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What do search engines want?

The easiest way to approach search engine optimisation (SEO) is by treating search engines like a store and your website is a product. They want to make their store attractive by offering good products. If your product (website) is better than your competitors, then they will put it closer to the front of their store or to stretch the analogy further in the window or the front page.

At the end of the day, search engines are businesses. By providing results that their users will find valuable, their users have a good experience and will come back again in the future. When they come back, they will see more adverts and search engines will profit from those repeat visits.

What is valuable content?

Valuable content is basically any content that people want to find. We should just pause and reiterate: it must be relevant to your business. By using content as a lure on search engines (and social networks), it must talk about what your company offers in terms of goods or services. Otherwise, your visitors will just bounce off having found out what they wanted to know.

Good content should attract visitors and excite them enough to engage further. This is the subject of a white-paper in itself. We can establish the potential popularity of a piece of content by looking at search volume data which is mainly made available for the use of paid advertising to justify higher rates for popular searches (and larger ad impressions).

You can use Google Trends to find popular search trends at the moment as well as general data on the popularity of search terms. Tools like this are used to establish keywords that may be valuable in developing content that is popular, but at the same time it shouldn’t be used to write content that isn’t relevant to your business.

We wouldn’t recommend a real estate company start writing about Taylor Swift, but we might recommend the content focus be skewed slightly to take advantage of relatively higher volumes. For example, a real estate company with properties near Dubai, can take advantage of higher Dubai based property searches by writing about the benefits of being near Dubai without actually being in it: lower costs, more space, great commuting etc.

The real estate company educates its readers and latches on to higher traffic sources without misleading searchers or search engines.

It’s a popularity contest

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” Wendy Piersall

One of the ironies of search engine marketing is that the more popular a piece of content is, the higher it will rank. But how do we make our content popular from page 2 of the search results?

We use all the other channels to drive traffic including Social Media, PR, Backlinks and Paid Advertising.

If your article, product or website is generating a lot of buzz, the search engine will assume that the content is useful or interesting to many people and will boost your rank accordingly.

Likewise, if content is talked about on other respected sites such as news outlets or Wikipedia, then it assumes the content is notable enough to warrant a boost in position.

These tactics help boost domain authority or in other words boost your credibility as a trusted and noteworthy source of information. If Wikipedia (which uses real people to review content) is happy to feature you, then you must be OK!


In Part 2, we’ll look at technical SEO and how making it easy for search engines to understand your site is a key technique to learn.

 

If you’d like to discuss your optimisation challenges, then get in touch!

Saudi Arabia’s social media usage has skyrocketed, according to Global Media Insights, and the country is now known as the Middle East’s most prominent social media market.

Because of the widespread use of smartphones, locals are using social apps more frequently, especially between 2020 and 2021. Statistics show that social media usage increased by 8%, with Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook seeing the most significant increases.

The country’s social media engagements are influenced by religious, political, and cultural factors. These factors impact Saudi citizens’ use of social media platforms in various situations, which enables them to communicate and connect more effectively and increase user participation.

So what are the latest trends in the Kingdom, and how can brands learn from this behaviour?

We uncovered the Kingdom’s latest online trends after deep-diving into KSA’s latest digital behaviour. Our findings are based on the Hootsuite and We Are Social KSA Digital 2021 report, Euromonitor’s Digital Consumer in Saudi Arabia report, global statistics and many more.

TREND 1: Create Content Using Local Dialect, Local Influencers and Geography of Saudi Arabia

Young Saudis are beginning to showcase their hidden talents on all social media platforms as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia grows. According to Motivate Media Group’s case study “Campaign Saudi Report June 2021,” Saudi Arabian influencers have one of the highest local follower fan bases among GCC countries, ranging from 50 to 60 %. Local Saudis are incredibly proud of their homegrown talent, believing them to be the authentic voice of their country and themselves.

After carefully studying the online behaviour patterns of Saudi influencers and local content creators, we discovered they place a high value on providing relatable and real content to their fan base. Instead of uber-polished Instagram posts, young Saudis prefer to share unfiltered and realistic content on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

To approach a local Saudi online, we learned they prefer advertisements delivered to them in their native language by someone they know rather than some famous “nobody.”

