Reinvigorating a sleeping giant with Bauer Media

Reinvigorating a sleeping giant with Bauer Media

Bringing the Downtown Brand to life for Bauer Media 

“Brand Ambition have revitalised the Downtown Brand. For a number of years the station had an outdated image which was impacting on the listenership. We now have a modern, fresh new identity which is designed to exploit our evolving demographic and digital platforms. Reach and Hours continue to improve substantially.” .
Simon Mann

Commercial Director, Bauer Media


After working with Bauer Media over the years, we’ve become a trusted partner for them and their brands of radio stations – some of the biggest in Northern Ireland. 

Owned and operated by Bauer media, The Downtown Radio brand is synonymous with radio in the country and has been for more than four decades.   

From a total brand overhaul, a creation of a new brand identity for a new radio station and social media, to email marketing, advertising and B2B campaigns, we’re the go-to agency for Bauer Media in Northern Ireland when it comes to anything visual. 

It’s a relationship that has been built and advanced over time. Our honest approach, and tireless work ethic combined with excellent results has developed a relationship that we’re incredibly proud of and we look forward to continuing for years to come. 

A New Brand Identity – Downtown Radio Brand Identification


The way that radio is being consumed is changing rapidly. Smart speakers, apps and online listening have introduced a whole new world of choice. 

Unlike the evolution of how we consume music, the brand identity for Northern Ireland’s original commercial radio station hadn’t changed since the eighties.

The Challenge: 

A new identity was required that reflected the changing face of the station in a way that appealed to its listeners.  

After extensive research, insight and exploration, it was decided that the new identity for Bauer Media would appeal to listeners who wanted to simply hear great popular music. 

The Solution

This fresh, simple and modern brand solution emphasises and accommodates this evolution of how listeners consume music. Its relevant iconography has been created, with the standout D at the start of Downtown hinting towards the pressing of a ‘play’ button. 

Meanwhile, the strap-line reflects the brand’s ambitions and inherent strengths, with a line that points to exactly what listeners get when they tune in, and a brand strength that has been built upon for decades – great music.

Alongside the nod to the way we now consume music and a strap-line that really gets to grips about the strength of Downtown, the brand has been designed in such a way that it can also be used across a range of different platforms, without ever losing its impact or key recognizable traits. 

Aldi Bullies Yet Another Brand into Submission

Aldi Bullies Yet Another Brand into Submission


Aldi uses social to disrupt M&S website traffic using strategic Social Media & SEO tactics.

Aldi isn’t a plucky underdog, it’s way bigger than M&S in the grocery market and has essentially been bullying them for years.

We answer the question on everyones lips. Is Colin the Caterpillar more famous than Niall Horan?

Aldi hasn’t won every battle. M&S held its own last Christmas.

Aldi doesn’t just do this to “Big Brands”, it constantly copies products leaving small businesses out of pocket

These small businesses tend to be set up to do good in the world, rather than solely set up to make a profit.

At Brand Ambition, we think that is bad…

Aldi has a long-forgotten history of spying on staff, funding North Korean nukes and drug smuggling.

It’s not lost on us that the #FreeCuthbert marketing stunt has generated a powerful amount of positivity around the Aldi brand, whilst also successfully showing up a rival.

As a piece of honest marketing and brand building, it has gained national interest, in the way that only large brands on social media can.

Aldi bullies Marks & Spencer into submission with social media…but at least M&S is big enough to fight back.

What’s disappointing is that it is another example of elitist brand building that damages small businesses and widens the gap between brands with a social conscious and those that, well, don’t.

Marketing campaign success aside, Aldi is a market-dominant bully, that is seemingly flouting copyright legislation (it’s a very complex issue, one which we aren’t qualified to comment on) to generate additional market share, kicking a traditional Yorkshire brand when it’s already down.

Nielsen Grocery Market Share Data – 2019

Nielsen Grocery Market Share

Live Kantar GB Grocery Market Share Data

Whatever data you use to define Grocery Market Share, it’s lucky for M&S that it has a strong & loyal customer base with a renewed online presence, boosted by Covid technology adoption, otherwise, this attack on its brand trademarks might drive its illusion of affordable quality back to the days before the 2006 launch of: ‘This is not just food. This is M&S Food’.

Consumers see Aldi as the plucky underdog, fighting against the “establishment”, aligning itself with brands such as Brewdog and taking pop-shots at established traditional brands like M&S, but in reality, it’s a global brand that gives consumers what they want, cheaper products at the highest possible quality.

Let’s weigh up how Aldi has been taking pop shots at M&S for a while.

Starting with Search Volume and Google Trends, we can see that in the last 7 years, Aldi has won the demand all year round, even Christmas, since 2016.

But this wasn’t enough for Aldi, its continued to belittle M&S on everything it does.

Aldi vs M&S - Stop They're Already Dead

In fact, since 2016, according to SEMRush data, Aldi has seen Organic keyword growth of 1,347%.

Moving from 22,500 keywords in the top 100 to over 335,000 ranking phrases. Its move to create disruptive marketing campaigns that focus on products has led to a direct increase in Organic search recognition. As an SEO tactic, it’s been pretty flawless.

Three times Aldi has outright attacked M&S in a scrap for marketshare.

    1. #Freecuthbert & #CaterpillarsforCancer

The moment that inspired the nation to free a cake recipe and wrestle the ownership away from M&S, which included a series of tweets including:


Followed by another (albeit hilarious) attack on the brand.

