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Free Digital Marketing Advice for Small Business – Lesson 3 – Onsite SEO

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The thing with SEO is, it takes a lot of time. There is no use waiting to be able to afford an agency if you can’t see it happening in the next month or so. You need to start getting value to your website as soon as possible, because SEO is  a long, slow process.

Google, and other search engines, value age in a website. So the earlier you get your website up on the net, indexed by search engines, and in a search engine friendly format, the better.

In lesson 1, I said that one of the first things you needed to do was to decide on keywords for your website. If you sell bicycles online, then your terms might be things like:

Sydney bikes

Sydney bicycles

Cheap bicycles

Bikes online

There are a few places on site you need to use these terms. One is in your meta data, and below is a great example of  a Google entry with good meta data:Meta data example

The type in blue is called the meta title, and the type in black is called the meta description. Both should contain some keywords where possible, but not too many. What is written here could mean the difference between someone clicking through to your site or not, so you have to make it look enticing.

Every content management system (what your website is set up on) is different, but if you search the help or FAQ section for information on ‘meta titles’ and ‘meta descriptions’, you can find out how to input this information.

Other places to use your key terms in your website are:

  • In your text content
  • As part of headings
  • As part of menu items
  • As anchors for images
  • As part of your URLs for appropriate pages
  • As the anchor text for links when linking between pages. e.g. You might also like to read more about bicycles

There are many other ways, but for DIY SEO, this is plenty to start with.

With any of these techniques, you need to use moderation! Don’t stuff your keywords all over the page, just make sure that the words that you did research on and which you found would be useful for getting traffic (relevant, specific and high volume), are used throughout your site in appropriate pages. Any more than that, and you look spammy and if you have too much, you could even get penalised by search engines.

Free Digital Marketing Advice for Small Businesses – Lesson 2 – A Website Worth Visiting

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Now, before you start pouring time, effort and money into getting people to your website, you need to make sure you have a website worth visiting.

A good site will have a few very basic things on it, which are essential for almost every business. I wouldn’t bother sending people to your site before you have these basic things under control.

Product information – Make sure you describe your key products – and as many of your other products as possible. Get your friends or family to read your product pages and ask them if there is enough information there for them to make a purchase decision. You might not realise that you are assuming some level of knowledge from your audience. Ensure they have enough information to make informed decisions, or that you can encourage them to contact you for that information.
Contact information – Ensure that people know how to contact you , and give them more than one method to choose from.

  • If you have an online form, make sure you aren’t making too many fields ‘essential’.
  • If you are providing an email address, make sure people can see it, not just a click on to open up their email program (which won’t work for everyone).
  • Have a reliable phone number – it is usually best to have one that is unique to the website, but that isn’t always possible
  • If you have stores, make sure you include an address, directions or map if possible, and a unique phone number for each location.

About Us

Although not essential, an About Us page is important to garner trust from potential clients. This page helps them see who you are, what kind of company you are, and whether you match the kind of company they want to do business with.  People might want to know the size, age and history of your business. They might like to see your key personnel. An About Us page helps build a relationship with a client before you even meet them, because they are learning about you.

Technicalities

Finally, you want to check that all your pages are looking good.

  • Do a thorough test of your site to make sure all your links are working.
  • View your site in the major browsers (IE, FireFox, Google, etc), to ensure that people using different browsers are seeing your site as you want them to
  • Make sure your images aren’t too big and delaying loading
  • Install redirects where necessary so people won’t just see blank pages and give up

These are the very basics of what your site should have before you bother trying to get people to it. In a future post we will go into more detail about the finer aspects of conversion design – a discipline which is focussed on helping people do what you want them to do on your site.

Web Analytics

Web analytics is an important thing to set up as early as possible. You need to do this to be able to measure any effects from your marketing campaigns. It will tell you visits, time spent on site, what terms people are coming from, and much more.

However, i have previously written quite a bit on web analytics, so I will just refer to it here as an important thing to do, and you can go and read these earlier posts (Set up and After set up)  from the analytics series for more information.

Free Digital Marketing Advice for Small Businesses – Lesson 1 – Your Digital Marketing Plan

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While the internet is a wonderful place to be, exposing you to inumerable leads worldwide, for many smaller businesses, hiring the services of a digital agency is just not feasible.

Digital agencies are a great investment for businesses whose website is important to them, businesses who don’t have the time to keep up with the ever-changing world of the internet, and businesses who like to outsource services to specialists for peace of mind.

For small businesses who aren’t yet at the stage where they can afford to hire a digital agency, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be doing any digital marketing at all. There are plenty of things small businesses can do for a small budget, and that won’t take too much of their focus away from their core business.

This blog post is the first in a series I will do to help all my friends and all those out there, who are small business owners who want to cover the basics of online marketing for themselves.

The series will cover web analytics, online shopping services, SEO, Social networking, online PR, Adwords and anything else that I come up with as time goes on.

Purpose of your website

The first step for any digital marketing strategy – is to think about what your website means to your business. Is it there for selling? For supporting current customers? For branding? An online portfolio? All of these? You need a purpose for your website, so you know how much effort, and what kind of effort, you need to put into your campaign.

Once you know exactly what your website is for, this will help clarify the purpose for all your online strategies.

Where are Your Customers?

The next thing you need to do is think about how people ‘might’ find your website online. You don’t need to know every way right now, but this brainstorm is important to get things going. Do you think you could get customers searching in Google? On topic blogs? on Facebook or Twitter? Is there a marketplace for your product on EBay or other online shopping stores?

By identifying these opportunities, you know where to initially target your marketing efforts. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep thinking about this over time and keep your eyes open constantly for new opportunities.

Keywords – How do you describe your product/service?

Finally, you need to decide what keyword themes describe your business? Here, you might like to look at my keyword research post. This will help you clarify what your customers are searching online for, and subsequently will help in the SEO, Adwords and social networking aspects of digital marketing.

Like all things online, your keyword list will need to evolve over time, so don’t think you can make this list then leave it, it will need to be reviewed every few months.

Government Drugs Campaign on Facebook

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If you live in Sydney, you probably have noticed a big new anti-drugs campaign by the Australian Government. The new campaign is targetting the use of ICE specifically, and the ads can be seen all over bus stops and train stations.

Also, this morning, I can see that the Government has really got ‘with it’, and have now started advertising on Facebook. In the right hand margin of my home page, where the sponsored ads go, was this:

Ice Facebook ad

I would love to see the analytics associated with this campaign – how many people are actually playing that ad?  Who rings this number? Who clicks through to the website (if you even can)?

I am obviously in the ICE target demographic, since I am being shown this ad. Isn’t it kind of depressing the kind of profile advertisers have of you? They send me ads about get rich quick schemes, losing weight, finding a partner – and now telling me not to use ICE! They obviously have a very poor opinion of me.

When it comes to awareness, this Ice campaign has definitely worked on me, however, like all public interest campaigns, whether it is a well known ad is one thing, whether it prevents usage is another.

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