Why SEO – 15 Reason Why You Should Focus on SEO in 2020


Why SEO - 15 Reason Why You Should Focus on SEO in 2020

What is SEO

Just in case anyone is unsure what SEO is all about, SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process used for growing both the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a particular website or individual web page to users of a web search engine such as Google and today more than ever it is critical to the success of any online business or enterprise. 

Why SEO?

This is a question many SEOs and digital marketers face inside and outside their organisations. SEO has been around for more than a decade and a half and continues to make up a gigantic share of traffic for any successful websites.

So much so, that in a recent global study ‘organic search‘ was identified as the largest driver of web traffic for most sectors and a crucial component in helping to deliver that all-important revenue. 

The power of SEO at driving organic traffic is clear, organic search usage and share are outpacing growth in many other channels. Organic and paid dominated web traffic in 2019. So the need to optimise your pages for SEO is going to be even more key in 2020 as the organic search will continue to rise well above other search traffic.

15 reasons for understanding the role of SEO in 2020

Below we’ve listed out what we believe are the fifteen most important SEO points you need to elevate, understand and position in your marketing mix in 2020.

      1. Channel Share. Current research suggests that fifty-three per cent of all traffic to websites comes from organic search. Organic search delivers the most traffic to websites by a considerably wide margin.
      2. Search Share. On average, some 83 per cent of the traffic from search engines comes from SEO and only some 17 per cent comes from paid search.
      3. Share of Focus. Even though organic search accounts for the majority of web site traffic, a large number of companies continue to spend more money on paid search, in 2019 paid search controlled 15% of web searches.
      4. Long-Term Traffic Equity. While it’s true SEO does require an upfront investment. Once they’ve been earned, search engine rankings continue to have long-term continuance.
      5. Organic Traffic. Unlike other forms, SEO traffic has no media cost and can provide a substantial and measurable ROI – higher than most other channels. Search engines appreciate and reward content that is relevant to readers and written for them rather than for bots – hence why the need to focus on optimising for your target audience.
      6. Structure. The use of well-constructed SEO helps to organise your website and makes it easier for your visitors to navigate and transact throughout the site.
      7. Alignment. Marketing always works best when all channels are aligned and are delivering the same message – including organic search. The use of a multiple channel alignment strategy advances results across all channels.
      8. Brand Elevation. SEO success secures an increased share of voice in the search engine results pages, which is an integral component to the success of your brand and for creating consumer trust in your brand.
      9. Conversion. It is a recognised fact that SEO traffic often converts better than other channels since rankings often convey trust from the search engines, and while the paid search may help produce results quickly, it does lack authenticity and therefore should be paired with your SEO strategy
      10. Channel Synergy. While your other marketing channels generate demand for people to question, the search engine for products and services like yours. It’s vital to remember if your website is not there to collect the demand you spent money creating, your competitors will be only too happy to collect it.
      11. Market Consideration. Organic search is often a critical part of the research process, especially for products or services with a lengthy sales cycle. People tend to use search engines to generate a list of potential candidates for a product or service and then use them to collect opinions and reviews that help them make the buying decisions.
      12. Search and Social. While social media works in tandem with SEO; some queries are more sensitive to “fresh results,” and social signals, which can impact and determine the positioning within the search results. Social media is key to helping shape your brand’s presence online and drive traffic back to your site.
      13. Research. Continuous SEO research allows you to fully understand your user interests, which then allows you to build content that addresses and captures that interest.
      14. Content Distribution. By Concentrating on SEO and legitimate link building leads, it helps you to develop relevant, useful content that people want to share, and it encourages on-going digital word of mouth.
      15. Global Reach. By having a global reach, SEO can even provide you with dynamic translation and localisation that can help bring in new and unexpected customers from around the world.

The Final Word

Today’s switched-on marketer knows all too well that a resilient SEO strategy is by far the best way to appear at the top of the search engine results page and that the more search visibility your brand has, the more qualified traffic you can direct to your website.

So hopefully, the 15 reasons we listed here outlining why we believe the use of SEO should always play a prominent role in your marketing mix, will go a long way in helping you to focus and deliver the online results your brand deserves here in 2020.

How to Increase Sales Traffic to your E-commerce Website


How to Increase Sales Traffic to your E-commerce Website

Are you making it easy for consumers to make buying decisions and check out? Here’s our thoughts on how to remove any obstacles and increase sales on your e-commerce site.

More and more consumers are considering the social, environmental and ecological impact of their purchases and today, more than ever they are looking for a seamless experience from the brand. 

As a result, successful e-commerce outcomes are shaped by understanding what consumers want, how they want it and by making the shopping experience easy for consumers to make a decision and check out.

This is how to increase sales to an e-commerce site.

Seamless Shopping

The concept of seamless shopping is all about making something easy to do. Seamless online experiences should apply to all websites, but it’s particularly critical for e-commerce sites.

Easy Navigation

Navigation is a reference to the menu used to help users find and buy products when and how they want. In this instance, the best approach is to make sure as much of the content is available by linking to the top-level categories from the menu.

For an especially large e-commerce site, this may mean linking to top-level categories that are several layers deep in the hierarchical structure. It’s important to focus on getting users to the most popular top-level categories and allowing them to take one more click to their desired destination.

