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Why Use Digital Marketing? - 5 Reasons Digital Marketing Can Help Your Small Business
Many small and medium business owners are finally beginning to realise that the online side of a business is becoming essential for gaining new business and interacting with potential or existing clients.
With current trends showing that more people are researching companies, visiting their websites and social media profiles and checking company reviews, before making contact with a business, it's obvious that digital marketing can really help a business to grow in the online world.
Here's just a few of the top reasons and digital marketing strategies that your company can take advantage of:
Social Media comes in many shapes and forms and deciding which one suits your business best is only half the battle.
Depending on your business niche some platforms can work wonders for driving traffic to your website, showcasing your products, engaging with customers, increasing brand awareness and generating leads through messaging.
The number one thing to consider when posting to social media is whether or not you're bringing value to people reading/seeing the post?
If you can provide unique and engaging content to which people want to read either on social media or your own website, then people are more likely to come back for more, and may even turn into valuable customers.
Customer Reviews & Testimonials
Many people will now check businesses reviews before choosing to use them or buy any of their products. They offer an excellent way of validating a companies customer service and product or service quality.
Often, a potential customer can see reviews when searching online, these are usually shown in the map pack or company profile and can be pulled from a number of sources, including, Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor and Booking.com.
Wolfberry Media Map Pack Listing
Customer reviews can also be a great way of building customer rapport by responding to reviews, both positive and negative, this shows that you're open to feedback and have actually spent the time to read their review.
Google My Business
We've covered Google My Business in pretty great detail in an earlier post (Harnessing the Power of Google My Business), but if your business isn't using it, then there's a good chance that you're missing out on lots of website traffic, in particular from mobile traffic and location-based searches.
Google My Business can offer a number of ways for customers to find out more information about your business, including showing your business details and contact information in the 'map pack' in search results (including 'near me' searches), and on Google Maps.
Other reasons to use this free tool is that it can be used for collecting and replying customer reviews, displaying photos and blog posts, and even mobile messaging is available for some business niches.
Email marketing might not be relevant for many businesses, especially a lot of small to medium service based companies. Where email marketing can be used though, is for online stores and anyone offering online services such as courses, ebooks or for providing newsletters to your customer base.
We use MailChimp for our email marketing, and for many of our clients too. In our in-depth guide to email marketing (Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses)we wrote a while back, we provided a range of tips, suggestions and email marketing software comparisons, so why not take a look and see if email marketing is something that your company could be using.
Consider Online Advertising
Those annoying adverts you get at the top of your Google search results? They could be an excellent source of selling your business online.
Both Google and Facebook ads can be used to help drive qualified traffic to your website, with the ultimate aim being for them to purchase your products, become a client, take a course you offer, or whatever it is that brings your company value.
Google Ads (Adwords) is an auction-based setup, where you bid against other companies for the number 1 spot in a Google search result for keywords that you choose. The cost for these bids can vary massively between business niches. You can set your bid to whatever it is your willing to spend, allowing you complete control over your budget.
Facebook Advertising doesn't use the keyword model like Adwords, however, you can still target your desired audience by using factors such as location, age, interest, Facebook pages and groups that people have interacted with, or with a Facebook Pixel installed on your website, you can even target people who visited specific pages on your website.
Much like Google, you can set your budget for an ad campaign to what you can manage, and can start Facebook Ads from as little as £3 per day.
Find out how we can help you with your local digital marketing, or contact us for more details.Deborah Cowley likes this.
Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Email marketing has gotten something of a bad reputation in recent times, with many companies and people using it as a way to fire off unsolicited emails to people who have no connection or have never used any of their products. This is not how to do email marketing!
Using emails as part of your overall digital marketing strategy can produce some excellent results if done correctly, in this short guide I'll be going over a few effective email marketing tips which any small business can do themselves, and which can bring in results if done correctly.
Choosing Your Platform
While it is possible to do email marketing without the use of any platforms, it really is much more effective if you leverage one of the following solutions to do much of the heavy lifting. Here are just a few of the most popular email marketing platforms available.
