Getting Around LinkedIn PPC Ads’ Poor UK Geographical Targeting Options

Cardiff panoramic shot
I do a bit of work for Welsh ICE (as mentioned before) and recently looked into the possibility of launching a LinkedIn Ads campaign for them.

Fingers on map imageAssuming that it would have similar-ish geographical targeting options to Google AdWords (Google’s PPC platform), which allows you to target a city/town or a radius around any point (such as a postcode), I was surprised to learn that – as far as the UK is concerned – you can only target 30 towns/cities, ranging from Birmingham to Twickenham, and containing no Welsh or Northern Irish locations such as Cardiff or Belfast. Either side of where Cardiff would (should?) be, we have Cambridge and Chelmsford, the latter of which has half the population of Cardiff, and Hemel Hempstead (another one in the list) only has a quarter of the population of Cardiff. (Wikipedia population links for Cardiff, Chelmsford and Hemel Hempstead.)

LinkedIn Ads UK Location Targeting screenshot
Aside from the fact that it seems rather odd that they only offer a select few UK towns/cities, I honestly think that LinkedIn are shooting themselves in the foot by not offering more. While LinkedIn’s main focus is on B2B, and a lot of UK B2B businesses could probably cater to a UK-wide customer base, there are still businesses who are restricted by geography. For instance, for Welsh ICE, while they’d certainly like to attract more businesses to Wales as a whole, it makes sense to mainly concentrate on the South Wales region, given that they offer office space and co-working facilities. Similarly, I also have a Cardiff-based cleaning client and a storage facility provider client with two locations in South Wales – they’re only going to be interested in receiving leads from South Wales-based prospects as well, as they are also pretty much limited by geography. In other words, there could be a lot more businesses out there that’d happily use LinkedIn Ads if they sorted this out and improved their location targeting options…

However I dug a little deeper, looking at the LinkedIn Ads system’s other targeting settings, and while it’s not foolproof, I found a way that Welsh ICE can still target on a (sort of) geographical basis. Here’s how:

1) Target local/regional university graduates

A lot of people stay and live in their university town after graduating, so one way could be to target the alumni of particular universities. For the Welsh ICE campaign, we could focus on Cardiff Uni, Swansea Uni, Cardiff Met Uni, Uni of South Wales, etc. By doing so, they’re effectively saying: “you’ve graduated in South Wales… now why not start a business here?”

LinkedIn Ads School Targeting screenshot
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Vote for SEOno in the UK Blog Awards 2015!

UKBA15 logo
SEOno (this very blog!) has been entered into the UK Blog Awards 2015 (#UKBA15).

If you’ve ever read any of my posts and thought “hey, this stuff ain’t half bad!” then I’d really appreciate your vote. It only takes about 30 seconds to do.

All you have to do is follow this link: www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/SEOno-2/ and fill out the Name and Email fields. Nice n’ easy!

The first phase of voting (the public vote) ends on Wednesday 3rd December, so if you’re reading this before that date then please vote now!

So go on… help out “one of the nicest guys… in [the SEO] industry” (source) – you know you want to…! ;-)

SEOno News

A Small Change in a Big World… My First Edit on Google Maps

(This may seem a lame and OTT post, but y’know what? It’s my blog and I can write what I want and I don’t care la-la-la I’m not listening to you…)

Google Map pin badgesWorking in SEO and PPC, a lot of what I do revolves around Google. Be that as it may, I’m usually the first to have a moan about them, as anyone who’s ever spent five minutes reading my tweets can most likely attest to. Usually it’s because I just get annoyed that their Help sections aren’t helpful or their UX isn’t up to scratch, and business owners are the ones who end up suffering as a result.

But let’s face it. Where would we be without Google? How handy is Gmail? And when you’re figuring out where to go, how much do you rely on Google Maps?

Doing a lot of ‘Local SEO’ for clients, i.e. the process of optimising a Google My Business listing (formerly/also known as Google Places, Google+ Local and about 50 other things…), I recently had to sort out a fundamental issue with Google Maps causing one of my clients a bit of grief. Google were adamant that their address – let’s say “101 High Street” – was 100 yards down the road and on the other side of the road, so they thought that our map marker/pin location suggestion (the actual location) was inaccurate. The only way to fix it was to delve into Google Map Maker and make the change myself. Once it was done, they started to rank really well not long after.

I’d never really touched Map Maker before that, and to be honest, I didn’t realise that Google took user data into such strong consideration. I made a few Local SEO-related tweaks to help out a client, but nothing ‘proper’, if you get me.

…Until I noticed some woods near my house were missing a footpath…

Map Maker edit screenshot

(Click to enlarge)

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Doing SEO For Your Clients’ Clients

SEOception!
Yep, you read the title right. No, it’s not a typo. In this post I’m going to talk about a novel idea I had for a client of mine that may be applicable to yours: doing SEO for your clients’ clients (indirectly, sort of). That said, I imagine that it may only be applicable to a very small and narrow niche of client types, so apologies in advance if it’s not something that you can utilise – although if it is, this could be worthwhile to you…

With that in mind, I’ll cut to the chase… I do a bit of work for Welsh ICE, a co-working space and startup hub/community based just outside Cardiff. It’s also where I’m based as a freelancer. As part of the work, I’ve been keeping an eye out for HARO* requests (something that I’ve previously written about here) about entrepreneurship in general, co-working spaces, etc. I get the HARO updates daily and noticed that there is a steady stream of requests aimed at entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses.

Then the lightbulb went off – what if I were to pass on relevant HARO requests to ICE’s members/residents as well?

* For the record, just in case you don’t click that link above but you don’t know already know much about HARO (Help A Reporter Out), it’s a free service that hooks up writers/journalists looking for comments on articles. So if someone needs a bunch of entrepreneurs to tell them about their experiences for their next article, willing entrepreneurs can express their interest and get involved.

How we went about it

ICE uses the system of another ICE-based startup – Noddlepod – as a sort of intranet and project management system for members. I realised that I could upload HARO requests to Noddlepod, and if an ICE member wanted to contribute to one, they could leave a comment and I’d send it over to the requester on their behalf.

Click to read more!

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Renewal Marketing Done Right – Rewarding Repeat Business

Walking away imageWe’ve all been there. Every year, renewing your car/home/whatever insurance, you’re hitting the comparison sites because your current provider’s 2nd+ year quote has leapt up a notch. One year, instead of ‘renewing’ the traditional way, it was cheaper for me to leave my car insurance provider and rejoin the same company immediately(!) than it was to straight-up renew. Absolutely absurd.

Too many companies focus on rewarding new business, not on trying to keep what they have. Bearing in mind that it’s supposedly 6-7 times cheaper to keep a current client/customer happy than to win a new one, you realise just how crazy that is. I always used to laugh whenever I received direct mail from BT… the new customer/crosssell/upsell materials would be nicely printed, colourful and on nice glossy paper, while your bill would be printed on rough paper and look cheap (in the days before they went paperless/online).

So it was a nice treat to be wowed by a genuine exception to the rule recently…

I own am a slave to three cats and we use VetProtect as our pet insurance provider, which also includes check-ups, jabs, flea treatments, etc. at our vets (Heath Vets, who run VP) for free on top. I recently received a letter thanking me for continuing to use VP and I was offered a thank you gift. When I read that the thank you gift was worth £160, my jaw hit the floor. A company rewarding loyalty, and by doing something like that? What the hell, right?

Click to read more!

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