Can your Business Handle Success?

Can your Business Handle Success?

It’s the goal of every business to grow and expand and to increase their bottom line – cash flow – but what happens when you go big, will your business cope?

The scenario plays out so many times in so many industries. A once amazing business known for its customer service or product quality soon gets so popular they are struggling to keep up with demand. The struggles bring about poor quality, missed opportunities and sometimes negative press and complaints.

act like a big business from the start

When starting my business, I was once told to act like a big business from the start. By this they meant have processes in place for everything, action plans and a solid business plan and outlook. I knew what I wanted to achieve and to this day, I still aim for the same key goals.

Starting and running a business without a plan for when things do go big, and your brand can be called a success, is like running a 10km marathon when you struggle to walk briskly. You need to be prepared. There must be a plan set in place for when things get busier. Will you put on more staff, will you limit your intake of work, is there an option to franchise or open other locations for your brand?

small business seo specialist

Go Big or Go Home

In the end, the goal is to run a successful and profitable business, right? I will add to this. Not only do you want it to be profitable, I believe you also need it to be healthy.

By this, I refer to the coping mechanisms built into the business structure. What happens when work load increases, is there extra staff on call, do you have the raw materials to increase production and most importantly, is your staff and management happy? Happiness is a huge factor these days when running a business.

The most successful business owners and entrepreneurs enjoy what they do. This can be tricky, depending on the business. Many business owners like to keep a finger in every pie so they know the ins and outs of daily business. Others prefer a manager that reports to them with updates on business progress, problems and news. Your individual traits can affect which scenario works best for your situation.

It Starts at the Top

Happiness flows from the top, just like a waterfall. If management are happy, there is a good chance they will endeavour to ensure the employees are also happy. Happy, or satisfied employees will be more productive, and in turn will affect the bottom line of the business through quality work, customer service or loyalty – maybe all three.

To be happy at the top, you need to feel like you are in control. The best way to be in control of your business is to recognise where it is currently, where it is heading and what hurdles could be expected along the way. An action plan, strategy or business plan with key indicators of goals and milestones will help with this.

Don’t Kill your Brand Before It Blooms

Most importantly, make sure your brand has a game plan. When things do get busier, don’t let what made your business the success it is today wither away. Strengthen it through smart staffing, better processes and goal setting.

I am sure we can all think about a business that was once great and now is just another brand. When it comes to the success of your business, sure it could be all about the money, but that won’t last if you ignore the important factors like production and staff growth, project acquisition limits and happiness throughout the brand.

I hope my two cents has inspired you to go back and look at your brand and see where it can improve and think about what makes it successful, is it the people, your processes, or the product?

As always, we’d love for you to come back and read more about business building and branding. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, read our eBook, or check out the blog. Our focus is on creating a better searchable online presence for brands, as well as improving key sales factors like call to actions, accessibility and streamlined background processes.

Learn more about Hunter Valley SEO Specialist and Web Engineers, Xmedia Digital Solutions, here.

Do not Invest in a Dying Media in 2017!

Do not Invest in a Dying Media in 2017!

It sounds a bit drastic or overstated, but with the future of ad content online in jeopardy, will your business continue to use it?

We have dropped a lot of banner ads for clients as they focus their marketing budgets on search optimisation, search text based ads and website content. Having found that many banner ads go unseen, and the real winners are AdWords, AdRoll, etc, we are educating clients on using inbound marketing techniques for their online marketing to ensure they get found by their ideal audience, as well as maximise leads.

When it comes to brand awareness, ads can help both sides – good and bad. Some companies go overboard with tracking and followups, and although it may return a high percentage of leads, are they also damaging their brand by being annoying?

With a lot of money being put in to online advertising, should we also consider that many tech savvy users are browsing with ad blockers in place, as well as using search engines like DuckDuckGo, to avoid seeing so many ads while they surf the interwebs?

I believe advertising is here to stay, although we just need to be smarter with the way it is used. If overused and abused, it will die a horrible death in the near future. I love watching the smart advertising that agencies come up with when I watch Gruen.

What is inbound marketing?

Wikipedia describes it simply as “a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization.”

It basically involves creating content worthy of your customers attention and sharing through social media, newsletters and blogging. Rather than throwing paid advertising in everyone’s face, inbound marketing techniques are less intrusive as they show useful content to people that are actually looking for it, meaning in theory, a better lead or engagement.

Think about a mailing list you can sign up for online. Many sales funnels are pushing to get email addresses from visitors before they provide their content. Are you going to stay subscribed to this list, or will you get the content you wanted and then unsubscribe? Many of these emails will stay on the mailing list as majority of signups will not be bothered to unsubscribe. Therefore, from the marketers point of view, its a successful growth of their mailing list. But is it?