MailChimp is one of, if not the most well-known platform and has approximately 14 million users worldwide.
MailChimp has various pricing tiers including a free plan which allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month and have up to 2,000 contacts.
Their Growing Business plan, which starts at $10 per month is based on the number of emails and contacts over the free amount. They also offer a pay as you go plan, which is for businesses who send infrequently but use more than the free plan.
If you're a WordPress user, MailChimp also has numerous official and unofficial plugins which can be integrated with your site.
Constant Contact is known for it easy to use interface and beginner-friendly features. Unlike MailChimp, they do not offer a free version, however, they do offer a 60-day free trial, and their pricing structure starts at just $20 per month.
The team at Constant Contact are also well known for their excellent customer service, including online chat and even training videos.
Like MailChimp, you can also download an easy to set up WordPress plugin for easily integrating with your site.
Drip is a popular solution, specifically aimed at e-commerce sites, which provides users with an easy to use, beginner friendly platform for marketers to send emails.
Integrations are available for WordPress & WooCommerce, allowing you to easily build your email lists from your website.
They offer a free account which allows you to have up to 100 subscribers, with their paid plans starting from $41 per month.
Build Your Email List
To successfully build your email list you will need to provide potential users with a way to sign up for this. Here are a few examples of ways which you can do this.
On Your Own Website
What better way to collect users email addresses than through your own website? If they're already on your website then they are likely to already be in engaged with what you do, whether you sell items online, produce content or even if you're a service business.
The people who sign up through your website already know what it is you offer, which in turn means they're more likely to engage with the emails which you send to them.
Most email marketing platforms provide easy to integrate forms which you can add to your website code, providing an easy way for people to sign-up. If you're using a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento or Shopify, then you can install plugins/modules to integrate your subscriber forms.
Other ways to include subscriber forms on your website can be as pop-ups & banners in your header, sidebars or footer.
Facebook now has an option to include a signup option directly on your Facebook page. To do this you must first have a Facebook Business page. The following instructions are for setting up MailChimp with your FB page.
- Log in to your MailChimp account and head over to the 'Integrations' section. Once there you will need to click the Facebook 'Log In' button then allow Mailchimp to connect to your page.
- Once this has been done successfully, you will then have further options, such as FB page to use, your subscribers list to use, headings and the form style. Edit these so that you have selected the correct page and pointed it to the correct list.
- On your Facebook page, you will now see an extra tab on the left-hand menu (on desktop) called 'Email Signup'. If you click that, you will then see your subscription form which users can sign up with.
You can also add a 'Sign Up' button directly to your Facebook page with a link to your website where users can subscribe to your email list.
Offer Free Stuff
One killer way to get people to sign up for your email campaigns is to provide excellent value and give them a genuinely good reason to give you their email address.
Offering an incentive is a great way to rapidly increase your list, and can include free eBooks if you produce content, discount codes or free delivery if you're an online store.
If you produce gated or paid-for content on your website, then you can offer 'Bonus' content to encourage people to sign up and ultimately to invest in viewing your valuable content.
Encourage Subscribers to Pass On Your Emails
If you're producing superb email campaigns which your readers love, then make sure you provide a way and encourage them to forward your emails to their friends, family and colleagues who would be interested in your content.
Provide a simple subscribe link in the footer of your email so that anyone forwarded your email can easily opt-in to your campaigns.
Use your social media accounts to promote a free giveaway or competition, then provide them with a link to subscribe to one of your lists, and maybe even gain a few extra social media followers in the process.
Plan Your Campaigns
While this should really go without saying, it's vital that you plan your campaigns in advance, whether that's monthly or weekly campaign or even for seasonal events such as Valentines Day or Christmas, proper planning allows you to prepare, build and test your emails before you send them.
Another important reason for planning your email schedule and sticking to it is to ensure that you don't overwhelm your subscribers.
