The finalist nominations for the 2016 Search Engine Landy Awards were formally announced yesterday, with no less than three Irish websites securing places among the prestigious competition’s grand finals.
The Landys, now in their second year of competition, are a worldwide search awards which recognise the very best digital search marketing campaigns from around the world over the course of the past year. With over 200 entries on the awards’ long list, the competition was of an exceptionally high standard this year. The fact that Irish websites could so much make the long list, let alone the final short list, speaks volumes in terms of Ireland’s ability to ‘punch above its weight class’ in terms of the world of digital marketing.
The Irish websites to receive Landy finalist nominations are as follows:
Littlewoods Ireland – Best Integration of Search into Cross-Channel Marketing
This award signifies a website which has worked wonders in terms of combining paid search with organic search (SEO) to produce tremendous results. In Littlewoods Ireland’s case, their success was underpinned by record levels of search-based traffic and conversions during the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas periods, cementing their position as Ireland’s largest e-commerce website.
McElhinneys.com – Best Overall SEM Initiative – Small Business
McElhinneys found themselves fighting for attention in a highly competitive market space alongside some really high profile competitors, so knew they’d have to be smarter than the competition if they were to succeed. Through innovative use of custom audiences, custom AdWords scripts and a highly focused keyword strategy, they have been able to thrive in the online markets of both Ireland and the UK.
Wolfgang Digital – Agency of the Year – SEM
While widely considered to be one of Ireland’s leading digital marketing agencies, it would be hard not to consider Dublin-based Wolfgang Digital to be plucky underdogs at this year’s Landys, given the scale of the event. The fast-growing Wolfgang are not without form when it comes to upsetting the apple cart though, having already won top prizes at the DMAs, Drum Search Awards and European Seach Awards in the past year.
The trio of Irish websites have been doing quite well in terms of this year’s search engine marketing awards season, with all of them representing at the Drum Search Awards which took place in June. Littlewoods Ireland were the big winners on that day, securing the highly coveted Grand Prix Award. Can the Irish sites pull another rabbit out of the hat?
The Search Engine Landy Awards take place in New York City on the 28th of September. The full list of finalists can be viewed here.
The Drum Search Awards, which seek to recognise the very best internet based businesses from both Ireland and the UK, take place later today (June 8th). These awards focus on the two main disciplines of search marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click), choosing from the year’s very best digital marketing campaigns.
As was the case in the European Search Awards, which took place in May, Irish entries are well represented at the Drum Search Awards. Among the big prizes handed out to Irish business on that night were “Best Use of Search for Retail” (Brown Thomas), Best Integration of Search and Social” (iClothing) and “Best Small PPC Agency” (Wolfgang Digital) as Ireland received four first placed trophies, the second most of any nation (bested only by the UK).
For the 2016 Drum Search Awards, Ireland finds itself looking to improve upon its European Search Awards haul, with no less than six award nominations in total. Many of the companies which represented Ireland at the European Search Awards find themselves on the Drum bill as well, including McElhinneys, iClothing and Littlewoods Ireland. This signifies that their European success was no fluke as their respective works and campaigns have been independently recognised by several respected judging bodies.
Irish internet based businesses have been nominated for the following Drum Search Awards:
- Best Integrated Strategy or Campaign: Littlewoods Ireland
- Best Use of Technology in a Search Campaign: Brown Thomas
- Most Innovative Search Campaign (SEO & PPC): McElhinneys
- Best Use of Technology in a Search Campaign: iClothing
- Best Use of Data in PPC: iClothing
- Performance Agency of the Year: Wolfgang Digital
While the competition at tonight’s awards is fierce, with many of the biggest companies and agencies in Europe in attendance, that was also the case at the European Search Awards back in May when several Irish companies emerged triumphant. It is hoped that the overall volume and quality of Irish submissions will prove to be the same recipe for success at tonight’s ceremony which kicks off at the Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel in London.
The full list of Drum Search Award categories and nominees can be found here.
As part of this year’s annual conference Open for Business in the Aviva Stadium on May 12th, Sandra Hennessy of Dynamic Web Marketing will be running a series of one-to-one web strategy clinics. We hold these every year, inviting a member to host them. Sandra may well be known to some of our members, attendees and readers already as she is one of the lecturers on our Diploma in Digital Marketing.
