Three Simple Steps to Optimising Your Business Online

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Introduction

Many business owners looking to leverage the power of online marketing to generate website traffic, prospects, leads and sales will typically jump straight into a traffic generation strategy.

However,  there are a number of key things that you, as a business owner must do even before you invest a dollar in traffic generation.

You need to get your house in order so you are in the best position possible to benefit from this traffic.

This guide will show you how.

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Step 1 – Conduct An Online Marketing Audit

You need to do an Online Marketing Audit to find out whether you have all of the key foundations in place.

There are three parts of the Online Marketing Audit.

Even asking these questions will make you more aware and knowledgeable and help you make better decisions about allocating budget to spend on advertising.

The three parts of the Online Marketing Audit are:

  • Website Audit
  • Content Audit
  • Social Media Audit

Website Audit

When conducting your website audit here are some question you want to ask yourself.

Can you find your website in Google? 

Can you find your website in Google when you search for your business name? Does your website appear when you do a search for your products or services? If you are unable to find your site it might be simply that your pages are not optimised to appear for your brand name or your target keywords. A quick way to make sure that Google

Does your website appear when you do a search for your products or services? If you are unable to find your site it might be simply that your pages are not optimised to appear for your brand name or your target keywords. A quick way to make sure that Google

If you are unable to find your site it might be simply that your pages are not optimised to appear for your brand name or your target keywords. A quick way to make sure that Google

A quick way to make sure that Google is aware of your pages is to do what is called a “Site Search” in Google.

Simply go to Google and type the following into the search box. “site:www.yourdomain.com” This will generate a list of all of the pages of your website that Google is aware of and has in its index. 

If it is in the index, the page has a chance of ranking.

For example, this is what my site looks like.

site_www_onlinekickstart_com_-_google_search

 Do Your Pages Target Keywords?

Search traffic is one of the most important sources of traffic you can get.

If your websites pages are optimised to target relevant keywords then Google will display those pages to searchers using those keywords when searching.

To get the most benefit from search, it makes sense that all pages on your website target relevant keyword phrases with good search volumes.

Have a look at how my home page looks in the search results.

site_www_onlinekickstart_com_-_google_search-2

This is called a search result snippet.

In the example, above you can see that my home page title includes the keywords:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Digital Marketing Agency
  • SEO Agency
  • SEO Agency Sunshine Coast

These are the keywords that I’d like the home page of my site to get found for.

This process of optimising each  “page title” is called Onsite Optimisation.

At a minimum, all businesses should have done some Onsite optimisation to their home page and service or product pages.

A web designer has a real opportunity to add value to the new site build by conducting this service.

If you have ever engaged an SEO Consultant, it should have been the first task they did.

Content Audit

Do you Have Compelling Content?

If you have a brochure ware website where the content has not changed in the last five years then you really need to take action quickly.

Why?

Because in the current online environment with super smart Google and the prevalence of social sharing, having compelling content that people will link to and share on social media is the key to getting Google rankings and getting found.

Your content includes:

  • The pages on your website
  • The posts to your blog
  • The videos you post to YouTube
  • The pictures you upload to Pinterest
  • The posts you put on Facebook
  • The emails that you send

Compelling content is also critical in turning prospects into customers.

Regular quality content is your opportunity to beat your competition because right now, most businesses either still haven’t started yet or are doing a terrible job at it.

So review your website and ask yourself, “Is my content good? Is it compelling?

Do You Create Content Regularly?

Search engines love fresh regular content. In fact,  some search phrases that are related to current and newsworthy topics get promoted in search results.  There is a part of the Google algorithm called “Query Deserves Freshness” whereby Google will rank new pages that don’t have a history of authority signals if it determines that users want new information.  There is a trick to accessing this, but the fact that it exists means that there is a never-ending stream of topics that can be targeted by fresh content.

The more content you publish the more chances you have of getting found online.

The other benefit of fresh quality content is that you now have more content to share to your social media channels and have others re-share your content and putting your website in front of a new audience.

If you are not creating regular fresh content you are falling behind a competitor who is.

Social Media Audit

Are you using Social Media?

There is no longer a question that social media is important and it is here to stay.

Yes it does take time to learn to speak with the right “voice” and it does take time to work out the right content strategy.  But the sooner you set up your social media accounts, the faster you will learn and get to where you need to be.

