Chasing a Return on Investment (ROI) Online

Chasing a Return on Investment (ROI) Online

Many clients I speak to about their online marketing needs are concerned about getting ads up for their latest promotion, keeping their Facebook page full of fresh posts and photos, and blogging on their website. But is this the important stuff when it comes to getting the most out of your online marketing?

Simply put, no.

Step 1 – treat your online marketing like every other bit of marketing you do. It is no different, apart from the mediums you use. For example, what would you do before running advertising on a billboard, newspaper or tv advert?

You would keep it aligned with your other advertising, you would look at the audience you are trying to attract, present an offer applicable to that target audience, as well as ensuring you have a way of measuring your results.

If you were about to spend thousands of dollars on a television or radio ad, you would want to know it was going to pay off. You’d expect it to help with both brand awareness and pushing across your latest update, promotion, offer or whatever your draw card may be – same with digital advertising.

Measurable Results

The benefit of digital advertising is being able to monitor the demographics, impressions and reach as well as clicks. But where are those clicks landing? Ideally, those ads will be linking to a unique landing page with strong call to actions, little to no distractions like menus, and a good presentation of why your brand is the best.

Something to consider when running digital ads and spending big budgets on banner ads and retargeting is do people really want to see your ad? Are you just pushing around your brand in front of someone who isn’t interested? What if the user had visited a tennis website to look for a new racket for their child. Then they go to a soccer website to check out what Christiano is up to – your tennis specific banner ad is going to follow them around. Sure it won’t cost you unless they click on it, but will it annoy them? Research shows more and more people using ad blocking software to do away with this annoyance. Sure, Google Analytics will tell us how thousands seen your banner ad, and how many clicked on it and even purchased on your website, but what isn’t it telling you and how do we judge this?

With more and more searches being made online through smartphones and tablets, being on Google search is a must. So are text ads on Google search the way to go? After all, the user is looking for something related to your keyword if it shows, and the chances of it being clicked on are immediately higher. With so much of the Google search page real estate now covered by ad listings, it is worth making sure your business is in the game.

Mobile Search is where its at

As more people search from mobile devices, we need to consider the way we approach online advertising. As I mentioned, text based ads are a great way to show up with appropriate online search results on Google search, but what keywords you use needs to be carefully researched.

With many new phones offering voice search, the search terms will resemble more of a phrase than a word. For a long time, we have recommended longtail keywords to target niche audiences. Longtail keywords, rather than single words, are short word combinations that narrow down the options. For example, as well as the word diamond, a longtail keyword might be argyle pink diamond. With voice searches, people are more likely to search for something along the lines of ‘Where do I buy a pink diamond engagement ring from?

Negative keywords need to also be monitored with your text ads, you don’t want to be losing budget on words that will never relate or convert into sales for your site. Although they may be getting clicks, are they the right demographic? Are those clicks converting to a sale?

Mobile searchers, as well as seeing text ads on Google search, will also see Google local and business listings, followed by organic results. Organic results are ranked by relativity to the search term and how much Google’s search algorithm decides a site will help provide suitable and helpful answers and information. There are also a lot of other factors that determine page rank.

How to Rank on Google Search

To be found when people search for you, you need to have one or more of the following:

  • Google text based ads
  • Google Map Listing
  • Google Local Business Listing
  • Organic Website Listing

Text ads are simple, and all it takes is a well researched Google AdWords campaign, but how do we get you listed in the other 3 places?

For any business, it is essential to have a Google Business page. This will also allow local business owners to verify their location and get a map listing linked with this. We also list clients on Apple maps so no matter what phone people search from, they are bound to find directions to the business.

Organic results can be where things get tricky, as unlike ads, you can’t just throw money at it and they start appearing. SEO or search engine optimisation takes time and a lot of work, but to help you get started faster, we recommend online directory listings.

Even if your website is not listed in the top 5 results, you may find sites like YellowPages and LocalSearch will show results here. So to help people find your brand, we list your business in as many of these directories as we can for your industry or budget. Most of these sites also allow linking back to your website.