If a category isn’t that popular it’s okay to only link to the parent category of the less popular category.

What your website hierarchy could look like this :

Home > Category A > Subcategory B > Subcategory C

Subcategory B is the parent category to Subcategory C. So if subcategory C isn’t especially popular then it’s fine to link to Subcategory B and let people drill down.

You aim to make it easy for people to find and buy the products they want. Remember the job of the menu is to help users go to the most popular sections of a website. 

Conclusively, every category or page on a website stands or falls by how many links point to those inner pages. This is often the key to getting pages ranked, so the focus is on what a user sees making it easy for them – seamless.

List products by popularity

Always list products by their popularity, as opposed to their price points as this makes it easy for the users to find and purchase what they want. By listing products on the category pages by order of popularity you ensure that buying products on the site is easy for the majority of people.

Comparisons when shopping

Google’s quality raters guidelines define a high-quality e-commerce page as one that allows users to browse and compare products and while the ‘quality raters’ guide is not an indication of what is inside of Google’s algorithm, it does give you an idea of what kinds of sites Google views as desirable, and the kinds of sites it wants to aspire to rank.

Consumers like to research the features and know the specs of the products being considered, both online and offline. Accommodating consumers to help them with their research and to compare products in a manner they are inclined to do, fits into the concept of creating a seamless shopping experience.

Reviews Can Help Boost Sales

Reviews can help make the decision-making process easy. So you should always encourage users to return and leave reviews. Whatever you can do to encourage users to leave reviews will result in a win for you and shoppers.

In-fact by showing reviews it can boost the conversion rate by up to 270%, according to a research study undertaken by the Spiegel Research Center at Northwestern University.

Key research conclusions:

    1. Displaying reviews can increase conversion by 270%
    2. Reviews can make a positive impact on sales of more  higher-priced items
    3. ‘5 stars’ are often seen as being “too good to be true”
    4. Early reviews have the greatest overall impact

How reviews can influence shopping 

    • Product pricing
    • The Reduced degree of uncertainty or risk involved in making the purchase
    • Average star rating
    • The presence of negative reviews
    • The number of reviews

The research also showed that online reviews were most important for high priced purchases, the more expensive a product the riskier the choice perceived to be by the consumer. They want to ensure that they make the correct choice, so online reviews go a long way to increasing conversion rates for higher-priced products.

Five-star perfect ratings, tended to generate sceptical feelings while reviews that scored less than five stars were perceived to be more trustworthy. Badges that indicated a reviewer is a “verified buyer” tended to increase trust in the review and increase conversions.

Customer Turbocharging

The factors for increasing sales and decreasing returns is exciting, researchers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania recently published research that examined how offline interactions drove sales and conversions.

Among the many things discovered was that a ‘personal’ type of online presence tended to cultivate better customers – they referred to this as turbocharging the customer.

Likewise, they discovered that traditional offline businesses that also delivered a personal interaction with a consumer tended to cultivate better customers who in turn purchased most often, returned to the store more often and returned less merchandise.

The idea of customer turbocharging may be something to explore, particularly for more expensive purchases, as the more personal touch may be ideal in helping a site convert more visitors and kick-start positive word of mouth referrals.

Mobile User Experience

Because consumers jump from laptop to mobile, it can be easy to disconnect on how the user experience is created where the desktop version might seem to receive more attention.

The Mobile Moxie Page-Oscope tool is very useful for testing web pages across a wide range of simulated devices to diagnose how they function, it’s also a useful tool for revealing where a webpage can be improved upon to generate more sales.

Increasing Conversions

The purpose of seamless e-commerce and good user experience is all about sales and removing the obstacles that prevent conversions is a way to increase sales.

Each discussion about how to structure the site navigation, how to create the best mobile shopping experience, or how to increase trust is a conversation all about conversions. When considering what should be done about a particular website issue, looking at it from the perspective of what can be done in a way to increase conversions will result in useful answers.

Final thoughts

The consumer expectations we have touched here aren’t necessarily new, consumers have always wanted a bespoke experience and great service from a brand, but now this has been accelerated through the rapid rise in technology. Today’s consumers are now more connected and always looking for conversation and seamless brand experiences.

3 Things You Should Know for Creating A Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign

3 Things You Should Know for Creating a Successful Social Media Marketing Campaign

Social Media continues to be one of the most powerful tools currently available to explore and acquire new customers, and the most efficient way to promote services and products. 

Even though the majority of business owners run Social Media campaigns and reach their targets, SMM has turned into an exhausting process for many due to the lack of a concrete strategy, knowledge of good practices, and most of all, brutal usage of resources in gaining popularity. 

The list of reasons why SMM campaign can go wrong is endless because each campaign is unique and requires an individual approach for each business. To help you avoid mistakes and gain more from your Social Media Marketing campaign, we have identified the top 3 things that you need to know before, while and after running an SMM campaign.

1. Ensure You Have Quality Content 

Before you even starting running a campaign on Social Media, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have the right content for both your website and social network pages. 

This means that the content should look attractive, be informative, be real and deliver a clear and coherent message. The content needs to have a logical connection between the title, image(s) and text. 

Depending on your business, the content may be represented by a single image with text that’s applied directly to the social network site, or a blog post on your website, in each instance, you need to ensure that you have covered all of the components previously identified before you post on any social media network. 

