Apprentice of the Year, Business Person of the Year to Heart of the Community and Innovation Award. With 16 categories, it will be an evening with plenty of amazing winners.

DBS have been nominated for TWO categories this year: Employer of the Year and Digital Campaign of the Year.

The awards are now in their 16th year and it is a great event that shows the efforts of businesses across Lincolnshire. All of the winners are then put forward to with the prestigious Business of the Year Overall winner.

Commenting on being shortlisted, DBS Director Julie Priestley said. “We are delighted to be finalists for both the Employer of the Year and Best Digital Campaign awards.  It makes great business sense to us to invest in our team, they are the heart of DBS Internet Marketing and are continually striving to achieve great results for all our clients.  We are looking forward to an evening celebrating all the amazing local businesses in Lincolnshire. It should be a great evening.”

We are so proud to be finalists and are looking forward to the awards ceremony as it’s a great evening and its lovely to be able to celebrate the amazing achievements of local businesses.

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Online Payments are changing

Online PaymentsWhat is Strong Customer Authentication and how will it affect my business? Changes were due to come into play on the 14th September 2019, however several countries have announced that their implementation will be temporarily delayed.

When the new regulations for authenticating online payments are introduced in Europe, they will make shopping online even more secure for the customer. Here we discuss in further detail what Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is, how it could affect your business and what measures you can put in place to accommodate the new rules.

What is Strong Customer Authentication?
SCA is new a new regulation requirement in order to reduce fraud online and make purchasing online more secure. Once this new regulation is live, you will need to ensure that your checkout meets the required level of authentication. If it currently doesn’t, you will have to build additional authentication into your checkout process.

For a payment to successfully be processed, SCA requires the authentication to use at least 2 of the following elements:

1.    Something the customer knows (This can include a PIN code or Password)
2.    Something the customer has (This can be a code sent to a mobile phone)
3.    Something the customer is (This is completely unique to the person and can include face recognition or fingerprint).

By including at least 2 of these elements, you are ensuring the payment is genuinely being made by that person.

Currently online payments often require 3D secure- this is when the customer is prompted by their bank, once they have made a payment online, to provide additional information such as entering a one-time code which is sent to their mobile or a password. The new regulation is building on this, taking it one step further to ensuring higher security.

When is SCA required?
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will be required for online payments that are “customer initiated” within Europe. Therefore, this will include the majority of card payments and all bank transfers.

SCA will be required when both the company and the customer are located with the EEA (European Economic Area). Please note that currently it is believed that the new regulations will still take place in the UK regardless of the outcome of Brexit, so online companies need to be aware of this change.

When is SCA not required?
There are some cases where SCA will not be required. Certain low risk transactions and transactions of a low amount (e.g. Under €35) may not require the additional security measures.

Other exemptions may include subscriptions, trusted beneficiaries (where customers could have the option to white list certain businesses they trust) and phone sales.  Despite these being possible exemptions, it is not guaranteed. At the end of the day, it will be the customers’ bank who determines which payments can be made exempt. Bearing this in mind, you will need to be prepared for SCA and not rely on these payments being exempted.

What are the next steps?
If your business will be affected by the new regulations, we recommend that you start preparing for it as soon as possible. Unlike the current authentication which adds another step to the customer checkout, the new regulation is attempting to minimize the friction during the checkout process and make it as smooth as possible whilst still being more secure.

It is important to be aware that payment methods such as Apply Pay and Google pay already support the new regulations as they both have a layer built in which requires your fingerprint or password. Using these methods is one-way businesses can offer a smooth check out experience but still meeting the new regulations.

If you need any more information about the new regulations coming into effect later on in the year, or would like to discuss any changes to your checkout to accommodate these changes then please contact the DBS web development team on 01522 811688 and we would be happy to help.
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How to improve your Local SEO

Local SEO. Internet Marketing Concept.Optimising your local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is vital for small businesses. Local SEO is where you target customers who are likely to come and visit your store or business location. By correctly targeting the correct people who are in the vicinity of your business, it will encourage them to come and visit. Studies suggest that once someone has searched for a local business, they are likely to go and visit the business within 24 hours, so it is vital to get your business out there. Here we discuss a few ways in which you can improve your local SEO to get you seen by more people, but more importantly, the correct people. By using some of the same methods of standard SEO such as creating engaging and informative content, you can become more visible, however for local SEO there are a few more factors you should consider:

1.    Claim your business listing
Claiming your My Google Business page is a great way to start. This will mean when people search for a business similar to yours, you can appear in the business listings and this will provide potential customers with important information such as your opening hours, your address and contact details. Try and use local keywords in your listing as well. Google is not the only listing you can claim. Look at Bing Local, Yelp and other industry specific business directories to make your business more visible. Also add all of this useful information onto your social media networks as well. You can make your listing stand out with images and reviews. This could make the difference of a customer picking your company over a competitor.

