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  • January 08, 2019 12:48:59 PM
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A Little About Us

Onestop IT Solutions provides IT services to your business. Established in 2003, OnestopIT has grown to a staff of 9 with 3 offices covering Edinburgh and Glasgow. The team offers IT support, IT strategy, IT security and IT compliance support. At Onestop IT we care about understanding the specific needs of your organisation and translating these needs into action plans to support and develop your business.

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  • Annual Regular Membership: 1 Year Term 2020-01-08 17:48:59 (47 days left)
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    Why Your Antivirus Isn’t Enough To Protect Your Business

    Antivirus presents a vital wall of defence against cybercrime and your business. Without it, your devices could be infected with malware within minutes. That being said, as we touched on in last week’s blog post, a host of new, exceedingly complex and intelligent threats is challenging established cybersecurity solutions like nothing before. With this in Discover more The post Why Your Antivirus Isn’t Enough To Protect Your Business appeared first on Onestop...

    Antivirus presents a vital wall of defence against cybercrime and your business. Without it, your devices could be infected with malware within minutes. That being said, as we touched on in last week’s blog post, a host of new, exceedingly complex and intelligent threats is challenging established cybersecurity solutions like nothing before.

    With this in mind, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that your antivirus alone isn’t enough to protect your business from advanced threats. That’s why today, we’ll take a comparative look at antivirus and endpoint security solutions. This way, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing cybersecurity products for your business. Without further ado, here’s what you need to know about antivirus and endpoint security.

    How antivirus works

    A traditional antivirus product is installed on individual devices and will periodically scan your computer, comparing files or directories against a list of known malware. It recognises malicious files based on a “signature” the specific threat carries. It might also use heuristic methods to detect suspicious patterns of behaviour or file structures even if a threat is previously unknown. 

    An antivirus programme will scan your computer at scheduled intervals for risks. In addition, you can run a scan on your computer or a specific file, CD or flash drive at any point. It’ll remove any malicious code it finds and gives you an overview of the health of your device. 

    With over 60,000 new pieces of malware created daily, antivirus providers have to constantly update their list of offenders to offer comprehensive protection. This means your antivirus is only as strong as its latest update. If you don’t download uploads as soon as they become available, your device is more likely to be infected. 

    Challenges to legacy antivirus 

    As we talked about in last week’s article, with the rise of new threats like fileless attacks and zero-day exploits, antivirus alone isn’t enough to protect your business. In fact, traditional antivirus catches only about half of malicious threats. As an antivirus programme is only as strong as its latest update, it relies on users vigilantly updating their software. This becomes more problematic the more devices are connected to your business network as forgetting to install the latest updates on your devices is very common.

    Recently, a new breed of antivirus solutions has emerged to address many of the issues stated above. Known as next-generation antivirus, these products use behavioural analysis and machine learning to better recognise previously unknown threats. However, even next-generation solutions like this aren’t able to fully account for human ingenuity as they’re looking for specific behaviours rather than trying to recognise new patterns. Additionally, these products don’t offer the comprehensive set of tools that endpoint protection solutions do.

    It’s also worth remembering that whether you use a legacy or next-generation antivirus solution, it won’t be able to protect your business data if your endpoint device itself falls into the wrong hands. If one of your team members loses their work laptop or their personal phone with access to confidential information gets stolen, your antivirus can’t do anything to protect your files. That’s why you need a tool offering encryption or remote device wiping to better protect your data.

    What is endpoint protection?

    Simply put, the difference between antivirus and endpoint protection is that while the former secures individual endpoints like laptops, phones and tablets, an endpoint security solution protects your business network as a whole. 

    Instead of being installed on specific computers, an endpoint protection solution will be stored either in the cloud or on a central server. In addition, endpoint protection products have agents installed on individual endpoints to report back to the central server. This way, you’re remotely protecting all devices with access to your business network. This includes things like laptops and phones as well as more unexpected things like printers connected to the internet of things (IoT).

    Antivirus is one aspect of endpoint protection but in addition to this, endpoint security products contain tools like a firewall, whitelisting capabilities, patching, device control, data loss prevention and more. With the help of artificial intelligence, endpoint security solutions can detect zero-day exploits using previously unknown malware and attack types, offering more comprehensive protection than antivirus alone can.