By following the first choice, you have ready to use information delivered directly to the potential client, and there is no need for them to click further. 

However, if you want to connect your social media activity to your website, then the second choice is probably a good way to do it. Typically, this option is used when you are confident that more valuable information can be found on your website, and the social network presence is there only to serve as a prompt.  

Remember two things, firstly any of the content that is added to your social media pages needs to be both high quality and engaging so it encourages the visitor to scroll down 2-3 times. Secondly, only post content on social media, after you have identified your target group, defined the profile of your potential client and all other marketing materials have been created.

2. Use Paid For Social Media

Once everything has been set up, including having the right quality content and understanding who is your target audience, you might consider creating a paid-for social media campaign as a way to increase your brand, product or service in the market. 

But, before starting a campaign, you need to understand there are multiple options and platforms that you can use, and these include 

    • Web site 
    • Social Media Page 
    • Specific Products or services 
    • Articles/Blogs 

So, what should you promote first? 

Based on our experience across various industries and businesses, we would suggest you set priorities as follows: 

    1. Social Media Page

    2. Products

    3. Web site

    4. Articles/Blogs 

Whilst, this may not always be the right hierarchy for all types of businesses, it is in the majority of cases. If you use your social media page first, then you have the opportunity for the potential customer to view all your products, articles, and be guided to the website for more information, also by doing it this way you can start to build brand awareness and a healthy critical mass.

By promoting your products next especially top reliable products or services that you provide, you have the opportunity to build on the critical mass you have created during your brand awareness campaign.

Whichever way you go about using your social media you should always look to direct traffic to your website as this helps to engage further your brand, product or service with the potential target audience, this is particularly relevant if your website has been created as an e-commerce site.   

In order not to lose a single potential customer interested in your products and services, you must use rich keyword in any articles or blogs which you are using to capture your audience’s attention and grow your chances of converting them into leads, buyers, consumers.

3. Maintain Diversity and Grow

To accomplish long term results and create a rock-solid base for your brand, it is always good to explore alternative ways of maintaining your presence on social media and this is where you may need added creativity that not only includes new content and customer appeal but also supports what you have previously achieved by your use of social media pages. 

In this instance, it probably makes sense to appoint a specialist SMM agency that can help you not only develop the required creative work but also help you extend your business reach.

The key to achieving a successful SMM campaign is understanding your market’s demands, be flexible, act precisely and not to be afraid to use creativity as a way to improve your business offer.

7 Questions to Ask Before You Appoint Your SEO Agency


7 Questions to Ask Before You Appoint Your SEO Agency

Many business owners understand the importance of having a professional SEO agency on side but don’t always know how to go about finding the right fit.

Any agency worth their salt won’t be offended when you ask questions: if anything they’ll welcome them. As it gives them a chance to shine compared to the competition, to brag about their past successes, and to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know their stuff, can help you achieve your online goals, and why they are absolutely the right choice.

By getting them to answer the following seven questions you’ll know if you’re getting a top-notch SEO agency that has the tools, experience, and knowledge to get your website to the top of the search engines.

Question 1: What was your favourite creative solution for helping a client?

While the same general strategies are going to apply in some way or another because of different niches, different competition level, and just some seeming randomness from Google’s Algorithm, there are always going to be examples of a time when the SEO agency had to do something creative or different to get that authority, to build trust, or to get those all-important backlinks.

This can be an extremely illuminating question because it shows you their ability to adapt, to try new things, and that they fully understand search engine optimization enough to tackle rankings from another angle if one method doesn’t get the results they were originally looking to achieve.

Question 2: Which previous or current client will vouch for you?

Any experienced SEO agency will seek permission to use client testimonials, and most clients are happy to do so – as it’s a reflection on them and confirms that they made the right choice.  If the agency can’t provide you with multiple references, then it’s a clear red flag. Client’s know how important good testimonials are and, will usually be more than happy to give an outstanding reference if they have been truly helped out. This is especially true with things like advertising, marketing, and SEO.

Question 3: Can you guarantee me top ratings in Google?

If the answer to this question is an unequivocal yes, then it’s probably time to grab your coat and head for the door. Any serious SEO specialist knows that there are over 200 different factors that go into determining rank, and no matter how much testing is done no one is ever going to know 100% of what makes one website rank #1 versus #10.

Yes, SEO agencies can be confident they are going to get you results and they can be confident that they will make you competitive, but as far as outright guarantees, no one in their right mind can give you that unless they plan on doing something suspicious – and that always gets caught and the website gets punished, leaving the webmaster worse off than before.

Question 4: Do you have your own PBN?

This is an interesting question to ask because several answers can all be a positive response. PBNs (Private Blog Networks) is a bit controversial. Poorly hidden or developed ones can be a hazard to ranking while other SEO agencies who take the proper steps to develop a legitimate portfolio of websites may be h4 (header tags) believers in providing quality backlinks.

The most important thing is you want an answer that shows thought and adjustment. If the agency has its own sites or PBNs, but are quick to assure you theirs are built correctly, get traffic, and have never been penalized by Google, then that’s a good answer.

If the agency says they always want to fall on the better safe than sorry route so they never use PBNs but still gather good links through social media strategies and guest posting requests, that’s also a good answer.

Question 5: What would be your main strategy to help rank my website?

