Further to our discussion the other day, please find a bit of a brain dump below. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about then it’s no surprise that we’ll keep treading mud, so hopefully this will help 🙂
Just like those big buy now messages with phone numbers that we see in printed media, it’s crucial that web pages also have similar calls to actions. It may seem obvious, but today, your site is devoid of all these. People will not dig that deep to find a way of calling or emailing you. The web’s a big place and they can easily just go elsewhere.
Search marketing as a marketing discipline has evolved over the years and increases in sophistication yearly. This is inevitable as platforms like Google, Facebook et al seek to monetise and deliver quality experiences to their searchers and would much rather that people clicked on their ads. That said, they have to maintain an illusion of natural algorithmic search as few people would hang around if they simply offered a page of ads.
My view with regard to redacted has been from the outset that on-line, it has a whole lot of potential and with the right drive and coherent vision should do very well.Whilst I may have banged on about code and what not and a less than ideal CMS, it isn’t entirely about the code and the structure, it’s far more than that.
The content of a website in 2012 is a vital component of any successful strategy, both on and offsite. You need to be creating content that creates content elsewhere through links and conversations back to you.
What’s that I hear you say, elsewhere!? Yes indeed, elsewhere, just like you’d want people in the street or the local community to tell their friends about their positive experiences, the same can be said of the web (but more on that later).
Visitors are but a click away from going elsewhere, so it’s vital that we make the best opportunity of every visitor we get. We should be looking to determine what it is they do when they arrive, how they got there, what they did, why they did it and more. The installation of an analytics package like GA (Google Analytics) is a great start and we’ll be able to gain insights from this as time progresses. Through looking at user journeys and tracking sign ups and conversions(sales) we can then take decisions that will impact future choices around direction and products.
Today, I do appreciate that the organisation isn’t really run that way and that many of your staff aren’t really attuned to embracing a web based vision and all that this entails. Somehow, this needs to change. If it doesn’t then I’d be surprised if we gained much traction. This may seem like a gargantuan task but it isn’t really, it’s just a case of getting buy in from others and setting it all in train. Your staff should jump at the opportunity and your users (if happy) should be more than willing to provide a little paragraph or two as to their perceptions.
Internet usage is on the increase. People seldom use old methods to find things or learn things. If we provide a service/product in a space then we should be looking to ensure that we offer people as much as we possibly can in relation to this.
The most successful sites on the web have rich engaging user experiences that ultimately translate to sales.They are easy to use and effectively create conversations.
They are invariably, websites that are ‘alive’ and embrace user interactions with the people onsite, offering their potential/existing customers a means and ability to follow up on their purchases, experiences, treatments, leaving reviews for example, praising the experiences they’ve had or sharing content via share buttons. Websites that are socially connected with places like facebook, twitter, Google and other open platforms make all of this a whole lot easier. Facebook pages, G+ accounts and twitter profiles are all great places to share and build audience. You’ve made a great start with these, we’ll look at how we can build on these going forward.
Search engines increasingly look for signals from these places and use these to determine interest and relevancy. Links from other websites like these and others in related spaces are seen as votes the websites that they link to. The more votes a website gets from other websites that are deemed to be related or of authority help boost performance in the search engine results for keywords that websites would like to rank for.
It’s almost a virtuous circle of:
Website creates fantastic useful user experience >> user is happy so talks about it elsewhere online in blogs and forums or other social media >> search engine sees conversation (link back to website) and assigns temporal boost >> website ranks better for keywords >> more users see websites for searches >> circle is repeated.
If people aren’t talking about you online then it may be because there is little to talk about. It may be because your sites content is old or out of date, or just doesn’t add sufficient value to the space. The internet contains a wealth of choices that people can quickly gravitate to. It’s important therefore to do one’s very best to give people something that answers their questions and increases their confidence.
The wealth of products and services offered by redacted is a testament to what you have built – your vision, your experience, your passion and commitment. That said, this isn’t necessarily being transmitted on-line.
The site as it stands has little of the freshness and vibrancy that your paper marketing materials offer and of course lack that personal touch they’d get from meeting staff.
There are ways of remedying this. A few ideas are as follows.
No one knows that you do it unless you tell or show them
Show people what you’re all about.
Give people quality visual insights.
Create a youtube account for redacted. Upload videos of redacted perhaps.
Get your product specialists to wax lyrical over what they do and how they do it and upload them to the site.
Put these on the pages of the products that discuss the various services.
Install a blog and get product specialists to enthuse about what they do. Show the human side, show people that friendly engaged specialist full of knowledge, advice and insight passionate about the vale that they will bring to prospective new business.
(you might want to draw up a house style and format that people adhere to perhaps, unified message etc)
There will be resistance for sure, but why shouldn’t these people be prepared to talk about what it is they do? I’m sure if they are told that through doing so, they’ll benefit too. Enhanced profiles, increased sceptic trust, greater reach and dissemination of their message.
Talk to your customers, ask them for their thoughts, get a few paragraphs or send them a survey. Put those thoughts on your product pages. Show people those real world valued experiences.