So if you are not already using social media you’re behind already.

People will ask, “Why do I need to participate in social media?”  The reason is because its where most of your audience are.  They are on social media talking about their experiences, products and brands they love..or hate. 

If you are not on social media consider yourself like one of hose holdouts who refused to get a telephone because the telegraph suited you just fine.In Summary

In Summary

At this point of your Online Marketing Audit, you should have a fair idea whether:

  • Your website is performing well in search
  • Your content is compelling enough to get linked to and shared socially
  • You are growing an audience in the social media

Now, on to the next step.  Optimising for Search, Tracking and Conversion.

Step 2 – Optimise for Search, Tracking and Conversion

In Step 1 of this process,  we talked about how to conduct your online marketing audit.

The goal of Phase 1 was to assess how well your business was prepared for Online Marketing by conducting an audit of:

  • Your Website
  • Your Content
  • Your Social Media

In Step 2, I’m going to outline the simple steps to optimise your business for Search, Traffic and Conversion

Optimise for Search

The goal here is to make sure your website and content are able to be found and ranked by search engines for the right search phrases.

You should implement the following actions.

#1 Build a search engine friendly website

This means to build your website using software that makes it easy for search engine spiders to crawl and index your content.

It also means building a mobile responsive website that loads quickly.

Google wants to deliver the best user experience for users, and a slow website is not one of them.

An example of a type of website that is not search engine friendly is one built on a technology like Flash.

Search engines have real problems with these, as they cannot crawl the content to index and rank it.

Other factors that you may need to consider include making your website mobile responsiveness so that it performs well on mobile devices.

#2 Do Keyword Research

You need to do keyword research even before you build a website.

Keyword research gives you an insight into the way people look for your stuff online.

This includes the types of words they use, the order in which they use them, and how users steadily refine their searches as they move along the search process to finding what they want.

How much keyword research should I do?

Keyword research should be done for the two top tiers of a website at a minimum.

That means the home page, and the service or category pages.

Armed with your keyword research you are now armed with the information to do the next step in the process.

 #3 Optimise Your Pages

Search engine geeks call this “optimising your on page elements”.

All that means is that you should draft custom page titles and meta descriptions for the top two tiers of your website. These are the home page and the service or category pages.

Why? Because typically these two levels of pages target keyword phrases with the most search volume and relevance.

What about my blog posts you might ask?  Well since most web software automatically puts the name of the blog post in the page title of the blog page, just make sure that the title of the post is keyword rich and relevant.

Write a Keyword-Rich Page title

The Page title is the blue line of text that appears in the search results of Google. It contains the target keywords for that page.

The keywords used in the home page title tag typically target broader, market making keywords with lots of search volume.

The service pages typically target more specific keywords, with less volume but which are more likely to be closer to what the user is looking for.

Let’s look at an example to help make this clearer.

The Home Page – Targets High Volume, Market Keywords

racq-home-page

You can see the keywords targeted on the home page of this popular website are very broad market making keywords including:

  • Motoring
  • Insurance
  • Travel
  • Finance

A search for “Insurance” is ideally targeted on this page because you obviously are still researching and haven’t yet determined what type of insurance product you are after.

The Service Pages – Targets More Specific Keywords with Less Volume but higher relevance.

racq-services-page

As you can see, as you drill down deeper into the website, the keywords that you target are more specific and whilst they typically have less volume, they are more relevant and more likely to convert into an inquiry.

This page targets:

  • Car Finance
  • Personal Loans
  • Business Vehicle Financing

A searcher looking for “Car Finance” should land on this page rather than the home page as this page is more relevant to their information needs.

By including your target keywords in the page title you are telling Google what you would like those pages to rank for.

Write a Compelling Meta Description

The meta description is that snippet of text that appears below a page title in the search results.

site_www_onlinekickstart_com_-_google_search-3

Having a compelling meta description is important because it encourages a person looking at a page of search results to click on your website listing and visit your website.

Page titles help a page target keywords while meta descriptions get the clicks.

#4 Add Your Website to Google Search Console

Google’s Search Console is a free tool set for website owners to help them monitor the performance of their website in Google.

www.google.com/webmasters/tools/‎

It’s free and any good Webmaster has it on their sites so they can monitor things like outages, indexation problems (i.e. Google can’t find your pages), problems with duplicate pages (not great).