The right answer needs to be some form of “multi-disciplined strategy” There are both on-site and off-site factors that need to be considered, there is also the need to build trust and authority, a social footprint, and linking both off-site and getting links to your website. That means a truly good SEO campaign is going to tackle multiple areas of concern all at the same time.

Question 6: How are you going to keep me with what you’re doing to rank my site?

Straight off the bat; there are no “secret” SEO methods. The exact URLs for linking, or the exact strategies for getting social media attention might vary, but the same general processes are always going to be the same. That means that on any level the SEO agency should be able to provide weekly or monthly reports to let you know what works and what is being done in helping your website rank higher in the search engine rankings.

Question 7: How does traffic break down on the first page?

This question does two things: firstly it makes sure that the agency you’re talking with understands some very basic things about SEO, and secondly, it helps you figure out whether the agency is straight and honest or are trying to extort you for as much money as possible.

The answer is never you must be number1. Generally speaking, being on the front page will get you far more traffic from any position, but anything 5 or below is around 10% of traffic. The top three spots are far above all others with numbers being as high as 50% for spot one and 20% to 30% for spots two and three.

The first page always gets well over 90% of all search engine inquiry traffic, but space one is a lot different from space three and space ten. An honest assessment will explain this general setup.

Bonus Question: Who owns any additional blog posts or optimized content if/when the contract ends?

This is a great closing question and one that tests if the agency sees you as a partner or simply a cash-paying client because, for the amount that any business needs to pay for good SEO work, the client should always still own any blog posts on their on-site blog or any optimized content on their website.

 

Some SEO agencies will claim that they own the content and have the right to take it back if the contract is broken. Which isn’t a good policy for any client –  so make sure whatever happens, you always maintain ownership of the content.

The Last Word

If you ask these seven questions (or eight if you include the bonus), and you receive honest, open responses you’ll truly have all the information you need to go ahead make the right decision on a great SEO consulting agency.

Our Top 10 Countdown of SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2020


Our Top 10 Countdown of SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

Despite the vast amount of information online about how to rank a website safely using Search Engine Optimization (SEO)it’s amazing just how many websites are still making silly mistakes.

There are over 200 different factors that go into how Google ranks a website, some are more heavily weighted than others, and while you can focus on as many of those factors as you want, if you make any of the mistakes listed here in our top 10 countdown it won’t matter, because if there’s any competition at all your SEO campaign will disappear without a trace.

10. Copying someone else

Plagiarism is totally unacceptable, admittedly not everyone can be a creative genius, but it doesn’t take much to come up with an original idea. By copying other people’s content on your website not only are you not being true to your brand or service, but it’s also a sure-fire way of making certain none of the pages rank for any of their targeted keywords.


9. Linking out to bad communities

Receiving links from “bad communities” such as gambling websites, adult websites, spam websites, etc. Is a commonly known way to get downgraded in the search engine rankings, likewise, it’s the same if your website links out to any websites that are in those categories, or even connects (links out) to many websites in the same field, this is an area that you need to pay attention to as it works going in both directions.


8. Keyword stuffing

Shoving as many SEO keywords on to a page as physically possible to try and manipulate a page’s ranking is such a common mistake because, while it might have some positive short term effects, it is one of the dumbest ways to ensure that you don’t rank for the keywords you want to rank for, rule of thumb – keep it below 2% and use a lot of synonyms instead if you want to see good results.


7. Failing to link internally

Linking blog posts and web pages to one another within your website is such a huge benefit to SEO practices and helps search engines know what you think each page should be ranking for. As long as your website is in good standing, internal linking is extremely powerful, failing to do so is probably about as passively a self-destructive SEO strategy as you can get.


6. Not claiming your online listings

This is such an effective way to make sure a small business website never ever gets found. Local SEO has different ranking factors, and by not letting any of the search engines know a local business exists is the perfect way to make sure that a website listing stays buried.


5. Don’t bother to create a mobile-friendly website

Don’t want to rank, then don’t create a mobile-friendly website, it couldn’t be simpler. Today, aside from the fact that well over half of all searches are now online, Google has made it abundantly clear that they expect every website that makes front-page rankings to have a mobile version.

However, this can be a separate mobile-specific version of a website or a responsive theme that automatically changes what the website looks like depending on the device being used. Ignoring this part of the ranking is by far the perfect way to make sure that your website never ranks.


4. Use poorly written content

Google has said content is king for years, even before that was 100% true. If this is their mantra, and they want it to be true, then the best way to screw up your website is to do the opposite.

Using poorly written content is one of the most sure-fire ways to sabotage all other SEO efforts. There are loads of FREE, easy to use online tools available to help you. There is no excuse for poor use of grammar or English as a second language syntax, likewise using copied content or boring “puffery” that doesn’t really mean anything.


3. Have the same meta tags for every page

While meta tags don’t help you get ranked, don’t fall into the trap of having the same ones copy and pasted on every page as not only will this get you penalised, by using minimal effort it’s also a great way to nullify all of your other SEO endeavours.


2. Use keywords anchored backlinks

One or two of these showing up is fine and with a much larger website in a niche market, it might even be expected. However, don’t think Google isn’t smart enough to know what your website is about and by using a lot of keyword anchored backlinks it is seen as gaming the system, and gaming the system is going to get your website rankings hammered down.


