In our previous blog, we discussed the basics of optimising your website and pointed out that there was no point in having a website unless you made it work for your company. We went through the small things you should be doing to ensure you come up in search as often as possible. Of course, there is a lot more to using your digital assets effectively and, in this post, we cover more options to consider and implement.
GOOGLE TOOLS – ANALYTICS, SEARCH CONSOLE & GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
You need to load Google Analytics on your website. There is no point in having a website if you have no idea what people are doing on there. I have even come across websites getting no traffic whatsoever and their owners did not have a clue. Google provides a number of tools at no cost and, as a business owner or marketing manager, you should be using some of these – most importantly Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Why?
Search Console will tell you whether your site has been indexed, what search queries trigger your site in the search results, and generally how you are doing in Google Search. It’s also where you will ensure your sitemaps are being indexed.
Google Analytics is a gold mine of information relating to your site and helps you to understand what works, what doesn’t work, what actions users are taking on your site, where your traffic comes from and much, much more. The basics are easy to understand but deep diving into Analytics is probably best done by a digital marketing company.
And don’t forget to claim your Google My Business listing! For now, this is free although we hear Google may be considering charging for it in the future. But right now, you must take advantage of it. The Google My Business listing is what you see when you search for your website on the right-hand side of the screen. You can add photos, products, address details, opening hours, ask for reviews, add events and posts. An active Google My Business listing is a good idea. The Insights sections will also give you some useful information on how your listing was used.
You don’t need to be on every social media channel around but we recommend that you choose at least two social media channels and put some effort into them. The channels you choose are going to depend on your business and the type of audience you are trying to attract. If yours is a very image conscious business, consider Instagram and Pinterest, but if you’re more aligned to the B2B field and your audience is likely to be business executives then LinkedIn would be more suitable, together with a well-defined follower list on Twitter. Action-packed businesses would be well-advised to choose YouTube, as would companies that would benefit from showing step-by-step videos on using their products. Instead of trying to be on every social media channel, concentrate on one or two and get yourself noticed.
There are now several digital advertising options available. You can choose to advertise directly on a website that speaks to the type of audience you are trying to attract, with a digital advertising sales house that will place your ad on various websites, on almost all social media channels or you can take out search ads. If your budget is tight, then search ads are the way to go and Google Ads are probably the most used and the best solution. There are a number of options, ranging from Shopping Campaigns to Display Campaigns to plain old text-based search ads. The premise is straightforward – a user searches for something that relates to one of your keywords and your ad comes up in the search results. However, it’s not as simple as that. Google Ads are based on auction type bidding so the more you spend, the more likely you are to come up in the results. But a well-researched keyword and search phrases list, together with efficient targetting, will ensure you’re not spending more than you should. Smart Campaigns make things simpler and work very well for some businesses. If you read this and think “but where would I get the time?”, there are any number of companies and freelancers out there who will run your advertising campaigns for you.
Google sees inbound links as an indication of popularity of a website, which means it will be more likely return the website in search engine results pages. But building up inbound links is time-consuming and, again, better left to an expert. On the other hand, there is one relatively simple thing you could do. Add your company to relevant industry directories. Listings are often free on these directories and, if they do charge, it is normally a nominal amount and well worth the spend.
You need to make a connection with your existing customers as well as potential customers. Newsletters will help you do that and, despite not being one of the ‘newer’ digital marketing technologies, email still has a high success rate. No one says your newsletter needs to be 5000 words long – it could just be a few images with some wording and a link to the relevant spot on your website. What’s good about a regular newsletter – which could be weekly (only if you have a lot to say!), monthly or quarterly is that it forces you to sit down and take stock of your business. What’s new, what’s interesting, what’s not working, what have we achieved since the last newsletter? All of these are things you should be looking at regularly but in the madness that is the daily round of work, we often forget to sit down and look at things objectively. A newsletter also often forces you to add news or content to your pages – resulting in a regularly updated website which, as we mentioned earlier, is important.
So, make sure you have a newsletter sign up on your website, on your Facebook pages, wherever you can. But don’t have a newsletter sign up and then never send any newsletters.
In all my years of working in media, there is one thing that has always surprised me. It may not apply as much to small to medium enterprises, but big corporations often have dedicated PR agencies. These agencies organise events, write about them, take photos, and send out press releases. In other words, they do a lot of work and I am sure they don’t come cheap. And yet… almost none of these companies ever upload this content onto their own websites. The releases are sent to hundreds of magazines, many of which will not publish unless there is accompanying advertising support, and it is all a huge amount of effort. Why not submit the article to an SEO specialist who will optimise for relevant search phrases and keywords and then add it to your own website? Bring your own traffic in organically.
Furthermore, many websites have existing content – often written years ago. Check your analytics and, if that content is still being downloaded and read, then consider updating it. Turn it into a piece of evergreen content, add newer photos and ensure it is search engine optimised.
Look at your other content – could a bit of tweaking, adding a few more paragraphs and photos or diagrams or infographics give it a new burst of life? Then go for it, your website is there to draw traffic for you – make sure it does.