    Additionally, the fact that endpoint security products offer remote protection makes them scalable and well-suited for modern workplaces. A product like this will offer you the right amount of support as your team grows. 

    As endpoint security products are managed remotely, they often allow you to wipe devices remotely. This is a hugely useful feature if one of your business’ endpoints gets lost or stolen. It also means the endpoint protection agents installed on individual endpoints can be updated remotely for the best level of protection possible.

    Do I need antivirus, endpoint protection or both?

    As we already mentioned, having some form of antivirus protection is vital for protecting your devices. That being said, whether you need a straightforward antivirus product for your business is a tad more complex a question seeing as endpoint protection products often have antivirus built in.

    In an ideal world, all companies would have access to top of the line endpoint protection with robust antivirus software either built into their endpoint security solution or purchased separately. However, this is not the reality for most small businesses. Windows 10 does come with built-in antivirus protection called Windows Defender, though relying on this alone could be problematic for some organisations – read more about this here. That being said, this protection, combined with a comprehensive endpoint protection solution offers good protection for most small business.

    We don’t recommend relying on antivirus alone for businesses for many reasons. While antivirus can be fairly effective in protecting your home network, it fails to offer comprehensive coverage for complex business networks. 

    That being said, for sole traders or very small businesses of just a couple of people, it might be enough. If this is you, you’ll need to be vigilant about updating your software. If you don’t need advanced features like remote access, network filtering or whitelisting, an antivirus programme could be enough for you.

    If you choose to go without an endpoint security solution, you should make sure you have good level of cybersecurity awareness. Additionally, a firewall and an encryption tool can provide another level of protection against data leaks. If you think endpoint protection is the right option for your business, come back for our next blog post to read more about our recommended product for this, SentinelOne.

    The post Why Your Antivirus Isn’t Enough To Protect Your Business appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Modern Threats To Your Endpoints & How To Avoid Them

    The cybersecurity threat landscape has always been one prone to quick changes, meaning that organisations of all sizes have been left to play catch-up. With a host of new, more sophisticated forms of IT security threats gaining momentum and business networks becoming increasingly complex, your traditional antivirus software is no longer sufficient for keeping your Discover more The post Modern Threats To Your Endpoints & How To Avoid Them appeared first on Onestop...

    The cybersecurity threat landscape has always been one prone to quick changes, meaning that organisations of all sizes have been left to play catch-up. With a host of new, more sophisticated forms of IT security threats gaining momentum and business networks becoming increasingly complex, your traditional antivirus software is no longer sufficient for keeping your business, staff and clients safe.

    In today’s blog post, we’ll go over how these new, sophisticated cybersecurity threats exploit the blind spots in traditional antivirus solutions and your company’s endpoints (desktops, laptops, smartphones and more). We’ll also discuss the two most important things you need in order to safeguard your business against these threats: user vigilance and modern technology solutions.

    The most prevalent threats to your business’ endpoints

    Modern businesses everywhere are adopting technology policies that help make their staff’s lives easier. BYOD (bring your own device) policies, remote working and cloud-based storage make it easier for your employees to do their job and have all the information they need wherever they are. That being said, these kinds of policies do pose their own cybersecurity risks that need to be addressed. After all, the more endpoints your staff use, the more possible entry points cybercriminals have to your system. 

    With more and more devices having access to your business’ confidential data, you need to make sure these endpoints are secure against cybersecurity threats. And as your organisation’s technology infrastructure gets more complex, it’s harder to find products offering comprehensive coverage against cybersecurity threats. Clearly, relying on antivirus alone is no longer enough.

    Businesses of all sizes are at risk of cybercrime, and it’s arguably small businesses with smaller IT budgets who face the biggest risk. In the event of a data leak, if it’s found that you didn’t do your due diligence to safeguard sensitive data your company has access to, the penalties for this will also be hefty under GDPR.