Now we find that when people are looking for your product or service, there is a higher chance of your brand getting found on Google as you show up in text ads, Google business and map listings and organic directory listings. Great! Now it’s time to work on  your website.

The Hub of Magic and Mystery!

Your website should be as useful and simple to use as it possibly can. We list the most important factors for any website to be:

  • Easy to use Navigation on Desktop and Mobile devices
  • Clearly defined Call to Actions prompting quotes, sales or enquiries
  • Super fast loading times for pages and images
  • Lots of useful and shareable information on your product or service
  • Easy to find contact details and forms
  • Amazingly beautiful, especially on mobile devices

With attention spans going out of fashion real quick, we need to make websites that encourage people to stay on them longer, think video guides, helpful tips, reviews, bonus offers and how to instructional guides. Simple navigation for both mouse clickers and finger swipes, easy to access information about the product or service and where to buy it, and fast loading too. You do not want your customer giving up on your brand because the site is taking too long to load, especially if they are all excited about your brand after clicking an ad or reading about it somewhere else.

By doing all of this, we are not only satisfying the needs of our customers, we are also giving Google everything it is looking for. With recent changes looking to make the search giant favour mobile content, we need to ensure websites are fast and simple to use on mobile devices like phone and tablets.

Now for the magic you don’t see, the on site page optimisation. We need to ensure Google and other search engines know what your website is all about. For this, we use a combination of things including:

  • schema markup
  • meta titles and descriptions
  • image alt tags
  • link titles
  • internal linking
  • category pages
  • keyword optimisation
  • server and browser caching
  • content distribution networks
  • in depth site maps
  • updated htaccess and robots.txt files

By giving Google all the information it needs when it indexes your site, it will allow it to better match it to appropriate search terms. You will also find that if your off site links and content connect back to your site with very similar tags and content, it will help your rank as Google starts to understand and trust your brand.

Now, its not as simple as I have made it sound, and it definitely involves a lot more, but ticking all these boxes will get you heading in the right direction.

You can tell Google how good your website or brand is, but what counts more is when other people tell Google how good you are. Think user generated content like forum comments, social media comments, online reviews, and blog posts. The more of this you have, tied in with a presence on Google business, will help build trust in your brand and you will notice your ranking in organic search results improves.

Make every Dollar Work Hard

In summary, when we talk about Return on Investment, and marketing budgets, we don’t need to focus on keeping up with the Jones family. Focus on what will connect you with your target audience. Where are they spending time online, what do they interact with, are in your face methods going to work or annoy them?

We recommend to our clients they focus advertising budget on 3 main areas; search text and Facebook ads, website updates and external link and trust building.

By doing so, you are giving users all the information about your brand, product or service when THEY are looking for it, rather than plastering it everywhere all the time. Sure, plastering banners everywhere will help with impulse buys and works well for some products, but not all of them. Do your research.

We are launching a new self serve SEO platform next week that will allow business owners, agencies and SEO freelancers access to resources for link and content building, guest posts and even access to big brand websites like entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post and Engadget. Watch this space, or contact the team at Xmedia Digital Solutions for more info.

 

What do you believe is most important when it comes to digital advertising?

How to get on Page 1 of Google Search, and the Truth about Buying Links

How to get on Page 1 of Google Search, and the Truth about Buying Links

Where do you search for products and services? Google?

For most people, and more and more these days, search is being done on mobile and tablet devices through Google search. Everyone is looking for the quick and easy way to do everything, and doing a quick search on Google beats the phone book or local directory almost every time.

Spend your marketing budget wisely

When it comes to deciding on where to invest your marketing budget, there are a myriad of options to consider including your traditional media such as radio and television, as well as so many different ways to spend both time and money online. But which one works best?

That depends on your business model, product or service and where your ideal audience can be found. Even though I have helped people with print marketing, video and radio copy, my primary focus has always been on digital marketing. Why? Because it works!

Spending $40,000 a year on radio advertising might help create brand awareness, or promote that special event, but when it comes to getting found at a time of need, online marketing wins every time. Even when people hear your radio ad, many listeners jump on their phone or tablet to look you up online, check out your website or find out more about what was just advertised.