If you thought this was just harmless banter, then you don’t know the power of Colin for the M&S website.

Data from SEOMonitor shows that “Caterpillar Cake” has 178 Keywords in the phrase cluster driving 610,000 searches per month.

Phrases that include “Colin” and “cake” has a massive 243,000 searches a month.

To put that in perspective popstar Niall Horan only gets about 100,000 searches a month. So is Colin the Caterpillar more famous than Niall Horan?

Yes. Yes he is (according to SEO Monitor)

Niall Horan vs Colin the Caterpillar

Pre #FreeCuthbert M&S was dominating the SERPs on this phrase. It drove huge amounts of traffic for the brand, which ultimately drove sales.

Typical SERP Pre-FreeCuthbert

As you can see from the SERPs before #FreeCuthbert, Aldi isn’t even on the list. Its cake was going relatively unnoticed and certainly wasn’t helping them drives sales. Then post-campaign, the SERP is now dominated by Aldi and the search volume according to Google trends has seen a 900% increase.

What is seen as a piece of reactive social media, will have long-lasting impacts on traffic to the M&S website.

Good to know: This isn’t an actual snapshot of the SERP, but it is the SERP using the “time” feature to pick on a particular day.

  1. The Identical Drinks Trays

In November 2020, Aldi went after the M&S home market, by creating a popular duplicate of a Mirrored Drinks Tray.

The power of the PR around this piece has pushed Aldi on to the first page rankings for the phrase “Drinks Tray”, which gets around 4,400 searches a month & has ensured they now dominate first and second for the phrase “Mirrored Drinks Tray”.

Aldi M&S Drinks Tray Comparison

The kirkton range has generated over 200 linking domains since launch, helping their entire home section and special buys range to continue the organic uplift on the website.

  1. The fight for “Gastropub”

Believe it or not, M&S has won this battle. The range launched in time for Christmas competed directly against M&S food items and undercut the price on every one.

Despite the blatant attack on their Gastropub range, in terms of the other Aldi campaigns, M&S has fought this one off…for this year.

When we look at terms that drive monthly search volume according to SEMRush we get over 199 suggested terms that include “M&S” and “Gastropub”, with a monthly search volume of 4,370.

Aldi launched under the name “Gastro”, but there are only 5 keywords with a total monthly search volume of 20 for “Aldi” and “Gastro”.

Incidentally, the most searched for is the M&S Chicken and Leek Pie with 880 searches a month, so in terms of the products Aldi was competing with, the company clearly didn’t do its keyword research before hand as they didn’t have a competing product here.

Newspapers reported at the time: “According to Aldi, the collection costs almost 50 percent less than the M&S alternative, with prices starting from £1.99 and meal pairings coming in at less than £10 for two. Gastro dishes include Slow-cooked Texas BBQ Brisket, juicy Salt and Chilli Rib Rack, and Mac & Cheese with Pancetta.”

Sounds delicious, but this round goes to M&S

So…does it matter?

Big brands picking on big brands is part of the game, and we get that. In fact, the boost to a smaller brand, by being recognised by these bigger brands can drive awesome awareness and sales.

Look at the case of Brewdog…

Brewdog got national press and nationwide support as a result of its direct attack on the brand, but the important thing here is that Brewdog had to instigate it and Aldi, despite purposely ripping off and stealing sales from a growing company, get away with appearing like it is doing everyone a favour.

At Brand Ambition, we love an underdog story. We love a brand that challenges, that rises above the fold and takes market share from the dominant players.

We love it, even more, when that brand brings others with the same values along on the journey but is that what Aldi is doing? Or is Aldi bullying smaller brands into submission and driving the market value down to the benefit of itself…and its customers.

For Brewdog, this wasn’t even the biggest thing it did throughout the year to push its brand forward as this Google trends graph shows.

In fact, the biggest story and best marketing campaign for BrewDog was this one…

In other words, Brewdog was pre-committed to doing good in the world. Another clear example, of this, was December 2020, when its reactive PR helped them come up with the idea of utilising their venues as vaccination centres

The Aldi campaign might have helped with additional recognition, but the fact is, Brewdog didn’t need a large supermarket giant, stepping on its market share to make it do some good in the world and get its message across, it was already doing it.

Aldi, in this case, was simply stealing intellectual property from a brand that has worked hard to differentiate itself in a crowded market place.

Four times Aldi has stolen ideas from small companies and left them high and dry


  1. Heck Foods – Chicken Italia Sausages

The family-run business, grown from farmers markets accused Aldi of copying its award-winning chicken Italia sausages. The founder of Heck, Andrew Keeble, labelled the supermarket a “parasite” after Aldi launched a similar looking chicken chipolatas. He went on to say: “Our customers kept getting in touch to say that Aldi is ripping-off our products and they’re not the same products.” He added, “It’s deceiving to our health and fitness audience.”

When Heck contacted Aldi and asked them to stop selling the knock-off products, they were handed a “threatening legal letter”.


  1. The Collective – Gourmet Yoghurt Range.

The Collective also accused Aldi of copying its brand. Aldi launched a luxury yoghurt range called Moo!, bearing a striking resemblance to The Collective’s gourmet yoghurt at half the price. Amelia Harvey, co-founder of The Collective, said customers had been in contact to say they felt ‘duped’. “Aldi is deliberately trying to use the cues of successful brands to fool consumers in to buying them,” she said. “Our brand has taken seven years to tirelessly build by a small team. In one fell swoop Aldi has taken that brand value and used all our cues to cause consumer confusion.”

