The Do and Don’t list for Online Marketing in 2017

The Do and Don’t list for Online Marketing in 2017

DO engage with digital marketing agencies that practice what they preach.

DON’T fall for click-bait and squeeze pages at first glance. Be sure to check the brand out first, visit their social media pages or main website.

DO create an effective online marketing strategy that will focus on your strengths and not just have a finger in every advertising medium around.

DON’T let short term failures discourage your search engine optimisation. Good content is king, and unlike ads, are permanent and will build up your domain authority if done right.

DO investigate why SEO is better than Pay-per-Click advertising in 2017, and how to get a better return on investment in the long term.

DON’T buy links from email scams about SEO and getting on 1st page of Google. Look for evidence and process, how they plan to achieve it, and will it have a negative effect on your ranking instead. Sometimes it really is too good to be true.

DO make sure your website is engaging with users. Is it easy to navigate? Use Google Analytics to monitor traffic flow from page to page and session duration. Are people staying on your site, and why are they leaving? Use call to actions to get an engagement with them before they leave your site.

DON’T think just having a website will let people find you online. To get found on search results, you need to work on your domain authority, content and keywords, and external links from high ranking sites. Google wants to see that your website is useful, fast and easy to use, as well as popular and relevant. You can do this by creating social signals, press releases, guest posts and good on page optimisation.

DO know that Xmedia Digital Solutions can talk you through the different types of marketing and advise on what might be best for your goals.

DON’T believe you will get anything for free. A few recent posts from some agencies promises to waive their fees if they don’t come through with a result. Check their fine print, they are usually covering their costs with your media spend, or are overcharging elsewhere to cover it. You might find a few legit offers, but remember, they need to be doing a lot of work to get you ranking and listed correctly, if they aren’t getting paid, how are they doing it?

DO know there is a difference when it comes to tiered linking strategies, and also to the way content is created. Make sure you use premium English for tier 1 and 2 sites.

DON’T over optimise your links and website content. Google’s search algorithm is getting a lot smarter and will eventually catch you out. Over optimisation can actually make your website rank worse in search results.

DO use White-hat link building strategies. Just like you have rules with search and social advertising, SEO needs to be carried out correctly to ensure there are no penalties.

DON’T forget to target the right audience for a better return on investment. Think 3/67/30. 30% will never buy your product, 67% are researching your product, and 3% are ready to buy now. Focus your online marketing efforts on targeting that 67% audience. With the right content that is helpful and shows your product, service or brand as the best or expert option, you can get more engagement which hopefully leads to better sales and enquiries.

DO research why having a professional website is better than doing it yourself in most cases. WordPress is a great website option, and will allow you to expand in the future. If you are tech savvy, you can create something yourself, as long as you include all the essentials like favicons, metadata, image optimisation, sitemaps, privacy policies and OG data and schema markup for sharing.

DON’T use SEO for short term goals like events, sales and current promotions. SEO is best for long term results, while pay per click advertising is best for short term and instant results. Ask our team to explain why SEO is a cost effective long term advertising solution for your business.

DO research the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.

DON’T forget we are here to help you market your brand. Contact our team for more information or answers to your questions.

Now it’s time to make sure you have your strategy sorted out coming into 2017 and you are prepared to get something back from your marketing spend. If you need to get your website in front of more people, want to dominate Google search or just need locals to be able to find you, contact our team today to get started.

Happy Marketing,

Dave out.

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.

Separate your Brand to your Opinions

Separate your Brand to your Opinions

A major downfall of many business owners is that they are not open to new ideas, new technology and options that they are not familiar with. Not only can this hold your business back, it can make your brand look a little out dated or behind the times.

Clear your mind of No.

It’s not about listening to everyone and doing what the others are doing in your field, it is considering all options and working out what would work best with your brand and audience.

Many people are undecided about social media, and choose not to have a Facebook account for themselves. This could be due to privacy concerns or the time restraints. That’s fine, but it does not mean your business should miss out. Social media is a great way to show a more personal side of your business and give insight to your audience about what you do. It also creates an informal channel of communication that can often lead to some great feedback.

Whether you are on social media or not, there is a high chance your brand might already be. People will turn to social media and talk about brands before they contact the business itself to discuss an issue. There is an old phrase,  if you aren’t talking about your brand on social media, someone else is.

Ok, so you read an article about online advertising and search engine optimisation, and you are clear in your head that you need ads on Facebook and Google, and those ones that follow people around the web. From things you have read, SEO is old school and no longer relevant, its marketing agencies trying to take more money from business owners and it no longer makes a difference.