2.    Keyword Research
Just as with all SEO and many forms of digital marketing, keyword research is extremely important. Having an understanding of what words and phrases customers are using when searching online lets you know what you should be including in your content. Start with some competitor analysis as this is a great way to get some inspiration to start you off. Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to help with this exercise. You can then use the keywords you want to focus on in your targeting list in Google Adwords and ensure they are included in your website copy to help with organic results as well. A great way to add keywords in a website is by writing informative and helpful blog articles for your target customers.

3.    Think mobile first
Many people are using their mobile phones above any other device they own so it makes sense to always ensure mobile is at the top of your mind when carrying out any form of digital marketing. It is especially important for local SEO as people will be looking for businesses on their phone on the go, so if they are near your business, they are likely to visit. You need to ensure that when customers are searching, all the information you want to get across is easy to read on mobile and that it’s all easy to find. Although your website needs to look good across all devices including tablets and desktop, mobile should always be the priority as so many people rely on them.

4.    Reviews are extremely useful
It is a good idea to ask your customers for reviews. As long as you don’t force your customers, or ask them in a rude or forceful way, a lot of customers will be happy to provide you with one. This is especially important for certain sectors such as dining or hotels. Having reviews on Google or Trip Advisor and other review sites will help you appear higher up on the search results page. Also, reviews hold a lot of power. If customers see several good reviews, they will be more tempted to visit your business. But make sure you keep an eye on reviews. Good reviews can do amazing things for both your brand visibility and your reputation, but bad reviews can sometimes be damaging. By addressing reviews, whether they are good or bad, in a quick and professional manner will show you have high levels of customer service.

5.    Be Social
Social media isn’t going anywhere soon, so it is important for your business to be visible on social media as it will be where your audience is. Social media marketing as a whole is relatively cheap form of marketing and can have an extremely high impact. The main thing to consider is which social platform is right for your business? Each social media platform is different, and you need to cater your content for this. It also depends on which social media platforms you believe your ideal customers to be on. If you are a restaurant for example, then Instagram is a great platform for you as your products are extremely visual, which will translate on Instagram well as this is a very image led platform. Social media is also a great place to push offers which can entice people to visit your business. Once you have people at your business, try and get them to share that they were there or used your product or service as this will help increase your reach.

6.    Make sure you measure
As with all elements of marketing, you need to make sure you measure the results consistently so you can adapt your strategy and see the results. The Google My Business dashboard can provide you with some information such as how many times your listing has been viewed, how many times it has been searched and how many times your map has been looked at. These are all great indications that customers are interested in visiting your business or contacting you.

7.    Make sure all details are correct
When filling out your business listings, always ensure your business information is correct. Keep your phone number, website, email address, business address and opening hours consistently up to date to avoid any customer confusion as this could lead to frustration. Also ensure all your information is consistent. Make sure your present your address in the same way each time with no abbreviations, as again this shows a great eye for detail and professionalism.

8.    Get blogging
Creating a blog on your website is a great way to regularly update your website, include local keywords and provide your potential customers with useful or entertaining content all at once. Not only is blogging great for SEO, it can benefit the customer by providing information each time they visit your website. If you can keep them engaged, they will be more invested in your business. You can use these blogs on your social channels as well!

If you need help with your local SEO strategy then Team DBS can help. We can look at your current website, and ensure your site is fully optimized for local SEO traffic. We can also help with your social media presence as well. If you would like more information or a no obligation quote then please do not hesitate to contact us.

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PPC vs SEO – which is best for my business?

