Connecting with your customers or users is as important as having a good website, and it goes hand in hand with your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts to gain new clients.
Online Presence & Social Media
Social media has changed the way we interact with our clients. Brand advocates can now reach a much wider audience than ever before, as long as you provide the tools for them to spread the word.
Step one is the determine where your best clients hang out - Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Email only, Google, etc depending on your industry. Step two is to set up your business account on the platforms where your clients & advocates will use them - making them look as professional as your website, and directing interactions back to your site. Your website is the only platform where you retain full control over your brand and brand message, but you need a method of driving relevant traffic to your site to fully utilise its potential for your business. This is where managing your online presence becomes important.
Each platform requires different sizes and styles of pictures and banners, as well as different content when setting it up & maintaining activity on your feed, while also keeping in line with your brand guidelines. We generally help our clients with the set up phase of their social media, and then whoever in your organisation that handles PR takes on the daily or weekly maintenance of those platforms. However, some companies would rather have a weekly chat about the week's successes & industry news, and have us create social media posts for them. The choice is yours.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
There are three main pillars to SEO: Content, Structure & Authority. All three need to be balance for your site to perform well in search engine results, or for your AdWords campaigns to have high relevance and in turn lower cost per click (more traffic for less money).
Keeping your site up to date with new and interesting content is as important today as it was ten years ago. Content is still king. Many people do this by writing blogs on the top customer question from the week. Answering these questions online reduces the time you spend on customer service, and helps reduce customer frustration, as well as adding new and useful content to your site.
Can your customers find all of the answers to their questions on your site? Can your customers interact with your website in the same ways that they interact with you directly on the phone or in person? Where possible, these are the areas to round out first.
Once you create your content, then you can move into the stage of promoting that content and making sure you get as much return on your investment as possible. This leads to the Queen of SEO - Authority.
Your authority ranking is a numerical value (hidden) that describes how much of an expert in your field you appear to be online. You build authority with your online presence in the same way that you build it off line - the more people come to you for advice & information, the more of an authority you are on your topic. How do you recreate this online?
There are many methods to create authority online, and every business will have a different set of techniques that will make sense for their business. Common areas are:
- Reviews - Make sure you have an active base of happy clients who are willing to leave reviews for you on Google, Facebook, and other online review platforms. These should continue to grow at a natural pace over time, showing that your reviewers are genuine clients. Google uses these as social proof for your organisation, as well as for gleaning keywords to determine your industry, your offerings, & your brand promises.
- Traffic - How many people are using your site currently? You should have Google Analytics hooked up to your site to know this information & to be sure Google knows you have traffic! For new sites, this can be a difficult chicken & the egg issue. Without traffic, you won't be well ranked, but you won't get well ranked until you have traffic. The solution to this common problem is to drive traffic to your site using:
- Social media (post links to your blogs on your social media pages),
- Offline promotional materials (business cards, fliers, banners, signage, adverts),
- Viral marketing (using a professional email address so people see your site name in your communications),
- Guest authoring on other sites & news outlets (where appropriate),
- Press releases (anything to get into the media's spotlight)
- Inbound links - These can help or hurt depending on the site. Be sure you are listed in your industry's locations - trade organisation membership lists, supplier site lists for their retailers, markets where you display your goods, each organisation will have a different list of appropriate locations.
- And anything else that works in your industry to drive traffic to your site
- Site Stickiness - When people click on a search result and go to your page, do they immediately hit the back button, or do they stay and wander from page to page? Your site's design & usability can have a massive affect on this ranking measure.
- Search listing interest - When people see your listing in their search results, do they click on it, or do they continue to scroll?
This is how well your site is set up. Are your pages easy for robots to read & understand? Does your site meet the current accepted usability standards. This are is a mixture of content writing & technical know how, and is partly determined by the platform your site is built on.
Here are some things to consider:
- Page Titles - Does every page have a unique & descriptive title that matches the content found on the page?
- Page Descriptions - These are the text that will show on your Google Listings when people find you on search engines. Are they well written, human readable, and enticing to click on? This affects your authority ranking, but is altered in the site's structure.
- Header Tags - Do all of your pages have an H1 page title, followed by H2 subtitles, and H3 sub-sub titles if relevant? The code behind your page is important - don't just use the header tags as formatting tools without a proper order to them. Some platforms have issues with this - Weebly is one example of a platform that won't let you set up your pages correctly.
- SSL - Is your site secure? This used to be considered only important for e-commerce sites, but now it's important for every site.
- Loading speed - How fast does your site load? Slower sites (large images, slideshows, or video on the home page are common issues) will have a lower rank in this category.
- Mobile friendly - If your site isn't mobile friendly, then you'll have a low score for this ranking factor.
- Site Navigation - Your site's navigation should be organised & easy to follow (even for robots).
SEO is a large topic, and fixing any issues that may be causing your ranking to be lower than it should be will help your site in many ways beyond just being better ranked in the search engines. An important part of owning a website is keep up with best practice in all of these areas, as they change over time.
We can help you with any or all of these items. Talk to us today to start building your online presence.