Why SEO is Critical for Your Online Business Growth

Why SEO is Critical for Your Online Business Growth

Small business marketing is often a case of having to pick and choose which strategies to implement and campaigns to operate within a tight budget and without a great deal of resource. Yet the real investment to be made in online marketing and business development is often a technical one – and that is, SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation to refer to it by its full name).

SEO can make or break a website, but what is it, how does it work, who ‘does’ it and how can you manage it? Read on for the full lowdown and to answer the most common questions that we get asked …

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation is the intensification of a website’s content for it to become as noticeable as possible to the automated algorithms of search engines – preferably boosting its profile to the top of search engine results pages (or SERPs, for short). With search engines bringing up hundreds of thousands of results for most words and phrases searched, identifying relevant information for users is key.

SEO is a marketing practice in its own right and should absolutely form part of any company’s digital marketing strategy.

Why is SEO SO Important?

The world ‘google’ is as much a verb now as it is a name, and society is increasingly dependent on the search engines they can access through their smartphones and other tech devices to find information quickly and efficiently.

Businesses should view search engines as a marketing channel. Any person looking for a product, service or industry relevant to them should be able to easily access information on their brand; so that they can gain awareness of the brand and its products/services, and ideally, eventually, make a purchase.

SEO is important for businesses because as society moves more and more online, so do their buying habits. There are very few industries not yet with any online presence at all; and for those that do have some, businesses without any SEO will find that their brand is ranked below the search engine results displaying information on their competitors.

SEO is imperative amongst small business marketing as it is something that can deliver an inordinate amount of results for a relatively small outlay of finance and resource.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO works by tapping into the automated programming within search engines that determines where to rank what in terms of the results individuals using the search see. This is achieved by ensuring that the algorithm recognises a website as relevant, appropriate, genuine and an expert in a specific niche. It should be able to judge the who, what, where, when, how and why about a brand… just from a millisecond automated scan of the content on its website!

Put simply: search engines are library catalogues. The programs that manage them are the librarians.

The exact ways SEO works change all the time as algorithms and programming develop and grow. The technology involved in search engine operation is always improving and so SEO is never just a job to be done once and never again – businesses serious about it should aim to continuously advance and enhance their efforts toward it.

What Benefit Does Good SEO Give a Business Over Poor SEO?

Good SEO increases a brand’s visibility in search rankings, so when done better than a competitor, gives competitive advantage.

Being top of the search rankings for a relevant search to your business isn’t just important – it’s damn near imperative!

Think of your own search engine behaviours. Do you scroll through pages and pages of results to find the info you want or do you just click through to the first few? Your business needs to be where people will see it, otherwise it will lose out to those who are.

What do SEO Services Include?

Some marketers have training in SEO and can implement it and optimise a website and its content, however this training needs to be taken in a continuous cycle and the content updated with it. If you are going to invest in SEO services, we highly recommend working with an SEO expert.

SEO experts are consultants who stay up to date with the near daily changes and are able to use this knowledge to implement SEO into a site on an ongoing basis, for best results.

Being an SEO specialist is a full-time job. SEO consultants have to ensure every part of a website fits with the current search engine algorithms. That includes, but is by no means limited to: ensuring all written content is optimised, ensuring the website page layouts are optimised and work across different devices, building backlinks (OutreachMama has released a very comprehensive 2020 Link Building Strategy guide, make sure to check it out) to and from other websites to build authority, ensuring every page on a website is tagged and categorised correctly, ensuring every image on a website is tagged and categories correctly, and ensuring that all the ‘backend’ data of a website is optimised.

How Long Does SEO Implementation Take?

The development of good SEO isn’t just a job that can be done once and then not re-visited. The nature of the internet and search engine technology is that it changes all of the time, so it needs to be a continual focus for businesses who want to remain at the top of their game online (and at the top of the search engines!).

It’s impossible to say how long an initial review and ‘go over’ of a brand’s website would take, as it depends on two factors: how bad the website’s SEO currently is, and how much content is on the site. However, an SEO specialist will be able to advise on the initial work required and then recommend an ongoing plan to keep on top of the situation.

SEO specialists are worth their weight in gold, and seeking one out is one of the most effective marketing strategies a small business can invest in. Ranking ahead of the competition in a marketing method where people are already seeking out relevant information? It’s a win-win!

