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!

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.

Pin It on Pinterest