In addition, the Google Webmaster tools account is where Google will email you if something goes drastically wrong with your site.

#5 Optimise Your Website for Tracking

One of the key benefits of online marketing is the ability to track almost anything.

With the correct tracking in place you can know with certainty things like:

  • Which traffic source brought you the most visitors and conversions, whether sales or leads.
  • Which traffic source had the lowest cost per lead or cost per transaction
  • What people did on your website, how long they did it and what they did next

And importantly, tracking allows you to split test alternative website copy, colours and buttons and continue to optimise your websites performance.

At a minimum every website should have Google Analytics www.google.com/analytics/‎  installed and have conversion tracking set up. (It’s free by the way)

Conversion tracking is simply making sure the analytics software is set up to track the desired user action.

The proper installation and configuration of Google Analytics is critical to ensuring that you can properly measure the outcomes of all of your marketing activities.

 #6 Optimise for Conversion

Conversion tracking is simply the act of tracking user actions in order to measure outcomes and user behaviour.

A conversion might be a sale, a form completion or a download.

Regardless of what it is, everything from the layout of the pages, the words on the pages, the images and buttons should be designed to lead the visitor down the path to that conversion action.

When you build a website, you need to be thinking about this conversion action when you are planning the site.

The ongoing optimisation and improvement of conversion metrics is known as Conversion Rate Optimisation and there is a wide range of tools to help you do this.

In Summary

At this point you now have a website that is designed to do well in search, is designed to convert a visitor into a customer and is correctly configured to make sure you can track and measure on site activity.

Now, on to the next step.  Optimising for Social Media.

 

Step 3 – Optimise for Social Media

In Step 1 we talked about how to conduct your Online Marketing Audit.

In Step 2 we talked about Optimising for Search, Tracking and Conversion.

Step 3 is all about optimising your social media presence for maximum benefit.

Why you need to be active in Social Media

Social media offers the following benefits to business.

  • Having an active audience of fans in social media has word of mouth marketing benefits as people talk about your products and services online
  • Your social media audience can be used to promote and share your content assets. This sharing activity is what generates links and social signals, all key elements in search engine rankings.
  • Social media channels are great market research tools giving you the opportunity to directly connect with the target market.
  • Social media can be used as a competitor monitoring tool by tracking direct competitors as well as industry buzz.
  • There are massive engaged audiences in certain platforms. Facebook has over 1 billion active users and their advertising platform allows you do some very powerful targeting of advertising.

What you need to do

#1 Secure your Brand in Social Media

The first thing you should do is set up accounts for your business in all of the main social media platforms.

This is to protect your business name and acquire any vanity URL’s that people will use to find your business.

Even if you are not going to be active in a social media channel, safeguard your options by setting up the account.

There are services that help you do this en masse. Services like Knowem.com can search over 550 social networks at a time.

#2 Choose your Outposts and Set up your Profiles

Your social media profile pages are excellent branding and marketing opportunities. In the same way that people read “About us” pages, people always check social media profiles when researching businesses.

When you have chosen which platforms you will be active in, complete the profiles, upload your branding and marketing collateral and optimise the copy with complete keyword-rich product descriptions.

At a minimum,  you need to be active in Facebook, simply due to the size of the audience. I also recommend setting up a Google Plus presence as Google Plus is going to have major benefits to your brands visibility in the organic search results.

However, if you are a B2B company then a strong presence in Linked In might be a more suitable place to start.

#3 Develop a Social Media Content Strategy

Working out what to say, what to share and who to connect with is the job of your Social Media Content Strategy.

This strategy will outline exactly what you hope to achieve on social media, what the tracking and success metrics are and what you will be posting and sharing.

There are many different tools and approaches to developing the strategy but taking the time to actually write one down in a simple sharable manner is critical to sharing the vision within your business and teaching other people in the business how to participate.

#4 Start sharing and engaging (Don’t be pitching all the time)

Once you have all of these pieces in place you need to actively share and engage with real people.

Where most people fail in social media is that they are always looking for the chance to pitch their services.

Did you ever respond positively to a life insurance salesman trying to close a deal at a social function? No?  So just don’t do it.

Be helpful, be a resource and people will remember you when the time comes to buy your product or service.

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