    Why your antivirus alone is no longer enough

    It’s a common misconception that your antivirus product alone offers sufficient protection from online threats. In reality, new forms of cyberattacks are often able to get around legacy antivirus products. The way antivirus programmes work is by comparing suspicious files and programmes against a list of known offenders. It then blocks these files and programmes if it finds a match in the database. The problem with relying on traditional antivirus products like this, however, is that they are reactive rather than proactive.

    These days, cybercriminals no longer need the trojan horse of an infected file to get into your computer network: fileless malware can infect your company’s endpoints without a signature that a traditional antivirus product can recognise. Instead, attacks like this exploit the weaknesses of trusted and legitimate tools that are often installed on endpoints by default, making them hard to spot before it’s too late.

    Additionally, so-called zero-day attacks exploit weaknesses in software right when they’ve been discovered, before the developers of the product have time to patch them. Since traditional antivirus can only protect you against well-established threats, it lacks the flexibility and intuition to offer protection from zero-day exploits. 

    New technology solutions to counter advanced threats

    In order to protect you from the latest and most complex cybersecurity threats, your endpoint security solution needs to be intelligent and adaptive. Modern endpoint protection solutions use machine learning to detect patterns of suspicious behaviour and “sandbox” suspicious files and links, opening them in a secure and separate space so that if these links or files are malicious, there’s nothing for them to infect.

    Our recommended product for endpoint protection is SentinelOne. This scalable solution offers protection to all your business’ endpoints. It’s effective against threats ranging from the traditional “executables” like Trojans to fileless attacks, spear-phishing emails and more. It uses behavioural artificial intelligence to detect suspicious behaviour and block zero-day exploits.

    A host-based firewall can provide an additional layer of protection for your endpoints. Firewalls like this control your network traffic by acting as a kind of gatekeeper for all incoming and outgoing traffic. It inspects the small packets of code all communications across the internet use for signs of malware and blocks suspicious communications. A host-based firewall is installed on individual endpoints to protect them wherever they’re being used – be that the office, home or a cafe.

    The importance of cybersecurity awareness

    A good level of cybersecurity awareness among your staff goes a long way to protect you from even the more sophisticated attacks, providing an additional level of security in case anything gets past your cybersecurity solutions. This is important because some 88% of all data leaks can be traced back to human error.

    A common issue with endpoint security is that people simply forget to update their applications and operating systems on the devices they use for work. Making sure you download software updates to your devices can go a long way to protect them, as these software updates often contain patches for weak spots in the script that could prove dangerous.

    Educating your people on the importance of patches is a good place to start, and you can keep track of updates if you keep an asset register to track your organisation’s endpoints. We also recommend having a BYOD policy that addresses the need for personal devices used for work to be updated regularly with the latest software patches.

    You should also make sure you and your employees know some of the telltale signs of phishing and other scams so that you avoid falling prey to them should they get past your cybersecurity system. This includes knowing the tricks cybercriminals use to make emails appear to be from legitimate sources like their bank or even a colleague. It’s also important to recognise promises too good to be true, such as free products, and avoid clicking on suspicious pop-up windows while browsing the internet.

    A good way to improve your company’s cybersecurity awareness is by working together towards a Cyber Essentials certificate. Read more about getting certified here.

    The post Modern Threats To Your Endpoints & How To Avoid Them appeared first on Onestop IT.


    How Cybersecurity & Cloud Computing Support Better Business

    Technology has completely transformed the way we do business over the past couple of decades. With quick developments happening in the world of tech all the time, it can be hard to keep on top of the latest updates. In today’s blog post, we’ll go over the many benefits of technology recommended practices around cybersecurity Discover more The post How Cybersecurity & Cloud Computing Support Better Business appeared first on Onestop...

    Technology has completely transformed the way we do business over the past couple of decades. With quick developments happening in the world of tech all the time, it can be hard to keep on top of the latest updates.

    In today’s blog post, we’ll go over the many benefits of technology recommended practices around cybersecurity and cloud computing for small businesses, from making sure you stay GDPR compliant to happier, more productive staff and improved communication. This way, you can see the wide-reaching benefits of updating your technology to meet the latest standards and following best practices related to them. 

    Benefits of cloud computing

    Storing important information and applications in the cloud is an increasingly popular option for businesses of all sizes. It allows them to access their files easily anywhere and at any time, but ease of access is far from the only benefit related to moving to the cloud.