Speaking to The Grocer magazine, Aldi UK & Ireland chief executive Giles Hurley denied it was copying brands. He added: “What we do with our exclusive brands is identical to what the rest of the market does with own label, which is to draw cues and make products easily identifiable for customers without seeking to copy.”


  1. Vita Coco coconut oil

Aldi undercut Vita Coco coconut oil by 75%. Leaving the company with no option but to ignore the new challenger in its market. The company was set-up to support the farming communities that supply the raw materials for their products.


  1. Charlie Bigham’s Ready Meals

Aldi decided to make its own version, but it made them bigger and sold them up to 43% cheaper. Julie Ashfield from Aldi said that the low cost of the new ready meals will allow customers to make “substantial savings on luxury equivalents without having to compromise.” Charlie Bigham’s is a B Corp, focusing their business influence for good, funding projects like City Harvest. Beating Bowel Cancer and Magic Breakfast an organisation that helps feed over 48,000 school children.


Social conscious matters. Aldi’s flippant social media campaign #caterpillarsforcancer is using a good cause to mask doing something immoral. This time, it’s M&S, next time it’s your favourite local independent.

Aldi has a long-forgotten history of spying on staff, funding North Korean nukes and drug smuggling amongst other scandals. So let’s stop pretending it is the plucky underdog.

From our point of view, the big brands can create entertaining Twitter conversations all they like, just stop stealing ideas from hardworking brands creating quality products, that are doing good in the world by driving a social conscious.

There is a reason some products are more expensive, it’s because they aren’t trying to rip off everyone in the process of it being made.

#LocalSupportingLocal #SupportLocal


Black Friday Success with Rum Razor

Black Friday Success with Rum Razor

68% Increase in Bookings for Rum Razor Barbershop with a Black Friday Digital & Brand Marketing Campaign

We’d never thought about doing a Black Friday sale before, but it will be a regular feature for Rum Razor going forwards. It’s helped to make sure December will be a strong month and guarantee some bookings for January. I think for 2020, a voucher for a haircut or a beard tidy-up is clearly the push some of our customers needed to get back into the habit. Brand Ambition has turned a terrible year into a hopeful one.

Paul Cowen

Owner, Rum Razor Barbershop

The Goal

With the first UK lockdown severely impacting the Hair and Beauty Industry, many local businesses looked to pivot their services online to ensure an alternative revenue stream ahead of a second lockdown in November.

Barbers were particularly hard hit by the closures as Brits looked to maintain their haircuts at home –  in fact, searches for ‘mens hair clippers’ on Google increased by 12,400% in April, while queries for ‘barber’ have seen an 18% decrease this year. .

Both full lockdown closures and Covid restrictions left local barber shops struggling to recoup costs when they were able to open.

At Brand Ambition, we saw an opportunity to help businesses raise their profile and re-engage customers through free marketing assistance. Durham-based Rum Razor Barbershop took us up on our offer to boost their online offerings around Black Friday and provide a much needed increase in revenue.

Our Strategy

After the first lockdown, Rum Razor revealed they had lost 53% of their clientele according to their online booking portal, and were looking to attract new customers and reconnect with their previous patrons during the second lockdown. As this fell over Black Friday, we realised it was the perfect time to create a campaign based on saving money and limited-time deals.

Barbershop Revenue 2020Barbershop Takings in 2020 with December Increases

 The campaign involved creating bespoke gift boxes and vouchers of various sizes that were packed with discounts, key styling products and branded merchandise to entice customers over Black Friday.

The boxes were offered at different price points to appeal to all budgets and were promoted on the Rum Razor site, shared across their social media, and advertised on Facebook and Instagram.

The Results

In the week of Black Friday (23-29 November) the campaign led to a 305% increase in website visits and an 830% uplift in social media visits. This also represented a 57% increase in visits compared to those seen in the first lockdown.

Bookings for December rose by 68% during that week despite none of the offers being specifically tailored to December, By the time December came around, bookings were up 345%, while the boxes and vouchers generated revenue. This was all during a month that the barbers were unable to earn anything from their shop due to the lockdown closures.


Website Visits


Social Visits Increase


Increase in Bookings


Increase in December Revenue

Services Used in this Campaign

Marketing Strategy, Research & Analysis

To create the campaign, we first looked at the market, reviewed competitor research to understand what products might appeal to the target market and researched the customer base at Rum Razor to gain a strong understanding of his most loyal customer base.

Product Design & Development

When we understood the products that would appeal most and defined a number of price points that would benefit both customer and Rum Razor, we mocked up product images we could use on the website.

This allowed us to sell the products, without having a physical product shoot. The quality suffered a little bit, but the essence of the campaign remained.

Content Writing

We used content filled with humour for the product pages, emails and social media advertising. 

this allowed us to capture the essence of Rum Razor and obtain max appeal to the local customer base, whilst also helping improve conversion rates and give us the possibility of obtaining additional social shares.

Customers commented on the amusing content within social media and even sent direct messages to express their approval.

Paid Advertising

We used a mixture of Facebook and Instagram advertising to get the campaign out quickly, within the specific local area. 

We set a small budget of £100. This drove the majority of the 68% increase in bookings.

Social Media Consultancy

Rum Razor already has a strong & loyal social media following, so we simply advised on content and messaging to support the campaign. 