TREND 2: Where There Is Gaming There Is a Saudi Watching

Did you know that the Saudi gaming market has one of the most significant yearly growth rates in the world, at 22 %. With more than 21.2 million players across the country, the Kingdom is currently the world’s 19th largest gaming market, growing at a rate of 41.1% every year.

Gaming influencers have a sizable Generation Z audience who will watch their streams for hours on end. Brands in the gaming industry are eager to collaborate with these content creators because of their close ties to young audiences.

However, before you begin advertising and practising product placement, you should first assess your target audience. Rather than simply adopting a direct selling strategy, the goal is to positively impact the gaming community, engage with it, and connect with it.

TREND 3: Calling Out All KSA Shopaholics of All Ages

Whether you are 15 or 50, online shopping in the KSA is booming at an intense speed. According to a recent study conducted by global statistics, Saudi Arabia has 39.53 million mobile connections, accounting for 112.7 % of the country’s total population.

Shopping apps like Amazon.sa, Namshi, Shein, Noon, Ajmall, and many others are used by up to 67.7% of the population. All businesses must be present on all platforms, virtually everywhere in Saudi Arabia, because all customers are currently online and shopping.

Brands must evaluate and be critical in determining how to create a strategic approach to reach out to their audience while staying current with the latest trends and consumer needs in the marketplace to optimize customer journeys online.

With all eyes on Saudi Arabia’s government, a slew of subsequent changes, adjustments, bureaucratic reorganizations, and regulatory changes are transforming public life. It’s a place where all types of businesses can thrive while also connecting with a diverse group of people eager to learn and grow.

Are you curious about the latest trends and online behaviour in the Kingdom? Contact us, and we’ll make sure your marketing meets KSA’s high standards.

References:
Global Media InsightGlobal StatisticsData ReportalSocialize AgencyXpress RiyadhMotivate Publishing

One of the south coast’s specialist social media agencies; South Coast Social hit a new milestone this week as they officially celebrated their 5th birthday since the company was founded.

From starting out as a business idea crafted from a dining room table during her maternity leave, Managing Director Clare Groombridge has grown the company from their initial launch brands to currently working with over forty global businesses, specialising in social media content creation, community management and paid social campaigns.

The business also employs seven people locally with a Head Office in central Bournemouth, with plans to expand the team further in 2021 to accommodate the requirements of their expanding client base.

Managing Director Clare Groombridge comments:

“I’ve always believed in celebrating our yearly ‘birthday’ (the date the company was registered) to highlight how far we’ve come, especially after the incredibly tough last year we’ve all had due to the pandemic – we were no exception as a business.

 With statistics showing that 20% of companies fail in their first year and around 60% will go bust within their first three years, we’re proud of the strong foundations we’ve built – not only are we one of the leading social media agencies on the south coast, we have an incredible client portfolio of exciting global brands, a sister company in SCS Media and a soon to be launched training department. We also have some very big plans on the horizon for the remainder of 2021!

However, for a long time now SCS has not been about me. I’ve stepped back and let my amazing team take the reins. I’m truly lucky to be surrounded by such a brilliant, talented and creative bunch who make me laugh on a daily basis. Being their boss is an honour and our success and reputation is just as much down to them”

The UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG) chose Crowd to speak at the UK House at a celebration of Cannes Lions Creativity to showcase advertising with purpose. 

The talk covered the MyDorsetMind project  by Crowd. The project created a digital platform that enabled people to virtually access the Dorset countryside during lockdown, and therefore boost their mental health by feeling closer to nature. 

The talk, delivered by Crowd Creative Director Steve Howling, explained how advertising agencies brands should look past messaging campaigns and see how technology and creativity can be used to create tools for consumers. By creating something useful, brands will engage more deeply with their audience, and become part of their life – rather than blend in with the rest. 

This year’s themes from Cannes Lions Live were not only diverse, but also forward-thinking. 