You are more than entitled to having an opinion, my only advice would be to try it for your brand first. Split your marketing budget to try both the pay per click ads and the SEO campaign. Even if only for 3 months, you will soon know what gets you a better return on investment, and which will create more permanent and targeted traffic in the long term.

Everyone is an Expert Now.

It’s true, our world is full of keyboard warriors and instant gurus that don’t hesitate to shove their opinion in your face. Don’t believe everything you read.

Be sure to get the facts and do your research. Many stories online are money making ploys or sales funnels, others are Chinese-whispers, and even more these days are from uneducated people making out to be the expert in their field.

Why do people claim to know it all and offer you their opinions, advice and secrets? From a web marketing point of view, it sells. The internet allows you to be as big or small as you want, and one way to rank best on Google is to prove yourself as an authority in your field of work, as well as being popular.

This can be shown by creating authoritative content and guest posts on news sites, as well as increasing social signals through social sharing and promoted content.

As a business owner, it is important to get the facts, read the fine print, and more importantly, get multiple opinions. Don’t get dragged in to a sales funnel just because their sales pitch is perfect. It won’t always fit best with your brand.

Where to get the best advice for your brand.

So you have read lots of articles, visited forums, and compared pricing, what now? Talk to other businesses in your field, network through groups like Business Enterprise Centers and local marketing networking groups. Rather keep it to yourself? Research your competitors using keyword research tools, and backlink analysis. This will help give you an idea of what they are doing online such as creating articles, helpful tutorials and guides, search ads and social media page posts.

When you see what is working for your competition, consider the pricing and see if you can do something similar or more developed. Having a great marketing strategy will help your brand get in front of the right audience, and its essential to find out who your perfect client is and where they can be found.

In 2017, focus for online marketing will be on mobile users, as more people search from smartphones and smart devices, and use both search engines and apps to discover products and services. Be sure to optimise your stragety to include mobile search.

Xmedia Digital Solutions can help you target more of your ideal audience through targeted SEO campaigns, content creation and authoritative link building. We can help develop your brand in to the authority it needs to be to get both traffic and sales. Ask about a free marketing strategy today.

Yours  in marketing, and all the best for the new year,

Dave.

Read this before you start your 2017 Online Advertising!

Read this before you start your 2017 Online Advertising!

It has been an eventful year in terms of marketing, especially online with big changes to the Google search algorithm, use of ad-blockers and the way people search for products and services. Before creating your strategy for advertising in 2017, there are a few things you need to consider.

Where are your Customers?

We all rely on clients and consumers of our products and services, and when it comes to connecting with them online, we need to research our ideal audience, and assess the way they find us. While for years we have said that Google search is the essential location to get found, we know now that consumers are using mobile devices more as well as apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor. This means that simply showing up on Google will not guarantee you get found by your customers.

Its a bit like radio advertising. It is no good advertising on commercial radio stations when your ideal or most likely potential customer is listening to their own private playlist or hanging out with Triple J. It becomes a wasted investment. Same goes with your online ads. You might be showing your ad to thousands of people, but are they buying?

Focus on your product and the people who have bought it so far. How have they found you? For example, our services have always been through referrals and social media, so we invest time and money in connecting with people through email and social media content. If your audience is looking for you or your service, you need to ensure they can find you.

Many consumers now search on specific applications such as Yelp, TripAdvisor or local searches. This means that you need to be across all media associated with your product or service, and control what is being seen – contact details, reviews, feedback and possible negative content.

Is SEO really worth the money?

The short answer is yes. It is. SEO or search engine optimisation once meant getting you to page 1 of Google search. It still kind of does, although smart digital agencies are doing the research and including local content as well as citations to service finders such as the before-mentioned Yelp and TripAdvisor apps.

It needs to be more about inbound marketing than outbound marketing. Rather than throwing your brand out there to any one who will listen, throw it in front of the people who are looking and eager to buy or connect.

In recent SEO campaigns for our clients, we have been focusing on location based content, links from reputable sites in related fields, and blog posts that target a specific audience. This will not only help you get found on specific search apps, it will also still create relevant links that will improve your ranking on Google search. Its a bit of a WIN-WIN situation.

Is SEO a better investment than Pay Per Click?

Both have their merits, although for a long term investment return, SEO is the clear winner as it builds on trust and reputation through quality article content and links on reputable sites. Pay Per Click will create almost instant traffic, and can be very targeted, although will stop instantly when your budget runs dry. Another nail in the coffin for online ads is that more people are starting to use ad-blocking software to stop seeing pop-ups and banner ads. Google is even going so far to avoiding sites that have automatic pop-ups, especially on mobile devices.