    1. Work from anywhere

    Cloud computing and remote work go hand in hand. After all, cloud computing allows your home-based staff to access all the information they need from anywhere. Especially since staff who telecommute report higher levels of productivity, offering the option to work from home using cloud-based tools is an attractive one.

    Additionally, since remote work is seen as such an attractive perk by many prospective employees whether they have a long commute or young kids, it can help you attract and retain the best possible team members. Using a fully cloud-based suite like Office 365 makes working from home easier for both you and your employees. It allows everyone involved in a project to see progress in real-time and collaborate seamlessly on documents whether they’re office-based or remote.

    2. Keep files safe

    Similarly, since cloud computing means you can access your files from anywhere, they are also safer than they would be stored only on your desktop computer. Backing up important files in a few different ways is important to make sure you don’t lose access. Storing them in the cloud should ideally be one of these methods because it keeps your files safe even if your office suffers something like a fire or you lose your computer or external hard drive.

    Companies offering cloud storage are of course not immune from cybersecurity threats. However, unlike your small business, these large, often international businesses usually have access to round-the-clock expert threat protection from a dedicated cybersecurity team. It might be hard to put your important information into the hands of a third party company, but storing files with a well-known cloud storage provider still offers better protection than if you were to simply store files on your business’ computers.

    3. Better communication

    The lines of communication are also much clearer with cloud computing, both for remote and office-based staff. There’s no more confusion about which version of a file your colleague should have made edits to since edits can be tracked and accessed at any time, all within a single file that is stored in the cloud. 

    Additionally, Microsoft Teams, one of our favourite tools within the Office 365 suite, can simplify your workplace chat and emails. This helps you avoid social blunders like accidentally CC’ing the whole office into a private email. When it’s integrated into your internal communications strategy seamlessly, Microsoft Teams can even do away with internal emails completely.

    4. Serve customers better and more safely with a CRM

    Using a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software allows your staff to serve your sales leads and customers better. It allows them to easily see the lead or customer’s purchases and past interactions with the company easily. This, in turn, helps them serve them faster and more accurately.

    Not only that, but all of this information will be safely stored in the cloud rather than disparate computer desktops. This means the information is easily available to your staff wherever they are. It also means it’s not at risk of being lost, accidentally deleted or accessible to crooks who might get a hold of your staff member’s computer in person or virtually through a cyber attack. 

    Benefits of cybersecurity best practices

    The most obvious advantages of strong cybersecurity are around preventing various threats and minimising their effects. The risks of different cybersecurity threats are severe, from losing sensitive data to sizeable sanctions. However, avoiding these things is not all that following cybersecurity best practices can help you achieve – you’ll also be able to run your business better overall.

    1. Keep cybercriminals out of your data

    The primary purpose of cybersecurity is, of course, to keep unsavoury characters from accessing your files. Cybercriminals use a number of methods to gain access to your data, from phishing emails to infected files that lock down your device once they’re opened. 

    The people trying to access your files could be looking to sell confidential information like your employees’ login details or your customers’ financial details on the dark web to the highest bidder. Or, they might simply want to wreak havoc on a business they dislike. Alternatively, the person behind a data leak could be a disenfranchised ex-employee.

    Whatever the case, making sure you use products like spam and network filtering and a firewall as well as making sure your staff have a good level of cybersecurity awareness is essential. 

    2. Stay compliant and avoid harsh penalties

    Under GDPR, losing important data is not only disruptive to running your business, but it also comes with hefty penalties. If it’s determined that the leak happened because you weren’t doing enough to safeguard the data you have on your customers, the resulting fines could seriously harm the cash flow of your small business.

    Working towards a Cyber Essentials certification is a great way to boost your organisation’s readiness to deal with cybersecurity threats like phishing emails and malicious links in order to stay compliant.

    3. Ward against lost files with data backup

    Sometimes data isn’t lost due to something as dramatic as a data leak sprung by cybercriminals. Sometimes, files are lost or rendered temporarily or permanently unavailable by things like being accidentally deleted, a power outage or a lost memory stick.