Conference delegates can book a clinic online but as they are one-to-one and run only in the afternoon the places are very limited so please no dawdling! (You can book your ticket for the conference online too and again less of that dawdling at the back please!)
I had a chat with Sandra last week about how she is going to run the clinics this year and here is how she replied
Q. Sandra, you are running a one-to-one web strategy clinic at Open for Business, the IIA Annual Conference on the afternoon of May 12th in the Aviva Stadium. Which key areas are you hoping to help delegates with at these clinics?
A. I anticipate a lot of questions around search engine optimisation and social media but I hope to help businesses identify new ways to increase their online profile and conversions. QR codes are getting popular and a lot of the larger businesses are using them, I am currently on a mission to get Irish SME’s using QR codes in innovative ways to help drive sales.
Q. Some of our delegates and members might recognise you because this isn’t the first time you have helped on the web strategy clinics at our annual conference. Tell us about some of the issues you managed to resolve for delegates in previous years.
A. I am delighted to be sponsoring the clinics, I only recently set up my own business but have been working in online marketing for 9 years now. Over the past few years the clinics have centered around websites evaluations, giving delegates advice on how to improve their website usability, search engine optimistion and conversions. I expect this theme will run into this year but the web is moving and how we attract new business online is changing every day. Setting up and using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter was discussed last year but I anticipate a lot more questions in this area as it is now paramount to any online marketing strategy to include social and business networking.
Q. And in the (2/3) years that you have been doing this and working in this area in general what are the biggest changes/ challenges you have seen for Irish businesses who are coming online or upping their online game?
A. The biggest challenge I have seen since the birth of social media is time. It’s great that we can use Facebook, Twitter etc for free but it does take time to set up and manage. Part of what I do every day is help businesses establish and implement their social media strategy. I help them build social media it into their working day. It eventually becomes habit rather than a chore but it takes time to get to this stage.
Q. If you have one piece of advice for an Irish business reviewing their online strategy what would it be? I know tough question!
A. Three words – PLANNING, DELEGATION and ANALYSIS. Planning will help structure things, plan out a time line for different stages and don’t be afraid to delegate out some of the work to colleagues. Once upon a time looking at your website once a month and making a few changes would suffice but now online marketing is an integral part of any marketing plan so it needs to be planned into every day tasks. Decide when things will be completed and who will complete them. Once they have been implemented, analyse. No point in taking the time to plan and implement if you are not going to review how successful your online marketing campaigns are.
If you do hope to participate please book online. In this form you can include details of the particular issue you wish to discuss so Sandra can prep in advance and you can really make the most of your half hour with her.
Hi I’m Sinéad, the newest member of the RedFly Marketing team. I’m really excited about starting work with RedFly, as I have been searching for an innovative Irish company like RedFly for a long time. This blog post is just a little way for me to introduce myself to our readers.
You can read the rest of Sinéad’s introduction here.
Last week after a long process of redevelopment YourLocal.ie, an IIA Member company, relaunched their site. Personally I think it looks rather spiffing but my opinion in this instance is neither here nor there. Josephine from YourLocal.ie has been in touch and is looking for feedback on a very particular aspect of the new site:
“We would love to get some feedback on the search results on our site. There are particular results coming back for searches that make sense in terms of Geo coding however I am not sure these are the best search results for our users.”
So all you search marketing experts out there please visit YourLocal.ie, run a search and let YourLocal.ie know in the comments below what you think of the results. If you need more direction please ask in the comments below – Josephine is on hand to respond.
If you haven’t taken part in Feedback Friday before PLEASE REVIEW THE GUIDELINES before getting all harumphy when I don’t publish your comments. Thanks!
Mark Rodgers, chair of the IIA International Strategy Working Group and Director of Cipherion was a guest on yesterday’s Sunday Business Show presented by Conall Ó Móráin. You can listen to all of yesterday’s show on the Sunday Business Show site or you can subscribe in iTunes. It’s a show filled with many gems so I would recommend it.
Here is the excerpt with Mark speaking with Conall Ó Móráin about internationalising your business online.