Text sign showing Ppc Vs Seo. Conceptual photo Pay per click against Search Engine Optimization strategies.Search Engine Marketing (also known as SEM) consists of two main areas, PPC (Pay per Click Advertising) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If you are new to these terms, they can appear to be extremely daunting prospects. Here we help to explain what they are, discuss the differences between the two of them, why they are important for increasing sales and revenue, and which one will work best for your business.

What is PPC?
PPC stands for Pay Per Click. This marketing technique allows you to show a customised advert to people who are searching for your products or services. The beauty of it is that you are only charged when someone clicks on your advert, hence the name.

Pay Per Click advertising is most effective on Google or Bing and the reason it’s so effective is that you get to choose the search terms your adverts are shown for. The ads are highly prominent as they appear at the top of search result pages and in most instances will be the first listings that clients or customers see.

The exact position your ad will appear in depends heavily on how much you are willing to spend, your resources, and skill set in the area. If there is a lot of competition for certain “keywords” (which are phrases that your potential clients or customers are typing in to the search engine), then it will cost you more per click to feature at the top of the page. You can identify which results on a page are PPC as they feature the word “Ad”.

What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the marketing technique used to try and influence the “organic” or “natural” search engine results, which you do not pay to appear in. By optimising your website content and digital presence by focusing on certain keywords, you can end up getting your website on to the first page of the search engine results without the need to pay every time someone clicks on the link.

Organic results appear below the PPC ads. If you create your website with the keywords that people are searching for in mind in terms of meta data (the code that sits behind each page and tells Google what your website is about), the text on those pages, the layout of the site and more, then you can create something that Google and other search engines will love and will be more likely to appear higher up in the results. Having a site that is easy to navigate, answers your customers questions and has a good overall customer experience are factors that Google likes and in turn will reward you with a higher position. But it is isn’t just enough to do this once and forget about it – Google likes to see a website that is constantly being updated and an active social media presence, so SEO is an ongoing process.

What are the differences?
Cost - The main draw to SEO is that it free - but only to a degree. Initially you will have to pay for the website and the content on it to be optimized if you want it to be done properly and in line with keyword research. You may also have to pay for someone to write ongoing content (such as a blog) or to write your social media for you, but you can do that yourself.

However, you will not have to pay each time a customer clicks, unlike PPC where you must pay for each individual click regardless of whether the customer ends up converting. Having said this, it takes investment in both time and money in order to get your SEO to a great level. The cost you end up paying for an ad depends on what keyword you are bidding for and how many people are bidding on the same keyword, among others, as PPC is effectively an online auction. Although you have to pay each time a customer clicks through, you do not have to pay every time your advert is viewed. Although SEO does not have a direct cost like PPC, you have to consider the cost of both time and money spent on your ongoing efforts to build you SEO as it is a time-consuming task.

Position in Search Results - PPC ads feature above organic results and also feature at the bottom of the search results page. The position of your advert depends on many factors. Organic results fill the middle of search engine result pages (SERPs) and the exact position, again depends on many factors. The more relevant search engines think you are, the higher up the page it will place you. Many people think that if they are positioned high up in the natural results then they don’t need to feature in PPC, but often that isn’t the case. Many people will only click the first two or three results they see, which are often PPC. To catch as many visitors as possible, you generally need to appear in both.

Time - PPC is a much quicker option and you can see results in a much shorter time period. If PPC adverts are set up effectively you can start seeing results straight away. SEO is a time-consuming task in comparison, and it can take months for the benefits to start to be felt. However, if it is carried out regularly and efficiently, you will see the benefits that can last a long time.

Visibility - PPC ads are more visible across all of Google including their partners such as YouTube. This means your ad can appear in more places than your organic result which can lead to more visits to your site.

Control - A benefit of PPC is that you are in complete control of what your ad says and how it will appear (even if you cannot completely control where). This means you can create tailored ads that are targeting specific groups of people. The more informative your ad is, the more likely a customer will click.

Amount of Traffic - Studies have suggested that PPC ads get more clicks, however this will therefore result in higher cost. SEO results will get high amounts of traffic but only if you feature high up in the results, which again can take a lot of time to achieve this, if at all.