We pretty much left Rum Razor to it as they are the experts on their customers, so the effort was collaborative and as a result, the Organic Social Media Engagement increased by 830% week on week.

Technical SEO

As well as supporting the creation of the products, we also set them up within the CMS, wrote the content and provided technical consultancy to make sure the payments were working.

As well as this, we reviewed the site for any Local SEO improvements and requested some small changes to the CMS that would help improve rankings in the future.

Can we make your next campaign a success?

If you’re a local business wondering how you can pivot your services online to boost revenue, increase brand awareness and diversify your product offerings, get in touch with our expert marketers at Brand Ambition. 

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The SEO And Search Engine Facts You NEED To Know in 2021

The SEO And Search Engine Facts You NEED To Know in 2021

93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

If you want people to find your business online, there’s simply no better method than search.

From small startups to giant global brands, organic search is the lifeblood of successful business marketing, and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the dominant strategy for getting your brand noticed by the right audience at the right time.

Why? It’s simple…

  • Most online experiences start with Google search.
  • Almost everyone clicks on the first page of results.
  • To reach Page 1, you need high quality content with good backlinks.
  • Mobile optimisation is crucial in 2021.
  • Long-form content is essential, and increases your chances for voice search.
  • Your best starting point is to update your current content first.
  • Focus on audience-friendly content that Google will love.

The 15 Power Stats that Prove SEO is vital in a 2021Marketing Strategy

Much has changed about SEO over the years, but its vital importance to businesses hasn’t.

In fact, we’d say 2021 looks set to be the biggest leap for SEO yet, bringing audiences and brands closer after a difficult, “distanced” year.

According to Google Trends, 2020 is the first time that the UK has seen more demand for an “SEO Agency” than a “Creative Agency”, with Social Media following closely behind.

And in Northern Ireland specifically, the rise in searches for SEO and Social Media has reached new levels of interest.

SEO Trends Northern Ireland

So if you are looking for the stats to sell SEO services to your management team, or reviewing your marketing channels for the next financial year, we’ve brought together 15 of the most important SEO statistics around, ready to help you tap into the valuable world of digital traffic, all while attributing real value to your content investment.

The SEO Statistics you need to sell Digital Marketing for 2021

93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (Source: Search Engine Journal)

First and foremost, SEO isn’t just a digital priority, it’s a business priority.

These days, search engines are the starting point for almost any information we want to find out – from recipe tips to cinema times, which makes it the most important marketing arena there is.

As a result, businesses that aren’t paying enough attention to SEO are risking missing out on a wealth of customers. 

BONUS STAT: More than a billion people use Google Search every month. (Source: Business Insider)

With such eye-watering numbers in play, ask yourself – how much better would your bottom line look if everyone could easily find the information they needed about you online?

We want to make searching for you, your business and your content simple – and SEO makes that possible.

The stats don’t lie, SEO should be a key pillar of any marketing strategy going into 2021 and beyond if you want to keep pace with the modern world.

Last year, Google made up over 87% of all global desktop search traffic, followed by Bing at 6%, Yahoo 2.85% and Baidu at 0.7%. (Source: Statcounter)

To score highly at SEO, you need to be where the web traffic is. And for almost 20 years, that’s been Google. As you can see, they hold the lion’s share of people making web searches on desktop.

On mobile, it gets, even more, one-sided, with Google pulling in 95% of traffic. That means whether you’re looking for recipes or the weather, they’re the ones you turn to.

So, when you want to get extra eyes on your website – you have to play by Google’s rules, and that means you need a smart, agile SEO strategy to get yourself rocketing up the rankings in 2021.

Global Search Share 2021

On the first page alone, the first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks. (Source: Zero Limit Web)

How often do you scroll to the 2nd page of Google? Or do you just keep narrowing down your search until you find what you want?

The sheer weight of searches and clicks towards the first page of Google makes it the holy grail of website traffic. In fact, 75% of people never make it past Page 1 when searching for something.

All together, that means your business is virtually invisible online if it slips to the search engine’s second page or beyond. Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent marketing strategies for boosting your site’s presence, almost all of which revolve around smart, strategic use of SEO.

70% of marketers believe SEO is way more effective than PPC. (Source: Databox)

If PPC is one of the crown jewels of your marketing strategy, then it’s time to think about shaking it up.

Is it better to put in the time and effort to climb to the top of Google’s rankings organically, or pay to skip the queue and save time for other parts of the business? The arguments between SEO and PPC for search engine dominance have rumbled on for years, but in recent years SEO has emerged as the key priority for many businesses. 

BONUS STAT: SEO Leads have a 14.6% conversion rate vs outbound leads (direct mail or print), which has a 1.7% conversion rate. (Source: Search Engine Journal)

While it’s important to note that they don’t have to be separate parts of your marketing strategy (in fact, we would encourage using both to compliment one another, supplementing your SEO with PPC in the short term while climbing the search engine rankings), recent expert opinion has swung towards SEO as the superior method. And if you needed any more encouragement, SEO can often be a far cheaper method of improving your business’ marketing than the “pay-to-win” world of PPC – making it key for your budget priorities too.

In the long term, the benefits of working with an SEO agency should continue and last for a while, even if you switch it off, but if you switch PPC, you will see an instant decrease in traffic and revenue.

“Over a two year period, there was a 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me today/tonight.” (Source: Think with Google)

And then they kept on growing. The stat compared 2015 to 2017, in the three years since, we’ve seen further growth and in 2020 there was a further 40% increase on the previous year. Depending on your business, you need a marketing strategy flexible enough to promote you from the top down.