Doing so will lead to lots of unsubscribers and unopened emails, meaning a waste of time and money.
Aim to Provide Value with EVERY Campaign
Now that you have your platform in place, started to build your email list, and planned your email schedule, you now need to decide what you're actually going to send.
What you will want to aim for is to provide value in every single one of your campaigns, whether that's excellent content within the email, links to valuable content on your website, special offers or valuable resources that the user will find interesting and interact with.
If you've planned your emails in advance, then this shouldn't be a problem, but make sure that you can actually provide something useful for the reader. If not, then you may be sending too many emails and should consider cutting back until you can provide the value.
Build Your Email
Next, we will look at actually putting your campaign together and creating an email that people will hopefully open and interact with.
Your subject line can be the deciding factor in whether your email gets opened or ends up in the trash folder. You should try and make this stand out as much as possible, with a clear indication of what the email is about. So if you're offering a free e-book or something similar, tell them that in the subject line.
Try and personalise your email where possible. If you're collecting peoples names as well as their emails then you can include that in your campaign.
Most email marketing platforms provide the option to insert a name field when building an email so that you can start off your email with 'Hi John' or something along those lines.
Personalised emails often get higher click-through rates and open rates (when used in the subject line).
Make It Look Great
Within reason, you should be looking to add images, logos, and use a good blend of colours and fonts to really make your email stand out to readers and encourage them to visit your site, store or dive into your blog content.
Videos are also becoming more popular than ever before across website and emails. They are estimated to provide between a 200-300% increase in click-through rates, but as with the rest of your email, any videos used should provide the user with value.
When writing the copy for your campaign, you should ensure that it is straight to the point. It shouldn't be a 1000 word essay, it should be clear, concise and with an obvious call to actions.
What you're wanting your readers to do is read your email, click through to your site and either read your content on your site, make a purchase or contact you for a service.
If your email is overly long, boring, full of waffle or has no clear links or call to actions, then you're essentially putting up a rather large barrier on what you're trying to achieve, and it's likely that the reader will close or subscribe from the email long before they get to your site.
Legal Information & Important Bits
You should definitely include all your legal information in the footer of your email, especially with the new GDPR rules which came in to place earlier this year.
You also need to by law include a clear and obvious 'Unsubscribe' button, so that the user can easily subscribe if they no longer want to receive your emails.
Track Your Campaign
Once your campaign is sent and the business (hopefully) comes flooding in, you should be sure to keep your eye on the metrics from your campaign.
These are a really good way to see how your campaign is done/doing and provides you with valuable insights into what worked or didn't.
Most of the platforms mentioned earlier provide built-in analytics tools which can tell you how many people opened your email, anyone who unsubscribed, and what links were clicked on and by how many people.
Another excellent tool for tracking your campaigns is Google Analytics, this can help you see what the visitors from your email campaigns do when they reach your site, and also whether they made any purchases if you're an online store.
Things To Avoid
As mentioned previously, email marketing has something of a bad name at times due to spammers abusing the platforms and sending unsolicited emails, one thing which I would 100% avoid is any service offering to provide you lists/contacts for money.
The whole purpose of email marketing is to grow your list by providing value to your customers, purchasing a list of emails is likely to do your brand more harm than good if you're sending emails to these people who haven't signed up, or even heard of your company.
This practice can also land you in a considerable amount of trouble with the authorities in most countries, with the UK fining people who breach the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 up to £5000.
In conclusion, email marketing really can be a great way to grow your business as part of your overall marketing strategy. If you follow our simple tips and be sure to add value at every opportunity to your customers, then you can make your emails as successful as you want them to be.
Looking for someone to manage your email marketing or overall digital marketing? At Wolfberry Media, we provide a range of digital solutions such as web design, print design, and local SEO for small business owners across Central Scotland.
Give us a call on 07914798549 or email [email protected] to discuss your next project.
What are 10 of the most popular search engines still being used in 2018?
