If you are a business owner, one of the main things keeping you awake at night is likely to be ‘how to attract more customers’ for your business in a cost effective manner. Attracting new customers for little cost is a real art, and those business owners that have mastered this art are almost certainly heading for success.
Attracting targeted traffic online using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a proven way to grow your business customer base in a very cost effective manner, but can be very frustrating if you don’t know how. Here are 5 top tips to help you nail the art of SEO in 2013 and start attracting more customers.
1. Build the foundations of your SEO campaign with effective Keyword Targeting:
Keyword targeting is a fundamental part of almost all online marketing techniques. Keywords form the foundations of ‘search’, with people using ‘words’ as the primary method for finding content online.
If you target sub-optimal ‘keywords’, your SEO campaign is destined to fail before you even start.
Pretty straightforward, right? Wrong!
Of all the client websites we review as part of our weekly work here at Mint Online Marketing, we only find a small % (less than 10%) successfully targeting the optimal keywords for their business, products or services. Most have not conducted any formal keyword research and of those that have, the keyword research has not been conducted in what we would deem to be an effective way.
You need to be clear about what you are really looking for in an ideal target keyword(s). Here are the 3 key elements you should consider:
a) High monthly search volume: ideally, you want to target keywords that have a high level of monthly search volume. When you analyse keywords, be sure to use the ‘EXACT’ keyword match type setting, or at worst ‘PHRASE’ match; do not ever fall into the common trap of using the ‘BROAD’ match type, as the search volumes presented will be inflated and misleading.
b) High keyword quality: there is no point targeting high volume keywords that are low quality. Keywords should be as closely targeted as possible to your business, products and services. Think about the buying intention of the people using the keywords you are researching; are they at the start of the buying cycle, simply looking for information or are they closer to the point of buying?
c) Low or acceptable level of competition: which is better, targeting a keyword with 10,000 monthly searches and very high competition, or a keyword with 2,000 monthly searches and 1/20th the competition? In many cases it will be the latter, especially if the keyword quality is the same or better. Do NOT confuse Adwords (PPC) competition with SEO competition, these are 2 very different things!
Have you conducted a thorough keyword research exercise for your business covering the 3 key elements above? If not, get in touch today and see how we can help you.
2. Make sure your On-page SEO is 2nd to none.
On-page SEO is the art of optimising your website so that it is Search Engine friendly and gives you the best opportunity to rank prominently. It should be broken down into 2 main areas of focus:
i) Keyword optimisation.
This area of On-page SEO involves optimising the pages of your website to make your site as targeted as possible in respect to the keyword(s) that you wish your site to rank for.
a) Page specific keyword optimisation: front loading your meta title with your primary target keyword, including your primary target keyword twice in your meta description, ensuring you have one h1 heading which includes your target keyword, keyword optimising image ALT tags, a well weighted keyword density, bolding the first instance of your keyword in the body text etc…
b) Site wide keyword optimisation: ensure you publish good quality contextually related content regularly, avoid duplicate page content between pages on your website, avoid duplicate page titles or descriptions, follow a sound internal linking strategy etc…
Is your website correctly keyword optimised including page specific and site wide factors? If not, get in touch today and see how we can help you.
ii) User experience.
Search Engines, like Google, want to rank websites which provide a fantastic user experience for their visitors. If you were designing a Search Engine, you would want to do the same, wouldn’t you?
Your website will rank better if it loads faster, works well in all major web browsers, is mobile device optimised and has no broken links, for instance, as these elements will all improve the overall user experience for your visitors.
Your website should be clear, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. Good content on a poorly designed and structured website will be perceived as average content at best; yes presentation really does matter online as in life generally.
To find out if your website ticks the user experience box, you could try the following:
a) Analyse your analytics: Check the ‘bounce rate’, ‘average time on site’ and ‘average pages per visit’ metrics on Google Analytics. Are these stats where you would like them to be, or do they leave room for improvement?
b) Ask friends, colleagues, contacts for honest feedback: Don’t just rely on your own opinion as this can be subjective, and familiarity can blind you to issues. It is best to ask for feedback from people who meet your target customer profile, and who have not seen the site before.
c) Get feedback on www.usertesting.com: There is a service called www.usertesting.com. For a relatively small cost, you can get 3 people to complete a specified ‘task’ on your website (such as finding certain information, submitting an enquiry or purchasing a product). They will send you a video and rate their experience. This information is invaluable and very enlightening, and can really help you to make step changes which will enhance the user experience of your website and make it easier for visitors to achieve the ‘goals’ you would like them to achieve.