In 2020, search which included the phrase “near me” exploded in amongst the pandemic and local businesses online thrived with new, local customers.

Near Me 2020 Searches

When it comes to SEO, that means an awareness of more than just the wide-reaching search terms and general audience appeal. Instead, it’s a simple step to widen your net and target people directly with local results too.

Other buying phrases that saw huge increases included “best”, like “Best Burger”, which saw a 400% increase Year on Year and “promo codes” saw an increase of 100% in 2020 as we sought to redefine value and grab a bargain.

So, if you’re already spending money on local advertising, it’s essential to supplement your efforts by making sure your content is tailored for local search results too – as this crucial statistic shows.

Check out, how local search trends across the UK were impacted during 2020, which gives insight into how they will continue in the “new normal” during 2021.

Google hinted at over 200 factors in their algorithm for ranking websites…in 2009. We can assume there is a lot more in 2020 (Source: Backlinko)

We’ve already seen statistics that show a renewed focus on local search results and mobile optimisation, but what does Google actually use to measure your website’s ranking?

Unsurprisingly, the full quota of ranking factors is a closely guarded secret, but google hinted back in 2009 there are more than 200 in play, and through a mixture of reporting, feedback, testing and educated guesswork the SEO community has supported one another to improve websites and discover what helps improve a site in the rankings.

At Brand Ambition, we check well over 300 factors for every technical SEO website audit we run.

More importantly, though, it also reveals and reinforces the need for a multi-dimensional SEO strategy going forward. If there are 200 or more things to be aware of when creating or posting your content, then it means you’ll need even more strings to your business bow to be successful.

In 2020 alone, we saw three core algorithm updates and the introduction of BERT. A natural language processing AI that was said would impact “1 in 10 of all search queries”

High-quality content and link building are two of the most important factors for Google when it comes to your website’s ranking. (Source: Search Engine Watch)


As the famous saying goes, quality is more important than quantity – and that’s certainly true when it comes to organic traffic. As we’ve seen, there may be 200 or more factors that Google looks for, but high quality content is one of the most essential for pulling in consistent traffic and getting you moving up those rankings.

What’s more, the better your content’s quality is, the more likely customers and competitors alike are to recognise your expertise and link to it. As a result, the correlating impact is that number one rankings on Google have more backlinks than lower-ranking pages.

Top Ranking Pages in Google have more backlinks in 2021 Source: Backlinko

After all, search engines don’t just measure your content, but the links pointing to it too, making link building equally essential for better rankings. And if you can get the balance between the two just right? That’s the real magic.

The average length of an article on the first page in Google is 1,400 words or more. (Source: Backlinko)

SEO experts have suggested for a while that longer form content often ranks better than short form content, and now we’re able to put a number on it. Finally, we can ignore anyone who tells you to treat your audience like goldfish, that they can only handle simple, bite-sized pieces of information. Instead, this recent research proves that audiences prefer detailed, thought-through content instead.

And it’s not just word count that Google measures, but the structure and depth of your articles too. The better, richer and more detailed the content – the most benefits you’ll get, like quality backlinks from other sites. After all, if you’ve got the most informative and comprehensive information on a given topic, people will want to link to it.

BONUS STAT: The average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words. (Source: Backlinko)

What’s more, if your content is long enough, linked enough and content rich enough – it could be in line for the a new age SEO reward too, voice search. Not only will you be ranking high, but your content will be read out to the world for specific searches, demonstrating you (and your brand’s) mastery of a given topic.

Almost 25% of companies invest in mobile optimisation as a top SEO tactic. (Source: HubSpot)

If the majority of people are searching Google on mobile, then giving your business site a mobile-friendly makeover seems like a smart and sensible thing to do.

But clearly, not everyone is doing it, which leaves room for you to take advantage – optimising your mobile site in line with your desktop site to make it as easy as possible for Google to push you up the search engine rankings now and in the future.

Google started “Mobile-first” indexing by default for all new websites on July 1st, 2019. This means that all new websites (or those previously unknown to Google) will by default be initially judged for their “mobile-friendliness”. As of July 22nd 2020, Google announced that in March 2021, this would be rolled out across the whole web.

So in 2021, the focus of your website upgrades should be on making your site “mobile-friendly” as competitors that already have this in place will get a boost when the switch is made. For more details on Google’s announcement, you can view this here.

Sample advice from Google on Lazy-loading images Desktop vs Mobile

Sample Google insight on Mobile First Indexing

22.6% of all search queries on Google are for images. (Source: Moz)

We’ve seen the benefits of thought pieces, long-form content, link building and even voice search. But there’s one more piece of SEO knowledge missing – images. From Instagram to Pinterest and Snapchat, the searching and sharing of visual content is more popular than ever, meaning it should be a key tool in your marketing arsenal too. 

BONUS STAT: Across Gen Z and Millennial consumers, 62% demand visual search more than any other new technology.

Call it instant gratification, call it simplified information – visual search is set to be one of the breakout marketing methods of 2021, and SEO is right at the heart of it, especially among millennials and Gen Z. What does it mean for you? Simple – increasing the number of properly linked images on-site and in your articles will pay dividends.

40.7% of all voice search answers came from a featured snippet. (Source: Backlinko)

Featured snippets, or “Position Zero”, have been the top dog of SEO rankings since they were launched back in 2014, but if anything – they’ve only become even more important in recent years with the growth of voice search.