  • How COVID-19 has changed everything – Why culture, society and creativity will never be the same again.
  • Coping with a crisis – Creativity is the answer: now what’s the question?
  • It’s a journey, not a destination – Rewriting all the rules of retail.
  • Build back better – How creative businesses will thrive, not just survive.
  • Will brands still save the world? – The purpose priority post-pandemic.
  • Are you stalking me? – Being cool, not creepy, in the pursuit of personalisation.
  • A fad or the future? – The good, bad and the ugly: seeing the creative potential of new platforms and technologies.
  • The vanilla content issue – Getting attention in a blizzard of bland stories

Our international team and global footprint can help companies expand their horizons wherever they are. Speak to us today.

British attitudes towards travel and tourism have changed almost beyond recognition in recent months. As successive lockdowns have bitten into the national psyche, a series of meta-trends that were emerging pre-Covid have come to the fore. At the same time, the pandemic has itself created new ones. The biggest change? A renewed love for The British Staycation.

When the first national lockdown eased in the UK between June and July 2020, millions of Britons in need of a summer getaway were faced with the challenge of finding holiday destinations much closer to home.

According to Britain’s Office for National Statistics, there were 93.1 million overseas visits by UK residents in 2019, spending a mind boggling £62.3 billion, an increase of 7% compared with 2018. Had that trend continued, foreign travel might have outweighed domestic tourist spend entirely.

But this does not mean that £62.3 billion has gone straight into domestic tourism in 2021.

Domestic tourism forecasts for 2021

At time of writing, the ONS hadn’t released its 2020 data. But VisitBritain put together a provisional outline of the impact of Covid on domestic tourism in England from other data sources – and included forecasts for 2021.

“We have forecast a central scenario for England of £28.5 billion in domestic tourism spending in 2020, down 63% compared to 2019 when spending by domestic tourists in England was £75.9 billion,” the organisation reported.

“In total, this represents a loss of £47.5 billion (£11.7 billion from overnights and £35.8 billion from leisure day trips). The 2020 forecast is for a decline of 60% for overnights and 63% for leisure day trips, although with a different pattern of recovery. While some categories of day trips started to recover first, others are still very limited.”

The impact of regional and national lockdowns has clearly been felt. But within the gloomy reading, the shift to staycations over foreign travel is coming down the road as clear as day itself.

What happens in England is likely to be mirrored in the devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and in every developed country where Covid-19 remains riskily high.

For further insights, see our full Amplify Travel & Tourism eBook here. To speak to Emma, contact her via LinkedIn here or email her at [email protected].

With a Covid-19 vaccine in sight for many people, teams could reasonably be expected to return to the office in the foreseeable future. But a move back to company HQ seems destined to fail if insisted upon too early in the recovery cycle.

It may also just be unnecessary. Firms like Fujitsu and Twitter have already announced plans to make remote work a permanent option, even after the pandemic. Global enterprises are deciding the path that they want to take to avoid staff irritation and confusion down the road.

Long-Term Travel – A Staff Incentive

The collision of technology and our personal desires is opening new avenues that are far flung from old-fashioned ideas about working from home.

With global restrictions almost impossible to predict, short-term travel continues to be difficult. But employees that feel a longer-term escape will benefit their professional focus and overall well-being are finding a new receptivity among progressive employers wanting to give talented individuals the space to find their place in the pandemic world.

Singles and couples that want to escape the same four walls they have inhabited since the beginning of the global lockdown are actively being given the opportunity to do so.

Travel has previously been seen as a potent employment incentive for a global workforce. Now it is a ‘travel-plus-living-in-the-place-you-want-to-work-from-for-a-while’ incentive.

This change has been driven partially by consistent access to the internet. Society already needed a cultural shift away from ‘presentism’ in the office. Although it took a global pandemic to do it, that shake up has happened. With a decent Wi-Fi connection and some initiative, a huge number of people in computer-based roles can get a day’s work done wherever they choose to be.

Working From Anywhere

A survey of 1,123 remote workers by The Times and Morning Consult found that:

  • 86% were satisfied working from home
  • Only 1 in 5 said they wanted to go back to the office full-time
  • 40% said they were taking more walks and breaks
  • 33% said they were exercising more

It seems safe to say that WFH works. But for me, the most telling statistic in this report actually related to the new WFA paradigm. One in three people contacted for the survey said they would “move to a new city or state if remote work continued indefinitely.”