You can view the original post at https://wolfberrymedia.co.uk/10-best-search-engines-in-2018/
In this brief guide, we will have a look at 10 of the most popular search engines in use today. Whilst in the UK we are likely to use Google and Bing for almost all of our searches, there are other search engines from around the globe which have deal with millions of queries every day.
We will also have a quick at some of the other tools which the companies include for business owners and searchers.
With over 90% of the market share worldwide and over 80% in the UK, Google is easily the biggest and most used search engine on the planet today. With an ever-changing algorithm and constant updates to improve the quality of the results it serves, it would be very surprising to see anyone overtake them in the market share stakes.
They also provide lots of extra tools and benefits which are great for businesses and searchers alike, including the Google My Business platform (which I cover in this blog post) which can help businesses appear in local searches and helps for ranking in the 'Map Pack'.
Google maps for searching physical locations, image searching, and the introduction of featured snippets and rich cards using schema markup brings crucial extra details to certain searches, such as reviews, event dates & how-to guides.
The Bing search engine, which is owned by Microsoft, while obviously not as popular as Google, still has many users and is second in the UK market share with around 12% (3rd with just over 2% worldwide).
Bing comes as the default search engine in Microsoft browsers such as Microsoft Edge and versions of Internet Explorer, so a lot of people who use those browsers will automatically use Bing unless they decide to go elsewhere for their search queries.
Bing have also followed in Google's footsteps with some of the features which they offer such, Bing Places (similar to Google My Business), map, image and video search.
Yahoo has been around since the mid 90's and is owned by telecommunications giant Verizon. Yahoo's market share is just over 2% both worldwide and in the UK.
While still a relatively well-known brand, they are more widely known for their free email services, despite many of the users getting their accounts hacked in what is one of the biggest known data breaches of all-time.
After closing their online business directory in 2014, they now offer a local listings management service to US businesses only.
Originally called Ask Jeeves (sadly Jeeves the butler no longer makes an appearance), the search engine was originally founded in 1996 and was estimated to have a 0.02% market share in the UK earlier in 2018.
Ask was originally intended to be a question and answer based search engine, and despite making a switch to a more standard algorithm based model, they returned to the Q&A format, shifting their focus to mobile search and mobile apps.
This is where it gets a bit more interesting. While Baidu certainly isn't a household name across the UK, it is easily the most popular search engine in China, with a whopping 66% market share, and 0.85% worldwide.
Founded in 2000, Baidu is on record as being the 8th largest internet company based on revenue worldwide, which is estimated at over 84 billion Chinese Yuan.
The search engine actually has a huge suite of tools for searchers and businesses, such as maps, news, music & video search, plus a range of community and developer tools.
Yandex, much like Baidu, is not a search engine which will be well known across the UK, but is a huge player in Russia, pipping Google to the highest market share with just over 52% compared to Google at 43%.
Much like some of the other big companies, Yandex also provides a business directory similar to Google & Bing, image, video and map search, plus a webmaster set of tools for getting your site into the Yandex index.
DuckDuckGo is aimed at searchers who have their privacy as the main priority. Founded in 2008, DuckDuckGo currently has around 0.57% market share in the UK and around 0.33% worldwide.
In their CEOs own words "When you search on DuckDuckGo, it's like every time you're a new user and we know nothing about you,". The aim of this is to prevent personalised and localised search results.
They also provide an image, video, map and news search, and use pull data from Yelp to populate the searches.
8) Wolfram Alpha
Founded in 1999, Wolfram Alpha is positioned as a computational knowledge or answer engine and is widely used for complex searches including mathematics, science, technology, nutrition and engineering based searches.
Wolfram Alpha uses a huge knowledge base and AI technology to provide calculations, inventions and historical figures to millions of students & professionals worldwide.
AOL was once one of the biggest internet companies in the world, providing internet access to millions of people around the world. The company was purchased by Verizon in 2015, and despite still sitting in the top ten search engines, they have just 0.05% of the worldwide market share as of September 2018.
Despite still being positioned as a search engine, they now seem to take their search results from Bing.