1. Spam with massive backlinks

There was a time not long ago where the sheer number of backlinks you managed to get pointing to your website was the single biggest overriding factor in whether or not you were at the top of the search engine rankings. 

But, my friend those days are long gone. Today, if you get caught mass-producing keyword anchored backlinks to your website you might get a big ratings boost for one or two weeks, but then your website is going to be penalised big time and possibly even blacklisted.

The Last Word 

We all know that a resilient SEO Strategy  is by far the best way to appear at the top of the search engine results page – the more search visibility you have, the more qualified traffic you can direct to your website. But, if you make or continue to make any of the mistakes we’ve listed in our top 10 countdown you can be guaranteed that your website will begin to sink like a stone.

It doesn’t matter what other techniques you are using, these 10 mistakes are absolute SEO killers and if you want to rank, you need to avoid them with a passion. 

There’s a reason why cheap SEO is CHEAP


There's a reason why cheap SEO is CHEAP

It’s really easy to be tempted by offers of first page SEO rankings for as little as a few hundred bucks per month, but, as the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, you can bet your life that it is.

Why Good SEO is never cheap

The problem that many business owners don’t get is just how much hard work and detail goes into developing a comprehensive SEO strategy.

And, truth be told, why should they – after all, isn’t that the reason why they hire an SEO agency in the first place so that they don’t have to spend time understanding the technical details of it, focusing instead on their day-to-day business operations, while the agency does the SEO work for them.

When an SEO company promises super fast results at an incredible price, far to often the business owner is tempted to believe that SEO is an automated process, after all, isn’t it just a case of putting some keyword-stuffed content on a website and using software to build some low-value backlinks – easy to do, those ‘big, greedy SEO companies’ are just trying to scam him by charging thousands for a similar service?

And, to some extent, that might have been the case a decade ago, but today after the recent Google updates, all websites that relied on these kinds of second-tier SEO approaches have suffered a huge blow to their rankings.

You can’t cheat Google

Today, there simply aren’t many tricks left to exploit when trying to ‘cheat’ Google and rank higher for relevant keywords. The only viable long-term strategy for achieving and maintaining the rankings on search engines is to actually dig in and do the legwork, and do it consistently.

This means doing long and in-depth keyword research  finding out what the competitors are ranking for, what keywords have the most potential, what keywords might be easiest to rank for and many other pieces of data.

It also means producing top-quality content, that will not only be relevant in terms of topics and keywords but will also provide engagement and real-time value to the readers, that will lead to backlinks occurring naturally, in all the correct places.

Finally, ensuring that the website is properly optimised, mobile-friendly, fast-loading and convenient to use, also takes a considerable amount of tweaking and fine-tuning.

So when you consider just how much time it takes to do all of these tasks properly and consistently, it soon becomes apparent that it’s not something that can be done for just a few hundred dollars per month.

In fact, because of the huge amount of competition in this market you could argue that even at a higher price range, any SEO company that’s truly worth its value must be established and proven to be considered trustworthy as good resource management is required to achieve tangible results, even on a higher budget.

Still Not Convinced?

Hopefully, now you can see just how much work goes into quality SEO, and why cheap search engine optimisation prices almost always mean disappointing results.

But, if you still need persuading, here are three reasons why cheap SEO can not only do little to help your business, they can also have devastating long-term effects on your business:

Bargains Rarely Work

It’s human nature to look for bargains – there’s a certain thrill of knowing you were able to get something for less than it should or could be worth. 

However, there are some areas where even the most shrewd folks don’t budge to spend whatever’s necessary.

For instance, imagine that you had a medical emergency and needed help from a surgeon. Would you trust your life in the hands of an inexperienced medical intern if he would offer to do the operation for a fraction of the cost? Surely you’d rather pay for a top professional to perform the surgery, even if the price is daunting.

The same should apply to your business.

Would you risk years of building a reputation, both offline and online, just so that you could save a few bucks? It just doesn’t make sense, but sure enough, many people still choose to put their online marketing efforts at risk by trying to cut costs in the short-term.

Cheap SEO Costs You Money

It might seem like a contradiction, but paying for cheap SEO is costing you money. You might think that you’re saving money hand over fist when you’re paying just a few hundred dollars for SEO services, but in reality, you would probably be better off setting fire to your money – at least you would be warm for a minute or two.

Remember the whole purpose of investing in SEO is so that you see returns in the form of Google rankings and, in turn, a steady stream of new clients. Well, with cheap SEO, it’s pretty unlikely that these results will ever come.

So while expensive SEO packages might appear to be costing you more in the short term, they are an actual investment because you are paying to grow your business for the long term.

Cheap SEO Can Hurt Your Online Rankings

When cheap SEO providers don’t have the means and/or the recourses to run comprehensive SEO campaigns, they try to compensate by engaging in risky and even back door SEO techniques to try and get short-term results for their clients.

And, while they do some time short term success, inevitably, as the search engines catch on, your rankings quickly disappear, and worst still, Google can penalise or even blacklist your website for the shady activities, making it very difficult to ever climb back up in the rankings.

So, while there will always appear to be quick-fix schemes for tricking Google and other search engines, they are not a viable strategy for a serious long term business growth strategy.