From Siri to Alexa, people all over the world are starting to ask Google questions without ever picking up their phone – and, as you can see, a growing percentage of the answers are coming from featured snippets. 

So, when we say that good SEO rankings are important, it’s not just to make your website and content easily findable from a Google search, but increase the likelihood of it being picked up for a featured snippet (and therefore potentially voice searches) too.

As a result of the pandemic, the smart speaker market has continued to see massive adoption rates, with almost three in ten Brits now owning and engaging with a Smart Speaker. Voice commerce is still a long way off being an established market, but brand engagement through voice search is more popular than ever and worth structuring your online content to pick up additional engagement in this manor.

47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a company before talking to them. (Source: DemandGen)

There’s a reason that quality content is so important, and this stat shows exactly why.

Customers may have never heard of your brand before, so if they come across an informative piece they like organically, they often want to make sure it’s not a fluke – so they’ll read through more of your content before getting in touch.

If all of your pieces are optimised, content-rich, image-rich and up to date, they’re clearly far more likely to trust your brand than competitors that aren’t.

61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. (Source: HubSpot)

Take it from those who are working on improving their ranking day in and day out, your competitors are most likely part of this 61% – which means there’s no time to waste. With rankings becoming the top priority for so many, we all need to start taking SEO and organic traffic seriously.

After all, ranking well on Google has the ability to drive inbound traffic that can give your business a boost for years to come. It’s a simple balance: improve your SEO, and it can work on bringing in the traffic.

Then, your inbound marketing teams can get to work converting that traffic into leads and eventually – sales!

Updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 106%. (Source: HubSpot)

Writing new website content is not only time consuming, but can be a complicated process too – from research to proofing and rewrites. Which is exactly why more and more companies are revisiting their current content instead.

As this stat shows, simple updates to refresh already existing work not only delivery fast results, but effective results too. After all, even the best original content can become stale over time and lose SEO effectiveness. By enhancing its search engine capabilities, you’ve already got a mountain of content waiting to be processed, re-ranked and rewarded by Google’s ranking system without writing a single extra word.

Improving or maintaining your Google ranking is never an easy thing to do, but a few simple tweaks can make a real difference to you and your business. As these stats show, SEO makes a huge difference for bringing organic traffic to your website, getting you in front of the right customers, and proving your expertise through quality content to anyone that’s looking for it. What’s more, competition is only getting more fierce.

So, if you want to give your marketing a major upgrade in 2021 and beyond, it’s time to embrace the world of SEO.

91% of all pages never get any organic traffic from Google, 55% of pages don’t have a single backlink, and 30% have less than 3. (Source: Ahrefs)

It’s a simple equation – the more backlinks your page has, the more Google search traffic it gets.

So we say, stand out from the crowd by joining the 9%.


With interesting content that people want to read or share, and make sure it’s presented in a way that gives it some ranking traction on Google and makes link building easier. After all, if your website is being glossed over for organic traffic, it puts unnecessary pressure on the rest of your marketing strategy, rather than supporting it.

With a few simple fixes and a focus on quality backlinks, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your business.

The Top 10 Facts to Headline Your SEO Sales Deck.

  1. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
  2. In 2020, Google made up over 82% of all global desktop search traffic.
  3. The first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks.
  4. 70% of marketers believe SEO is way more effective than PPC.
  5. Google uses more than 200 factors in their algorithm for ranking websites.
  6. 91% of all pages never get any organic traffic from Google.
  7. Updating old posts with new content can increase organic traffic by as much as 106%.
  8. The average length of a top search position article in Google is 1,400+ words.
  9. Almost 25% of companies invest in mobile optimisation as a top SEO tactic.
  10. There has been a 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me today/tonight.”

Further Reading

Want to find out even more about SEO’s marketing power? Check out these 2020 SEO stats…

Hubspot: The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2020

SMA Marketing: 80 SEO & SEM Statistics That Prove the Power of Search

Ahrefs: Why SEO Is Important: 8 Undeniable Facts and Case Studies

Impact Plus: 26 SEO statistics for 2020 and what you can learn from them

Search Engine Journal: 10 Important 2020 SEO Trends You Need to Know

Want to chat about SEO?

Brand Ambition is an SEO First, Brand and Digital Marketing Agency based in Leeds and Belfast. If you are looking for someone to help get your marketing strategy on track for 2021, give us a shout today.

Why Brand Ambition won’t rise at seven

Why Brand Ambition won’t rise at seven

Having just won a raft of awards, and achieving a £2.5 million turnover in 16 months, the winners of the large agency of the year award (UK Search Awards 2020) started by Stephen Kenwright and Carrie Rose is admirable, but if you are reading this able to afford to work with them, then Brand Ambition probably isn’t for you.

To say the meteoric rise of Sheffield based agency Rise at Seven is a success story would be an understatement. The path to success takes many forms and I wanted to take time to explain why we don’t, won’t and can’t “Rise at Seven”.

So why wouldn’t we want to repeat the success of one of the north’s biggest agencies?

Big agency results.

Freelance Prices

To provide reliable SME marketing services, which at its core help to deliver a growing return on investment, to assist clients to grow.

We are affordable. Not cheap.

But if you get in touch, we will always leave you with something. Even if it’s just a bit of advice.

– Brand Ambition, Core Objective 2020

We’re not in the same markets.