    Whatever the reason is for losing an important file or folder, having a subscription to a data recovery service can help you avoid disaster and get back to work sooner. Using a recovery service like Backupify means you can regain access to your files within minutes.

    The bottom line 

    Keeping your small business up to date with the latest technology can seem like a lot of work, but the positive effects of this stretch far and wide. To help you navigate this fast-changing landscape, we’re actively building a library of expert articles on all things cybersecurity, IT strategy and business over on our blog. We publish articles on industry changes and our recommended digital tools like TitanFltering and Ratings & Review Optimisation on a weekly basis.

    The post How Cybersecurity & Cloud Computing Support Better Business appeared first on Onestop IT.


    What Is Inbound Marketing & How To Add It to Your Business

    If you’ve done any amount of research into marketing your small business, you’ve likely come across the term “inbound marketing” at one point or another. But what exactly is inbound marketing - and is it right for you? Inbound marketing is a highly valuable form of digital marketing that we believe should be part of Discover more The post What Is Inbound Marketing & How To Add It to Your Business appeared first on Onestop...

    If you’ve done any amount of research into marketing your small business, you’ve likely come across the term “inbound marketing” at one point or another. But what exactly is inbound marketing – and is it right for you?

    Inbound marketing is a highly valuable form of digital marketing that we believe should be part of any small business’ marketing strategy. In today’s blog post, we’ll go over exactly what inbound is, why you should be taking a largely inbound approach to your marketing and how you can get started.

    What is inbound?

    Back before Google, social media and blog posts, the way people could find out about businesses were pretty limited. You had ads on billboards, radio and TV as well as in newspapers. Additionally, you could find out about products and services through word of mouth or the yellow pages. Marketing was mostly limited to these avenues.

    The term “inbound marketing” was coined by marketing software company Hubspot back in the mid-2000s to talk about a new form of digital marketing that was starting to gain traction due to the rise of social media, review sites and smartphones.

    Thanks to these developments, consumers started to become more empowered and informed than ever before. Now, your potential customers can scour Google for companies near them offering the services they need at the best possible price, read online reviews to find the best products and ask their friends, family and colleagues for recommendations via social media.

    Inbound marketing is all about attracting these empowered consumers to your business in a way that is more about them than it is about you. This means running search engine optimisation (SEO) campaigns that help your website rank in search results for search terms relevant to your business. It means informative blog posts that educate your leads so they can make an informed purchase and a social media presence that entertains and answers questions posed by followers.

    But perhaps the best way to hone in on what exactly inbound means is to take a look at it in relation to its antonym, outbound marketing.

    Inbound vs outbound marketing

    The difference between inbound and outbound marketing is best described as a pull versus a push, or a magnet versus a megaphone. While inbound is all about attracting your ideal customers to your business through marketing materials designed to appeal to them, outbound marketing shouts about how great you are from the rooftops to anyone who walks by.

    While the latter might not sound too bad, it’s viewed as annoying by many people. After all, outbound marketing can’t get very targeted in its reach, meaning that your ideal customers are far from the only ones exposed to your marketing materials. This leads to a higher cost per acquisition for your campaigns and could even make some people actively dislike your brand.

    Outbound marketing hasn’t lost all its credibility in the digital age, though, as can be seen with award-winning TV campaigns that everyone is talking about and the fact that many companies still get a good return on investment from banner ads. However, relying on just outbound marketing can be expensive for small businesses and won’t generate new sales leads as effectively as combining these efforts with inbound tactics.

    Benefits of inbound marketing

    In contrast to outbound marketing, with inbound, you can get extremely granular with who you target, meaning your message is seen by those most likely to convert as long as you have a solid understanding of your target audience and how to speak to them. This also means that inbound marketing campaigns often have a lower cost per acquisition. 

    While the upfront costs of hiring an expert copywriter to craft inbound content or an SEO expert to improve your visibility on search engines can be high, you could, in theory, do all this yourself at least to begin with. What’s more, the effects of these marketing activities will keep bringing new leads to your website for a long time, whereas outbound marketing campaigns like cold calling or banner ads will only generate new leads for as long as you’re actively running the campaigns.