I just heard about an airshow coming up, first thing I did was hit Google to find the official website or Facebook page for details. Even when it comes to shopping, most of my Christmas present ideas get researched and bought online.

So the smart budget is spent making sure that when people do search for you or your product online, they find you!

Getting on Page 1 of Google

It is not as hard as you think. Don’t think that your website has to be in the number 1 spot on Google search results every time someone types in your product or service. Do you really think your competitors don’t want the same thing?!

The secret here is to be everywhere!

First things first, directory listings. List your business everywhere you can that is either a local or industry-related directory. Use the exact same Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) you have listed on your website, this will help keep things clear with Google.

Next up, get listed on Google and Apple maps. Both are simple to get on to and they’re free listings. With smartphones making getting directions easy, you need to make sure you can get found.

While you are at it, be sure to fill in your business details with Google Business. This will help Google know more about your business, and also links with your Google map listings. It also allows you to add images and content that will get seen on Google search results. Pay particular attention to your opening hours, business description and profile image.

Once you have a Google Business listing, you can also start monitoring your online reviews on Google, and even asking people to create a review for you. We refer to this content as user-generated content. Like I say to all my clients: rather than you telling me how good your business is, let others tell me and it will build a sense of trust. Same goes with social media reviews and shares.

Which brings me to the next point of attention – social media signals. You don’t have to be on all of them. Stick to the ones you can manage. I usually recommend Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Social signals are starting to get results with Google search. Remember to post regularly and keep it slightly personal. Social media is about showing what is behind that big corporate brand or shop front. Let the public meet the people behind the brand.

Next up, Google Ads. Yep, it seems Google is giving text ads (Adwords) a good spot on their search results page (SERP) right up the top. On mobile devices, these are some of the first results we see. Before anyone sees any website results, Google usually shows about 3-4 text ads, Google business and map listings, followed by either more ads or the organic results. So text ads are a great way to put your brand in the results even before your website is ranking well, although it is not cost effective for all business types. Depending on your industry and competition from your competitors, it can become a very costly campaign with some clicks costing more than $10 with no guarantee of a sale or enquiry.

Advertising spans across a whole heap of platforms including social media, search and Google’s display network. You can also look at remarketing, which targets users that have landed on your website already. This gives you a second chance at getting a sale or enquiry from them. Different platforms work better for different brands and business models.

When it comes to choosing advertising, think a lot about your ideal audience or customer. What is their age group, where would you find them online, and what would they be looking for? Same goes for social media, if you are targeting business users you might want to utilise Linkedin or Twitter whilst others chasing brand awareness and feedback might find Facebook better. It comes down to research and testing.

Long term Investment for a Better Rank on Google

So you are listed everywhere you can find online, you are using social media, you can be found on Apple and Google maps, and people can review your business online. What now?

CONTENT!! Google is a search engine that looks for great content. Bottom line…. CONTENT IS KING!

Don’t believe all those spammy emails from offshore marketing agencies selling you cheap SEO or links for your website. Google’s search algorithm is smarter than you might think. Spam links and over optimisation will get you penalised resulting a lower organic search result.

Buying links is considered BLACK HAT. Evil. It might be tempting when you hear how fast they can help you get ranked, but in the long term, you could be throwing all that money down the drain when Google drops you off the results page totally. Stay clean, both for Google search and for your online audience.

Seriously, both Google and your online readers want the same thing……

Seriously, both Google and your online readers want the same thing – Answers to their questions, whether that is about pricing, images or product details, they want and NEED to be able to find out easily. Or they’ll just go elsewhere.

To do this, we need to make sure your website is optimised with all the necessary tags, metadata and content Google needs. We also need to make sure your navigation is simple to use on both mobile and desktop browsers, and gives people an easy way to find what they need. Here is a simple checklist I prepared earlier – click here for my website SEO checklist.

Once your site is optimised, keep it fresh with updated content. Start a blog page or share your latest updates. This will both give your readers a reason to stay on your site and even come back to read your updates, but will also keep the website relevant and current with Google’s search bots.