Successful SEO tactics have remained more or less the same throughout the years – clearly define your target audience, produce quality content and get it shared in relevant places is still the key to any long-term SEO strategy.

SEO success only comes through hard work and effort

The most successful SEO campaigns stand out from others, not by some hidden knowledge, but by good old-fashioned effort, hard work, as well as thoroughness. 

More often than not, the company that spends the most time doing research, implementing the data and then tweaking for best results is the one that can gain a significant edge over the competition

Why Small Businesses Can’t Afford Not to Embrace Social Media

Why Small Businesses Can't Afford Not to Embrace Social Media

Today, more than ever, small and medium-sized businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the opportunity to build an audience online because the facts speak for themselves;

      • As of January 2020, 3.81 billion social media users worldwide

      • 80% of all Internet users have social media accounts

      • Internet users on social media have an average of 8 accounts and spend up 2 hours and 29 minutes a day on social media

      • People between the ages of 55 and 64 are more than twice as likely to engage with a brand’s content

      • Engagement rates are always 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays.

      • Of the top four social media platforms; Facebook has 2.6 billion active users a month, Twitter has 330 million active users per month, Instagram 1 billion active users per month, and LinkedIn has over 690 million users.

 

So with all this going on, how, do, entrepreneurs, and small business owners leverage social media to get their business massive amounts of attention, well they can start by considering our game-changing tips.

1.    Think like a media company

Thinking like a media company means putting out all types of content such as informational videos, articles, quotes, and audio clips that will inform or entertain your audience across all the major social media platforms.

Far too often small business owners make the mistake of only posting when they think they have something to offer, but by thinking like a media company and creating content that is both creative and relevant it lets you engage with your audience at any time without being overly promotional.

2.    Repurpose Content to increase customer reach.

As a small business owner you are often incredibly busy, so taking the time to create quality content can sometimes be difficult, but, by repurposing material into smaller pieces of social media content or by adding in relevant hyperlinks, to like-minded sites you can not only save both time and effort, you can also easily increase your brand, product or service customer reach.

3.    Deliver added value without asking for anything back

A great way for a small or medium-sized business to engage with their customers, and to build trust on social media is to regularly give away FREE added-value content without asking for anything in return. This doesn’t have to be monetary-based, it could be as simple as posting 5 tips of the day that are relevant to your customers, sharing unique recipes or guides, in fact, anything that can be perceived as adding value to your customers daily life.

4.    Stay true to yourself and your brand

The pressure on small businesses to compete on social media is enormous, hence why there are a million people all screaming look at me, look at what I’ve got, or how much I earned in the last ten minutes, anything to make it look like they have it all. And, while there have been some fabulous social media success stories, there’s been far more failures. So it’s vital that as a small business owner on social media you stay true to yourself and your brand, by doing so this gives you the chance to display what makes you and your business different from the rest.

5.     Don’t be afraid of comments

As a small business, brand, product or service not everyone is going to like what you have to say or offer, and as such, social media gives people the perfect platform to tell you this, but you shouldn’t be afraid of any negative comments. Take the positive out of the situation, if somebody has taken the time to comment on what you have to say it means they have taken the time to visit your page. So instead of shying away from their comments – treat them as a form of high-quality customer service. So reply to as many comments as possible and do it with a smile on your face.

6.     Work harder than your competition

There are so many factors that small business owners simply cannot control, but the one thing that you are completely responsible for is the work that you put in. Many business owners don’t or won’t put in the time and effort necessary to become influential online. We know it takes a significant amount of work to create content, distribute that content across multiple platforms and engage with other social media users every day, but for those of you who are willing to do it you will succeed.

 

The Last Word

With 81% of all small and medium businesses having social media accounts and 77% of all businesses use social media to promote their business. If you’re not constantly creating and sharing, engaging content that has real-time value to your customers, you can bet your life that your competitor is doing so. But, remember building a brand on social media takes time, patience, and consistency. If you haven’t already, start growing your business with social media today using these game-changing tips

 

Source; Social Media Benchmark Report 2020 – https://www.omnicoreagency.com/social-media-statistics/

7 Great Tips For Writing Amazing Copy

 7 Great Tips For Writing Amazing Copy

Badly written or disjointed copy can be the death knell for your website, so important is quality written copy that in a recent survey undertaken by Salesforce/Pardot, it was determined that consumers trust in a company’s content is three times more than that of the brand’s actual employees and that 97% of the same people surveyed suggested that bad copy negatively affected their trust in a brand.

And so, because written content plays such a key role in the success of your website here are our 7 great tips to help you create some amazing copy.

1. Plan your copy

Before put pen to paper and start writing, ask yourself who and I trying to reach – who are my primary audience and who is my secondary audience, once you have that clear, you can then start to plan out what it is you want to say, the points you need to cover off and the tone you want to use, also think about the word count needed to convey everything you want to say – too few words might lead to miscommunication and failure to connect, while too many and you’ll send your audience to sleep – that’s if they even bother to keep reading.

2. The value of SEO keyword research

As we know, having a resilient SEO strategy is by far the best way to appear at the top of the search engine results page – the more search visibility you have, the more qualified traffic you can direct to your website. So again before you start writing, it’s vital that you do your SEO research to understand what words and prompts you need to include that are key to your audience when they are searching for your type of brand, product or service. But, remember it’s a fine line between being relevant and overkill, don’t ‘shoo-in’ words for the sake of it, they should be there on merit and contribute to the flow of your writing, not because you want to get your SEO word count up.  