    Another positive impact of inbound marketing is that it builds your brand in an authentic way that will help nurture your customers into active promoters of your business. You could go the extra mile with things like an email newsletter offering expert insights into your niche and social media assistants who answer both positive and negative posts on social media in a friendly and helpful manner. 

    How to get started with inbound marketing

    A strong inbound marketing strategy combines a number of digital marketing activities that support one another. If you start a blog and post keyword-optimised articles on a regular basis, this will boost your domain authority, supporting your SEO efforts. Blog posts can also be used to support content creation for other inbound methods like marketing emails, social media posts and whitepapers.

    Paid search ads also fall under the umbrella of inbound marketing because they target people who are showing an active interest in solutions you can offer. After all, with paid search, you can show ads in Google search results for relevant keywords you’ve added to your campaign. Paid search will support your organic SEO efforts by getting more traffic from search engines onto your site faster.

    Running a blog, publishing social media updates, sending out email newsletters, setting up and optimising paid search campaigns and building your brand through SEO all take up a lot of time. That’s why you need to prioritise channels you think will be most useful and relevant to your ideal customers. Additionally, enlisting the help of expert digital marketers can be hugely helpful. If you’re not quite ready to hire more staff or outsource your marketing, take a look at some handy inbound tools below.

    Our recommended inbound marketing tools

    Using some smart inbound marketing tools can make setting up and running your inbound marketing campaigns much easier and makes measuring their success more straightforward. 

    When it comes to finding relevant keywords to add to your SEO and paid search strategies, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush and BuzzSumo to find out what your ideal customers are searching for and reading about online. 

    Meanwhile, Hubspot can help you optimise and automate your email marketing. They also offer an easy to understand blogging platform and landing page creator complete with analytics that help you pinpoint how your audience is interacting with your content. Finally, social media planning tool Hootsuite lets you easily post updates on all your accounts and monitor industry trends and your competitors.

    The post What Is Inbound Marketing & How To Add It to Your Business appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Paid Search vs SEO – Pros, Cons & Why You Need Both

    Search engine optimisation and paid search - also known as PPC (pay-per-click) - have many things in common. They both relate to your website’s visibility on search engines like Google and are cornerstones in most digital marketing strategies. Additionally, both use keywords to promote your business’ website to the most relevant people. That being said, Discover more The post Paid Search vs SEO – Pros, Cons & Why You Need Both appeared first on Onestop...

    Search engine optimisation and paid search – also known as PPC (pay-per-click) – have many things in common. They both relate to your website’s visibility on search engines like Google and are cornerstones in most digital marketing strategies. Additionally, both use keywords to promote your business’ website to the most relevant people.

    That being said, these two digital marketing practices have plenty of differences too, as well as their own, unique strengths and weaknesses. The good news is, paid search and SEO are complementary services, supporting each other for better overall digital marketing. In today’s blog post, we’ll go over the pros and cons of both marketing practices and explain why you should implement both for better online visibility for your brand.

    SEO benefits

    We went over some of the benefits of search engine optimisation in last week’s blog post on the importance of SEO, but to recap briefly, SEO is a relatively inexpensive way to boost your brand online, improve your website’s user experience and unearth new opportunities. 

    Additionally, we should note that while your PPC campaigns will bring new visitors to your website only for as long as you keep paying to display your ads, your SEO efforts will offer value in the long term. You usually have to do your site’s technical SEO just once – this makes sure search engine bots can always crawl your site for relevant information. Similarly, on-site SEO practices like creating a library of high-quality keyword-optimised content will keep bringing new visitors to your website long after its publication.

    SEO drawbacks

    The most obvious disadvantage of SEO is that it takes time to improve your Google rankings, while with paid search, you can appear at the very top of the results page as soon as your ads are approved – as long as you’ve used a good keyword strategy. It takes time to make changes to your site and create a library of keyword-optimised content. Additionally, it takes time for Google to reindex your site to reflect these changes.

    On a similar note, SEO can be a lot of work. Setting up and optimising basic paid search campaigns takes less time than things like content creation building backlinks on other sites pointing back to yours and improving your site’s load time and navigation. Realistically, it’ll take you three to six months to start seeing the results from your SEO efforts, and making changes to improve your website can even temporarily hurt your site’s domain authority until Google has reindexed your site.