A decent blog post needs to be at minimum, 500-1000 words long. Remember your H1 header tags, and use internal linking to show off other pages and posts on your site.

When it comes to sharing content on your social media pages, use your newly created blog posts. Not only does this reduce you writing about the same thing twice, but it will also bring new readers to your website. If done right, they may even check out your other blog posts or even make a website enquiry. Wooohooo!

A great website and content is a perfect start to any SEO campaign, but now it’s time we need to tell Google search how good your site is. How? Back links! We already have some created – remember all those local and business directory listings?

Backlinks are external links from other sites pointing to your site. This shows that your site is worth checking out as other people are pointing/referring to it. The more the better. The trick here is making them look as natural and organic as possible. Many marketing agencies will tell you to use keywords or your product name in the anchor text for each link. Hmmm…. this can cause grief. Google hates over optimisation.  We usually stick to a 90/10 rule. 90% of links look natural, whilst 10% contain keyword specific anchor text. What is a natural link? Think URLs, business names, blank entries, etc.

That 10% we mentioned, it also helps if those links are coming from other sites that are already ranking really well. The more authority they have with Google, and if they are related to your industry or product, the better! If it comes from a trustworthy site like a .edu or .gov website, even better!

Where do you find backlinks? You make them. Remember me saying content is king? This applies with backlinking too. Guest posts and blogs on other sites are are great way to both show your authority and knowledge in your field, as well as create links back to your site. You can also troll forums and groups online to help out with comments and feedback. Most of these sites will allow you to link back to your website.

In my business, I use a pyramid shaped SEO plan for most clients with the main site being at the top. The second row will consist of a well written and created website with links back to the main site. From here, the third and fourth row sites will focus on different keywords and categories and link to specific pages on the second row sites. The rows below these will then build up bulk pointing to all of the above except the main site. By using well written articles written about my client’s product or service, we are providing great content for Google to find, and then by using a mix of link anchor text, we are building our 90/10 ratio of backlinks I need.

Of course this takes time, and building it up will usually take 2-3 months. It all depends on both the competition and the industry. Most important thing to remember is to keep it all legit. Google and your readers are looking for great content, help them find it. That is the bottom line. If you give them the best information, along with great call to actions to enquire or buy, you will be the winner.

If you can do all this yourself, awesome! Start now as the longer you are doing it for, the sooner your results will come through. Don’t have the time or the skillset to do this? Why not get someone like me to do it for you? We keep our campaigns transparent and our pricing is better than most agencies I know. Give your business some great options, contact me today and we can discuss what you are looking to achieve and my options and pricing to get that result.

ARE YOU AN AGENCY? We help other marketing agencies outsource their SEO campaigns to us, as well as content creation and website troubleshooting. We’d love to hear from you!

CLICK HERE to contact David Walter today & receive your FREE action plan!

How to Rank a Website in 90 Days, with a budget below $2k!

How to Rank a Website in 90 Days, with a budget below $2k!

Getting found on Google Search means being at the top. No one looks at page 2, and with mobile searches getting even more popular than ever, people will not scroll to find you. The top 3 spots on Google search are prime real estate and you have to work hard to get there.

For the sake of this article, I am going to assume your website is optimised with tags, metadata, image sizing, speedy load times, etc. If not, check out this checklist.

What should my SEO Budget be?

There are many factors that go into working out a budget for your SEO campaigns, the main one being competition. The more competitive the search terms are for your product or service, the harder it will be to improve your rank.

We like to start with small and work on the idea of scaling. This also helps build up your search profile with new links, and content. In this case, we will be keeping SEO campaign spend below $2000 AUD.

Local Search

For any business, it is vital to get found in your local area. This will help you get found on both Google map and business listings, and as you can see on Google search on your mobile phone, this shows up before most organic search results.

Step1.
Include a location term with your primary keywords. If you are a plumber in Maitland, be sure to use “Maitland Plumber” or “plumber in Maitland” as your keywords. This will help Google establish where your business is located and the area it services.

Also ensure that your website has your business address listed. We will refer to this as NAP, or Name, Address and Phone.