What if you didn’t force people to sign up to your mailing list and left it to choice? Would they sign up? Would your list grow?

What? You want to join our mailing list? Sure, just click here.

The answer is yes. Maybe not as fast, but if people are loving your content and what you have to provide, they will sign up for more. Give them an offer along with the sign up and the signups may increase. The difference here is your sign up audience is more attentive to your content as they found you, and not the other way around if that makes sense.

As a marketer, you have to acknowledge there are pros and cons for both inbound and outbound marketing, but when thinking about the future of marketing and online trends, will we see more people shift their spending to inbound techniques?

Which is better?

This is a matter of opinion and depends on your type of business and your audience.

From a personal point of view, I would suggest companies focus on inbound marketing and primarily awesome content on their websites. The web is overwhelmed with ads and shit content. Lets start making great websites, focus on amazing content and useful guides, and allow people to make their own decisions in terms of newsletter signups and site navigation.

Although from a business point of view, your competitors are using online ads that stalk your potential customers, shouldn’t you do the same?

Once people start noticing that they are being flooded by ads and clickbait, will they make a conscious change to avoid more of it by using ad and tracking blocks? Will the money we spend on online ads reach a smaller portion of the online world as people avoid ads?

Will people realise? I mean, many are going straight to the source for the news like Trump on Twitter, rather than just believing the news stories…

It may not be a noticeable difference in 2017, but change is on its way, although we cannot guarantee the outcome. For now, your ad spend may still be beneficial to your brand, but what will the future bring?

I will definitely be interested to see what will happen. But I am also a bit bias, as we focus on website content and SEO link building through contextual links. I personally hate popups on exiting a site, although have used it on our own sites in the past. This site for example, xmediads.rocks strives to provide information and explanations of services for readers, and engagement comes from those interested in taking on website changes, SEO or advertising.

Content is still king, and sometimes ads can help get more people seeing that content, but in the end, it is up to you what you invest your marketing budget in. My vote is SEO!

Yours in marketing

Dave.

SEO in 2017: The Year to get Found Online

SEO in 2017: The Year to get Found Online

Whether it is your product or service, or an affiliate sale you are pushing, getting noticed online is your way to a better bottom line.

Travel bugs and passive income enthusiasts like Pat Flynn show that there is money to be made online, and having your website is just the beginning. Pat has used blogging and podcasts to great advantage to get his brands created. Even sites like his affiliate security guard training and food trucker site use SEO, specifically article content that shows him as an authority in his field, and creates viral-like content sharing and linking.

In 2017, we are seeing more searches being made directly from smart devices, as well as through apps like Yelp rather than Google, and search terms being closer to spoken word. It is time you researched how people are looking for your product and service, and where, and ensure your brand is showing up.

Why are Links and Content so Important?

Search engines like Google and Bing need to deliver to their user the most relevant content to the entered search term, as well as ensuring the site they are sending the user to is safe, not-spammy, and a hub of information.

They judge this criteria using complex algorithms. Don’t try and understand them,  but know that to get found online, your website needs to contain useful information including, your contact details and services, location details, a good description of what you do and who you are, and adequate use of keywords and phrases in content, tags and metadata.

Years ago it was common to limit the amount of outbound links from your site, and focus on internal links and links to your sites from higher ranking sites. In 2017, Google is looking for information hubs, so having a good mix of internal content and links to useful sites helps. Having a blog with helpful guides and updates is great, while links to authoritative sites like Wikipedia and gurus in your field help too. Think about it from a search engine point of view. Your site needs to offer the most information for a user that will help them with their search enquiry. If Google or Bing believe your site contains helpful information as well as links to sites where you can find more targeted information, it will send the user there. If other people are linking to your site as a point of reference or authority, you will rank better as search engines believe you are an expert in your field. The bigger an expert you look, the better you will rank. Of course, there is a lot more to it, but this is the basics.

Building content and links on higher ranking sites can drive more traffic to your website, as well as help establish your brand name in the field.

Search engines penalise sites that are spammy, and look to be over optimising. To avoid this, build really useful content that people will want to read. Focus on the user, and include lots of helpful information. Keep your link anchor text natural with around 10% containing your keywords. Also ensure your website loads fast and has caching enabled and images optimised. All this will help you avoid search engine penalties and rank you better in search results.

2017 is all about mobile devices. Make sure your site performs on small screens too!

