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Gaining Local Business Via Online Marketing

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: SEO

Businesses of all kinds rely on digital marketing & development every day – websites, blogs, social media profiles, and much, much more – but what some fail to take part in is the specific area of local internet marketing. Even if you don’t have a physical business, targeting local customers can work wonders; people like giving their custom to local companies, even if it’s online and doesn’t feature a shop front or office they can visit. If you’re a huge global firm, that’s great, but it pays to remember your roots and the people sharing them with you. It’s all about supporting businesses and individuals in their area, so make the most of that with your online marketing. Here are just a few tips on how to achieve this.

1. Know Who You’re Up Against
As with any form of marketing, first of all you’ll need to know who your competitors are. Of course, you should already know this, but this time you should look at your local rivals (something which online companies don’t necessarily always do). See what they’re doing with their website, the design, the web development and other digital marketing, and analyse what seems to work and what doesn’t. Read customer comments on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and see where they’re going wrong: then make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.

2. Use Targeted Location-based Keywords
Keywords and phrases are used for SEO purposes by most companies in the world, but if you want to target local customers, you need to include location-based keywords. As with regular SEO, you’ll need to do your research and analyse what works, as well as which keywords are (or are not) being used regularly by your rivals. Include these location-based keywords in phrases in as many areas as possible, such as page titles, blogs, social media profiles, video content and so on. Just make sure you don’t start using any ‘black hat’ SEO techniques.

3. Make Use Of Traditional Internet Marketing Strategies
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t ignore the basic types of marketing that you would be doing even if you weren’t targeting locals. Simple things such as filling in forms to be listed in online directories can help: just because potential customers are turning away from things like the Yellow Pages book to find local business, it doesn’t mean that they won’t use the online version. The same goes for things like email campaigns – either set one up or use your original mailing list, but make sure you find out where your customers live. This way, you can send out emails that target local potential clients; they’re more likely to open up an email if you’ve included their home town or county in the subject line, and offering them special deals for being locals will indeed make them feel special.

In order to make the most out of local internet marketing, ask a specialist web development company for advice on how to best improve your website. They’ll be able to help transform your business site, increasing your sales conversions and putting you ahead of your local competitors.

 

By Chelsey Evans

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How Can Small Businesses Use SEO Without Breaking The Bank?

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: SEO

Large companies can afford to hire SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialists in order to get their business website to the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), but this can be costly. It’s a lot of work, and it requires a lot of hours every week in order to keep on top of the latest SEO techniques, as well as being aware of the most recent (and upcoming) updates to Google’s (and other search engines’) algorithms. So what do you do if you’re only a small business? You may have just as much ambition as a large company, but time and money are often tight. However, you still do need to work on your online presence if you want to expand your brand over the internet. Here are just a few tips that won’t empty your wallet too much.

Learn The Basics
SEO is a complicated subject that can take years to get your head around, but there are hundreds of resources online that will let you know about the basics. A quick run down would include the fact that Google likes original, well-written content that isn’t a duplicate from another site, so a business blog that is regularly updated will do the trick (this will also establish you as a trusted expert in your field – if your posts are good enough). You also need to know about link building (but not link farming), and keyword usage (but not keyword stuffing). Get to know the basic techniques, as well as the ‘black hat’ techniques that you need to avoid; this will stop your site from getting penalised by the search engines.

Spend Time On Building Your Social Media Presence
It is vital that – as well as optimising your official business site – you pay special attention to social SEO. This doesn’t mean signing up for as many social networking profiles as possible, but it does mean spending some time optimising your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social profile as you would your normal website. Include your business name in your profile or page name, and create meaningful descriptions for your company and any photos you post, including your keywords and phrases that you use in your website and for any adverts or PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns. Encourage discussions, and above all, create interesting content (photos, videos, blog posts, tweets) that users will want to share. The more shares, the better your social SEO.

Make Use Of Google Services
Last but not least, it’s not surprising that Google likes pages that make use of Google services, so ensure that you’re signed up to (and use regularly) Google +, as well as having your business details listed on Google + Local (previously Google Places). Link back to your website and include your usual keywords and phrases to get ahead.

Even if you don’t want to hire a full time SEO employee, you can still get expert help by asking for advice from digital marketing specialists – just look online for a company who deals with digital promotion on a daily basis.

By Chelsey Evans

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How To Utilise SEO For Small Businesses

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: SEO

When it comes to getting your website to the top of the search rankings, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is big business. But what if your business is small? Getting to the top of a search engine’s results page (SERP, if you’d like another acronym) can be costly, both in time and money. Large companies usually have the big budgets and numerous staff members in order to do this in-house, but smaller businesses often have neither of these things. So how do you go about it? How do you ensure that your business website stays ahead of your competitors’ pages? Here are a few tips for the small business owner who sees the big picture when it comes to online marketing.

1. Be Aware Of The Rules
Gone are the days when website owners try and get the most amount of links as possible to their site – poor links (especially lots of them) now actually lead to the website getting penalised by Google and other search engines. If you’re going to look into SEO yourself, be aware of what counts as good SEO practise and what are referred to as ‘black hat’ SEO techniques. Along with link farming, this includes using hidden content and stuffing keywords and phrases into both content and meta tags and descriptions. The best way to avoid these and stay on Google’s ‘good website’ list is to go for top quality, original content. This means no duplications, as well as offering the user something unique that they won’t get on other sites. Doing your research into popular keywords related to your business will also save you from being penalised – don’t stuff your page with words, use them sparingly and naturally within your text.