Replicating the same level of success of another agency would be unlikely, Rise were a disrupter in a market that is saturated with large agencies, focusing on obtaining business from medium to large companies. This was never the Brand Ambition path. It’s not something we set out to do, but more to the point, we couldn’t do it even if we tried, our experience is focused on working with smaller companies, achieve amazing things on lower budgets.

It means we exclude large companies, we’re not interested in working with large brands. We love challenger brands, SME’s and start-ups. Our offering is tailored specifically to get the most out of smaller budgets. Just have a look at our work and our results.

We disrupt. But are focused on supporting smaller businesses at a price point that doesn’t replace hiring an internal team or damage the business.

We trust in Organic Growth. We are founded in SEO. We are SEO First™

One of the benefits of working with two experienced business partners is the understanding of growing a business organically. This is compounded by the fact in SEO, we’ve spent years working and waiting for the impact of results through organic results. This isn’t about slowing the pace. It is about minimising the disruption, allowing mistakes to happen and learning from them. Creating loyalty and trust with like-minded business owners and growing together.

Excite. Ignite. Explode.

Brand Ambition wants to be part of the companies we work with. It’s in our process. Whether we are sitting in your office or on a zoom call, responding to an urgent pitch. Working with you on your business growth strategy, or simply providing design assets to improve professionalism. We are Marketing Managers first with a team ready to support and deliver for you, and your company.

As one of our clients has just written in a review:

“It’s always great to find a brand that is strong in identity and creates quality work but to find one that mirrors your own ambitions and ethics and puts the same work into your business is few and far between. The guys have been a real rock for us in what’s been an awful year. Thank you.” Paul Cowen – Rum Razor Barbershop

We don’t want to compete in a saturated market.

When we wanted to understand what sort of agency we wanted to be, we did what we do best. We looked at the data and defined our market.

  • 0.01% of businesses in the UK have above 50 Employees and are not classed as an SME.
  • This makes 43,300 Medium and Large Businesses in 2020.
  • These Businesses spend between 1% and 10% of Turnover on Marketing.
  • They account for 48% of revenue generated in the country.

For us, fighting it out with other agencies, to work with one of those 43,000 companies wasn’t a viable option. Especially, not as a start-up during a pandemic.

So we honed our services around the market we wanted.

  • 52% of the country’s revenue is generated by SMEs. This was £2.2 Trillion in 2019.
  • 5.82 Million businesses are classed as small (0-49 employees) in 2019
  • 1.4 million of those Small Businesses have employees.
  • They account for £1.2 Trillion in revenue.
  • The average marketing spend in a small business is 12-24%.
  • This is an average yearly spend of £31,200 to £64,400.
  • That’s between £2,600 and £5,366 a month. We proudly come in less than that on all our one-off services.

A flexible marketing solution, that offers suggestions based on experience and provides services that solve specific problems and specific objectives.

Clarity and support through detail & understanding.

We are Affordable

Affordable marketing services means two things.

1. We will either do double the amount of work as some agencies for the same budget.


2. We will be half the cost.

This is based on the Clutch SEO List, you can find it here. Verified agencies on this list fill in their own minimum contract value, with the minimum being set at $1,000 (£750).

SEO Agencies in Leeds

Here are some of the top SEO agencies in Leeds and what they’ve written for their services. Full disclosure, the list contained a lot of outdated information, so this might not be as reliable as contacting the agency directly, but we know the information was provided by them.

Agency Minimum Contract Value Per Hour Rate Day Rate at 7.5 Hours Max Hours in a £7,500 Contract
Wildfire Marketing £3,700 £75 to £110 £562.50 to £825 49
Fractl £7,500 Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
Modo25 Limited £3,700 Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
Cefar £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Twentysix Undisclosed £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
90 Digital £750 £75 to £110 £562.50 to £825 100
Salt.Agency £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Jaywing £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Intermarketing £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Pixelbuilders £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Brass £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Parallax £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
ICS-Digital £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Brand Ambition £750 £50 to £75 £375 to £526.50 150


SEO Belfast

Brand Ambition is a Belfast based agency as much as it is based in Leeds. As a service, SEO is very different in Northern Ireland, the impact of small businesses and building relationships has always been, and will always rely on local search to be at the forefront of N.I. websites. With the constant battle against “excluded from N.I.” at the frustrations of users in the country, we understand the value of strengthening local knowledge with Brand Digital Marketing. Again, data was obtained from and filled in by the agencies themselves

Agency Minimum Contract Value Per Hour Rate Day Rate at 7.5 Hours Max Hours in a £7,500 Contract
Web Bureau £7,500 £40 to £75 £300 to £526.50 187.5
Search Scientist Ltd £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Smarts Communicate £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Digital Twenty Four Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
ProfileTree Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
RLA Group £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Element Seven Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
Silverink Web Design Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
Blue Monkee Digital £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Codefixer Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
Made To Engage £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Thought Collective £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Bluegator Creative £7,500 £110 to £150 £825 to £1,125 68
Brand Ambition £750 £50 to £75 £300 to £526.50 150


We are business support, then marketing.

The last 2 years have had a profound impact on the demand for marketing services. Instead of the massive reduction on spend, recorded, and predicted by Marketing Week, The Drum, and a whole bunch of other reports, search trends report an entirely different story.

Instead of a decline, demand for SEO, Branding and Digital Marketing Agencies have seen increases that match or rise above the demand for traditional Creative services. This demand is driven by SME’s backing themselves, backing support from initiatives such as the LEP Network, FSB and the 23.5 million posts to #supportsmallbusiness on Instagram.