 

Woya Digital is a digital marketing agency focussed on your business growth! Our SEO packages are paid monthly with no upfront investment making our service affordable for any size business! Get your FREE SEO Website Audit Report NOW!

The Importance of Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

The Importance of Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

‘Googling’ has become a world-renowned verb and for brands, it’s an imperative one – if your business can’t be found on Google, your customers (existing and potential) can’t find you. Your business ranking can be a key factor to success and your marketing strategy should always include SEO (search engine optimisation). In particular for businesses serving local areas or communities, featuring in Google’s Local Pack is important so those searching in a certain geographic location are able to find you quickly and easily.

What is Google’s Local Pack?

Google’s Local Pack (also known as the Google Map Pack or Google Snack Pack) is a selection of chosen search results related to a business search in a certain geographic area. Whenever a query made in Google has local intent (i.e. a search for ‘pizza in Leicester’ or ‘locksmith in Deptford’), the search engine curates results that it thinks most appropriate.

Why does your Google Map ranking matter?

Ranking locally on Google Snack Pack often delivers solid purchase outcomes – according to ThinkWithGoogle, 50% of those who searched for a local store on Google Maps using their smartphone visited one of the given results within 24hrs, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within that time period! What’s more, search queries with “near me” in the search text have increased 34x since 2011, with the majority of these searches coming from mobile devices. Further evidence of the effectiveness of the Map Pack on Google comes from a case study by Moz. They found that 44% of people clicked within Google’s Local Pack results, 29% clicked on the organic listings and 8% chose to load more listings. Ranking above your competitors means that users searching are more likely to click on your business’ result rather than them! Google Local SEO

How to Increase Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

In order to rank as high as possible in Google Map Pack, there are several ways you can signal to Google that your business is relevant to the local map results:

  • Make sure you have claimed and optimised your Google My Business listing. Ensure all of the information in Google My Business is as up-to-date and complete as possible (Google MB signals)
  • Ensure that all social media profiles are branded consistently and lead back to the same site (social signals)
  • Your website itself should mention specific local areas that correspond correctly with your business’ listed address (on-page signals), and links to and from reputed local businesses and/or press (link signals) will help, too.
  • Where you can, be sure to claim online listings and directories pages for your business (citation signals – see our Local Citation blog) as these provide a valuable boost.
  • Encourage happy customers to write public reviews (share your Google review link), and respond to every review – this indicates to Google that you have a healthy customer base and that you genuinely care about serving them.

Search marketing, SEO or search engine optimisation helps websites to rank well in Google and other search engines. At Woya Digital we are specialists in small business growth through digital marketing, including Local SEO services. We make SEO services affordable for small businesses through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about how we can support your business growth!

Local Citations to put your Business on the (Google) Map

Local Citations to put your Business on the (Google) Map

Businesses (especially smaller ones) have to do whatever they can to get their name heard, and with the internet providing everyone the opportunity to carve out their own little space online, it can often be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

When targeting customers or potential customers in a specific geographic area, local citations can be key to a business ranking highly on Google maps. A small focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can boost your profile on Google and help you feature higher than your competitors.

What is a Local Citation

A ‘local citation’ isn’t a Google term, but instead refers to a really basic form of marketing on the internet. It is simply an instance of your business’ NAP (that is: business Name, Address and Phone number) appearing online – be that on your website or on others. This may be in business directories, press articles, advertiser sites or reviews of your firm.

How does a Local Citation benefit a Local Business

Aside from it being a small ad boost, every time someone sees your information; a local citation helps reiterate to Google (and therefore Google Maps) that you are a leader in your area and that you are a genuine business. Google’s algorithms are well developed to identify spam and disingenuous entries and so good, organic reach through local citations is an easy way for it to understand proper local businesses.

What are the Elements of a Local Citation

The three main elements of a local citation are your NAP: business Name, Address and Phone number. The key is to keep them entirely consistent throughout all citations online – any differentiator will break the link between the citation and it relating directly to your business. It may be worth considering therefore if you have a ‘Ltd’ in your name or a space/unusual capitalisation/sub-brands, that you instead revert to one shorter name for your public-facing communications to avoid any confusion.

Other elements that may be included in citations (but aren’t imperative) include e-mail addresses and links to social media profiles. Where you can, keep the names of such profiles consistent and ensure you refer to yourself in the same way across all of your marketing.