In a world which increasingly seems crammed together, the future of business could be just the opposite: A chance to get out.

For further insights, see our full Amplify Travel & Tourism eBook here. To speak to Jamie, contact him via LinkedIn here.

Globetrender’s recent survey of 2,000 regular business travellers found that despite the increase in video-calling, the majority of people still believe that face-to-face meetings are preferable.

It’s our universal desire to connect with fellow humans that matters – be it for business or for pleasure. And that is why business travel will do more than survive in the long term.

The travel and hospitality sector has adapted to everything that has happened and we’ll adapt to everything that will happen ahead.

All you have to do is ask hoteliers. As Philip Chambers, General Manager at the K+K George Hotel Kensington told Amplify Travel & Tourism magazine, “We are working hard to create hospitality products that encourage the business traveller to spend more time with us. We will emerge from the current crisis with the energy and creativity which has kept it growing for more than a century.”

Themes for 2021

I look forward to travelling for business but believe that it will be less frequent and more intense. Business travellers like me will need to justify their travel for commercial, personal and ethical reasons in a way never seen before.

We will still need to meet new clients, build the foundations for future relationships, and complete complex deals and projects. But we will have to justify the business case for travel and assure our partners and families that the work cannot be done any other way – or take them with us.

We also need to think if a journey justifies the carbon footprint it creates.

Longer stays will be more popular. After the initial shock of Covid-19, we embraced working from home, spending more time with our families and getting involved with our communities. We swapped the commute for exercise and well-being – and theoretically had more time to do the things we love, because we spent less time commuting.

I think a new synthesis will emerge from all of these strands that offers business people the best of both worlds – a flexible work-world, and time to enjoy business tourism with the blessing of the companies that we work for.

For further insights, see our full Amplify Travel & Tourism ebook here. To speak to Vinnie, contact him via LinkedIn here or email him at [email protected].

Last week saw the first SXSW Online, a fully digital version of the annual conference which featured a busy program of keynote speakers, panel discussions, music showcases and film screenings.

After first attending the event in Austin two years ago, we were excited to have the opportunity to take part again, forming part of the UK House. This is a program of events, organised by the UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) and supported by organisations such as the British Government’s Department of International Trade, that showcases the very best in UK creativity.

I made my own SXSW debut this year, joining a panel of industry professionals to discuss how the pandemic has put social communities back in the spotlight, and the wealth of insights available to brands within these communities.

Community is what social media was built on from the beginning, providing a way for people to connect on a scale that hadn’t been possible before. While I don’t believe this ever got lost as such, the pandemic meant that digital interaction became the only way for people to have this connection.

For me, the sweet spot for any brand looking to grow and nurture a community is to strike the perfect balance between offering value without explicitly selling. Depending on your sector, this value can mean to inform, to support, to entertain or to solve a problem. During the pandemic, there is the added complexity of achieving a positive, yet sympathetic tone when facilitating a community of people likely to be experiencing heightened emotions.

One of the most effective ways to find your brand’s sweet spot is to listen outside of our own channels. Audiences speaking to brands is just part of the story, but audiences speaking to each other is a gold mine – and one that is often untapped. This data not only informs the marketing strategy, but it can drive product development and more effective business operations.

If you’re looking to develop your brand’s community strategy, or would like to discuss more about how online listening can deliver insights for your business, please get in touch.

Having a coherent, clear social media strategy became even more essential during the whirlwind of 2020. Since social media is constantly changing and evolving, the methods in which we make our company’s events, initiatives, and information available to our audiences must constantly change as well. As the world of social media marketing grows, it is more important than ever to have a robust strategy in place to try and ‘woo’ your audiences on a consistent basis and grow their trust as part of your social media strategy in 2021.

While there are many things to consider, the experts at South Coast Social provide an overview of 5 important tips to ensure you start the year on top of your social media game…

1. Prioritise quality and authenticity

This should have been your number one priority since day one, but it can never be said too much. As tools for creating engaging content become more popular and readily available, more and more companies are upping their game, making it harder to “stop the scroll.”