 3. Write in Plain English

Unless your website is extremely specialised and needs to use very precise words and phrases, create your content in easy to read digestible plain English. Choose your word with care and craft them so they engage and interact with your audience as an equal, it’s okay to use descriptions in your writing to bring the reader closer and add value, but don’t feel the urge to ramble-on or to use terms or phrases just because you think they’re cool – after all a football is still a football – nothing more. 

4. Choose a tone of voice that’s audience relevant

While your copy needs to powerful, clear and direct in a tone that is audience relevant, try using short, simple sentences to get attention, and then longer more complex ones to flesh out ideas. Where ever possible use interesting verbs to highlight important actions, then more conventional ones for variety, and while you should try to be ‘passive voice’ free it does have a place sometimes — for example, when you want to share background information or highlight a particular action. Always look to write as if the person you’re trying to reach is sitting next to you.

5. The correct use of grammar, spelling and local language

Nothing is more off-putting than written content that’s full of spelling mistakes or poor grammar. There are literally loads of FREE online dictionaries and grammar checkers, so don’t be afraid to use them and if you come across a word you’re unsure about check it out. 

Lastly, remember to consider where the majority of visitors to your site are going to be coming from, and write using their way of spelling – if in doubt go with American English.

6. Make your copy scannable

Remember as humans, we have an incredibly short attention span, so make sure your copy is scannable. In addition to putting the most important information at the top of the page, make sure the copy is easy to skim. The majority of web readers will scan the page to search out the specific piece of information they’re looking for—if they can’t find it easily, they’ll move on. 

So instead of using text laden paragraphs, perhaps use strong images, bullet points or numbers to highlight key points or phrases and don’t forget white-space is your friend so use it – white space around text makes it more legible, and more enjoyable to read.

7. Use hyperlinks to give credibility to your copy

One of the great aspects of a website is that it’s easy to direct readers from one page to another. Using hyperlinks from certain words and phrases is a great way to direct readers to find other related content. By hyperlinking both within your website and to other relevant sites not only helps to keep people engaged and moving smoothly through your site it also helps to give your content credibility.

Building in these internal links within your site also helps your SEO, but keep in mind that links should always be relevant and helpful. Visually, if you overload your text with links, people won’t know what to click on, so keeping the number of hyperlinks on a page to a “reasonable number is always recommended.

It’s not all plain sailing

If you’re not an experienced writer, it can be hard work writing copy for your website. But remember, you don’t need to write perfect copy the first time around, once your content is live, you can do weekly and monthly checks to monitor and optimise its performance. 

But hopefully, our list of tips will help you get prepared to create some amazing engaging content that resonates with even the most fickle and time-pressed of internet readers.

Website Design – Creating a Natural Brand Extension

Website Design - Creating a Natural Brand Extension

Your website is so much more than just a URL – it’s your shop window and as such, it should be a reflection of your marketing and business strategy and be a natural extension of your brand’s story. 

And, because there are thousands of websites with more appearing daily that are all fighting to interact with your potential customers, your website must stand out from the crowd in terms of design, structure and functionality.

You need to remember your website is a piece of media real estate, and like any piece of traditional media such as  – magazines, newspapers etcetera, you have 8 seconds to grab the visitors attention and to convince them to keep reading or viewing what you have to offer.

So to help you create a website that stands out from the crowd and delivers your brand story clearly and concisely we have created this easy to follow 6 point website design checklist, that will have you designing like a professional in no time.

      1. Plan the journey
      2. Keep your homepage clean and clutter-free
      3. Design with your audience in mind
      4. Create easy to read website content
      5. Ensure your site is easy to navigate
      6. Stay mobile friendly

Plan the journey

Before you commit to the expense of creating your website, take time to plan out what it is you want your website to do and what it might look like, the messages you want to convey and what the call to action should be. Put yourself in the shoes of the visitor and go through the journey, so you can fully understand what the visitor experience would be like and where you may need to make changes or add content or extra images to tell a compelling story.

Keep the home page clean and clutter-free

Remember the home page is the first thing any visitor will see when they come to your site, so it’s incredibly important that it’s clean and clutter-free, that they can see instantly your key messages, products and services along with any call to action and contact details – they have already made the conscious effort to visit your site, so don’t make them search for key information, embrace their visit by making life easy for them. Use white space and stylish images to draw them in and to focus their attention on key sections and points.

Design with your audience in mind

Far too often websites get designed for the designer and not the audience. Take the time to consider the makeup of your audience and what it is they expect to see when then visit your site and make sure that’s what they see – if you’re selling ‘Heavy Metal‘ rock band T-shirts, let them see the T-shirts in a stylish way that they can engage with, not some fluffy selfie pictures that would be more at home on Instagram.

Don’t be afraid to experiment until you get the look and feel of the site right and of course, remember it’s okay to change your mind.

Create easy to read content

As we said earlier you must design your website with the audience in mind, and no more is that true than when it comes to the written content. 

Unless your website is highly specialised and needs to use very specific words and phrases, create your content in plain easy to read and digestible English. 