Our SEOBOT website helps you create content if you do not have time to create your own. It can also drop links and citations on high ranking websites leading back to your site. Our link building packages use a tiered linking structure to both avoid penalties on your website, as well as building a natural link layout. This structure looks a bit like that of a viral piece of content, with a combination of social signals and links. Find out more about SEOBOT at https://seobot.com.au

How to get found in more Places

The most important advice I can give you is to research your ideal client. Find out as much as you can through feedback or purchase reporting. Where did they hear about your brand, where do they live, what are their interests, how old are they, and all those personal questions.

We basically want to find out as much as possible. Why? Because lets say they listen to the radio a lot, you might think radio advertising is the ideal choice. But if they listen to community radio or channels like Triple J, you may miss them when you advertise on commercial radio stations.

Where did they find you? They may have found you online, although not necessarily on Google search. Perhaps they used an app on their mobile like Yelp or TripAdvisor to search for your product or service.

#stalking

Bottom line is, if you know where your customer is most attentive to product placement ads and listings, you can ensure that you are listed in those places and focus on building rank to out-rank your competitors in that listing.

Try something different every now and then with your advertising. Think outside the box. Perhaps a sports event or festival might be full of your potential customers, see if you can advertise or sponsor the event.

Xmedia Digital Solutions is helping clients just like you this year connect with their audience through social signals, creative content and press articles, as well as website optimisation and rank building. If you would like a piece of the pie, or get the basics sorted on your web presence, get in touch and lets talk about an online strategy for your brand.

Happy Marketing and Audience Stalking,

Dave.

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?

INSIDER TIPS: SEO needs to involve more than just Google.

INSIDER TIPS: SEO needs to involve more than just Google.

Whilst SEO or Search Engine Optimisation has always meant making your website show up better on Google results, we are finding that we need to do more than just create external content and jazz up websites with keywords, metadata and tags.

Whilst many will argue that SEO is dead, (they are wrong by the way) the fact is we need to broaden our horizons when referring to SEO.

Our SEO packages these days are more in depth and involve a multi-faceted attack on the interwebs. Why? Firstly, because people are not just Googling anymore. Fashion for example is one industry where people are using apps like Pinterest and Instagram to find what they need. To find a restaurant, people are using localised search apps like Yelp. To get some tips on travelling to specific locations, people are looking to sites like TripAdvisor, and the list goes on. So when creating your online presence, ensure you are listed and easily found where your audience will go looking.

You might also like to read: How to Rank your Website in 90 Days

Tracking down your Audience

As you can see, with more apps and sites these days focused on specific industries, your audience could be hiding somewhere else rather than Google search. Social media platform Facebook is used regularly to check up on a brand and to monitor feedback and comments from others. What we call ‘user-generated content’ such as reviews and replies to posts are what people are taking notice of. Two reasons for this. First one is there is a name behind the comment or review. It’s a real person (we hope) unlike what you might find in Google search results. Secondly, user generated content is just that, content created by users of your product or service telling the world what they think. It’s not just you or one of your employees stating how good you are and why everyone should buy from you. Social media content can be digital gold, and with more and more showing up in search results, it is worth paying attention to it.

When looking where to build a presence, think about your typical customer, or your ideal customer. Now imagine a day in their life. What would they get up to…..

{starts dreaming about fashionista Mia}

Mia wakes up nice and early every morning. She can’t be wasting her day. She is straight up and making herself brekky whilst checking her smartphone for the latest social media updates that popped up overnight.

After brekky she responds to the social media world and posts about her plans for the day. She is thinking about buying a new dress for that formal event tomorrow night, so she jumps on to Pinterest to get some ideas and see what the latest fashions are.

Mia needs to go to the post office, so decides she will look for that perfect dress at the same time. She gets to the post office and then wonders where would be best to start. She turns again to her smartphone and asks Google Now to show her dress shops in the local area.

She sees 3 results that are quite close, but two of them have multiple 5 star reviews. She Facebooks both shops to see what they have going on. Yippeee! One of them has a sale on. Mia is glad she checked the Facebook page!

{wakes up}

As you can imagine, the shop that got Mia’s business needed to have a fresh and current Facebook profile, as well as being listed in the appropriate online directories to get found in searches, as well as have good reviews from past customers. But where do you find time to do all of this?!

My advice is to focus on what is important. Be sure to get listed everywhere important. Book a local SEO plan that will list you on all the prominent directories as well as set you up on Apple and Google Maps, and with a Google Local business page. When it comes to Facebook, post at least once a day and keep it semi-personal. Got something interesting in store? Show it off. Celebrating a milestone? Show it off. People love knowing what is going on with your business, especially if it is current news. So keep your Facebook page fresh with new and interesting content.

You Might also like to Read: How to Setup a Facebook Page

If you don’t have time to do more than Facebook, then don’t. Many people will just look on platforms and apps like Pinterest to get ideas, doesn’t mean they won’t resort to Google or Facebook to find the actual shops.