Conclusion
In conclusion the best approach for many businesses is a combination of both PPC and SEO. Depending on the budget you have available and the type of business you own, you should start with PPC as the results can be seen faster, but team this up with an SEO strategy as soon as possible, as the sooner you start, the sooner you will start to see the benefits. This is a longer-term strategy and will require a lot of initial effort, however if you continue to carry out SEO you will hopefully appear on the first page of results which will be cheaper for your business in the long run. They also work hand in hand as if you start off with PPC ads you can use the keyword data you have created in your research to aid your SEO strategy at the same time.  Both PPC and SEO take time to completely master and will involve a lot of resources, however when they are done well, both methods make a huge impact on the visibility and success of your website and business.

If you need help with your PPC or SEO strategies, then the DBS team are happy to help. Contact us on 01522 811688 or visit www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk for more information.

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DBS founder celebrates milestone birthday

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Many happy returns to DBS director and founder David Clarke who celebrated his 60th birthday on Sunday!

The DBS team celebrated in a relaxed way with David, his family and friends after work on Friday night by going to listen to some live music whilst enjoying pizza and a few beers.

David founded DBS in the USA in 1986 before returning to the UK and founding DBS in the UK in 1996. Over the years DBS evolved from being a print advertising business to being the web design and online marketing business that it is today.

In 2017 as David began to step back from the business DBS became a 100% employee owned company.  

To find out more about David and to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, visit https://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/our-team/1/david-clarke/

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Update on the Nepalese student DBS is helping through college

Back in 2016, one of DBS’ directors David Clarke hiked the Everest Base Camp Trail in Nepal and raised an incredible £3,400 for Cancer Research. Whilst on the trail, David learned of a Sherpa guide who sadly had died during an avalanche whilst setting our ropes on a mountain trail for climbers. He had left a wife and four children behind.
 
David was extremely moved by this devastating story and when he returned to the UK, the DBS team agreed they would fund the eldest of the guide’s daughters through college education to ensure she had a bright future. Psang Lamu Sherpa was just about to start nursing college when her father sadly passed away.

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Photo: Psang and her family

The DBS team have been eager to know how she has been getting on and we are excited to hear that she is getting on brilliantly.

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Photo: Pasang learning how to ride a bike with her brother Karma who is training to be a mountain guide

Pasang decided to go in a slightly different direction and has switched from nursing to accountancy as she realised it was a better fit for her and she is now learning accountancy management whilst working part time at a dental surgery in Kathmandu.

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Photo: Psang busy studying

Psang and her family has gone through a lot with the death of their father and before that, an earthquake hitting the area which caused their family home to collapse. We are over the moon that the help DBS could provide is helping Psang to create a great career for herself and we wish her continued success in the future.

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National Employer of the Year Winners!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that DBS Internet Marketing has been named as the FSB (Federation of Small Business) Employer of the Year for the whole of the UK! 

DBS Director Julie Priestley, Web Project Manager Matt Rayner and Online Marketing Manager James Hopkins were very excited to travel from Navenby in Lincolnshire down to London to attend the national UK Final of the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2019 yesterday evening.

DBS was a national finalist for the UK Employer of the Year Award along with 11 other finalists from the regions and nations of the UK, having previously been named as the East Midlands Employer of the Year back in March.

We were absolutely over the moon when the FSB’s CEO, Julie Lilley, announced us as the winner of the award, and felt incredibly honoured and proud to go up on stage to be presented with the beautiful glass trophy.

A key factor in us winning this award is that we became Lincolnshire’s first 100% employee owned company in June 2017 when DBS Director David Clarke announced that members of the DBS team would now own a part of the long-established internet marketing and web design company.

David said at the time: “For me, it makes great business sense to reward the very people that have helped to build DBS. Now that the whole team has equity, we have a vested interest to grow the company even more.”

Commenting on the award, DBS Director Julie Priestley said: “Our business is service-based and so relies on our employees to give the best service to our clients.  By investing in our employees and giving them a vested interest for the business to do well our team give the best customer service to help our clients succeed. Words cannot describe how proud I am for Team DBS to receive this award, all of the congratulations and good wishes we have received from fellow businesses has been very humbling.”

The UK Final was described as a glittering event, and it didn’t disappoint! Held at Evolution Battersea, the evening started with a drinks and canapes reception, and then a speech from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, which was especially impressive considering it was the day of the EU Elections and the evening before the Prime Minister announced her resignation! We were all quite surprised that he had taken time out from the political events that were happening to attend the event!