    Paid search benefits

    As we already mentioned, paid search can take you to the top of the Google results page overnight. This is huge if you’re launching a new product or service and simply don’t have the time to wait for our SEO efforts to start paying off. It also means you can run different kinds of experiments more easily and see the results quickly. 

    These facts have made Google PPC campaigns very popular since, in contrast, it takes a long time to see results from SEO campaigns and because there’s lots of competition for scoring a spot in one of the first few organic search results. With PPC, you can also control some additional details relating to how your site is displayed in search results: you can add additional links to different pages on your website and even a button to call you directly. 

    You can also increase your ad’s likelihood of being clicked on by controlling things like the geographical area it’ll be shown in and the days and times Google can display it. Coupled with the fact that you also control the page people will land on once they click on your ad, with paid search, you can make sure your leads follow a carefully crafted buyer’s journey designed by you. 

    Additionally, while some parts of SEO can be highly technical and require a web developer to help you, you can teach yourself the basics of paid search with relative ease. Learning how to run PPC campaigns effectively, lowering your cost per click and being highly strategic and targeted with your keyword strategy does take time and work, but depending on how competitive your niche is, you can set up basic campaigns pretty easily.

    Paid search drawbacks

    Because you can set up campaigns so quickly and start showing up in search results, it’s little wonder that PPC is also a highly competitive space. Because of this, bidding for keywords (which happens automatically based on a price cap you set) can get combative in some niches, leading to a high cost per click for your ads.

    Additionally, people are naturally distrusting of paid advertisements: according to one survey, this is the case with 69% of people. While paid search ads look almost the same as organic listings, they do always come prefaced with the word “ad” and internet users are increasingly savvy when it comes to recognising when they’re being sold something. Some people will always be hesitant about clicking on paid search ads, especially if they’ve never heard of your business before.

    That’s why getting help from PPC experts can be so valuable; they can find the best keywords for your goals, create convincing ad copy and set your bidding strategy for the highest possible ROI.

    Why your digital marketing strategy needs both SEO and PPC

    At the end of the day, the conversation shouldn’t really be about PPC vs SEO and which one is better, but how you can leverage both for better online visibility. Paid search and SEO complement each other exceptionally well, making up for each others’ weaknesses and adding their own, unique advantages for a stronger overall digital marketing strategy.

    Investing in some SEO helps you build your business’ reputation in a way that feels genuine so that when people come across your paid search ads in their Google results, they might already be aware of what you do and be more likely to click on the ad to visit your site.

    Conversely, running some paid search campaigns means you can start getting more website visitors right away with relatively little work. Working on your business’ SEO while running PPC campaigns means you’ll continue bringing new people to your site even if you pause your ad campaigns.

    The post Paid Search vs SEO – Pros, Cons & Why You Need Both appeared first on Onestop IT.


    5 Reasons To Invest In SEO & Crucial SEO Best Practices

    SEO stands for search engine optimisation, a digital marketing practice that improves your online visibility and helps get more eyes on your business’ website, spreading your reputation far and wide.  Talking about SEO can get complicated and technical very quickly. That’s why we’ve put together the guide below with a simple overview of what SEO Discover more The post 5 Reasons To Invest In SEO & Crucial SEO Best Practices appeared first on Onestop...

    SEO stands for search engine optimisation, a digital marketing practice that improves your online visibility and helps get more eyes on your business’ website, spreading your reputation far and wide. 

    Talking about SEO can get complicated and technical very quickly. That’s why we’ve put together the guide below with a simple overview of what SEO is, why it’s important for your business and what some of the best practices you should follow are. Read on to discover what SEO is and how you can start improving your company’s online presence with it.

    What is SEO?

    SEO is all about improving your visibility on different search engines people use to find information, products and services they need. It’s also important for improving the quality of your website, making it more user-friendly, faster to load and easier to navigate. While there are a number of search engines out there, Google is by far the biggest and most important one, which is why improving your status in the eyes of this internet giant will be the main focus in this article. 