Reviews are the next big thing to focus on. Got lots of happy customers? Ask them to leave you a review on your Facebook page or Google business page. Both are a great way to show others that people love your brand, the product, the service and what makes it special. Many business owners refuse to allow reviews on their Facebook page. This could be because they are getting trolled or the feature is being abused. Where possible, use reviews, even if you get a few negatives. This just shows you are real, the key here is to flood it with positive reviews to outweigh the negative. People all too often are happy to vent and leave a nasty review, so it pays to ask happy customers to go to the effort to leave you a positive review. You will be surprised at how many people are happy to oblige and leave you a review!

So once you have the big listings and networks covered, be sure to search the internet for industry related sites and apps. Think about where your ideal customer would look online. Look for your style of product. What results come up? Are there sites where you can get your business listed? Many industry directories are free to get listed in, some even allow you to add photos and videos. The more you can get out there the better.

Return Clients are your Gold

Treasure your customers, especially the happily satisfied ones. Not only can they leave you a review, they can bring you back more business. Happy customers talk, and the best advertising is word of mouth. A referral to a friend about your product or service will mean more to the person they tell than any of your advertising could.

To take advantage of this potential gold mine, keep your customers happy. Loyalty programs and cards, mailing lists and special offers are a great way to keep your brand in their mind. This is also an important time to ensure your business has a point of difference. Sure, you and the shop across the road might both sell gumboots, but you sell the half sizes and rare designer collections. Make this stand out. That way when someone thinks about gumboots, they think of you. Put it in your slogan, maybe something like ‘the perfect fit and look for any rainy day’ or something that mentions your point of difference.

Mailing lists can work really well for some brands. The secret here is don’t oversell. The advantages of inbound marketing such as mailing lists and post-sale emails is that the customer will come to you when they are ready. All you need to provide in that email is why you are the best in your industry, examples of happy clients, and special offers. That way when they need gumboots, who are they going to go to first?

Coupons and after-sale offers work well too. Don’t put too long an expiry date on them, otherwise people will forget about them. You want them kept on the fridge or in their inboxes to be scheduled in to their next trip to the shops.

Keywords are Changing

Just when people are starting to understand what a keyword is and how to research the best ones to use, they are starting to change and adapt to our current trends.

We have always encouraged our clients to utilise long tail keywords. These are almost phrases rather than single or double words, and are closer to a lot of the specific search terms entered into Google search.

With longtail keywords, it can be easier to focus on a niche and dominate it for specific search terms.

Now that we are seeing more mobile users searching on the internet, and newer phones making more use of voice search, we have to understand that this will change the search terms. With voice searches, terms are closer to natural speech than typed. For example, when searching for a local pizza shop in Maitland, you might have typed “pizza shop maitland” into Google. Now on your smartphone, what are you searching? It is more likely closer to an actual question like “show me the closest pizza shop”. Using your phones location sensor, your phone will now show you answers to match your search term that also closely match your current location.

Leave yourself open to variations in searches. Different people will search for different terms. Use tools like Google’s keyword planner tool to find common searches and build on them. If you are trying to find a local audience, it is good practice to include your location in keywords. Instead of just pizza shop, you’d use maitland pizza shop. Go one better and use words that people might search, like “best pizza shop in maitland” or “the best pepperoni pizza in maitland and rutherford”. There are lots of variations. Use a combination of the best keywords for your industry combined with go words like ‘best’ as well as your location or service area.

In Summary

It pays to research your audience. A lot!

Look at your past sales. Sometimes your ideal customer is not the person you had in mind. See who is buying your product. It can help to add surveys or questions to your sales process. Perhaps get a postcode from every customer, or ask where they found out about your store.

Try to isolate online websites, apps and networks where your customer is most likely to look for your brand. Sometimes an older clientele might trust Facebook alone, whilst a younger audience might like what they find on Instagram. Then again, it could be the exact opposite too.

Don’t try to be everywhere, just be everywhere that is important, and that means, where your customers are. Whilst it is still important to be all over Google search results, it also pays to be across popular apps and sites.

When it comes to searching keyword terms, think about how you would look for your product. What would you type in or voice search?

Hopefully this helps you get across search presence and the benefit of looking outside the square. We provide a flexible and tailored approach to SEO for our clients, offering a solution that suits their audience rather than just a generic link building package. If you would like to find out more about SEO for your business, ask for a free audit of your brand and web presence and get a tailored marketing strategy that you can even put in place yourself.

RELEVANT QUOTE: Authoritative Content is King. 

 

Hope this helps. Dave out.

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!

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