Other high-profile politicians present included the Small Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP, and the former Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Baroness Neville-Rolfe. During the formal awards dinner there was a speech from Mike Cherry OBE, the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, and a pre-filmed speech by the now outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May. In total the event was surrounded by over 500 guests from across the country, including area winners, judges, sponsors, media, MPs and industry business leaders.

The evening was hosted by the actor, writer and comedian Meera Syal CBE, who found fame in the 1990s and 2000s starring in Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No. 42. She hosted the evening with an appropriate mixture of humour and seriousness, making the whole event entertaining as well as interesting. There was also a very moving presentation by Sean, an ambassador for the FSB Chairman’s Charity for the last year, the Rainbow Trust, that supports families with a seriously ill child.

The FSB Awards website states that “the annual awards, run by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), celebrate and recognise a sector that makes up 99.9 per cent of all private businesses in the UK and contribute £1.9 trillion to the economy.

“The 5.6 million small businesses and the self-employed in the UK contribute so much to our economy and our communities. In 2017 FSB launched the Celebrating Small Business Awards to recognise the best, most innovative and most determined of these, from every sector, industry and background.


“Recognising the huge value that being a finalist or a winner can bring to their businesses and teams, more than 2,000 businesses entered the 2019 awards.”


Many congratulations to the winners of the nine other awards announced last night, and congratulations to all of the finalists who did fantastically to get to the national final. Huge thanks to the FSB and the sponsors of the event for an absolutely incredible evening. 
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Employer of the Year National Finalists


The DBS Team are very excited to be national finalists for the Federation of Small Business’s Employer of the Year Award.

Three of the DBS team – Director Julie Priestley, Web Project Manager Matt Rayner and Online Marketing Manager James Hopkins - are heading to London on Thursday 23rd May for the UK national final of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Celebrating Business Awards 2019.

Described as a “sparkling” event and an “incredible night of celebration and recognition”, the formal awards dinner and ceremony is taking place at Battersea Evolution, and is considered to be one of the highlights of the small business calendar. It will be attended by over 500 guests from around the UK, including area winners, judges, sponsors, media, MPs and industry business leaders. The event will be hosted by writer and actor Meera Syal CBE.

DBS is in the running for the UK Employer of the Year having previously been named as Employer of the Year for the East Midlands region back in March. We are one of 12 regional/devolved nation winners in the Employer of the Year category. Awards are being announced in 10 different categories.

According to the FSB website, “the annual awards, run by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), celebrate and recognise a sector that makes up 99.9 per cent of all private businesses in the UK and contribute £1.9 trillion to the economy.

“The 5.6 million small businesses and the self-employed in the UK contribute so much to our economy and our communities. In 2017 FSB launched the Celebrating Small Business Awards to recognise the best, most innovative and most determined of these, from every sector, industry and background.


“Recognising the huge value that being a finalist or a winner can bring to their businesses and teams, more than 2,000 businesses entered the 2019 awards.”


DBS is very proud and excited to be in the running for this award. We became an Employee Owned Business in June 2017 when Director David Clarke announced that members of the DBS team would now own a part of the long-established internet marketing and web design company. David’s decision made DBS Lincolnshire’s first 100% employee owned company.

David said at the time: “For me, it makes great business sense to reward the very people that have helped to build DBS. Now that the whole team has equity, we have a vested interest to grow the company even more.”  

DBS has been an Investors in People company since 2004, and has recently won a number of awards in addition to being Employer of the Year for the East Midlands, including the North Kesteven Community Business Award 2017, the FSB Entrepreneur Award for Innovation 2017, and the FSB East Midlands Community Business Award 2018.
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3 big changes coming soon to Facebook

At the Facebook F8 conference which was held earlier this month, it was revealed that there would be many changes coming to the social media channel which could have a big impact on how we use Facebook going forwards. Here are some of the main changes discussed.

1.    Growing focus on community
The main focus of the keynote speech given by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was community. A lot of people now are communicating via private messages, Instagram stories and small group pages. This shift in behavior is due to the fact that people feel more included and have a sense of belonging when they are part of smaller communities.

People are turning to Facebook groups and closed communities to share their opinions and information about themselves, rather than just posting about it. There is also the opportunity for your Facebook posts to be shared on your public and private groups page, which could mean it will be easier to engage with your followers.

