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 🙂
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.