In short, you alone cannot inject the required passion, enthusiasm and content that is needed to excel online in 2012 and beyond. Places like Google are becoming increasingly competitive. Local businesses are legion and compete with each other to occupy what are in effect 1 or 2 effective spots in a Google results page.This is likely to contract further.
Be the best.
Hope that helps, catch up with you soon 🙂
Promote your website online
Regular readers aside, there is a chance that you may have come from a search engine for a query related to promote my website online, or get on the first page of Google or SEO for small businesses or Improve my sites position in the search engines or … I’ll stop there, point made.
Potentially the list is endless. All manner of people search for things in all manner of ways. There is no set in stone route. There are indicators and tools that people and companies working in fields like me, use daily to get a feel for a niche or domain. We look at search data provided to us by the search engines based on the competitiveness of an a PPC keyword or phrase, some of us have access to stat counter data that allows us to use data collected real time from websites that have the code installed, allowing us to see things like referral strings, user activities and clickthroughs. In other words we use information indicators from real people in real life scenarios. There is little if any guess work involved, it’s asbout real data crunching and using that knowledge to inform your strategies.
Promoting a small business using SEO
Big businesses with big budgets have it easy. They already have the content, already have the budget that enables them to invest in people who can help them get to, and understand what it is they need to do and how it is they do it. Small businesses do not usually have access to similar resources.
Search marketing for SME’s
So how do you get started? Lets just assume you already have a website that’s been built, you might have already paid an SEO or an SEO Company to optimise your website or you might not have, whatever the case, lets just look at what might be a typical scenario.
A typical brochure type website
Your site is some old type standard 4 page website with a Flash animated intro perhaps a Home, About, Services and Contact page with a bit of static text that says not very much at all. What people don’t know is that, despite you being small, you have a massive catalog of products and stock, you have a small sales team, a customer support team, a marketing dept that deals with newspaper ads and off line directories, you have a distribution network, a product development team with an inhouse design dept too. You are small on the grand scale but in your niche you like to think you are getting to where you need to be. Your company in the area you operate is well known and respected, and your suppliers and customers all value what you do tremendously. Yet outside your little bubble nobody knows that. A little glance at your website reveals none of any of that, in the online world nobody knows because nobody told them.
Invest in your online presence and get that ROI
I hear some of you saying but hang on, I just paid $5000-00 for that website. Do you mean I’ve got to rip it all up and redo it?
The answer to that is in some cases YES in some cases NO.
Some websites are so awful that they are just beyond redemption.
The attention they need is so drastic that they might as well start again from scratch, they need a root and branch deconstruction that addresses absolutely everything, their only redeeming feature is the email addresses that came with the domain. For others it’s not so drastic, it’s a fairly straightforward case of assessing the resources at hand and deciding what to do with them.
This single blog post isn’t really the place to do justice to what is often a complex individual thing in that no two businesses are exactly the same. All have their own strengths and weaknesses that need to be assessed in the light of the company at hand’s aims and objectives, that said there are a few things I’d like to leave you with to consider.
8 general SEM tips that will help your website succeed online
- Employ a professional SEM/SEO firm or SEO ConsultantThe best way would be to employ one of the above to deliver an improvement. Forget the outlay, it really shouldn’t be a concern. A well constructed, SEO/SEM campaign can deliver a massive ROI, massive. They should be able to help you look at your business and help you with a strategy that will propel you through the roof. Don’t want to do that? Scared off by the fees? Don’t have the initial investment capital required? Not to worry, you can have a go at doing it yourself, at least aspects of it, but prepare to make a few mistakes and lose a $ or 2 in the process…
- Invest in a PPC program.You wouldn’t think twice about paying £500 for a onetime half page local newspaper advert, yet the same money could deliver up to 5000 laser targeted geographically related enquiries directly to your site from people in buy mode. Try this link (free £50 at the time of publication). A good PPC program will enable you to identify related keywords and phrases relative to your product or service and deliver visitors who have entered these into search engines.
- If you have a product database, put it online!If you sell things then people online will not know unless you tell them. Getting your inventory into a web based system is an absolutely crucial part of any online marketing and promotion strategy. Do it now, send me a message from here and I’ll tell you where to go, heck I might even do it for you.
- Use your staff to build you contentIdentify your company strengths and use the people you employ. Install software that will enable you to use your team to big up your products online, allocate company time to key individuals with something to say, get them all singing from the same hymn sheet, get their enthusiasm for your company, their jobs, your customers, your products out there.
- Interact with your customers and suppliersInstall software that gives your customers genuine opportunities to feedback and interact. Show the world that your company is alive and reacting to customer issues or concerns. Allow the people who have used your products or services to talk about their experiences, if your products and services are good then with the right approach you’ll be surprised at how you can pull people in and share their views. This well help solidify relationships and improve repeat sales and increase user confidence in your company its products and services.
- Use social media to reach out to your nicheThe online world has an array of fora with dedicated categories and communities for all manner of interests. If a category or community doesn’t exist then consider creating one. Interact with bloggers and stumblers generate interest and get your stuff dugg build networks and friends with similar interests. Use sites like Myspace and Facebook to generate interest and Buzz, get your company or you out there in your space.