2.    Focus on privacy
Mark Zuckerberg stated that “the future is private” and increased privacy will be a main focus for the company moving forwards.  As users are not wanting their information to be as public anymore, privacy settings have been promised to improve. This includes Facebook private messages which will have stronger end to end encryption, meaning even Facebook will not be able to read them.

It is regularly in the press about how online safety has to improve, and Zuckerberg referred to our online safety in his speech by stating that they are working on reducing the permanence of our posts and messages. This could see more of a shift towards Instagram story style posts which have expiry dates and only appear for a certain amount of time.

3.    A new look
Finally, it was revealed that Facebook would be getting a new look.  This will be their first big redesign in five years and will include an amended logo and more prominence of Group pages. As communities and groups are becoming more visible, it will be easier to post and engage with others in your network.

Plus, it is said that Facebook Messenger will have a stand-alone app for desktop which will allow people to message others between Facebook’s different apps, such as Instagram or Whatsapp.  Having one unified platform to manage all direct messages from your laptop could be a massive time saver for businesses and individuals alike.
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DBS launch new website for domiciliary care franchise company

DBS are delighted to have launched a new website for elderly companion care company Senior Help, a franchise company providing non-medical carers and companions to elderly people across the UK.

They offer a variety of services that help to keep loneliness and isolation at bay for elderly people, including providing companionship and conversation, preparing meals, taking people on outings, making the beds or even watching a film together, allowing the person being cared for to stay in their own home for as long as possible. Not only is this of benefit to the individual being cared for, but it also gives their families the freedom to relax and feel happy knowing that their loved one is being cared for.  

In order to create the new Senior Help website, our web team had to completely re-write our existing custom franchise management system, which allows the franchisor to administer most of the website whilst allowing franchisees to manage their specific pages. The moderation system allows the administrators (i.e. the franchisor) to review all requested changes made by the franchisees.

Their previous website hadn’t been developed with scalability in mind, but the new website allows for the easy management of hundreds of franchisees. In addition to this, multiple franchise pages can now be associated with one single user, which is ideal when a user (franchisee) has several franchise pages, as it means that they don’t have to log in and log out of each franchise page in order to make changes.

Creating the new Senior Help website also meant that our web team could also focus on speed improvements and overhauling the admin panel to improve the interface for the users.

If you would like to see the new Senior Help website for yourself, then you can check it out by visiting https://www.seniorhelp.org.uk/
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The importance of Bing for Voice Search

Voice Search is an area which is rapidly growing and doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down anytime soon. A 2019 Microsoft study has estimated that 75% of households will have some form of smart speaker by 2020, whether this be a smart phone or smart home devices such as Alexa or Google Home.

Being fast, hands free and conveniently quicker than typing makes voice search popular, and with the advancing technology becoming more accurate, the use of voice search will probably only continue to grow.

Along with searching for quick facts and playing music, most voice searches are people looking for a product or service. This is where businesses can be proactive and benefit from voice search. For example, if a customer is looking for a solicitor or coffee shop near them, the device will search for those businesses whose business listings show they are near the customer’s location.

Although Google is the most visited website in the UK and on the planet, and is the main player for searches on mobile phones and desktop computers, when it comes to voice search it is not only Google that the results are pulled from. Google Home obviously uses Google search results, but other devices do not. In fact, Bing powers more voice technology than Google does.

So, what can your business do? The first thing is to ensure that both your Google and Bing business listings are up to date and easy to find. Searchers should be able to easily access your location, phone number, website and opening hours. If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you claim both your Places for Business listing on Bing and your My Business listing on Google. Voice search uses the person’s location to discover nearby businesses, so having your location visible is vital.

For help with setting up your Google or Bing Business listings so your company is more visible on search engines, please contact the team at DBS Internet Marketing who will be happy to help.
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DBS launch new website for local waste management firm


DBS are pleased to have launched a new website for Mid-UK Recycling, a longstanding client of ours who have premises and processing sites in various locations across Lincolnshire and the East Midlands.

Mid-UK Recycling was established in 1997 and is an independent waste management and recycling company. They offer a wide range of services to their clients which includes skip hire, bulk waste collections, commercial and industrial waste removal, carpet recycling, plasterboard recycling, wood recycling, agricultural waste recycling, paper and cardboard recycling and glass recycling. They work with businesses and local authorities to achieve a genuine 100% landfill diversion by investing in the latest infrastructure, and specialise in sustainable resource extraction, processing and recycling.