2. Get Social
Social SEO is where you make use of your social media profiles (and the content on them) in order to boost your website. Comments made on Facebook and Twitter will be original (a tick in the ‘good SEO’ box), and as long as you keep your profiles updated, they can help to optimise your site to an impressive degree. Make sure you fill out the ‘About’ sections of your profiles as thoroughly as possible (including the popular keywords from your research), and make sure your contact info is up to date (for local searches).

3. Consider Hiring An Expert
Optimising your site for the search engines is an ongoing process; the rules are constantly changing (especially with search giants Google updating their algorithms and redefining what good SEO practise is every few months) and there’s always something new to learn about getting your page to the top of the results. If you don’t have the staff capacity or the time to figure out SEO for yourself (as is often the case with small businesses), there is the option to hire an external agent to do the work for you. Digital marketing specialists or a online web development company will be able to give you advice on the best course of action for your business, and you may well find that with the results that SEO will give you, it could be the best investment you could make with your marketing budget.

By Chelsey Evans

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Should Your Business Be Investing In International SEO?

Published on January 8, 2014
Tags: SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is at the heart of many online marketing campaigns for businesses of all shapes and sizes, but when is basic SEO enough? When should you think about expanding your SEO efforts to include other countries? When should you start to seriously consider putting time and money into an international SEO campaign? Here are a few tips to help you decide what the best approach is for you and your company.
 
Why should anyone look into International SEO?
Putting it extremely simply, a lot of businesses these days are international, so why shouldn’t your online marketing strategy be? Optimising your site for search engines all around the world is a big step – one that shouldn’t be taken lightly – but most business owners think that in the years to come, it is going to become a necessity for large businesses who want to go (or who already are) global. If, for instance, you’re focusing all your SEO efforts on Google, you’re missing out on a huge number of people on the other side of the world. For example, Chinese search engine Baidu is the most popular search site in the country, and considering the amount of internet users in China (540 million internet users and 388 million mobile internet users), it would be foolish to leave it out of any international campaign.
 
By looking at the bigger world picture, businesses will inevitably generate more traffic, experience more conversions, and therefore receive a greater ROI. Businesses will also be able to build their brand for a global audience, reaching foreign clients who otherwise might not have even heard of them.
 
Why shouldn’t your company start an International SEO campaign?
Of course, international SEO isn’t for everyone. If you own a small company with only a small number of staff and a small marketing budget, it may not be in your power to invest money in a global campaign. It’s also worth noting that without a viable PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign in place, any international SEO efforts could be a waste of money. Investing in PPC ads, relevant landing pages, and SEO can be pricey, and it’s a big risk if you haven’t worked our your online marketing strategy right down to the very finest details.
 
Not all businesses should dive head-first into the world of international SEO. If you have successful SEO and PPC campaigns working in your own country, it can be a good idea to expand, but you have to make sure that the timing is right and that you have all of the resources to cover it. By spreading your marketing efforts too thin, you could risk jeopardising the successful SEO campaign you already have. By trying to reach everyone in the world, you could end up reaching no one.
 
If you don’t have the resources to employ a full-time SEO staff member, there are several online companies who can help you out on an ad-hoc basis. Web development firms will be able to give you advice on all kinds of online marketing, as well as running SEO and PPC campaigns for you.

By Chelsey Evans

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Tips for Creating Effective Video SEO

Published on March 25, 2013
Tags: SEO

You’ve heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to improve traffic to your business website or blog, but are you aware of video SEO? With YouTube being the second largest search engine on the net (after Google), it is not surprising that companies of all sizes are getting in on the act and not only creating business videos, but optimising them for search as well. Just like with your webpage, you need to ensure that your videos are being found by your target audience – the relevant people who are most likely to buy your products or use your services. Here are a few tips to help get your videos to the top of the listings.

 
1. Make It Engaging, Relevant and Short
 
As with any content you create for your business, ensure that any videos you produce are engaging, relevant to your brand and your customers, informative and short. Videos longer than five minutes generally won’t be watched all the way through, so you have to grab your viewer’s attention early. If your video must be longer, you can break it into small parts, or create ‘bite sized’ videos for each aspect of your business.
 
2. Give It a Good Title
 
A catchy, relevant title is essential in attracting the right kinds of viewers to your video. You can include popular keywords in your title as long as you incorporate them naturally; a keyword-stuffed title will just put people off.
 
3. Make Use of Keywords at Every Opportunity
 
Carry out some research into what your potential customers are searching for – and how they’re using the words – and then incorporate those keywords and phrases into your video description, tags, category listing, captions, and anywhere else you can change the content of the page. Search engines often display text pages along with videos, so make use of any and all text areas. 
 
4. Encourage Links and Indexing
 
Always ensure there’s a link back to your company website from your video page; put your URL in the first line of the video description as it will be easy to click on and will be displayed before the rest of the description is cut off. Provide transcripts of your video as well to encourage higher listings (search engines still like HTML content).
 
5. Include a Call to Action and Encourage Sharing
 
As with other marketing content, ensure you include a call to action in your video or on the video page; giving people a specific next step will increase the chances of them carrying out the desired action. Submit a sitemap to Google to help with indexing, and provide a code that allows people to embed the video on their website. And of course, place the video on your social network profiles and blogs to get it ‘out there’.
 
Videos are becoming an extremely popular way to promote businesses – especially with the rise of social media sites and the ability to quickly and easily share videos online – so if you don’t already use video in your marketing, it may be time to start thinking about doing so.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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