Mass unemployment has created a boom in new business registrations in 2020. In fact, according to the .gov stats, up to Q3 2020, there was an 8.5% increase in Business Registrations compared to the previous year, and 61% fewer companies dissolved (it is important to note that changes due to legislation during the pandemic have had an impact on the number of companies that would have normally dissolved.)

With this trend, Brand Ambition is backing innovation. We are backing the smaller businesses to thrive, disrupt and grow through adversity. Every business we speak to needs support, not just in marketing, but what they can do to disrupt their market and obtain valuable leads and turn them into customers.

This influence is driven into the products and services being used by these businesses and this is where our experience starts.

We built expertise in the software used by SMEs

The search trends for web platforms have changed alongside this evolution of small businesses, and more accessible building technologies create a new challenge for Search Engine Optimisers like Brand Ambition. Understanding the limitations of individual platforms and how to get the best out of them in a search engine is actually an increasingly valuable skill.

Most SEO companies are familiar with WordPress, but here is how WordPress has seen a decline in interest over the last five years, to be replaced by Shopify, Wix and other rivals.

For the first time in its history, Shopify interest outstripped WordPress this year. The platform is easy to use, easy to set-up and uses SEO at its core, but it needs setting up correctly and there is a piece of required knowledge on plugins that will ultimately improve your chances of ranking.

Wix is another company, that has been tarnished with the “Bad for SEO” brush. A quick Google search showcases the search volumes on this topic.

As a result of being burned by SEO companies not understanding the platform, they are paid to optimise or getting focused on areas they can’t actually fix, we’ve crafted strategies and experience to help us specialise in SEO for Small Business platforms.

Here are just a few of the platforms we have expertise in.

  • WordPress SEO
  • WooCommerce SEO
  • Shopify SEO
  • Magento SEO
  • Wix SEO
  • GoDaddy SEO
  • Square Space SEO

With this foundation of expertise, Brand Ambition ultimately prefers to work with platforms we are familiar with. Where we can source development resource to help make improvements and where we can confidently suggest improvements that will raise a business’s profile online.

We are Maven.

It isn’t just about campaign traffic, nor is it about the results of a single campaign (although we get those too), it’s about long-term relationships that show consistent quarter on quarter growth. This is something that we do share with the larger agencies in Yorkshire and Belfast. We believe in working delivering fantastic quality marketing services across a range of impactful and effective services.

We are not an Agency.
We are not Consultants.
We provide marketing manager services with outputs, at affordable prices.
We are Experts. We are Maven.

So how do we rise?

Brand Ambition is built on its name. We believe in Ambition. We trust in building Brands. The strength of thought. The power of recognition. The desire to drive something forward and the tenacity to see it through. We don’t measure our success alongside others (although it is very difficult not to at times). Our focus is working with companies to lift themselves, supporting businesses and driving revenue that allows them to grow.

As they grow, we will grow and that is the core of how we, at Brand Ambition will rise.

Find your Customers. Build your Brand. Increase Sales.

This article has been reproduced with respect to the agencies that employ tens of people in our cities and have seen significant growth. They all started on a similar journey to us and have achieved fantastic results with their clients. We mean no disrespect, but we want to instead highlight how we are differentiating ourselves away from this particular agency model.

I contacted Rise at Seven, directly prior to us posting this article and they weren’t bothered about us using them as a shining example of success in the industry.

They also confirmed they don’t work with small organisations.

Note: Credit to Tom Walsh, for telling me the tables were broken on Mobile. Cheers Mate.

The one that comes first

The one that comes first

Where do you start a company blog?

An opening mission statement? A resolution for the future? A statement of all things that will come and an idea of mindset. Maybe even a bit of background on how we came to be?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Brand Ambition Logo

The name wasn’t easy. Nothing in 2020 has been easy. The company name was important to us. We felt we needed something that reflected two sides of our marketing coin. I bring the Digital side, having worked for over 10 years in agencies, focusing and honing skills in a range of digital specialities, but always SEO First.

It isn’t mentioned. For marketing in the 2020’s, it is implicit.

Brand. That belongs to Robin. A creative genius, although he would hate the phrase or even the idea of being named as such. I’ve watched Robin create beautiful masterpieces at Christmas time on a blackboard. Intricate drawings of masterful Christmas scenes in a range of chalk colours that could have sat proudly on a shop shelf amongst the Christmas cards, only for him to scrub it out and start something fresh, just for the joy of it.

Brand matters. It is the foundation of professionalism. It is the requirement for recognition. It is the start of a journey and the support to see it through.

Ambition. Born out of a pandemic. Created as a reaction to circumstances, but forged into something everlasting. As a company, we knew we needed to be ambitious to grow quickly, during a recession and at as difficult a time as businesses have seen in recent years. But, inspiring ambition in our customers. That is why we chose the word.

Ambition is the drive. The will to make something happen. The creativity to think of solutions during adversity and the clarity to maximise an opportunity when it is finally going your way.

When we speak to you, one of the first things we will ask is What is your ambition?

Ours is simple. We want to help you reach your brand aspirations. We want your customers to recognise your logo before they even know your name. We want your digital presence to be seamless and customer journey to be flawless.

No jargon. No over promises. No tricks. Just good ol’fashioned brand marketing wrapped in a, mostly, digital delivery. But we do make fantastic brochures, magazines and print advertising too.