It comes down to user experience as well. Take off the business hat for a minute and think about your online travels. Do you click on banner ads? Do you hate those video ads that just start playing, will you click on the Click-Bait looking ads on top of search results? What do you trust more, an organic listing on search or a directory, or an ad that is a paid placement?

SEO means listing your business in the right online local directories, creating content that makes you an authority in your field, sharing of posts to create popularity and links, social bookmarking and user generated content. All the things that search engines like Google are looking at to determine rank. Just like a viral piece of content, if your brand is trusted and popular, or at least looks that way, it will rank better.

In investment terms, this mean focusing on creating helpful and shareable content, guest blog posts about your services, press releases about what you offer, and local listings where consumers can find you. These are permanent and quality links and brand association that will stay even if your budget for one month or two drops.

Consistency is key, and although your budget might look like a roller-coaster ride, keeping a minimum SEO campaign in place is paramount to helping you rank better. Not only does it help rank, it will increase your traffic flow as it builds more links to your site, and helpful articles about your product or service.

We usually recommend our clients use a reasonable mix of the two, although with ads being kept strictly to text based search ads. With a campaign that targets your ideal audience’s search terms, we can deliver traffic that is more likely to engage with your website or brand, which ideally will increase your business’ bottom line.

Getting found in 2017

A lot will change in 2017, and how people find or search for you is one of them. With Google search focused on mobile consumers, and search terms looking more like sentences, we will need to rethink keyword strategies and campaign targeting.

With services like Siri, Google Now and Cortana, search terms are more like spoken word rather than specific terms. For example, people are more likely to ask their phone “find the closest jeweller that sells pink diamonds” than they are to just say “pink diamonds“.

It is all about anticipating what your ideal customer will do. Are they tech savvy or will they find you in a newspaper ad. No matter where they are, you need to be sure your brand shows up when they are looking for your product or service. How you do it depends on you.

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas for how you will run your marketing campaign in the new year. I would love to hear your opinions on the changes in search, your use of ads and SEO, or what you plan to do in 2017 with your marketing.

Yours in marketing. Dave.

Internet Marketing will be Non-Existent in 2017.

Internet Marketing will be Non-Existent in 2017.

As the year 2016 draws to a close, the term ‘Internet Marketing’ will be remembered by many business owners and shops as the one thing they need to do better next year, but will it still be a ‘thing’ in 2017?

According to David Walter from a leading Hunter Valley web design and marketing agency, the term ‘internet marketing’ should be left in 2016.

“It (internet marketing) is no longer seen as another form of marketing for a business. Just as TV and radio fall under the one banner of marketing or advertising, so too will web based marketing” said Mr Walter.

With more business owners finding the need to advertise online as well as their offline efforts, Mr Walter believes we should do away with the term internet marketing and focus on web based advertising as what it is – marketing and advertising.

“Why shouldn’t we count web advertising in the same category as TV and radio? It is just as essential, if not more, in this day and age. With web based spending by consumers on the rise, along with product and service searches on mobile devices becoming the normal, businesses need to include web advertising into their marketing and advertising strategies, alongside the normal media.”

In a recent talk given by Mr Walter, he explained how he believes that in 2017, business owners will need to focus on their marketing budgets and targeting their correct audience. To do this he suggested researching the current buyer or user of your brand, and analysing their habits. Do they listen to mainstream radio? Are they attentive during commercials on television?  Are they looking online for your type of product or service?

Research has shown that people looking for your product or service are more likely to buy, whilst people who see your advertisement somewhere might recollect seeing it, but not necessarily be moved to take action. Mr Walter, in his talk, suggested utilising a new form of SEO.

SEO, a term thrown around a lot throughout 2016 and earlier, stands for search engine optimisation. It relates to improving your organic ranking in search engines online such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

David believes that more and more searches online are being carried out on mobile devices and not always through a search engine like Google. Someone looking for a good restaurant nearby might use the Yelp application whilst others searching for accommodation might look through TripAdvisor or AirBNB. The point he makes is that businesses should identify where their audience is looking and ensure your brand is showing up firstly, and secondly is attracting positive user generated content like reviews and feedback.

While SEO will help you get found on local and national search results on search engines like Google, some digital agencies miss the mark when listing businesses in the appropriate online directories and applications. David tells his audience to confirm with their marketing team or digital agency that they are finding the right listings and search terms for their brand, and ensure they are not wasting money on optimising something that will not help improve their return on investment, such as web advertising that gets blocked by their ideal user.

David Walter owns and manages web marketing agency, Xmedia Digital Solutions, and has been helping business owners since 2009 do more with technology and the web. He is open to explaining his opinions in the field of online advertising in more detail and can be contacted through his business’ website. As a digital marketing guy would say, just Google it!

This article originated on davidwalter.com.au by Brydie Kiem.

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