The IIA’s monthly newsletter, the Digital Digest, goes out to 6,000+ subscribers, usually on the last Wednesday of every month. In 2010 it had an average open rate of 19% so if there’s ever anything you want to include, please publish to your company profile on IIA.ie by 5pm on the preceding Friday. All content added to member company profiles is considered for publication in the Digest.
The schedule for the Digests for 2011 follows and is subject to change based on Association needs.
The deadline for each edition is 5pm on the preceding Friday.
(Not a member? Join now and add your content today!)
This is a guest post from Ann Donnelly of O’Mahony Donnelly E-Business Development who are IIA Members based in Clonakilty, Co. Cork
This week there was a big buzz online about an article posted on Tech Crunch “The Time Has Come To Regulate Search Engine Marketing And SEO”. In the opinion of the anonymous guest author: “Due to Google’s dominance — and the fact that it controls such an enormous amount of consumer behavior through paid and organic search listings – the company in essence governs commerce on the web.” This is a topic that has come up time and again over the past few years in webmaster forums and search industry conferences, but in many cases the complaint comes from those that are looking for short cuts to get results through search engines or those that are focusing on one aspect of online marketing success instead of developing a full, well rounded online marketing plan.
A small number of these people are using techniques that some would consider unethical to promote their own websites, or are using these techniques to provide such services to others. Some are using ethical techniques, but using dishonest or hard sell marketing to promote their services. This sort of behaviour happens across all industries (we all trust used car salesmen, right?), but in our industry the consumer is particularly vulnerable, as he often feels he doesn’t have the technical knowledge and doesn’t listen to his own common sense – and there is such an enormous amount of bad advice out there.
It may sound harsh, but those people that have knowingly chosen these methods will probably laugh at what I am saying here and will continue in the same manner, full throttle, and may get very rich from it. On the other hand, I have met a number of people in the industry that honestly feel that these are legitimate methods and don’t see that they are limiting the type of results they will get from their businesses. Why do I care about these people? Their behaviour causes consumers to distrust the industry as a whole. A customer that has had a bad experience shopping online will avoid shopping online again. A business that has gotten poor results with their website because the web developer they chose was inexperienced, will just feel that online marketing won’t work at all for them.
There are also a large number of young men and women, as well as those recently made redundant, that are starting up their own businesses and are looking to those of us already established in the industry for guidance on the way to go with this.
It’s up to each business owner to decide what sort of methods he will use. Do you want to sign on a large number of customers that will use your services once or over a short period of time or do you want to develop longer term relationships built on old fashioned, good service and hard work?
If you choose the first method and are tricking people into signing up for your services, not providing good value and are not getting results for your customers the bad news will get around quickly enough and you may end up out of business. This is especially true with so many people using social networking web sites. News of bad service travels much faster than good reviews.
Are you providing the best products and services? If not, are you providing better value for what you do? Do your customers fully understand what they are getting for their money? Take a look at your business and see if you can develop a business model that’s good for your customers as well as for yourself.
Let’s go back to “Big, Bad Google”. They state on their Corporate Overview page: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” They do this by providing “an easy-to-use free service that usually returns relevant results in a fraction of a second.” Looking just at the search side of Google’s businesses the changes they have made over the years have all focused on returning “relevant results” not because they are really nice guys, but because that is what makes people come back to use the Google search engine again and again. Focusing on this has brought about the “dominance” that is resented by their competitors and search marketing professionals that are looking for short cuts to success.
This resentment is even stronger now that Google AdWords have brought financial success as well. Google has made their products and services easy to use, with full documentation and helpful videos. They now have staff speaking at most industry conferences and using social networking tools to more fully communicate and assist users of all of their products.
This shows the importance of setting the right mission statement for your business and, once you have done this, maintaining your focus on that mission to bring best results for your business. What do you want to achieve in your business? Are you looking to just make a living or are you looking for greater satisfaction in helping others achieve their business goals; or do you need to be the best (in number of sales, awards, publicity)? Are you looking to build up your business to a point where you can sell it on to another bigger business? Your goals are going to be based on the type of products/services as well as what your personal needs are. I am not judging any of these goals, just saying that it’s important to define them and remain focused.