As consistently as you can, post high-quality, engaging visuals. If you have an important message for your audience, do not sell yourself short with easy or poorly executed content. Go the extra mile to acquire scroll-stopping videos, images, and relevant captions….

…Especially video! According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, it was estimated that around nearly 80% of all internet traffic is now video. Social media platforms are increasingly prioritising video, as this format appeals across all demographic lines.

Authenticity? This goes hand in hand with quality. Users are growing tired of fake content and while more is being done to prevent the spread of misinformation since the Covid-19 pandemic began, it is more important than ever to be authentic. We know that creating authentic content isn’t always easy, but it will encourage your audience to have a growing trust in your brand.

2. Do a Content Audit

A content audit is the process of collecting and analysing all the assets you have available on your website or otherwise, in this case – any relevant for social media use. When planning social content, knowing what is already readily available will save you time and effort and will help inspire you in creating new content, or knowing when to invest in a professional photoshoot (or start experimenting on your own!)

Assess what can be repurposed, tweaked or deleted, and then categorise each of them by where that content falls in the buyer’s journey. Don’t forget to add notes, as context is always key.

3. Utilise stories… like there’s no tomorrow

Most social audiences (not all, but most) are on Instagram. If they are not on Instagram, they’re definitely on Facebook. Instagram and Facebook have few things in common, but one stands out screaming, “Hey! Look at me!” – and that’s Stories.

Stories have legitimately taken over social media since their launch in 2016, with over 500 million users watching them every day. One third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses – and you absolutely want to ensure you are part of that percentage! If you are having a hard time deciding what type of content to post to Stories, think quick, easily digestible, and memorable. Any content that requires your audience to ‘lean in’ and digest should be a Post. Everything else? Post that baby to a Story (and then add it to a Highlight!).

 4. Spend time online

Conversations online spread like wildfire. It’s likely that you won’t be able to keep up with all the topics of conversation around your niche that occur on a daily basis, but it is important to keep an eye on them, if and when your audience is taking part in them.

If you are utilising a social content scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, it is essential to check in weekly – if not daily – and make sure that the content you have scheduled is still appropriate.

You do not have to be on all social platforms!. With several big-name options to choose from – including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube, it is not feasible in terms of time or resources. Focus on the platforms your target audiences may be using…. 

LinkedIn: Most users have a college/advanced degree, and their incomes tend to be higher.

Twitter: 63% of all Twitter users worldwide are between the ages of 35 and 65.

Instagram: Instagram skews more towards younger users:

– Age 18-29: 67%

– Age 30-49: 47%

– Age 50-64: 23%

– Age 65+: 8%

Snapchat: Most users are under the age of 34.

Facebook: Facebook, while not as popular as Snapchat or Instagram with younger users, does span a wide range of ages.

Pinterest: 25 percent more women use Pinterest than men.

TikTok: Although TikTok is fairly secretive about its user demographics, one analysis revealed that 40% of TikTokers are under age 20 and another 26% are under 30.

YouTube: Everyone seems to use YouTube! Set up a channel if relevant to your business.

By being aware of your platform selection’s most prominent audiences, you can make the most of your time and effort – and reach the right people in the right places with your social media strategy. Don’t forget to keep up to date with the latest trends for each platform.

5. Meet to discuss ‘Crisis Communication’

This is not exactly a revolutionary social media strategy. However, it is a fundamental one. 2020 has taught us many things but if there is one we need to take away for the upcoming year, it’s that a timely response is absolutely paramount.

Now, more than ever, what your company stands for is incredibly important to your audience. Try planning an internal meeting or a team Zoom to discuss the issues that occurred during 2020 and how you could have responded better socially. Based on what you find in that meeting, decide your company’s stance and plan ways to communicate quickly about similar issues. You may never need to use these responses externally, but knowing these things will help your brand’s focus either way.

This list only scratches the surface, but if you follow the five steps outlined here, it is highly likely that you will have a robust social content plan matched by an audience that trusts both your online presence and your brand in 2021, but we know it can also be rather time consuming…

See more from South Coast Social here – Consider hiring a social media agency for your business today.