Step 2.
Build Citations and Directory listings. Getting found on Google search means appearing everywhere people look. This could include the map and local business listings Google provides, but also in local directories like localsearch, yellowpages and truelocal. That way, even without your website ranking at the top of the page, you are still able to be found and contacted.

We use our LOCAL SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO) PACKAGES, that start at $599. This is a one off fee to get started and includes GST. This price is accurate at time of writing, but be sure to get a quote first before planning to go ahead with this campaign.

The Local SEO campaign includes:

  • Up to 50 online directory listings and updates using consistent NAP
  • Update of Google Business and Map Listings
  • Photosharing on search and sharing sites with geotagging and linking
  • Up to 5 video shares for linking
  • 5 social media submissions

You as the client get the opportunity to supply the images and videos we use, or we can organise this for you. We recommend this package to start with before you continue with link building, as it ensures your business is listed in as many places as possible online. It will also use the same NAP as your website which is important as far as SEO goes.

Building Trust and Authority

So after spending $599 over the first 30 days, we have our business listed across the web, and people can start finding you through local online directories and listings. We also include your map listings on Google Maps and Apple Maps.

To help improve your first month’s efforts, we recommend tacking on a Pay-Per-Click advertising campaign. This will help build some instant traffic to your website, which will both look good to Google, and bring you paying customers. Of course, your website will need good call to actions and usability to convert these into sales, but that’s another article.

Step 3.
This is where we focus on content building and creating your authority in your field. To do this, we recommend having a blog on your website with fresh and helpful content, as well as the following link building SEO package, valued at $1900 per month inclusive of GST.

The link building SEO campaign includes:

  • Focus of campaign on 1-2 primary URL’s on website (homepage and services)
  • 500+ word high quality press release with embedded links/keywords distributed to over 100 authority news outlets. Perfect for product information and updates.
  • Guest posts to at least 3 top level authority blogs, with links from 20+ social bookmarks & blogs
  • Drip feed to 50 private network posts over 30 days
  • 5 articles with keyword/URL links and anchors submitted to niche related blog sites
  • 5 new high authority links
  • 50 extra posts on high ranking websites and blogs linking back naturally (no anchor text)
  • Monitoring of Google Webmaster tools for possible black flags and penalties

We also send all press releases to you, the client, every month for approval and to check the content. We use the primary keywords from your website on some of the external links. Note, we do not give all links to your site keywords as anchor text. On average, 10 percent of links will include your primary keyword in your anchor text, with the other 90 percent using natural link text such as your URL, business name, etc.

By using this method of linking, we help keep it natural and organic looking to search engines. With recent updates to the Google Algorithm, over optimisation of links and website content can work against you when it comes to building rank. The key here is keep it natural. Focus on content and usability for site visitors.

Guest posts on other websites related to your field will help build trust, especially if that website is already ranking quite well. We also recommend having a good mix of external links on your website, as well as these new inbound links. Manage your external links in the same way you would with internal links on your website. Use correct anchor text, with a proportion of them containing your primary keywords. Linking to sites related to your field, product or service will help make your site a hub of information in Google’s robot eyes.

When Jane Smith gets on her mobile and Google’s “find a plumber in maitland” she will get results including:

  • Google Business listing of plumbers
  • Google Maps listing and reviews
  • Pay-per-click advertisements
  • Organic search results and web links

The key here is to be everywhere. By having the local listings, Google Business listing, Google and Apple Maps listings and a paid advertising campaign in action, you will at the least, show up for the top 3. Good content and linking created with our link building SEO package will then slowly build up rank in the organic results, bringing you a 4 out of 4 result.

Another great way of building your authority in Google search results is through user generated content, specifically reviews! You can tell everyone you are great, that’s a start, but when other people say that you are great, that can work real magic online! Be sure to ask for reviews on both Facebook and through your Google business listing, this can also affect the way you show up in Google’s business and map listings. (especially now when Google is only showing around 3 listings, as opposed to the 6 or more it showed before).

Consistency is Key

Step 4.
When it comes to search engine optimisation, consistency is the key. Be across everything all the time.

