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!