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20 Feb

Posted by Lorna Casswell

In the last year alone there has been what appears to be large Google penalties handed out to some big brands. In today’s post we take a look at some of the brands that suffered, what they were up to and what we can all learn from their mistakes. Interflora Around a year ago Interflora were subject to a Google penalty. The penalty was so severe that even for brand searches (e.g. “interflora”) their site was nowhere to be seen in Google’s results, and this was the case for around 10 days! Being absent from Google’s natural listings for this period of time would have undoubtedly hit their bottom line hard. Although Google declined to comment on the disappearance of the brand from its search results, it is widely understood that Interflora received the penalty because they we...

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19 Feb

Posted by Lorna Casswell

SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of making a website more visible in the free/natural/organic part of search engine results pages (SERPs). For the purposes of this article we are going to focus on the UK’s most popular search engine, google.co.uk. The area highlighted in the image below shows where the natural/organic listings are: You are not charged when people click on your website listing if it sits in this ‘natural’ part of the page. As you are not charged, the competition to occupy this space is fierce. A more recent development introduced by Google, as part of its mission to deliver the most relevant results to its users, is ‘local SEO’ which is about appearing in the natural space for searches related to an area or region: ...

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14 Feb

Posted by Lorna Casswell

Google launched Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in 2010, and since then the advertisers utilising them have seen fantastic results. In today’s blog post we take a look at what PLAs are, where you might see them and how they’ll help your business. What are Product Listing Ads and Where Will I See Them? PLAs are media rich ads that appear on Google’s search results pages along with ‘regular’ PPC ads. PLAs can appear for all sorts of searches – whether the query is generic or product-specific. Advertisers running PLAs pay on a cost per click basis, and the campaigns are managed through the AdWords interface, along with ‘normal’ PPC campaigns. PLAs can appear at the top of Google search results:   Or they can appear in the right hand column:   Product...

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07 Feb

Posted by Lorna Casswell

What is PPC? Pay per click, or PPC advertising, is an advertising model where an advertiser pays each time their ad is clicked on. PPC allows advertisers to show their ads on search engines (like Google, Yahoo or Bing), when people search on keywords/phrases that are related to the products or services their business sells. You will most definitely have come across PPC ads: Is PPC Right for You? Pay per click advertising is an excellent way to get your brand in front of the people who are looking for the products or services you sell at the exact time they are searching for them. The tracking tools available mean it is possible to see exactly what a PPC campaign is driving in terms of sales or leads, this makes PPC a very viable solution for pretty much all businesses with an o...

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06 Feb

Posted by Lorna Casswell

Around this time last year we were accepted onto the Magento Partner programme.  Star Digital are silver solution partners and we wanted to let you know what that means for your business and website. To be a Magento solution partner we have to demonstrate a number of things. We have to be able to design websites that are attractive, and that will work in the way users expect them to. We then have to show we can develop Magento sites, which in simple terms means we have to show we can build them with any necessary, or bespoke, functionality. We also have to consider the marketing of the website – by making sure a website is suitable for SEO optimisation for instance. Not only do we have to show all of the above, we have to prove it by showing we have successfully implemented and la...

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31 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

If you’ve taken the opportunity, time and budget to get your company website up and off the ground, the likelihood is now you need it to start working for your business. It’s possible your website needs to deliver leads, sales or enquiries, and it’s most probable it needs to start delivering these things, fast! In this post we talk through just some of the things you need to consider when it comes to marketing your new website to help make your campaigns as successful as possible. Priorities First things first – you need to think about what is most important to your business, and your website marketing plan then needs to reflect this. For example, it’s possible your website has to start featuring blog posts and new content immediately, if this is the case you need to...

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30 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

A few months ago, in October 2013, three of the developers at STAR Digital were awarded Magento Certified Developer status. Magento certification is no easy feat to achieve, and being awarded it is representative of the amount of Magento experience and knowledge the STAR Digital team has. In order to achieve Magento certification, developers have to study the principles of the Magento ecommerce architecture and evidence their competence by taking an exam under strict supervised conditions at an approved exam centre. Jake, Scott and Callum, the first of our developers to sit the exams, all have years’ worth of Magento experience between them, and yet they all studied for months before taking the exam. At STAR Digital we know how important it is for everyone to keep pushing themse...

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29 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

This week Google awarded us Google Partner status. The Partner badge below is only given to agencies, or online marketers, who meet certain criteria such as following Google best practice when creating and managing AdWords accounts, providing high customer service levels and passing a minimum of two Google AdWords exams. At STAR we really value the relationships we have with our clients, and we follow Google best practice when it comes to managing PPC accounts, and receiving Partner status is confirmation that Google thinks we’re getting it right. It was in the autumn of 2013 when Google launched its new certification programme for agencies and online marketers: Google Partners. Google Partners replaces the old AdWords certification programme. This change means agencies now not ...

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23 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

Following on from our post on Thursday, where we looked back at the digital marketing challenges we faced in 2013, we’re now looking ahead to this year. We think 2014 will be about continuing to target people on the go, and on the ever-increasing array of social channels. We think personalisation is going to become key, if it’s not already, and we’re sure content will continue to be king. We’ve explored each of our predictions in more detail below. We’ve considered what they mean to you and your business, and why considering them will drive your conversions up. Mobile If you’re not already considering mobile searchers, then you’re missing a major trick. The number of people searching on Google, reading emails and using APPs on mobile devices is increasing every m...

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21 Jan

Posted by Roger Martin

Here at the STAR Digital HQ in Northampton, the marketing and design teams have been having a big debate about responsive web design. The creative team has been up to now ‘designing’ responsive views on paper as part of the creative process, but the marketers and the account handlers are beginning to feed back some real life observations from their clients on the challenges of a responsive web ‘design’ process. Setting a client expectation on responsive tied to a creative design has left some clients expecting pixel perfect representation on all mobile devices. This is just not practical. Also, involving the client in a ‘design’ process for mobile also leads to design over function, ergo you end up forgetting the principles of usability and get a compromised mobile exp...

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16 Jan

Posted by Lorna Casswell

2013 was another year full of change and challenges within digital marketing. Google made our lives as SEOs trickier, mobile usage continued to soar and content marketing really came into its own. In this blog post we review the online marketing changes we faced in 2013, and what we can take from them, so they can successfully form part of your digital marketing strategy in the coming year. Everyone Needs a Content Strategy 2013 appeared to be the year for content marketing. Businesses reported a 300% increase in ROI on content marketing, and companies dedicated even more of their marketing budgets towards content creation, development and distribution. With numbers like that, content marketing shouldn’t be ignored. Having a good content marketing strategy in place can help ...

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10 Jan

Posted by Roger Martin

As 2013 came to a close it was clear that the mobile land grab continued, with mobile users taking advantage of retailer’s web sites that offered a mobile responsive experience. 2014 could well be the tipping point as users move away from desktop driven web experiences towards mobile and smartphone interactions. The opportunities that have been leveraged by large and forward thinking retailers will flow down into niche and SME retailers quickly. Responsive web design will move from being an option to an essential. The increased use of tablets and smartphones combined with intelligent, fast delivery and click to collect tactics led to a sharp rise in online shopping before Christmas. Web sales growth accelerated to 19.2% compared with the same month in 2012 - the fastest rate ...

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