  • Keep your local listings up to date
  • Build social signals by sharing content on your social media pages
  • Keep an active SEO link building campaign running every month
  • Ensure your website is up to date, fast and mobile friendly
  • Create fresh content on your blog or news pages

By doing all of these things, you will find your rank on Google improves as your site comes across as current, trustworthy and a good source of information. Exactly what Google is looking for.

Summary of spending:

Month 1 (First 30 days): $599 for local SEO campaign + any additional PPC packages

Month 2 (day 30-60): $1900 for link building campaign

Month 3 (day 61-90): $1900 for link building campaign

After 90 days/3 months of content creation, along with keeping your social media pages fresh and linking to your content, and building authoritative links to your website, you will definitely find your website will start ranking better, possibly even on to page 1 of Google! Will you get the top spot?!

We help clients get a better rank by doing an website audit to spot gaps and issues, creating a tailored marketing strategy, and by implementing Whitehat SEO techniques to build authoritative links. A recent local SEO campaign we an for Maitland Toyota, gave us a number 1 result for the search term “Toyota” in their local area. With so much competition from other Toyota dealers, this is giving them the edge when it comes to search results.

If you would like to know more about what we can do for your business, be sure to have a chat with us about your goals and big picture ideas. We love coffee, so a cafe catch-up is always nice, or perhaps just a phone or Skype chat. We’re easy to get a long with and keep things easy to understand and transparent.

SCHEDULE A MEET-UP TODAY

note: Having a budget of $2000/month can do great things to launch your brand online. We recommend building traffic to your website organically over higher ad spends, as your reach and traffic growth will continue to grow, unlike that from your online advertising. Online advertising needs it’s own special plan of attack including target specific landing pages for each ad, and call to actions that offer both something free and a better than standard deal. The bottom line is, people want more for nothing. The more you can offer, whether it is discounts or information that will help them, the better the result you will get from online marketing. Think about your own online searches and what you look for.

GOOGLE ADWORDS: Expanded Text Ads are here to stay

GOOGLE ADWORDS: Expanded Text Ads are here to stay

If you are a regular user of Google Adwords campaigns you may have noticed the newish feature of expanded text ads. Have you tried them yet?

What are Expanded Text Ads?

They are the same as your usual text ads and still use the Google search and display networks, although differ in a few unique ways:

  1.  Two headline fields (up to 30 characters each)
  2.  A single, expanded description field (up to 80 characters)
  3.  A Display URL that uses your final URL’s domain
  4.  Two optional ”Path” fields, used in the ad’s Display URL (up to 15 characters each)

Benefits of Expanded Text Ads

What does this mean for the user, or people seeing your ads? They can access more information before clicking off to another URL.

For the advertiser, a great advantage of using expanded text ads is they are larger and take up more space on mobile screens. Built mobile first, Google Adwords text based ads will cover more screen real estate than standard text ads. They also allow for a longer description field as well as two headlines. We all want more attention on Google search results, right?

How do I get Expanded Text Ads

They are live now and when you create a new text based ad you will see the new layout. Currently  you can still switch back, although after October 26th, the new layout will be your only option.

Better CTR

With majority of online users now active on their smartphones and tablets, taking advantage of screen position is vital. Google something on your mobile device and you will notice ads are very prominent. With the roll out of the new expanded text ads from Adwords, we can take up more space for our ads which in turn should increase our click through rates.

Have you tried them already? What is your take on them, will you be taking advantage of the increased real estate? Do you think Google is doing the right thing, or are people getting sick of ads? Would love to hear your feedback!

 

Happy advertising!

Dave out.

 

Getting on Page 1 of Google without SEO?! Sure why not!

Getting on Page 1 of Google without SEO?! Sure why not!

Google it! We hear it everywhere these days. My 13 year old says it, and more often than not, it’s his first point of call when trying to find out about something or somewhere. For business owners, we want to make sure that when people search for a service or product we offer, that our contact details get found. With so much competition online, how do you get found?

Does SEO work? Is SEO worth the money?

Yes and no. SEO, or search engine optimisation means ensuring your site is super easy for search engines like Google and Bing to index, as well as showing some sort of popularity or authority in your field by having links to your site URL. Whether or not you are doing it for a better page rank on Google or not, it is good practice to ensure you have a well set out site.

