James Reynolds Guests at Abu Dhabi FM To Discuss Getting Found on the Internet

7/5/2014 with

James was recently invited as a guest on Abu Dhabi FM to speak about SEO and internet marketing with Andrew Hosie where he reveals the current status of Search Engine Optimisation and what you can do to stay on top of the game.

James in Abu Dhabi FM Studio

Interview Highlights:

  • Getting Found on the Internet
  • The Competition for Attention
  • How Important is The Top Spot in Google Results?
  • SEO in the Middle East
  • Dynamics of Selling Online
  • Content Marketing and the Secret Sauce

Andrew: As always at this time we take a look at the morning’s paper and joining me to do that today is digital marketing expert, James Reynolds. Welcome to the program, thanks for coming in!

James: Andrew, it’s great to be here. It’s been about ten months since I popped by on the show before and it is great to be back. What have we got on the papers?

Andrew: we’ve got plenty to get through on the papers as normal but I want to talk to what you have done first. I have decided to call you a digital marketing expert because you built up quite a big and very successful career in digital marketing, and how did it all start off?

James: A little by chance actually, I have always been a marketer, I have done a lot of offline marketing direct mail in the previous business that I was running and then digital was something I stumbled across probably just five years ago now and have really just been running with it ever since. I just find it a much more viable platform. I mean, everyone is online as they are today and we talk about that in perhaps some of the stories today as a much better medium to use than some of the traditional forms, so…

Andrew: But then on the flip side, because everyone is online, it is very easy to get lost and disappear in to the mass.

James: That is very true! We are not just competing for attention against other marketers, we are now competing against brothers, sisters, cats falling out of trees on YouTube. I mean all of that stuff, there is so much demand for attention in multiple platforms as well, people carrying around mobile phones, and they have got their computers on and they have got maybe their TV on. There are very many data sources, it is hard to cut through the clutter sometimes.

Andrew: So one of the things that you specialize in is search engine optimization, known as SEO. I assume that means that you are able to help companies get them to the top of search engines sites to make them seen.

James: Exactly. Yes, we help companies get positioned at the top of the search results for the terms that are relevant to them and their business. So if someone was typing their business terms in, we make sure that they hopefully get appearing at the top of the results and one of the first to be found.

Andrew: So it would seem to me that if you do a business you’ve got an online presence, you would try to think of words that people would be writing in to a search site which would then get you found – but there can be so many words that could be closely resembling what you might be doing or even think to have associated with your site.

James: Yeah, and the stats are something like – I think it is between 30% – 50% of search terms that are typed in to Google have actually never been searched before because so many people use different syntaxes and different word patterns in basically trying to search for the same thing. You can have a never ending long list of keywords that you like. But then there are certain terms that people generally use and then those are typically the ones that you want to rank for.

Andrew: So, when you are putting together a package for a company, how do you start going through what they do to start gathering those keywords?

James: It’s understanding what the business does and not just what they do but also what drives their profit and there’ll be certain categories  or products within their business that are probably responsible for the vast majority of their business and their profit and bottom line. So once we know what that is, we can then use Google’s own data to determine how people are searching for the particular items and then we look at their competitors and who strong their SEO is to see whether it is achievable for that company to move past the competition in to the top spot so it’s a lot of science in it. Thankfully there is a huge amount of data that is available from Google themselves that makes that process a little bit easier to decipher and you can actually approach it from a very mathematical point of view.

Andrew: And in these days, how important it is for companies to ensure that they are at the top of the list?

James: Oh, hugely important! Where do people turn to if they are looking for something important and they have not gotten already a referral? They just google it. It has almost become a very common term in itself right? So it his hugely important. Even if there is not a huge amount of search traffic for their particular product line, still for branding and positioning standpoint, they want to position themselves appropriately in the market, they can’t be found on page 10, they have to be right up there showing themselves as one of the forerunners in their industry.

Andrew: So it seems to me that if you are checking your own company you want to make sure that you are at the top and if it is not then you are obviously going to be missing out on potential customers. So, are companies making the most of SEOs?

James: Well, I think some are. Certainly, in this region it is a growing industry. People are much more aware of SEO than they ever were before. Are we all taking their own pro-action to get their own SEO sorted? Well, not everyone, but there is a strong movement in that direction. Everyone can do more than they are doing right now, let’s put it that way.

Andrew: And we were talking off air and you were telling me that the whole dynamic of selling has changed because of the explosion of online websites.

James: Yeah, very true. The statistics are that 70% of a sales decision has typically been made before an individual reaches out to the company and that’s because the information that supports them – going forward with the sale, research of the product, the benefits, the specifications – can all happen online before they make the decision. We were talking about the example of a car, if we’re going to the dealership now, we’ll probably know as much as the sales person, if not more, about that car before we walk in to the dealership. The sales person himself has not got as much leverage as much before in trying to make the transaction happen, there’s a lot more at play.

Andrew: So, let’s keep on in the example of the car, I am looking to buy a new car, I am going through various websites, first of all I will check various dealer sites and I will start whittling down my choices based on the various reviews I have read, also taking in to account prices and all those types of things, I have done all that, then I get to the websites of various companies. If one of the websites is not particularly informative, with problems in loading speed, does not have a very friendly user interface, when I click on a link it is broken, then that will put off wouldn’t it?

James: Oh, totally! I mean if the website doesn’t, then what does that say about the business? There are certainly aspects that would put the consumer off if the website were poor because that’s their face in to the marketplace, but I think that there should be other things that should be considered and using the example of the car, as the car dealership, they want to be as helpful as possible to that prospect to move them forward with the decision so if they are in the market for a car, you told me you are in the market for a Porsche Andrew just before the show. So if someone is looking for a Porsche they are also considering other cars in that space, maybe a Ferrari model or a Jaguar, whatever it happens to be.

Andrew: It’s more my level, yeah.

James: More your level? Perfect! So the Porsche dealership should really measure up next to the Jaguar, next to the Ferrari so they can help the consumer understand the differences between each model; also the payment plans that are available to them. Those are the different questions that a prospect may have before making a decision, they should try to answer on their website so that when it comes to that prospect walking in to the dealership, really it’s just the case of taking an order because they have taken away all of the questions, they’ve built up a huge amount of trust with that prospect that it’s just literally a matter of signing on the dotted line and taking the order.

Andrew: When you say it like that it seems so obvious but many companies aren’t doing that. Is it a question of time? Is it a question of money? Is it a question of just lack of understanding?

James: Yeah, I think perhaps all of that. One of the biggest things that I come up against advising businesses is that they feel that they kind of have some secret sauce or some special knowledge around their market that their competitors don’t and they don’t want to give that away. Well its rubbish! I mean everyone knows pretty much the same level of stuff. There’s very few industry secrets out there but they withhold those and don’t seem willing to put out content and that’s holding them back. If they don’t come to their market with those information, their competitors will so I think it’s that and also just the resources to go out and create content. It does take time and it’s a slightly slow burning marketing system at least at the start and a lot of people give up. But once you keep at it and you build up that big base of content, you’ll do really well.

Andrew: Well, we’re nearly done James, thank you very much for coming in, if people want to find out more about what you do and how you can help them what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

James: Yeah, I have got a website called where I put out a lot of information around some of the topics we discussed today and much, much more. It is a great way for people to get information. I can also help them get more traffic to their website and build more visibility online, there’s places to connect with me there also.

Andrew: Alright, is where you need to go, James Reynolds, digital marketing expert. Thank you very much for coming in today.

James: Thank you Andrew!

About James Reynolds

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