- Get relevant links to your site for the keywords you seek to attainThere is no real substitute for using a bonafide link building service, a good link building service will know where to acquire the right kinds of links. They will often as part of their service, offer a content writing service too which will help your domain get the necessary links required to assist in your overall website promotion strategy. It should be said too that by following the proposals above you will naturally attract links to your site which will over time, improve your websites performance in the Search engine results pages (SERPS) ultimately lowering your PPC adspend into the bargain.
- Read blogs and content from people and companies who have a passion for this stuffNot vital, but you’d do a lot worse that to read articles and content from people who live and breath this stuff, me aside of course you might also do well to read blogs related to online marketing ideas, Niche marketing ,Social Media , Search marketing and online sales to mention a few.Why?Simple really, doing business online is the future for many businesses today. By increasing your knowledge base you increase your ability to make informed choices that will enable you to make the best possible purchasing decisions. If you ever bought a ‘pay £10 per month for submission to a zillion search engine package’ then you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Getting back to where I started initially, if you found this article online then it might have been because you were looking for ways to promote your site. Perhaps you’d been burned in the past by some company that didn’t deliver or for reasons related to a limited budget. Heck you might even be a company just starting out looking for ideas and information. Whatever the case, I hope you found it all useful and wish you every success for 2017.
If you are new to Search engine marketing , you’ll be forgiven for not knowing where to start. You have a website, you have your own domain, its been out there for a while, but no one is finding you in the search engines, you’ve read a bit about SEO and links but its all a bit overwhelming.
There is a lot you can do to make or break a new domain, people will try and sell you all manner of services, Link building, Link baiting, SEO restructuring, Usability services, Re-design services, Keyword monitoring services… the list is pretty long so I’ll say no more on it for now, other than you might not need any of them, at least not straight off the bat, consider employing an seo consultant before commiting any cold hard cash. A good consultant will be able to advise you on the best strategies. Recommend good people, that kind of thing. For less than the price of a weekend in Brighton you could be well on your way to getting your site up and running to where it needs to be.
If you’ve just had a new site built then IMHO you should have at least been told about some of the fundamentals of how your site was going to be constructed.
If your development company hasn’t factored SEO into your design then, well, I don’t want to depress you or anything but you’ve probably wasted a shed load of cash, needlessly, but that’s a post for a another day.
Getting good backlinks without spending fortunes
So assuming the best, assuming that your site has all the ingredients to do well in the search engine results pages (SERPs) then the next stage in the process would be to get those all important keyworded links for your target sales terms.
How can you get these? Well, you could always buy them, but that could well backfire on you. You could employ some blackhatter to go and spam a zillion blogs for you, but that’ll just create negative karma and come back and bite you on the arse, or you could do something relatively simple and generate things the natural way yourself. How? Simple, install a blog.
Install a blog on your domain
Installing a blog is a breeze. WordPress is a great piece of kit. All it requires is some file space, an ability to edit .htaccess files (check with your host) and a database, usually mysql. There are at least a 1001 templates out there and plenty of good designers who’ll be happy to help you convert your blog to fit in with your existing website or even build you a new one.
Blogs are fantastic tools of communication. Who is the best person to talk about your goods and services? The answer should be you, or the head of your sales and marketing team, but then wait up a minute. What about the rest of your organisation? What about your distribution and purchasing teams, what about your direct sales teams, what about your customer services staff? Aren’t they all expert in what they do? Isn’t there someone within each of these spheres who can add a postive contribution or two?
Why blogging matters to your online promotion mix
Why am I even banging on about this?
Well, its Sunday, its sunny, I’m in a ‘state the obvious’ mindframe, I want to get the message out there that this Internet marketing stuff really can be very simple, its not so complicated you just have to do the right things and work at it a little.
Who promotes you in the offline world? What do you do, how do you do it?
Do you write press releases and hope they get picked up by mainstream media or local news agencies? Do you give your customers great service and after sales back up? Do you have direct lines of communication with past customers? Are you building those all important relationships?
Blogging enables conversations
Bloggers are social creatures, they like to talk about each other and make reference to some of the things that others are saying – search engines too, those leviathans like Google for example are also interested in what bloggers have to say. They like the way in which bloggers link and discuss things. It gives them lots of diverse reference points to object and sites on the web that people like or have found useful, subsequently using this data to inform its SERPs and rank the websites within them, sites just like yours.
By blogging, you’ll link to others and cite good ideas and examples yourself. Others will link back to you, your domains authority will increase, your relevancy for your target terms will increase. Your customers will find you for an increasing number of keyword terms in the SERPs, they will feel reassured that your company is actively discussing and sharing what it is they do, you will be able to communicate your passion, your ethics, your ethos, launch new products and innovations in a heartbeat, create buzz and excitement in your marketplaces.
Why wouldn’t you want to have a blog?
If you run a company and don’t have a blog, then either you aren’t really that serious about your company or you just don’t have a clue, or you just don’t want more sales, or you just…look, I can’t be convinced of any reason why you shouldn’t have a blog.
Just do yourself a huge favour and go and get one today.