If you are building a new website or paying a web designer to do it, make your it is optimised from the start. There is two types of SEO: on-site and off-site. Exactly how they sound, on site SEO covers all your metadata, image tagging, and the like, whilst off site SEO covers trust and link building.

For onsite SEO, some key indicators of a well made website include the following….

High priority items

  • Mobile friendly and multi-device responsive. How well can people view your website on different size screens?
  • Speed. And more speed. People’s attention spans are diminishing, they want to see your content now. Can they?
  • Simple navigation. It might sound simple, but so many sites make it difficult to find products and services.

Lesser priority items

  • Correctly tagged images and links.
  • Favicons and retina display icons.
  • Meta tags including titles and descriptions on each page.
  • Sitemap submitted to Google and Bing.

Away from our websites, we need to look at external links to our site, and what type of site is linking to us. If your competitor for diamond necklaces has 10 websites linking to their site and you have 3, Google is going to see his site as being worth looking at, and will most likely list it higher than your website. This can change of course if those linking sites are bad links, but that’s another story.

I have written more about on and off site SEO factors, read it here.

Paying for SEO services can be potentially dangerous for your brand. Firstly, when it comes to the financial side of things, you are paying to have links created, and your site to be updated with good SEO practice and revisions. If you take the time to ensure your site is correctly setup, uses the correct keywords for your industry and is easy to use in terms of speed, navigation and device compatibility, you may find on site SEO a waste of money. Secondly, with the changes regularly made to the Google search algorithm, your SEO agency needs to be on the ball and keeping up with the changes, otherwise your listing could just drop off page 1 of Google, and possibly be in a worse position than when you began the campaign. Lastly, Google does watch what is happening online, and it will penalise websites that it believes is doing the wrong thing. Paid linking and spamming is wrong in the eyes of Google policy makers, and if your links do not look natural or come across as spam, you will get penalised and your search results ranking will drop almost immediately. This can sometimes be difficult to recover from.

Not trying to scare you, just letting you know the possible hazards. So is there a better way you ask? Why yes, I think so!

Page 1 of Google please!

So you have your shiny new website all setup and looking good, you’ve checked the backend and made sure its tagged correctly, you have submitted the sitemap and there are a few external links pointing your way. Why am I not on page 1 of Google already, Gosh!?!

It can take time, and it also depends on the competitiveness of your market, and the keywords you are fighting for. Most digital marketing agencies will advise you that with any SEO package to not expect results for between 3-12 months. It can be a costly affair. Not what a new or small business owner wants. But never fear! I have a solution.

Utilise the websites that are already listing high for your industry related search terms. Do some investigation and Google away at words and questions your customers might type into Google search looking for your type of business or product. Check out the top 5 organic results. These are the ones below the paid ads, the maps and the Google business listings.

Majority of the time you will find they are directory listings such as TrueLocal, Localsearch or YellowPages. If you see these popping up near the top of a few of your searches, it may be worth ensuring you have a listing in each of them. Most have free listings, but then offer a premium paid listing to ensure your listing is higher or stands out more.

There are lots of online directories, just Google your industry followed by the words ‘online directory’ or ‘directory listing’. As you don’t need to spend money on a lot of them, why not take the time to submit all your business details. A lot of them will also allow you to link to your website!

Where else should I be listed?

Well what else did you see when you were doing these research searches? Usually, it’s Google Business listings and maps. These are both free as well. You will also find that people using Android phones will also have these listings coming up when they use Google Now or search directly on their phones. Once again, the price is right, so get your business listing on there!

As we are trying to show that your website is worth visiting for the specific industry you are in, try searching for industry leaders in your field. Can you somehow get a link on their site? Some sites will offer linking to and from their website with associated brands. Another way is to look for bloggers writing about your industry and ask if they will blog about your brand. You could perhaps offer a product or service for review, or maybe pay them to post about you. Either way, having a third party say how good you are and then linking to you is what you want.