By developing the best mix of products and services with the right pricing structure you then have a business that is financially viable and, hopefully, lucrative with a base of happy, loyal customers (as well as happy, loyal suppliers) that are with you for the long term and referring you to their friends and colleagues – working with you to build a successful business that is around for the long term. Just have a look at “10 Things Google Has Found to Be True”.
Her business O’Mahony Donnelly E-Business Development specialises in Search Engine Placement &
Offering a full line of Online Marketing Services:
– Web Design & Development
– Shopping Carts & Payment Processing
– Search Engine Placement
– Email Marketing
– AdWords Campaign Management
– Social Networking (Blogs, Forums, etc.)
– Online Customer Service
No doubt many of you heard on Morning Ireland that Microsoft have a launched a new search engine called Bing. You may even have seen the chair of our Online Marketing Working Group talking about it on the RTÉ News. While Microsoft are touting it as a “decision engine” (as in “It’s time to Bing & Decide”) which will give you the right answer and not more confusion, others are wondering whether it will be a Google-killer.Whatever else their big bucks marketing and PR campaign which rarely goes unmentioned in posts and online articles seems to be working: if you’re on Morning Ireland, you’re mainstream! 🙂
Now while I’ve been fluting around with it and the other new kid on the block, Wolfram Alpha, only a tiny little bit I wonder how they will manage to break the ubiquity of the Big G. We’ve been busy here in the IIA over the last month with Congress and the Net Visionary Awards and when I did have the urge/ time/ need to search, trying out the search in a new engine was not top of my priorities. Add to this that Google is in my face every time I get a Google alert, check my mail or my feeds etc. etc. And I’ve got the Firefox toolbar and it’s my default search engine in my browser. It’s amazing I even heard about any new search engine!
In the article linked above about whether or not Bing will be a Google-killer, the author, Jordan Golson, makes the very valid point that it’s not neccessarily that there is anything wrong with any given search engine but that searchers do not know how to search to get the results they want or the right results. I can avow to this when I think of the numerous phone calls I receive in relation to certain member companies. I inwardly grimace when I hear some member companies running an ad campaign on the radio knowing that I will be fielding calls from their potential customers. Obviously the IIA does not want to be getting your calls; we do not want to be appearing in search results for our members’ products or services. So if on the one hand the searcher knew a little bit more about how to get the results they want and what to do with the results when they get them that would improve search on any engine. However I do think that Bing’s preview will hopefully steer people in the right direction and away from our phone!
These developments in search highlight the fact that now that consumers have a new improved way to reach your site it becomes ever more important to develop your site as a searchable site. Search algorithms are constantly developed to make them more and more “human like” so that the most popular content among real humans (you and me, like) is served first for certain keywords. That’s not necessarily the most often changed content: the algorithms have become far smarter than that. How often do you change a blog post? An example? Do a search on Google for “dreech” Or ahem indeed bing it! I have never changed this content (I know what you’re thinking – maybe you should change it drastically and delete it!) but the IIA blog is still considered the most useful site for that keyword. This may be because anyone else writing about the word dreech doesn’t update their site all that regularly. But I’m no SEO expert so I would welcome any comments on the topic. I’m sure the boss will be delighted that we are coming up no. 1 for the word dreech…. 🙂
You might like to check out some of these other articles about Bing too:
Mashable: Bing: Microsoft Launching New Rival to Google? (Look at the retweets on that item!)
Well not quite! Channelship have recently completed two sites for a client and would love a bit of feedback before putting the sites to bed entirely. Both sites focus on products and services for fixing cracks and potholes and beautifying driveways and roads. I doubt there’s a person in Ireland who doesn’t know a spot that could use that kind of TLC! But what about the sites themselves? Are they a bumpy ride or as smooth as silk? Over to Fred Caballero Project Manager with www.channelship.ie to tell us a little bit more about what they would like you feedbackers to focus on when looking at the sites:
The idea would be to have comments on the usabilty, general look & feel, Search Engine Optimisation, coding and any helpful comments that people might have, since we are still on time to make a few changes. If you can think of more aspects to cover let us know!
Don’t forget that we have some guidelines when giving feedback and I will be moderating all comments.