Is your On-page SEO up to scratch? If not, get in touch today and lets talk about how we can help you.
3. Publish better content on your website than all of your online competitors.
Content is KING! Search Engines want to give ranking prominence to websites with the BEST quality content, so if you don’t have an active content strategy for your website you are not actually doing the very thing that Search Engines want and expect you to do.
Read the paragraph above again. Then again. Gone are the days when you can rank (and maintain ranking) a website that has poor or even ‘average’ quality content. Your content MUST be better than that of your online competitors in order to succeed. Why should any Search Engine rank your website higher than sites with better quality content? You don’t have a God given right to rank, you need to earn it!
What actually constitutes ‘good quality content’ can differ depending on your niche, so analyse the top ranking websites around you. However, the following factors tend to be widely accepted as part of the content quality equation:
a) Well written: not just grammar and spelling, but content that flows and reads well, drawing the reader in.
b) Informative: your content should have a distinct purpose and answer a question(s) for the reader.
c) Popular: publish content that people will want to ‘like’ and ‘share’ with others.
d) Fresh and unique: your content should be fresh and unique, for obvious reasons.
e) Authority: authority is something that can only be built over time, with effort and consistency. Google are starting to rank Authors (‘Google Author Rank’), so now is the time when you can start to build your authority ahead of your competitors ready for when authority matters even more than it does already today. Build your well before you get thirsty!
Is the content on your website better than all of your online competitors? If not, get in touch today and lets talk about how we can help you.
4. Make your Brand the most popular in Social Media.
Social Media has risen to prominence at an exceptional rate over the last 5 years, and is now used by the majority of people on a daily basis. As this surge has taken place, and such a large amount of web content is shared and consumed by people on Social Media sites each and every day, Search Engines have had no choice but to start taking Social Media Signals into account in their ranking algorithms.
It is clear to see that popular website content is shared online using Social Media, and top influencers (people or Brands) in every niche have a significant number of highly engaged ‘Followers’. Therefore, if you truly want to be seen by the Search Engines as an ‘authority’ or an ‘influencer’ in your niche, there is no point doing it ‘offline’ – you need to be building your presence in Social Media. Right now! This trend is only going to go in one direction, and at an increasing rate.
If your content is not being shared in Social Media channels, and your Brand does not have an active ‘presence’ in Social Media – then your content (website) will not be taken as seriously as it could be by major Search Engines, and rightly so.
So start to utilise Social Media in an active and effective manner today, and take advantage of the direct benefit this increased awareness gives you, and also the SEO benefit you will derive from positive Social Signals now and in the future.
Do you have an authority presence in Social Media? If not, get in touch today and lets talk about how we can help you.
5. ‘Think Links’.
In-bound links are like ‘votes’ for your website content, and have long been the primary element Search Engines look for when ranking websites. It is on the premise that content that is linked to from a wider variety of sources, and from high authority sources, is likely to be better quality content. It makes sense.
All the elements above (1-4), executed well, should help you to ‘attract’ in-bound links. But, a good tip is to ‘think links’. If you and your colleagues are always thinking about harvesting links, you will be surprised how often in-bound link opportunities arise.
You may have product or service suppliers or partners that will be happy to link to you. You may be a member of an association or society, that has a website. You may be the member of a networking group. You may have connected with an industry influencer through Social Media, and have the opportunity to write a guest post for them. You may already be listed or mentioned on various websites, but not have a link back to your site in the place where you are mentioned. You may have friends who own businesses, or websites. You may read industry magazines or blogs, and may have the opportunity to reach out to them for the opportunity to write an informative article with a link back to your website.
When you and your colleagues ‘think links’, and always have the potential of harvesting links in your mind, you will be surprised at how many link opportunities arise. So start thinking links today, and move your website’s authority and ranking forward.
Hopefully these 5 tips help you and your business to understand the fundamentals of SEO better. If you have anything to add, please share it.
If you would like any help with your online marketing, or simply to talk – please get in touch today.