Naver is the South Korean search engine, and has an estimated market share of 78% in South Korea, and 0.07% worldwide, putting Naver in the top 10 most popular search engines in the world as of September 2018.
Founded in 1999, Naver provides plenty of tools for users and businesses in Korea, such as advertising and small business tools.
Bonus #1) Ecosia
Ecosia, I feel deserves a mention for its well-intended purpose, with its tagline of 'The search engine that plants trees'. Based out of Berlin, Germany, Ecosia donates 80% of all its surplus income to conservationist charities, with the primary aim of planting more trees.
Bonus #2) Social Mention
Social Mention is a very different type of search engine to all the above options. As a 'Real-time social media search & analysis' tool, it provides results from various forms of user-generated content, such as social media and photo sharing sites.
With the seemingly infinite amount of social and blogging platforms available today, this could be an excellent tool, especially as it shows you handy stats on the search results such as top sources and top hastags used in the results.
The speed of your website can have a huge impact on your business overall.
Slower websites are generally going to have a larger number of potential customers leave straight away, rather than wait 20 seconds for your super-cool high-resolution image slider to load.
In fact, Google now considers your website and mobile loading speeds as a part of where to put you in the search engine rankings (SERPS), so you could say that page speed has a direct impact on your websites SEO.
To check your page speed right now, visit https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ or https://gtmetrix.com/ to find out what is slowing down your site.
Google Page Speed
Here, we’ll be looking at 5 of the areas where your site speed may be holding you back, how to fix those issues and some excellent tools which can be used to check your website speed.
1) Image Optimisation
This here’s a biggie in terms of both page speed and the overall size of each of your pages, and it’s something which I’ve already covered briefly in my article about SEO Tips for Small Businesses.
This issue is often prevalent on website where a user is able to add their own images to their site without proper instruction or training from whoever built the site for them, or in some cases the owner may have built the site themselves using a popular website builder or blogging platforms such as Wix, Weebly or WordPress.com.
Here a few ways to optimise your images for super-fast loading times and tools which can be used to help with the process.
Image Size & Compression
One of the biggest issues which are seen with the size of images when they are uploaded directly from a Smartphone or digital camera.
The images may look great, but they are often huge files, huge resolution and the highest quality possible. All these things will seriously slow down your website if you don’t do any optimisation.
The first thing to look at it is the image size with most modern phones and digital cameras producing images ranging from 1600×1200 up to 4064×2704.
The key to this is to reduce the image size down to what you will need it for on your website, for example, if the image is just going to be a small picture on your site, make the image smaller so that the browser doesn’t have to resize the image for you, therefore impacting your speed even more.
Another aspect which I look at is image quality, in most cases, this can be reduced to around 80% of the original quality, which will provide huge savings on the image size, with only a very small, barely noticeable loss in quality. For some smaller images or images which are maybe going to have an overlay on them, I would reduce even further.
The general rule which I try to stick to is to keep large banner and full-screen images under 200KB, and all other images under 100KB.
Image Editing Tools
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) – https://www.gimp.org/
This program is a superb, free open-source browser-based piece of software for Windows. It’s basically a free slightly watered down version of Adobe Photoshop, although it still has enough features for everyday or casual use, including the ability to resize, compress and edit images.
Adobe Photoshop – https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/photoshop.html
The original and most popular image editing (among other things) tool for professionals. While you may not need a lot of the features, it’s exceptional for the uses mentioned in this post and even includes a handy ‘Save for Web’ option for quickly saving your image ready to be uploaded.
Mass Image Compressor
This tiny piece of software can be download completely free from Sourceforge here. If you have a large number of images which you need to compress for uploading to your site, then this tool can do this for you in seconds. You simply select the folder which contains the images, select how much you want to reduce the quality and size by, click go, and within seconds they will be saved in a separate sub-folder all ready to be uploaded to your site.
Mass Image Compressor
2) Browser Caching
While this is a bit more technical than resizing your images, it’s a vital part of speeding up your website.