    In order for your business’ website to rank highly in Google search results, your website has to meet certain technical and creative standards that search engine bots are trained to look for. To think like a search engine, you’ll need to consider two things: your website’s authority and its relevance to the search query. In this instance, relevance means how closely your website content matches search queries relevant to your business. Quality inbound content will help you build your website’s relevance. 

    Authority mainly refers to backlinks to your website from other authoritative sites – this shows you’re seen as an expert in your field. Link building campaigns can help you build high-quality backlinks, though these should start appearing organically if you post enough useful, inbound content to your site on a regular basis and promote it through things like social media, email and PPC.

    Five Reasons Why SEO Is Important For Your Business 

    1. It can drastically improve your website visitor count

    When’s the last time you navigated to the second page of your Google search results? We can hardly remember, either. The reality is that the first five results receive 67.6% of clicks, so this is where you need to be if you want more website visitors, leads and customers. SEO is the thing that can get you there. 

    2. It builds your brand’s credibility

    Good SEO helps grow trust in your business. That’s because appearing high up in search results conveys to users that your site is trustworthy and a source for high-quality information relating to your industry.

    3. It makes your website more user-friendly

    As we already mentioned, improving your SEO will also improve your website user experience. An SEO-friendly website means users find the information they need with fewer clicks. This means they’re less likely to exit out of your website out of frustration over not having found what they’re looking for.

    4. It’s relatively inexpensive

    Compared to many other digital marketing services, such as PPC advertising, SEO can be very affordable. Naturally, small business SEO services can vary a lot in price depending on the scope of the service and who’s offering it. That being said, while with PPC, you pay for every click you get on your ads on top of the fee you’re paying your digital marketing agency to create and optimise your ad campaigns, with SEO there are usually no extra fees like this. 

    If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between SEO and paid search, come back next week, when we’ll talk about this in our Monday blog post.

    5. It can help you recognise new opportunities

    Investing in your business’ SEO also means you have to think tactically about the content on your website and what your competitors are doing. This can help you recognise opportunities for new content for your website – or even new products or services. It can also help you come up with ways to expand on resources you’re already offering.

    The most important SEO best practices

    1. Build your website with visitors, not search engines, in mind

    When you start learning about SEO, you might be tempted to stuff your website with as many keywords as possible, leading to clunky and unnatural text. Practices like this put off the people who visit your website, and at the end of the day, it’s people, not search engines who bring revenue to your business. 

    Not only that, but Google has developed to be sophisticated enough to favour user-friendly content and to see through obvious tactics to try and win their favour. Because of this, they’ll penalise your website with lower rankings if it’s clear that the people navigating to your site are not finding value on it.

    2. Optimise your site for mobile

    With more and more Google searches being made on mobile devices rather than desktop computers, Google now indexes and ranks websites predominantly using the mobile version of their content. As a result, if your website doesn’t work properly for mobile users, providing them with an intuitive user experience, your Google ranking will suffer.

    3. Define some relevant long-tail keywords to rank for

    By now, you’ve heard how it’s important to be one of the first websites in Google search results. That’s all good and well, you might think, but how on earth are you going to manage that for popular searches in your industry?

    You’re right to have your hesitations about this – ranking highly for very generic keywords like “cybersecurity” or “accounting services” is incredibly difficult simply because there’s a huge amount of competition and content on the internet built around these keywords.

    That’s why you should set your sights instead on longer, more specific keywords that don’t have as much competition around them, such as “cybersecurity awareness training Edinburgh” or “online accounting tools for freelancers”. These are known as longtail keywords and they should be at the heart of your SEO strategy.

    4. Create quality content on a regular basis

    Great, keyword-optimised content published on your website regularly has a hugely positive impact on your SEO. It helps you rank higher for your chosen long-tail keywords and makes website visitors spend a longer time on your site – a fact that will also raise your website’s relevance in the eyes of search engines.

    In conclusion

    Search engine optimisation should be a key part of your digital marketing. Check out our marketing blog posts for more information on how to get business. Our blog is updated weekly on Mondays with new insights on technology, business and IT security.

    The post 5 Reasons To Invest In SEO & Crucial SEO Best Practices appeared first on Onestop IT.


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