Don’t forget about social media! People trust other people when it comes to reviews and feedback. Make your brand present across as many social media networks as you can, and monitor any feedback. If someone is talking about your brand, be sure to make it in front of you and not behind your back.

Reviews on Facebook and Google Plus sometimes show up well in searches, and people go looking for them when deciding on a product or service. Ask your clients for a review.

I have covered a few places where you can start improving your online presence, without necessarily having your website showing on page 1 of results. Many of these are free and will just cost you a few minutes or hours of work. The best advice I can give you is to look at this from your customer’s point of view. Who is your ideal customer? Where would they look to find you? Do they click on ads, or would they be looking for articles and blog posts? Not sure how to do this, consider talking to your favourite client and ask where he or she found you, and where else they searched. It might just pay off!

I hope this helped you and your online marketing efforts. As always, I am only a social media page away or a contact form if you need to talk more about this.

Check out our SEO Checklist for more tips on Search Engine Optimization, and getting your website more love from Google bots.

 

Dave out.

 

The Benefits of Email Marketing for Your Business

The Benefits of Email Marketing for Your Business

When it comes to marketing online, there is a plethora of options, a myriad of applications to help you and of course, the endless comparisons of what works best. What about newsletters?

You are 50-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer, than you are of selling to a new one and the costs for advertising to bring repeat customers in are 5 to 20 times cheaper.

As a lot of business owners know already, having a database of your customers is paramount in remarketing and getting return clientele. This can be done through traditional mediums such as phone numbers and callouts, area codes and radio advertisements or even postal addresses and snail mail.

Of course, in the world of online marketing, we want to deal with online accounts. This means either getting social media followers or start collecting emails. Building an email database of your current clients as well as potential customers is a great way to build your business. Once you have a list of email addresses, you can start sending out newsletters or promotional content.

There are numerous benefits when it comes to email marketing for your business, here is just a couple.

1. Time and Effort
Rather than having to batch print and send a whole heap of letters out via Australia Post, you just create your campaign online and click send. Wow, is it really that easy? Yes.

2. Real Time Communication
Unlike other forms of mail outs or advertising, emails are real time. Apart from a few minutes while they scream across the cyber world, emails are basically in your customers/readers inbox immediately. No waiting for the postal service, or special offers to pop up on ads or Facebook.

3. Personalised Newsletters
Like lots of today’s online marketing, newsletters can also be personalised. You can create different lists of customer email addresses to send different topics or offers. No more blanket mailouts to everyone. Your reader will get an email directed to them about what concerns them. This also helps your newsletter avoid being marked as junk or spam mail.

4. Frequency
As there is less time spent on email marketing when compared to snail mail, you are able to prepare and send your newsletters out more often. Some businesses tend to send smaller newsletters more frequently, whilst larger mailouts are done monthly or quarterly.

5. Sharing
You gotta love the internet for sharing. Just like social media posts and videos can go viral, so too can your newsletter. People are able to forward your newsletter to friends or colleagues, or print it out for the office. It is much easier to get your content to more people.

6. Track Your Results
Newsletter campaigns created through applications such as Aweber and Mailchimp allow you to monitor the success of each of your mailouts and campaigns. They will show you how many people received your email as well indicating whether it was opened or deleted. Wow!

7. Clean and Green
Most importantly, your newsletter will not mean using up heaps of paper, ink or other consumables. Electronic newsletters and email mailouts are much more environmentally friendly. You will be helping save the planet!

Incorporate a Newsletter Subscription in your Website

Creating a subscription link on your website is a great way to get subscribers. You can do this numerous ways. The visitors to your site are obviously already interested in what  you have to say or provide and have come through social media or search results. It is now time to give them something for their efforts and you can win here too.

Make it easy for them to sign up to your newsletter or integrate the sign up with a special offer. We have used free downloads and giveaways as part of email marketing campaigns. People love to sign up to things if they are going to get something for free. Try repackaging one of your more popular blog posts as an ebook and expand on it, this will make great content for a free ebook. You can then advertise the offer on your website, and when they sign up for the newsletter they get their ebook download.

Mailchimp makes this super easy. If you need or want this setup for you on your website, contact our team to get it started today!

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