SEO and PPC need not be on the opposite sides of the ring. If you want to get the best bang for your marketing buck, it’s time to harness the power of integrated marketing. Becky Simms, Founder & CEO of Reflect Digital, shares her thoughts in our next brightonSEO speaker series.
Tell us more about your presentation How to integrate SEO and Paid and what are you going to unravel.
My talk at brightonSEO is about the fact that your customer does not care which channel they find you on – which means we should stop being so hung up on our favorite channels and instead look at a more integrated approach.
I see it happen all the time, specialists fall in love with their channel but forget that part of making their channel more successful is often working closely with other channels. For example, organic search might drive a fantastic amount of ‘awareness’ traffic, but traffic is vanity if nothing happens from it. The SEO leader in this case needs to be talking to their colleagues in email marketing and paid to look at how they can devise a strategy to ensure this hugely valuable traffic is taken on a journey towards conversion.
It is all about having a more zoomed-out view of the wider strategy to ensure you are truly thinking about how to deliver what the business requires, not a tick box to hit a single KPI.
One piece of SEO advice for folks trying to learn the ropes?
Being inquisitive is key to learning the SEO ropes, question everything, and ensure you are signed up for the many amazing blogs out there to keep your knowledge on the pulse. There is so much to learn and things are changing all the time – finding your best way to stay on top of this is critical to ensure you can be at the top of your game.
Also, finding a mentor can be really helpful – someone who may either be deeply knowledgeable about SEO or maybe a bit more generalist to help give you wider context for the SEO strategies you are considering. But either way – having someone you can bounce ideas off of, learn from and collaborate with is amazing.
What tips do you have for attendees to maximize their time on-site at brightonSEO?
To get the most out of brightonSEO you need to plan ahead of time, there are so many amazing talks going on, to be sure you get to the talks you want to see you need to plan your agenda. Also make sure you use it as an opportunity to catch up with colleagues, clients, and friends – find out who is going and plan the trip – it is so busy on the day you can’t guarantee bumping into someone.
What presentations are you most interested in attending/speakers you are most interested to hear and why?
Oh there are so many, I mentored about 20 of the speakers for this event and I would love to see every single one of them, but as I am moderating this won’t be able to happen. Looking at the schedule, some of the must-sees in my mind include:
- Alice Rowan – What the (cluster)f*ck? Convince Google you’re an expert and plan your content faster
- Luke Carthy – A definitive talk on perfecting faceted navigation for SEO and sales growth
- Areej AbuAli – Unlocking the hidden potential of product listing pages
- Stacey MacNaught – Journo requests: How to get more out of HARO with less wasted time
- Hana Bednarova – Proactive and reactive PR: going beyond just awareness calendars
- Daniel Cartland – How to get 10x better at SEO, without learning any more SEO
These are all awesome speakers with interesting topics – but this is just scratching the surface of the agenda, there are so many great talks – I am very thankful for the online version to replay sessions!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our human-led approach, not just in the work we do, but how we do it. We are a super personable business, we work with clients that we like working with and that like working with us – relationships are key to our success. Our behavioral science approach to marketing is also a great pull for clients, as not only does it sound really interesting – but it delivers the insights we can help our clients achieve, ensure they know their audience better, and can build strategies with a high opportunity to drive results.
What do you think is the most exciting trend in digital marketing right now?
We are focusing a lot on customer journey mapping currently which massively plays into my talk. Understanding your audience and where they spend their time, how they do their research, and what motivates them is gold dust to your strategy. Without this knowledge, you could be alienating your audience without realizing it, or missing a massive opportunity to find them. It is wrong to assume something that works for one audience will work for another, research is the bedrock of good strategy and I am pleased to say I can see more and more businesses coming around to this reality.
Do you see any trends specific to PPC reporting?
We are currently enhancing our reporting to ensure it is easier to see the bigger picture across channels as well as deep dive into individual channels’ performance such as SEO and paid media. Having the bigger picture view aids us and our clients in being more strategic and seeing how the different channels support each other.
What are the biggest challenges you face while running an agency, and how do you cope with them?
Running an agency is always challenging – when things are good, resourcing tends to be the biggest headache, when things are not so good sales tend to be the biggest challenge. We are currently in the resourcing headache, trying to recruit talented people that are the right fit for today and our future growth ambitions. I cope by knowing there is always something and you do just need to ride the wave – I have an amazing leadership team that helps ensure we’re always in the best position possible, whichever wave we’re riding.
What are the top 5 tools or apps you use almost every day and why?
- G Suite – is just amazing, we use it across the business for everything from email to word docs, spreadsheets, and presentations – it really aids collaboration.
- Slack – is our main communication tool in the business and across the wider LAB Group, we also have lots of clients and partners connected on here too.
- SEMRush and Search Metrics are my go-to SEO research tools – so when I am looking at sales opportunities they are key to help spot opportunities to talk about.
- LinkedIn is my main online networking source, I use it to connect with colleagues/clients past and present and it is probably our number one recruitment tool.
What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?
Tough question regarding the worst job… probably one of the agencies I worked for before starting Reflect Digital. They weren’t bad all the time, but they lacked the integrity that I ensure runs through Reflect, and without that, it made it hard to love working there at points. Although I will be forever grateful to them for teaching me the type of company I didn’t want to create.
Where do you see your company in the next 10 years?
Our 10-year vision is to have a more global presence, we help clients worldwide currently, but we’d like to have more team members in different countries to help support this growth. I see us staying true to who we are today and ensuring we are always pulling our customer’s view back to the big picture to ensure every decision is part of a wider strategic plan with their main business goals in view.
Becky has spent the last 15 years working in digital marketing, starting Reflect Digital in 2011, which is now a team of over 35 digital specialists. In 2021 and 2022, Becky was listed in the BIMA 100, a list of the top 100 people shaping the future of the digital industry. Becky’s passion for digital lies within understanding human behavior. It is her belief that as marketers we can best achieve our goals by helping our customers and we can only truly help them if we understand their needs and can craft a strategy around this.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. So, the first thing to do to start taking your SEO and PPC efforts in the right direction is to draw baseline measurements. For this, you might be collating SEO data from different tools of your choice, such as Google Analytics, Search Console, Semrush, AccuRanker, etc. Consider using Swydo to create SEO audit reports as it will improve your efficiency and help make your audit report readily accessible to everyone on the team (and share results with clients, if you’re an agency).