This was a completely bespoke website that was designed and built from scratch specifically to match Mid-UK Recycling’s needs. It included creating a custom content management system which allows them to edit information on the website quickly and easily themselves, in-house, without having to involve a third party, meaning that they can add, edit or remove pages, add, change or remove page content and images, and quickly and easily update the careers section as and when vacancies arise or are filled. 

If you would like to see their new website for yourself, then you can check it out by visiting https://www.midukrecycling.co.uk/

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Becky celebrates first birthday at DBS

Many Happy Returns to the newest member of the DBS team, our Internet Marketing Specialist Becky Gilpin, who only joined the DBS team last month.

Becky celebrated her birthday by going for a meal with her partner at the Butcher & Beast pub in Heighington, followed by a trip at the weekend to the beautiful and ancient city of York.

The team gathered at DBS to sing Happy Birthday to Becky and to celebrate with cake and candles, with Becky enduring the team’s singing for the first time!

Becky’s new role covers a wide range of digital marketing strategies, including content marketing and social media.

Before joining DBS, Becky spent five years working at John Greed Jewellery in Lincoln, where she mainly worked as a Marketing Campaign Coordinator. To find out more about Becky, click here to visit her profile, or here to read the announcement that she was joining DBS.
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Google fixes bug after websites removed from search results

If you thought that your website had disappeared from Google’s search engine results this week, you didn’t imagine it and you certainly were not alone.

Google accidentally removed a large number of websites and web pages from search results (known as “de-indexing”) last week, but thankfully the problem now seems to have been fixed.

Google, unsurprisingly, hasn’t revealed exactly what went wrong or gone into detail about the extent of the issues, but the SEO software supplier Moz has estimated that 4% of indexed pages were likely to have been affected, based on their samples.

When the issue initially occurred on April 4th, it took 3 days for Google to announce that they had solved the issue, only to then go on to say a day later that there were still issues. It was not until a week later they announced the issue was completely fixed and tweeted:

“The indexing issue has now been fully resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience. We appreciate your patience as we restored normal operation”

What were the effects? 
The impact of pages being de-indexed could have led to:
  • Loss in sales 
  • Lower conversion rates 
  • Loss of website traffic
  • An overall loss of metrics, making measuring website performance difficult 
What can be done about it? 
Unfortunately, there is not a lot that can be done about it. Google have fixed the bug which mainly happened over the weekend when Google searches are typically lower than average.

On Google Analytics you could always make note of when the issue occurred, so that you can take this blip into account when comparing performance in the future.
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Becky joins the DBS team

DBS are thrilled to welcome Becky Gilpin to the team as our new Internet Marketing Specialist. Becky joined the company on Monday 25th March, and will be covering a wide range of digital marketing strategies, including content marketing and social media.

Becky joins DBS with a strong background in marketing, including having spent five years working at John Greed Jewellery in Lincoln, where she mainly worked as a Marketing Campaign Coordinator for brands including PANDORA, Nomination Italy and Swarovski.

Becky studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham, which was when she realised that she loved marketing and wanted a career in this field. She graduated in 2013.

Born in Germany, Becky moved to the UK when she was three months old and moved around the country before finally settling in Lincolnshire in 2001. When she was six, Becky moved to Oman in the Middle East for three years, which sparked a passion for travelling and learning about different cultures. Her interests include travelling, going to live music gigs, reading and reviewing books, baking and learning French.

To find out more about Becky and to connect with her on social media, please visit: http://www.dbsinternetmarketing.co.uk/our-team/17/becky-gilpin/.

Welcome to DBS, Becky!
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Happy Birthday Thomas!


We would like to wish a massive Happy Birthday to DBS's Web Developer, Thomas Hounsell, who is turning 27 this week.

Traditionally the team celebrates with cake, but Thomas isn't a huge fan of cake, so instead the team celebrated at the end of last week with something more to his liking … a large plate of hot sausage rolls!

Thomas has been a web developer at DBS Internet Marketing since 2011 after leaving college with a BTEC National Diploma in IT. Outside of his day job, Thomas is always looking for a new DIY project to immerse himself in.

We’d like to wish Thomas an enjoyable week off work this week visiting friends and family.
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