Why Local Citations Matter

Local citations are the best way for Google’s automated algorithms to understand who you are and where you are; and that you’re genuine! The internet is full of bots and false entries, and citations are genuine reviews to show you’re not one of them. Citations alone are responsible for about 10% of Google’s decision in who to rank where on Maps, and with 76% of visitors accessing local results and then visiting one of the businesses featured within 24hrs, it’s a no-brainer that it’s an area of your online presence worth investing in!

 

Search marketing, SEO or search engine optimisation helps websites to rank well in Google and other search engines. At Woya Digital we are specialists in small business growth through digital marketing, including Local SEO services. We make SEO services affordable for small businesses through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about how we can support your business growth!

Latest Google Update Released

Latest Google Update Released

We seem to have entered an age where everyone blames their social media, web content or marketing related failures on ‘algorithms’; even if perhaps that’s not really the case. In an attempt to stop internet users scapegoating their tech updates, Google yesterday, for the second time announced a broad core algorithm update in advance of it actually happening and impacting on websites. What does a Google update actually mean for your business and web presence? Read on ….

What is a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?

‘Broad core algorithm updates’ aren’t specifically aimed at combatting any one issue, but rather at improving Google’s overall systems efficiency. These updates can take anything from a few hours to a few days to roll out across all content online. Whilst there’s no set schedule for these updates to take place, they do usually happen every few months. This means that what can be considered ‘Google friendly’ content changes frequently.

What happens when a Google Update is implemented?

The effects of algorithm updates vary depending on exactly what work has been done ‘behind the scenes’. The most notable impact is usually a change in the search rankings of content; so you may find your pages suddenly rank considerably higher or lower than they did before. This happens as Google reassesses all of its content to better align it and list it out.

For businesses who rely heavily on organic search for traffic to their websites and resulting sales, any change in SEO situation can have devastating effects if not managed adequately. It’s important, therefore, to work on your website optimisation regularly.

What should I do about a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?

Monitor the situation when it comes to your SEO. Any pages that have dropped in the rankings aren’t necessarily being penalised for poor content but may just sit differently alongside new criteria standards. Regardless, action should be taken after each update to ensure that your rankings are able to recover. No one set action will guarantee full recovery but doing nothing will almost definitely inhibit any chances of it – even if another update is just around the corner!

When creating new content, it’s important for it to remain as relevant and current as possible. It is this, and not necessarily stuffing pages with keywords and links, that will help the content stay well ranked. Seek advice from SEO experts and work with them at each update, staying mindful that the approach to take will need to differ every time, dependent on what changes have been implemented.

How soon can SEO action taken recover a site from a Google Brand Core Algorithm Update?

There’s a common misconception that any remedial action taken won’t take effect until the next algorithm update is run. That’s not true: any recovery should be noticeable the next time that an automated ‘crawler’ (a bot that scans the site’s content to judge its fit amongst other pages and analyse where it should sit in the search rankings) scans it. This happens periodically and doesn’t wait for further updates. This means that rapid recovery is achievable, if effective action is taken quickly.

 

At Woya Digital we are constantly work to ensure that our clients website SEO is optimised and brought in line with constant security and Google updates. Take advantage of our awesome Instant FREE SEO Site Audit Report which we’ll send you to highlight all the things that can be improved on your website, and to optimise your website SEO ranking.

Keyword Analysis to Boost Your Rankings

Keyword Analysis to Boost Your Rankings

Most small companies are operating on a tight budget. This means that every effort must be made to maximise the impact of any digital marketing efforts. This in turn is why building the right foundations is crucial, ensuring that you’re not only operating from a firm base but are also more likely to succeed and maximise your marketing spend.

One area that SMEs tend to overlook or not really understand, is keyword analysis. If your aim is to reach potential customers online, understanding how they are searching online is vital.

What is Keyword Analysis?

When users search for a product, service or information online, they will use certain search terms which they will input on a platform like Google. In marketing jargon, these are keywords.

If a user is looking for somewhere to eat they might type ‘local restaurants’ or more specifically ‘local curry restaurants’.

Each sector, business type, product or service has its own set of search terms associated with it. Keyword analysis is the cornerstone for identifying the words and phrases that people are likely to use to find a business similar to yours, so that you can include them in your marketing strategy to optimise your content.

Services like Google AdWords feature a keyword planner that allows you to do research into the most successful words and phrases for your business. It will reveal how many people are searching for a particular term. You can also search competitor sites and see which keywords they are using and how popular these are.

Why is Keyword Analysis Important?

