On Friday 28th May we went live for the first time on our Instagram channel, with our Founder and Digital Consultant Dave Trolle using his 17 years of digital experience to answer all of your questions from the world of digital. We look back at some of the questions which were posed and the insights learnt from the session, just in case you missed it!. 

I’ve heard that Google are updating their SEO algorithm in June. What should I be doing to make sure that I am not affected? 

As you say, there is an update coming out in June, also known as Google Page Experience, which may impact on your SEO performance. The point of this update is to reward sites who have a better load speed and content stability, as the page loads. The update has been delayed twice, however we don't anticipate this to be delayed again. 
 
If you haven't already started reviewing this, we recommend using Google Lighthouse / Page Speed in tandem with your Google Search Console account to understand how you optimise the Core Web Vitals metrics (the metrics Google is using to assess your site). 
 
Although every site is different, there are quite a few quick wins we always find, including minimising your images and code size, removing redundant tracking tags and apps and to ensure that you are using a container tag solution to server any tags. 

How should I try and navigate the opt out functionality that users are now seeing from Apple ios 14.5 update? 

App Tracking Transparency (ATT for short) is a new feature that came into affect from Apple on the 26th April 2021. The update requires applications to ask permission to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites. Apps will be banned from the Apple Store if they do not comply. Apple is positioning this update as something which proactively provides the user with choice regarding what data is shared – the following video provides more context as to why this change is happening. 
 
From a digital marketing perspective, any campaign where people are using the app via an Apple mobile phone / ipad and have upgraded to the new version of the operating system (14.5) will be affected. This will mostly impact on social media advertising, specifically Facebook, LinkedIn and emerging channels such as TikTok. Long-term impacts to the advertising ecosystem will include reduced ad personalisation for users, with your platform audience data reducing in size (e.g. user location, demographics, behaviours and interests). You can also expect the tracking data in the platform (number of conversions tracked) to reduce. 
 
Our advice to brands is that you need to start using your first party CRM data as part of your digital marketing campaigns. This, coupled with the usage of similar / lookalike audiences, can still be used to help you target your customers. Also, it's important to remember that this only affects Apple devices. In the UK, 50% of users will be using an Android device, and the usual targeting methods are still valid for non Apple devices. From a tracking perspective, we would always recommend that you use Google Analytics as your single source of truth for conversion data, rather than relying on what is reported in the platforms. 

I’ve considered carrying out affiliate marketing to promote my brand however I’m concerned about using cashback sites. What advice would you give me? 

As a customer, most of you will be signed up to Quidco and/or Topcashback to receive the benefits that you get from discounted sales. If you are not, quickly head over and sign up to one of them today to start saving on your shopoping! There are 10m+ people in the UK who are signed up to one or both sites, so in theory there is a huge audience to reach, especially for brands in retail, telecoms, utilities, finance and the travel sectors. 
 
There is often quite a few questions on cannibalisation - I've heard this for more than 10 years across the industry, questions such as, would I have got the sale anyway, as the customer is just looking to save an extra few pounds? The challenge on the flip side is that your competition is most likely there, offering the potential customer money for nothing and stealing potential market share for you. 
 
The saying goes if you can't beat them, join them ... that is especially the case for cashback sites. We would recommend using them, however paying them based on the value of a customer to you. For example, rewarding more for a new customer sale and running tenancies on a tactical basis when you know that your conversion rates are going to be higher than the norm are great ways to make the most out of cashback affiliates. 

There are so many SEO tools in the market and I am a bit lost at which ones to use. Can you recommend one? 

This is a great question, which is not just related to SEO but also the online marketing technology landscape in general. There are so many tools with some subtle differences and it is hard to know what is the best to use.  
 
From an SEO perspective, my experience is that there is no one size fits all solution in the market which supports every need well. I like to look at which tools are best for which element of SEO. I split this into 6 areas as follows ... 
 
Site diagnostics - does your site meet and surpass all technical benchmarks? Unfortunately this is an ongoing battle, as changes are made to the site which may suddenly mean you have issues which need resolving. I would recommend Google Search Console initially, coupled with SE Ranking and AHREFs to help diagnose your issues and keep on top of any new ones cropping up 
Keyword research - with Google accounting for just over 70%, it would be wrong to look much further than Google Keyword Planner. The data is direct from the source of where the user is searching and you can combine search volume data with Google Ads insights too! 
Content appraisal - if I was to recommend one tool it would be Screaming Frog. There is a free and paid for option. The tool crawls all pages of your site as if it were a search engine spider and allows you to identify opportunities to optimise page titles and meta descriptions 
Keyword rankings - Iast year I came across SE Ranking. This has to be one of the best value for money SEO rank tracking tools that is out in the market. The platform is easy to use, provides accurate and timely data by region, whilst also providing intelligence across on site issues 
Competitor analysis - understanding the health of your competition and whether they are on an upward or downward trajectory, helps to put into context your own performance. AHREFS provides a great view on estimated traffic from SEO aswell as PPC for any domain, giving you a historical view of their performance. Understanding your competitors backlink profile, including recent newly added and lost links can also help inform your off page SEO strategy, which AHREFs also provides 
Performance - the end goal is how many sessions and conversions have you driven from SEO. Quite simply the only place to go for this data is your analytics solution (typically Google Analytics). This will show whether you are heading in the right direction or not. Always remember to benchmark the performance vs. direct to site metrics, to understand whether your performance is peaking or troughing just due to natural variation 

When are you going live next? 

This lunch and learn was the first in what we expect to be a series of educational events hosted by Customer First Digital. Watch this space for the next Lunch and Learn event later in 2021. 
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