What Browser Caching actually does, is store your website files locally in your visitor’s browser cache.
This means that if your site isn’t making use of browser caching, then every time a user visits your site, all your site files will need to be downloaded again for each visit.
The key to this is to set static assets on your site to be cached for a long time so that they will be loaded much quicker than if they haven’t been stored in memory.
Some assets may not be able to be cached when they are loaded from other platforms such as Google Analytics (although you can in WordPress using CAOS Plugin), Google Maps, Google Tag Manager, Youtube, MailChimp and many others.
The most common way to make use of caching is by editing your websites .htaccess file, or if you’re using WordPress you can install a plugin for this such as Autoptimize, WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache.
3) Enable Compression
Much like browser caching, enabling compression on the server level is maybe not something that everyone can or would want to do themselves.
The benefits of doing this though are huge, and in some cases can reduce assets on your website by up to 90%.
The best way to ensure that your site is using compression is to edit your .htaccess file to enable a program called Gzip on the server level. The method for this will vary depending on your hosting platform, with the most common being NGINX, Apache and IIS.
For more information about compression visit: https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/EnableCompression
4) Get Faster Hosting
Your hosting can sometimes be a real issue when dealing with a slow website.
This issue is particularly prevalent when using cheap, shared hosting or even worse, free hosting.
Hosting providers come in all shapes and sizes, some good, some bad and some in between, and it’s always a good idea to check user reviews and also how scalable your plan is before purchasing a hosting package.
One of the issues which come with shared hosting is that you are basically sharing a server with lots of other sites, and you’re all sharing the server’s resources. This may not be an issue for many small sites, with relatively small traffic numbers.
For larger sites, e-commerce and corporate sites though, you would be better off looking at the dedicated servers which most providers also offer, as these are your own server with dedicated resources to handle high loads and huge traffic numbers.
One final key factor when choosing your website host should be their customer service, which is why I recommend reading reviews before purchasing.
5) Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Using a CDN can dramatically improve your website speed if setup correctly.
A CDN works by storing versions of your site across multiple servers worldwide, this allows users to access your site contents from the nearest server, meaning that the requests don’t have to travel around the world and instead are served from nearby, making the process happen much quicker.
Many hosting providers provide CDN access as part of some of their hosting packages, or access can be purchased as an add-on. One of the most popular CDNs is Cloudflare, which is extremely easy to setup and use.
Cloudflare has a number of plans to use, including a free version which can be used as long as you have access to your domains DNS records, and also comes with a number of excellent tools which you can use including analytics, caching, firewall and HTTPS tools.
So there you have it, this my short list of 5 ways to speed up your website. The list is by no means a full breakdown of everything which can affect your website speed, but fixing these issues could go a long way to keeping users on your site for longer, and for your website to get a boost in the search engine rankings.
One thing we offer at Wolfberry Media is a FREE Website Audit package alongside our Web Design and Digital Marketing packages.
In our free audit, we can provide a full overview of any speed and SEO issues which your site is suffering from, and compile a report of actionable tasks to get your site in tip-top shape.
If you would like to enquire about any of our web design, digital marketing or audit packages, contact us at 07914798549 or email [email protected]
While the broad term SEO or Search Engine Optimisation can be a pretty daunting prospect for many small business owners, it really doesn't need to be. Many aspects of SEO doesn't even necessarily need an expert to perform, while many others are best left to people in the know who have experience in the field.
Today I'll be looking at some simple SEO tips which many small business owners can try themselves to really boost their website in the search rankings, or at the least give them a basic understanding on why and how your site ranks and how to determine what it ranks for.
If you have any comments or have anything to say about this article, please drop us an email at [email protected].
Keyword research is perhaps the single most important aspect of any website looking to rank in the search engines, without having an idea of the basic search terms which you want to be found for, plus the competition and profitability of these terms, you are basically leaving your rankings to chance.