Including the right keywords in your website structure, content and blogs should greatly increase your online visibility. Website digital marketing is built around creating content that is likely to show up on search engines such as Google.

At its heart, this is very simple: keywords found in the website content match what people are typing into a search engine. Google logs this and ranks your website accordingly. Of course, it doesn’t mean that your website will rush to the top of the rankings if you add a few words here and there.

SEO with keywords will depend on many factors such as competition in the market place and the location of your business. Getting it right involves a good deal of work and experimentation.

How Keywords Impact the Build of Your Website

Identifying certain keywords to focusing on should influence your website design. It might dictate what text you use for title pages, subheadings, the text you lay down on each page and where it is positioned. Keywords should also be included in the HTML or coding of your site with meta titles and descriptions.

You could also include blogs to focus on certain keywords or combinations of keywords to improve your visibility online.

Google has advanced its algorithms in recent years which has put more emphasis on good quality content. This means that you can’t just stuff your chosen keyword in every available space. Your website needs to focus on user experience and flow to make sense to your visitor as well as show up on search engines.

Competitor Keyword Analysis

One good place to start when you’re trying to find the right words and phrases to focus on for your business is to take a look at what your competitors are doing. Pick the businesses that always seem to be ranking highly for standard searches and do a competitor keyword analysis on them.

This should reveal what they rank highly for and show what customers related to your sector are actually searching for.

Keyword analysis reveals a lot more than the standard words and phrases associated with your business. Carrying this research out before you begin running marketing campaigns and developing your website is important. Once you have this base keyword foundation in place, you should expect to see greater levels of relevant traffic and more conversions on your site.

 

For support in getting your website ranking and found online, get in touch with us at Woya Digital and take your business to the next level!

 

 

The Power of Online Customer Reviews

The Power of Online Customer Reviews

What is the first thing you do before you contact a new business? Of course, you check them out online before engaging with them!

Getting your business noticed and improving sales is a complicated process. It involves making use of several marketing approaches including having a great website, SEO, consistent social media engagement and eye-catching content. Additionally, one of the most powerful and often neglected advertisements for your business comes from your customers themselves – through online customer reviews.

Whether you sell products online or you are a plumber, builder or firm of accountants providing a service, people really want to know what other people think of you.

These are the key reasons that you should encourage online customer reviews:

1. Online Customer Reviews influence purchasing decisions

According to the Local Search Association:

  • 68% of us are likely to engage with a business if we read positive reviews about them
  • Only 18% of people look at a review and say it doesn’t influence their decision making
  • Over half of customers look at the star rating when making up their mind

There’s no doubt that if you can garner some good online customer reviews for your business or product, you are likely to improve your chances of someone buying from you or hiring your services in the future.

2. Online customer reviews are great for building trust and credibility with potential customers

There’s the much-used adage in business that people buy from people. You can add to that: people buy from people THEY TRUST.

You can put a whole host of information on your website to improve SEO and create a slicker sales funnel to get your leads to buy a product or hire your service. If you don’t have that added ingredient of trust however, it could make little or no difference. Having reviews on your site or posted on industry specific websites boost your credibility considerably.

3. Online customer reviews help boost your SEO rankings

SEO has developed considerably over the last decade. It’s no longer just about putting in the right keywords and hoping for the best. It involves putting in a whole range of different building blocks. Google reviews, for example, are important for building your standing in local listings.

4. Online customer reviews can lead to improved click through rates to your website

People are more likely to respond to positive reviews, and therefore click through to your business website from search engines and rating sites.

Encouraging customers to leave Reviews

It’s all well and good understanding the power of online customer reviews but how do you actually get customers to leave one? The key is making it as easy as possible for your customer:

    • Create several spaces to leave reviews, not just on your website. Try signing up to sites such as Yelp, and Google My Business
    • Don’t forget to optimise your own website so that people know where to leave reviews and how to view them
    • Provide your customer with an incentive to write a review. For example, if you run a coffee shop or bar, a free drink may entice someone to leave a good comment or two about your business
    • Just ask. No, it’s not rude to ask someone if they can leave a review for your business. Send them a thank you for their business via email with a link to the review site and you might be surprised at the response you get
    • Finally, if you get a review (whether it’s positive or negative) take the time to respond. It’s a way of building engagement and it shows that you care about your customers

If you’d like to find out more about how to effectively build customer relationships and boost your business online, get in touch with the digital marketing specialist team at Woya Digital.