Choose your word with care and craft them so they engage and interact with your audience as an equal, don’t feel the urge to patronise or talk down to the audience. Select an easy to read clear modern typeface that reflects your brand and use subheadings, bullet points and white space to help guide the reader through the pages.

Think of your website as nothing more than a very ‘sexy’ PowerPoint presentation where the golden rule is; tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and then tell what you told them – it’s that simple.

Ensure your site is easy to navigate

If your audience has taken the time to visit your site at least show them the courtesy of making the navigation as easy as possible. 

Ensure any call to action buttons are clearly indicated, the ability to move from one section to another is smooth and effortless, your contact details are correct and easy to find. Remember, no action on your site should take more than three clicks of the mouse.

Stay mobile friendly

Nine out of ten searches are carried out on mobile devices, so the contents along with the navigation processes must be designed in such a way that they can be scaled to suit a smaller screen. However, you should also remember that the actual structure of the page will need to be fairly different: the screen should only display one or two elements at a time, rather than the multitude of options you show desktop visitors.

The last word

Modern websites design comes in all manner of styles and can be works of art featuring some of the very latest design technology that is currently available, and while everyone wants their website to be the best, you do need to remember what it’s there for, and what it is you want it to do for your company, service or brand, and that is to communicate with your target audience in such a way that it encourages either a call to action or return visits.

Are you losing out on 80% of your potential local customers?

Are You Losing Out On 80% Of Your Potential Local Customers?

We’ve often talked here about how having a resilient SEO strategy is by far the best way to appear at the top of the search engine results page – the more search visibility you have, the more qualified traffic you can direct to your website.

However, in the past, we’ve tended to look at SEO and the tools that are available more for international markets, but today we’re going to look at the value of what we call Local SEO.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO helps businesses promote their products and services to potential local prospects and customers. To assemble information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and references to provide the most relevant local results to the user.

Why Local SEO is critical to your business

Local SEO is critical if you want your business to stay connected, current research suggests that four out of every five consumers use search to find local information, which means if your business or service isn’t locally optimised you could well be losing out on around 80% of your potential customers. So to help you maximise your opportunities we have created this Local SEO checklist.

Local SEO Checklist

    1. Optimise for Google My Business.
    2. Improve your internal linking structure.
    3. Optimise URL, title tags, headers, Meta description, and content.
    4. Add location pages your website.
    5. Create local content.
    6. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.
    7. Make sure your name, address, and phone number is consistent online.
    8. Optimise online directories and tributes.
    9. Get inbound links with relevance and authority.
    10. Engage in social media and add posts to Google My Business.

Optimise for Google My Business

Google My Business has become the standard for local search, as understandably Google feels most comfortable sharing content it can support and verify, Google My Business is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. To learn more about Google My Business and how it can help you maximise your Local SEO opportunities, visit https://www.google.com/business/.

 

Improve Your Internal Linking Structure.

Although external links pointing to your site are ideal, adjusting your internal linking structure will also help boost your SEO rankings. But, why does internal linking matter, you ask? Because it does the following:

    •   Supports website navigation
    •   Assists with information architecture and website hierarchy
    •   Distributes page authority and ranking power among pages

If you want to improve your internal linking structure but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at Kissmetrics’ The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top-Notch SEO.

Optimise URL, Title Tags, Headers, Meta Description, and Content.

Every time you add a piece of content to your website, you need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. If you’re having trouble coming up with specific content, consider highlighting any customer success stories and/or case studies.

Add Location Pages To Your Website.

If you’re a single location business, then create a locally-focused About Us Page. However, if you have more than one location, make sure you create location pages for each location. Each page should include your business name, address, phone number, opening hours, unique store descriptions, parking information, promotions, and any testimonials from happy customers. But, remember not to duplicate content across multiple location pages. Also, it helps if you add a Google Map to your website on the respective location page(s).

Create Local Content.

Because Google continues to get smarter, it means content creators are now able to write for users, not search engines. But while writing about general topics might attract a larger crowd, in this instance it’s about focusing on what will attract your local audience. Each piece of content is a great opportunity to connect your business or service by promoting local industry gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content on your blog, think of top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells.

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Make it easy for your customers by making your site mobile-friendly, local search and mobile search go hand in hand (nine out of ten mobile phone users conduct local searches on their devices). So make sure they can find reviews, find directions to your location, and search for your contact information all on their mobile device.

Make sure your name, address, and phone numbers are consistent online.

You need to make it easy for people and search engines to find you, do this by setting up your NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number (with area code). This should be included as crawlable HTML text on your site. Avoid the mistake of only including the NAP within an image, as images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text.

Optimise any online directories and mentions.

When it comes to your local business or service consistency is key, discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of room number or wrong phone number in any online directory or third party mention can be problematic. Remember if Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results. Additionally, make sure you remove any duplicate listings you might find.

Get inbound links with relevance and authority.

Inbound links are incredibly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO, every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, plus inbound links can also help to raise your domain authority. These are just a few of the ways to get inbound links:

Engage on social media and add posts to your Google My Business page

Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before, so make sure you maximise every opportunity to put your business or service in front of the local community on all relevant social media platforms, and of course, don’t forget to add posts to your Google My Business page. 


Going Forward

Hopefully, our Local SEO checklist will give you a firm understanding on how to optimise your business and how to reach those potential consumers who use local search to choose which products or services they’re going to buy.