For instance, if you have a website which is for a roofing company in Scotland, and one of your pages is targeting 'lead roofing in example town', and you are at the top of the SERPS (search engine results pages) for that specific term, you might think that's great, however the page might not be bringing in much traffic, or in some cases any at all.
This could be because the term 'lead roofing in example town' isn't being searched for at all, so being top might seem good, but if nobody is searching for that term, then no traffic will come from it. This is where the use of Keyword tools come into play, some which we like to use include:
kwfinder.com - which has a free version which allows 5 free searches per day, and is great at finding long-tail keywords, as well as showing you the sites which are ranking for a keyword, average searches per month and the keyword difficulty, meaning how easy on a scale of 0-100 it will be to rank for that term.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner - The Google Adwords free keyword planner tool is geared more towards PPC users, but can still show some useful information for average monthly searches, and you can also search for multiple keywords, or even input your page URL to find suggestions based on your content. To use this tool you will need to sign up for a free AdWords account.
SEMRush - SEMRush is an all-in-one SEO tool which also has a keyword tool, the free version is ok for many uses but limited in the amount of reports, searches and features you can use. Much like the other tools mentioned, the SEMRush keyword tool can help you see how many average monthly searches there are for each keyword, organic search results for the term, related keywords, plus various PPC searches and advert copy.
Using these tools, you can then see what terms are likely to be profitable for your business, and which will bring traffic to your site if you can rank for them. The general rule is to focus on a single keyword per page, although you will also want to rank for any number of related and long-tail keywords too.
With that information, you can then decide which pages you would like to rank for which term, this will then drive the content for the page, such as images used, text copy, headings and so on.
Key Onpage Ranking Factors
Page Title & Meta Data
The page title and meta description are basically what potential customers will see in the search engine results of your business. The key aspects of these are to tell customers what the main topic of your page is about and entice them to click on your pages rather than a competitor.
Below is an example for one of our home page which I will break down into the key component:
Page Title (Web Design Scotland | SEO Scotland | Perth, Dundee, Fife & Angus)
This the main link, and what tells a user what you do and what they should expect to find when they click through to your site. This is one of the key ranking factors in SEO. As you can see here, we have used our 2 key services for the first two phrases, this is to tell people what we do, this is followed by the main areas which we service, although this may not apply to all business types. This is where you will want to include (ideally at the beginning) your designated keyword for this page, however, you will also want to careful of not overdoing it and adding it multiple times, this is an old SEO approach known as Keyword Stuffing.
The general rule for your page title should be that it is under 160 characters to prevent the title from being truncated, although recent studies have shown that Google will sometimes show a different page title depending on the search users intent.
For more information about your page title have a read of https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag
The URL is the green link shown below the page title and indicates where the link is going to take you, in this example, the link will go to the homepage. Keywords inside a URL can still have some weight when it comes to ranking, although this is not as prominent as it once was, largely due to many people buying keyword rich domain names and stuffing keywords into their URLs.
The meta description is the snippet of text which has a brief description of the page, company, and services. While this supposedly doesn't have a direct impact on rankings, it has been proven that a well-written meta description can lead to a higher click-through rate (CTR), which is one of a number of factors which Google uses to determine rankings. This is basically your chance to convince a user to visit your site rather than that of your competitors.
Check out this article on writing a great meta description: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-write-meta-description-ht
The headings on your actual page are what gives your pages the basic structure and the hierarchy of your content. These are usually easily changed from within your website's CMS and they range from H1 (Heading 1 being the most important) to H6, and one of the rules when using your headings is to only usually have 1 x H1 per page, this will usually be an overview of the content, and topic of the page.
Your H1 should also contain your designated keyword, as long as it makes sense to have it in there to the user. Using related keywords (often known as semantic keywords) in your other headings is also usually a good way to improve your rankings.
This is one of the big ranking factors and is becoming increasingly important as Google aims to provide searchers with the most relevant content for their search terms. Your content should be the main reason why someone comes to your site, and you should use it to show your authority on your chosen keyword or subject, and show your customers why they should purchase your products or use your services.