 

Social media isn’t exactly a new thing, but sometimes people still get confused as to what a Social Media Manager actually ‘does’… After all, social media jobs are just young people having fun at work, taking selfies and ‘gramming their lunch right?

Building a loyal brand following on social for a demanding client can be gruelling – it’s a tough, demanding job with a lot of pressure. The team at South Coast Social shared some of their most asked questions – and the ones they LOVE to hear instead! And yes, they still do ‘gram their lunch…

1. Can you post this right now?
Your Social Media Manager isn’t sitting around all day posting about whatever pops into their head – there will always be a strategic method to their madness! The content they choose to post, how they interact with your brand followers, what they retweet or share, the number of posts sent out each day – everything is done with a clear rationale and based on the analytics provided from each social network. Asking a social media manager to post something out of the blue will likely clash with a strategically planned out schedule, although of course they’ll always want to be as reactive as possible! Frequency of reactive content is something you might want to discuss when you first start working with an agency to ensure you’re both on the same page!

What we’d LOVE to hear: Do you have room in your schedule for this, and how soon can we get it implemented?

2. Why don’t you just message *insert celebrity* and ask them to talk about our product? They’d love it!
Social media influencers have dedicated and engaged followings and an endorsement can be a big boost for your brand. However, influencers are no longer just celebrities. They range from industry experts, to content creators and local entrepreneurs. That’s why finding the right influencer isn’t about the most likes or follows, but their relevance to your brand. A quick, one-off endorsement isn’t how influencer partnerships work and they’re rarely free. It can take months to finalise a plan that suits both the brand and influencer. So the chances of Leonardo Di Caprio reading your message and deciding to chat about your product on his Stories is, let’s just say, slim – however talented your Social Media Manager is and however amazing your brand!

What we’d LOVE to hear: Do we have the budget for an influencer as part of our campaign, or can we investigate relevant influencers in your niche and entice them with a great offer or product?

3. Can you make this go viral please?
Ah – the classic!! And yes – we’ve all heard it! When a post goes ‘viral’, it is usually down to pot luck – but let’s talk about what happens when it does happen. Viral posts will usually see a big spike in social engagement and may even experience an increase in website traffic. Then, within a few days, everything will return back to normal activity. If your content isn’t created to provide long-term value for your audience, then it won’t have a great return on investment. That’s why Social Media Managers always focus on creating relevant, quality content that meets the business goals of their clients.

What we’d LOVE to hear: Let’s chat about how we can we measure a post’s success and continue to build on it long term!

4. Why aren’t we on *insert new social network*?
Short answer: Your audience isn’t on there either!

Social Media Managers are busy focusing on developing quality, strategic social profiles and an online presence on the right channels for your business, not the ‘trendy’ ones (remember FriendFeed or YikYak anyone?….) Each network has its own audiences and differences they have to be attuned to. It’s about quality, not quantity. It’s far more beneficial to master two social media channels than have profiles on five networks if the extra three are not meeting your objectives. Each additional network adds a new layer to your social strategy, plus needs resources and time to devote to managing it. That said – your Social Media Manager will have years of industry experience, and if there IS a relevant new social network your brand could capitalise on, they’ll be the first to let you know!

What we’d LOVE to hear: Is this (new social network) a good fit for our marketing efforts? What are your thoughts on it?

5. Let’s post something fun for *insert national holiday*
If there’s one thing Social Media Managers are fully aware of, it’s all of the national holidays. All Social Media Managers will be equipped with a calendar and will be strategically choosing which national holidays are relevant for your campaign. The choice to omit something from your company’s feed – like National Egg Day for example – is intentional!

Jumping in on conversations without intention can actually devalue your brand and annoy followers. Your Social Media Manager will know when and how to engage in trending topics without forcing relevance. One effective way of utilising national holidays is to incorporate a company offer to customers for ‘one day/week only’.

What we’d LOVE to hear: You mentioned its National Women’s Day this week – how can our team get involved?

In the end, trust that your Social Media Manager knows best when it comes to your brand’s social media profiles or even ask for a quick review of the strategy and tactics. They will always be happy to walk you through their plans and content calendars.