The general rule of thumb is that you should provide as much relevant content as necessary for your customers to make an informed decision, ideally, you would be looking for 500+ words (although this is absolutely not a set in stone amount) of well informed, readable and grammatically correct content, split into sections using the aforementioned headings, and also written in an appropriate language for your client base.
Another major point with regards to your site content is to avoid duplicate content issues, your content should be unique to your page, meaning you shouldn't be using other peoples content (which you definitely shouldn't be doing anyway) or using the same content across multiple pages or sites that you own. Google has been known to penalise sites which have a lot of duplicate content and in many cases will disregard your content, or even deindex the page if you're using other peoples.
Find out more about the pitfalls of duplicate content from the Yoast website here.
Images for a lot of businesses are what differentiates them from their competitors, especially any companies who are selling actual products, as you will want to show these looking at their best, and make the user want the product just from seeing the image.
A few key SEO factors when dealing with images on your site include:
This is a huge issue on many sites you will come across on the web, especially with the capabilities of modern smartphones basically doubling up as a digital camera. When such images are added to web pages without first being optimised properly, they can often be in huge resolutions such as over 4000px wide, and can sometimes be anything between 1-10MBs in size.
While this may mean that the images look great, they also bring your page to a standstill and slow your site down, which may mean visitors abandoning your site before the page even loads. The 2 main processes you will want to do with an image before adding to your website are resizing the images to a reasonable size, for instance for a background image, you will really only need to be 1900px wide at most, while for most images on pages and in blog posts you can probably resize to around 600-1000px wide, but this depends on your use case.
I also like to use an online tool which can be found at http://compressor.io which optimises the image and in many cases can reduce the files size by up to 90%, without reducing the visible quality of the image.
This is what your image is about, and should be set for every image you add to your site. Most CMS systems have a simple interface for adding these to your images. The ALT tag is what is used for screen readers, what shows if the image cannot be loaded, and is also used for SEO purposes in Google Image Search.
The key rule for your ALT Tags is to ensure that they provide a relevant phrase for the content of your image without keyword stuffing in them.
So that just about concludes our basic SEO tips which many small business owners can do themselves in many cases. This is not a full list of on-page SEO factors, or ranking factors in general, and is actually just a very small sample of what can affect your rankings where SEO is concerned.
If you follow these tips and optimise these factors for each of your web pages, you will likely see huge improvements compared to sites who don't use any of these processes when creating a website.
However, if you've read this guide and would like to have a chat about how Wolfberry Media can help your business get found online, build a new website or help you get found locally, then feel free to get in touch with us on 07914798549, emailing us at [email protected] or by using our online contact form.
Some of the services which we provide include:
A lot of small business owners know that online marketing is the most efficient and effective way to use your marketing budget to grow your business. Traditional marketing cost a lot but offers very minimal returns whereas online marketing offers different levels; you can choose to invest a little and get positive returns, or invest a lot and get even more returns. This is why you need an SEO company in Scotland to help you grow your business.
There are different types of online marketing that can bring returns for your business. You can pay-per-click, online advertising, social media, and Search Engine Optimization which has proven to be effective in the UK.
Benefits of SEO for small businesses in Scotland
Search Engine Optimization is a technique that is used to increase your business’s online exposure while also allowing you to generate leads. The longer the SEO campaign, the more effective it’ll be which in turn will give you better results. With the aid of an SEO company in Scotland, you’ll be able to generate automatic leads for your business.
You may decide to learn about SEO by yourself, or you may choose to hire the services of an SEO company. It all depends on the time you have, your budget, and if you actually have an interest in learning about SEO.
Here are three reasons why an SEO company is an irresistible option for your small business in Scotland
free website audit for potential clients, as well as web design services for people needing a new website.
If you're ready to get started on boosting your online prospects, ranking higher, gaining more traffic and converting that traffic into leads and sales, then get in touch with us on 07914798549